12K Cam Timing - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 153 Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:38 pm Thread Starter
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12K Cam Timing

Big shout of thanks to gr8ridn for explaining the tools to do the timing on a WetHead! And I would have never known my timing was off or what to do about it without you and your great posts and pictures.

R1200GSW Cam Timing Adjustment

Another big shout of thanks to Jim Baden And JVB Productions. I do not know if without a tech session, and seeing this in person if I would have ever done this. The DVD was clear and concise and was a great reference and was great for a visual leaner like myself. How about a coolant one as the clock is ticking. When I asked my dealer about service on it he said "oh, it is lifetime".

As to the tools they are very nice but you pay for it. Knowing how to use them is very important and one must do a bit of reading to get all the information gathered you need. Researching for the torque specs of various things is worth beforehand to have ready when you need them.

This was my 12K a bit early 11,600 on a 15 RT. I had previously done the brake flush using the GS-911, and installed speed bleeders in all three calipers. Three different sizes I might add! I had done the air filter when I was in doing some wiring and had to remove Tupperware almost to the filter and said bag it I will do it then. About 10,500 miles.

Nothing new under the sun for the valves. Jim's tip on bending the feeler in a arch is an important tip. It works very nice giving you reliable readings.

Left Intake 13 13 Exhaust 37 37 Tight Right Intake 14 14 Exhaust 36 37

As to the timing, it was off. A lot IMHO on the Left, and not so much on the Right. But both were off. Both had to be adjusted.



I used the tools as described by gr8ridn and it all worked flawlessly! The cam chain tension tool is without a doubt one of the coolest tools I ever used! 3 Clicks you are there just too cool. The TDC tool is pretty sporty also but as I said you do pay for the privilege to lay hands on these tools. Also I thought I might lend them out so others could use them but I have shut that down. Only because if you do not understand them or ham fist them I think there is the potential to break them. At the very least loose parts of them as the cam chain tension tool is 3 pieces alone. I will however help someone in my garage. If someone knows how to check valves and can turn their own wrench I would share my tools with them. Make sure you have a 3/8" torque in the right ranges to cover the ranges you work with here. From like 10 Nm for the valve cover bolts to 65 Nm for the cam gear bolts. I did not, I do now. The 16MM crows foot works well on those cam gear bolts.

Only other thing I did was install Iridium Plugs.



Well I did change the oil, oil filter, and final drive fluid too.

It was a good day of turning wrenches today! I had a long good day learning a bunch of stuff and it was way cool.
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post #2 of 153 Old Aug 1st, 2017, 5:50 am Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Just a follow up and a final thought or three.

I was lucky and the Service Manager gave me a set of their DVD Repair Manual as he had gotten a new set. Now mine does not get updated over the internet but it is fine. It has the hours for services and a whole lot of stuff I do not use including a bunch of bike models.

I had 4 Sources on this.

The information here Using any GSW Special Tools? | Page 12 | Adventure Rider, the Haynes, the BMW DVD for RT's and the above mentioned DVD's.

The dealer acquired DVD shows this entire process with every tool and how to do it. I just never looked as I would have never thought I would need to check, let alone set my timing.

I would say that this is the procedure EVERY dealer should be using to check valves and set timing. I will bet that not many if ANY are doing this on valve inspections on guys bikes for service. And that is why I get pissed at dealers. They charge you top dollar but give you half service.

Guys need to start telling the dealer that this is the way BMW says to do valve and timing checks. Dealers who guys support should be doing it this way.

I would say the average guy has no clue about this and is paying for part of a valve check not the correct and true way to check valves. On Sunday at our club breakfast I mentioned to a GS guy who is having valves checked if the dealer was checking timing? His eyes glazed over and and he had no clue.

Checking valves using JVB Productions DVD is fine no issues. The area of the cam lobe is forgiving enough that timing being off does not really affect the valve readings. And that is my point at least. If your dealer or you do not go through a timing check you will never know about timing. You might fuss over vibes or rough idle, but all in all unless you have timing set you will never know and just say well that is the character of the Boxer motor.

I ran the bike on the center stand and ran up through the gears and down quite a bit to get the oil hot to change and the to warm the FD fluid a little to drain.

Just from that, what I heard was a EVEN amount of noise on each side of the bike. It did not sound that way before. The bike just made a bit of noise and since my first Boxer I accepted that. Walking from each side of the bike it sounds like the noise is the same on either side now. I even held the stethoscope on each cove to make sure I was hearing right. I mean there were small tone differences but on a whole they sound, for lack of a better word, balanced.

With the valves being so close to each other spec wise on each side, timing would be the only reason for more noise or uneven sound levels from each side.

My advice is hold your dealers hand over the flame, make him check your valves AND timing. It is a called out procedure with a prescribed methodology that needs done.

YMMV

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post #3 of 153 Old Aug 1st, 2017, 7:52 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Thanks for sharing your experience with this. Look forward to any comments you might have on how she feels on the road after this work.
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post #4 of 153 Old Aug 1st, 2017, 12:14 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Originally Posted by LAF View Post
My advice is hold your dealers hand over the flame, make him check your valves AND timing.

