valve adjusting

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Timbo
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:46 pm
I ride: Vulcan 500

valve adjusting

Postby Timbo » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:19 pm

Has anyone adjusted the valves on their vulcan 500? I have 7000 miles and the manual says to adjust every 6000. Is this a DIY project?

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Triangles
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I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
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Re: valve adjusting

Postby Triangles » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:19 pm

Unless you want endless frustration. Get the specialized valve adjustment tool. You will also need appropriate feeler gauges. I won't regurgitate what's already been well documented. Except for the body removal work, the process is identical on the Vulcan 500 as the Ninja. It's probably covered in the link, but it's worth repeating here. Used compressed air to blow any rocks/dirt out of the spark plug area BEFORE removing the spark plugs or coolant lines. Also make sure not to let either locating pin fall down into the engine when removing the valve cover. Another thing I just remembered... Replacing the hex head screws that retain the cooling lines with socket head screws makes removal for the next adjustment much easier.
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Timbo
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:46 pm
I ride: Vulcan 500

Re: valve adjusting

Postby Timbo » Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:04 pm

I hate to show my ignorance but what is a valve adjustment tool? As far as complication on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hardest) how would you rate this job? I do appreciate any feedback.

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Triangles
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Re: valve adjusting

Postby Triangles » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:12 am

If you are don't feel confident in your mechanical abilities or lack mechanical aptitude pay the $250 or so for a shop to do this for you. Screwing this up is a good way to make an expensive paperweight out of your engine. If I had to assign a numbers on a difficulty scale, I'd say its between 6 and 8 the first time you do it. The second time it's in the 3-4 range. Personally I don't think it's that hard but I like wrenching on stuff and have no fear at trying a new mechanical procedure. The relative ease of adjusting the valves on the Vulcan 500 is one reason I bought two of them :) If it doesn't say so in the tutorial, this must be done on a cold engine (as in set overnight cold).

As far as the special tool goes, The alternative is a wrench and flat head screw driver. I bought a kit that covers most all engines. Essentially you are adjusting a screw with a lock nut on it. This kit has multiple "wrench" sizes for various lock nut sizes. and has 3 different "screw drivers" for the various types of screw heads used on valve adjusters. In the picture the Knob is actually a sort of mini screw driver that fits down the center of the wrench. The advantage of this tool is it makes it easier to get into the small area you have to work with. Also it makes it very easy to hold the screw in place while tightening the lock nut. You can probably find something on youtube showing how this tool is used.
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Timbo
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:46 pm
I ride: Vulcan 500

Re: valve adjusting

Postby Timbo » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:08 pm

Thanks for all the great advice.

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Triangles
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Re: valve adjusting

Postby Triangles » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:37 pm

Maybe some day I will do a write up on this. Until then here's some pictures of how to take things apart. If you're not already aware this needs to be done on a cold soaked engine, ie it has set over night.

First you need to remove the seat. I'll assume you can figure this out.

The tank is next:
-Remove the speedometer "dashboard" from the top of the tank. The bolt toward the rear of the bike secures this assembly. Remove the bolt and slide the assembly forward. Then unscrew the speedo cable and disconnect the two electrical connections.
-Remove the rear and front bolt securing the tank to the frame.
-Unhook the fuel line and vacuum line from the petcock. * MAKE SURE THE VALVE IS NOT ON PRIME!
-Remove the tank from the bike. I set a piece of foam rubber on the bike where the seat goes and then set the tank on this. that way I don't have to reroute the vent tubes when I put the tank back on. It's also worth mentioning it's easier to do this on a nearly empty tank.
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Remove debris from the spark plug wells:
-Remove the spark plug boots
-Use compressed air to blow out any dirt, sand, or rocks. You don't want any of these falling into your coolant system when you remove the coolant tubes. Also you don't want this stuff in your combustion chamber if you happen to check your spark plugs while doing this. You don't need to remove the spark plug while checking the valve lash. Two things I highly recommend is replacing the hex head cap screws securing the coolant tubes with socket head cap screws. It's much easier to get an allen key in there than a socket. I have already previously done this as you can see in the picture.
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next drain the coolant:
-Remove coolant overflow and dump it out. Do not re-install yet! Flop it out of the way. Already done in the picture above.
-Remove the RH side peg assembly (two bolts)
-Open coolant cap to let air in.
-Locate drain bolt as shown below and remove it.
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*Note: Unless you like the smell of burning coolant, remember to rinse off the exhaust pipe when done.

