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Valve Adjustment for Wethead Motor


Rogerl

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I was at a BMW dealer on Friday to pick up a seal for my 2008 R1200R. I went over to look at the new R1200R and R1200RT and started talking to the salesman about the differences from the new water cooled bikes to my existing bike. He told me that there is a special jig that is needed to check and adjust the valves for the water cooled motor and that the valve adjustment interval is 12,000 miles. Is this true? Has anyone on this forum adjusted the valves on the water cooled motor? I do all of my own service. My bike has only been to the dealer for recalls. The dealer said that the only thing that a home mechanic can do on the new bikes is change the fluids. I would hate to have to take the bike to the dealer every year for a valve adjustment.

 

 

Thanks

Roger L

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You can do anything you are comfortable doing. To see the entire valve adjustment procedure, buy the DVD on Waterhead maint offered by Jim VonBaden.

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The ONLY special tool you need is a RULER! Steal one from the kids if you don't have one. There is nothing at all hard or complicated about checking the valves on the wethead. Easier than the Oilhead. The ruler is used to lay across the flat area of the cam to insure you are at the proper place in crank rotation to check valve clearance. That takes the place of the expensive BMW tool....

 

Now actually adjusting the valves will be a bit more complicated. However, my experience with cam bucket/shim style valves is that they rarely actually require adjustment.

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Thanks for the information. I was a bit concerned about having to bring the bike to the dealer once per year to get the valves checked. That is part of my spring tune up ritual.

 

Roger L

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The special tools/jig that the salesman was talking about are required IF you need to make adjustment to the cam timing! This is not a maintenance item, but the wetheads have the ability for you to reset the cam timing to compensate for, say, cam chain stretch over time. If I recalled correctly, there are 3 tools required: one to fit through a port in the crankcase and lock the flywheel in the TDC position; the second one is to be used in place of the cam chain tensioner to provide a standard tension; and the third is a jig to accurately align the flats on the camshaft (the flats where you would use a straightedge to align while doing your normal valve clearance check). BTW, the 3 tools are fairly inexpensive, based on what I had read on AdvRider forum. Somewhere in the magnitude of $140.

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I just finished adjusting mine on Thursday. I replaced one shim. The first time that you check the valves make a chart or use the one on Jim's website to record the clearances. I used a set of metric feeler gauges. I then removed the cams and used a metric micrometer to record the existing shim size for each valve. I put everything back in the stock position. Armed with this information you can check your valves periodically and you can calculate the shim size needed if the valves are outside of the limits. Order the shim and change it out. Jim's video is great and his website even has a YouTube on removing the RT's fairing pieces ( necessary for air filter replacement). I found that the valve clearances had closed (tightened) on a couple of valves. No clearances had grown larger.

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Front intake valve on right side was near maximum tolerance. I checked them at about 8000 miles and I now have just over 16000 miles. Went from .16mm to .12mm.

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That is .0015" difference. Yes, I still think in SAE as machine work is a PITA doing metric. That seems like a LOT of change in 8000 miles, but it could easily be due to measurement conditions and practices.

 

Unless mine measure OUT of the factory tolerance range I am going to leave them alone. I have seen them be at one edge of the tolerance on the V Stroms and stay there over several valve checks.

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I got tired of converting BMW specs to inch. I found it easier to use metric feeler gauges and micrometer.

 

Are the shims marked with size?

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The new shims are size marked in what appears to be ink. I could not see any markings on the used shims. Probably wears off after some running time.

 

That is a shame! Suzuki shims are etched and you can pretty much read the size even with many miles on them.

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You have to remove them to check the size either way. It only takes a moment with a metric micrometer to determine the size. I record this on a chart along with the valve clearance, date and mileage. Next time I check the valves (in 12,000 miles)I will know what has changed.

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