YMMV
I was able to stand by and watch and learn from one of the two certified BMW mechanics who did the non-fluid change parts of my 24K service which I do myself on my '16 RT. I asked to please check the cam timing as well and sure enough the alignment tool demonstrated both sides were fine. As well, all valves were on the good side of the midpoint of the range so didn't need adjusting. I am really fortunate to have a great small shop just 16 miles from home.
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post #5 of 153 Old Aug 1st, 2017, 4:28 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
I was able to stand by and watch and learn from one of the two certified BMW mechanics who did the non-fluid change parts of my 24K service which I do myself on my '16 RT. I asked to please check the cam timing as well and sure enough the alignment tool demonstrated both sides were fine. As well, all valves were on the good side of the midpoint of the range so didn't need adjusting. I am really fortunate to have a great small shop just 16 miles from home.
If it was done correctly then that is good news your cams were in time.

The biggest part is when I had checked it right before sticking the cam chain tension tool in, they were fine both sides. As soon as you pull your factory cam chain tension-er out and install the tool it put the pressure of a fully pumped up cam chain tension and that is REALLY tight. As soon as that tool was in the left side it was apparent it was out as in the picture, and the right was out a bit less.

As I posted all valves were good and if they hold to 24K then life is good as I understand they pretty much never move after that.

You need all three tools in use to be sure everything is set correctly.

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post #6 of 153 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 9:35 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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If it was done correctly then that is good news your cams were in time.

The biggest part is when I had checked it right before sticking the cam chain tension tool in, they were fine both sides. As soon as you pull your factory cam chain tension-er out and install the tool it put the pressure of a fully pumped up cam chain tension and that is REALLY tight. As soon as that tool was in the left side it was apparent it was out as in the picture, and the right was out a bit less.

As I posted all valves were good and if they hold to 24K then life is good as I understand they pretty much never move after that.

You need all three tools in use to be sure everything is set correctly.
Hmm, now I'm wondering. I didn't know about how this is supposed to go, and I was observing mainly to see they did it after I asked them to, versus observing enough to be able to do it myself. He showed me the tool in place as proof that it was aligned correctly, but to be honest I don't really know if he pulled the factory cam tensioner first if that's what you're saying. Shoot!

I was one who mentioned idle roughness, which it is, but not bad and the bike has otherwise always run great w/ no hesitation. I did have the issue w/ difficulty starting but that I feel pretty confident was due to bad gas at the time as it completely resolved itself a couple tanks and some methyl alcohol later.

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post #7 of 153 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 1:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Hmm, now I'm wondering. I didn't know about how this is supposed to go, and I was observing mainly to see they did it after I asked them to, versus observing enough to be able to do it myself. He showed me the tool in place as proof that it was aligned correctly, but to be honest I don't really know if he pulled the factory cam tensioner first if that's what you're saying. Shoot!

I was one who mentioned idle roughness, which it is, but not bad and the bike has otherwise always run great w/ no hesitation. I did have the issue w/ difficulty starting but that I feel pretty confident was due to bad gas at the time as it completely resolved itself a couple tanks and some methyl alcohol later.
I explained so you and others know. I would assume the dealer did it correctly.

However the alignment jig can be used like a strait edge to line top and bottom cam markings at TDC. That is what worries me is if the tech is not educated in the use well enough and they just through the alignment jig on it and say well the cams are in time.

I do not mean to cause worry or angst for you or knock a dealer. Just information so when you do ask for a cam alignment you know there are three tools in use and why they are in use.

TDC Tool A 8mm/B 6mm spring loaded pins that screws into the inspection hole on the rear of the left cylinder that pops into the hole as you bump the rear wheel around for TDC. We use (8MM) A for TDC, (6mm) B for BDC.

Cam Tension Tool screwed in and then tightened to 3 clicks putting simulated cam chain tension on the cam gears.

And the Black Alignment Jig which tells the story after the first two are in place.

Since I have not run mine on the street I can not tell you if I can perceive a difference. However like I said noise is different and equal pretty much on each side.

What may show up is when I download my Map from the PC V. If I notice a lot of trim activity, which is fuel adjustment based on the auto tune, and more on the left compared to the right, it will be a bit of confirmation that things are running a little different. Since it is Dyno Tuned and I just corrected it after 1100 mile run all tables were zeroed out. I will be able to tell if there are large numbers somewhere in the tables.

Hope this helps and that is all this is about, information.

Patricia's Dad takes his in Friday for the 12K and valve check. I told him how and why this is done last night over dinner and I hope he listened and the dealer does it right as I am anxious to see if his is out.

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post #8 of 153 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 2:31 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Here are the tools you need to do cam timing. All three MUST be used to do this correctly.


