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Have you had your valves checked (and did any need to be adjusted)?


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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Really struggling to decide if I should get mine checked and adjusted (if needed). I've read and received so much contradictory info on this I thought the best way to get a valid perspective is to simply create a poll and see what the majority of owners have experienced. With this in mind, please take this poll and we can let the results speak for themselves.
 

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I spent about $500 to have mine checked at about 24,000 miles. I'm now nearing 50,000 and I don't plan on checking them again. If I had checked them, and maybe adjusted them I'd probably be out over $1500. I can get a low miles motor off of eBay for less than that.

Why worry about it?
 

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Unless you're wringing the piss out of your engine regularly, you can probably let it go 2 or 3 times longer than the manual says.
 

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25k mile check, no problems. All valves near middle or range.

50k mile check, no problems and all valves were within measurement error of 25k mile check values.
Unstressed, 2014 N1k.
 
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If you read the concours 14 forum, this was always a hot topic. There are way many posts about this adjusting process going wrong, and causing real damage. Mis timed cams, parts being dropped into the engine, over torqued pieces, etc. . I dont recall anyone ever needing head work other than those people who screwed up the adjustment process.

I wonder if this adjustment procedure would even be recommended if we did not have emissions regulations? The worst value in this appears to be taking it to a shop and letting them do it. When the shops says, "no adjustment needed" the owners rarely believe that there was even a check.
 

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I got a basket case 06 ZX14 I brought back to life years ago. The bike was treated fairly. Everything on the bike was scratched, bent or otherwise mangled. The only things not tore up were the engine and the frame. I put on new wheels, swingarm, forks, exhaust and fairings. I got lucky and found all the parts cheap. I checked the valves while it was apart. I only adjusted three valves and only to the next size. You could tell this bike was treated like **** all its life and it had 78K miles. I'd be shocked if the valves were checked before me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
this is interesting hopefully we get a lot more input to get a clearer picture. It is amazing to me how the prevailing wisdom is so at odds with the manufacturers recommended schedule.
 

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Just had mine done at 23,500 miles and 13 out of 16 needed shims,,.
 

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Referring to the 2018 owners manual, it specifies the first dealer inspection of valve clearance to occur at 15,200 miles (24,000 km).
 

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I have been on the fence about this for a while. Spent the money to have the valve inspection done on two previous bikes and neither were in need of adjustment at the first (15,000 mile) interval. At the second, one of the bikes had two that according to the mechanic were at the end of tolerance, but not out of range, so he shimmed them. That particular bike was ridden a bit hard as it made no power until 7000 rpm (VFR 800), and spent a lot of it's life at high rpm. Unfortunately, that particular shop closed down after the owners wife financially gutted him in a divorce.

The Ninja with it's ample torque only occasionally sees life above 8000 rpm. I am at 32,000 miles, with no inspection yet done, and am interviewing some local mechanics to see if there is one I feel good about who is also reasonable on their price (big ask...... I know). If I can't find a mechanic I feel I can trust I may just let it go. The bike is running perfectly and has exhibited no unusual behavior when starting, hot or cold.

If I do get this service done, it will likely be some time late this year, and I will share the results.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Referring to the 2018 owners manual, it specifies the first dealer inspection of valve clearance to occur at 15,200 miles (24,000 km).
Same for the 2013.

My frustration is nearly everyone I've spoken to regarding valve inspection and adjustments for modern Japanese inline four sport and sport-touring bikes say they avoid doing it because
a) cost
b) risk of poorly performed service is worse than letting them fall out of adjustment
c) claims that modern engines never need it until high miles or if the engine is run hard at high revs

What surprised me was I've even had several authorized Kawasaki dealers advise against it (established reputable dealers located n Seattle and Denver when I was travelling through on my summer tour).

This baffles me re: my own prior experience with my Triumph Sprint ST (which definitely needed valves to be checked and adjusted periodically) and several other bikes I've owned over the years (albeit mostly Italian twins and not inline fours from the big 4 Japanese badges).

So I figured it was best to simply get some accurate data based on actual Ninja 1000 owners experience to inform my decision on instead of opinions that I honestly don't have confidence in since they are all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have been on the fence about this for a while. Spent the money to have the valve inspection done on two previous bikes and neither were in need of adjustment at the first (15,000 mile) interval. At the second, one of the bikes had two that according to the mechanic were at the end of tolerance, but not out of range, so he shimmed them. That particular bike was ridden a bit hard as it made no power until 7000 rpm (VFR 800), and spent a lot of it's life at high rpm. Unfortunately, that particular shop closed down after the owners wife financially gutted him in a divorce.

