Motorcycle Club » Star 650 Classic & Custom

Valve Adjustment - How Hard, Really?

28 posts from 12 voices
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  1. Hacgzav

    I have a lot of previous experience in Auto Mechanics, and after reading the Clymer Service Manual, it doesn't seem like adjusting the valves is especially hard to do, however I also read the Clymer Manual before I changed the oil, and the manual's suggested procedure seemed to include a lot of unnecessary steps (such as removing the exhaust pipe) to just change the oil, so that got me to wondering...Is it easier to adjust the valves than the Clymer manual makes it out to be?

    I could take it to a couple of Yamaha dealers that are local, and they would do it and resync the carbs for about $140, but they "don't allow customers in the back for insurance reasons," so I can't watch them do it and learn how to do it myself.

    I have a vacuum gauge, so I should be able to sync the carbs myself too. Is that procedure easier than the Clymer manual makes it out to be as well?

    Any experienced motorcycle mechanics out there that can answer these questions?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Callibjkian

    I'll preface this by saying, I am not an experienced mechanic. With that, I have Changed the exhaust, rejetted the Carbs, Synced the carbs, replaced the Spring spacers in the forks, shaved the stock seat, and performed the J-Slam...all by myself. I took the bike in for it's first service, but because of timing it didn't receive that until 1200 miles. At 600 miles I changed the oil, replaced the filter and changed the final drive oil myself. All of it was rather easy. I am not a complete mechanical idiot. So I would imagine that someone with Auto mechanic experience would also find such task exceptionally easy. I do not have a Clymer's manual, I have the Yamaha one, so I cannot say whether they are different in respects to instructions on various maintenance.

    I did much homework via this site, 650 ccnd and the Service manual. Most of it took courage on my part since I had never undertaken such a task and was nervous about screwing up my brand new bike. Take this for what it is, but after completing all said tasks and "so far" having come across no performance issues, I would say it's not too hard at all. I have only ever touched valves on small engines (lawn mowers and generators), but don't imagine these would be much more complicated.

    The real mechanics are welcome to speak up now that the Newb has given his $

  3. cptallaz

    It really varies a lot from bike to bike. My first valve adjustment was on my Ninja. Being a DOHC parallel twin, everything was at the very top of the engine, directly below the frame rail. It was a contortionist's nightmare getting there, but once the valve cover was off, there they all were in plain sight....unfortunately jammed up against the head wall. It's an easy job, IF you can get your hands and tools down to where they need to be.

    On my current bike (1981 XV920), the valve covers are a royal bitch to remove. They're at strange angles, just centimeters away from frame. Most screws (allen head) couldn't be accessed with a socket. But once you get the valve covers off, it's a piece of cake. I spent far longer getting covers off than I did adjusting.

    It's all about packaging. Screw and locknut adjusters are simple. But shim and bucket systems are foreign to me...for the moment.

  4. Hacgzav

    I wouldn't sell myself short if I were you. It sounds like you took a lot of initiative when it came to working on your own bike. Well done! I know a lot of people who would not have attempted half of the things you have done yourself, given your mechanical experience.

    Having said that, I am actually encouraged that someone who admits to not having done these things before found them easy to do his first time.

    As I said, the Clymer manual made changing the oil more difficult than it needed to be. It instructed me to remove the exhaust in order to change the oil filter, but before I did that, I attempted to change the filter without removing the exhaust and found that it could be done quite easily with the exhaust in place. The only thing that was difficult to do with the exhaust in place was to clean up the oil than ran down the side of the crankcase, but a little bit of starter fluid fixed that problem. Also, the bottom hex head bolt would have been a little more easily accessible, but not impossible to work with while the exhaust was in place. So, that got me thinking, "What else are they making more difficult than it probably is?"

    So...When you adjusted your valves, it was pretty easy then? How long did it take you to complete the adjustment?