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post #9 of 153 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 7:35 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Thanks for the very detailed overview for anyone to read. I had the 24K service done a while back and didn't take the time to understand it other than to be aware of the alignment tool, but I think I'll live with it until it's time to recheck valves as I don't have the tools to do it myself, but I would like to be sure of it some time. I'm guessing no harm if valves are well in spec, yet cam timing is off slightly? The idle roughness is basically, in cardiac arrhythmia terms, an 'irregular irregular' rhythm. It's a little rough. I will ask the tech if you have to remove the cam chain tensioner in order to check cam timing w/ the alignment tool, and if he says, 'no, it's not necessary' then I know he didn't follow protocol. Seems like an honest and educated bloke.
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post #10 of 153 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 10:32 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Wow....I guess the old days of finding a lob center are long past or simply does not apply in this case.
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post #11 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 10:03 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Wow....I guess the old days of finding a lob center are long past or simply does not apply in this case.
You should read the links that Lee had posted and try to understand what it's all about. The wethead boxer set up is unique in that the cams are adjustable, and therefore one can line up and readjust to make sure that the cams are in the "correct" position. On other overhead cam bikes, the cam positions are fixed and not adjustable. Typically, the cam timing is correct from the factory, and the timing will go out as the timing chain stretches with use. You can't do anything to correct the issue on those bikes! Apparently, as Beech had been saying all along, our wetheads are often delivered from the factory with the cam timing off, and this is exactly what Lee had found!

You still need to find the "lobe center", as you call it, in order to check the clearance, and you don't need any of the tools to do that. However, it has nothing to do with the cam timing.
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post #12 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 10:19 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

You slot the cam sprockets on a mill. Find top dead center. Install a degree wheel on the crankshaft then use a indicator. Dial indicator on cam bucket or rocker arm. Read the cam timing. Use the formula for lob center. That is true cam timing. So, yes its rather easy to correct cam timing. with me? You read the opening and closing numbers. With the lob center formula it gives you EXACTLY your cam timing. On a older bike such as a GS or Z1 a good place to start is around 108-110. Hayabusa type engine that requires less advance timing which means its more efficient,98-102. Its even possible to find true lob center on a honda cbx which has 4 camshafts.

Due to the hydro cam chain adjuster I see there is a added wrinkle. Those were routinely replaced in any performance application. But overall if you are not reading directly on the crankshaft and dial indicator directly on the valve which is activated by bucket or rocker no mark on anything is as accurate. I am sure for a stock engine its fine. Seldom did I ever go to any of what I just mentioned for a stock engine. I have had the opportunities to work for days with a super flow dyno. Cam timing often will not necessarily increase peak horsepower......just move it around in the rpm range and move torque with it.

I read the links. I just never went to the trouble of setting camshafts without using a degree wheel off the crank.

Last edited by cbxchris; Aug 3rd, 2017 at 10:37 am.
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post #13 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 1:53 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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You should read the links that Lee had posted and try to understand what it's all about. The wethead boxer set up is unique in that the cams are adjustable, and therefore one can line up and readjust to make sure that the cams are in the "correct" position. On other overhead cam bikes, the cam positions are fixed and not adjustable. Typically, the cam timing is correct from the factory, and the timing will go out as the timing chain stretches with use. You can't do anything to correct the issue on those bikes! Apparently, as Beech had been saying all along, our wetheads are often delivered from the factory with the cam timing off, and this is exactly what Lee had found!

You still need to find the "lobe center", as you call it, in order to check the clearance, and you don't need any of the tools to do that. However, it has nothing to do with the cam timing.
Even though I just did this I did not nor do I still understand how the cams are off. I had thought it was chain stretch as in other motors but I got schooled on another forum this is not so.

As always I do not care if it is you or another with better minds and more skill set that schools me as long as I learn.

So if not chain stretch with cam timing what is it?

The apparent answer is they are off from the factory which is a real shame.

I do not think the cam gears are slipping, as what keeps them from slipping so much the motor gets destroyed by valves kissing a piston?

I will say it has been and still is a learning experience.

If as it appears the timing is off all these bikes then BMW is doing a piss poor job at the factory. I know not a surprise right? Beech did say 3 out of 4 were off from his checks, mine makes 5, so 4 out of 5 is a very bad average.

The proof to all this is if someone has the cams in time at the 12k and they are still in time at the 24k. That will proof out poor build quality. However if they are off again at 24k where do we go from there?

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post #14 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 3:39 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Lee, chain stretch is what I maintained as the cause of cam timing being out as well, until Beech said that he had found timing to be off on several wetheads that he had worked on. So, apparently, they came from the factory that way.

For me, I would love to buy new tools, but I figure that I will let my dealer do it for me, and once it's done, it should not change again for a long time. Just for an FYI, I had read the discussions on how to do this on Adv Rider forum a few years back. Very interesting.

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post #15 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 4:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

As I said anyone in the area want to use the tools they are welcome to come here and use them or have me over and use them at your house. Either way I have no issue with it.

If someone wants to host a Tech session I am for that also.

And since I love riding if some one wants to put me up I would travel a bit to lend tools also.

I offer this as a way for all that has been done for me on this forum and life in general. I am blessed to be alive even so whatever I can do to pay that forward is great.

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post #16 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 4:39 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Lee, chain stretch is what I maintained as the cause of cam timing being out as well, until Beech said that he had found timing to be off on several wetheads that he had worked on. So, apparently, they came from the factory that way.

