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Discussion Starter #1
Hello friends,

I'm undertaking my first valve check on my 2015 650, and thanks to the good info available on this site, have fairly easily gotten to the point of successfully measuring my clearances.

The good news is that all of the intakes look decent (and consistent) around .13 to .15 mm. The spec is .10 to .20, so I'm thinking I'll leave these as is.

The news isn't quite as good on the exhaust side, as they're all a bit tight at .18 to .20.

Knowing that the exhaust valves tighten over time, should I adjust them to the middle of the spec by adding .05 of gap, or do I add .1 of gap, thereby putting them right at the high limit of the spec (.30)?

Basically, I'm wondering if I should adjust them to middle of the recommended spec, accepting that I might have to reshim again in a few years, or should I put them at the high limit, considering that they're likely to tighten over time (and I'd rather not have to do this again)?

Am I risking anything (performance or longevity-wise) by setting them at max looseness?

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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If you have a choice between mid and wide, it really doesn't matter. Both are in spec and either should last the life of the engine. It's an unusual choice though. Far more often, you'll be between the two. Some will argue the mid point will be a little quieter and allow a little more power but the difference is so slight you won't notice it without high level instruments.
 

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When I had my bike down for a long Winter project I adjusted all valves to the wide limit. It is a high mileage bike and I spoke with a race mechanic and that's what he advise for a street bike. There is some small performance gain by running the clearances to the tight end of the spec but at the cost of running the exhaust valves hotter (less dwell time in the seat which is how they are cooled). Also, like you, I didn't want to do it again and I figured with a high mileage bike this would be its last adjustment ever.

Be aware that most shim kits come in 0.05mm increments and depending on what size shims are in the bike now a replacement shim may put you over or under the limit due to the increment size. If you aren't in a big hurry there are sites that make custom shims or use 0.025mm increments (I think Honda shims) so you can get closer to the spec limit if you are OCD like me. If you do all the clearances then you can do the math and shuffle shims around to minimize the number of shims you'll need to buy, just don't get the shims mixed up or you'll have to put humpty dumpty back together and remeasure. Take lots of notes and don't go by the labels, measure the shims (even the replacement shims) with a caliper. Don't use the precision shim seller in Australia, his shims were out of spec or "mislabeled" (according to him) and he got testy when I called him on it. He did resolve the issue but my bike was down for a while anyway so I didn't care about the delay.

Here is a link to a handy DL650 Shim Calculator spreadsheet.
 

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Thanks for the "Calculator Excel" I have saved it for future use. It looks like you put a lot of work into creating it and I for one very much appreciate it.



This "Calculator" would make a great "sticky".
 

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Thanks for the "Calculator Excel" I have saved it for future use. It looks like you put a lot of work into creating it and I for one very much appreciate it.
Credit goes to a member named Warren who I think has moved on. If you open it at the top it says **DL650 Shim Calculator by Warren**. Thanks Warren wherever you are!

It came in handy when the "precision" shim seller botched my order and sent the wrong shims. I was able to shuffle the shims and got everything back into spec, just not quite at the limit as I had planned. Also, I have a record of the current shim size for each valve so I can measure the gaps and continue to ride while I order new shims to minimize down time but with 88K miles I think the motor will die from something else before it ever needs an adjustment.
 

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Hello friends,

I'm undertaking my first valve check on my 2015 650, and thanks to the good info available on this site, have fairly easily gotten to the point of successfully measuring my clearances.

The good news is that all of the intakes look decent (and consistent) around .13 to .15 mm. The spec is .10 to .20, so I'm thinking I'll leave these as is.

The news isn't quite as good on the exhaust side, as they're all a bit tight at .18 to .20.

Knowing that the exhaust valves tighten over time, should I adjust them to the middle of the spec by adding .05 of gap, or do I add .1 of gap, thereby putting them right at the high limit of the spec (.30)?

Basically, I'm wondering if I should adjust them to middle of the recommended spec, accepting that I might have to reshim again in a few years, or should I put them at the high limit, considering that they're likely to tighten over time (and I'd rather not have to do this again)?

