07 November 2013

FZ1 Maintenance: The Valve Check

My valve check was overdue.  I knew when the time came for the first valve check I'd have issues because I'm reluctant to take the bike to a mechanic.  Not to mention I've gotten cheap in the last few years.  When time for the first check came, I read FastFrank's Valve Check Tips and got confused so I decided to do nothing based on other owners report that no adjustment was needed.

In February or March, I borrowed some Feeler Gauges from AndyW (formerly eflyguy) because he had an extra set and said I could.  I also started revisiting all of the Valve Check information I'd read a couple of years ago as I approached and past the first scheduled check.  This time, I understood better (except for FastFrank's methods) so I felt more confident to try it on my own.

As I mentioned in the AIS Removal post, I had a 5 phase plan:  AIS, Clean Engine/Inspect Hoses, Check Valves, Change Spark Plugs, and Flush/Fill Radiator.  Five phases because I expected it to be difficult and I wanted to break it down into manageable mini projects.  Checking the valves requires the radiator and ais to be removed so I decided to flush the radiator and permanently remove the ais during the process.  After I removed the AIS, I started phase 2 the next day.

Phase 2:  Clean Engine/Inspect Hoses.  Since the camshaft cover comes off of the top of the engine for the valve check, it made sense to clean the engine.  While I was at it, I looked at every hose I could find to make sure it was still attached to what it was supposed to be attached to and that they were pliable with no cracks.  They were so after cleaning the engine, it was time to move on to Phase 3.

Phase 3:  Check Valves.  I started Phase 3 by skipping ahead a little to the beginning of Phase 4 with the removal of the old spark plugs.  It'd been too long since I changed them so I won't mention how many miles they had on them but they didn't look too bad.  With the plugs out, I began unbolting the bolts that held on the cover and before I knew it...

I didn't have to curse once!  Everything was moving a little too fast and smoothly for me so I decided to double check the valve check procedures before getting started on that.  With the cover off, inspecting it's gasket is next.  I was careful when I took it off so I wouldn't need to purchase another one.  Like the rest of the rubber on the bike, this was still in good shape after nearly 10 years so I put it aside to include in the re-assembly.

With the valve cover off, the valve check is pretty straight forward--especially if you still have the stock timing advancer.  I don't and my replacement doesn't have the timing marks that the OEM one does:

New one on the left, OEM on the right.  Note the T and H engraved on the OEM.
There are marks on the engine that can be used to align the ignition advancer so that the camshaft lobes are in the correct position for checking the valves.

Purple arrow is the alignment mark on the case.
With the OEM advancer, you simply align the T or H with the mark on the case to position the camshaft lobes for measuring.  Without it, it isn't necessary to even remove the timing cover.  The crankshaft bolt can be accessed through the "peep" hole in the cover by removing the slotted screw.

Remove the "peep" hole cover to access crankshaft bolt instead of removing the entire timing cover.
With a socket wrench and a properly placed mirror, you can rotate the crankshaft bolt clockwise until the camshaft lobes are directly opposite each other to put the #1 cylinder in the correct position to measure the valve clearances.

Almost correct position to measure the valve clearances on the #1 cylinder.
This video shows me checking my valves.

Some things to note:

  1. Blow compressed air on the top of the engine before you remove the camshaft cover to remove any debris or water.
  2. When facing the bike, the cylinders are from right to left 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  3. The valve checking order is cylinders 1, 2, 4, then 3.  There are 5 per cylinder.
  4. You need tapered feeler gauges

Borrowed gauges from AndyW.
Insert the feeler between the cam and valve lifter surface, measuring the clearance between the circle part of the cam and the lifter.  There will be a slight pull when you use the feeler letting you know that it is the correct measurement.

There are 5 per cylinder.  I'm putting this twice because I forgot and had to check mine twice.
3 Intake Valves
2 Exhaust Valves
The clearances are:
  • Intake (carb side): 0.11mm-0.20mm (0.0043-0.0079 in.)
  • Exhaust: 0.21-0.25mm (0.0083-0.0098 in.)
Rotate the crankshaft bolt clockwise 180° to position the lobes for the next cylinder.  After the #1 cylinder, you don't really need the mirror any more.  Remember, check cylinder 4 before 3.

Make sure to notate each measurement in case you need to do the math for any adjustments.  Fortunately, I didn't need any adjustments so I didn't have to worry about figuring out what size shim or removing the camshaft to add them.  Once I made all the measurements (thanks Cruzman for the pep talk, reminders, and tips) and rejoiced because I didn't need any adjustments, I used the Copper Gasket Maker on the lobe part of the rubber seal before putting it back on the case.  After I'd reinstalled the camshaft cover, I moved on to finish phase 4 of my maintenance.

You can barely see the CGM I used on lobes of the rubber gasket.

Phase 4:  New Spark Plugs.  Based on the interval I tend to think about the spark plugs, I decided to use iridium plugs for their longer life.  With no radiator or ais in the way, changing the spark plugs was a 15 minute job.

Naturally, I had to complicate things by damaging the #2 spark plug boot thingie and not seating the thing in the cylinder.  I'll spare you the picture of the terrible electric tape job I did until I got a replacement.  A couple of weeks later, I had a used set wires with boots and the box thing.  Baby seems to put on the power quicker so I'll probably remember to check my spark plugs more often cuz I like that feeling.

Phase 5:  Flush, Reinstall, and Fill the radiator.  The next afternoon, I poured some distilled water through the radiator before I installed because seemed like the right thing to do.  That was the extent of my flush so it was the reverse of taking it off to put it back on.  My old antifreeze looked pretty good coming out, so I used the same brand (Prestone Dexcool) to fill it again.  Finally I double and triple checked everything I'd done over the past couple of days to be sure what was supposed to be tight was and that which should have had hoses indeed had hoses.

I had a little trepidation before hitting the start switch once I got everything back together.  Other than the snafu with the #2 spark plug, everything had gone smoothly.  Maybe too smoothly.  Baby roared back to life with gusto and the first ride was exhilerating!!!! (See comment above about remembering to check the spark plugs more often).  No leaks or anything.  Project complete.

After what seemed like forever, the long maintenance list I started the year with had dwindled to one item:  Check the swingarm bearings.  I did that when I replaced the rear tire a month or so later.  They were fine too.

There's nothing like the peace of mind knowing that your motorcycle has been serviced and is still in good condition.  I get compliments on Baby as if he were a brand new model so I guess I'm doing something right.  Actually, I couldn't do anything with out the support of my family, friends, and the readers of this blog.  A heartfelt Thank You to all those who have commented and keep me motivated to continue to expand my motorcycle knowledge.  I guess the next thing to tackle is learning how to service the forks, huh?

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

I had a celebratory Yuengling after I got done and just stared at this page.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this guide, I noticed mine are starting to click and i need to get this done. Do you have a shopping list of things i should purchase before I begin the tear down?


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