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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
VN800 Valve adjust notes - I just did 'em, but with a few differences...

Now I'm no expert - but if this convinces, helps, shames, or otherwise behooves someone else into adjusting their VN800 valves before brim-fire and destruction happens, then I reckon I've done something positive for the day (above and beyond saving three chicken lives with my loud pipes).

I downloaded a .pdf file from someone or somewhere about adjusting the valves. In it was a compilation of what seemed to be the Kawasaki instructions and about three other guys' input into doing them. This .pdf was VERY helpful, the pictures great (even if out of order and leading to a post I made asking about what I was seeing). Thank you to whomever wrote in and/or compiled that .pdf

I'm thinking of adding to the .pdf for communication's sake, but maybe I won't be that bold as this is the first time I've done valves on a VN800... nonetheless:

All goes well with the forward valve cover and head - I don't think it is worth talking about.

As for the rear valve cover, for the pdf - or just in general - I'd like to note that:
1.) While the choke knob area needed to be d/c'ed, and the carb-end of it rotated up, as well as the vent tube removed from the top-rear of the carb, I did not need to loosen the carb to get the rear valve cover off.
2.) the limiting factor seemed to be the main wiring harness and various (and/or every) vent lines that were routed around there - especially any and all lines/wires on the right-side of the frame. I cut the zip-tie (easily replaced later) and had to maneuver it all around as best as possible to gain upward-clearance.
3.) The rear valve cover came out the left side (with a little forward movement, but mostly left and a little forward). While the instructions or other posters suggest to take one's time and encouraging words such as "it will come out, be gentle," it didn't say which side or, really, how. With the carb removed or loosened and rotated I can see how it may come out the right side, too.
4.) As per that .pdf file, a "Big Ass Phillips Screw Driver" is required. For the life of me I could not find a place to use the $10 huge Craftsman Phillips screwdriver I bought from Sears for this job because of the instructions.
5.) I did not need to open the coolant system up in any way, but I did unbolt the two top bolts (10mm) and the one lower side bolt (8mm?) to be able to move the radiator cap piece and hoses around.
6.) Not a tip, but... My EPA main hoses and EGR were removed a while ago - nothing there to get in the way.
7.) Of the entire Hot Cams set of shims that I bought, I did not use any shims from the 2.45 to 3.50 shim box, only from the 1.20 to 2.40 shim box - if this is common, it would have been nice to spend half of what I did for only the one-half of the kit. I'm really not sure if I'll ever use the other shims for anything. Considering that I couldn't find my digital caliper, and was not going to buy another, having the kit made the job much easier than predicting what size shims I was going to need and ordering them. Even after buying 100% more shims than I needed (I'm not sure you can even buy half of the kit, but I don't see why you couldn't since Hot Cams has them packaged separately - call them up and ask), I still saved money compared to having the stealership do the work and/or sell me shims for some outrageous price. (If you have a Dealership that has a shim-exchange program for customers, then use that if you can ... but it's still very nice to have the assortment at your fingertips to try one, then the next size down one).
8.) Some new shims just did not want to seat well. Most were due to being canted at an angle, but one was just seemingly tight. I Learned to tap on the shim (with the rocker arm out of the way) by using a ratchet extension's end (curved so it won't dig into the shim) and a hammer with light taps to get them to seat before using the feeler guage to get a correct reading.
9.) The only somewhat more expensive Craftsman feeler gauge that has the angled ends really was worth the extra two dollars or so.

Exhaust

On my way BACK to Sears to return the "Big Ass Phillips Screw Driver" that I didn't need for anything that I can see on my VN800, I noticed something - and I wouldn't mind if you called me crazy and told me I was wrong. Does adjusting valves, after adjusting tight exhaust valves with shims to loosen it up, make the exhaust more loud or more harsh? It's almost as if it was the same tone, but harsher and louder due to the harshness? Not only did it seem louder, it seemed my local neighbors looked at me more, and the neighbor directly beside me commented on the loudness for the first time - ever - after I returned stating she heard me pretty far away when on my way back. While this could be contributed to gassing it more due to testing out the new adjustment, I was on it really conservatively due to the torn up and pure-sand and/or rocky areas of road (they are putting in the sewer & water around here), the amount of people out and because of the turns and slow streets.

I don't know what to think.

I did, admittedly, gas it hard once out on the straight road to get to Sears... and it sounded even more harsh then.

Spark plugs

This plug (the other was just like it) looks good in my eyes, but I'll let you guys look at it to comment on it.

This is with about 4000 miles on the plugs with the stock air-filter-housing, no top-part-plenum under the tank though (just what is that tub for? sound suppression?), Uni foam-air-filter, 155 Main jet, about 3-turns out idle-mix, and Cobra pipes with most of the baffling out of them (there is something in there though).

With the plugs this clean my fears of running a 155 with a non-grampsized intake are gone. I only have to imagine it would have been too lean with the OEM 135 jet, but that's the way the previous owner ran it for years.








Spark Plug Wire pulled out of the boot

As stated in an earlier post when I was first worrying about it, all the pulling around of wires and hoses to get the rear off must have loosened up the boot from the wire. I didn't think I yanked on it, and maybe it did just slide right off easier than it should have when I moved it last, but the outcome was interesting. Here is the end of the wire that plugs back into the boot. Notice what seems to be signs of corrosion (di-electric grease would help had I had any, BUT I don't want to grease the wire up and make it any easier to pull back out than it already did... so that has me thinking of the Stick Coils if this ignition gives me a hint of trouble. I'm sure I'll be taking another look at this area on both wires in the coming future, quite possibly to clean it up, straighten out the wire and use a tiny bit of di-electric grease on the tip only, but for now it runs.







