Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
lazyeye

The dreaded valve adjustment

Recommended Posts

As soon as I build an airplane with a VFR engine, I'll be sure to follow a strict maintenance schedule.

 

Since I'm not relying on my motorcycle engine to keep me airborne, since I do my own maintenance and since a burnt valve isn't the end of the world, I'm willing to make some risk-based judgement calls. I change my fluids and filters, I keep things adjusted, I torque things properly...

 

Enough about the bloody airplanes!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rarely wear my seat belt...

 

 

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All just in jest GreginDenver.

Next time in NL,you get to ride on of my "planes". My current ones are all within spec.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why wouldn't you check and adjust the valves every few years as Honda proscribes? That you--and the engine--survived just fine doesn't really answer the question.

 

Time and money, obviously, but that's true of all improvements we make on our bikes. Seems weird to upgrade to carbon fiber or lighter wheels or a clear clutch cover, but be happy to ride with a few slightly tight exhaust valves. Minor incremental performance and rider satisfaction in both instances.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure of the comparison of airline pilot to shadetree mechanic. It does not compute. No airline pilot has ever turned a wrench on a commercial aircraft for one.

Like was mentioned earlier, out of spec valve clearances will not cause a catastrophic failure leading to the deaths of hundreds. 

I spent money on my first valve check on my '99 and it was all in spec well after the first called for check. I then learned (not VTEC) how to do it on my own. I've since had one check with out of spec valves at something like 75K miles. It was surely running out of spec for some time without bursting into flames or exploding. I'm at over 103,800 miles.

Not maintaining valve clearance does not mean ignoring all maintenance. No one is advocating ignoring the drive chain, oil filter, oil level, (if applies) cam chain, brake/clutch fluid, brake pads, etc...

Ignore your valve clearance. Will your performance degrade over time? Likely. Will you die or kill others? No. 

(I respect pilots, I earned a SEL license in 1992, I've also been friends with A&P mechanics) 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence that regular valve checking on modern VFR's is unnecessary. Based on so many factors, it seems more likely to me that valve clearance checks per the service schedule is Precuationary not Mandatory.

 

I also have a lot of faith in Honda's engineering quality, surely in the last 20 years or so there have been vast improvements in machining tolerances, metallurgy, oils, quality control and assembly consistency. Modern day cars don't seem to have valve clearance checks anymore, valve seat regression and seat wear appears to be a thing of the past.

 

I too, like the OP, are paranoid at taking my pride and joy to a workshop for the inspection. Every workshop I've ever seen seems to be either understaffed, pushed for time or have backlogs of bikes awaiting service, just not the right environment for an involved, careful valve check/adjustment. There is a very high probability your bike could come out of the workshop far worse than it went in!

 

My first two VFR's both ONLY had their first service and one recall done at a Honda dealership, basic stuff, yet I had an over tightened chain, overfilled oil, and lost fairing clips - NEVER AGAIN! Apart from that I've done all the servicing on my four VFR's and up to the point of selling or trading in they've performed flawlessly - none have had a valve check.

 

I fully agree with Bent's comments and I've never heard of major issues attributed to valve clearance, there may well be, but again, the odds are so staked against having issues. As mentioned, an experience senior Honda motorcycle service technician told me, very very few VFR's have ever required adjustment that he has seen.

 

So, if I'm not intending on serious track riding or keeping the bike for 200,000k's or more then I'm going to let the valve check slide, the odd's of ever developing issues are well and truly on my side.

Sure, just like the fact I'm not a smoker doesn't mean I won't die of lung cancer, it's all about an educated decision based on solid experience as to wether you think the time and effort of valve clearance is necessary. YMMV.

And as Bent said - just get out and enjoy the thing.

Cheers.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BuzznerSuntrusts said:

 

 

I spent money on my first valve check on my '99 and it was all in spec well after the first called for check.

mystery 2 me why anyone with any mechanical experience would pay a shop 2 use a feeler gauge.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 28 May 2019 at 12:24 AM, GreginDenver said:

Since joining the world of VFR ownership I've been amazed at the gleeful celebration of un-maintained VFR bikes by some owners  (Obviously, it's probably true that most VFR owners quietly go about accomplishing regular maintenance and upkeep, so I'm not saying the non-maintainers are anything like a majority of the community).

