Valve adjustment - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 85 Old 08-10-2018, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Valve adjustment

Hello, I am just curious are there any audible or mechanical signs your valves need to be adjusted? I am not trying to skip out on necessary maintenance, but at the first valve check every one tends to be in spec.... I just don't want to waste the cash if it's not necessary, I have a 2014 with 14k on the clock and a bought it with 9k and have noticed 0 performance changes. I know it theoretically should be done soon, but am curious what symptoms of it being necessary are....I like to do whatever is necessary, but also don't want to waste time or $ on things that aren't...
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post #2 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 12:07 AM
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Actually the vast majority have valves out of spec for the first check, then stay in spec many times after the initial adjustment.
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post #3 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 12:44 AM
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The sign is that you measure them. You may or may not hear a valve with excessive clearance. But you'll never hear a valve that is too tight.
Maintenance is never a waste of time and/or money. You dont know what you dont know, and you can't know until you check. If 99 out of 100 were OK, that doesnt mean yours will be.
And if they are off, you may not sense a performance change. Engines with valves in spec are more efficient. Exhaust valves that are too tight can burn. Loose valves affect valve timing as the cam has to rotate further to start the opening and closing sequence. Loose valves open later and close earlier, tight valves open earlier and close later. If you check them and they are in spec, you havent wasted a thing. You will know what you have.
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post #4 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 01:00 AM
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Please don't take this as advice, i'm only sharing my personal experience.

I had mine done at 80000kms because the bike needed to be pulled apart for the spark plugs and air filter anyways. The inside of the engine and the pistons were like new, the valves had so little to adjust that it was not even needed.

Btw i only use suzuki brand regular oil and filter, sparkplugs and air filter.

I forget which symptoms my uncle told me about knowing when i needed to adjust the valves, but he said that i would "feel" it.

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post #5 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 05:37 AM
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I remember a member in my motorcycle club calling me with a no-start condition with an older Suzuki 400 Quad. He tried 3 different spark plugs, draining the carb, tried starting fluid and who knows what else. He told me it hadnt run in 3 months, but ran great before he parked it. I had him bring it over for diagnosis.
It cranked like it had poor compression. Checking it showed 12 psi--spec was 160. A leakdown test showed compression pressure escaping from the intake--intake valves(4-valve cylinder head) not sealing.
I checked the valve clearance...and there wasnt any. Couldnt get a .0015 between the cam lobes and the shims.
Removed and disassembled the cylinder head. The intake valve faces were severely grooved, and the valve seats were badly pitted.
I asked him when he last had the valves checked or adjusted. "Never" he told me. The damage done was due to lack of maintenance, pure and simple.
He never noticed a loss of performance, it just wouldnt start. His dad told him he "probably just needed a spark plug."
I had him send the head out for the machine work with new hardened valve seats and sodium-filled valves(an internal self-cooling feature). While the head was off I removed the cylinder and piston. The piston and cylinder measured OK, a light hone took off the surface glaze. New piston rings, back on with the head, and it started the 1st crank.
So I cant agree with the idea of "You'll feel it" when assessing whether or not to check/adjust valves.

My own '99 Miata was purchased used from the original owner, a friend of mine, at 57K miles. 60K is when a valve check is called for. At 60K I checked the valves. 11 of the 16 valves were way too loose. The engine exhibited no valve noise.
I replaced/swapped shims to get them all in the dead center of spec.
The car ran great before, was much improved after the valve adjustment. Mileage increased, but the main things I noticed was quicker throttle response, and more power from midrange to redline rpm. And I was happy with how it ran before the adjustment.


I've had bikes come to me , many sportbikes. Different exhaust, mini-turn signals, Power Commander, the usual "Obligatory Rite of Manhood Modifications". I get the "I'd like more power" line. When I'd ask about maintenance, specifically valve adjustment, I'd get looks like I just shot their dog. These guys had no problem spending lotsa cash for the bolt-ons, but wouldnt do a basic maintenance procedure. I'll agree there's not as much glamour in maintenance as there is in, for example showing off a new exhaust can.
But the benefits are definitely there.
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post #6 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 05:45 AM
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Hi Dakor82, I agree with MAZ4ME. I recently checked mine at 30,000km and they were all in spec, so now I know they're good and likely will be for a while, so I won't be worrying whether my valves are burning. Cheap insurance.

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post #7 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 08:40 AM
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It's your gamble but I would at least check them the first two recommended intervals that seems to be when they need adjusting. Mine were fine the first time but needed adjusting the second time. I probably wont check them again for a long time. I do them myself but if I had to pay to have it done that might have some influence on how often.
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post #8 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 01:19 PM
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My 2014 Vee2 (original owner) had 5 of the 8 out of spec or right at the limit when checked at 12,500 miles.

Your avatar doesn't show a location... I bet you could find someone nearby willing to help out. Or recommend a trusted shop that could save over dealer shop fees.
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post #9 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 01:22 PM
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Incidentally, I found that all the intake shims were one value and all the exhaust shims were another. Looked to me like the factory just plugged them in based on manufacturing specs and that they weren't originally measured or adjusted.

Last edited by Grimmer; 08-17-2018 at 02:31 AM. Reason: Damn autocorrect
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post #10 of 85 Old 08-11-2018, 09:52 PM
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It's also an assumption, or leap of faith that engines are set up to spec during assembly, much less when the motorcycle is put together. It is true that most of the valvetrain wear occurs during break-in.
In Subaru's old pushrod engine days I would adjust the valves during pre-delivery inspection. They were always too tight.
The 3rd and last Subaru dealership I worked for told me specifically since that adjustment wasnt called for(or paid for by Subaru) I was told not to adjust valves during PDI. I explained it took 5 minutes to do the work and the engines run better will less chance of comebacks. They relented, told me I could adjust valves during PDI. 2 months later we had a shop meeting in which we were told that we were to do the valve adjustment since the comebacks for cold driveability were increasing--except for the Subarus I PDI'd. From that point on, we always adjusted the valves.
But, to be fair, later shim-adjust valves in the cars were more in spec than not, and since it was more labor intensive to remove shims, camshafts, or buckets valve adjustments went by the wayside. Unfortunately many dealerships dont even adjust valves at the time and mileage intervals called for by the manufacturer.
Which doesnt mean it neednt to be done.
It just means that few want to spend the time, effort, and money to do it.
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