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Hello everyone. I need your opinion here.

I am somewhat unexpectedly going to Prudhoe Bay Alaska in June/July of 2012. I know I have 5 months, but this is something that I would normally plan a year ahead of time. My father is going, and asked me to come along. I'm pretty sure that this is a once in a lifetime ride that I won't be able to do again with my dad, and I feel like I would regret passing this opportunity up.

I have a wife who is a teacher, and a 20 month old daughter at home. Besides normal concerns for the well-being of my wife and daughter if something were to happen to me, I also have concerns with money.

I'm taking my 08 Wee up there, which has currently has a little over 16,000 miles on the clock. It is ready for Alaska in the equipment department (skidplate, crashbars, radguard, bags, etc). It is up to date on maintenance in every department EXCEPT for the valve check/adjustment. I do all of the other maintenance myself, but the valves are beyond my mechanical abilities. I have put them off a little bit due to the costs of having a dealer do the work.

The ride will be approximately 8000-8500 miles round trip. I'm expecting to pay roughly $1800 for gas and food (being very liberal here), and maybe 500 dollars for misc expenses (tires, update camping gear, etc). Dad is paying for camping and hotel fees. My wife and I do OK in the financial department, but we don’t make enough to where we can go and spend $2500-3000 on a whim without feeling some sort of impact.

I have been toying with the idea of putting off checking the valves until after I get back from this trip. Accounting for any riding that I do from now until after the trip, I will probably have approximately 25-28000 miles on the Wee before I get the valves checked for the first time.

Is this wise? Should I bite the bullet and pay the money to have the work done before this trip, or will I be ok putting it off until afterwards?

Your thoughts?
 

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more than likely, the valves will be ok BUT, unlike other recommended maintenance items that will only make yer wee not run up to par and when you do the maintenance everything will be ok

valves are different, if you ride with them and they are out, they make unadjustable damage, burning valve seats & stems

my recommendation, participate in a local maintenance day with other strom owners and check the valves, you will prolly find they are not out of tolerance



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I'm sure there are motorcycles out there that have not needed a valve adjustment until 28000 miles which would be time for a second adjustment. No way that I know to determine if you will be one of them. For me heading to Alaska on a bike that was not up to date on maintenance especially something potentially critical like a valve adjustment would be tempting fate.

Sounds like a fun trip though.
 

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valves

Get the valves checked; pay the money and then enjoy the ride with your Dad. Some day in the future you will realize the enormous value of the trip with him.
 

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You can check the valve clearance. It is a bit of work, but not difficult. Removing the camshafts to adjust the clearance is much more of a job.

Buy a set of metric feeler gauges (or use inch feelers and be ready to convert). Be ready to drain & remove the radiator. If you can remove the tank (which isn't much), then you're ready to access the valves.

Learning to use feelers is easy, and you probably know someone who can help you with that after you get the tank & radiator off. Be sure to get the rubber re-usable gasket exactly in place when you re-install the valve covers. It is likely that no adjustments are needed. If one or two are needed, you can tell the shop exactly which ones and save money on the time the tech would have spend checking the rest.

A safety tip--if you have a centerstand, strap it with a forward pull so it can't fold up when you're mess'in with the bike.
 

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Biggest pain is getting the gas tank off, and the biggest pain of THAT is dealing with all of those darn push-rivits that hold the fairing panels on. Better to have the shop manual or at least those pages dealing specifically with tank and fairing removal and of course the actual valve check. Mine has over 40,000 miles on it, and 2 valve checks, with all in spec so far. This winter going to check them all again.

Thinking of it...there is other pain in the butt aspects of this job. getting the fuel connecter unhooked and hooked back up again, unplugging the fuel injection connectors, getting the airbox out, making sure the air box connectors get properly hooked back up and the hose clamps properly tightened on the throttle bodies.... The actual valve check is the simpliest part of the task....

But...when I've done it properly myself, I have peace of mind. 'course, I was a motorcycle mechanic in a previous life, so that makes a difference.
 

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I agree that you should check clearances yourself. If you need adjustment you may or may not want to do it yourself (it's not THAT hard), but the experience of taking off plastic pieces, removing the tank and airbox, and diving into the innards may stand you in good stead if you have a problem along the way.