For those wondering, at approx 15k miles all but one valve needed adjusted. Just how much I won't really know - I can't find my more accurate digital caliper today - but all but one of them were tight.

I went for the looser-end of adjustment to bide myself some time before I have to do them again.

Now I have read a few times that a VN800 you can hear the valves on is a happy VN800, but I can't quite claim to hear anything more unless - maybe - I bend down and put my ear under the tank... then... maybe... I heard one extra little click sound?

Comments? Suggestions (beyond addressing the spark plug wires)?

Best,
 

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Taking mine to the dealer this week, they told me anywhere from 2 to 3 hours labour. I just want to make sure they are set up and the adjustment is good. Then they should be good for approx. 6000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I've done that before. I've learned that if you trust someone else to take the time, and to care, that valves are set up and adjusted well, that person better be an immediate blood relative. Using someone else usually means, minimally, 99% less caring that they will be done to the way an owner would prefer had he or she done it himself.

In fact I'm pretty sure I paid big $ one time to get a Ninja motor's valves checked and adjusted when, in reality, they probably never even opened the bike up.

Within the range of adjustment for intake and exhaust valves, do you know how I know that mine are at the part of the range I want them to be in (vs. just being "good" and within tolerances)? It's because I did it myself.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance will not teach someone how to adjust their Kawasaki valves... but it will reinforce the idea that the quality you seek is the quality that you, alone, already know, and would provide if you did it yourself. This is why I wrote what I did, above; it was not for the people who still believe that mechanics other than themselves magically do (care to do, have the time to do, or want to take the time to do) a better, more careful, or more accurate job. I've worked as a mechanic, I've worked at a motorcycle dealership - I've seen the type(s) of people who get in to working on both (and learned why). That isn't to say they are all bad people, nor that there aren't a few motorcycle mechanics I would trust after careful scrutiny - but the ones who exist are few and far between.

There are probably few bikes better to learn maintenance on than these 800's (OK, except for a bunch of bikes that came with center-stands back in the day... they just about don't make 'em like those anymore).
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)

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I will be trying this out soon. Thanks for your post M-Dave.

I had some long drives ahead of me a few years back so I went to the library and took out Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I thought it was a great. Made my drive seem effortless.
 

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I think you came out ahead buying the shim kit Dave , if you replaced 7 my stealership wanted $9 and some odd cents EACH for shims that they might have had to order. Like you I didn't even crack open the other box I got. It was nice having the selection in your hands = saving a little time from running back to the dealer to get the perfect fit, I kill so much time on projects just running for stuff some times.
I already had my air box/carb off when I did mine and every thing else you removed also including cutting the zip tie , really made it easy to do the rear cylinder.
 

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Dave, i think the big ass philips screwdriver was for something to do with that epa flapper valve that neither you nor i have anymore! hahaha! that's the only mention i see in the directions for a big phillips screw. you probably just saw "epa" and skipped that section!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
LOL, I just saw it on the list of tools to have, so I went and got one ... which I later returned. I have never in my life seen the use for, nor needed, a Phillips screwdriver as big as I bought that day, lol.
 

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I have been asked for the pdf from a few guys.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0Bzoke3uwxFRCNzVkNjQ2MTctOTNkNy00ZTViLWI2MjItNDY0ZjM1Mzg4ZDUw&hl=en_US

is the pdf the only way I currently have to upload it. I attempted to make notes using my pdf program, but they only come up as little yellow boxes without the annotations that I can see. No big deal.

ETA: http://www.design.caltech.edu/erik/Misc/pirsig.pdf
I've tried to post that PDF for people a couple of times but it errors out for file size too big, nice you have a way to post it , vary helpful PDF .
 

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VN 800 Valve adjust

THANKS! I'll end up doing mine in the fall but it's great of you to post it here. It should be made a "Sticky" for all to share. I, for one, really do appreciate you time and efforts! :)
 

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just buttoned mine back up...i had to use from both boxes so i guess from what im reading thats good? i grampsized at the same time and if i would have gotten a chain with a master link i would be out riding tonight checking it out. but, off to shop for a master link tonight and maybe i can hear it on the road instead of just on the stand tomorrow
 

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I'm about to do a valve job on my 800a. This was really helpful. I wasn't sure I was up to the task, but after reading this and seeing the pics, I feel confident I'm up to giving it a shot.
 

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Excellent post, I printed the PDF on my printer at work for future reference. Many years ago I read Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance good book.
-Art
 

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What mileage were your bikes before doing the valves ? The 97 i just bought ,has only 10,000 on it ,I didn,t expect to need to have to do a valve job yet . Rod
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What mileage were your bikes before doing the valves ? The 97 i just bought ,has only 10,000 on it ,I didn,t expect to need to have to do a valve job yet . Rod
I may be wrong, but I thought it was recommended every 6,000 miles with these bikes, but many like to do them sooner.
 

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I may be wrong, but I thought it was recommended every 6,000 miles with these bikes, but many like to do them sooner.
Your right on target , the OM says 500 , 6000 , 12K ,18K . I did mine at 6000 and they were ready. I believe the 1st 2 or 3 cycles account for the most adjustment , break -in if you will. So that means I'm due again showing next to 13K
 
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