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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to do valve check this fall along with other maintenance I need done. I have Freds video’s and have no problem doing the work, but what do I do about shims? Do I measure first then order what I need if any? Is there a kit I can buy that doesn’t cost a arm and a leg? Would like to have everything in front of me when I do the job. Also any tips for making the job quicker or easier would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for any help. Bike has 47k on it.
 

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Another question I have is, how much oil is lost when the covers come off? Is it better to do an oil change and stop before adding the new oil and do the valve check then?
 

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Of coarse it's best to have all the possible shims needed on hand. However, for most DIYs that's not practical. Some will order in a HotCams kit, but that kit skips every other sizes, and their quality control is poor, so if you go that route, be sure to measure everyone befor installing it.

So that leaves the other choice of taking your clearance measurements, and ordering shims in accordingly. The only problem with that method is having to do it twice. And actually, it probably more then twice. Here at JustWings, and because the goal here is to centerspec the valves, usually the cam covers are removed more then just once, often twice, to correctly adjust the valves. For a DIYr, that may mean buttoning it up placing another shim order.
 
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It's not quite that straightforward. You need to do your clearance measurements and jot down your findings. Identify the valves that are out of spec and need work. Remove the cam shaft and tappets then measure the shims but they will likely be indented by the top of the valve stem so you need a micrometer with an anvil of small enough diameter to get fully into the indentation and then record that thickness measurement.

Usually the inlet valves are the ones that need adjustment and the shims need to be slightly thinner because the valves' clearances close a little. You may be able to use a shim from one valve in a position on another valve if you're lucky.
Now order up your new shims to suit...or....

Now, this bit is contentious... I have no issue with facing the shims down to the required thickness and it only takes a couple of minutes on a sheet of wet-or -dry paper. The paper needs to be on a flat surface, a surface table or an old piece of glass will do fine. Lubricate the paper with thin oil, put two fingers on the shim and move it in a circular motion. Lift your fingers often and rotate the shim a little each time. You can go down to the level of the indentation then check the thickness often because you may be surprised how quickly you can remove a thou or two.

Some folks will tell you you'll wear through the hardening and all will go pear-shaped but, unless your valve clearances are hugely out of spec, that is unlikely. Anyway, when you refit the shim put your faced side into the tappet bucket because this side surface area is extremely large in comparison to the top of the valve stem so it won't be the side receiving new wear.

The advantage is you can do your measurement check, remove the cam, face the shims and pop it back together again, recheck the clearances and move to the other side. You can have it all done in a short afternoon.

Here's another tip for you if you're handy, if you're cack-handed don't even try! You can remove the cam sprocket without slackening the chain tensioner... Get all your measurements done and place the cam in a relaxed position so it will not turn, release the sprocket bolts but keep the sprocket on the cam. Be sure your roll bars are clean, slip a large cable tie through the sprocket and around your roll bar. Remove the sprocket but keep full tension on the chain and tighten the tie to the roll bar. Reverse the procedure to refit the sprocket after setting the camshaft into its previous position ready for the sprocket.
Sounds dodgy? Yes, but it works fine, but, as I said, not if you're kinda cack-handed. :eek: ;)

Anyway, good luck with it.

Greg, see those kittens you just had, give them a wee stroke from me....:devilish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the comments,I think I will just check everything, and then order shims. I have about 4 or 5 weeks during the winter I am to much of a pansy to ride.
 

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Just do the check. Chances are, no shim replacement will be needed. I bought the Hot Cams kit so I would have the shims on hand. My 2003 required no shim replacement in the two times I checked it. I checked it at 58,600 and again at 97,300. The bike had 117,000 miles on it when I sold it.
 

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I agree with MichaelB, I have a 2003 and to alleviate concerns about shims, I took it to the Honda dealer for this work ONLY. They checked it and confirmed that all were in spec! Had it needed shims, better to let them do it for this job/work. I have 80k miles on my bike now. I figured I could spend a bit at the dealer for this specialized work, after all I have saved probably thousands of dollars in having done all other work myself. My final project is the upcoming replacement of the ball bearings in the steering head, to put in tapered roller bearings from All Balls. Why the heck these are not OEM is incomprehensible! I have no wear indications but will disassemble the front and bring the triple tree to the dealer to press out/in the bearings.
 

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Shim kits are available through Amazon, Hot Cams. About $75 for a full kit. And you'll lose almost no oil doing the shims.
 

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Now, this bit is contentious... I have no issue with facing the shims down to the required thickness and it only takes a couple of minutes on a sheet of wet-or -dry paper. The paper needs to be on a flat surface, a surface table or an old piece of glass will do fine. Lubricate the paper with thin oil, put two fingers on the shim and move it in a circular motion. Lift your fingers often and rotate the shim a little each time. You can go down to the level of the indentation then check the thickness often because you may be surprised how quickly you can remove a thou or two.

Some folks will tell you you'll wear through the hardening and all will go pear-shaped but, unless your valve clearances are hugely out of spec, that is unlikely. Anyway, when you refit the shim put your faced side into the tappet bucket because this side surface area is extremely large in comparison to the top of the valve stem so it won't be the side receiving new wear.

The advantage is you can do your measurement check, remove the cam, face the shims and pop it back together again, recheck the clearances and move to the other side. You can have it all done in a short afternoon.
Wow! Thanks for this info. This is a great solution to getting the valves all done in one sitting. Flipping the shim is an added bonus. Thank you, Sir! 🍺
 
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