Ain't no AAA/CAA along the Cassiar Highway or haul road. And no cell phone service even if there was. Just you and your (hopefully enhanced) tool kit.
 

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Have a fantastic trip! We planned ours on a similar timeframe and had no problems. Then again, you don't know if your planning was up to par until/unless you need it!

Your cost estimates sound roughly accurate. I spent $1009.94 on fuel. I think the total bill was around $3k, but I really don't know. Hardly did any camping; hotels definitely eat up the dollars.. sounds like you're set for lodging, so that's good.
 

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Biggest pain is getting the gas tank off, and the biggest pain of THAT is dealing with all of those darn push-rivits that hold the fairing panels on. Better to have the shop manual or at least those pages dealing specifically with tank and fairing removal and of course the actual valve check. Mine has over 40,000 miles on it, and 2 valve checks, with all in spec so far. This winter going to check them all again.

Thinking of it...there is other pain in the butt aspects of this job. getting the fuel connecter unhooked and hooked back up again, unplugging the fuel injection connectors, getting the airbox out, making sure the air box connectors get properly hooked back up and the hose clamps properly tightened on the throttle bodies.... The actual valve check is the simpliest part of the task....

But...when I've done it properly myself, I have peace of mind. 'course, I was a motorcycle mechanic in a previous life, so that makes a difference.
I don't know why you scare him of all that easy stuff like tank, fairings and radiator. It just takes time to get to the actual task of adjusting the valves.

Push rivets. Push in the center pin and you can remove rivet out. When installing, pull center pin out, insert rivet and push center pin in to secure.

Tank, if there is no fairing, you don't need to loosen the side.panels, but.remove bolt by the seat, lift that side and lean the tank on the bracket holding that side. Undo hoses and plug. Fuel line, squeeze the white thingies and pull. Then remove long bolt from front end and lift the tank out.

Radiator, open the inlet cap, put bucket underneath and remove drain plug. Then undo the hoses, unplug wires and that's it.

Now, follow the procedure to adjust the valves. You need a set of shims though, unless you can measure all, calculate what you need and run to a motorcycle shop or buy individually online. I bought my set.for, like $75, with million shims, and used 2.
 

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Just for the hell of it, is there any documented case of DL650 valves being out of spec within 28K miles?
 

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Yep, one exhaust valve on my '04 Wee.

By the way, the air box does not have to be removed to get to the valve covers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all of the information so far guys. I think I'll take a second look at the service manual to see whether or not I feel comfortable doing this work.. I live fairly close to Kansas City and from what I hear there is a very good dealership there that is reasonable. So I do have a backup plan if I don't think I can handle it. The last thing I want is to screw up the motor by not maintaining it, or even worse, screwing it up by not knowing what I'm doing.

Thanks again!
 

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Well.

You guys are making me feel bad. 48,000 on my '08 Wee, and I have never adjusted or even checked the valves. I hear no valve noise, and the motor purrs like a kitten. My advice, ride the damn thing and dont worry about it. But hey, it's your money and your bike. I read a thread on here a while back from a guy with over 100k on his Wee, and he has never checked his either. Uses his ear as a gauge, same as me.
 

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Valves that close up get quieter, then burn. Do you feel lucky?
 

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My advice, ride the damn thing and dont worry about it. But hey, it's your money and your bike.

+1

But,

If you decide to have it done, maybe check with your shop to see if you can do part of the work. Strip it down, etc. Who knows?
 

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Its really easy to check the clearances yourself. I would at least check them, if they are out, service it, if not, you will be glad you checked. Where in KC are you?
 

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if it ain't broke don't fix it

if the bike is runing well don't open up ANYTHING before this trip - except maybe to replace/clean the air cleaner
 

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Don't know your path, but I'll tell ya what. If you go through the general Seattle area on your way, you both are welcome to stay in our guest room, and we'll take care of the valves the next morning before you go on.

As a reference, I checked mine at 15k, all within spec. Checked again around 28k. Don't have my records handy, but it was either then or at 34k when I adjusted them, and only then because there were a few near the tight end, not yet out of spec.
 
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