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Reflections on a Valve Adjustment (AKA Help?)


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#1 cyanide

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:34 PM

So, today I committed to doing a valve adjustment on my 2002 bike (750 ACE of course).  I am by no means a mechanic, but I am pretty good at following instructions, and the widely distributed maintenance guide has a pretty good write up on this.  Anyhow, there is a few particulars/incidents about which I want to get the opinions of those much more mechanically inclined than myself.

 

First challenge came when I was removing the head covers.  The guide says do this slow and (if you have to disconnect the coolant lines...which I had to) make sure you don't get any coolant into the heads, or the oil.  Well, I did it slow, but after I had removed the rear cylinder head cover (because I was hoping to not have to remove the coolant lines).  Unfortunately, I was doing this in a garage with the door open (for natural light).  The rear of the house faces the prevailing winds.  Someone opened the inside garage door and immediately a fast wind blew through and Bernoulli effect sucked coolant out of the open male end of the coolant line.  A couple drops got into the head.  Maybe 1/4-1/2 ml of fluid.  I don't think any mixed with oil and I shoved a rag on the end of a screwdriver into the crevices of the head to mop up what I could.  The coolant had a tendency to pool up into a drop and was fairly obvious anywhere it was.  Of course some is still present, on a microscopic level, but nothing obvious. Further, by then I was frustrated and when I disassembled the front cylinder coolant line, I was a little "rammy" and I may have gotten a couple drops into the cylinder itself (open to the air once the carburetor is removed).  That said, I chased it with a flashlight and a lint-free cloth and didn't see any hints of wetness on the walls of the intake channel, which suggests it either quickly drained to the bottom of the cylinder (seems a little unlikely) or simply didn't get in there at all.

 

Finally, when I got to the valve adjustments, it took a while to realize that dragging the feelers meant "all the way under the tappet face of adjustment screw" not just the lateral aspect of this face, which seems always obtainable with any feeler.  In other words, I think my valves were pretty tight, as I only realized this once I could get the thinnest feeler under the exhaust valve of the rear cylinder while trying to develop a technique for the front cylinders (hey I was getting disappointed while trying to understand what to do, considering all feelers fit under the lateral part of the screw, but none of the feelers fit under the whole screw).  So, anyway....it is around this time that I realized that my "metric motorcycle" specific feeler kit didn't have enough feelers to do a valve adjustment.  So....all I could do was attempt to adjust the exhaust valves to 0.2mm, and intake valves to 0.15mm.  Hey, at least its at the middle of the expected ranges.  Except, this doesn't allow you to test a feeler at the top end of the range to ensure it doesn't fit, or to use a feeler at the bottom end to ensure that it was loose.  So, I decided to adjust the valves so that it took some effort to drag it through (not much effort, but it likely wouldn't fall out quickly simply by gravity if it were turned on its side), and it didn't really take any effort to initially get the feeler under the screw.  Then while locking the valve screw and nut in place, I had to use my hands (no 4mm wrench but my fingers seemed much more naturally adept at this than a wrench would be).  Further, I didn't have a torque wrench (I left it at the cabin on the weekend).  But, whoever did the last valve adjustment on this bike (I have only had the bike for about 5000 km, now its at 38,000), apparently was hercules.  When I tightened the lock nut I simply tightened to the point that the bike rocked slightly.  This caused the valves to tighten slightly, so I would tighten, check the feeler, and redo if I didn't like the feeler travel (once again, easy insertion under the screw, some minor effort beyond gravity to pull through, at 0.15mm or 0.20mm depending on valve identity).

 

So, what do you guys think:

 

a) considering the coolant:  Did I clean it well enough or should I do something like an immediate oil change, or run it for a bit then oil change (with oil filter), or am I royally screwed and better take it to an expensive mechanic?

 

b) If the valves were that tight before I started, am I about to find myself in a would of hurt regarding those valves now?

 

c) do you think my valve adjustment technique was adequate to keep my baby healthy?  Or did I adjust them too tight myself?  Do you think my torque approximation was OK?

