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Author Topic: Checking valve clearance  (Read 935 times)

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Tfrank59

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Checking valve clearance
« on: November 10, 2018, 14:21:37 PM »

I have a confession to make--I have never checked my valves. If Ratman was still around he would ream me good. I got almost 20,000 on the bike that I put on it so I'm coming up on 24000. The funny thing is I don't really hear any noise from the valve train, some very light ticking noise but that's always been there. Please advise.  Do I have to get in there and check it or can I let it slide say another year?
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

Gregpaulc

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 21:39:52 PM »

I am wondering the same thing. I've got 15 thousand on my 2000 800 drifter. I bought it with 11 thousand. I've always heard a lil ticking in motor.
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CARPE DIEM DRIFTER

Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 23:01:37 PM »

I  checked and adjusted valve clearances on my 800 Drifter at 5000 miles. All were out of spec by a thousandth or two from the + or - allowable gap. Here is the interesting part, intake valve gaps were wide while exhaust valve gaps were tight. I assume that the exhaust valve stems must have stretched. A tighter than spec valve gap will not give you a tic or rattle indication that adjustment is needed. Our 800 engines are almost bullet proof, but I am a big fan of preventive maintenance. Peace of mind has value. My 2 cents.                   Happy Drifting, CDD
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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 23:16:19 PM »

Thanks for that feedback. I'm not crazy about the idea of shims either buying them or replacing them, but are you saying for one thou out of spec you went ahead and changed shims?   I guess you're hearing from my lazy side.  ;D
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

greenbarn

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2018, 08:02:28 AM »

Like many of the rest of you, I have never checked mine either.  It's still "on my list" (has been for a couple years now).   From what I remember Ratman saying it isnt' so hard that it should be a daunting task- just one more thing on the list that hasn't made it above the line yet.

Do you remember how long it took you CDD? to take of the covers and check the clearance?   Seems like a couple hours is what Ratman told, but can't remember for sure. 
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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2018, 08:37:06 AM »

CDD, I think the way it works on exhaust valves is not that they stretch but at they Hammer themselves into the seats and therefore decrease clearance.  But yours is a good point that when clearance is lessening it's not going to make an increasing ticking noise, it'll probably make less.
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

CARPE DIEM DRIFTER

Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2018, 09:13:06 AM »

Tfrank59, I had not considered the exhaust valves seating harder than the intake valves. Good point. My take is that  the spec is in thousandths of an inch, which seems minuscule, but can mean a lot in performance and longevity of an engine. I enjoy working on and getting to know my Drifter as much as riding her.

greenbarn, I know that it took me several leisurely hours but I am also a slow and methodical person when it comes to mechanics. My best advice is to tuck some clean shop rags into the open engine cavities below the rocker arms before you remove the rocker arms. The shims are oil sticky one moment and slippery as can be the next. This was one of the best tips I had gotten before I started the valve adjustment project.
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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2018, 09:25:20 AM »

CDD thanks for your replies.  Hope we can bother you a little more since you are now the experienced one on this.  to get the shims out did you have to partially remove the cam? As I recall with my KTM there were two ways to attack it -- that was one, and I can't remember the other. My KTM had very critical specs as it was a racing engine and I recall checking the valves a few times (every 15 hours) and letting it go when it was just .001" out of spec. ;D. Also, what was your source for replacement shims, a Kawasaki dealer? Thanks again.
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2018, 10:36:30 AM »

Here are a couple of Youtubes on Vulcan 800 valve adj.  One of them warns about not doing this, which I saw a while ago and pretended it couldn't happen to me...denial! :D  Let us know if you think either of these shows the right way to approach it, or maybe somebody has a better demo video?  I know on the one vid the guy has an unfair advantage--motor's out of the bike!



