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'04 Wee, ridden hard and put away wet.
I have joined the ranks of those who have stripped a head cover bolt's threads in the head. Fortunately, I see that those threads aren't actually in the head, but rather are in the cam journal holder. So much easier to repair (I hope). So, two questions:
1. Following FSM page 3-21,22: do I need to pull the cam chain guide and cam chain tensioner if I have no need to pull the camshaft? Or can I just pull the 6 bolts and the cover directly? Yes, I'll get it at TDC first either way.
2. Is the third head cover bolt (away from cam chain) threaded into the head proper? If so, that would be a bigger deal. Mine is one of the pair by the chain on the front cylinder.
M7 helicoil kit is already on the brown truck. TIA
 

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Just to follow up on my own questions: you do not need to pull the cam chain guide or cam chain tensioner in order to pull the journal cover.

The "third" head cover bolt IS in the head itself. But, it is a through hole and it is outboard of the head and cover. Not really any bigger deal except that you'd need to pull some stuff to get the drill/bit access.

Putting in the heli-coil was mostly pretty easy with three caveats. 1. It was nice to have a drill press with decent fixturing. 2. It was helpful that I have installed hundreds of heli-coils before. However, 3, I had only done smaller ones that didn't really need pre-winding or large enough to be solid units, not little springs. I didn't get a kit with the pre-winding tool. I couldn't get this size in with only the typical insertion tool. I put a very large zip-tie around the heli-coil and the insertion tool and pulled it very tight. It shrunk the heli-coil. I threaded the tool in and out of it a couple times to get the coil threads to settle into the tool. It then spun easily into the cam journal cover. It's all buttoned up.

Funny thing is: I was only in there to do valve check/adjustment. They were all fine. Whole thing was sensible enough, but ultimately totally unnecessary. Time for a Scotch.
 

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I keep reading about people accidentally stripping these head cover bolts (well, technically stripping what it threads into).

What do you think is happening?

I'm game to do my own valve clearance check otherwise, but this part I don't like. Doing a Heli-Coil seems like a pain in the butt.

Is this one of those cases where you're better off just doing it up "hand-tight" no matter what the service manual says? I've found that to often be true with small fasteners. It's far too easy to miss the click on a tiny torque wrench & accidentally overtorque something. So if the spec is below about 10 lb-ft, I don't bother with the wrench.
 

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And most likely the problem is that most occasional wrenchers don't have a set of accurate and regularly re-checked torque wrenches. The large wrenches can be way off when it comes to small torque values. So common sense and hand feel need to come into play rather than relying one a bad tool for the job!




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That's possible but I do have a quality 1/4" drive torque wrench (range 20 to 120 lb-in) of a quality make (CDI, basically Snap-On without the absurd price). I've still managed to overtorque things with it a couple of times, hence why I just go with "hand-tight" on low-torque fasteners nowadays.
 

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I remember there was a detailed thread about the accuracy (or more the lack of) of torque wrenches and particularly the small ones for low torque settings. Can't remember at the moment who wrote it. But I remember there were a lot of problems and the need to get them re-calibrated regularly. I only have a big one and I use a torque wrench only on those big fasteners like rear wheel or counter sprocket. All else I just use my hand and the smaller the bolt the smaller the wrench, just to be cautious, especially those that thread into Aluminium!
 

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I only have 2 torque wrenches that would even be worth calibrating. They are CDI brand. Both came with factory calibration records, something you won't get with your Harbor Freight or Tekton torque wrench. CDI was one of the brands recommended, when I asked the local National Calibration Inc. folks for suggestions.

Absent proof that small hardware going into aluminum MUST be torqued precisely, I'm with you, I'll stick with "hand-tight."
 
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