This weekend, and I do mean all weekend, I adjusted the valves on the KLR650. It obviously worked because I got to work with no problems. I broke one of the golden rules of motorcycle maintenance by not test riding it before hand, the commute WAS the test ride.
Kawasaki doesn't make it easy to get in there. The KLR uses valve shims (little metal discs) of differing thicknesses to adjust the valves. You never know what you're going to need until you open it up and check the clearances. The last time I did this on my old '08 KLR I dropped a socket into the engine and had to tear apart part of the bottom end to get it. I tried to be a little more anal this time about packing the holes with rags.
Here's some gobbity gook unless you know what this means...
Left Exhaust (Spec .006 - .010"):
Measured Clearance: .002"
Current Shim: 250
Needed Shim: 230
New Clearance: .010"
Right Exhaust (Spec .006 - .010"):
Measured Clearance: .005"
Current Shim: 240
Needed Shim: 230
New Clearance: .011"
Left Intake (Spec .004 - .008"):
Measured Clearance: .004"
Current Shim: 255
Needed Shim: 245
New Clearance: .008"
Right Intake (Spec .004 - .008"):
Measured Clearance: .006"
Current Shim: 265
Needed Shim: 260
New Clearance: .006"
Reading this you can see how out of spec the left exhaust was. I went to Golden Gate Cycles in SF to get the shims I needed. They RAPED me there at $13 each. I'll never go back there. I try to aim to get a new shim to the higher clearance spec as the valves tighten over time. You might notice that both right side shims did not get the desired clearance. I account this to whoever did this job before me as they WAY OVERTIGHTENED the caps. I could barely get them off. They only need to be 104" lbs. I figure my clearances that I measured got messed up because they were so tight. You never know what you're going to get when you tear into a used bike and I found a few surprises (red loctite in the engine).
Anyway it works great. Go me! See you in another 10,000 miles.
Lucas, neighbor bud, came over on Sunday and helped my finish up and install my heated grips. Heated grips in the winter are like heaven.