 

But the phenomena of the loud-and-proud VFR non-maintainer is interesting to me.

 

I fly as a pilot for a major U.S. airline.  Having been a pilot my entire professional life I have a very strict opinion about doing maintenance on vehicles.  I wonder how a VFR non-maintainer would feel about getting aboard for a flight if the airliner was non-maintained?  Or is this a case where what's good for the goose is not good for the gander?

Hi Greg. 

I find your comments to be a little condescending and disrespectful to the many experienced VFR owners who DO maintain their VFR's and contribute to the forum.

 

Think you are drawing a very long bow in comparing how aircraft are maintained as to the pros and cons being discussed of VFR valve clearance checks.

I find all your postings interesting and helpful, except for this one.

No offence intended.

Cheers

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add data: did the valve check at recommended 48000km. Three tight valves. VTEC 2002. None of the tight valves were VTEC-valves if I remember correctly. Honda makes good engines, but they don't make magical unicorn engines that don't need maintenance regularly (we'll have to wait for them to jump on the electric bandwagon for that to happen).

 

Each to their own, but I felt I liked my bike enough to service it as Honda intended. And I had the monetary means to do it as well...

 

Edit: And to add even more data: the valve clearance adjustments fixed my sometimes hard to start symptoms completely.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Skids said:

But you don't know how close you were to a failure either?

 

Just sayin'.  :beer:

Why should he care at that or any other mileage given his personal experience and the fact that there isn't a documented case of engine damage due to not checking VFR valves?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bent said:

Why should he care at that or any other mileage given his personal experience and the fact that there isn't a documented case of engine damage due to not checking VFR valves?  

Whatever buddy, we all have our own opinions based upon whatever evidence, advice or experience we each deem to be relevant.

 

Yours and mine vary somewhat, which probably doesn't help him but that's life!   :beer:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, SweViffer said:

... 

Edit: And to add even more data: the valve clearance adjustments fixed my sometimes hard to start symptoms completely.

Thank you sir... This is actual useful info. If I ever begin to have hard-starting issues, I will definitely consider a valve adjustment as part of my troubleshooting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Marvelicious said:

Thank you sir... This is actual useful info. If I ever begin to have hard-starting issues, I will definitely consider a valve adjustment as part of my troubleshooting. 

Yep - me to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I dont want to pay $800-1000 CAD... I can literally get a replacement engine for half that if need be, which I doubt will be necessary

2. I don't trust the Honda dealer to do it (the same old story, every time the bike goes in they forget fairing clips, or don't torque something to spec, etc... generally rushed/sloppy work)

 

But when I finally have my garage built next year, I will attempt to do it myself over the winter for peace of mind.  It sounds like an involved process, but I've done valves before on 'regular' (non-VTEC) engines, and with space and time I suspect I could do this.

 

Going back to factors 1 & 2, and for those with no workshop (like myself currently), I absolutely get why so many aren't doing this.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, rhoderage said:

I dont want to pay $800-1000 CAD... I can literally get a replacement engine for half that if need be, which I doubt will be necessary

Yeah, but with that replacement engine you have no idea whatsoever what the PO thought was unnecessary maintenance due to the infallibility of Honda engines (or plain laziness). It could even include lack of oil changes (why change oil in a Honda engine, they run well for thousands of miles without it) or air cleaner (or even worse, they bought an "performance" air cleaner and didn't maintain THAT with regular cleanings and oilings).

 

I much rather ride on a bike with an engine I know is healthy and well maintained.

 

But enough nagging from me. Have a nice ride! 🙂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a fair point, but the same could be said when I purchased the bike with >40,000km on it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, rhoderage said:

Its a fair point, but the same could be said when I purchased the bike with >40,000km on it...

