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Discussion Starter #1
How much valve noise is "normal" on a 2014 to 2016 boxer?

I get a lot of audible valve noise, or what sounds like valve noise, below 3000 rpm. Below 2000 rpm would be normal, in my opinion, but it still seems like there is a lot.

I researched the service history of my bike, and found that before I owned it, it had the valves checked by the BMW dealer in St. Loius, MO, which I know to be a good dealership and service center, and their records show they did not need adjusting. And it's only been about 2000 miles since that service. So, in theory, it should be fine, and not need valve adjustment again for at least 10k miles.

As I understand it, there is valve height, and then there is timing, where that jig is used to determine of the timing chain and tensioners are all set properly. I kind of wonder if they did not just check the valve heights with a measuring tool, but not the timing, resulting in valve chatter.

But again, this is my first boxer engine, so I am not clear on what "normal" actually is. The engine heads are right there in the open, so I suppose it makes sense that valve noise would be more audible. It is also less once the engine is warmed, but still audible below 3000 rpm. Oil level is fine, and was changed by dealer < 750 miles ago.

Also, I only use 91 octane, ethanol free gas in ALL of my small engines (cars all get standard ethanol blend).

Can anyone offer me some perspective on if I am just being an alarmist and what I am hearing is probably normal, or if I should be concerned?
 

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My 2014 GS was a noisy engine. Lot of people bring this up.
I always ride with ear plugs so when I a few blocks to the store with out them I am always surprised at the engine racket of my K13S also.
 

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My 2018 is very noisy at low rpms, cams are chain driven, most motors have 1 cam chain, boxers have 2. The newer 1250 motor has metal belts instead of chains, supposed to be a bit quieter.
 

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When I have my face shield open my 97 RT sounds a bit mechanical. Sewing machine like to my opinion. but with the helmet buttoned up and wearing ear plugs, it's quite pleasant.
 

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Are you using fuel with a lot a alcohol in it? Does Minnesota use a strange fixture in the winter? I know this sounds weird but when I buy gas in California my bike pings like a pinball machine. There is so much alcohol blended in the fuel. Fill up in Nevada or Arizona and the pinging stops. I always buy Chevron if I can to stay consistent. I noticed it a few years ago when I was at the Long Beach Bike Show. They dump a ton of alcohol in their fuel over there.
 

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Are you using fuel with a lot a alcohol in it? Does Minnesota use a strange fixture in the winter? I know this sounds weird but when I buy gas in California my bike pings like a pinball machine. There is so much alcohol blended in the fuel. Fill up in Nevada or Arizona and the pinging stops. I always buy Chevron if I can to stay consistent. I noticed it a few years ago when I was at the Long Beach Bike Show. They dump a ton of alcohol in their fuel over there.
I believe premium in California is 91 octane. I'm not sure about NV or AZ. Ethanol should actually increase the octane of the fuel, so I wouldn't be looking to blame the ethanol for pinging. Many car guys with highly boosted engines calibrate to run on E85. California is legendary for poor quality gas. On a side note, I filled up a rental car in El Paso, and was stunned to see that it was 85 octane. Yikes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are you using fuel with a lot a alcohol in it?
No. As I stated, I only use ethanol free, non-oxygenated, 91 octane fuel in my small engines. Motorcycles, boat, mowers, weed trimmers, chainsaw, pressure washer, etc. Anything that is not a car gets ethanol free.
 

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My 2018 is very noisy at low rpms, cams are chain driven, most motors have 1 cam chain, boxers have 2. The newer 1250 motor has metal belts instead of chains, supposed to be a bit quieter.
It still has a timing chain. It is just a link style chain vs. a roller chain.
 

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Are you using fuel with a lot a alcohol in it? Does Minnesota use a strange fixture in the winter? I know this sounds weird but when I buy gas in California my bike pings like a pinball machine. There is so much alcohol blended in the fuel. Fill up in Nevada or Arizona and the pinging stops. I always buy Chevron if I can to stay consistent. I noticed it a few years ago when I was at the Long Beach Bike Show. They dump a ton of alcohol in their fuel over there.
It isn’t the alcohol, but the other crap CA puts in their gas that causes the issues. Alcohol will lessen the tendency to detonate as it has higher octane rating that gasoline. That is why some racing classes run on alcohol to support higher compression.
 

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Here in Australia
My 2014 RT makes little valve noise..nothing I can here while sitting on the bike. I run 95 Octane and never have used anything lower.
Used to run 98 Octane but didn't notice any difference.

