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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought I would post this for anyone contemplating doing this. I learned a few things along the way I wanted to pass on and to also thank those on this forum who gave me good advice.

The process itself is reasonably well documented in the manual but there are a few things that might help in no particular order....

  • it's relatively easy to do yourself if you have a some basic mechanical skills, patience, and own a socket set and other basic tools
  • you need an environment to work where you can set aside the bike with the valve cover off for a few days while you order in new shims. I covered my engine with a lint free rag for this.
  • buy a roll of tear resistant, lint free shop towels instead of using paper towel
  • clean the top of the engine first and nearby areas with WD-40 or brake cleaner to prevent contaminates from entering the engine when you open it up
  • fill up the spark holes after removing the plugs with bunched up shop towel so you don't drop bolts or other parts into the cylinder, this will ruin your entire day. I did this twice however the holes where blocked so there were no issues. You don't need to remove plugs however you may want to check or change them. Removing or loosening them makes it easier to rotate the engine by hand.
  • use twisted wire to hold up the cam chain when you remove the cams. Dropping it into the unreachable deep recesses of the engine will ruin your entire day.
  • be extremely careful not to scratch the cam buckets when removing them with tools like needle nose plyers
  • put some grease or oil on cam bearings when reassembling them
  • make 100% sure cam timing is correct and rotate engine twice with rachet after cams are bolted in position and tensioner reinstalled, to ensure there is no obstruction with valves. Count out cam chain links multiple times (32) between cams as pictures in the manual are not precise on this.
  • try to set the valves clearances near the top of the range as they will elongate over time
  • measure everything multiple times until you see a pattern of consistency
  • purchase a device to measure shim thickness online or at Princess Auto/Harbor Freight for < $20. Any oil or dirt on shim will impact measurement
  • purchasing a shim kit ahead of time only makes sense if you are doing multiple bikes
  • put each shim and bucket into a labeled (Intake 1a, Exhaust 2b, etc.) zip lock sandwich bag so you don't get them mixed up. Cylinder 1 is on left of bike
  • it can be helpful to have two people when reinstalling cams but is not mandatory.
  • clean dry and then oil the air filter when putting stuff back together
  • do a throttle body sync after putting the engine back together as a valve clearance adjustment may throw this off although mine was bang on after this and required no adjustment
  • Removing the center bolt of the cam chain tensioner does not release the cam chain tensioner. You will need to remove the cam chain tensioner entirely with the two small bolts before removing cams from their mounts. Leave the center bolt alone for removal. Remove center bolt and spring only after it is removed from the engine and reset it by pushing it fully back fully into itself while pressing the ratchet release. Install back on bike without center bolt and spring with tensioner reset. Only install the spring and center bolt after cams are bolted in place and the tensioner is mounted on bike.
  • it should be fine to reuse the engine valve cover gasket unless you already have oil leaks. It will however be handy to have some RTV sealant on hand to use where directed by the manual during reassembly.
  • the intake and exhaust cams are different but are marked. the gears on the end are identical. no need to remove gears from the cams shafts as the manual suggests
  • I put everything back together only to discover the radiator shroud plate that attaches to the valve cover was still sitting under a paper towel on the workbench. Don't do this.
have on hand....
  • work light plus flashlight/light from phone
  • roll of shop towels
  • clean area on workbench or table to lay out removed parts plus old muffin tin or other to hold removed parts, maybe put down clean cardboard on workbench first
  • 8 zip lock bags with marker
  • measurement device for measuring valve shims accurately down to one, one ten thousands of a meter (eg. digital caliper) (accurate to at least + or minus 0.005mm
  • 2ft of wire
  • RTV sealant
  • metric feeler gauge
  • pen and paper
  • bolt/part retrieval magnet on arm to reach hard to retrieve dropped bolts and washers

342 Posts
Twowheels thanks for the pointers. I will print out your post and put it with the other print outs from the forum I have for this job. Will need to do it later this year.


Super Moderator
1,485 Posts
Use a torque wrench.
many of the bolts tighten into an aluminium block.
you don't want to strip them from over tightening, and you don't want to under tighten them either.

Premium Member
9,117 Posts
Valve Shim/ Step By Step + Tools/ CW Photos

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/74-how-forum/133514-valve-shim-vacuum-sync-2015-650abs-onewizard.html I did this posting for my 2015

And this is for 07 to 2014, many of us members contributed here, as I had a 07, a top contributor was FastEddie

FYI I copied your post to both threads. And a 1/4 drive torque wrench definitely should be used.

Super Moderator
19,168 Posts
Some bolts are torque at inch pounds not foot pounds so you may need a 1/4 and 3/8 torgue wrench.
Some bolts are torqued in inch-pounds not foot-pounds so you WILL need a 1/4" torque wrench for THEM...!
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