service/maintenance intervals??? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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service/maintenance intervals???

are the numbers in the owners manual correct that the first valve adjustment is due at 15,000 miles???

that doesn't sound right. on both of our previous bikes, and my friends recent bikes, the first service including valve adjustment is due at 600-1,000 miles.


so are the numbers in the owners manual accurate, or is there a updated/more accurate service interval chart somewhere???

thanks.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 07:32 AM
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15,000 is correct. During my pre-purchase research it is one of the reasons I picked the Vulcan over the Suzi M90 I was looking at which had a valve adjustment interval of 7,000 miles.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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that just sounds scary to me when thinking about my previous bikes. I don't have the service manual for this bike yet, so perhaps you guys could answer this for me.

what is the difference in parts in the engine that allows this bike to go so long without a valve adjustment compared to my 04 Suzuki Volusia VL800 and 07 kawasaki ninja 250???


on both of my bikes, doing a valve adjustment and carb balancing (on the ninja) made a WORLD of difference, and as much as i hated having to do valve adjustments on my bikes (i'm a mechanic and do my own work), i did always look forward to the performance boost the bikes got from that work.


I can understand going 15,000 miles after break in, but on a BRAND NEW motor, things have to adjust and settle, so i'm having a hard time with this.

thanks for any help/explanations.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 08:32 AM
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Don't know, but after about 40 grand I still haven't had to adjust the shims.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrClean View Post
Don't know, but after about 40 grand I still haven't had to adjust the shims.
see it's comments like this that have me a bit worried. over on the volusia forum where i'm very active, there are people who make the same remarks regarding valve adjustments.

but here's what you have to think about...............

as you ride down the road, slowly accumulating mile after mile, your bike is continuously wearing out. but since it's wearing, as you are riding it, you don't feel the difference in performance, because it's not a ON-OFF difference.

think of it like going from riding your bike, to trying out somebody elses bike of the same kind. they feel different in power.

when i did the valve adjustment and carb balancing on my wifes ninja and my volusia, the bikes were COMPLETELY different beasts afterwards.

it made improvements in idle, vibrations, how much choke was required, how sensitive i could adjust the choke, and how long choke was required.

it's one thing to go over on mileage for valve adjustments by a little bit. but when i hear people say they have 20, 30, 40, 50,000+ without adjustments, that worries me, because not only are you missing out on the fun of a well performing bike, but you are also causing excessive wear and damage to the engine.


I guess i'll try to research the mechanics of the vulcan engine some more to find out how they are different from my suzuki and ninja engine, and then perhaps i'll just go with my own service schedule. I just think i'd feel better making sure that everything in the engine is properly within spec, and that i'm actually getting all of my available power, and not wasting it on a poorly tuned motor.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 09:01 AM
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I may be wrong, but my read of MrClean's post was that he'd checked the valve lash and didn't need to swap the shims to correct anything.

'99 Vulcan 500, 29k miles

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 09:18 AM
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Okay, I have been dying to ask this. I read on a post several months back that if you neglected the valve adjustment, the valves may not close completely and could then allow hot explosion/exhaust gases to leak back into the intake manifold and do damage there.

However, this sounded backwards to me. I would think it would be designed so that if the shims were worn or to thin, that the valves may not open fully and therefore constrict fuel/air flow into the piston. Of course, some of the exhaust gases may not escape due to this same constiction. This would also limit the amount of fuel/air that could enter the combustion chamber. Still the flow of air is from intake to exhaust. So I don't see how you can scorch your intake manifold with exhaust gases unless the intake valve is slightly open during the actual explosion. But if that is the case wouldn't slightly open valves hinder compression and make the engine run really poorly, if at all? I would think that proper closure of the valve is not the issue, but that complete opening would be the problem after wear has set in.

Can one of you real mechanincs please tell me if I'm crazy or not?

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Last edited by Jeep Pirate; 08-05-2010 at 09:22 AM.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Jeep Pirate........................THAT is exactly what happened to my wifes ninja. it was at the dealer for a week while they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. it had cold start issues, poor performance, etc..etc..

long story short, after the shop couldn't figure out what was wrong, i took it upon myself to go through EVERY possible adjustment and see what was wrong. turns out the valves were way out of adjustment, and the exhaust valves were NOT CLOSING. so think about it. anytime the intake valves open, you have a HUGE LEAK going from the air box, through the carb, through the engine and right out of the exhaust.


as the valves open and close, they slowly wear out the valve seat in the heads, and the valves themselves. so as that wears, it basically allows the valve stem to reach higher and higher until it is making direct contact with the rockers. and then they can't close properly anymore.

after i did a full valve adjustment, and balanced the carbs, that little ninja ran like it had never ran before. my wife jokingly asked me if i could de-tune the bike, cuz it had never ran so strong since the day she bought it.


also one thing people don't realize (not as important on cruisers, but more on sport bikes depending on where you like your performance), is that you can adjust your power band based on where you adjust the valves. there is a "acceptable range" that you can adjust the valves to. adjusting them tighter or looser adjusts the power band either lower or higher in the RPM band.



in this case one of my biggest concerns is that since it's a brand new motor, and brand new parts generally speaking wear in a little faster than broken-in parts, that the valves will seat and tighten up, and if i let it go for 15,000miles, that i'll end up either with a poor performing bike, or worse yet, start burning my valves.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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here is a link that does a fairly good job at explaining how the valves work and wear.

it does mention that many kawasaki V-twins use hydraulic lifters, but if that's the case, then you wouldn't even be able to adjust our clearances.




if we had hydraulic lifters, there would be no adjustments,

and

if we had standard lifters, then i don't see how we could go 15,000 miles without adjustment when on most bikes you check/adjust them every 7,000 miles or less. with the first one at break in (roughly at 1,000 miles +/- a bit) being the most important.


EDIT........i was posting while i was reading the article. Just read the part about shim type adjustment. seems that's where the longevity comes from. also looks like it might be a bit more of a pain in the ass than rocker type setups. LOL at least you don't have to replace parts on the rocker type setups, which means valve adjustments are free if you do it yourself.

damit..........i knew i should have bought a harley with hydraulic lifters. LOL

Last edited by scorpio_vette; 08-05-2010 at 10:05 AM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpio_vette View Post

damit..........i knew i should have bought a harley with hydraulic lifters. LOL
Yeah, but then you would have had to replace your dental work every 15000 miles from all the vibration. So you probably are coming out ahead!

And thanks for the mental image on the valve design. At least I understand a little better now.

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