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Thread: Valve adjust & stripped locknut - why I'm a fan of preventive maintenance.

  1. #1
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    Valve adjust & stripped locknut - why I'm a fan of preventive maintenance.

    For the past five years or so, I've done a lot of my own wrenching. Not being a local-club kinda guy, I rely on Clymer and the 'net to help me through the grazed knuckle process.

    I've had my (bought used) single spark '03 R1150R for about six months (24,800 miles to date), and this weekend it was time for my first valve adjustment. After I took the covers off the bike, it seemed like it could've been the first valve adjustment ever! I thought I should share this story in case you're putting off your valve adjust

    Armed with my Clymer manual and Jim Von Baden's DVD (thanks Jim, it helped a lot), I got to work on the right cylinder. I found TDC (actually I found it three times, just to make sure) and the first thing I discovered was the gaps weren't even close to specification, both intake and exhaust gaps were far wider than the feeler gauges. No worries (I hoped). I quickly had everything back within specification, and also made sure the rocker-arm end play was within spec, too.

    With the feeler gauges still in position, I started to tighten the locknuts, but was unable to tighten the top left (intake) locknut, it just kept on spinning. Assuming it was put on incorrectly and now was stripped, I completely removed the offending locknut immediately. Sure enough, there was no thread. The guts of the locknut were now curly slivers of silver wrapped around the thread of the valve stem. I think the part number for the 10mm locknut is 11331340636. Needless to say, I'll be acquiring a few spares this week.

    Anyone else had this, or something similar happen to them?

  2. #2
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    I've stripped a few bolts in my day, but have not stripped a valve adjuster lock nut ever. I've encountered a few already stripped on Airheads but not on oilheads. But, lots of people use long wrenches and really overtighten those nuts. Fear of one coming loose is at play, but the reality is that it is a small fastener than needs very little clamping force - it is basically only holding itself in place to jam the adjuster threads.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

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    Indeed, and today at Sears...

    I bought another torque wrench, particularly for this maintenance. They're on sale ($79.99 down to $59.99 with a Craftsman Club discount, then another $5 off at checkout).

    I suspect the strip happened when I loosened the bolt to adjust the gap. The bolt may have been cross-threaded when it was installed, and the problem compounded when loosened.

    However, my biggest concern this afternoon was the width of the gap. I don't know a lot about this particular engine, but it did seem a bit on the wide side. The bike was running smoothly though. Go figure...

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    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 110164 View Post
    I bought another torque wrench, particularly for this maintenance. They're on sale ($79.99 down to $59.99 with a Craftsman Club discount, then another $5 off at checkout).

    I suspect the strip happened when I loosened the bolt to adjust the gap. The bolt may have been cross-threaded when it was installed, and the problem compounded when loosened.

    However, my biggest concern this afternoon was the width of the gap. I don't know a lot about this particular engine, but it did seem a bit on the wide side. The bike was running smoothly though. Go figure...
    Hopefully the torque wrench is accurate down to a small in-lb range..

    I use my pinky on the end of a 5" wrench to tighten those locknuts.. as Paul pointed out - they need little force to perform their purpose - locking the adjustment.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  5. #5
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Are you sure were at TDC for that side? When you get to TDC for that side, there should be a small amount of play on each rocker and none for the other cylinder's rockers.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    Are you sure were at TDC for that side? When you get to TDC for that side, there should be a small amount of play on each rocker and none for the other cylinder's rockers.
    Dave - I suspect he was since he found more clearance than expected.. and if he hadn't been - the clearances only get smaller (max clearance = TDC)
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

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    Tdc

    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    Are you sure were at TDC for that side? When you get to TDC for that side, there should be a small amount of play on each rocker and none for the other cylinder's rockers.
    I found TDC buy putting the bike into 6th gear and manhandlng the rear wheel forward. and then followed the Clymer directions (page 82, figure 112), looking into the inspection hole to find the correct mark. BTW I found yet another use for one of those freebie-paint can openers... I used it to pry off the awkwardly placed inspection hole cover.

