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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK... I'm a new owner of a used Vulcan 500 (2000 model), and I recently tackled doing a valve adjustment.

I have a shop manual, which was helpful to a degree, but most helpful was the following link on how to do a valve adjustment on an EX500 (Ninja 500) engine...
http://www.ex-500.com/files/2006_EX500_Valve_Clearance_Adjustment.pdf
and also this link,
http://www.ex-500.com/wiki/index.php/Valve_clearance_adjustment

The first link has good photos, just ignore all the Ninja cowling removal stuff, but follow all the other precautions...

Here are the steps I followed...
1. Remove the seat (1 bolt)
2. Remove the Speedometer (1 screw)(2 electrical connectors)(1 cable)
3. Disconnect the gas line and vacuum line at the fuel valve.
4. Remove the gas tank (2 bolts)
5. Drain the coolant system. (1 drain plug)
6. Remove the ignition coils and spark plug wires (4 bolts)
7. Remove the radiator fan, hang it out of the way. (6 bolts)
7a. remove the ignition switch bracket and let hang (2 bolts)
8. Remove the two coolant hoses to the head (2 screws)
9. Remove the valve cover bolts (6 bolts)
10. Carefully lift the valve cover off. Be careful as there are 2 small half inch long steel tubes (alignment pins?) inside the valve cover in the center that might pop out and fall someplace where you don't want them. They will either stick with the engine block, or stick with the cover as you remove the cover. Pay attention to them. Be careful with the valve cover gasket so you do not tear it, or you'll have to buy another.
11a. Remove the delicate copper oil feeder tubes so you won't accidentaly damage them during the valve adjustment.
11b. Adjust the valves as shown in the other references above.
.005" to .007" clearance on the intake valves
.007" to .009" clearance on the exhaust.
Clearances get smaller as your engine wears. I set mine to the larger side.

Reinstall the oil feeder tubes, clean the gasket surfaces, install the 2 little tubes (alignment pins?), and put everything back together. You'll have to apply a wee bit of RTV silicone to the valve cover gasket where it bumps out in four places. See the manual. Reassemble everythig else in reverse order.

It sounds and looks more complicated than it is. Take your time. Don't rush.

Hope this helps.
 

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Looks good. Seems mostly a lot of bolts to remove. Tx for the very good write up. You are correct, just do it and it will not really be as hard as it may seem. I rebuilt, if you want to call it that, my carbs and that was fairly easy. I also removed a seat key lock ---twice --- once to that the lock it and have a key made and the next to put the lock back. Not bad at all. I suppose on the valve tear out, watching what goes where is a good idea. Thank you again. I If it do the valves, I will post that I did them but it may not be too soon. Jmak
 

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JMak,
I just adjusted my valves today... I bought a service manual as I plan on keeping this bike for a long, long time... I found it very helpful to write down every step in a spiral notebook and then go from the bottom of the page back up to put it back together... Worked well... It is pretty straight forward and not too tough if you have a manual and are pretty mechanically inclined... Just take your sweet time and be careful to put it back in exact reverse order...
Ride Safe...
 

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Great write up Les! I know that everyone will find the instructions very helpful. I followed those same links you posted when I adjusted the valves on my friend's Ninja. If I remember correctly, at step 8, the two screws were difficult to remove without stripping the heads. We ended up going back with allen head bolts.
 

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stripped screw on coolant tubes... FIX...

Hey Guys and Gals, For anyone who is going to adjust their own valves (which is really no big deal, if you're good with a wrench) I invented a way to get the screws out of the coolant tubes without stripping them... I took a philips screw driver tip (just the tip) put it in a small nut driver tip (the ones you would put in a screw gun, not a hand held nutdriver) then I put that assembly in a socket on a ratchet (put electrical tape on the assembly so nothing would fall apart and end up inside the block... That, as they say, would be bad) Then when you put it on the screw, it fits under the frame, so it is going straight into the screw head... that's the secret to not stripping the head...You can also wedge your hand between the frame and socket wrench to make sure that it stays in the screw head... I actually stripped the first one a little bit before I invented this setup and this assembly still got the screw out with a little pressure... I did put allens back in, but as for getting the screw out, this setup worked really well... If anyone wants a picture of it (in case I didn't explain it clearly enough) just let me know and I'll be happy to post one...
 

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Using the steps listed by les.ismoore at the start of this thread, here are pictures to go along with the valve check:

Start with the tools you need. Not pictured: Allen wrench, flashlight, magnet.


