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Buying tool for valve clearances...

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by mattb, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Hey all.

    I'm about to do the valve clearances on my SR500 and my partner's SR185. It's my first ever time doing such a thing (I'm using the rather average(!) Haynes manual), and so I'll have to go buy a feeler gauge, but I have no idea which one to get. I won't remove the tappet covers till I'm doing the job (need to ride the bike to get the tool) and so am wondering if I need a particular type of gauge, and does it have a particular name? From the Haynes picture I'm guessing it's a long flexible thing...

    Is there anything I should be particularly careful of while doing this procedure? - I don't want to blow up my only transport and my heart in one foul go! :)
  2. go to kmart/bigw etc

    feeler guages come in a set , 30-40 in the fold out set, $10 or so
  3. You just need a standard feeler gauge set. best place to buy them would be a specialist tool place, or a decent spare parts outlet.
    Unlikely to damage anything, just be sure to measure the clearances correctly, that is, with the cam lobes pointing directly AWAY from the valve.
    I find it best to write down all my valve clearances as I measure them on a small chart written on a piece of paper. It gives you a reference, and lets you know whcih ones you've already measured.
    You want to have a slight drag on the feeler gague when the clearances are set correctly.
    If the rocker arms have screw adjusters, be sure and check the adjustment again after you've tightened down the locknut, in case of movement.
    If you have shims, you need to work out what size shim you need to put in, based on the current clearance plus whatever shim thickness exists already.
    Just take your time and it will work out well. Oh, and buy new rocker cover gaskets, clean up the groove they sit in in teh rocker covers with petrol or thinners, and glue the new ones in with contact cement for a MUCH easier time refitting the rocker covers!
    Regards, Andrew.
  4. You can get good quality Lisle tools from Burson auto spares. They make a couple of different types of feeler guage sets. West Melbourne would be your closest store at 55 Stanley st give Glen a call on 9326 7629 and he will get you sorted. The ones from K mart will do the job but the Lisle ones are much better quality and you will have them for life.
  5. Also look for a set that has the correct size in 1 feeler so you dont have to stack a few to get the correct clearences.
    E.g. 10 +15 + 20 =45 thou better to have 45 thou on its own if you can. Oil also takes up space and make sure you measure hot or cold clearences and dont mix them up.
  6. i bought my feeler guages from supercheap. haven't had much experience though, so not sure what the difference is between them and ones you might buy at a more reputable retailer.

    What you might find trickier is getting the right tool to adjust the tappets. My SRX600 has a 4mm square nut. i haven't yet found a good tool for this (other than the special valve tools, which i don't have. You may have luck buying some ignition wrenches, but i haven't really found anywhere that still sells them.

  7. +1 above.Look at what your manual says are the clearances for both the intake,and exhaust valves-MAKE SURE THE SET OF GAUGES YOU BUY HAS THEM BOTH! I have bought sets before that dont :? and like mention you have to use 2 gauges together.

    Also some brands can be marked on the actual gauge pretty shabelly.Over time the actual markings of the feeler gauges thinkness can be rather hard to read :shock: on el cheapo sets.
  8. is feeler gauge == shim?

    and what is rocker arm?
  9. If you have shims generally you dont have rocker arms.... although Im sure there is probably some extremely ludicrous design somewhere that has both.

    A shim is basically a specially designed piece of metal to space the valve train to it's optimal clearance.

    A feeler guage is a strip of metal designed to check that clearance.
  10. What??! The manual said nothing about doing that! But then I thought I read Chairman refer to it once in a post. Better check that out. Thanks. Perhaps it's included in what I read and I just didn't realise - bit of a novice at this.
  11. been there , done that, pair of long nose pliars does the job no worries
  12. You can also get Angled Feeler Gauges, that are designed for tappets (valve trains)
    This allows you to get the gauge into the gap without bending them!.

    Allows for a more precise gap.
    Can be bought at Repco for $10, in a good quality tool.
    You will have em for life.
  13. I would have thought that valve clearances on an SR500 would be a 10mm nut and a flat screwdriver, not anything fancy.

    Very old school bike.... gotta love maintaining something like that yourself. :cool:
  14. ducati use rocker arms, but yes they are different

    VFR400 has rockers and shims they are acutally held across the shim by a spring, put the rocker aside to access the shim then let it spring back into position :)
  15. From memory thats what the old yammies of this era had.You may need a stubby flat screwdriver as the frame may get in the way.

    abvc in answer to your question :?:
    is feeler gauge == shim? no but kinda yeah :-s in an abstract way. Feeler gauge measures distance between the rocker arm-which has an simple adjuster(called a tappet) in it comprising of a locknut and thread. You are essentially adjusting the clearance between the rocker arm depressing the top of the intake/exhaust valve-if this is too tight,then the valve will be slightly open and not seating properly on the valve seat, all the air/fuel wont be ingested or burnt


    and what is rocker arm? see above. or also below,without the tappet and locknut in one end,the other smooth end is what gets actually presses/depresses the CAM shaft lobe-in turn it rocks back and forth on its centre shaft and opens and closes the valves.

    On some bikes the cam lobe actually depresses and opens the intake/exhaust valve. In this case there is no rocker arm. Shim sits under the actual top of the valve cover-forget the techinical name and is essentially performing the same function as the adjuster shown in the pic above

  16. The SR500 uses a screw adjustment to set the clearances. You need an 10mm spanner (IIRC) and another, teeny little open-ended spanner (maybe 4mm?). It doesn't need a screwdriver, the adjuster heads are square, not slotted. If you have the original toolkit, it contains a spanner the right size.

    You might like to make a tool out of a small bit of scrap aluminium strip - just file a 4mmx 4mm square slot the end. Put a 30deg bend so you've got an angled spanner.

    The challenge is to get the right amount of "feel" on the feeler gauge, hold the tiny adjustment screw steady and nip up the locknut without reducing the clearance. That's why open-endeds are better for this than sockets - you need to hold one still while tightening the other.

    If you ever pull the head off, take the opportunity to replace the stock adjuster screws with Porche part no 90110537002. With a bit of simple modification (see the SR500 club web site), you can quieten the engine and extend the time between valve adjustments.
  17. Thanks for the replies - quite helpful!

    While I'm at it, I'm doing the same service on my old SR185, but I can't find out the clearance distances. I have downloaded an SR250 manual, but can't find an SR185 manual of any sort on the net - for download or sale - nor can google help me at all with a mention of the clearances. Any ideas about how else to go about finding this out? Do mechanics have a book listing such things?

    Also, I did the cam chain on the 185 yesterday. The motor is set up differently from the SR250, and what I would believe is the left-side crankcase cover, doesn't seem to be one, or at least a removable one (it wouldn't budge; plus it's got to things like giant screws in it, but I thought that ingnorantly tampering with these might cause trouble). So I couldn't find TDC. So I adjusted the adjuster without making it flush with the push rod - the adjuster exceeds the rod a bit, so as to be on the safe side. Certainly now sounds better and runs better! (it was bad!) I know that if the push rod has no movement, then you've tensioned the chain to much, and am thinking that to get the best job I might tension to that point, and then release it a bit till the rod is moving again. Any thoughts?