    This particular torque wrench goes down to 3.61 nm and Clymer specs the locknuts to be tightened to 8nmn. It did feel a bit like overkill, having to use a torque wrench for a seemingly simple task, especially because clicker torque wrenches are a little bit inaccurate near each end of their scale. I like the pinkie idea.

    This discussion brings me to my next question. Do I have to rotate the cams 180 degrees to get the gaps on the left hand cylinder to open up to their correct positions? Because of the locknut problem, I didn't take this job any further and haven't taken the cover off the left cylinder yet.

    Thanks for your input.

  8. #8
    Braz J Brase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 110164 View Post
    This discussion brings me to my next question. Do I have to rotate the cams 180 degrees to get the gaps on the left hand cylinder to open up to their correct positions? Because of the locknut problem, I didn't take this job any further and haven't taken the cover off the left cylinder yet.

    Thanks for your input.
    Yes, you need to rotate the cams 180 degrees - that is 360 degrees of crankshaft rotation.

    On my 1150 the cam sprockets have a mark on them which points outward, away from the motor, when you are at TDC. That is what I use as an indicator of TDC. I don't know if they all have such a mark.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brase View Post
    Yes, you need to rotate the cams 180 degrees - that is 360 degrees of crankshaft rotation.

    On my 1150 the cam sprockets have a mark on them which points outward, away from the motor, when you are at TDC. That is what I use as an indicator of TDC. I don't know if they all have such a mark.

    John
    yes, they all have the arrow mark. line up left side pointing out, if right side is loose then it's ready to adjust. repeat for other side. no need to pull cam cover either- plenty of vision from just having the valve covers off.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    yes, they all have the arrow mark. line up left side pointing out, if right side is loose then it's ready to adjust. repeat for other side. no need to pull cam cover either- plenty of vision from just having the valve covers off.
    Right!

    By the way, the stripped adjuster is not uncommon at all. I have seen it half a dozen times, mostly by dealers. It isn't all that hard to fix, though the rocker arms have to be removed.

    I tighten my lock nuts like Don, no torque wrench.

    Jim
    www.JVBProductions.com Now, all videos available via download, Shifthead also now available.

  11. #11
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimVonBaden1 View Post
    I tighten my lock nuts like Don, no torque wrench.

    Jim
    I should probably explain why I use no torque wrench, and the 5" box-end wrench..

    ANY torque wrench, even in the lower inch-lb range is going to be longer than desireable for tightening fragile fasteners. On click wrenches - it is very easy to hear the click and still exert more force than desired due to brain/muscle lag time (which gets worse as you get tired - BTDT.)

    The 5" wrench limits the amount of torque you can put on the nut. Yes - you could sit on it or step on it and put WAY too much torque on the nut, but in general, since you're using a small wrench, it alerts you to using a small amount of force on the wrench.

    It's a case of keeping your mind ON THE JOB at hand, and not counting on tools preventing you from damaging something. The 5" wrench does that for me.. I haven't stripped a valve adjuster locknut since around 1972 (on a Volvo B18 engine..)

    YMMV, but I doubt it..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  12. #12
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    Job complete

    An employee from my local dealer dropped off some locknuts last night and I had the bike up and running lickity-split. Bill from Ride West Seattle actually swung by my house on his way home from work, in torrential rain, on his motorbike, to deliver the locknnuts.

    ...and I didn't use the torque wrench to tighten those d**m locknuts.

    Thanks for everyone's input (and JVB's DVD).
    Last edited by 110164; 01-11-2008 at 03:22 AM.

  13. #13
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 110164 View Post
    An employee from my local dealer dropped off some locknuts last night and I had the bike up and running lickity-split. Bill from Ride West Seattle actually swung by my house on his way home from work, in torrential rain, on his motorbike, to deliver the locknnuts.

    ...and I didn't use the torque wrench to tighten those d**m locknuts.

    Thanks for everyone's input (and JVB's DVD) for their input.
    I always like to hear these kinds of stories!

    Glad you got it back together!

    Jim
    www.JVBProductions.com Now, all videos available via download, Shifthead also now available.

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