For me, I would love to buy new tools, but I figure that I will let my dealer do it for me, and once it's done, it should not change again for a long time. Just for an FYI, I had read the discussions on how to do this on Adv Rider forum a few years back. Very interesting.
Yes I had thought cam chain stretch but that does not explain the cams being off in relationship to each other. That was made clear to me today.

So it does point to assembly unless someone can explain how a stretched chain can make cams out of time with each other when they are meshed with three gears together? The two on the end of the cams and the one from the cam chain that sits in the middle of those two to drive them.

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post #17 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 5:04 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

I doubt I have ever checked any engine from the factory of any brand spot on. The marks may line up but that never corresponded to the factory supplied opening and closing numbers if checked off the crank. Most times you had to compromise at that. I have been checking them a long time and a lot of them.
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post #18 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 5:22 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Since I'm only one step above mechanical ignoramus there is a question coming to mind: how off does cam timing have to be before problems starts to manifest? If it's true that 3 of 4 are 'off' when checked this wouldn't this imply the detrimental effects of imperfect cam timing must not be very noticeable to the average rider?

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post #19 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 6:37 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Since I'm only one step above mechanical ignoramus there is a question coming to mind: how off does cam timing have to be before problems starts to manifest? If it's true that 3 of 4 are 'off' when checked this wouldn't this imply the detrimental effects of imperfect cam timing must not be very noticeable to the average rider?
Well that is the rub, who knows.

Some suggest surging may be a symptom of out of time. Vibration may be another. Rough idle. Poor performance another. Gas mileage.

Again I have not ridden mine since I did this as some sleep issues and various other things have interfered. Heck I still need to put the lower gray panels on.

I have been told you may or may not feel it. I would think I will feel a difference as the left was out quite a lot. Of course we have no idea how many degrees we are talking about and then how many before we notice a symptom. Back in the day you used a degree wheel or a timing light and could tell how far timing was off. Not now, there is no correlation to the cam alignment tool fitting or not and how much that may equal.

Also in my mind I should be able to tell. Since anyone's best guess it this a factory assembly fault we have lived with it for 12K so as I say I should be able to tell. I am sure I could go to the dyno but even that would not proof anything out since day to day a dyno result varies I would never be able to say it changed from me setting timing. It may show up in my fueling tables on the PC V auto tune.

My hope is my gas mileage shows it a bit. I have never gotten good mileage compared to what others post. 39-44 mostly. However I am always twisting the wick.

Good Question and I hope a "real" mechanic comes along and tells us both what we might expect.

Regardless BMW needs to do better. These are the things that make me wonder why I paid for a top of the line bike and find they take less care assembling my bike to spec then Yamaha or Honda does theirs.

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post #20 of 153 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 7:51 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Well that is the rub, who knows.

Some suggest surging may be a symptom of out of time. Vibration may be another. Rough idle. Poor performance another. Gas mileage.

Back in the day you used a degree wheel or a timing light and could tell how far timing was off.

My hope is my gas mileage shows it a bit. I have never gotten good mileage compared to what others post. 39-44 mostly.

Regardless BMW needs to do better. These are the things that make me wonder why I paid for a top of the line bike and find they take less care assembling my bike to spec then Yamaha or Honda does theirs.
Well I do have some rough idling, but truly I don't have the experience to know what to expect from a BMW boxer motor. But you do have me wondering. I would hope idling would by default properly setup be smoother than this. But then again, maybe it's just a function of the boxer engine and its larger bore cylinder heads. And it's not like it's terrible, it's just not perfect is about it.

The dash says I'm getting 49.1mpg at the moment and that is w/o a reset for 15K miles. But when I manually measure gas at the gas station after a fill up I get closer to 45mpg, at least for the one time I checked. If so that's 10% off which is pretty poor.

I guess I don't know about that either, BMW's quality control etc. Do the Japanese bikes really do better on setup quality? Or is it that they prioritize durability and quality much higher than BMW does in their design and fabrication? I know my brother's FJR ran like a top flawlessly until he hit a deer that fateful day. But my '16 RT has run like a top flawlessly so there you go, pure anecdote!

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post #21 of 153 Old Aug 4th, 2017, 9:33 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Since I'm only one step above mechanical ignoramus there is a question coming to mind: how off does cam timing have to be before problems starts to manifest? If it's true that 3 of 4 are 'off' when checked this wouldn't this imply the detrimental effects of imperfect cam timing must not be very noticeable to the average rider?
For the general riding that we do, the cam itself can be off a bit without you noticing it. It becomes crucial only on high performance racing bikes where you want to squeeze every bits of power out of that engine.

Now, I hope that you realize that cam timing have little to do with the valve gap that you check every 12k! The gaps determines when and how long the valve(s) opens with respect to the cam, and cam timing has to do with where the cam is, in rotational position on the cam shaft. On our bikes (the wethead boxers), each cam can be loosened on the can shaft and re-positioned to wherever you want! Those 3 tools that Lee shown are crucial in getting the cam to their proper positions.
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post #22 of 153 Old Aug 4th, 2017, 12:54 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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For the general riding that we do, the cam itself can be off a bit without you noticing it. It becomes crucial only on high performance racing bikes where you want to squeeze every bits of power out of that engine.

