Valve clearance check and shim - Kawasaki Versys Forum
Versys-X 300 General Discussion Please post any 2017+ Kawasaki Versys-X 300 related topics that DO NOT fit into any of the other topics here.

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Valve clearance check and shim

My Versys-X 300 has 7755 miles on it ......... time for the first valve check and shim. I have a late model Ninja 300 shop manual and proceeded with the tear down. As you might imagine, everything is tightly packaged and a lot of stuff has to be moved/removed to access the removal of the valve cover.

The body work is easily removed via the instructions on page 566 of advrider.com on the regular Versys-X 300 thread. The removal of the gas tank is somewhat of a pain due to the fuel coupling being snaked through the frame and the connector for the fuel pump having a very short harness-----not much room to work with my full size hands.

Next, remove the spark plug wire leads, stick coils, right radiator hose/thermostat from the engine and radiator, valve cover breather/related plumbing, and finally the very tightly frame constricted valve/head cover. You will have some minor loss of coolant when the radiator hose is removed. I topped it off when it was re-installed.

I positioned the crank/cams properly for a clearance check and found the left cylinder #1 exhaust valves to be .001 under spec at .008. The right cylinder #2 were at minimum spec of .009 for both. The intakes on #1 were .007 and .008 and the #2 cylinder were .007 and .007---right at the minimum.

Kawasaki calls for these specs:

Valve Clearance
Standard:
Exhaust 0.22 ∼ 0.29 mm (0.0087 ∼ 0.0114 in.)
Intake 0.15 ∼ 0.24 mm (0.0059 ∼ 0.0094 in.)

I marked the cams, cam chain, removed the cam chain tensioner, cam caps, etc. and removed the cams, lifter buckets, and shims for each valve. I found the following shims:

Cyl #1 Exhaust shims 2.73 and 2.75 Cyl #2 Exhaust shims 2.73 and 2.70
Intake shims 2.80 and 2.78 Intake shims 2.80 and 2.80

I ordered two packets of 5 Hot Cams shims in size 2.75 and 2.65 as i wanted to be near max on intake and exhaust clearances. The shims arrived yesterday and I began to measure each shim thickness to ensure they were as marked. Some were and some were not!!!! Like previous shims I have encountered and measured....they can be mis-marked and a couple of thousandths off.

I placed what I believed to be the correct shims in place and remeasured with the cams/cam caps re-torqued to spec. I found the right exhaust clearance on Cyl #1 to be too large at .012-----everything else was good. So, the cams were removed and the proper shim installed.

I began to put everything back together.........checking and re-checking the timing of the cams/crank, re-checked the valve clearance after everything was torqued to proper spec, and found the valve clearances to be:

Cyl #1 Exhaust .011 and .011 Cyl #2 Exhaust .010 and .011
Intake .095 and .009 Intake .095 and .009 Just where I wanted them.

The further assembly was time consuming due to the tight fitment of everything.....but it did go together with no extra pieces or parts!!!

I install the fuel tank, hook up everything fuel related, and turn the bike on to start it.

It would not start!!!! but, did keep back firing. I couldn't believe it as everything had been checked and re-checked multiple times as I assembled everything. I made a last ditch effort and switched the wiring leads to the stick coils-----thought I had them separated properly when disassembled?????........hit the start switch and the mighty X-300 started instantly and began to purr like a kitten!!!clapclap

I finished up the install of the bodywork and took it for a short, couple blocks ride.........ran just like it did before the valve shim. Only now, I know everything is in spec and should be good for quite some time.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:51 PM
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Quite a few of us on the 650 side use sandpaper or emery-cloth, to remove a bit of metal from the shims, bringing them "into spec", and MOST do them to the HIGH end, as they tighten over time, not loosen.

GOOD write-up!

BTW - on the 650s the spark-plug stick coils have EITHER 1 and 2 (or L and R) on them - don't remember WHICH.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 11:40 AM
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Stuck Thread / Future How To Forum Thread

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 09:48 PM
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How advanced is a valve clearance check and shim job? Is it something if one has enough time/patience one can do? Or should it really be left to an experienced mechanic?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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It is a very precise process that requires a shop manual and some specific tools.