 

d) My next consideration to keep my baby great is to consider a carburetor cleaning and synchronization.  I think I might farm that out (considering someone told me just this evening of a local retired mechanic who still likes to work on Hondas....how can I resist!)

 

Any feedback will be warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

 

John


Edited by cyanide, 19 June 2017 - 10:44 PM.

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#2 cyanide

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:37 PM

Oh, I haven't completed the job yet.  Since the torque wrench is at the lake, I will go get it tomorrow night and start torquing head covers, carburetors, fins, gas tanks, air cleaners etc etc to specifications so as to not have new headaches in the near future.   Thus, I can't comment yet on how the bike runs, because it is still in a fair number of pieces.  Figured I better get feedback from you gurus first, in case I have to go back in and fix a mistake.

 

Cheers

 

John


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#3 Vomio

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 07:53 AM

Sounds like you got it figured out well.

The blade of the feeler gauge should drag pretty much as you described.

 

Your call on the coolant in the oil, probably OK.

If in doubt I would run it to warm it up and then change the oil, a $30 cost and a half hour of time vs. ?

 

Waiting for the torque wrench is always good idea.

 

Having a tame trusted mechanic locally is always good to have, but doing it yourself gives a feeling of accomplishment and you get to pat yourself on the back.  

Again your call.



#4 mwmerrill

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:35 AM

hello

this job is a pain for sure.    

 

if you want to remove the valve covers they only come out the right hand side of the bike.  

 

One trick is to rotate the crank so the valves are down on the  cover you are trying to remove.  this provides a little extra clearance.  but it is still a pita.

 

now, once you have checked the valves a few times you can actually leave the cover in the bike and pull it up and out of the way just enough to check the valves.  

space is tight but its possible.    


Matt

03' Ace 47K miles


#5 cyanide

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:37 AM

I was able to pick up better feelers today.  So, before everything is re-assembled, I might have another go at the valves.  Then I will call the task done, the lessons learned, and humbly back my way out of the engine, hoping fate shines down on me and it is willing to fire up.  Since I did reassemble the coolant lines (not wanting to leave too many large bore openings accessible to dust and critters while not attended), I will try that crank rotation trick to see if this time I can leave the coolant lines assembled (hey, another lesson learned).

 

Thanks again everyone. 


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#6 cyanide

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 07:37 PM

OK, so I come home, roll the bike out, and pop the cylinder heads, with my new feelers in hand.  I perfect the combination of a mini crescent wrench (as a 4mm wrench) and box wrench combo and get my valves sweetly centered on and verified in their ranges.  Then I proceed to re-assemble the bike.  With my new small torque wrench in hand (not a full range of torques but all the lower range torques OK and fits in my motorcycle toolkit), I start tightening up the cylinder head bolts.  The manual says 35 ft lbs.  But somewhere well below it, one of them snaps.  Then another one snaps even lower than that.  What gives?  Am I using the wrong ranges or did the prior Hercules weaken the bolts?  Luckily the second snapped bolt came out in one garbled piece.  But now I have to dig another half bolt out of the cylinder head cover.  Hopefully this is easy with the proper tool (that I am about to go to Canadian Tire to find).

 

SIgh.....I now have to wait a week for my local Honda dealer to get replacement bolts.  10 dollars for two bolts.  Luckily I am not dealing with something bigger than that.


Edited by cyanide, 20 June 2017 - 07:39 PM.

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#7 Agent9

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 08:37 PM

I see 10 ft lbs for the cylinder head cover bolts.
I see 35 ft lbs for the 10mm cylinder head bolts.
That's the only 35 ft lb value I find on that page.


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#8 cyanide

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:29 PM

LOL you are probably right. And I feel good knowing I was wrong because that means my next attempt is more likely to succeed. Sigh, and I will check the table more accurately next time.
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#9 cyanide

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 11:19 PM

Well, I am relieved to say that watching 5 videos on how to extract a broken bolt, and after searching 3 stores to find the right tools, I have been able get that bolt out.  I tell you, drilling down the middle of a bolt in my cylinder head is a little nerve wracking.  Now, I await for the bolts to come in and I am golden.  I guess this is the trial by fire that awards you confidence later.


