I’m in the midst of a first-time (for me) valve check/adjustment on my ‘04 K1200GT. It’s at 23.7k miles and the valves were done by the dealer once - years ago - at 12k mi. Figured it would be better to do it now (long story) rather than wait for another 6k miles.

So... in I go, and I discover 4 of the 8 intake valves are loose. All of the exhaust valves’ gaps in spec.

Taking my measurements to my helpful local dealer, the tech there told me that two of them are close enough that, were he to contact BMW, they would suggest leaving them alone. For anyone interested, here’s my measurements with a good (verified) set of feeler gauges. All numbers are millimeters:

GO NO-GO
———— ————-
0.20 0.23
0.20 0.23
0.23 0.25
0.23 0.25

Spec on the intake valves is 0.15-0.20 mm. The first two above are the ones that I was told would be ok to leave as is. The last two are definitely out.

So... another new learning experience: removing the intake camshaft. So far, so good, thanks to the Clymer and an online YouTube video. Turns out one of the two buckets that are out can be swapped in to the other that’s out.

So that leaves me buying only one bucket - at $35.

Now the frustrating part: The dealership doesn’t have it in stock. In fact, it seems that they run a very lean inventory and don’t have most of the common shim thicknesses in stock. At least for the K-brick engines that used those buckets.

They have to order it, and good news, it’s coming from Stockton, CA which isn’t too far away. My guess is that BMW America has a warehouse there. Bad news: I order it on Wednesday, order gets placed on Thursday with two-day delivery. BUT... they ship FedEx and won’t authorize Saturday delivery - so says the parts guy. So that means Monday. Oh, wait - dealership closed on Monday. So, Tuesday.

Bottom line: 5 day wait for crucial part, with the guts of my bike’s engine exposed for the duration and my significant other annoyed at the delay in reclaiming her garage, where I’m doing the work.

Punch line: Is there a better, faster way to get these parts? I’ve been told that some of the forums have members who save old buckets (they apparently really don’t wear out) and sell/swap them. Does BMW MOA have such an “exchange”? I’m particularly miffed at the dealer since (I’m told) the valve job is ultimately iterative: you measure, calculate what you need, and swap it in. But the only way you really know it’s good is to re-measure. And (according to the dealership tech), sometimes you have to repeat. As in, re-remove the camshaft, etc. Now we’re talking weeks, not days...

Editorial comment: I read post after post on this and other forums about how rarely the K-brick engines’ valves need actual adjustment. I was such a believer (having read it on good forums such as this one) that I was shocked that FOUR of eight intake valves were out. So much so that I wondered if my feeler-gauge technique was wrong - and I shot a little two-minute video of myself inserting the gauges and showed it to the very patient and helpful dealership service guys. Who said no, I wasn’t doing it incorrectly.

They also told me something interesting: The intake valves are loose because the engine is running a bit rich and there are carbon deposits building up on the valve seats. Such deposits don’t form on exhaust valves. That’s consistent with my visual read of the spark plugs, which also indicate rich combustion (dark brown color rather than tan).

Final thought: I bought this bike in 2006 from the original owner, who’d had a “performance chip” installed. As many of you know, those devices re-map the engine controller’s algorithm for fuel/air ratio and they negate the lean-burning, power-sapping, emissions-meeting ratios of today’s engines. Wondering: is that the reason that my valves and plugs point to rich combustion? And, if so, at the end of the day, is a few more horsepower worth it?

~ Corey