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Valve adjustment - lessons learned

My valve adjustment experience wasn't as ominous as the thread title sounds, I just thought I'd add what I learned to the general knowledge base.

I just reached 15K miles and was faced with the 15K or 26K dilemma; do I wait or do I go forth? Personally I think the 15K-CA reference in the 2007 service manual refers to California (not Canada). I know, I know, they didn't sell the Versys in California until 2009, but it is my theory that large portions of the Versys manuals were copied over from the 650R manuals, and that's why there is a California reference. Of course, I could be wrong.

I live in California, but my 2008 V was first sold in Nevada, so it is belongs to neither CA. But I decided to check my valves anyway.

I have never owned a shim under bucket motorcycle before, but I have some experience with them when I worked in a shop years ago. In general, I just followed the service manual.

I found that 4 of the 8 valves were slightly tight (below spec). Darn! I guess I'm glad I checked. This means I have to adjust!

Things went smoothly until I went to remove the cam caps. They really fought me. I later figured out that when you position the crank at the "2 over T" mark, as specified in the manual, that you can do it wrong. When you position the crank at that mark, check that none of the cam lobes are pressing down on the valves. If they are, turn the crank 360 degrees, and then the lobes should be clear of the valves. A clue is, when the cams are in the correct position, you should be able to read the "2412 EX" and "2412 IN" on the tops of the cams as shown on the bottom of page 5-24 in the service manual.

Since I didn't follow the above advice, the cam caps were under tension from the valves, which twists them and keeps them from coming off easily and smoothly. I got them off anyway, but you can learn from my error.

When removing the 3 cam caps, be careful not to drop the locating dowels that are under each cap. There are 2 dowels under each cap for a total of 6. When you lift up the cap, the dowel may stay in the head, or it may stay in the cap, or it may fall free of both. Dropping a dowel down your cam chain tunnel will ruin your whole day. So lift the caps slowly, until you know where the dowels are and remove them to the left side so that you don't pass over the cam chain tunnel.

The factory-installed shims aren't marked with measurements, so you will need a micrometer to determine how thick they are so that you know what size to replace them with. My micrometer is calibrated in .001 inches, so I had to do a lot of converting.

I called my local (30 miles away) dealer and they didn't have the size shims I needed, so I ordered them from Cheap Cycle Parts. I ordered them on Saturday, they shipped them 9 days later, and I got them 2 days after that.

This was my first order from CCP. Personally, I think they were slow in getting my order in the mail. But they charge $8.18 for shims, and Bike Bandit charges $11.78. Oh, well; I was stuck riding my KLR650 for a week and a half.

Everything went back together fine, and my valves are now in spec. After I got the gas tank on, I started the V, and it sounded fine. I put the rest of the bodywork back on and parked it.

This morning when I went to ride it, I noticed the "FI" light wouldn't go out. Darn! I must have missed something on reassembly.

I remembered that there was an article on this forum on how to read your FI codes, so I went looking for it. Found it! http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236

I did the test as outlined and came up with code 13 - Air Pressure Sensor. I pulled off the bodywork and tank, and sure enough, I had failed to plug in the lead to the airbox. This is one of the problems with an 11 day gap between disassembly and reassembly. I plugged it in, turned the V on, and the FI light went out. Yeah, baby!

So, everything is done and the V is back to normal.

By the way, I made up a valve adjust worksheet for the Versys. I used it to record what shims are where and what the clearances were before and after. I have attached a picture of my worksheet to this thread. I have these sheets for my Triumphs that cover over 140K miles of valve adjustments over 12 years. It's good to have records of what you have done.

I hope this little story will help someone in their valve adjustment quest.

Michael

PS The attached worksheet is pretty unreadable on the screen. If you click on it (to open it in its own window), then right click on it and save it to your computer, you should be able to read and print it as a .jpg.
 

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Do you know what diameter the shims are? When I did the valve adjustment on my KLR I used the shims from an aircooled BMW. They were around $8 a piece instead of the $24.00 a piece from Kawasaki. Also the BMW dealer had them in stock. None of the local Kawasaki dealers had any in stock.
 

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Replacement 7.48 mm diameter shims are only available in 0.05 mm increments... You can get PRO X valve shim five-packs for $1.99:
http://www.powersports360.com/eshop...955484_keyword_shim.PRO_X_VALVE_SHIM_KITS.htm

I just thinned a few valve shims by hand with wet fine emery cloth, and switched a couple around to have all my inlet valve lash clearances at 0.18 mm, and exhaust at 0.26 mm. One exhaust valve clearance was just under spec at 4500 miles.
 

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I like to try and do all my maintenance myself but -

Did the valve check on my 03 Honda ACE, it was easy. But this shim bucket (?) has got me a little scared off. The service manual just doesn't give me enough pictures to make it comfy for me to try.
 