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#10 mwmerrill

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 07:45 AM

so those valve cover bolts with also strip out where they screw in.   I did that on the front left.

 

luckily the left side screws into a   holder for the camshaft and is inexpensive and easy to replace.  

 

be sure not to over torque the cover bolts.    I typically hand tighten then check with the torque wrench working up to the specified torque.


Matt

03' Ace 47K miles


#11 cyanide

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 08:53 PM

I have yet to find a torque wrench that lets me get into those cavities....at least to the extent I need to feel motivated to do so.  The hidden advantage of having Hercules maintain this bike before I bought it, is the knowledge that, "as long as I don't tighten them as tight as Hercules did, then I will probably be just fine".


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#12 cyanide

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 01:13 PM

I made a 4mm wrench specifically for this Valve adjustment the next time I have to do it.  A piece of unused 1 mm thick aluminum hardware around the garage, an angle grinder with a cutting wheel and I used the feeler gauges, stacked to add up to 4mm.   When I am done, I will attach this "wrench" to a ring clamp so I can wear the wrench like a ring on my finger (the wrench face resting right at the tip of my finger), allowing me to better control the valve adjustment screw with a simple "touch of my finger".

With the reading I have continued to do, it would seem that there is reason to suspect that my carbs might actually be mildly gummed up.  Some issues with keeping the idle going when I first start up.  Especially as I am still awaiting for my cylinder head cover bolts (tomorrow), I might just clean the carbs.  Then, considering I might go ahead with the timing advance, rear sprocket change and possibly re-jet/air box mods/exhaust mods, it is likely a reasonable idea to consider synchronizing the carbs.  So, with my birthday at the end of this week and the likelihood that I will get gift certificates to a motorcycle parts shop, I am thinking of picking up the sync-pro carb tool.  I have alot of carbureted power toys so its probably a reasonable investment.  Of course, the syncpro video is suggesting the motio-pro aux gas vessel as well.  But (please correct me if I am wrong), all I really need is a section of gas line of appropriate diameter and I can simply feed my gas tank from the bike (but lying on the elevated workbench) into the petcock as usual and proceed with the synchronization without having to fork out $70 for the aux gas vessel right?

4 mm wrench

Edited by cyanide, 26 June 2017 - 01:15 PM.

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#13 Cleve

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:52 PM

That would work, just don't trip over the hose.  EDIT: I can picture the tank coming off the bench, breaking the petcock and fuel going everywhere,,,   I bought the fuel bottle off ebay (or Amazon?)  for under $50.  Need a 3/8 id nipple for the bike fuel line adapted  to the 1/4"  or 5/16" bottle outlet hose. They seem to have several bottle options.  Old lawnmower gas tanks also can be adapted with a coat-hanger to hang them and most even have their own shut-off.

 

https://www.ebay.com...nk/884578947    Just one link, there's more  out there


Edited by Cleve, 26 June 2017 - 08:05 PM.

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#14 Cleve

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:06 PM

not sure why but  an edit double posted and put the original post back in.


Edited by Cleve, 26 June 2017 - 08:08 PM.

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#15 cyanide

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:30 AM

When it gets to the carb synch, I think I will secure the tank to the workbench in any case.  A couple of screws and bungie cords and it won't go anywhere.

 

Since I am STILL waiting for my cylinder head cover bolts to come in (my local Dealer is blaming St Jean Baptiste Day for yet more delays...but we are in Alberta, and SJB Day...IN QUEBEC...was on a Saturday so how does that affect shipping, especially when I was told on Monday that they were arriving as scheduled for yesterday...Grrrr), I decided to strip out my carbs and give them a once over.  They seem pretty clean, and the jets are all clear and all passage ways are clear.  So, they get a clean bill of health.  This preps me for the synchronization next week (parts and tools coming in from another company that I can rely on).  Further, I now have zero apprehension about rejetting this thing, once I have a proper purpose for it.


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#16 mwmerrill

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:16 PM

i have never had the fuel tank connected when performing the carb sync.  

 

I usually run the bike first then remove the tank and then check the sync.  the tank needs to be off to make the adjustment anyway.


