Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by shyam334, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Hi Gary,

    I applaud folks like you and Bullwinkle who enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of doing your own maintenance. I'm probably capable of doing it, too. I actually do a lot of the ho-hum stuff like oil/filter changes, chain/sprocket changes, tire/tube changes (with copious help from Bullwinkle and his tire machine!). But things like valve check/adjust, and similar, I prefer to leave to the dealer. In making that choice I also make the choice of spending money in place of doing it myself.

    This latest discussion has provided some useful information about what things are costing people. But the comparisons of the maintenance cost to the list price or depreciated value of the bike aren't especially relevant, in my view (not directed at you). For most of us, riding a motorcycle is a hobby/recreational passtime. Hobbies and recreation are worth to each of us whatever we decide they're worth. Nothing more; nothing less. We can pony up whatever it costs to maintain the bike in good, and safe, condition, as the rider who started this part of the discussion did. Or we can sell the bike and buy a new one, as another rider suggests they would have done.

    Both are perfectly valid decisions when we're talking about what is basically a toy for our pleasure.

    So we've got some useful cost information for what we might be facing if we ever need to do those things. But we will each make the decision about how to respond to those costs based on how we feel about keeping or replacing this particular toy. Basically, do we love it or are we looking for an excuse for a new one. :photog

    ...ken...
    David JM likes this.
  2. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    $500 to check and adjust is reasonable. And that's too bad about the small, local shop closing.
  3. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    Hi Ken. As always, I very much appreciate your wisdom and perspective. I realize people are free to choose to spend their money wherever they want on whenever they want. It's just that it pains me to see a fellow rider saddled (no pun intended) with what I consider to be an exhorbitant bill for two straightforward maintenance tasks.
  4. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Yes, absolutely. And that's another interesting discussion: Did we overpay or did we get a heckuva deal or something in between? Unfortunately, that's also somewhat relative. Relative to what your choices are and how bad you need it, among other things.

    It's also relative to our personal perspective. As someone who is quite willing to do your own maintenance and repairs by preference ,you might see something as a ripoff while I see the same thing as perfectly reasonable in order to avoid having to do it myself. I'm not suggesting we both can't be reasonably objective and agree on things that are blatant highway robbery. But we will still be influenced by what we're prepared to do to get the work done.

    ...ken...
  5. BywayMan

    BywayMan Been here awhile

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    Head bearing bill states:
    parts 600A0800 x 39 Ball steel 1/4" @0.43......... 16.77
    3 hours labor.......................................................316.20
    Towing to home....................................................75.00
    tax & supplies.......................................................30.54
    TOTAL................................................................438.51

    The $1,528.14 maintenance (7600 mile) bill included free towing to shop, mount/balance of front and rear new tires I supplied (I'd forgotten about that) of $183.60, and tax & misc of $106.90.
    The maintenance was $166.64 in parts, including cylinder head gasket, and 10.5 hours labor of $1,071.00.

    If I knew people who loved working on their bikes, it would've made sense to sell it to them for $3,000 or so, but then to replace the bike with another new X300 or Honda cb500x would mean spending nearly the maintenance total or more to get it out the door, and face the same bill again in 7600 miles. Another problem was that the odometer had about 8300 miles when serviced. I'd have trouble selling it to a serious buyer without the service paperwork and with worn tires with that mileage.
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  6. BywayMan

    BywayMan Been here awhile

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    I provide the breakdown in my post above. It is more reasonable than I had let on!
  7. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    Head gasket? Why would they R&R the head to adjust the valves? They should not need to R&R the head. That added like 3-4 hours and parts to the bill.
  8. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    I suspect it is a typo. He probably meant "cylinder head cover gasket" which is supposed to be replaced every time the cylinder head cover is removed but in practice almost never is unless it is visbly damaged and/or leaking.
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  9. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    Well, once you throw in nearly $200 for tire mounting and free one-way towing then the bill is not too bad. And the bill for the steering head bearings is also reasonable. One thing though, it has been my experience with "loose ball" type steering head bearings that if the balls are worn and need replacing then the races are probably worn and should be replaced. However, the bikes on which I changed the head bearings had *many* more miles and years of use than this one whcih probably makes a difference.

    If we are honest about it, regardless of whether you choose to pay the man to have your bike serviced or whether you choose to buy a garage full of tools and service your bike yourself a motorcycle is still a money pit. I always find it amusing when (usually) a guy tries try to convince his SO that buying a motorcycle for his commute is a great idea because "it will will save money on gas". It is not an outright lie because it probably will save money on gas however any such saving is quickly negated by ongoing maintenance costs. Even if the bike is one with very long service intervals, the cost of chains, sprockets and tires adds up rather quickly.
  10. caje47

    caje47 Adventurer

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    May I ask if you prefer leaving valve adjustments to the dealer because it's difficult/potentially risky if a mistake is made, or because it's time-consuming (or both)? I'll probably need the 12k service next year and am debating whether or not I should attempt it myself as a complete amateur, or just pay the dealer. I have plenty of time but wouldn't want to risk any damage to the engine with my (currently) poor mechanic skills.
  11. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Enthusiastic curmudgeon Supporter

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    I'm sure others will chip in, but I'll give you my perspective. Firstly, I was a professional mechanic/technician in past lives, from aero-engines (jets and recips) to lawn mowers and most everything in between, but that was all long ago, and I only maintain my own motorcycle(s) now. As a result my perception of difficulty may not match yours.

