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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are the tools you need to do cam timing. All three MUST be used to do this correctly.

 

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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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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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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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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