Now, I hope that you realize that cam timing have little to do with the valve gap that you check every 12k! The gaps determines when and how long the valve(s) opens with respect to the cam, and cam timing has to do with where the cam is, in rotational position on the cam shaft. On our bikes (the wethead boxers), each cam can be loosened on the can shaft and re-positioned to wherever you want! Those 3 tools that Lee shown are crucial in getting the cam to their proper positions.
Yes I do understand the basics of how ICEs work and did do some basic stuff like check and set valve clearances, plugs, tune-ups w/ the dwell meter and timing lights, R&R a head on a Saab once, and various and sundry other things. But not for ages, and nothing but fluid & filter & bulb changes on bikes is about it. I did get that cam timing as do do with where the cam is in its rotation. I did not know about each cam that's remarkable. Despite nothing being very wrong w/ my lovely '16 w/ 25K miles now I would like to make sure the cam timing is spot on--why not! But I missed my chance recently perhaps. Have to ask the tech again about this issue re pulling the cam chain tensioner to evaluate alignment w/ the alignment tool as I'm not sure he did pull the tensioner. He would have to fully understand this I would think, BMW cert mechanic that he is, in which case if he didn't pull the tensioner it would have been to intentionally mislead me and avoid the labor involved, and I hope that's not the case!

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post #23 of 153 Old Aug 4th, 2017, 1:36 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

I like things to be spot on as well. I had known about this for a while now, but I am also practical, and therefore haven't done anything about it. The next time that I get my dealer to change the tires, I am planning on telling them to also do the cam timing. Once it's checked/done, I shouldn't have to even think about it again!
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post #24 of 153 Old Aug 4th, 2017, 7:16 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Break out the guys.

Am going to check a GSW that is going in for a valve check and a specific request for a cam timing.

Then a little later I may get the chance to check a 16 RT that came out from the same 12K Service and specif request for the cams to be timed. See if they were in fact set.

Then I will recheck the GSW to see if the cams were set.

In both cases I will set them if they need it.

Man I love when you can start finding stuff out and seeing if this is a wide spread issue. Maybe as people feel what bikes in time feel like, we may hear if it makes a difference, and where.

Again if these have been out for 12K and all the sudden you put them spot on something needs to show up. Three people and 2 bike platforms should show something.

If not, then much to do over nothing, and I bought some expensive paper weights

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post #25 of 153 Old Aug 4th, 2017, 7:17 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Doesn't the guide posted suggest cam timing alignment is determined to be on or off BEFORE removing the cam chain tensioner, which appears to be the next step if you discover cam timing to be off w/ the alignment tool? If this is correct then I'm OK, or no?

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post #26 of 153 Old Aug 5th, 2017, 6:46 am Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Doesn't the guide posted suggest cam timing alignment is determined to be on or off BEFORE removing the cam chain tensioner, which appears to be the next step if you discover cam timing to be off w/ the alignment tool? If this is correct then I'm OK, or no?
No

You need to simulate a pumped up cam chain tensioner at TDC to know if the alingment guide fits. Again with the stock tensioner in and pumped down the alignment tool will fit every time.

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post #27 of 153 Old Aug 5th, 2017, 9:15 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

I'm interested in doing this to my 2016RT.

I can't send you a PM on this forum since I'm such a "newbie" with only 6 posts, but have many on other related forums.
I did send you PM on another forum that trusts me.

Now, I'll just throw on a bunch of superfluous posts on here to get me to where I can be rewarded with full privileges.

Sorry for the thread wander, but I just wanted to help you out and am prohibited from contacting you here.
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post #28 of 153 Old Aug 5th, 2017, 9:17 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

The main reason of having the tensioning tool is to allow the fitment of the alignment jig with a standard (fixed value) tensioning pressure regardless of chain stretch.

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post #29 of 153 Old Aug 5th, 2017, 10:45 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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No

You need to simulate a pumped up cam chain tensioner at TDC to know if the alingment guide fits. Again with the stock tensioner in and pumped down the alignment tool will fit every time.
Ah, OK that wasn't apparent in the linked guide up top:

"The plug for the TDC tool needs to come off, too. With the tool installed I bumped the rear wheel until the pin in the tool engaged the flywheel with the left hand cams pointing out. I tried the alignment jig: yup, doesn’t fit. The timing isn’t off much, but why not make it right." So he seems to be saying it doesn't fit before he says this later in the guide: "The cam chain tensioner comes out and a tensioner tool is inserted."

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post #30 of 153 Old Aug 5th, 2017, 6:52 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

So I got to run the bike today.

It was a mixed bag as I went to the Dark Side also.

Sorting them out was easy though.

First and foremost, when I hit the button it fires up very strong. I mean it jumps right up and fires 1st revolution not even into the second. It really comes to life fast and hot.

