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2003 1200LT
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Greetings, my LT just turned over 20,832 miles a few days ago after my first ride post-winter refurb project. I didn't check plugs wire or valve adjustment during all this because to be honest it just sounded in perfect shape...minimal starting time, correct idle speed, have not heard the slightest blip in idle speed or acceleration, nothing out of the ordinary in engine noise, not tapping or anything that I would associate with possible valves needing adjustment. The bike has some white steam upon first start and then it goes away upon warmup. No residue at the exhaust pipe exit. I don't have a mileage review yet although the PO reported mid-40s on one of our trips.

My 04 'R I had checked twice when I owned it, nothing needed adjustment. My 05 'RT I had checked twice in the four years I owned it (and put on several thousand miles), nothing needed adjusted. They both had several thousand more miles on them than this 2003 LT.

What motivates you to check your valves and am I missing something that would be a telltale?
 

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The motivation is you need reverse thinking. It is not the cam or tappets that wear but the valve and valve seats. That means that over time, the clearance becomes less, not more so you will never hear the valve make any noise before it starts to burn. If you haven't checked them ever yet, then taking a baseline reading and keeping it on file is a good thing to do. Adjustments are a pain in the butt because it requires removal of the chain and cams and a new bucket of a different thickness to bring back the appropriate clearance. Many are able to simply move buckets around making the number of new ones you need fewer and costing less over all. They don't wear fast unless you are constantly bouncing off the rev limiter. It is worth doing a baseline reading though. You won't know what buckets you have till you remove them so no need to buy any till you know what you need. The cover gasket is reusable with a few strategic dabs of sealant at the half moons. O2 safe of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The motivation is you need reverse thinking. It is not the cam or tappets that wear but the valve and valve seats. That means that over time, the clearance becomes less, not more so you will never hear the valve make any noise before it starts to burn. If you haven't checked them ever yet, then taking a baseline reading and keeping it on file is a good thing to do. Adjustments are a pain in the butt because it requires removal of the chain and cams and a new bucket of a different thickness to bring back the appropriate clearance. Many are able to simply move buckets around making the number of new ones you need fewer and costing less over all. They don't wear fast unless you are constantly bouncing off the rev limiter. It is worth doing a baseline reading though. You won't know what buckets you have till you remove them so no need to buy any till you know what you need. The cover gasket is reusable with a few strategic dabs of sealant at the half moons. O2 safe of course.
Thanks for the explanation and it sounds like more than I want to do for awhile, lol. I get the part of having a baseline but let us assume things are normal...what queues me to check again if I can't detect any symptoms? Another 20k on the motor? Adjustment does sound like a pain. On the R I recall just having some shims to check clearance, how much time will a baseline take? Have to get to the valves, obviously...
 

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If you have the left side tupperware off, you can simply remove the left valve cover. 6 or 8 bolts and they re right in front of you. Place the bike on the CS, and in 5th gear. Bump the engine forward with your foot till the lobes are pointing away from the tappets and then take a measurement. Keep putting in larger feeler gauges till you can't fit the next size or combination of the next size in and write it down. Don't have the book in front of me to give you the acceptable value range. If it is too tight, then the bucket should be swapped for the next smaller size. If it is just barely too tight, you might opt for waiting another service cycle or two and check again. That would be up to you and how granular your stacking of feeler gauges is. That still won't tell you what buckets you need till you pull the cams and check underneath but it will give you that baseline on what is changing on the next service interval. Measuring will take less than an hour if you already have her undressed.
 

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Thanks for the explanation and it sounds like more than I want to do for awhile, lol. I get the part of having a baseline but let us assume things are normal...what queues me to check again if I can't detect any symptoms? Another 20k on the motor? Adjustment does sound like a pain. On the R I recall just having some shims to check clearance, how much time will a baseline take? Have to get to the valves, obviously...
On a K1200 (and K100, K75, K1100) the valves will NOT make noise as they get tighter - neither will it loose much compression when hot unless they are much below minimum clearance. So you cannot wait until you see symptoms.

