Is there a mileage this is prevalent at?After much pissing and moaning on my part about my ticking engine (the dealership service guys walk the other way when they see me coming), and no one wanting to fix it, I decided to tackle it myself. I’ve never done anything of this depth to a motorcycle before, and it wasn’t as hard or time consuming as I thought it would be. To give you an idea of my skill level, I have done a lot of minor repairs to cars. Water pumps, alternators, starters, power steering units, radiators, and such, but no real internal work (cams, lifters, pistons, etc.). This job took me probably 15 hours over 2 days.
If your bike is just ticking for a few minutes after start-up and then clearing up, I wouldn’t bother with this. Mine was persistent and at times loud enough to be heard over my Hardkrome pipes at moderate speeds.
If you don’t have a shop manual, I suggest getting one. For everything in this job, this manual should work for any year. I’ll post some pics, but I suggest taking pics of your stuff before taking it apart so you can see how it goes back together. I’ll refer to left (driver’s side) and right (passenger side).
The parts I ordered: 8 HLAs, 2 intake rocker shafts, 2 exhaust rocker shafts (unnecessary), rocker cover gaskets, 2 spark plugs.
I drilled 1mm holes in my rocker shaft screens (pic below). If you’re ordering new rocker shafts, know that only the intake shafts have screens, so replacing the exhaust ones is probably pointless.
Before you ask, yes, you do have to lower the engine to take the rocker covers off. I tried briefly to take just the front one off, but there’s one bolt that won’t come out far enough to do it. The way I lowered it, you don’t have to completely remove the down tubes, the radiator or the exhaust, or even the right floorboard.
Apart from the usual wrenches & screwdrivers & stuff you’ll need a motorcycle lift (I have the $70 Harbour Freight one), a front wheel chock, and probably 2 torque wrenches, one for in-lbs. and one for up to 80 ft-lbs.
I also took this opportunity to replace the spark plugs. The engine has to be lowered to do the rear one and I don’t want to have to do this again anytime soon.EDIT Disregard this. The engine DOES NOT have to be lowered to change the plugs. It can be done with an extension and a universal joint.
First, stand the bike up in a wheel chock. You’ll want it upright.
As you take things apart, lay them out so you know what goes to what. I even used masking tape and a Sharpie to label some of the bolts. Too many times I’ve had that stray little bolt or whatchmahoozit left over when I was done. Probably don’t want that here.
Remove: Seat, fuel tank (this is the kind of stuff where the manual comes in handy), the top piece of the headlight nacelle (where applicable), side covers, left floorboard (put the bolts back in to hold the shift lever on). My crash bars poke out over the front rocker cover, so they had to come off. Either way, the bolts that hold on the bottom of the crash bars (1 on the right, 2 on the left) will have to be loosened.
Drain the coolant.
This wire retainer is on the left side of the frame by the neck. Take it off.
This little guy is on top of the frame. Disconnect it. The ground wire, too.
What we’re doing is freeing stuff up for when the engine is lowered.
On this guy, take off the 2 longer hoses and disconnect the electrical fitting. The hose to the air box can stay.
Remove the top radiator hose and unbolt the fill assembly.
Remove the overflow tube, the hose on the bottom of this unit, and lay it back behind the tank bumper as shown.
Remove the exhaust bolts that hold the exhaust to the main frame, behind the down tube.
Remove this cover on the left side (all 3 pieces).
Remove the top motor mount. Take the top bolts out of the frame so the throttle cables can move when the engine is lowered. You can leave the mount hanging by the wire that runs through it.
Remove the radiator cover and the top bolt that holds the radiator to the frame.
On the left side of the frame, above the rear cylinder there’s a small hose in a plastic retainer. Remove it from the retainer.
Now it gets interesting. Loosen all down tube bolts.
Put your lift under the middle of the bike, ahead of the down tube joint. Go in from the right side. Make sure the lift is under both down tubes. Jack it up “a bit”
Remove the top down tube bolts. Remove only the front down tube bolts on the bottom. This will be the “hinge” that will help everything line back up.
The frame where the top of the down tubes are has protruberances (shown), so you have to pull out on the down tubes. You may have to loosen the crash bar bolts some more.
There are 2 large bolts by the rear pulley (where the drive belt is), one below it and 1 above it & to the left. They have to come out and they’re kind of a bitch. The nut for the lower one is below the oil reservoir. It’s blurry in this pic (sorry).
Now you’re ready to lower the engine. Just lower it a bit and look around to make sure nothing’s hanging up (wires, cables, hoses, etc). If it gets to where it won’t lower enough, check the drive belt. If it’s tight on the top and loose on the bottom, slowly pull the clutch lever. You want to lower the rear cylinder about 1 inch. The front will go down farther because of the “hinge”. If nothing got hung up, there shouldn’t be any wires or hoses stretched tight.
Remove the rocker covers. I made a 1-10 chart for bolt location on each cylinder and labeled each bolt, since there are 2 different lengths and I didn’t want any mix ups.
Here’s what it looks like with the rocker covers off . Sorry, I didn’t get a pic of it lowered with the covers still on.
Now, I did 1 rocker arm at a time to avoid mixing anything up. But I’d take all 6 of the top bolts out. That way, when you pull the little plug thing out the shafts will come out a little with it (the little curved wire thing at bottom center here).
Pull the shaft out, wiggle the rocker arm out and do what you’re gonna with the HLAs. I figured if I’m going to this much trouble, I’m just replacing them all. Here’s a shot with the rocker arm and some of the HLAs, old and new. The HLAs can just be pulled out with your fingers, or some pliers. The new ones just push in.
Here are the old & new intake rocker shafts. Note the 1mm hole in the screen on the new one. The size of the hole doesn’t have to be exact, but I wouldn’t go any bigger than that.
Get the new (or confirmed good) HLAs put in, the rocker shafts and rocker arms put in and the bolts torqued (again, the manual is handy for this), and you’re ready for re-assembly.
Put the rocker covers on. I replaced the gaskets, but the old ones still looked good. Torque the bolts down.
Raise the lift enough to get 1 of the bolt holes by the drive pulley lined up and put that bolt in. A little gentle persuasion may be necessary, but be careful.
Next, I raised the lift enough to install the front down tube bolts. Next, the rear down tube bolts. Don’t forget to tighten the ones that were loosened but left in.
Now the other hole by the drive pulley should be lined up. You can push a screwdriver covered with an oil rag in & nudge it a bit if needed. Put that bolt in.
Congratulations, the hard part’s over. Go through, put all the hoses & electrical fittings back. Check & recheck that everything’s connected and that the hose clamps are tight. Fill the coolant. I changed the oil at this time, but it’s not necessary.
When you start the bike, it’s gonna clatter & tick until the HLAs fill with oil. I let mine sit at idle for about 10 minutes and then took it for a short ride. By the time I got home, the ticking was gone! That was last night and I hope it stays that way. I’ll keep posting updates.
If anything here is unclear, incomplete, or just wrong, let me know and I’ll update this post.
Thanks to V2Kman for input, as well as others who have joined in the many discussions about this.