  5. MigejCojode

    The valve adjustment is realively easy. It's just a PITA to get to the valves. You don't have to take the carbs off to do it but it sure makes it a lot easier. I've stripped the heat shield from under my carbs (85-95F is about as warm as it gets here) so that makes it easier.

    The first time I did it I took 3 hrs now that i've done it a few times I can do it in as little as 45 minutes.

    Don't use the vacuum guage to synch the carbs, you will never get it close enough, This is a v-twin and a v-8 with dual carbs, it's very sensitive to slight changes. Use the home made synch guage or a store bought manometer. I don't find you can get close enough with guages because you'd have to use 2 and they can be out as much as +/- 5%. With a manometer calibration isn't an issue.

  6. retzdaret

    The Vstars prior to 07 had the exhaust pipe blocking the oil filter. I'm guessing your bike is 07 or later so that was not a prob. That is why you will see oil filter relocation kits for the older bikes.

  7. Callibjkian

    When it came to the oil, I just used the owner's manual and it never said a word about the exhaust. Honestly, I am still constantly checking the bike and lookin around it in fear I missed something and the engine is slowly breaking itself. lol Probably paranoia, but then again it seems that any bad issues seem to show up rather quickly so if not here by now, then maybe things are actually ok.


  8. MigejCojode

    I've got a 99 650 with stock front headpipe and don't have to remove the pipes to change oil or filter. That is an 1100 thing that may have ended up in the Clymer manual by accident, dunno I don't have a Clymer's manual.

  9. rocgman

    my first valve adj. took me about an hour. and mikey's right about th gauges. i tryed to do it that way and they dont help at all. stick w/ the manometer (homemade or storebought).

  10. Hacgzav

    Where can I learn more about the homemade manometer?

  11. zvambrad

    Here are two different versions.

  12. Hacgzav

    Love the Ninja one. Seems to be no risk of sucking fluid into the carbs, and I actually saw the other manometer on 650ccnd, and there are special instructions for the 650 motor, including line filters and larger tubing.

    The Ninja one seems to be more compact too, making it easier to work with, I'm sure.

    Thanks for the links.

  13. zvambrad

    Love the Ninja one. Seems to be no risk of sucking fluid into the carbs,
    That is the one I use on my 1100. Works like a champ. Let us know how the valve adjustment goes.

  14. Hacgzav

    I am going to do it this weekend, I hope.

    I had considered documenting the process with pictures and posting it here in case there were other new 650 owners who were curious about how easy or hard it really is.

    If there is interest in me doing that, I will do it.

  15. virefaceone

    I am currently thinking of giving the ole valves an adjustment myself this weekend also, a bit nervouse about it but I think i can do it, i just dont want to rely on a shop for everything on my bike, working on a car is a different story but ithink I can handle the bike.

  16. vjgjtdron

    If there is interest in me doing that, I will do it.
    Absolutely! Please do it.

  17. Callibjkian

    I'd be down with seein some documentation on he adjustment as well.


  18. virefaceone

    this may be a stupid question to the experienced motor guys but I see that the exhaust valves and the intake valves require 2 different clearances, how do you tell the difference in which is the intake and which is exhaust? Seems like a pretty important thing to know upon first try lol

  19. MigejCojode

    The intake valves are the ones closest to the carbs (inside). The exhaust are the ones closest to the exhaust (front and rear). I usually set to minimum tolerance (the low number). The max number is there to tell you it's time to adjust.

    Hacgzav if you can do some pics and I write-up I'll post it in the Mods sticky when I get back. There is already a good description right out of the manual here:
    But if you can add anything to clarify it wouldn't hurt.

  20. Coolpreese

    Where are the Yamaha dealers that charge only $140? I had my 8000 mile service done at KC's in HSV and it cost $300+. I'm also using Clymer manual to do my own next time. I have a 1100 and followed Clymer's procedure to remove the exhaust when changing the oil. It may be different on the 650, but I don't think you can do it on a 1100 without removing the exhaust.::


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