The Versys-X 300 requires the removal of the fairing, shrouds, fuel tank, top radiator hose, some wiring/plug wires, valve cover breather valve, air box to valve cover breather tube, the valve cover, etc. just to get to the valves/camshafts. If everything has proper clearance, put it back together.

If not, you have to remove the cam caps/bridge, cam chain tensioner (being extra careful not to drop anything in the engine), remove the cam buckets/shims, precisely measure the shims installed to obtain proper clearance, re-install everything IN TIME (cams, crankshaft, and pistons), retract the cam chain tensioner/make a tool to hold it before release,
and re-install everything you took apart.

It is a very deliberate, technical process that has to be accurate. It will take most people several hours to complete even if you have replacement shims on hand. My bike was apart for five days as shims had to be ordered.

Just some FYI.

Last edited by whisperquiet; 08-11-2018 at 10:24 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 10:32 PM
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"re-install everything IN TIME (cams, crankshaft, and pistons), retract the cam chain tensioner/make a tool to hold it before release"

This is the part that sounds intimidating and makes me think it's worth paying the mechanic to do.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 09:50 AM
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Valve Shim / 650 / DIYS

The discussion in this thread is it takes considerable time/ you need to take your time. Time is $$$$, do you know a good mechanic that takes his time but charges less than he should $$$, yup I don't either along with a multitude of members on this forum, the valve shim is one of the most expensive services you will ever encounter ( speaking from experience after owning a MK-1 Versys 650 and now a MK-3 2015 650) Hopefully Kawasaki got the X300 manual photos straightened around because the 2015 Service manual for the 650 still had errors for valve timing, with the corrections in my thread, regarding 2/T as opposed to 2 over T;

https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...onewizard.html

Many of us have done this check and both Ed and I have sanded down our shims, on average it took me 5 minutes a shim, frequent checking, you will find that once you realize how long it takes you will slow down and check more frequently once you are close.( I used 200, 300 and 600 carbide sandpaper ). If you need to buy all the tools, you will save about 60% of the cost for paying someone ( realize that the time getting to the valves and the time putting everything back together could all be done by a first year apprentice / coffee boy / girl *** or you
https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...djustment.html

I would suggest for the OP of this thread to peruse over these 2 How To threads and comment as to similarity, as EV and IV ( exhaust valve and intake Valve ) designations don't change over time, same as the electrical, other than added sensors, Kawasaki copies their electrical on all their 650 bikes. One thing I recommend is having the service manual .
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 05:03 PM
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As I am no where near the mechanic as onewizard and others I recently did the valves on my Ninja 500R. It was my very first valve job. Although the Versys is somewhat more in-depth (with shims) I learned a valuable part of mechanics by doing the Ninja's valves.

I had some hiccups along the way, mostly from my own doing (busted bolt from tightening too hard, misreading the service manual) but with the help of the EX500 forum I was able to get the bike in specs and running great!

But more to the point for me...I learned a ton about this engine and feel like I can go forward in others things like cleaning the carbs next. So, it's easy to say for me as I have a "practice bike", but if you do have the time and, definitely the patience, then you can do it yourself. You'll save money, learn something valuable and be able to do it next time a lot better and a lot quicker.

It did take me more than a week to do the Ninja's valves as that cover bolt I busted took 5 days to get in. But while waiting I was able to add on new levers, get two new tires, chain and sprockets and a good cleaning done!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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OP here.....looked over both Versys 650 threads. I used a Ninja 300 shop manual for reference on on my Versys-X 300 valve check and shim.
I kept removing external stuff until the valve cover could be removed. The cams were positioned and they/cam chain were marked with whiteout. When shimmed and re-assembled, I checked the cam/crank timing several times after installing the cam chain tensioner. The cam chain tensioner on the X300 has to be re-set by screwing it back in and then locked before the install on the cylinder.......it is then released by pulling the locking tool from the rear side of the tensioner.

The only mistake I made was switching the spark plug coil leads.....how???? I don’t know but did figure it out.