    That aside, I'd say that the task of valve adjustments on the baby Versys is a bit of both time and effort, as well as some basic technical skill/ability. I would definitely suggest using the guidance of a tech manual or detailed breakdown of the steps involved, because there are quite a number of steps, and missing any will be frustrating if not costly. That's the time and effort part of it.

    As for the technical ability, there are a number of things you should be comfortable with doing and capable of (i.e. proper tools and work space), such as torquing fasteners in awkward spaces and measuring clearances accurately with feeler gauges and other tools to very fine tolerances. What caught me off-guard when I first did it was the very fine tolerances involved in measuring the shims. For years, I had been used to threaded valve adjustments on BMW airheads, and wasn't adequately prepared for the very slight difference in shim sizes. Fortunately, the purchase of a relatively inexpensive micrometer got me to where I needed to be. There are other aspects to the job such as working in tight spaces, with fiddly little bits that you absolutely must not drop in the wrong places (make sure you take precautions!), and very focussed attention to detail when disassembling and reassembling parts that can interfere with gaskets, tubing and wiring, etc.

    Other than that, it's a piece of cake... :D

    Seriously, I don't mean to dissuade anyone who is contemplating doing their own work, but only the individual can determine if it's what they want to do. If you're so inclined, perhaps the first step is get a repair manual, go through the necessary pages/steps and then decide for yourself. This forum is a good place to ask questions and get assistance, but it can't do the work for you. Either way, best of luck!

    JP :beer
  12. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    EDIT: Oops, I see Bullwinkle has already popped in with his two cents.

    I hope some of the folks like @SoManyFish and @Bullwinkle who have done it will chime in with their thoughts about what you'd be faced with if this is your first time. They've both posted detailed descriptions in the past few months about what they ran into. They should be able to provide a perspective of what risks you might have, depending on your experience and abilities with other similar sorts of tasks.

    To answer your question, my reason for letting the dealer do it these days is a bit of all of those things. I've never enjoyed that kind of wrenching the same as those two, and others, do. I've done valve adjustments in the past. But that was a bit for the challenge of proving I could do it, a bit because I want to understand a reasonable amount about the vehicles I operate, and mostly because I couldn't afford to have someone else do it.

    Once I got to the point where I could afford to pay to have more of those kinds of things done, I ran into the personal issue that if I was capable of doing them, why would I pay someone else to do them. So for a number of years I continued to do stuff that I either didn't care much about or outright hated, just so I didn't have to pay to get it done. It saved me a lot of money but sometimes cost me a lot of grief.

    As it applies specifically to valve adjustment, all of my experience is with lifters, mostly the screw-and-locknut variety. I understand just enough about newer technology to know that shims, especially the shim-under-bucket variety, are a whole different game. Not only is it a lot pickier and more tedious; it's much easier to screw it up. Since I don't have to do it myself, I choose not to. If the dealer screws it up, they're the ones who have to make good for it.

    It's a great thing to learn those kinds of skills, even if you just want to know you can do it, even if you don't have to. But tangling with valve adjustment on the Versus-X as your first mechanical project of significance might not be your wisest path to getting there. You have to remove pretty much all the plastic. And even then, there's not a heckuva lot of room to work. And you need the right tools. As I recall, Bullwinkle had to buy himself a new micrometer because his old one wasn't precise enough for the measurements needed. Etc.

    ...ken...
  13. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    As I have stated before in the forum, I do not consider checking and adjusting valve clearances on Versys-X 300 to be a difficult task. (Note: I am not a professional mechanic but I have been working on internal combustion engines in cars, trucks and motorcycles -- including complete engine rebuilds -- for over 4 decades so I guess I would label myself an "experienced DIY mechanic"). However, it is a task that requires strict adherence to the service procedure, it requires precision, it requires attention to detail, and it requires a few tools that some DIY mechanics may not have. And failure to complete the task correctly carries a high risk of misadjusted valve timing, cam bearing failure, cylinder head failure, valve failure, and/or catastrophic engine failure. It is a task that a decent DIY mechanic should be able to do if they have the proper tools (e.g. metric feeler gauge set, 0-25 mm micrometer, torque wrench and an angle grinder, bench grinder, or dremel to fab a holder for the chain tensioner). But I would not recommend this task to someone who has little or no experience servicing and repairing internal combustion engines unless they were being closely tutored by a competent mechanic. FWIW I have seen two valve clearance adjustments go horribly wrong because the DIYer lacked the skills, patience, knowledge and/or tools to complete the task properly. In one case, the botched task quickly (within 100 km) resulted in cam bearing failure which meant that the complete cylinder head (including cams) had to be replaced. (Note: OHC engines generally do not have replaceable cam bearings but rather the "bearings" are raceways machined directly into the aluminum cylinder head so if the bearings and/or cam journals are damaged the only solution is to replace the cylinder head and cam(s) as a complete assembly.) And, to be clear, I wasn't the one who botched the tasks but rather they were friends who contacted me after it all went south.