No Ethanol or any other crap in the fuel.
 

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Are you using fuel with a lot a alcohol in it? Does Minnesota use a strange fixture in the winter? I know this sounds weird but when I buy gas in California my bike pings like a pinball machine. There is so much alcohol blended in the fuel. Fill up in Nevada or Arizona and the pinging stops. I always buy Chevron if I can to stay consistent. I noticed it a few years ago when I was at the Long Beach Bike Show. They dump a ton of alcohol in their fuel over there.
Here's a couple piece of facts that should make you rethink what you said!


1. Gasoline, as refined and delivered from the refinery has an octane rating of about 83!
2. Ethanol has an octane rating of about 112!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It still has a timing chain. It is just a link style chain vs. a roller chain.
This is not chain noise... This is valve noise. Chain noise, I actually don't mind. But chattering valves bother me, because I think something is wrong with the engine. With 91 octane ethanol free gasoline, I doubt the fuel is the problem. I am just wondering how much valve noise is normal below 3000 rpm. I CAN hear it while moving, with my helmet on, and shield down.
 

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This is not chain noise... This is valve noise. Chain noise, I actually don't mind. But chattering valves bother me, because I think something is wrong with the engine. With 91 octane ethanol free gasoline, I doubt the fuel is the problem. I am just wondering how much valve noise is normal below 3000 rpm. I CAN hear it while moving, with my helmet on, and shield down.
Maybe find someone near you to compare to or dealer might have one you could listen to, but these are extremely noisy motors below 3k rpm, they changed the roller chains to a toothed style chain to quiet them down a bit, do not know what your previous bike was but I switched from a super quiet K1600 GTL and after a year I am just getting used to the RT, when it is in the 90s and motor hot just off a long highway run sometimes it sounds like there is something major wrong at low rpms. The last R I had was a pushrod 2 valve motor that was very quiet so I found the 18 unnerving for awhile.
Best compare to another 14 to 18.
 

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I usually use earbuds while riding. When I don't have them in I can say that the engine sound of the '16 RT is...uninspiring. It's a minor nit to pick but a better sounding motor would be nice. A "throatier" exhaust might help but I'm not willing to drop $1000 when my current exhaust is working fine. I the current exhaust wears out during my lifetime I'll probably change to Akropovic but I won't do it just for the sound...


My $0.02

Ski
 
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Here's a couple piece of facts that should make you rethink what you said!

1. Gasoline, as refined and delivered from the refinery has an octane rating of about 83!
2. Ethanol has an octane rating of about 112!!!

Octane isn't the issue. Its the Pre-Ignition from the alcohol that causes the ping.
The manual says not use any fuel with more than 10% Ethanol in it.
 

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Octane isn't the issue. Its the Pre-Ignition from the alcohol that causes the ping.
The manual says not use any fuel with more than 10% Ethanol in it.
The alcohol isn’t the issue as many other states use ethanol with no such problems. The issue is the other additives that CA requires for pollution control purposes. Their fuel is harder to make and thus more expensive and is unlike gasoline in all other states.

Using more than E10 can have bad affects on the fuel system materials and that is the main reason it is prohibited.
 
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Octane isn't the issue. Its the Pre-Ignition from the alcohol that causes the ping.
The manual says not use any fuel with more than 10% Ethanol in it.
That don't make any sense at all!!!! What do you think octane rating is about? Go and Google it before you step in deeper! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I hate when topics/threads get hijacked. My original question had nothing to do with ethanol free or different octane levels and how they burn. It's also not about ear plugs. I also know the difference between valve and chain noise.

My question was to determine how much valve noise is considered normal in a 2014 boxer engine.

I do notice it's reduced a bit when the engine warms up, though once the engine is warm, and the idle is a bit slower, there is a little bit of vibration.

Taking it for a valve & timing adjustment could be expensive, and it was just done less than 2k miles ago, where it should not need it for another 10k.
 

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On my 18, same motor, if I get down on my hands and knees with one ear 2 inches from the rocker cover I can hear the valves ticking but much further away the motor makes so much mechanical noise I cannot hear them, if I could hear them while standing beside bike or sitting on it would remove valve covers and check them. My motor makes clacking clunking whirring noises a lot below 3k rpm depending on motor temp. and the timing chains are all I can hear at low rpms sitting on the bike.
 
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