Am I risking anything (performance or longevity-wise) by setting them at max looseness?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
You should be able to get 0.075 shims. But you need to open everything up and see what shims are in there and measure/ verify their actual thickness.
Check https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p/922/26634/Pro-X-Valve-Shim where you can get exactly what's needed. I would go to between mid- and wide spec for all (in/ outlet), do it once and be done with it.

Zip-tie the cam drive chains to the sprockets to avoid the worry about skipping a tooth when re-assembling.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You should be able to get 0.075 shims. But you need to open everything up and see what shims are in there and measure/ verify their actual thickness.
Check https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p/922/26634/Pro-X-Valve-Shim where you can get exactly what's needed. I would go to between mid- and wide spec for all (in/ outlet), do it once and be done with it.

Zip-tie the cam drive chains to the sprockets to avoid the worry about skipping a tooth when re-assembling.
Thanks for the link, I didn't know that "in between" sizes were available, so that's good to know.

My only concern is that (from what I can tell) the ideal way to change a shim is to:

1. remove the cam;
2. see what size shim is there;
3. put in a new one sized to produce the proper gap.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I won't know what exact shims I need until I "get in there", so the only way I could order the specific shims I need (all at once) is to pull all of the cams and check the factory shim thicknesses. The problem with that approach is that (again, correct me if I'm wrong) it's easier and less error prone to remove, adjust and replace one cam shaft at a time.

Does this make sense? If so, it seems that I might be better off ordering one of those "hot cams" multi shim kits that have a bunch of random shims (which happen to be spaced at .05 mm increments), so I can adjust each cam sequentially.

Let me know if I'm off on any of these assumptions, I'm still planning my attack strategy for this job.
 

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Hello!

When I adjust valves, I set all valves to the dead center of spec if possible. If specs can't be centered with .05 shims, then I will go to the tight side on the intake valves, the loose side on the exhausts. But I still remain within spec in any case.
On a V-Twin, I measure all clearances 1st, write them down in a chart.
Remove the cams from one bank and measure ALL the shims. Write the shim specs down in a chart. Reinstall the cams.
Repeat this process on the other bank.
On the chart, cross out the valves that do not need to be adjusted.
It's entirely possible that a shim that needs adjusting on one valve will satisfy a shim change requirement on another valve.
Ive had many instances where upon valve clearance inspection there are 6 or more shims that need changing, and by swapping between valves I got down to needing only 2 (as an example). By writing all the shims thicknesses down you'll know what shims are in place for the next valve adjustment. You may have to swap shims between valves on one cylinder, or between cylinders
Front cylinder--apart for measuring and recording, swap shims between valves if need be, then reinstall the cams.
Rear cylinder---apart for measuring and recording, swap shims between valves if need be, but leave apart.
Obtain the shims in the sizes you need to correct the clearances you couldnt correct by swapping, reinstall the rear cyl cams. Then go back to the front cyl, remove the cams again, and use the shims left over from the rear cyl OR new shims if swapping didnt satisfy the clearances.
OR...just order all the shims new that will get all the valves within spec. I try to order as few shims as possible so I end up swapping most of the time if that gets me in spec.
Shims are available in .05mm(.02") increments. The only time Ive seen shims in .025mm(.001") were from the factory.
Ive used both factory and Hot Cam shims, have never seen them in .025mm sizes outside of what came in the engine.
One item that might make this easier: Go to Tooltopia.com, look for KAS 1610 Motorcycle Feeler Gauges. 14 sizes of small feeler gauge blades, marked in both metric and US. In a fitted pouch.
Inexpensive! These narrow blades are much easier to maneuver while measuring than conventional automotive feeler gauge packs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Hello!

