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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't been using this forum much at all lately, I've been so damned busy! Hello everyone!

Bear with me...

First, rest assured that I have spent lots of time searching and have been unable to find any solid answers to my specific question(s). I recently purchased a used 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, with three thousand miles on it, in what appeared to be pretty much mint condition. Although I did adjust the drive chain slack and tire pressure, and change the engine oil and filter pretty quickly, I foolishly rode the bike for about two thousand miles before getting to major maintenance items. My first problem/question has to do with setting each of the pistons to TDC on the compression stroke, in order to check the valve clearances. When following the procedure in my "Cyclepedia" service manual, the number 2 cylinder IS at TDC as it should be when the "C" mark is in the middle of the timing check window or whatever it's called, the dot on the cam chain sprocket is facing up (also as it says in the manual), and the cam lobes for that cylinder are facing up (not pushing down on the valves at all) as they should be (right?? when the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke. However, following this same procedure as described in the service manual to set the piston in the number 1 cylinder to TDC does seem to set that piston to TDC, but I believe it to be on the exhaust stroke. At this point (when the "T" mark is in the timing check window), the dot on the cam sprocket is facing toward the BACK of the bike, instead of toward the FRONT of the bike as it says in the service manual that it should be. There is also a photograph in the manual that shows where the dot should be (facing the front of the bike) when the T mark is showing on the compression stroke. If I ignore the "T" mark and just turn the crankshaft approximately until the number 1 cylinder's cam lobes are facing up, the dot on the cam sprocket IS facing the front of the bike, and the piston is at TDC (on the compression stroke it would seem...). So the only explanation is that that "T" mark is off 180 degrees, right!? Note that I read up on the valve adjustment procedure from at least three different online sources including my service manual, and quintuple-checked everything, and thought about it all several times over, etc. Oh and it's also noteworthy I suppose that I have successfully adjusted the valves on my TW200 and my DR200 in the past, which are also both screw type adjusters with lock nuts, the same as the Ninja.

I try to write more concisely but it's as if I'm incapable of doing so, sorry lol...

Anyway question number two (smoke break now? lol):

Following the above procedure (cam lobes facing up and dot on cam sprocket in correct position for the number one cylinder; exactly as described in service manual for number two cylinder...), all my valves are way tight. The best of them being right on the edge of the tightest clearance of the specified range, the worst of them being about .051 mm! This is less than one third of the clearance specified in the manual (and verified from other online sources) for the exhaust valves! And yes I have made sure the decimals are correct, the feeler gauges are not stuck together, it is mm not inches, etc. I am trying to figure out exactly what kind of damage this may have caused and how bad it could be. Burned exhaust valves, valve heads wearing into valve seats, etc. From what I've read it seems these things WILL likely happen over time, but specifically HOW MUCH time (as in, 2k miles, or 30k miles...)? The valves could have been, and probably were, continually tightening up for as much as four thousand miles - could that give me huge problems? Or it will be ok...? Oh yes and also worth noting is that the engine seemed to run great, good power, smooth throttle response, etc, before I opened it up to check the valve clearances. The only issue (I thought it may have been normal?) was that the bike seemed to take a long time to warm up and idle properly when starting COLD, even with the choke on full (like two and a half minutes maybe before it would idle smoothly without choke). And it did seem to have low power at low RPM (felt more like a Ninja 250 before 6 thousand RPM), but it was a real screamer from 8-10k RPM. That's when you'd know damn well it was a 500 . I had read online that the Ninja 500 engine is like that normally though, so I didn't think much of it. I did learn today that, supposedly, tighter valve clearances tend to change the power delivery to more at high RPM, less at low RPM, with the opposite for loose valves (is that true?). This seems like it makes sense in my case as the valves are REALLY tight and it feels like a 250 at low RPM and almost like a 600 at high RPM lol, although I'm sure part of that is just the normal characteristics of the Ninja 500 engine. Any intelligent responses will be GREATLY appreciated, thank you VERY much in advance!!!
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