Valve cover bolt stripped threads! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2007, 10:22 AM
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Default Valve cover bolt stripped threads!

Yes I feel like a dummy. I managed to twist out the threads using a torque wrench and I am still not sure why. I have the factory manual and it calls for 10 Ft/Lb of torque on the valve cover bolts but the threads let go at 9. My torque wrench is old but I have used it to build several engines including a CB700SC just 6 months ago. I think I will buy a new one as I now don't trust it.
Anyway, have any of you had this problem? Is it possible the manual is wrong? Let me know.
Now the fix. First the bad news is that the bolt screws into the cam holding block. You can't buy a replacement, it is a matched part of the head so you have to buy a replacement cylinder head! So the obvious thing to do is repair the threads with a helicoil kit. The second bad news is that the threads are an odd size. 7mm X 1. They do make helicoil repair kits but they are hard to find and expensive. After a long search on the internet I found a kit.
OK, after removing the cam block (you do not have to pull the cam chain tensioner) it can be repaired like this.
You need to have a good drill press with a vice or better yet a milling machine (which I happen to have). You need to clamp the block down tight but being very careful not to damage the surfaces. The hole must be drilled dead on or the bolt will not line up.
Here is a picture of the drilling operation.



Then without moving anything, take out the drill bit and install the tap in it's place. You can use the drill press or mill to start the helicoil tap so it will be dead streight. Just use a light feed while turning by hand. No power!!!

Then finish the tap in the normal way and install the coil using the included tool.

Mine is done and back together but if any of you need the 7X1 MM coil repair kit just PM me and I will send it to you free. It comes with 12 coils and I only needed one so I now consider it a community resource. Just send back what you don't use for the next person that needs it.
John
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Some previous bikes:
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78 Yamaha DT175 (restored)
82 Yamaha SX400
70-73 (Race years) YZ250, YZ125, MX360, YZ360...
69 Yamaha DT-175
68 Yamaha DT-360
70 Suzuki TS 250
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64 Honda 250 Scrambler CL-72
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2007, 02:23 PM
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jaeger22,

Are you using a 1/4" drive torque wrench? One that reads 30-200 inch lbs.? (or 2.5 - 16.5 ft. lbs.)

They are more accurate because the 120 inch lbs. (10 ft. lbs.) that the bolt requires is in the upper range of the wrench's capabilities.
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:52 PM
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Good point. No my torque wrench is 1/2 inch drive. That may be the problem. It is a mil spec wrench and has a dial that you zero each time you start to torque. I will need to get one that has a lower range and increased accuracy for light torque bolts.
Thanks, John
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DL-650 K5, Givi crash bars, Givi windshield on Madstad mount, heated grips, hand guards, tall touring seat Givi racks, side cases, top box, and SW Motech center stand. Home made skid plate.
Some previous bikes:
84 Honda CB-700SC (restored)
97 Suzuki DR350 (still have)
78 Yamaha DT175 (restored)
82 Yamaha SX400
70-73 (Race years) YZ250, YZ125, MX360, YZ360...
69 Yamaha DT-175
68 Yamaha DT-360
70 Suzuki TS 250
70 Kawasaki Mach 3 -500
64 Honda 250 Scrambler CL-72
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  #4  
Old 05-29-2007, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaeger22 View Post
Yes I feel like a dummy. I managed to twist out the threads using a torque wrench and I am still not sure why. ...
They stripped because you used a torque wrench. NEVER use a torque wrench on low torque bolts like that, you have to do them by feel.
Yes, I learned the hard way too.

The only time I ever use one is on rod bolts and on nuts on long studs.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:35 AM
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I think you are absolutely right. I put the covers on several times by hand and never had a problem but then I had to get anal and try to get it just right.
The really stupid thing is these bolts just bottom out on their built in shoulder so they just need to be tight enough to not come loose and back out. Even with most of the threads stripped it held enough that the valve cover didn't leak.
I just love it when I screw up and 5 seconds of stupid cost me many hours of extra work. Good thing I like working on the bike!
Later,
John
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DL-650 K5, Givi crash bars, Givi windshield on Madstad mount, heated grips, hand guards, tall touring seat Givi racks, side cases, top box, and SW Motech center stand. Home made skid plate.
Some previous bikes:
84 Honda CB-700SC (restored)
97 Suzuki DR350 (still have)
78 Yamaha DT175 (restored)
82 Yamaha SX400
70-73 (Race years) YZ250, YZ125, MX360, YZ360...
69 Yamaha DT-175
68 Yamaha DT-360
70 Suzuki TS 250
70 Kawasaki Mach 3 -500
64 Honda 250 Scrambler CL-72
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2007, 11:39 PM
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Thanks for posting your story and pictures. I only have 300 miles on my 07 and hopefully it will be a while before I open her up.... Thanks to all the replies too. Light touch...
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Last edited by Climber; 06-04-2007 at 11:40 PM. Reason: goofed
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Old 06-21-2007, 02:23 PM
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Default No, it's not just you

jaeger22... I feel your pain. You followed Suzuki's torque spec faithfully, felt like you were doing due diligence, and then felt the wrench go just that extra little bit without reaching the torque point specified, and... rats.

