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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of doing my first valve adjustment on 2009 RT and I noticed the rocker arms, intake and exhaust valves are very tight. I could not get my .15mm on the intake and .30mm feeler gauge on the exhaust valves. I have read and followed everyone's DIY procedure of finding the TDC including using the chop stick or plastic straw to determine the TDC, I even watched and followed Jim Von Baden's DVD.

My question to all valve DIYs : Is this normal for a bike that is technically still being broken in with 12K on the ODO? I thought I read somewhere that these valves normally "stay" within the specified clearance.

In any case, I think I can safely and confidently adjust the intake and exhaust valves. What I am worried about is making the adjustment on the rocker arms end play especially the 15mm nut where Jim says "torque to 20nm, then turn 180 degrees".

Does that mean torque the 15mm nut past the 20nm recommended torque settings? I must be missing something here and need your expert technical advice for a "newbie" DIY doing his first valve adjustment.

DC
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09 RT
09 Ultra
 

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1) What are your current clearances and have you measured correctly? Clearances do not change quickly on boxer motors.

2) Get an experienced friend to help you first time. Mistakes could get expensive.

3) I don't use a torque wrench on the locknuts and just do it by feel.
 

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My advice is to not even worry about the End Play adjustment. It is rare that it needs anything until you have a lot of miles on it.... call it 30k or way more.

The advice about TDC is excellent. You MUST know you are there on the compression stroke... meaning that both intake and exhaust valves are closed... closed means the rocker arm is not pressing the valve in/open. Normally you can see and feel this condition.

"Feel" means you can actually rock the rocker arms in/out enough to feel/hear it click against the end of the valve stem. But... if the valves have "stretched" enough that you cannot get the feeler in, then it may not rock at all, and this is your dilemma. You need to know you are on TDC AND Compression at the same time. Doing an adjustment when you are not on the compression stroke is fraught with peril.

So, using the chop stick, the visual method AND the mark on the Cam Chain... all at the same time, you can proceed.

You can think of the valve springs pulling against the valve stem millions of times in those thousands of miles... and visualize the valve stem getting stretched, just a little bit especially when they are new. As the stem gets longer and longer, the clearance gets smaller/less, thus tight valves.

Actually, there is hardly any "stretch" but this analogy helps visualize what you are (and others) are doing.

The reason you have read that the valves may not need much adjustment is for engines that have already "stretched" the valve stems and thus very little adjustment is needed. So, what I am saying is, After Break In is done, you MAY not need much adjustment.

Your engine is not broken in yet, and will not be till something in the neighborhood of 18k miles (typical),

Again... best to leave the end play alone. (there are good reasons for leaving it alone)- mostly to keep you from the temptation to "adjust" or in technical terms "mess" with the nut on the exhaust side.) That nut will look suspiciously like it is not run in enough. Leave it alone!
 

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Rocker endplay is unlikely to need adjusting even if the intake & exhaust valve clearances do (and they may not)

Do you have a set of feeler gauges - if so find out what the gap is now - as racer7 says.

If there is no gap at all, then the motor is not at the correct position for tdc on compression stroke.

As for the torque, are you referring to a cylinder head bolt - if so, these bolts are torque critical and the torquing sequence is 20Nm then a further 180degrees.
 

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JonA said:
Rocker endplay is unlikely to need adjusting even if the intake & exhaust valve clearances do (and they may not)

If there is no gap at all, then the motor is not at the correct position for tdc on compression stroke.
Rocker End play is independent of the valve clearances. They are totally separate things. Put away your ball peen hammer and forget about Rocker End Play.

It is completely possible to have the correct TDC and not be able to insert your feeler gauges. Rare, but possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bob,

OK, I have been replaying the steps that I have performed regarding finding TDC and comparing it to the maintenance DVD and one big difference is the mileage between Jim’s GS and my RT. His is probably 30K plus and mine is only 12K. So perhaps as “Bob” is saying, “leave the End Play alone until my ODO reaches in the neighborhood of 30K+”

So having said that, I will ignore my End Play clearance for now and focus on the “Intake and Exhaust” clearances and review the procedure of finding the “TDC and COMPRESSION Stroke”. I think this is where I am getting mixed up as I rotate my rear tire on 6th gear and I think I am thinking, I am on the “compression” but actually I am on the “exhaust” stroke.

Here is another question, where is the mark on the “CAM Chain” for the left side? I did notice on the right side (looking forward), while rotating the rear tire, and per the DVD, I was able to line up “horizontally the “tab” to point “outward “. But I am having a hard time looking for the so called marker on the left side cam chain.

Thanks,
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hopz said:
It is completely possible to have the correct TDC and not be able to insert your feeler gauges. Rare, but possible.
Bob - this is exactly what my RT is exhibiting. I think my RT is in the "rare" category as I am not able to insert even my .05mm feeler guage on my rocker arms.

However, I may not be fully at TDC so I will first confirm and triple check that I am exactly at TDC before checking the rocker arms endplay tonight after I get home from work...

Dan
 

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Another thing you can do as an experiment is to position at what you think is TDC and see if the gauge goes in. If not, rotate to the 180 degree position see if it still refuses entry. If it is totally tight on both positions then you can be pretty certain that you have tight valves.

Then Return to the TDC position confirmed by all three "guides"... and go for it.

Remember "too loose" is always safer than too tight. I did my valves the first time... at 12k also. Mine were tight also, but I could get something in there.
 

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The primary reasons to adjust endplay are (i) there isn't enough, or (ii) there's too much.

