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Discussion Starter #1
The service manual states that this should be performed at 7500 miles and again at 15k. I went over a bit, so I am going to do mine either this weekend or next. The procedure does not look to be for the faint of heart, but I have thusfar done all my own maintenance with no ill results.

I googled this to try and find an online dealer selling valve shims, and ran across this thread on another forum. How To: 98-02 ZX-6R & 03-0? ZZR600 Valve adjustment. - BARF - Bay Area Riders Forum

I downloaded the entire thing to have in the event the thread gets archived or is otherwise made unavailable.

Note this guy seems to know his stuff, and read his comment in the first post "the valve adjustment interval on this bike is rather short. unlike most shim-under-bucket valve trains, that require an adjustment every 15~17k, this kawasaki needs it done every 8k ... you still have to pull the cams twice as often as most bikes."

I have read about a ZZR engine swallowing a valve, and from time to time I run across some ZX6r or ZZR on Ebay that got trashed in this manner.

I think this is serious stuff, and should not be neglected. If you don't trust your own skills to do something like this, try enlisting a buddy who is good with this sort of thing. If you have a digital camera, take pics at each step so you remember how everything goes.

I plan to do the carb sync at the same time, since you have everything broken down. If you need to clean the air filter or swap plugs, this would be the time to do it since you have to tear into all of that to get to the valves.
 

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I just did my 650R at 15k. Once you get to the engine, it's really not that bad. The real PITA is getting everything out of the way to get down to the valves. Fairings, airbox and cam cover were a bitch to remove. Luckily mine were in spec, so I didn't have to pull the cams. Seems pretty common for most shim under bucket engines to go for a long time without needing an adjustment. While I was in there. I changed the spark plugs too.
 

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:boinkrayzzr,

Thanks for putting up the link. Photo's and dialog are fantastic! That's the stuff I hoped to learn by joining this forum
 

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Thanks Ray, this one is worth a Sticky for everyone. Jay
 

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I just did my 650R at 15k. Once you get to the engine, it's really not that bad. The real PITA is getting everything out of the way to get down to the valves. Fairings, airbox and cam cover were a bitch to remove. Luckily mine were in spec, so I didn't have to pull the cams. Seems pretty common for most shim under bucket engines to go for a long time without needing an adjustment. While I was in there. I changed the spark plugs too.
I just did mine at 26K (the first the manual calls for) and like you said it's getting everything off just to get to it. All my clearances checked out and were not even close to being out. It only took me about 3 hrs to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just did mine at 26K (the first the manual calls for) and like you said it's getting everything off just to get to it. All my clearances checked out and were not even close to being out. It only took me about 3 hrs to do it.
I can only hope I am that lucky. I am at 9500 on the ZZR, and reading about people checking theirs at 7500 and having to replace shims is worrying me. I'd rather be riding :beer
 

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I can only hope I am that lucky. I am at 9500 on the ZZR, and reading about people checking theirs at 7500 and having to replace shims is worrying me. I'd rather be riding :beer
I had a lot of reasons for choosing my bike, one of them was the first check of the valves at 26K. I did'nt want to have to worry about checking the valves right away being that I put a lot of miles on my bike. Most of the other FZ6 owners and R6 owners valves seem to be checking out good at the first check. I've only heard of one FZ6 owner having one valve out during his check. I believe he is on this site.

I would have it done. My old CBR was a little overdue once when I checked it and I had a couple that were close. If you don't then it makes the possibility of engine damage greater and then you will really wish you did it. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I got my Hotcams shim kit in the mail today. Friday after work I will be doing open heart surgery on the ZZR to check the valve clearances and shim those that need it. The bike is an 07, with 9500 miles on it. For the record, the service manual states that this should be done every 7500 miles.

From what I have read on the web, most ZZRs require shims at the first check. Kawi must know something if they are calling for a valve check this early in the maintenance schedule.