Start moving stuff out of the way:
-Pull the Kawasaki clean air system off the valve cover and out of the way. you see this dangling down the side of the bike from the air box in the picture. It's the long hose attached to a vacuum valve with two elbows to the valve cover.
-Remove the RH side ignition coil. BE CAREFUL! The coil mounts to the frame with two nuts embedded in rubber grommets. These electrically isolate the coil from the frame. These are easily destroyed which will then require a trip to the dealer for new ones.
-Remove the coolant tubes and pull them out of the way toward the back as shown. It's worth mentioning that these can be really difficult to remove. It may be a good idea to replace the o-rings and use a generous amount of dialectic grease when it's time to put things back together. The grease helps lube things going in and helps reduce the likelihood of corrosion making it difficult to remove the tubes after the next 6k miles. Stuff rags or paper towels in the coolant openings and spark plug hole if you have removed them. You really wouldn't want anything to fall in these openings.
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-Remove the radiator fan (3 screws and a plug).
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Remove the valve cover:
-Remove the valve cover bolts (3 on each side).
-Gently remove the valve cover. There are two locating guide pins near the center cam chain cavity. These pins carry air from the Kawasaki clean air system to the exhaust. When you have broken the seal, pry it up just enough to see if these pins stay with the head or valve cover. If they stay with the valve cover there is a real danger of having them fall out and down the cam chain cavity. If this happens you are really screwed and likely will have to disassemble the engine to get the pins out. If you foolishly decide you'll risk leaving them where ever they fell, you might as well order a new engine since the odds of destroying the engine are about the odds of not winning Mega Millions Lottery.
-If the locating pin stays with the valve cover carefully remove the pin from the valve cover and put it in the corresponding hole in the head.
-Lift valve cover up and slide it forward.
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-Rotate front of valve cover toward RH side.
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-Maneuver around the key wires and remove the valve cover out the RH side of the bike.
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-Remove valve cover gasket. Remember those alignment pins? Be vary careful when removing the gasket not to pull the pins out of the head!
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At this point you can check your valve clearances. The easy way to tell when the piston you are checking is at TDC compression by rotating the crank (with a socket) until both intake and exhaust cam lobes are pointing up. The crank rotates CW looking at it from the LH side of the bike. You don't want to turn the crank backwards since that will engage the starter clutch! It's best to have two feeler gauges to set the gap. Also as you can see you don't have to remove the copper oil lines to check clearances. If I have to make an adjustment I will remove them. I have never tried to adjust them with the copper lines still in.
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OK so I went into more detail than I had anticipated. Feel free to point out any errors I have made above and don't blame me if you're dumb enuff to follow my instructions and break your bike :) Consider this a supplement for the Vulcan 500 to the Ninja 500 valve adjustment procedure.
Last edited by Triangles on Mon May 25, 2015 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Correct crank rotation.
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AKrider
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:21 am
I ride: '93 Vulcan 500, '06 Honda Rebel, '81 CX 500
Location: Two Rivers, Alaska

Re: valve adjusting

Postby AKrider » Mon May 25, 2015 5:04 pm

Just adjusted Rosebud's valves and have a few comments to add.

First, crankshaft rotation is CW when looking at the nut on the crankshaft on the left side of the bike. If you go the wrong way you will hear the starter clutch ratcheting.