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I just reached 15K miles and was faced with the 15K or 26K dilemma; do I wait or do I go forth? Personally I think the 15K-CA reference in the 2007 service manual refers to California (not Canada). I know, I know, they didn't sell the Versys in California until 2009, but it is my theory that large portions of the Versys manuals were copied over from the 650R manuals, and that's why there is a California reference. Of course, I could be wrong.
I took a quick glance at my 2009 manual yesterday and it looks like the recommended valve clearence check is 15,000 miles.
 

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Thanks Michael for the insight. I just passed the 15K mark this past weekend and am currently trying to decide if I want to do this job or send to the dealer. I would rather do it myself, and your info is a great help!
 

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Thanks Michael for the insight. I just passed the 15K mark this past weekend and am currently trying to decide if I want to do this job or send to the dealer. I would rather do it myself, and your info is a great help!
Glad to help.

If I could give any major piece of advice, it would be to be patient. Don't plan to get it all done in one afternoon, or even necessarily, one day. Because I needed shims and ordered them online, my V was apart for 12 days.

Take your time every step of the way. Things that are less scary like the gas tank or airbox can be trickier than they seem depending on how easily the various hoses and connectors come apart and go together.

If you position the cams as I described, the cam caps are very cooperative. The critical items are: don't drop anything where it doesn't belong and make sure you position the cams correctly when reassembling.

I used a tiny bungee cord to keep tension on the cam chain so that it would keep its engagement with the crank sprocket while the cams were out.

If you have to adjust any valves, while you're in there, measure the shims of the valves you are not going to adjust and record those. Write everything down! By knowing the current measurements and what shims are in there, you can anticipate what shims you are likely to need next time and have them on hand (they are likely to move to the next smaller shim, if they move at all). I will be ordering a few sets of the 5/$1.99 shims (as referenced in posting #7 by Invader above) before my next check at 30K.

Follow the directions for removal and replacement of the cam chain tensioner as outlined in the manual, which included turning the motor over by hand a few times to let the tensioner reset itself. At that point, re-check your cam timing.

I left the cam cover gasket in place on the top of the head so I wouldn't have to break the old sealing material on the right side cam cutouts. This made replacing the cover tricky. It took me several minutes to tease the gasket into the groove of the cover all the way around. But I took my time, and checked over and over with a flashlight and by feel until the cam cover settled nicely onto the gasket. You'll know it when it's right.

And check that FI light before you put all the bodywork back on!:)

Michael
 

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Question from a non-mechanic: If at 15,000 my bike runs as good as the day I bought it (or feels like it) what is the downside to skipping the valve clearance check ? Is this something that a) gives tinkerers another up-close-and-personal task and b) gives the dealer a little extra cash, or is it actually a really necessary component of maintenance ?

I don't mind having the dealer do it, but I ride my bike as my primary transpo and to leave it in the shop for a week for something that might just be a friendly suggestion more than a required maintenance is a real drag.
 

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Question from a non-mechanic: If at 15,000 my bike runs as good as the day I bought it (or feels like it) what is the downside to skipping the valve clearance check ?
If the valves have a bit too much clearance they’ll just get noisy. If they have way too much they won’t open as far as they’re designed to and there will be a reduction in power.

If the valves have too little clearance (and you won’t know by how it feels to ride it) they won’t stay closed as long as they’re supposed to and that’s extremely serious because (especially on the exhausts) they won’t cool adequately (they cool by transferring their heat to the valve seat/cylinder head while they’re closed) and that will likely result in a burned valve and major engine work.

It should be a one day job (several hours actually) for a shop. If your shop can’t promise to have it back to you by the next day, consider taking it somewhere else that will... (but in any case, only take it to someplace with a reputation for good work).

Good luck
.
 

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Haven't opened mine up, yet, but it would seem sensible to try to seal off the cam chain tunnel with a rag or something to prevent parts from dropping into it. Not sure if that's actually feasible, or not.

In any case, great writeup, Thanks, Mike

V-Zee
 

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Question from a non-mechanic: If at 15,000 my bike runs as good as the day I bought it (or feels like it) what is the downside to skipping the valve clearance check ? Is this something that a) gives tinkerers another up-close-and-personal task and b) gives the dealer a little extra cash, or is it actually a really necessary component of maintenance ?

I don't mind having the dealer do it, but I ride my bike as my primary transpo and to leave it in the shop for a week for something that might just be a friendly suggestion more than a required maintenance is a real drag.
The only way to know what your valve clearances are at, is by checking them or having them checked, which is relatively easy compared to adjusting... At 4600 miles, one exhaust valve clearance was under minimum at 0.21 mm, while another was at 0.27 mm:

Exhaust: 0.24, 0.26 / 0.27, 0.21 mm
Inlet: 0.20, 0.17 / 0.18, 0.17 mm
(Specs: Exhaust 0.22 - 0.31 mm, Inlet 0.15 - 0.21 mm)

I set all my exhaust clearances at 0.26 mm and inlets at 0.18 mm, and can now ride with total peace and confidence. :thumb:
 
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