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24K Service Cost.


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Sort of a separate topic, but more than one rider has gotten a motorcycle back after a "valve adjustment" only to find that the valve covers were untouched. Not all dealers or techs are honest. Trust, but verify.

Or they listen to the bike run for a moment, then declare that it doesn't sound like it needs a valve check. Which is ignorant at best; tight valves don't sound like anything.

Lastly, some servicers won't swap shims if the clearance is in spec, even if it's right at the lower limit, claiming that "in spec is in spec". Well, no. If it's going to go out of spec in the next 5,000 miles, then that's not good enough in my world. Clearances in most engines always get tighter, so I set them as close to the upper limit as possible to maximize the mileage before they go out of spec.

 

It's always best to be very clear about your expectations, and that you expect a report of the valve clearances before and after and which shims were swapped where. If they're not slacking, that should be no trouble at all. If they're planning to cut corners, they'll probably get upset.

Edited by bwringer
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was thinking of buying a used Tracer gt but the only Yamaha powersport (private equity/hedge fund?) owned dealer in town gets $165 per hour. And I won't know if the 'mechanic' is trained to any legitimate degree. Someone on this thread mentioned the high cost of BMW ownership. Sorry, there is no longer a gap between Japanese and the local BMW shop that has factory trained and certified technicians that likely earn good wages and have been working there for over 20 years. The Yamaha does have a longer valve check interval but would I trust them to do it correctly? 

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Having owned a BMW F800GT I can speak to the cost.  Bought the bike with nearly 5,000 miles on it but still in warranty.  I bought a 3 year unlimited mileage service agreement at the same time.  Over the next 2 years I put 26,000 miles on it before trading it for my Tracer 900 GT.  Valve check intervals were 12,000 miles.  I took 5,500 to 6,000 mile trips and was having 2 services a year.  Over the time I had it they did 2 valve checks.  Picking it up from the 2nd valve heck service the tech wrote down the clearances for me and commented about the intakes being very loose.  Sure enough they were adjusted to the exhaust valve specs.  Fortunately the tech knew what he was doing and set them properly.  Not the only service issue I had.  With that bike there were 2 problems.  First it was a somewhat rare model and they did not see many and the Rotax engine was very different from the boxers.  Second was it had the highest mileage of any of that model they had seen so some thing I has having done were rarely or never done by the techs.  Nevertheless mistakes like that are a reflection on the dealer and they certainly need to get it done right.  

I do all the work on my Tracer 900 GT for the very reason it is hard to find good shops and the good ones are overwhelmed.  There are a couple of local shops that I would have had do the valve check on the Tracer but I fiddled around not wanting to have my bike out of commission for weeks waiting on service.  

Yamahas are well made bikes and while not perfect are generally very reliable.  My BMW had a rear wheel bearing failure in Nebraska.  I wound up buying a used swingarm off of eBay and replacing the swingarm to fix it.  Easier and cheaper than replacing the hub with a new part from BMW.  I was in Grand Island and there were no BMW repair shops I could find.  I'm sure there was at least one shop that could have repaired my Tracer if it had had a similar failure.

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When I was shopping for a BMW I read about the rear bearing failures over on AdvRider on the F800GT. Too bad, the rear drive belt is sort of cool. That and other issues turned me off to that model. The boxer in all generations are not perfect, have some serious potential issues,  but pretty well regarded.

You are likely right that if service is needed on a road trip my chances of finding a Japanese brand dealer or tech are greater. I don't know if thinking about 'what if' I need a repair when on a trip is the best way to plan? Between a BMW and the big 4 anyway.

I don't want to hijack this thread. Sorry. Back to regular programming. 

 

Edited by Geez
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On 7/25/2022 at 7:43 AM, 2and3cylinders said:

But not valve lash shim swapping in that price?

The mechanic had replacement shims in his shop.  I think they were Hotcams brand shims.  Did he swap shims or did he have to use the Hotcams shims........I don't know to be honest.  Am okay with either, as the after measurements were good.  

There is nothing like spending a day riding with friends in the grip of a shared obsession.

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There is nothing at all wrong with using Hot Cams or other aftermarket brands of shims and to put used shims back into the kit for later use. Shims are not subject to wear; they just sit there and take up a very specific amount of space.