Matt

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#17 cyanide

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 11:51 PM

Well, I finally got this bike back together and it seems to run better, and it sounds better.  But, a few interesting things occurred.

 

What I did:

adjusting the valves (twice) and cleaning the carbs (more like opening them up, inspecting them, pulling out the jets, blowing canned air through them and putting them back in carefully and to the identical torsion and position), changing the old UNI air filter to a K&N filter and finally tightening up the choke.

 

The result:

Upside:

Bike sounds better, less clattering sounds, more throaty rumble

Seems to pull better

The bike has never started up so easily.

 

Downside:

definitely smells like gas after I am done a short ride.  Never did this before.

two sounds I still get. 1) a metallic "drizzle" sound from the back of the bike.  I presume that is chain noise and I imagine this is as good as it gets as I adjusted the chain last week, and I think the sound was worse before that. 2) a clickety clickety sound up front, which seems to gradually become more noticeable from 40km/h to 80km/h, but only when the bike is pulling, and with a tempo and intensity that doesn't seem dependent on whether I am in 4th or 5th gear.  Further, this sound fades out from 80kmh to 100kmh, and is gone at 100kmh, again regardless of what gear I am in.  Above 100kmh the bike has never sounded so good!

 

So, if you have any ideas what that sound is, let me know.  I am thinking it is nothing to worry about.

 

As for the gas-smell...

-could it be that blowing out the jets made the bike too rich?  I think these are stock jets so that doesn't seem too plausible.  That said, I live at 2000 ft above sea level, but I believe this was a bike originally bought in this region so it should have been set up appropriately.  

-could it be that tightening the choke cable or routing and re-routing the choke cable led to this?  I will attempt to loosen the choke cable tomorrow to see if this affects the circumstance.

-could it be that I have a leak in the carburator?  I guess visual inspection is the way to go on that one.  Maybe with a rag in hand to wipe surfaces and looke for residue.

-could it be the K&N filter?  Somehow I doubt that, because the filter is new vs an old filter.  But a K&N vs a UNI?  I presume the net effect would be a leaning of the A/F ratio.  To test this, I guess the UNI filter goes back in.

-Finally, I think inspecting the spark plugs is in order, because that might tell me the difference also between a rich mix and a carb leak, presuming that plugs show the effects of the mixture fairly quickly (I only drove the bike about 5km-10km after reassembling this)....ok, so I couldn't sleep, went to garage and yanked a plug, it looks perfectly fine, which seems to hint at the fuel smell might be more of a leak.  

 

Of course, anyone wanting to chime in, I would greatly appreciate this.  I am learning mechanics in a personal vacuum here; you guys are my only mentors!

 

Cheers

 

John


Edited by cyanide, 29 June 2017 - 12:41 AM.

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#18 Cleve

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 06:02 AM

Could be the choke cables, took me 3 trys to get it routed correctly my 1st time.  Also check the tank vent hose on the bottom rear of the tank along with the petcock mounting nut.  can't say much about any noises. possible chain noises, if it has 10K miles  on it or more, try replacing it, Have someone sit on the bike while checking tension and stay ay the looser side of the adjustment specs.


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#19 cyanide

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 11:23 AM

I think it was the choke cable.  It works too well.  I had gotten used to the somewhat lose choke, so developed a bad habit of not pushing it in all the way as it would go in on its own in less than a minute.  Now, it sticks to the spot I put it and thus need to push it all the way in, partial just leaves it at partial choke.  Onwards to the next task (well maybe I will ride it for a while before I tackle the next mechanical challenge)


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#20 Vomio

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 11:39 AM

These things are mechanically noisy at the best of times.

 

I had a source of  "rattle" that drove me mad that sorta fits your description.

It turned out to be the loss of  the rubber grommet where the back of the air filter box slots onto the mounting to the cylinder head, the bolt will still do up tight, but is just bottoming out and the filter box is free to shake and rattle.    It first occurred to the point I could notice it during a trip after a fast highway run.  I initially thought it was valve train related, but then I noticed it wasn't consistent with rpm and continued my ride home ignoring it as best as I could.  Took me about a week to figure it out.