My first valve adjustment - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-25-2014, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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My first valve adjustment

I am not sure if anybody will find this helpful, but I thought I would share the results of my first valve check.
I have an '09 with almost 12,000 mi. on the clock. One of the many maintenance items I am doing this winter is a valve check/adjustment. The first for my bike.
I opened it up last weekend. Here is what I found:

My new shims arrived from Eagle Mike yesterday. Time to put it all back together. I hope I'm doing it right.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-25-2014, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NH Thumper View Post
Time to put it all back together. I hope I'm doing it right.
That about sums up my feelings when I do the valves, too.

When I first got the bike, I had a mechanic check everything (I knew nothing and wanted to go ride!) The mechanic told me, "I'm more than happy to take your money, but you should just learn to do this stuff yourself."

When he checked the valves, they were in spec, so he left them. He gave me the measurements, though.

After 6,000 miles, I opened it up, and some were on the tight side (in spec), so I did them all.

After another 6,000 miles, I opened it up, and some were on the tight side again (in spec). One had drifted more in the second 6000 than the first, which I found odd. Maybe I messed something up, but I'm sure I turned the engine over a couple times and rechecked the clearance after I put the caps back on.

That online calculator is the cat's pajamas. I used it the second time, and will use it every time.

The only things I've got on the valves are:
  • Make sure the metal/rubber caps on the head cover aren't about to fall off when you remove the cover. I can just see them falling into The Abyss.
  • I tighten the head cover bolts to 30-35 INCH-lbs. The manual calls for 69. Mine were stripped out previously, something that's happened to many people. Never had a problem with them coming loose at 30 inch-lbs.
  • You can change the shims without removing the cams by taking the caps off and just tilting the cam up in the air while leaving the chain in place. I double-check the timing after I'm done, but I've not had it slip. A magnetic probe is useful for maneuvering the shims under the cam.
  • I've also found that a tiny eyeglass screwdriver is useful for breaking the shim's oil seal. Just wedge it in there a tiny bit and twist it 90.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-25-2014, 02:12 PM
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The key to doing anything mechanical is to give yourself enough time to do the job. When you are rushed you can almost guarantee things are going to go wrong.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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Last edited by klr4evr; 01-26-2014 at 01:04 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-25-2014, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by klr4evr View Post
The key to doing anything mechanical is to give yoursaelf enough time to do the job.
That explains why I take forever to do the most basic things.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-26-2014, 01:06 AM
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I'm with you and I'm a Millwright by trade.

I've been working on my Goldwing for the past week. Changing timing belts was the biggest job. I'm sure others could have accomplished what I did in a couple of days but being slow isn't a bad thing. I take my time, don't break any plastic and make sure everything's right.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #6 of 7 Old 01-26-2014, 07:13 AM
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Good job on digging into the valves, NHT.

I also believe in taking time. Or maybe I don't believe so much as I can't do it any other way.

After I replaced the doo I was talking to another person who bought a KLR around the same time. He asked "how long did it take" and I didn't have to think to answer "all day".

I had an extra cup of coffee, and lunch, and some time just looking at things. I walked down the driveway to get the mail. I really slow down on those big-torque items when it's time to switch from pressure to impact. And I want my gasket surfaces very clean.

I guess his question surprised me because most days I set my sights on one task and I don't rush it. May get more done, may not.

Was this thread about valves? The current valve check took nearly a day for me to decide that the valve that's in the middle of its spec should be left alone. Often procrastination will let the right solution percolate to the top of my thoughts. (Or at least I think so.)
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-26-2014, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Yup, I took my time and got it all back together yesterday afternoon. It took about a half day check the valves, remove the original shims and order the new ones. Then about a half day yesterday to put it all back together. I double checked everything I did. That said, I still have to re-install the tank, plastic and skid plate (but I still have other work to do this winter).
I did the Doo two weeks ago. That took a full day also. Took my time; double checked everything and constantly checked my Clymers and notes gotten on-line (after watching numerous videos).
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