That said, I absolutely do verify the thickness of each shim, no matter the source, rather than trusting what is printed on them. I use a digital micrometer. Digital calipers are cheaper, and do read to .01mm, but do not quite have the level of precision you really want. (They're a lot better than nothing, of course; you can have reasonable confidence that your shim is what it says it is; with a micrometer you can be certain.)

Using an old-fashioned inch micrometer with verniers obviously works fine as well, but reading it correctly is a complex skill that takes practice and upkeep, and doing the conversions to millimeters is an added, error-prone step. Same for feeler gauges; it's well worth the trouble of seeking out metric feelers so you can work in the correct measurement system from beginning to end. It's certainly possible to use either, but it's far less error-prone to stick with millimeters throughout.

The shims used in our Yamahas are used in skrillions of other bikes of several brands, so it's worth having a kit around.

In many valve checks on many motorcycles, I've found exactly one shim that was not manufactured correctly; it was a Hot Cams shim and you could see from the offset grinding pattern on one side that it had slipped to one side while being ground to final dimension. I've also found a few with missing, incomplete, or illegible markings.

The original factory shims are often oddball "in-between" sizes (like 2.82 or 2.93) that can prove incredibly useful for getting other valves to the optimum max clearances you want. 

So yes, inspect and measure your shims!

Edited by bwringer
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Good points.  I have an old fashioned micrometer but bought a digital one just for checking shim thickness.

Bought my shim kit when I checked the valves on my FZ6 - they were in spec so didn't use any.  Since then I've used them on my CBR600RR, Honda Metropolitian scooter and now my Tracer 900 GT.   

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This digital micrometer at Harbor Freight works great for valve shims. 

https://www.harborfreight.com/digital-micrometer-63647.html

They're plenty accurate for valve shims, but they are known to run the battery down even when turned off, so you do need to remove the battery between uses and keep a spare battery on hand. At around 1/4 the price of a Mitutoyo, I can handle that.

 

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3 hours ago, bwringer said:

This digital micrometer at Harbor Freight works great for valve shims. 

https://www.harborfreight.com/digital-micrometer-63647.html

They're plenty accurate for valve shims, but they are known to run the battery down even when turned off, so you do need to remove the battery between uses and keep a spare battery on hand. At around 1/4 the price of a Mitutoyo, I can handle that.

 

 I have the same one or something similar I bought years ago I always take the battery out

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On 8/11/2022 at 2:42 PM, Geez said:

I was thinking of buying a used Tracer gt but the only Yamaha powersport (private equity/hedge fund?) owned dealer in town gets $165 per hour. And I won't know if the 'mechanic' is trained to any legitimate degree. Someone on this thread mentioned the high cost of BMW ownership. Sorry, there is no longer a gap between Japanese and the local BMW shop that has factory trained and certified technicians that likely earn good wages and have been working there for over 20 years. The Yamaha does have a longer valve check interval but would I trust them to do it correctly? 

I had 3 BMW's. I learned what to do and how through svc manuals and forums. Brake bleeds, spline lubes, throttle body balance, etc are easy. But you have to know your abilities and pay for what you cant do. A dealer I used even helped me with service guidelines, copies of instructions, etc. Rare, but they did. 

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I used to do valve adjustments and other more challenging maintenance items myself, but I was lucky enough to find an independent motorcycle mechanic in Seattle that did great work, and was very honest and trustworthy. I never had any issues with work from his shop, and trusted him when he suggested repairs for my Tracer.

Unfortunately, I recently moved from Seattle to Clovis CA, and during the move, my bike was damaged. Not knowing anyone else, I brought my bike to the Yamaha dealer for fixing the damage. Six months later, I finally got the bike back. To be fair, they did fix the bike, although they did some wonky things that I didn't find until later. My cigarette lighter plug is now missing from my dash. I don't use it often, but a few months after I got the bike back I realized it was gone. I asked them what happened, but they said it wasn't them and wouldn't do anything for me.

I did some research and found a local independent motorcycle mechanic who I now trust to do big jobs, ie the kind I don't want to do myself. Anything else is done in my garage.

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