Second less vibration at idle according to me and the windshield.

Third it spins up very smooth and fast in the RPM ranges. It does just feel like it is on in the power band whatever band you are running in.

Again my Left was way out and my right was out.

It is a very worthwhile and notable difference to me.

As I said the more I do the more we should be able to hear others take on how it effects their bikes.

I am saying it is a very big difference you will know when it is done.
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post #31 of 153 Old Aug 6th, 2017, 12:46 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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It is a very worthwhile and notable difference to me.... I am saying it is a very big difference you will know when it is done.
That's great to know and makes me want to f/u and find out if mine was really checked or I was faked out I don't know which. I tend to think the cam chain tensioner was not removed prior to placing the alignment tool, but I'm not certain. I can say though quite often the bike starts immediately in the first revolution and is ready to go. I would really like to see if it could be improved upon esp for the idle roughness. Would you say your bike is running 'less rough', or maybe it never seemed rough to you? What is the cost for the required tools if you don't mind, approximately? I don't have whatever is required to pull the ignition coil I think it is, and don't know if anything special is needed for the spark plugs beyond the correct sized deep socket. I just have basic sockets and a spark plug socket I bought 40y ago, and torx sockets and drives and torque wrenches.

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post #32 of 153 Old Aug 7th, 2017, 4:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

And here is one more data point to cam timing being a issue that should not be IMHO

'16 GSW going in for 12K at 12,000 miles on the dot. Has been documented on the 12K service ticket to have cam timing done.

We checked it today before it goes in Wednesday.

Here is the right:



His right is way out as the above picture shows.

Here is his left:



As you see it is close. Mine was off or out of time the exact same way, just opposite cylinders. I like this picture of looking into the left cylinder.




And while we are looking that cam shaft sensor on the end of the cam has a line mark on it. According to the Factory Procedure I read it is supposed to be lined up with the groove along the side of the sensor pick up. I can tell you this is a 1/4" off that mark.



So next will be a 16 RT fresh out of the 12K Service. Now I can not say for sure it was asked for explicitly but It was said to do all that is required for the 12K. We will see if a dealer considers checking cam timing in the 12K.

YMMV
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post #33 of 153 Old Aug 10th, 2017, 8:25 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

So the above GS goes in for the 12k. Cam timing to be checked. Owner calls checking on his bike. Was told to mechanic said the cams are in time as he can tell by looking at them and they are set from the factory. So the owner said well I want them checked proper. Well she says it will add another 1 hour of labor and they have to check if they have the tools!

You know I do not care what you guys think of your dealers IMHO they are a bunch of slimy money grubbing used car salesman that bought motorcycle shops!

Seriously this is so unacceptable to owners of motorcycles no matter brand.

I swear I will never ever darken a dealers door no matter what. This is why I do not and do not trust them.

Now I know the 16 I am going to check will be out as it came from the same shop.

You guys better start rethinking how much those stamps in your book are worth knowing that they may be worthless.

I am off to RI for a cam check next week. 6 hour drive but am glad to travel and feel better letting people see how this is done and save them from getting ripped off by a dealer.

Imagine a BMW shop not having these tools and can say they looked at something and say they are in spec.

I expected no less. What a joke.

So tomorrow I go over and set the timing on the GS.
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post #34 of 153 Old Aug 12th, 2017, 8:04 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

As a follow up a 16 GS came back after a "Skinny" 12K

Valve check, air filter, plugs. Tried to get the cam timing checked as was told it would be a hour more labor, really no need as they are set at the factory, and they would have to check if the tools were available.

Well we knew the cam timing was out and he would have given them the extra hour for them to do it and note it for documentation on his bike, but the uncertainty of them having the tools and getting it done in a reasonable time frame was no way a reality. They had the bike since Tuesday and this was Friday afternoon when this information was given.

So the bike was on a trailer to and from and we got it on the lift around 1:00 today and were washed up by 3:30 tools away bike buttoned up and a ginger ale in our hands.

Setting the timing did loosen some of the valve settings. We know this as we had our original check, the shops check, and then our check today after setting the cams.

Before someone goes off the deep end it made the difference of 15 tight, and 15 smooth. Not a huge amount but enough.

I have a few more bikes to do so may add more data if it holds true. In the BMW DVD it does say to do a cam timing check and then the valves and we found out today why. It did make a difference on this bike.

Pretty cool stuff and this guy is a worry type of guy and his releife of going through this with me the second time he just was very relaxed and at ease about his bike.

Also we did get the cam sensor on the exhaust cam, left side, set into the correct position. It was way, way, way off.

The sky is not falling but I have a feeling there are a bunch of LC bikes out there out of time.
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post #35 of 153 Old Aug 12th, 2017, 9:40 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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The sky is not falling but I have a feeling there are a bunch of LC bikes out there out of time.
So should you check and set as need the cam timing first, then do the valve check and adjust as needed?

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post #36 of 153 Old Aug 13th, 2017, 4:03 am Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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So should you check and set as need the cam timing first, then do the valve check and adjust as needed?
This will be my procedure from now on. I will set timing then do valve check. You do move the cam lobe in relation to the contact of the shim. It is pretty slight but depending on how much it is off it could make a difference in the measurement.