    TBH if a person wants to learn how to repair motorcycles or do anything but the most basic of tasks (e.g., change oil, clean/replace air filter), I would not suggest they start learning on a modern motorcycle unless it was a simple, older design (e.g., Yamaha TW200, Yamaha XT250, Honda CRF trail bikes). Most modern motorcycles are not good choices for learning because they are too complicated, they are very compact (meaning all the parts are jammed into very small spaces which makes working on them more difficult), and parts for new machines tend to be rather expensive. Instead, the best sort of bike for learning fundamental skills is probably an older single-cylinder, air-cooled machine -- they are mechanically simpler (and most have screw-type valve adjusters), they are often inexpensive to buy, and (if you choose the right model) parts for them often inexpensive so if you break something you don't break you bank account. Anyway, the skills the DIY mechanic learns fixing simpler machines are directly transferable to repairs on more complicated machines.
  14. BywayMan

    BywayMan Been here awhile

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    Right, the bill has 11061-0282, Gasket, Cylinder Head cover.
  15. BywayMan

    BywayMan Been here awhile

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    The manager said that races were replaced, but I don't see it in the parts breakdown of the bill.

    I might have sold the bike to someone who loves doing their own repairs and maint, and has the tools, time and skills to do so. Then with his payment plus the amount of the repair/maint bill I saved, I could shop for new bike. Covid 19 interfered with that. And once I went well past 7,600 on the odo, I knew there could be problems with sale or trade in.
  16. buckthedog

    buckthedog Eastbound and down

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    If we on this forum were rational, we wouldn't be on motorcycles in the first place. Y'all have really brought up good points. We all have a comfort zone for various DIY tasks. We all have that tipping point where it's cost vs. time/labor/risk/frustration/worry it wasn't done right...etc. I was in NO way begrudging of the poster for paying it, maybe its because I've had cheap bikes where Ive done it myself. My former "high tech" bikes either had it done, or were sold prior to the work needing to be done. It just "sticker-shocked" me. I just about ruined my top end in my KLR because I lost focus for a few minutes getting distracted doing a valve adjustment, even dropped shit into the engine. It ended horribly, and I missed months of riding while a kind soul machined a new cam cap as a hail mary, and it worked. Wasn't for him, I'd have parted the bike out.

    My penance for having cheap bikes is more tinkering, more cost for little broken bits and pieces, more down time, a little more worry, a little less performance, less comfort, at times, slightly to moderately less pride in ownership. Pros: less money paid out to mechanics.

    Hell, I need a new bike.
  17. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    I agree with you except for the part about "slightly to moderately less pride in ownership". I am as proud to own my 1979 Honda CM400T as I am to own my shiny 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300. I don't need to have something shiny, new, fancy, fast, high-tech, etc. to be proud of it.
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  18. buckthedog

    buckthedog Eastbound and down

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    Very true Fish. I was thinking of that afterwards, and I do have pride in that stuff that needs doing, I do with my own two hands. I've gotten help along the way, and learned more with each completed task done properly, and for that I am grateful and proud. It's like a mini-victory each time it fires RIGHT up, runs well, gives me enjoyment, takes me (and my wife sometimes) to nice places, makes memories, all while being very much paid off. I keep it clean, I am meticulous about it, and it rewards me by doing it's best. It's 100% may be mediocre to most other bikes, but if my kid is a C student, and gets C's, then that is their 100% and I'd be more proud than my A student getting B's, b/c that is not their best.

    Climbing off my soapbox, and easing out of the room now....
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  19. mettalique

    mettalique Been here awhile

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    Bought one of these things...picked it up Saturday. 9841A990-EC27-4A63-9908-D0483DAB1654.jpeg I’ve ordered a bunch of stuff to add but here in Oz it’s difficult to get a bash plate. Which is best? The only one I’ve seen here is the TRex Racing and it appears they have two different ones.
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  20. gavmac

    gavmac Long timer

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    I have the Ricochet one on mine, nice & strong. I mounted it with the bottom tupperware removed although I believe some have trimmed it a bit to fit.
    Shipping from US may be a bit slow at the moment though.