The most challenging part of valve shimming...

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Active member
FJR Supporter
Apr 11, 2023
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Greenville, NC
I'm currently basking in the post-valve clearance adjustment glow of success in getting my fjr buttoned-up enough to reach operating temperature - without obvious leaks or other problems. Given the level of disassembly and some difficulty I was expecting trouble that hasn't materialized (knock-knock).

I was expecting installing the valve cover would be a problem but it slipped right on. I think the key for me was keeping the right side half moon gasket inserts to the right of the cam sprockets going in. It may have also helped that I deleted the AIS and eliminated hose clutter.

What was the biggest PITA for me was getting the cooling system inlet pipe with the two o-rings back in and properly seated. The o-rings kept "squshing out". I think the problem was related to some corrosion on the part of the pipe that inserts into the head. My cooling system has a corrosion problem (which I will fix next before putting all the plastic back on). I filed most corrosion off and then sandpapered. I didn't want to take too much off and change dimensions. After this, installation attempt #4 succeeded.

It had the original cam chain tensioner and so I installed a new one with green dot. That was the second biggest PITA. Filing screwdriver slots into heads of the hard to reach mounting screw and adjustment cover screw is essential. I found that I could turn the hard to reach screw about 1/32 with a 12-point 8 mm box wrench and then another 1/32 with a six-point. It took a while but eventually this got the job done. Even with screwdriver slot the cover screw was very much not fun trying to start.

Of course the third most difficult thing was waiting for parts. I needed 10 new valve shims (I reused two). Rocky Mountain ATV had them to me in three days for < $30 shipped. Upon recheck everything was in-spec but maybe a bit different than calculated from the excellent excel spreadsheet: Spreadsheet Link.

I've got a new 2013 water pump complete assembly (as wisely recommended by RossKean last November), a new thermostat and overflow tank (because the old one is so rusty you can't see the level) that I will install as soon as I'm able to do a really good system flush.

Thanks to everyone that provides advice here. Without it wrenching that isn't easy would most probably be impossible.
Congratulations! Hopefully you managed to get it all back together without timing issues - can happen, even if you are careful.
Anyone have a copy of the spreadsheet? The one listed doesn't seem to be available anymore. Or at least won't download.
No timing issues! Advice about zip-tying the timing chain around the crank sprocket and to each of the cam sprockets worked perfectly. No teeth skipped! I just moved the zip-tied cams over to reveal the shim cups (it took a bit of fiddling to get them off and back on with chain attached but it wasn't too bad). This is inconvenient because you have to do intake and exhaust as separate steps, having to temporarily reinstall the one you start with which might be seen as extra work. But I've had timing belts skip a tooth on other vehicles in the past - and it's a problem worth some extra work to avoid!

I use steel wool to clean up the coolant pipe where it inserts. And then add a small amount of bicycle suspension grease to it and the O-ring to facilitate installation. (An old Yamaha tech taught me this.)

Whenever I change shims, the math almost never adds up perfectly. I have no idea why. Another case of Ride More, Stress Less.