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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

CARPE DIEM DRIFTER

Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2018, 13:13:32 PM »

Tfrank59, I am by no means an expert motorcycle mechanic. I was an auto mechanic back in the day of points and condenser ignition systems. I think the video with the engine out of the bike best represents what needs to be done. I used video information like this along with a shop manual. A digital or dial caliper is a must along with feeler gauges. Perform the valve adjustment on a stone cold engine (sitting at least 8 hours after last run) to get the proper results. The rear valve cover seems like there is no way it will come off and out, but with some gentle wiggling and finesse it will. The cams do not have to come out. The rocker arms are side spring loaded and will slide to one side to allow valve shims to be removed. You will not know which shims you will need until you get in there and measure valve gaps as you engine sit now. I suggest a complete valve shim kit to save grief and aggravation down  the line. I used a kit made by "Hotcams"; part number HCSHIM02 that fits our 800 Drifter engines. Lots of shims left in the kit, but ready for the next time. Always glad to share any knowledge that I have. Hope this helps.                         Happy Drifting, CDD
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kw-retrorider

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2018, 13:59:45 PM »

Tfrank59 - To answer your question....you can wait another year. Here's another view....

ok....so what ratman would say notwithstanding, let me share my experience on my first 800, which was a 2002 I bought with 10K miles on it. I was aware of the service manual recommendations and am old enough to have experience on cars that you routinely adjusted valves on...everything from air cooled VWs to anything British....so I wasn't afraid to do it (although I had never worked with shims)...until I read you had to pull the engine out of the frame to accomplish this.

While that is what the manual says, I found out and ratman was one who confirmed it could be done insitu but was tight. There are a few videos on this sight that show how. In any case, I kept riding and vacillating. Some said they had them checked and they needed no adjustment. Someone at a Drift-In said "these bikes" are spiritual....don't take a wrench to them...they just run.

In the end, I waited until 22k miles, took it to the dealer, because it was time for tires, etc....and after all that, no adjustment was necessary, although they checked. I rode that bike until my accident last November and it had 30k miles on it.

I replaced the 2002 with a 2005 with 10k miles that now has 13k miles on it.....and you can't even hear the valve train compared to the 2002. Needless to say, they are fairly bulletproof and I am not thinking about valve clearances any time soon.

Same thing happened on my W650...at 18k miles, they were checked and needed no adjustment. So I think the Kawasaki product is good and the service interval conservative.

The decision is individual, but there is plenty of data out there that says it doesn't need to be done as often as recommended.

Ride on!

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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 14:00:37 PM »

CDD thanks very much for that. I remember Ratman saying that the rear valve cover though it is a pain in the butt actually will come out with some patience. I hear what you're saying about not knowing what shims you'll need of course not, not until you know what your clearances are, but that's part of the dread of this job is I got to get the valve covers off check my clearances and then get the shims unless I want to go the route that you took which is to get a whole big kit which I noticed is around a hundred bucks :o
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

CARPE DIEM DRIFTER

Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2018, 15:38:44 PM »

Tfrank59, Just out of curiosity I looked today and Amazon has the Hotcams HCSHIM02 for right at $65.00 and free shipping. I understand the philosophy of " if it ain't broke don't fix it" but as I stated earlier " peace of mind has value to me". Hope all goes well which ever way you decide to go.                  Happy Drifting, CDD
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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2018, 16:49:27 PM »

Tfrank59, Just out of curiosity I looked today and Amazon has the Hotcams HCSHIM02 for right at $65.00 and free shipping. I understand the philosophy of " if it ain't broke don't fix it" but as I stated earlier " peace of mind has value to me". Hope all goes well which ever way you decide to go.                  Happy Drifting, CDD

that's pretty reasonable, esp. if it's going to take care of shims for most or all future adjustments.  thanks!
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

rob f

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2018, 19:00:27 PM »