I have read experiences from persons owning various other bikes and most stated that they did not need shims this early. I'll take the advice from those who have done the job on our bikes and know - check them. Better to be safe than sorry.

A local shop quoted me $150-$180 to do the job for me. I'm not sure if this was including the shims or not. None of the local shops seemed keen on selling me shims, so I bought the kit off Ebay for $71 shipped. Considering I ride around 7500 miles or more a year, I would have to pay around $180+ each time I need this done, but by getting my own shim kit I can do this work myself - and learn more about my bike.

If I intended to sell/trade my bike anytime soon, I might have been more willing just to have someone else do it. As it stands now, I doubt I will be getting rid of this bike - it does everything I want it to do and with a high degree of comfort (relative to other bikes).

I'll post my findings...
 

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Sounds good Ray. When you coming to Indiana to help me with mine? Just kidding:) Got a link for the shim kit? Jay
 

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I was able to hook up with a small shop here and buy the shims individually from the owner. My last bike needed seven shims I think it was and he gave them to me for $22 or something like that. Never know, pays to pick up the phone and make a couple of calls. If I would have bought a kit I would still have 90% of them still in the box in the garage collecting dust somewhere. Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Sounds good Ray. When you coming to Indiana to help me with mine? Just kidding:) Got a link for the shim kit? Jay
I say we setup a shim swap program - anyone who needs can PM me with the thickness, and just mail me back those they don't need. That way we have a pool that people can pull from. I'm sure that most of these will be ones we won't need, but you never know.

The place I spoke with was a salvage yard, and the comment wasn't no, it was more like 'well normally we just keep them on hand for service jobs we do'. I asked how much to do the job and he ballparked a price that seemed fair, but I like knowing how to do things. I didn't press him anymore, but I do most of my business with them so he may have been more willing to help me out. My fear was I would tear into the bike, do the check and need a shim they did not have so I would be off the bike that much longer. The weather is amazing this time of year, and I miss my ZZR!

Been riding the KLR, and the knobbies singing the blues on the highway.

Here is the place I ordered from. I went with the standard shipping and they got here reasonably fast. eBay Motors: NEW HOTCAMS HOT CAMS 7.48 SHIM KIT CRF250 YZ250F RMZ KX (item 290268073230 end time Oct-22-08 18:15:22 PDT)

The diameter is the important thing, and this kit will fit many, many more bikes than they list. 7.48mm is the shim diameter for most of the Kawasaki sportbikes (at least the newer models).

And it's your turn to come down here Jay! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have not shimmed them yet, but at 9500 miles I had 6 valves out of spec. Surprisingly enough, 4 of those 6 were intake. The exhaust should tighten, but as for the intake I'm thinking they should gradually loosen.

Removing the value cover was the biggest pain I have ever had with the bike. You have to pretty much remove everything on top, and even then wires and hoses get in the way. You also have to drop the radiator down. The valve cover is in a tight spot, and removing it was not easy.

I'm going to have a friend check them and second guess my readings, and we'll go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The bike will be back together tonight. I dropped in the new shims and checked again, but some of the numbers seemed to have gotten tighter. Not sure about that. I went .05 or .1 smaller in some cases. Some seemed tighter even though I did not change the shim, like the reassembly made it tighter.

I will say this: if you plan to do this job, get a good micrometer. You will have to measure the shims that come out. Ideally it will do metric, else you will have to convert (there are websites that do this for you).

I did it by the book, and aside from removing the valve cover (which is a HUGE pain), getting the cams back in sync is not easy. When piston 4 is TDC, the intake cam is starting to open the intake valves on cylinder 3. Becasue of this, the cam will not sit in place well, and the cover over the cams has to press it down. When this would happen there was enough slack in the cam chain that it would slip a tooth on the intake cam. For those that like wrenching, there are 20! bolts on that top cover. I got to one point where about 15 of them were snug and I noticed the intake cam was off. (slaps head).