When I adjust valves, I set all valves to the dead center of spec if possible. If specs can't be centered with .05 shims, then I will go to the tight side on the intake valves, the loose side on the exhausts. But I still remain within spec in any case.
On a V-Twin, I measure all clearances 1st, write them down in a chart.
Remove the cams from one bank and measure ALL the shims. Write the shim specs down in a chart. Reinstall the cams.
Repeat this process on the other bank.
On the chart, cross out the valves that do not need to be adjusted.
It's entirely possible that a shim that needs adjusting on one valve will satisfy a shim change requirement on another valve.
Ive had many instances where upon valve clearance inspection there are 6 or more shims that need changing, and by swapping between valves I got down to needing only 2 (as an example). By writing all the shims thicknesses down you'll know what shims are in place for the next valve adjustment. You may have to swap shims between valves on one cylinder, or between cylinders
Front cylinder--apart for measuring and recording, swap shims between valves if need be, then reinstall the cams.
Rear cylinder---apart for measuring and recording, swap shims between valves if need be, but leave apart.
Obtain the shims in the sizes you need to correct the clearances you couldnt correct by swapping, reinstall the rear cyl cams. Then go back to the front cyl, remove the cams again, and use the shims left over from the rear cyl OR new shims if swapping didnt satisfy the clearances.
OR...just order all the shims new that will get all the valves within spec. I try to order as few shims as possible so I end up swapping most of the time if that gets me in spec.
Shims are available in .05mm(.02") increments. The only time Ive seen shims in .025mm(.001") were from the factory.
Ive used both factory and Hot Cam shims, have never seen them in .025mm sizes outside of what came in the engine.
One item that might make this easier: Go to Tooltopia.com, look for KAS 1610 Motorcycle Feeler Gauges. 14 sizes of small feeler gauge blades, marked in both metric and US. In a fitted pouch.
Inexpensive! These narrow blades are much easier to maneuver while measuring than conventional automotive feeler gauge packs.
Thanks for the info!

I've already measured gaps, so I'm good to go from that perspective.

Blaustrom kindly provided a link to a supplier that provides shims in .025 increments (https://www.rockymountainatvmc...m/p/922/26634/Pro-X-Valve-Shim), but that got me wondering if I really wanted to go down the avenue of removing each shaft to measure the shims (as you do) before placing an order.

From what I can tell, removing, re-shimming, and reinstalling each cam (one at a time) is the quickest, easiest and least risky way to tackle this job. The only way to do that is to have a variety of shims on hand (i.e. the hot cams multi kit).

I guess I'm thinking that I'd rather pay for the extra shims I won't use in exchange for saving time & complication.

Thanks again for taking the time, every bit of info helps!

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When I did mine I did the front first determined what shims I needed, got them mailed, installed, then did the same for the rear. Cost double shipping and takes more time but I started in November so it did not matter.

What I found is that the factory shims were almost all the same thickness for the ins and a different one for the outs. I bought several of the same size to replace them. Not sure a set would have contained that many of the same size. Anyway I have only the ones I took out lying around and non of them would have worked in a different location. I won't need them again for a long time, so no point for me buying a whole set for several times the price I paid.
 

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...So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I won't know what exact shims I need until I "get in there", so the only way I could order the specific shims I need (all at once) is to pull all of the cams and check the factory shim thicknesses. The problem with that approach is that (again, correct me if I'm wrong) it's easier and less error prone to remove, adjust and replace one cam shaft at a time...

Right you have to pull the shim to know what it is. Sometimes you get lucky and are able to swap shims around.

The front and rear cylinders are checked with different timing marks but all the shims are replaced on the front timing marks. Meaning that you can pull all the cams at the same time.

Several good threads on here use the search function.

I'll put in a plug for my thread on the subject: Valve adjust: What I learned
 

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A couple of things I'd like to add: If you get the clearances exactly where you want, before you install the valve covers be sure to rotate the engine at least 2 full revolutions and re-check the clearances. The shims will re-seat, as will the lifters and valves and MAY alter the final checking clearance.
I also take a piece of round wooden dowel to tap on the lifters--Ive had carbon particles between the valve face and seat, which will increase the clearance. If you adjust for that, when/if the carbon dislodges, that valve will be way too tight.
I may use air tools to disassemble, but going back together it's always by hand, and always torqued to spec with all rotating/moving surfaces lubed.
Valve clearance affects valve timing. A loose valve opens later and closes earlier. A tight valve opens earlier and closes later. All of which affects engine vacuum, which affects throttle body synchronization. After the valve adjustment, the way to maximize the benefit of the job is to synchronize the throttle bodies.
If I go through the trouble to remove the valve covers for any reason I'll do a quick compression test, and if need be a leak-down test. I want to know the exact mechanical state of the engine I'm working on.
 