Second I found with the plugs out there was enough spring tension on the other cylinder's valves that the engine would run right past the T mark, I ended up putting the back tire on a set of rollers and with the bike in sixth gear I could rotate the tire in the forward direction and have enough drag to get the crank to hold where I want it. (You can use this method, if the plug is stuck, to rotate the crank, it's just hard to see the timing marks, although there are ways to do this without timing marks too.)

Third, follow Triangles' suggestion and replace those Gosh @#!! screws holding the coolant tubes with M6 socket head cap screws! After I stripped out the first one I cut a slot in it with my mini die grinder, (dinging the coolant hose along the way so I am now down waiting for one of those), after a little penetrating oil and heat I removed it with my hand impact driver and a long extension. At least I didn't have to drill it, too many big chips and you loose style points when you have to drill.

Lastly I learned all sorts of things about Rosebud. She's a 92 not a 93 like it says on my registration, (GEICO got it right but the State of Alaska DMV didn't). Also she's a California model so I have an air switch valve and some tubes that hook up to the top of the valve cover and vent air (like a PCV valve) through each of those two locator pins you warn about dropping into the crankcase, just more guterschmelt to get out of the way.

In the future before I start this I will have new hoses, coolant tube o rings, one of the air valve hoses and a new valve cover gasket on hand before starting this project. Oh yeah and the right size Allen wrench for those new socket head cap screws.

When reassembling all these hoses and o-rings remember DC4 is your friend, it's a non-hardening silicone from Dow Corning that works well on gaskets, hoses and o-rings. A little goes a long way and makes it easier to take apart later.

It's a good thing I have my wife's Rebel to ride while I am waiting for parts. Might as well bend that new front tire on Rosebud while I'm waiting.
We are what we repeatedly do, excellence is a habit.

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Triangles
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Re: valve adjusting

Postby Triangles » Mon May 25, 2015 11:10 pm

AKrider wrote:...crankshaft rotation is CW when looking at the nut on the crankshaft on the left side of the bike. If you go the wrong way you will hear the starter clutch ratcheting....

...When reassembling all these hoses and o-rings remember DC4 is your friend, it's a non-hardening silicone from Dow Corning that works well on gaskets, hoses and o-rings. A little goes a long way and makes it easier to take apart later.


Thanks AK for the correction. Some time had elapsed between taking the picts and writing the post. I couldn't remember which way the motor turned. I also like your suggestion for the silicon lube. recently I've been lazy and used dielectric grease which probably isn't too good for the rubber but it sure makes it easy to get the stuff apart again. Hopefully this DC4 stuff is easy to find. I like your other suggestion for rotating the engine with the plugs out. Although I rarely feel the need to pull the plugs when checking valves. I also no longer bother using the timing marks since I'm familiar with how the lobes should be pointing.
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AKrider
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:21 am
I ride: '93 Vulcan 500, '06 Honda Rebel, '81 CX 500
Location: Two Rivers, Alaska

Re: valve adjusting

Postby AKrider » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:41 pm

Finally got my hoses and got Rosebud back together, had to get one of the coolant hoses from Japan! I ended up ordering a complete from two different vendors to try and get them here sooner, I will take the spare set and seal them in a vacuum bag and store them in a paper bag in a cool, dry drawer in my garage, should stay useable for years that way.

List of things accomplished this service:
1) New clutch disks and plates
2) Oil and filter change
3) Valve clearance adjustment
4) New plugs and air filter
5) New front brake pads, stainless lines and fluid flush and change (Thanks Triangles for the excellent post about braided brake lines)
6) Coolant flush and fill
7) New front tire

Purrs like a kitten and rides like a dream, thanks to all at this forum for your posts, it really helps a lot!

Triangles if you can't find DC-4 locally try Aircraft Spruce, while aviation oriented they have all sorts of goodies.
We are what we repeatedly do, excellence is a habit.


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