If you grasp the rocker and try to move it up/down, ideally you should see a *tiny* amount of motion -- primarily evidenced by movement of the oil film between the top of the rocker tube and the support block. If there is *zero* freeplay, they are too tight (highly unlikely in a motor with 12K miles). If there is a lot of vertical motion, you likely will have noticed during the last ride that the valve train seemed pretty noisy (a result of the end of the rocker tube slapping the adjacent support block). Unless there is excess noise or the freeplay is over the spec, there's no reason to adjust the endplay.

BTW, unlike the old "torque to XX ft-lb.," it has become common for designers to spec to "torque to xx ft-lb. (a low number to get the nut to a repeatable place), then turn the nut another YY degrees" to achieve a desired level of torque. So, with the stud nuts, you do torque to 20 Newton-meters to get to the starting point for the final torque, and then rotate the nut an additional 180 degrees (ideally with a degree wheel for accuracy).

If you don't need to set the rocker endplay, don't -- it doesn't take too much excess torque (as by over-shooting the rotation amount) to strip the cylinder studs out of the engine case.

BTW2, valves don't "stretch" -- the valve seat/valve head interface wears, allowing the valve stem to move toward the rocker arm tip as the valve comes to rest deeper into the seat, i.e., the stem's outward motion tends to close the valve clearance over time. After the initial break-in, the oilhead/herxhead valve seats/valves generally do not wear at a high rate, i.e., the clearances remain stable for a long time (unlike airheads, which can close up frightfully fast if the old bad-alloy seats are still in place). After this adjustment, you should only need to do checks, not much actual adjusting.

DCR1200RT said:
Here is another question, where is the mark on the “CAM Chain” for the left side? I did notice on the right side (looking forward), while rotating the rear tire, and per the DVD, I was able to line up “horizontally the “tab” to point “outward “. But I am having a hard time looking for the so called marker on the left side cam chain.
My memory is there is no left marker -- you use the right cam sprocket marker, 180 degrees away from the right TDC compression position (i.e., the right cam sprocket tab pointing toward the left cylinder).
 

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I just did the valve adjust on my 2009 R1200RT. 11,600 miles.
Also watched Jims video.
Pulled the plugs and put it 6th gear.
Working on the right side first, rotate rear wheel until you see the lug on the gear looking at you. (90 degrees to the flat of the head base.) Now rotate the rear wheel again untill the lug is on the inside (180 degrees or away from you.) You will see a mark (LINE ON THE GEAR) That line is 180 degrees from the lug. When you are rotating the rear wheel you will see the valve springs relax.You should be able to feel play in the exhaust and intake rockers. Then i adjusted them the way Jim showed it. Spun it 180 degrees so the lug is looking at me. Then you adjust the left side. Video is a little confusing because he shows the lug out when he looks like he is adjusting the right side.
Hpoe i did not confuse you more.
I left the end play alone it was in spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Got my valves adjusted last night and basically I’ve learned many valuable techniques from everyone here who performed their own valve adjustment and I would like to share my own experience for any future and aspiring DIYs…

1. Open/remove left and right cylinder head cover
2. Remove left and right primary spark plug
3. Shift and place the transmission gear shift to 6th gear
4. Go to the right side of the RT, looking forward, begin rotating the rear wheel in the forward motion
5. Still looking at the right side cylinder head, begin looking for the LUG on the CAM Chain to come to view
6. When the LUG on the CAM Chain is positioned or pointing outwards, toward the right side, or at 90 degree angle from your level floor—stop rear wheel rotation
7. Go to the LEFT side of your RT and inspect your intake and exhaust valves. It should be loose and ready for adjustment
8. When the left side valves are complete, go to the right side on the RT
9. Rotate the rear wheel in the forward motion and look for an ARROW mark on the CAM chain SPROCKET to point outwards, and at 90 degrees from your level floor (Basically a 180 degree rotation referencing the LUG on the CAM Chain)
10. Inspect the right side valves and if they are loose, it is ready for adjustments.


I also used the chop “stick or plastic straw” method to ascertain that I am at TDC for the left & right cylinder.

In Summary I believe there are three check points to ascertain that you are at the correct valve position:

- LUG pointing out at 90 degrees, (LEFT valves should be loose ready for adjustment)
- Check TDC using the” chopstick or plastic straw”
- Check rocker arms and for  ARROW at 90 degrees, (RIGHT valves should be loose ready for adjustment)

Please let me know if I have missed a step or if I have any erroneous information.

Thanks,
Dan
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09 RT
09 Ultra
 

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That is great... now, next time all you have to do is get the straw... rotate the rear wheel till the straw pushes out as far as it is going to... if both the rockers are able to the moved, this means the valves are closed... again, Loose=Closed and you can proceed with the adjustment.

The other side works the same way... then the valves are closed (loose enough to feel that they are loose)- you are good to go.

Fact of the matter is, TDC is a pretty broad spot...

We could have said this before but it would not be meaningful to you, or to others. Now you have educated fingers... you can "feel" when you are there.

congratulations!

Next time... pull all 4 plugs and inspect them. At 18k they ought to be good but it never hurts to look.
 

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And on two forums no less.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
By the way my valves were so tight that I was having difficulty inserting my .15mm feeler gauge even at the exhaust valves, which is supposedly set at .30mm...

Perhaps, when I get a chance to road test this weekend, the "tapping/chattering" sound that I hear at 3500RPM when up-shifting would go away...I hope

The "rocker arms", well, someday I may gather enough courage and to [email protected]+ miles! But for now I will take eveyone's advice and leave it alone...

Dang, I am really liking wrenching the RT. Adjusting the valves last night reminded my of my '74 Honda 400F cafe racer...

Dan
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'09 RT
'09 Ultra
'03 Softail - gone
'81 Yamaha 750 Seca - gone
'74 Honda 400F - gone
'74 Yamha Enduro 250 - gone
 
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