I know the feeling, it seems like only yesterday the same thing happened to me. There's a reason for that.

It was only yesterday.

First valve check at 15K on my '06 DL1000, torquing the last bolt of the job: 7lbs, 8lbs, 9lbs... 9lbs.. 9lbs... $&%*!!!! With an emphasis on the $&%*.

You'll be getting a PM from me about your kind offer to share your helicoil kit. I'd better measure the valve cover screw and make sure the 1000's is the same as the 650's. It would seem a bit perverse of Suzuki to make them different. 7mmX1 you said?

What makes it worse was the same thing happened to me about 10 years ago on the eve of a planned 9,000mi cross-country trip with a couple of friends. The 12th of 12 valve cover bolts twisted off on my '82 GS650 several lbs below the spec, and I bagged going with them, assuming it was absolutely necessary to get it fixed. I made more of a mess of things trying to get the wayward bolt tip out, so just left it as-is and rode it another 10 years with 11 valve cover bolts and almost no leakage. I don't think I'd want to do the same with 1 of 4 bolts as on the Vee, 25% of the bolts un-tightened is more than I'd care to leave to faith.

Anyway, that sad experience inspired me to get a decent 10-150lb click torque wrench, which I've used since then to good effect. But reading up on valve checks on the v-stroms made me want an inch-lb wrench, so I looked all over the greater Seattle area for one last weekend and... nada. Snap-On has a nice one for about $175, according to the local auto parts store guy, to which I jokingly replied I could buy a lot of helicoils for that.

Oh bitter irony.

They are available online for much less, but I didn't want to wait for the shipping since I needed the garage space back, so I carefully checked my big torque wrench by feeling its sub-10lb range out with a crescent wrench and assured myself that at least each increment down to 5lbs was less torquey than the one above it. The one thing worse than doing something dumb to your bike is doing it while being fully aware it might happen, and while *really* trying to prevent it.

Anyway, thanks for the write-up on your experience and the offer to share the helicoils. You'd think they'd build a little margin for error into the system. I'm wondering if maybe the screw had a little bit of oil on the threads or something that allowed it to overtorque. Don't know.

The inch-lb torque wrench is already on order.
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2007, 05:01 PM
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FWIW, most Sears stores have a 25-250 in-lb 3/8 inch drive micrometer-click torque wrench in stock for 75 bucks.
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:02 PM
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Default Sears here may be different from Sears there

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Clarke View Post
FWIW, most Sears stores have a 25-250 in-lb 3/8 inch drive micrometer-click torque wrench in stock for 75 bucks.
I hit two Sears stores last Saturday, and they both had at least ten hook-hangers for torque wrenches, all empty but for one or two of the brute-force-level tools that drilled my valve cover (actually, the journal-cover underneath that the valve-cover screws into). Their online website is a mess, since you'll find a description for a torque wrench in the inch-lb category, but if you look at the specs it's more than likely magically shifted from e.g., 20-200 in/lbs to 20-200 ft/lbs, one of which is likely to be wrong by a factor of twelve, but which?

I went ahead and ordered a Precision Instruments dial torque wrench. At about $150 I figure it's cheap against the cost in time and treasure for stripped threads. I also ordered a Time-Sert kit to compare with jaeger22's experience with the Helicoils. I'll post something here about how it all turned out once I get it fixed next week.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2007, 03:36 PM
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Default Inch-lb Torque Wrench - $28.88

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Clarke View Post
FWIW, most Sears stores have a 25-250 in-lb 3/8 inch drive micrometer-click torque wrench in stock for 75 bucks.
FWIW, I just purchased a 1/4" drive, 20-200 in. lb., reversable, click-type torque wrench at the local Harbor Freight for $28.99. This 1/4" one doesn't show on the internet, but the 3/8" for $19.99 does:

http://search.harborfreight.com/cpis...NCH+&Submit=Go
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