Question about valve shims - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question about valve shims

First off let me say thanks to SLO_KLR for his generous offer to help me out with this valve adjustment. Unfortunately my schedule was so unpredicable the past few months I was just not able to find a definative date to set aside to meet up with him, but thge offer is much appreciated.

Now for my question, I have done the valves on several bikes over the years, but never a Shim and bucket set up. I have determined that you have to remove the old shims and them calculate the size(s) needed after they are removed. How do most of you do it? Do you have a set of various size shims laying around and just use whats within spec? The kits I have seen are EXPENSIVE!, I understand that the 29mm BMW shims work on the KLR and a BMW shop is just down the street from me. So I am assuming I remove the old shims use the sheet I downloaded from the internet and then use the shim calculator to determine the size and make a trip to the BMW shop and purchase those shims.

I can't imagine everyone just happens to have the right size shims laying around, or am I missing something. I guess being used to doing the valves on my other bikes is usually a 30 minute job from removing the first bolt to tightening the last bolt and i never had to leave the bike open to go get a part. So it seems that this is the norm for the KLR? Is this how most do it, tear it down then go get the right size shims?

Thanks for any input

Mark

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 06:53 AM
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Yeah, that's pretty much it. I don't have a shim set either but I did have a few left over in my toolbox from a Kaw Z-1 900 I had in the late 70's. I was able to use one of those and had to buy a couple when I adjusted mine. If you are lucky you can swap one with what you have now. Also record what is left in it for future reference.

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post #3 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 07:21 AM
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I've been fortunate enough to have a few BMW and some old school Kawasaki mechanics around, so I've never needed to keep a shim kit. For a good number of years a local Ford dealer had a huge shim kit on hand for adjusting 1995 and older Taurus SHO Yamaha engines. The dealership changed hands, and the shim kit disappeared.

For a stock head with factory stock valves, chances are if you need adjustment, you can probably swap shims from one bucket to another to cover a few of the replacements. Then a trip to the BMW shop for the remainder. If the BMW shop has previously used shims, ask or bring along a metric mic to check thickness. Even the new shim should be checked before installation. The shim thickness range will usually run from .260 to .235 for stock heads and valves. Buying a shim kit hasn't seemed reasonable to me because the majority of the shims in a kit I'll never use, being way too thick, or too thin for KLR 650 applications. Altered heads and valves will require different specifications, so none of this is the KLR Gospel. YMMV. I do make damn sure the BMW guy closest to me is present and accounted for before I tear into a valve adjust. It may be helpful to call your closest shop to confirm they have shims, and have a few in the thicknesses commonly needed for the KLR 650.

The only thing I'd suggest is to have gasket maker / sealer or a replacement gasket for the cam chain tensioner. I've found them difficult to preserve, and will leak like a sieve if you reinstall the cam tensioner with a less than perfect gasket.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 09:24 AM
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Are you talking BMW bikes or cars?? Someday I will figure out this shim thing

Erik
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, thats what I figured. Looks like I'll get into the valves and the Doo starting on Monday, that is if I can find the wrench and bolt to pull the rotor.
Every hardware store Ive been to so far today has wrenches up to 27MM and a bolt up to 20M.

Mark

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelB12 View Post
Are you talking BMW bikes or cars?? Someday I will figure out this shim thing
The BMW shim reference is to BMW motorcycle. The "Flying Brick" K bikes used the same 29mm shim the KLR 650 uses. Pre 2003 F650 BMW bikes also used the same shim. Yamaha XJ bikes, Kawasaki KZ bikes also used the same 29mm diameter shim.

You are not in the minority as far as not understanding the shim over bucket design the KLR uses. Something you might consider is coming to a tech session and getting a first hand, play by play edjumucation. Maybe your bike could be the leading character in the video, memorialized for eternity here in the "How To" section.

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Last edited by vatrader; 08-18-2011 at 08:45 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 08:00 PM
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Since the valve clearance normally decreases with the need for a thinner shim, has anyone ever lapped the existing shims to a thickness that would bring the lash back into spec? May not be an issue for shim under bucket designs but for the KLR the shims are in direct contact with the cam lobes.

Anybody?

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportster65 View Post
Thanks, thats what I figured. Looks like I'll get into the valves and the Doo starting on Monday, that is if I can find the wrench and bolt to pull the rotor.
Every hardware store Ive been to so far today has wrenches up to 27MM and a bolt up to 20M.
If you want to come over in the afternoon we can knock out the doo and valves in about 2 hours. I have the doo tools and probably have the shims you'll need.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 08:09 PM
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same shims for the 2008?

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-18-2011, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
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same shims for the 2008?
Yes, the shim diameter is the same for all years of KLR 650.

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