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post #37 of 153 Old Aug 13th, 2017, 9:37 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Lee - thanks! You have just confirmed what Beech had been saying all along, but you also provided tons of details and data. The latter is most valuable.

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post #38 of 153 Old Aug 13th, 2017, 7:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Lee - thanks! You have just confirmed what Beech had been saying all along, but you also provided tons of details and data. The latter is most valuable.
I am thrilled to give back. This Forum has given so much to me in information I gladly give whatever I can back.

I am certainly not a certified BMW Technician or a master mechanic. But I have studied this procedure and performed it 3 times now and it seems to help a range of problems.

Today I ran the GS-911 on said GS. I reset transmission and we did a relearn. I reset throttle grip position, and just about anything the GS-911 will do on a GS.

We then ran 100 miles on back twisting roads. At a Birch Beer Float stop the first thing out of Mikes mouth was I do not feel surging under light throttle load as I had. The second was you know since you set the timing it has started on the first try every time. That was intermittent before.

He said his Shift Pro May feel better but he needed to try and use it more.

I asked him if he thought any of this might be placebo and he said well the start for sure is not, and I will concentrate on the surge on our last 50 miles. He then said as we split off it was not surging.

I never had a surging issue at all. However my bike did develop the no start first try, it does light off in the first to second revolution of the motor so I know something fixed that on mine. I also used the GS-911 on mine after I did the 12K and ran EVERY item that could be run on a RT LC.

So committing the mortal sin of one thing at a time to see what happens I threw the book at mine. Was it the GS-911 resetting stuff? Or was it the timing?

I had used the GS-911 on my bike before and still developed this not firing right off. So I can only feel that timing was the issue.

The next one I will see what is what and try and develop a method of doing things. Since I have decided I will set timing then check valves. I will now try and be selective with what I use out of the GS-911 software and have the owner run it in between each setting change. Of course that will be after I listen to what they feel their issues are if anything.

I am truly happy I helped this guy out as he is a great guy and a great rider.

I am having fun and am happy so that counts big time for me.

I want to try and make the Four Winds Rally this coming weekend, and then the Finger Lake Rally and see some people up there and maybe do a tech session to show guys how these tools work and take all the mystery out of this. Showing people how the tools work so more people get them and can pass them around. Once I see a guy use the tools and see he understands them I think I will be fine lending them out.

Cant always get in life, one needs to give back to have a bit of balance.

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post #39 of 153 Old Aug 14th, 2017, 8:47 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

If the symptoms that you have been describing are caused by the cam timing being out, then it is possible that I have one of the few wetheads that have the correct cam timing, as reported by Beech! My RT always start right up, from new, cold or hot. Never surges, unless the right wrist commands it! Idling is considered to be normal. However, I will still ask the dealer tech. to make a check when the bike goes in for new tires, which might be early next year. This year, my riding will be cut short to around the end of October. New Zealand, is where I will be riding!

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post #40 of 153 Old Aug 15th, 2017, 5:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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If the symptoms that you have been describing are caused by the cam timing being out, then it is possible that I have one of the few wetheads that have the correct cam timing, as reported by Beech! My RT always start right up, from new, cold or hot. Never surges, unless the right wrist commands it! Idling is considered to be normal. However, I will still ask the dealer tech. to make a check when the bike goes in for new tires, which might be early next year. This year, my riding will be cut short to around the end of October. New Zealand, is where I will be riding!
Off to RI today for more data points on a 6K wethead RT

Will check valves before cam adjust then after to get a little info there to see if anything proofs out.

6K it should be in. If not then it looks like something with a factory issue.

Will post up tomorrow when I get home.

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post #41 of 153 Old Aug 20th, 2017, 5:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Went to RI on Tuesday. Up and back same day 710 mile ride.

16 RT 6000 miles.

Left side cam timing was off. Right side was fine. Left was only off a small bit but we put it into spec.

Nothing else to report valves were all good as expected.

Cam sensor was to spec where others have not been.

Still will work on getting more done.

I have another 16, my father in law, and will try to get it done this week. Mine and the GS were out and mine was really out and the worse so far.

I rode 1000 miles with the GS this weekend at Four Winds Rally and it starts first crank every time and Mike is still very pleased. Also looks like fuel mileage has gone up on his bike a small amount but will keep gathering data on that from him.

Life is good,
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post #42 of 153 Old Aug 21st, 2017, 8:40 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Thanks Lee. Goes to show that BMW isn't doing a good job of setting the timing correctly at the factory. Beech had found a small percentage of the wethead that he had worked on had the correct cam timing, and so some do get through correctly.

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #43 of 153 Old Aug 21st, 2017, 1:03 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

NEVER trust ANY bike shop....NEVER. Stamps?? I saw them in the book when I bought this last bike. Just laughed. Noticed a 99 buck charge to change rear differential fluid....5 minutes and .24 quarts? 99 bucks??