Throwin' in my 3cents again.
 I have done this job last winter when i bought my bike used at 26,000 kms. Was not bad of a job as others have said. Try doing a Yamaha royal star with 4 cyl and 16 valves. Drifters only have 8!  It's one of those jobs that is always put off especially when some guys say that these engines are bullet proof. I hummed and hawwed about doing mine especially when the last owner of my bike said a shop had done it a few years back.
 I am glad that I finally bit the " bullet proof" bullet and went ahead for my own piece of mind. Turns out that 3 outta 4 exhausts were .001 under min specs. Bought single  OEM shims chucked them in, buttoned her up and now there is one less thing to worry about going down the road.
 Don't want to spook you guys but,  truth is that as others have said..... you will never hear a valve lash problem because 99% of the time the clearance is diminishing. Also true is that the exhausts are usually the ones to need adjust because they run hotter. Lastly....... for those who don't know what happens when valve lash disappears............ they get held partially open by the rockers ,thus creating a compression leak usually noticed by hard starting and worst case scenario, hot spots on the valve face causing meltdown and engine failure.
Hope you can rest easy now :)
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rob f

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2018, 16:57:16 PM »

Couple of other tips... as CDD had mentioned, shove rags into the caverns that go down into the block. Very important as these shims do flip off the valve sometimes. When reinstalling the shim into the shim keeper, make sure it is sitting Square and all the way down. Mine had a tendency to go in cockeyed and the harder you push them down to straighten them up the harder they are to remove. The tolerance fit is quite minimal and kinda wondered if the heat from my fingers touching the shims swelled them up a bit. You will need something to hold the rocker arms over to the side outta the way while you are working. i think that i used a short punch or screwdriver jammed in along the head or cam. Once you are done changing the shim and ready to slide the rocker back over, lift UP as you slide by the shims. Mine had a tendency to hook the edge of the shim and started to lift them out again ( hence the importance of the rags).
 Tools i'd recommend are a  set of motorcycle feeler gauges ( they are a lot longer than a regular set and can be curved into tight spots easier. O-ring pick,skinny extendable pocket magnet,long skinny flat blade screwdriver, a good light and magnifier glasses( reading glasses). Also no beers or puffs as you will need your full brain power to fiqure out what shims you will need. Only do one at a time, make a chart as to what valve had what  measurements. You may have to also convert thou of inches to millimeters and have to think in reverse 3d as thinner shims give more clearance and thicker gives you less. The oem shims have numbers stamped on and the Kawi tech manual has a very detailed sizing chart.
Sounds scarier than it actually is, but when you open up the insides of an engine that is usually the case.
I mean. what's the worst that could happen, right?
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"I saw a white rider on a painted horse come my way"
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Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2018, 18:28:56 PM »

Okay, thanks for the tips.  My worst dread is getting access, as I can see it's so tight esp. the rear.  I've got XXL machinist hands with fat fingers!  I'll just take my time and plan on it taking me more than one sitting.  After all, that's why I own two bikes. ;D  I'll let you know how it goes.  Hopefully with rags stuffed I won't have anything fall into the abyss!
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."

rob f

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2018, 08:52:10 AM »

 Good luck Tom and one more tip.
 I decided to leave my sparkplugs in when I was doing this job. Makes it harder to turn over but at least nothing can fall down into the sparkplug holes.
Let me know what your specs ended up being. Mine were...Intakes  .006 .006 .005 .005  Exhaust were   .007  .007 .008  .009   I left the intake alone and brought up all the exhaust to  .009
 Didn't realize that you were a machinist. Figuring out shim size should be a breeze for you and you may even have the equipment to shave a couple thou of your existing shims. I tried to cheap out and do the figure 8 on a piece of emery ,but forget that idea cause they are some hard. Went to the dealer and ordered my $15 each shims.
Rob
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"I saw a white rider on a painted horse come my way"
                                                       Angel City- 1984

Tfrank59

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Re: Checking valve clearance
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2018, 10:31:44 AM »

More good tips, thanks again Rob. I like the idea of putting the shims on a Surface grinder and dusting off a .001 or 2. I do have access to a shop with everything and I am kind of cheap. ;D since the tendency on the clearances is to tighten up maybe I don't even have to buy shims, we'll see. I don't like the idea of spending $15 for one shim. I'm much more likely to buy a kit that has them all if I have to buy any.
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Tom

'06 Drifter 800, '98 Valkyrie

"HD: The most efficient way to convert gasoline into noise without the pesky effects of horsepower."
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