1. Remove the seat (1 bolt)


2. Remove the Speedometer (1 screw)(2 electrical connectors)(1 cable)



 

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9. Remove the valve cover bolts (6 bolts)


It was suggested in another source to use a shop vac to clean up around the spark plug before going further so that no sand or other debris would fall in the motor.

 

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Remove the spark plugs but be careful that nothing gets in the motor through the holes. I loosened my plugs but left them sitting loosely in their holes.

Remove the two covers on the left hand side of the motor. The lower one has a bolt that you attach a socket to so you can rotate the motor. Turn the motor clockwise.

Rotate the motor so that you can see "C" in the small viewing hole and the cam lobes on side 1 (right side) are pointing up. This is Top Dead Center (The Haynes manual says to rotate the motor to "T," but this is not TDC.)







11a. Remove the delicate copper oil feeder tubes so you won't accidentaly damage them during the valve adjustment.
 

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11b. Adjust the valves as shown in the other references above.
.005" to .007" clearance on the intake valves
.007" to .009" clearance on the exhaust.
To be specific, once the motor is at TDC (Top Dead Center), adjust side 1. Side one is the right side of the bike (Right hand side when the driver is seated). Intake is toward the rear (carburetors) and Exhaust is toward the front (exhaust & radiator).

Adjust side 1 if needed.



Rotate the motor clockwise until you see "F" in the view window and the cam lobes on side 2 (left side) are at TDC. Now adjust (if necessary) side 2.



Once everything is done, check your spark plugs.



Replace all parts, tubes, bolts and other connections. Do not forget to refill your radiator. Clean up and crank your bike.



If anyone wants these directions/pictures in a file that they can download and print, send me a pm with your email address and I'll mail you a pdf file.
 

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Tomcruiser2008, I sent the file to you on 7-28. Can you let me know if you got it okay? If for some reason it didn't get through your email, I can try to post it on a download site.

If you did get the file, let me know if there are any improvements I can make. Thanks.
 

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Yes, that's the radiator opening. It is probably smarter to refill the coolant before you put the gas tank back on. I was not that smart.
 

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BrownRecluse hats off to you good buddy!!! This is by far the best demonstration of valve adjustment I've ever seen and it makes it clear as day.

If you have the PDF, and could perhaps post it-or-send it to me and I will post it on a shared web site and make a tiny URL so people can get to it, I will be happy to do so.
email is jerrysalem att seznam dott cz ([email protected] dott=.)

This takes the mystery out of it. Great tip on the screw, it should have been a hex head to begin with. My personal feeling about engineers is that they should be forced to work for a year as a mechanic in whatever field they propose to get into and then and only then should they be allowed to be an engineer and design things. How much easier things would be to get to then. I had a Honda Aero and loved that it had a maintenance free drive shaft and self adjusting valves. Why should we have to worry about chains and valves, seriously, when all we want to do is ride and not waste a beautiful day getting messy...

By the way you wouldn't happen to have the details on the size etc of the drain bolt? I don't have a shop, I rent at the moment, and it would be awkward to leave everything to run off to the hardware store in the middle to pick a screw up.

Thanks again!!
 

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Need for Special Valve Adjustment Tool

Thanks for the great write up and comments. I'm planning to adjust (or at least check) my valves (2006 Vulcan 500) in the next month or so. I'm wondering, though, whether I should buy the special valve adjustment tool that Kawasaki makes. On the one hand, several sources say that it can make the job much easier; on the other hand, it's $50 (if I can find it). I presume people on the board did not find it necessary? Would you have found it helpful, had you had one?
 

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I've never seen the tool, but I'll say that there was no point in the valve adjustment where there seemed to be any need for fancy tools at all. As I recall, I just used a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the adjustment in place as I tightened the locknut, then rechecked the lash before moving on to the next valve. Once you have the valve cover off, the actual adjustment shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
 

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Engine Problems after Valve Adjustment

I just adjusted the valves on my 2006 Vulcan 500 at 2000 miles. (The bike was running fine before; I just thought it should be done because it had never been). I put everything back together. The bike starts, but the engine dies as soon as I turn off the choke. Also, there seems to be a ticking noise coming from the valve cover. I am thinking that the valves are too loose. (This was my first valve adjustment, so it's entirely possible that I screwed it up.) Does anyone have any insight into whether this is likely the problem, and if it not, what the problem might be?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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