I still see a variable with the oil controlled cam chain tensioner.....how do you KNOW its the same as your manual tensioner used to set them? You don't.

That in itself is the variable in all this. Plus you are not timing off the crank. Just top dead center.

To many in line 4's in my past I guess.
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post #44 of 153 Old Aug 21st, 2017, 1:22 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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NEVER trust ANY bike shop....NEVER. Stamps?? I saw them in the book when I bought this last bike. Just laughed. Noticed a 99 buck charge to change rear differential fluid....5 minutes and .24 quarts? 99 bucks??

I still see a variable with the oil controlled cam chain tensioner.....how do you KNOW its the same as your manual tensioner used to set them? You don't.

That in itself is the variable in all this. Plus you are not timing off the crank. Just top dead center.


To many in line 4's in my past I guess.
There are many reasons as to why one should do their own maintenance works, BUT the highlighted quote above tells me that you know absolutely nothing about the wethead boxer powerplant! If you are at all interested in learning, you will do well to read and try to understand the treads that Lee had linked in his first post! You are just absolutely wrong in all counts.

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #45 of 153 Old Aug 21st, 2017, 3:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Got my first GSA getting ready for the hook. Sometime after September 6th. Close to home so that is good.

Will check the 16 RT with 14K next week.

Like I said the sky is NOT falling but as a few before me, I am seeing practical proof that there is a number of wetheads out there that are out of time.

If you are happy with the way your bike runs and are happy then cam timing is of no consequence or interest to you.

However when something is either go or no go, I want go. It is that simple. How out of time bikes manifest themselves may be different due to riding habits, and how far out it is. Also the cam sensor being off is concerning and that one may be the hard starts that people experience after a period of time.

I have no hard on for BMW, I just think at the price of the bike it should be right. And I also think any BMW shop should have the tools and skill set to check this at valve check intervals. And it does not take 1 hour to check them or a total hour to set both when open for a valve check.

YMMV
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post #46 of 153 Old Aug 21st, 2017, 6:07 pm
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

If your manual tensioner does not apply the same pressure as the oil unit that runs on it there is NO way to actually know if it is correct. That is my sole argument.

On ANY performance engine a manual tensioner is used which is set to run, Degree wheel on crank, timing checked. Opening and closing numbers at valve lash checked. Lob center found or set to cam grinder specs.
That is universal.

You are changing the tensioner, and do not know for sure what its doing when the engine is running. yeah its close more than likely. Close is good enough in this case with a stock engine that honestly within 2-3 degrees lob center will NEVER show unless on a dyno. When you have dealt with some of the applications with MINIMAL valve to piston that I have at times I think I am qualified enough to know a few things.

Yes, I agree that I have little experience with that particular engine. I will defer to those that work on them. I would bet under a performance application one of the first things to get chunked would be that factory tensioner. Seen em in action.

If setting them with this procedure makes one feel better I am all for it. I'm also not trying to be argumentative. Its just how I see it.
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post #47 of 153 Old Aug 22nd, 2017, 8:54 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

Some people just don't want to learn and kept showing their ignorance!!!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #48 of 153 Old Aug 22nd, 2017, 9:33 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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Some people just don't want to learn and kept showing their ignorance!!!
I figure by about 1972 or so I had set more cams in a motorcycle engine than you...
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post #49 of 153 Old Aug 22nd, 2017, 9:39 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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I figure by about 1972 or so I had set more cams in a motorcycle engine than you...
I doubt that very much since I started working on bikes and cars since the very early '60s! Long before I got my first engineering degree.

You are not incorrect in your last statement, but it is of no value to the thread, and you would understand that IF you knew anything about the new set up of the wethead boxer, and what cam timing (NOT valve timing) really is!

Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.)
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #50 of 153 Old Aug 22nd, 2017, 10:59 am
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Re: 12K Cam Timing

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I doubt that very much since I started working on bikes and cars since the very early '60s! Long before I got my first engineering degree.

You are not incorrect in your last statement, but it is of no value to the thread, and you would understand that IF you knew anything about the new set up of the wethead boxer, and what cam timing (NOT valve timing) really is!

Retired engineer here. Double major. Really no need getting in to what I have done in years past. Sorry it degenerated to a p*$$ing contest. I honestly don't like to be called ignorant. In hindsight I should have never entered this thread and honestly had returned to just delete my last reply. I expressed a opinion that I still think/know is correct but I did pass to those more experienced with that engine. My first real experiences with a BMW were in the mid 70's. A good friend of mine who recently passed. If there was a smarter man in virtually all aspects of machining,innovative racing technique,research development and honestly one of the best riders off road I have ever witnessed I can't name them. Long/short story and Dave (Saddleman) may know this engine builder in NASCAR. My friend looked at a set of heads that had just been ran in 1984 that won the NASCAR championship. He told this engine builder what was wrong. Of course it became a prove it. He proved it. Just been around a lot of good people and involved in a LOT of racing over the years. Cars and bikes. Its always been my passion. If anyone is offended I apologize. Take care.

Last edited by cbxchris; Aug 22nd, 2017 at 11:05 am.
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