Wee valve shim lapping by hand – How To

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by codyrides, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. codyrides

    codyrides The Milkman

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    So I was asking around about doing the valve adjustment on my K8 wee in this thread.

    I ended up getting some excellent responses and suggestions. Particularly from duckrider, who suggested that I lap my own shims. So much more accuracy than using the factory .5 MM increment replacements, or even the illustrious .25 MM shims that were hinted to exist. Duckrider’s solution was simple. Use 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper on a flat surface, lubricate with WD 40 and grind slowly away.

    Well I thought about it and it dawned on me. I don’t need the sand paper, I have another tool for the job. A few years back I studied Japanese food at a Sushi Bar. Two nights a week after my day job. One night in the kitchen, and one night behind the bar. One of my biggest tasks was to learn not just how to use the variety of blades at my disposal, but how to keep them razor sharp. And how to do it without ruining the shape, the bevel and the balance of the blade. That is when I was introduced to Japanese water stones. They are very much like whet stones I had seen before but are lubricated with water rather than oil. For this job, I decided to use my 800 grit cutting stone and my 6000 grit polisher.

    [​IMG]

    First I tried a back and forth motion on the cutter, but found that that lapped it unevenly.

    [​IMG]

    I settled in on a circular motion.

    [​IMG]

    I made sure to lap the side that was factory marked to avoid them being mis identified in the future.

    [​IMG]

    I measured after every 30 seconds or so of lapping.

    [​IMG]

    Since my Mic is in inches, I converted all my measurements to SAE and went from there. Here, my target shim thickness was .067 inch. It started at .0705. Getting there.

    [​IMG]

    Right as I approached the mark, I switched to my polisher to give the shim a mirror finish. Sorry, no pics of that, my little digicam just couldn’t capture it.

    After the polish grind, I washed the shim in alcohol, then WD40, then oil before re-installing it.

    So as of right now, I have done the entire rear cylinder, and re-installed everything except the valve cover. Here are my old and new measurements (converted back to MM).

    I1 - .089 -> .178
    I2 - .102 -> .178
    E1 - .203 -> .279
    E2 - .203 -> .279

    I should get the front done next weekend, and have this task behind me.

    Big thanks to everyone that had helpful suggestions. They made it really easy to do. :D
    #1
  2. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    This reminds me of why I'm happy to have the shim kit.
    #2
  3. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Long timer

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    Nice. I saw your other thread and I think its great that you posted your results. I'm going to use the sandpaper method when the time comes as I don't have any sushi tools laying around:rofl.

    I really like the idea of not having to leave and go hunt the shims once you've done your teardown. Just do it all in the shop at once.

    Good Stuff!
    #3
  4. tomatocity

    tomatocity Retired and lovin' it

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    The sanding method is quite ingenious and precise though I am a simple person. I learned how to adjust motorcycle valves with a KLR and the KLR community is known for its Tech Days and sharing resources. Does the V-Strom community have Tech Days? Luckily I have a friend that has V-Stroms and we share resources. Yesterday (Saturday) we adjusted the valves on my DL1000 and installed heated grips. He has a shim kit and the local dealership helps keep the shims stocked evenly. I learned about the valves and he learned about fastening grips.
    Soon we are going to we are going to remove, empty, and refill our forks. I have done KLRs and he has done V-Stroms. I have a siphon tool for mearsuring fluid level and he has never filled forks like this before.

    Sharing time, knowledge and resources can be as quick to do multiple V-Stroms as to do just one. Now throw in the fun factor and we have a winner.

    End result is the shim kit and a couple guys saved some shims from being sanded and polished. Good or bad, probably does not matter.
    #4
  5. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    Yep. A friend and I have had a combined 7 DL650s, one of us usually has spare parts or the tools to do something specific.
    #5
  6. Night_Wolf

    Night_Wolf Long timer

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    Added to the Wee Strom Index :thumb
    #6
  7. greywolf

    greywolf Unpaved road avoider

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    A figure 8 pattern seems to do the best job of keeping the shim surfaces parallel. I used to be against the practice because of warnings of removing case hardening but it's hard to argue with the success of the practice and the dearth of problem reports.
    #7
  8. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    You haven't taken the front apart yet? Sometimes the shim you need is the one you take out of another valve. Not sure that's going to be the case here, but it could save someone some time if you check all shim sizes first and then replace/sand them as needed.

    I'd also recommend people ask their dealer about shim replacement. I know several places that will simply swap your wrong-sized shims for ones with the dimensions you need at no cost. It may not be as accurate as custom sanding but it takes 5 minutes instead of a whole weekend.