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...Zip-tie the cam drive chains to the sprockets to avoid the worry about skipping a tooth when re-assembling.
Good advice I think. I didn't do this when I worked the valves on my '07 Wee, but I plan to if I ever do the job again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Good advice I think. I didn't do this when I worked the valves on my '07 Wee, but I plan to if I ever do the job again.
Yes, from what I can tell, if I zip tie one cam sprocket to the chain (as Blaustrom advises) and mark the chain/tooth relationship on the camshaft I remove, I can replace the shims for that camshaft, then reinstall the camshaft according to the marks and not have to worry about timing. Am I right in this assumption?

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Yes, from what I can tell, if I zip tie one cam sprocket to the chain (as Blaustrom advises) and mark the chain/tooth relationship on the camshaft I remove, I can replace the shims for that camshaft, then reinstall the camshaft according to the marks and not have to worry about timing. Am I right in this assumption?

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I think so, in general. I think we have to prevent the chain from becoming so loose that it might move on the sprocket on the crankshaft. I didn't know / think to do the zip tie thing, and I only marked the chain and cam sprocket (one mark for each, I guess - been awhile). But I was concerned, some, about the chain moving "down inside the engine", so I used screwdrivers or something similar to suspend / support the chain - to try to keep it at least fairly taut, so it couldn't come off the sprocket "down in the engine".

I might add that I generally enjoyed this little project. Getting to the engine was the tedious part. I'm a big guy with large hands and working to disconnect some of the electrical connections in front of the fuel tank was tough for me, but the engine part was fun. Just have to take it very slowly and think about what we're doing - step by step.

I'm not getting to ride nearly as much as I was (taking a youngster to day care each day, so no V-Strom commuting, dang it), but I'll probably do this job on my Wee in a year or two. It's never been done in 35K+ miles.

Good luck.
 

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Hello Gentlemen!

Yes, the zip-tie method works well, Ive also used bent coat-hangers, long extensions, and screwdrivers as well. I usually don't remove the tensioner body, but take off its cap, use a 1" screwdriver bit to retract the foot while I get a helper(usually the bike's owner) to remove the cam or it's sprocket. Ive also used a long locking 1/4" drive extension with a deepwell socket jammed into the chain down in the case as the tensioner foot is retracted. Many ways to accomplish the same thing. If your way works, it's the right way.
As for not worrying about cam timing, I never worry about it. That's because I verify timing marks every step of the way.
The 1st thing I do upon disassembly, and the last thing I do before the valve cover goes back on the cylinder head is make sure all timing marks are aligned. You'd be surprised how many engines Ive seen that ran poorly after reassembly or a timing belt change because in a flat-rate hurry some tech "Put it right back how I took it off". When I asked.."Did you verify all the timing marks?" I'd get a blank stare, then the front of the engine was apart again either in their stall or mine.
Unless youre on someone else's dime playing "Beat The Clock" with a customer sitting in the waiting room, there is no need to skip a step, be in a hurry, or do less than your best. Take your time and show no fear. It'll all work out for the best.
You dont have to be paid to do a professional job.
 

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Yes, from what I can tell, if I zip tie one cam sprocket to the chain (as Blaustrom advises) and mark the chain/tooth relationship on the camshaft I remove, I can replace the shims for that camshaft, then reinstall the camshaft according to the marks and not have to worry about timing. Am I right in this assumption?

There's not enough slack in the cam chain to entirely lift out the cam shaft without taking the chain off the cam gear.

Zip tying the chain keeps the timing locked but you won't be able to remove the cam. With the tension on the chain released you will be able to lift/tilt up the cam enough to remove the shim buckets.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There's not enough slack in the cam chain to entirely lift out the cam shaft without taking the chain off the cam gear.

Zip tying the chain keeps the timing locked but you won't be able to remove the cam. With the tension on the chain released you will be able to lift/tilt up the cam enough to remove the shim buckets.
Thanks for clearing that up, I was wondering about that!

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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The idea is to zip tie the cam that is not coming out. With that relationship intact, you know where to set the cam that did come out.

 
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