You're right of course, but generally you can at least try to find a used bike with a service history. It's harder (I would presume) to find just an engine with that documentation. You're also, in most cases, allowed a test drive of a complete motorcycle before purchase, when buying an engine your information stops at a compression test (if you're really lucky, that is).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know that Honda would have tested some engines before coming up with a service schedule. If their tests showed 20 or 30 thousand miles as a check option they would have used that as a marketing sales point. But they didn't, so we can only assume that they have evidence to substantiate their advised service interval.

 

I appreciate if you don't or are not capable of doing your own wrenching, then the expense & lack of trust in the stealerships are a major factor in the lack of valve checks being performed. 

 

As always YMMV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might be more concerned if the Viffer was my only means of transportation. It's not even my only motorcycle.

 

It's a simple matter of effort vs consequence. If I ever have another reason to dig that deep into the bike, sure, I'll check the cleances while I'm there. Otherwise, I'm going to continue to keep an eye on mileage and power (and starting), continue to use top tier gas (cutting down on carbon fouling to help the valves seal well) and worry about things that matter to me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re the plane video, I have toyed with the concept of connecting three 5th gen engines in line to make a V12 aero engine. If in the same state of tune as mine, that would give circa 400shp or if fitted with turbo or supercharger up to 550 ish HP !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few random thoughts from some one who worked as a technician in a Honda dealership from 1979 to 1988. 

 1st.  I know this was 30 years ago but I believe the dealership business model remains the same. Technicians are on the bottom of the pecking order in the dealership. A quick Google  search showed that the average motorcycle tech pay is $14.50 a flat rate hour compared to an average $100.00 an hour labor rate. This is about the same pay I was making in 1988 when the labor rate was $35.00 per hour. This being said, a skilled technician will not remain in a motorcycle dealership for very long. I personally went from a Honda motorcycle shop to an Acura dealer when they 1st opened for twice the pay and half the hours worked in a week. 

 

 2nd. The person working on your beloved VFR has probably never sat on one much less tried to perform any maintenance on one. Exceptions being shops that are centered on racing or performance tuning will have people on staff that are experienced and have a passion for what they do and are payed accordingly.

 

3rd. The question of the OP. From my personal experience from adjusting valves on thousands of bikes from 600 mile 1st. services to routine maintenance, very rarely would an adjustment be needed and when needed was not more than a .05 mm.  adjustment on a shim over or under bucket adjustment which would  not cause any adverse effects reliability or performance. 

 

4th.  I bought my '97 VFR with 20k on the clocks in 2012 I went through the bike changed the fluids, plugs and found a valve cover oil leak. When replacing the valve cover gaskets I checked the valve  clearances while I was in there. No valves were out of specification.  At 45k I had an acceleration issued and rechecked the valve clearance and they were still within specification turned out to be a carburetor issue. 

 

5th. Knowing what I know I would not take my motorcycle to a dealership for any reason other than recall issues and even then when receiving the bike back would go over it with a fine tooth comb before riding it. 

 

6th. Bottom line!  Unless you can do the work yourself or have somebody you know and trust to work on it for you,  Just ride it till the wheels fall off which will be a lot longer than the average  person will keep and ride any motorcycle and save the money from that valve adjustment for new tires and chain and sprockets.       

20190310_101207.jpg

IMG_0124.JPG

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent story and advice burnes45. Having all that experience with 30 year old technology, would you think it's fair to say that with the last 10 year technology would be even less prone to valve adjustment, given improvements in metallurgy, machining tolerances etc. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Grum said:

Excellent story and advice burnes45. Having all that experience with 30 year old technology, would you think it's fair to say that with the last 10 year technology would be even less prone to valve adjustment, given improvements in metallurgy, machining tolerances etc. ?

Amen!! Just ride and enjoy yourself. No worries!  Don't Make a mountain out of a mole hill!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, burnes45 said:

Amen!! Just ride and enjoy yourself. No worries!  Don't Make a mountain out of a mole hill!

Music to my ears burnes45. My thoughts exactly.

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.