It is your money and your bike, you can do whatever you want... HOWEVER If one or a few valves are a bit on the tight side of clearance (most common during wear / mileage), you will burn one or more valves running like this for a few thousand miles. This can "potentially" become a very expensive job if valves or seats are damaged.

If this the 1st valve check under YOUR CONTROL, do NOT trust what has been done before - even if it is written on an invoice or stamped into the maintenance log book. If it was documented by an aviation AME, I would certainly trust it, but for anything else on used motorcycle , I WOULD NOT !

I have seen so many bad maintenance job in last 40 years (even from so-called certified dealers). My point of view here is not based on probability that they are tight , it is based on the "potential" damage if you do nothing while you could easily have done at least a measurement / check. Only then can you have a baseline for your next valves check.
 

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My browser made me write this again.. aaarrrgggg!

Do get yourself a maintenance schedule. Should also be in your user manual.
The valve check is at 40,000km if I recall properly.

As others have pointed out, the valve tighten over time and do not make noise, leading to a burned valve or worse.
So, if your valve train is noisy, I guess that's kinda good?
To be sure, do check the the valve clearance. Kirk made it super easy. Check the video.
I'm attaching an excel sheet to keep a record of your measurements.
This one was made for the K1200R/S in which the motor is transversal, but you can modify for the K12LT.
Couldn't find the one I made for the LT.

Enjoy!
 

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Valve checks at each 12,000 mile service. Most go to 48 K before an adjustment is required, but always check them. It only takes an hour or two to do. Make sure the cam lobe is pointing away from the bucket surface.
 

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Greetings, my LT just turned over 20,832 miles a few days ago after my first ride post-winter refurb project. I didn't check plugs wire or valve adjustment during all this because to be honest it just sounded in perfect shape...minimal starting time, correct idle speed, have not heard the slightest blip in idle speed or acceleration, nothing out of the ordinary in engine noise, not tapping or anything that I would associate with possible valves needing adjustment. The bike has some white steam upon first start and then it goes away upon warmup. No residue at the exhaust pipe exit. I don't have a mileage review yet although the PO reported mid-40s on one of our trips.

My 04 'R I had checked twice when I owned it, nothing needed adjustment. My 05 'RT I had checked twice in the four years I owned it (and put on several thousand miles), nothing needed adjusted. They both had several thousand more miles on them than this 2003 LT.

What motivates you to check your valves and am I missing something that would be a telltale?
The maintenance schedule is the motivation. :grin:

I developed a spreadsheet that will not only keep track of the measurements, but will compare them against the specs and tell you which buckets need to be changed and will tell you how many buckets you need to buy and of what size.
 

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if you have the plastic off the bike on the left side it will only take an hour to measure the clearance on all your intake and exhaust valves and then you will have a baseline to compare with at a later date. I first checked mine at 20K miles and all of the intake were at 0.15mm and all of the exhaust were at 0.25 mm. Now just recently at almost 70K miles I checked them again and 4 of the intake valves were at 0.13 mm. All of the exhaust valve clearances are still at 0.25 mm. See my post today looking for replacement buckets.

But the baseline helped me to understand what wear is occurring in the valve seats. There is a 0.02 mm change in 4 of the intake valves. That is not very much after 70K miles of riding.

So take a little time to establish your baseline. The LT is a reliable machine if you take good care of her.

Alex
 

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I'm attaching an excel sheet to keep a record of your measurements.
This one was made for the K1200R/S in which the motor is transversal, but you can modify for the K12LT.
Couldn't find the one I made for the LT.

Enjoy!
Just an FYI, the one you made for the LT was just on another tab on the spreadsheet you attached :)
 
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Just an FYI, the one you made for the LT was just on another tab on the spreadsheet you attached :)
that's why I couldn't find it, hehe!
Wish I had at the time more resolution for the gauges.
Sadly, the bike has only covered 1,000 km (if that) since 2016.
The problem of traveling up to 80% of my time, having like 6 bikes in the garage, and a few cars.
... and a dictatorial regime for a robberment...
There's never enough time!!!
 
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