    Gustavo
    #8
  9. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    It's even easier if you have a friend with a full kit.
    #9
  10. simmersonwheels

    simmersonwheels Asleep at Switch

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    If the shim isn't perfectly square, might it damage the valve or cause galling or wear? Also, how critical is the factory surface?
    When Suzuki introduced the RMZ250K4 they gave this warning about the shims on that model-
    TAPPET SHIM​
    q ​
    Forged, 7.5 mm OD tappet shims.

    q ​
    Selection range: 2.50 - 3.50 mm.

    q ​
    To prevent damage to the surface treatment
    at the top surface of the valve stem, only
    use tappet shims specified for the RM-Z250.
    If the surface treatment is damaged, the
    valve will fail. Do not use 7.5 mm OD sintered
    metal shims that are available from
    the aftermarket or specified for some
    Kawasaki models. Do not use 7.5 mm OD
    forged shims specified for GSX-R models
    as the surface finish is slightly different and
    the adjustment range is not suitable (1.20 -

    2.55 mm).
    Now I have never seen a warning for the DL shims, but why risk damaging the top end to save a few bucks? I'm not saying that I know what the valve/shim surface treatment is, I'm saying that because I DON"T KNOW I would rather not take the chance......Once surface hardening is damaged a part fails incredibly quickly.
    If it's in the specified range, leave it alone, if you need a shim, just by one. I mean you are only doing it every 20000 kms anyway....
    Simon
    #10
  11. duckrider

    duckrider Been here awhile

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    Come on Joel, I think you are putting us on. You are saying that some engineer at Suzuki somehow calculates the distance that a valve will tulip or recede into the seat in a given time and then designed a valve train that will wear at the same rate to make up that distance. :eek1
    #11
  12. duckrider

    duckrider Been here awhile

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    Maybe so, but it's hard to imagine them running an engine on the dyno for the equivalent of tens of thousands of miles with different alloys and surface treatment of cams and buckets it hopes of getting them to wear at the same rate as valve recession. After all, people expect valves to need adjustment at some point.

    I would think that if BMW engineers had any spare time they would put it into making a bullet proof final drive as people do not expect failure of the FD. Also they would not release what would appear to be a beta version of a bike as they seem to have done with the GS800 with failures of axles, chains, wheel bearings, fuel gauges, fuel injection glitches, clutches, etc.

    On a different note, anyone buying a shim kit should make sure that they are factory shims, not after market from some mystery source. If they are examined with a high power glass some have really crude finishes.
    #12
  13. DaveM

    DaveM Rider

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    OK since I work on cylinder heads all day I will tell you that the engineers dont design for equal wear but minimum wear within the cost constrants of the design. Some materials or coatings that work great are just to costly to use.
    They will run new designs long enough to measure the wear so as to come up with the recomended check/adjustment interval


    DaveM
    #13
  14. duckrider

    duckrider Been here awhile

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    Now there's an adult response, but face it Joel, if you make shit up to impress us with your vast knowledge you are occasionally going to get busted for it. :lol3
    #14
  15. swingset

    swingset Got the knack.

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    Nothing he said warranted that response...are you sure you know who the asshole is?
    #15
  16. simmersonwheels

    simmersonwheels Asleep at Switch

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    I've never heard or thought about "compensated wear",(Not saying it is or isn't valid). I think in this case the issue was that the shim hardness and surface finish are being chosen to work properly with the valve stem finish/hardness.
    In the 2 examples in the Suzuki tech intro, both have titanium valves, which of course the DL does not.
    I'm certainly not saying lapping WILL cause damage, I'm just commenting that for me the perceived benefits of "Perfect incremental" adjustment, and saving money on shims are not remotely worth potential damage of the valve train. If a valve did let go, the motor is likely toast from an economic standpoint.
    Over the years I've seen lot's of unusual failures that trace their origins to seemingly inconsequential ideas that "seemed like a good idea at the time"
    Simon
    #16
  17. 996DL

    996DL Buell me

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    Oops, thought I had wandered into Jo momma or an oil thread or something.
    :lol3 :lurk

    996DL
    #17
  18. duckrider

    duckrider Been here awhile

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    Well since I'm on Mr. ultra sensitive's ignore list maybe I can post without a junior high school name calling response or a mini tantrum :D. A "prefect" valve adjustment (I would call it an "accurate" adjustment) has nothing to do with noise reduction. It's just that in a 4 valve motor they seem to run smoother if both intakes or exhaust valves in a cylinder are adjusted to have exactly the same clearance, thus opening at exactly the same time. I generally set them half way between min and max specs.

    I think Joel is misinterpreting what I said about setting the closing clearance on Ducati valves. Ducks have no valve springs. one lobe and rocker opens the valve, one lobe and rocker closes the valve. The engines are happiest with less than .001 clearance on the closer. This almost always requires lapping the shim. If it is set at say, .004, the valve is slammed into the seat by inertia It's better to take the valve all the way to the seat mechanically. Again it has nothing to do with noise. After all, the dry clutch is loud enough to cover any valve noise.:lol3
    #18
  19. spibbie

    spibbie sportster barbarian

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    Some posters question the wisdom of adjusting valve shims with sandpaper, water and flat cast iron. Japanese wet sharpening stones too.

    I have to admit I have my doubts. But I tried it.

    I used sandpaper, water and flat iron to adjust the valves on my ninja 250. at 8k miles. It has run perfectly since. now at 25k, 2nd check after sanding the shims. clearances are right where I left them, 17k ago.

    It worked for me.
    #19
  20. pjensen641

    pjensen641 Been here awhile

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    Only thing I can think of about surface treatment etc is that the shim might be case hardened rather then through hardened. If case hardened, lapping could cause you to get in to the softer base material. Dunno, seems like such a small part that case hardening is unlikely.
    #20