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Wethead valve clearances


Rob L

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Last week I did the 12000 mile service on my 14 RT. I checked the valve clearances and also recorded the shim sizes for each valve. This requires removing the cams to access the shims. I did this so that I would have a future reference if I needed to order shims to reset the clearances down the road. Some of the valve clearances were already near their upper limits and after giving it some thought, I ordered shims to reduce these clearances to near the minimum. Shims are $5.61 each, so not a very expensive option. My hope is that the tighter clearances will quiet the valve train noise somewhat and will be less prone to need readjusting in the future. I probably won't be working on the bike until the weather turns crappy, but will report the results when I have completed the shim changes.

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I am getting close to needing to check the valves on mine. Any issues you ran into while checking the clearances? Or recommendations on what type of feeler gauges to use (long, short, need two sets)?

 

Thanks,

Alan

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In my experience, shim type valve trains in motorcycles don't get more loose as they wear. They get more tight. I suspect this is valve seat and valve face wear?

 

I would be tickled if my RT's valves are on the loose side! I need to do them soon. If like the V Stroms, that means they might never need to have replacement shims installed to keep clearance in spec. As long as they are in the BMW specification range, I don't intend to swap them out.

 

I have seen V Stroms, both 650 and 1000, have valves checked at around 17K miles per the manual and if in spec then the owner never had to replace shims for the life of the bike!

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You might be right about the valves tightening up. My experience has been that after 20k miles they don't change much, if any. I will monitor them every 6k miles, but still would like to cut some of the clatter that this engine makes. It is louder than any of my previous RTs.

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In my experience, shim type valve trains in motorcycles don't get more loose as they wear. They get more tight. I suspect this is valve seat and valve face wear?

 

I would be tickled if my RT's valves are on the loose side! I need to do them soon. If like the V Stroms, that means they might never need to have replacement shims installed to keep clearance in spec. As long as they are in the BMW specification range, I don't intend to swap them out.

 

I have seen V Stroms, both 650 and 1000, have valves checked at around 17K miles per the manual and if in spec then the owner never had to replace shims for the life of the bike!

 

My experience with a 2011 RT (93k miles) and shims is that the clearance does in fact increase with wear. Like the original poster, I had a couple of valves that were already on the loose end of spec when new. These are the only ones that have needed shim replacement.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Jim VonBaden

I applaud your work, though I would not do it myself. Typically these valves do not move much, so preemptive changes may not be worth the hassle and cost.

 

Let us know what movement you get next time.

 

Jim :Cool:

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I am hoping that tighter clearances will result in a quieter engine. I'll probably wait till winter to change the shims. I am enjoying the ride too much right now :)

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I am hoping that tighter clearances will result in a quieter engine. I'll probably wait till winter to change the shims. I am enjoying the ride too much right now :)

 

Very little engine noise is from the valve clearance. Most of the clicking and clacking you hear is from the compression relief system. Nothing you can do about that.

 

Jim :Cool:

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