I have at least 20 hours tied up in the job, and I will never do it again. I'll pay someone to do it or trade the bike first. Kudos to the engineers for making the whole ordeal extra painful...
 

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I did a friends Suzuki Katana and I told him that I would never do it again. You had to take a lot of stuff off just to get to the valve cover. The one good thing is they were not the shim type so they were easy to adjust. Then the reassembly. We started at about 5 in the afternoon and were done at about 1:30 in the morning. I wanted to get it done and not have to come back to it the next day. Man that was frustrating. I feel your pain.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
OK, bike is done - went for a ride yesterday and all is well so I'm declaring success on this project.

Here are my tips if you decide to do the job yourself:

  • For removing the bodywork, use the screwdriver from the Kawi toolkit that came with the bike, else you may round off those screws.
  • You have to drop the radiator. You could drain and remove if you wanted to flush anyway, or you can leave it and simply remove the three bolts, slightly lift the tab at the bottom over the fairing support and put a block of wood to support it while you work. You *will not* get the valve cover off without at least dropping the radiator down.
  • The valve cover must be rocked back until it clears the cam gears, then pull slightly on the left side and work it back towards the carbs. Alternately, you may be able to rock it to the front of the bike and remove it from the side. This part is tricky.
  • If you have a digital camera, take pics of each step: where fasteners go, what plugs into what, where the hoses go, etc. It will save time later.
  • If you plan to buy shims ahead of time, I would not get anything smaller than 2.80 and nothing larger than 3.05. Your results may vary...
  • Make sure the cam lobes are clear of the tappet when you gauge them, else you are getting a false reading.
  • The intake spec is .11-.19, and the exhaust spec is .22-.31. When choosing, looser is better, but stay within the spec. I set the intake more open (middle of the spec) and the exhaust tighter. No reason for this other than I ran out of shims to open up the exhaust more.
  • The Hotcams kits is overkill. You will not use the majority of the shims, and you will likely run out of those most commonly needed. If anyone needs shims, let me know and if I have them we can swap.
  • Use RTV on the head gasket or replace it. Ride the bike without the fairings to check for oil leaks. Last thing you want is to have a serious leak and not know it until it is too late.
  • Use the proper torque on the bolts per the service manual. This is especially important for the cam and valve covers.
  • Use paper towels or clean rags to keep stuff out of the engine. I pulled the intake ports, the carb intakes, and the opening under the pick up coil (where the advancer is) to keep screws, debris, etc from entering.
  • Take care to get the cams in time when you are done. This is very tricky. I set the cams, then used a Sharpie to mark the gear tooth and the link in the chain. Very important that while tightening the cam cover you don't let it jump a tooth. <---that was the hardest thing for me.
  • Be sure and reset the cam chain tensioner before reinstalling it.
  • Check and recheck the connections before starting. Don't be like me and shoot a quart of gas in the floor because you did not connect the fuel line to the carbs :D
 

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I've decided to attempt this as well. I am a mechanic, so I would like to think I can do this in a fair amount of time. Book time (as I called the dealer yesterday) is 4.5 hours. When they told me it was at $88/hr, I decided that I can do it myself.

I ordered a shim set from BikeBandit, along with a new cam cover gasket. I ordered spark plugs as well, as I still haven't done them. Going on 16k, or at least will be there very soon (pending the snow and road salt go away quickly). I will try and do a write up, with pictures if you guys are interested. I have a damn nice set of tools, as I work on cars for a living...so I'm pretty sure I can make it close to book time on this project.
 

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my mileage is at 9500 as well. ive been thinkin its time already. she runs PERFECT so its hard to want to do this. i was gonna attempt it myself but dont have the tools so i scheduled for a local shop to do this friday.

but now i have a very trusted mechanic friend who said they'll help me along. ive never done valves before but am completely confident i can do it. plus with the bike needing them done so often i should get acquainted with it. any advise?

thanks
 
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