I measured the clearances, wrote them down, removed the cams/shims, measured the shims, and found them to be marked on both edges of the shim. I ordered two five packs of the needed shims from a Hot Cams retailer.........measured them over and over (found some to be not the same size as marked), re-shimmed, rechecked after cams installation, found one a little loose, removed the cams again to shim the one valve, rechecked everything again.....all good.... and put everything back together.

I had the bike apart five days and figure it took me about five to six hours to complete the procedure over two work days.

It runs great.....just like before the shim. I will check the FI sync sometime in the next month or two.....it is real tight to get to the throttle body ports on the X300.
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Last edited by whisperquiet; 08-12-2018 at 05:39 PM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devilsfan View Post
...But more to the point for me...I learned a ton about this engine and feel like I can go forward in others things like cleaning the carbs next. So, it's easy to say for me as I have a "practice bike", but if you do have the time and, definitely the patience, then you can do it yourself. You'll save money, learn something valuable and be able to do it next time a lot better and a lot quicker....
GOOD for you!

-

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperquiet View Post
OP here.....looked over both Versys 650 threads. I used a Ninja 300 shop manual for reference on on my Versys-X 300 valve check and shim.
I kept removing external stuff until the valve cover could be removed. The cams were positioned and they/cam chain were marked with whiteout. When shimmed and re-assembled, I checked the cam/crank timing several times after installing the cam chain tensioner. The cam chain tensioner on the X300 has to be re-set by screwing it back in and then locked before the install on the cylinder.......it is then released by pulling the locking tool from the rear side of the tensioner.

The only mistake I made was switching the spark plug coil leads.....how???? I don’t know but did figure it out.

I measured the clearances, wrote them down, removed the cams/shims, measured the shims, and found them to be marked on both edges of the shim. I ordered two five packs of the needed shims from a Hot Cams retailer.........measured them over and over (found some to be not the same size as marked), re-shimmed, rechecked after cams installation, found one a little loose, removed the cams again to shim the one valve, rechecked everything again.....all good.... and put everything back together.

I had the bike apart five days and figure it took me about five to six hours to complete the procedure over two work days.

It runs great.....just like before the shim. I will check the FI sync sometime in the next month or two.....it is real tight to get to the throttle body ports on the X300.
I appreciate your initial post and follow up as I am about to try and save myself nearly a thousand dollars and do this myself.
I was just wondering where you got shims and how many could be required. I intend on getting as many as I may need before cracking the case so I can do it in a weekend. Also, if there are any non-standard tools that may be required. My father has a fairly decent shop that I'll be utilizing, but if there is anything particularly unusual that you ran into that was required it would be a huge help to know beforehand.
Thanks in advance!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 08:51 PM
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2015 650 ABS / Not X300

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Originally Posted by Bedtime Sneakers View Post
I appreciate your initial post and follow up as I am about to try and save myself nearly a thousand dollars and do this myself.
I was just wondering where you got shims and how many could be required. I intend on getting as many as I may need before cracking the case so I can do it in a weekend. Also, if there are any non-standard tools that may be required. My father has a fairly decent shop that I'll be utilizing, but if there is anything particularly unusual that you ran into that was required it would be a huge help to know beforehand.
Thanks in advance!
I am providing a link for the 650, about 3 posts down is a list of tools, needed no matter what size motor. One thing I found extremely usefull was the obstruction wrenches, used for the cam chain tensioner.https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...onewizard.html


Since no service manual in PDF format is available I can't help much. As to the shims, in most cases your clearances are tight, so most of us use carbide sand paper and sand them down, it takes about 5 minutes a shim, FYI this is why you need the better micrometer. On my 07 I removed all the buckets and shims and put in a egg carton, the chances of knocking things on the floor are pretty good for me so on my 2015 I did one bucket and shim at a time, then reinstalled , so the 4 intake first then the exhaust. I have a form you can download and print in that thread. I should point out, many that bought shims, found the size printed didn't match the size measured, the other option is taking the tight shims to your local dealer with your micrometers and swapping shims, some shops will do that. I have sanded both my 2007 and my 2015 shims, the driving time to and from the shop equals the time to sand the full set, so why bother, also you will never get below the case hardening unless you do something stupid like try grinding them.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 12:47 AM
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Thank you onewizard, this gives me a fighting chance not to completely muck this up! Super helpful link and I will certainly procure a service manual for the X300 as it seems to be required. I'm going to take a whole weekend (maybe even 3 days), so that I can be precise, and will certainly contribute a thread to help anyone else who is willing to save themselves the coin and get to know their bike a lot better!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 09:32 AM
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Lots of photos!!