The Ninja with it's ample torque only occasionally sees life above 8000 rpm. I am at 32,000 miles, with no inspection yet done, and am interviewing some local mechanics to see if there is one I feel good about who is also reasonable on their price (big ask...... I know). If I can't find a mechanic I feel I can trust I may just let it go. The bike is running perfectly and has exhibited no unusual behavior when starting, hot or cold.

If I do get this service done, it will likely be some time late this year, and I will share the results.
I did the same thing, i.e., ran around town (Richmond VA) to interview local independent mechanics. I found a guy who has a sport bike focus and works for his father in a well established family MC service business. We chatted for about an hour and he impressed me with his experience in having done other Kawasaki inline fours (ninjas and others). I told him that if I move forward (I'm bringing the bike in for a bunch of other periodic maintenance that is needed from just a lot of miles this summer), I would want him to bring all the valves into spec even if they are at the edge (this is the first check and I'll be at 19.5K miles).

My reasoning is 1/2 the time (cost) is due to the time it takes to break the bike down to get to the engine, so once he's in there it doesn't make sense to me to leave valves at the edge of tolerance unadjusted. Once (and if) done, I doubt I'll check/adjust them again on any schedule but wait until I sense symptoms (chatter, poor starting, drop in gas milage, rough idle, etc...)

Hoping to get a lot more votes--very interesting so far.
 

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I would want him to bring all the valves into spec even if they are at the edge (this is the first check and I'll be at 19.5K miles).

My reasoning is 1/2 the time (cost) is due to the time it takes to break the bike down to get to the engine, so once he's in there it doesn't make sense to me to leave valves at the edge of tolerance unadjusted.
That's a very sensible approach, I like it.

On the topic of dealer personnel telling you to not waste your time and money doing specified services, that's a warning sign (to me) that I should go somewhere else. And let's be glad they just work in a motorcycle shop and not on your next airliner!
 

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I haven't done the valve inspection on the N1k, but have done it on other liquid cooled bikes.

Here's my take based limited N1k Service experience:
If you can remove the air box and the spark plugs, you are about 2/3 of the way to inspecting the valves. Inspecting it is actually quite simple and very easy to do. In the past, I got to this point and decided not to continue because the valves were at spec or very close to specs. I learned early on that if any of these two criteria are met it's best to not mess with it.

The less easy part is adjusting the valves because it requires removing the camshafts in order to access the shim under the buckets that are sitting on top of the valve springs. This is primarily because of all the bolts required to lift the camshafts out. Once the cams are out you have to put them back in and properly torque these bolts

Two "scary" parts of this procedure are:
1) Dropping tiny, slippery shims into the bowels of the engine....BAD. You have to be VERY careful. Use magnets.
2) Putting the camshafts back in correctly....the factory makes this easy by using aligning marks on the camshaft and the cylinder head. But you also have to count the number of links on the cam chain as you fit them over the camshafts.

You screw up on these two above and life is going to suck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I haven't done the valve inspection on the N1k, but have done it on other liquid cooled bikes.......

Two "scary" parts of this procedure are:
1) Dropping tiny, slippery shims into the bowels of the engine....BAD. You have to be VERY careful. Use magnets.
2) Putting the camshafts back in correctly....the factory makes this easy by using aligning marks on the camshaft and the cylinder head. But you also have to count the number of links on the cam chain as you fit them over the camshafts.

You screw up on these two above and life is going to suck.

Here is a youtube video of the procedure. Your point about the two scary parts seems spot on. BTW: why do you have to count the number of links (he does this in the video as well)?

 

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Outstanding video! Not a job for the incompetent technician.

For guys buying pre-owned N1Ks with mileage beyond the first valve clearance check, demand to see the service receipts for this job. If they cannot be provided somebody's selling price is going DOWN. It's not uncommon these days for owners to sell vehicles when they reach the point of expensive recommended service, and will pass that expense onto the unsuspecting buyer. Dirtbags!

Some years ago I had a chance to buy a cherry '89 Porsche 944 Turbo S. I brought it to the local Porsche specialist who took a look at the odometer and asked if the seller had done the clutch job yet? If not, the cost was THOUSANDS of dollars. You know the rest of the story.
 

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Well this video shows the complexity of the operation; and if you have no experience with valve adjustment its best left to the trained person. My motor is not abused ,but has been run to redline a dozen or more times. The motor has almost 18000 miles on it (2014 model) still has original plugs and it runs good. Its going to get a new chain (maybe sprockets--they look ok) and new plugs very soon. Thx for the vid.
 

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Here is a youtube video of the procedure. Your point about the two scary parts seems spot on. BTW: why do you have to count the number of links (he does this in the video as well)?
I believe it's because it ensure that when tension is applied to the chain when you release the CCT tension, the chain does not have any slack between the two camshafts and therefore will not "pull" the chain and rotate the camshaft and break their alignment.
 
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