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Originally Posted by Bedtime Sneakers View Post
Thank you onewizard, this gives me a fighting chance not to completely muck this up! Super helpful link and I will certainly procure a service manual for the X300 as it seems to be required. I'm going to take a whole weekend (maybe even 3 days), so that I can be precise, and will certainly contribute a thread to help anyone else who is willing to save themselves the coin and get to know their bike a lot better!
As in the title please. I am going to ask and steer you as Kawasaki has made errors on the MK-1;MK-2;MK-3 service manual as to the correct position for valve timing and 1/T , you will see a photo of the timing mark on the crankshaft in my post, the photo in the service manual is wrong in one section and correct in another. I will assume that many things are the same or similar. On the 650 with the ABS brakes and upgraded water protection there is very little room. Removing the throttle bodies is very easy and makes a huge difference, one comment was the concern of taking out all the mounting bolts, which was a mistake, it is a double gear clamp on rubber the same as the air box, a single tightening screw that tightens both clamps through a spacer.
I show a breaker bar on the crankshaft, once in position, even with the plugs removed, the crankshaft wants to move, I bungee it to a foot rest, this way when done I can move the cam chain slack towards the tension-er and also have the alignment marks in view for valve timing, yes have the crankshaft in the position of 2 over T which is the position for valve timing, and the position it should remain until you have everything back together and ready to put the plugs in and valve cover on.
Also a short X300 here;
https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...heck-x300.html
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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I used the online shop manual for the Ninja 300 when checking and shimming my X300.

Look in Sticky How To Forum

There are other tutorials on X300 fairing removal if you search. I ordered the shims from an EBay vendor selling 5 pack Hot Cam shims.

Last edited by onewizard; 08-12-2019 at 01:26 PM.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 02:10 PM
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Ninja 300

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Originally Posted by whisperquiet View Post
I used the online shop manual for the Ninja 300 when checking and shimming my X300.

Look in Sticky How To Forum

There are other tutorials on X300 fairing removal if you search. I ordered the shims from an EBay vendor selling 5 pack Hot Cam shims.
Looked at the ninja 300 service manual, if that is all I would have had available when doing my 07 Versys, it would have gone to the dealer, talk about pathetic . Several discrepancies, their shim calculator they mention as a example intake at 0.20 mm ( this is a average of minimum and max.)to subtract from a=b , however the intake is 0.15 to 0.24, on my Versys I used the largest number in the intake I used 0.24mm and exhaust 0.29mm
Below is from the ninja manual.

•Clean the shim to remove any dust or oil. •Measure the thickness of the removed shim [A]. •Select a new shim thickness calculation as follows. a+b–c=d [a] Present Shim Thickness [b] Measured Valve Clearance [c] Specified Valve Clearance (Mean Value = 0.26 mm (Exhaust), 0.20 mm (Intake)) [d] Replace Shim Thickness Example (Intake): 2.90 + 0.45 – 0.20 = 3.15 mm ○Exchange the shim for the 3.15 size shim.
•Using the thickness gauge [A], measure the valve clearance between the cam and the valve lifter. Valve Clearance Standard: Exhaust 0.22 ∼ 0.29 mm (0.0087 ∼ 0.0114 in.) Intake 0.15 ∼ 0.24 mm (0.0059 ∼ 0.0094 in.)
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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I used the Ninja 300 shop manual as a basic guide......figured out everything else via 47 years of mechanical tinkering on motorcycle, cars, etc. It wasn’t too difficult.....just took my time and marked everything as needed. Checking/shimming the valves on my Super Tenere is much more difficult.

I don’t use shim calculators.....measure clearance, measure shim, and insert the correct size shim which will give the correct clearance. I try to shim to the maximum allowable factory spec clearance.
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Last edited by whisperquiet; 08-13-2019 at 07:39 PM.
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