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Valve Adjustment

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Written by Mr Tidy with Thanks for the help Dave M. and Scott B.   
Thursday, 10 June 2004

Reprinted by permission from Mr Tidy's tech tips

Place bike on a lift if available or stand to hold bike straight up if possible.

Remove 3 allen bolts holding instrument cluster, disconnect connectors or fold instrument cluster back over handlebars using soft cloth to keep from scratching the finish.

Turn fuel petcock to off position, remove fuel line (lower left hand side of tank)

Remove fuel tank vent hose upon top of tank.

Remove rider seat and unplug the green electrical connector at rear of fuel tank.

Remove long bolt and nut at rear of tank. (10mm)

Grasp tank and gently pull backwards with a slight wiggling motion, tank should slide back a few inches and lift up. Set aside on a towel.

Remove two hoses on top of rear cylinder and fold back out of way.

Remove spark plug wires from plugs and tie back.

Removes possibility of dropping a bolt in an open hole.

Break loose allen head bolts on top of valve covers and remove.  Using a 5mm allen wrench.
Clearance between the frame and top of valve covers is close and a ball allen wrench is very helpful when removing screws.  If you do not have a ball allen wrench, saw off a 1/2" long piece of the proper size allen wrench and force into a 6" long piece of 1/8" rubber or vinyl hose.
This allows you to get into a tight area and back out the screws by twisting the

Remove the spark plug on the right hand side of cylinder.

Careful to not drop anything in hole from here out.
Placing tissue or a rag would be advised over hole.

Lift up on covers and remove paying attention to (2) dowel pins used to index cover to cylinder spacers, they will either lift out with cover or remain in spacer.

Be careful as not to damage gasket. Yes it can be re-used if you are careful with it!

To gain easier access to adjuster screws on rocker arm fingers, remove cylinder head spacer plates also. They are held on by (6) screws as indicated by green dots. (5mm allen head) Spacer has it's own set of indexing dowels and gasket also.

Here's a time saving tip: 
The piston doesn't have to be at true TDC to adjust the valves.  Removing that left side cover is a real pain. 

If you do not feel that you can safely do the next step, remove the left-hand
side cover and floorboard and use a socket on the crank to turn the engine
around to the proper location.

Pull the two outside front and rear spark plugs then blip the starter until you see the valves on one cylinder go fully closed.

(The 4 stroke cycle - as the engine fires and the piston travels down both sets of valves are closed.  As the piston travels upward the EXHAUST valves are opened and exspel the burnt gasses.  As the piston goes over Top Dead Center the INTAKE valves open and fuel enters the chamber and the piston travels downward.  The intake valves close and the piston again travels upward and this is the COMPRESSION STROKE, when the piston gets to TDC, this is where you want the piston to be to adjust the valves.)

You'll notice that there is a small period when the valves don't move at all.

You can then raise the arms slightly using a wrench on the rocker arm flats at the push rod end of the rocker shaft and compressing the lifter slightly. 

Also, sticking a dowel down the spark plug hole when you think it's about right will confirm that the piston is at the top. 

Just be sure to pull it out before touching the starter again.

Using a dial indicator for true "0" tolerance

Either have a magnetic block, or a fixture that you can screw down, or clamp your indicator in place. If you have a magnetic base, there is a good spot where the riders seat locks into the frame to place the base for the rear cylinder. Another good spot is the frame where your VIN sticker is for the front cylinder.

I rested the tip of the dial indicator on the rocker arm over the push rod tubes.

(indicated by a dark blue area in the second diagram.)

Use your own discretion if you find it easier to place it at another spot.  The further out from the axis point on the rocker arm will give a better reading.

Loosen the adjusting screw on the rocker arm and back it out until the non adjusting side is flush. Then  set the indicator to zero. 

Then adjust the screw down by hand until you see the indicator start to move.  Adjust the screw until it is in contact, and the indicator reads zero.

Then tighten the locking nut. 

To Check:
Use a feeler gauge (size doesn't matter).
Place the feeler gauge under one side and check the gauge. 

If say for example, it reads 10/10,000ths,  I remove it and check the other side. If the other side also reads 10/10,0000, then I know both sides are identical, which means when you remove the feeler gauge they are both flush at exactly 0 tolerance.

It is fool proof, and guarantees a true "0" tolerance setting.

 The slight "ticking" which can be heard at the valve covers when the valves are properly adjusted is perfectly normal and is merely the sound of the valves closing on their seats. 

Almost forgot, when putting your valve covers back on this diagram might be of help.

Loosen the lock nut on the adjuster screw. (10 mm hex head) back the adjuster screw (aprox 1/8" square head) out until it is loose, then run it down with your fingers until it just touches the valve 

  *(remember, your fingers are amazingly sensitive)

then while holding the adjuster securely with one wrench tighten the lock nut with another. 

Questions should be asked in our forum (Use discuss link below). The forum is very active and you stand a good chance of getting your questions answered there. If you would like to leave feedback for the author, or have additional information you think will benefit others, please use the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Discuss this article on the forums. (15 posts)

DISCLAIMER: This information and procedure is provided as a courtesy and is for informational purposes only.  Neither the publishers nor the authors accept any responsibility for the accuracy, applicability, or suitability of this procedure.  You assume all risks associated with the use of this information.  NEITHER THE PUBLISHERs NOR THE AUTHORs SHALL IN ANY EVENT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OF ANY NATURE ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION OR LACK OF INFORMATION.  Any type of modification or service work on your motorcycle should always be performed by a professional mechanic. If performed incorrectly, this procedure may endanger the safety of you and others on your motorcycle and possibly invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.

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  Comments (10)
Written by tattoochaos83, on 12-14-2016 14:57
where can i find information on 06 and up 1700s? seems like all the articles are for older models
Written by Flyman1971, on 07-21-2014 20:28
I had a backfiring issue with my FI 2008 roadstar and I simply bought an AIS removal kit.....20 some dollars,cant make it pop or backfire now!
Easy top dead centre
Written by scottie409, on 05-13-2012 09:09
An old but simple way to find TDC. 
remove one front and one rear plug 
Make up a simple whistle with a short piece of hose that adapts the whistle to the plug hole (you may have to step down a couple of pieces of hose to get the right sizes) and put the whistle in the plug hole of the cylinder you want on TDC, then put bike in gear and push until you hear it whistle, keep pushing until it just stops, you are at TDC
it takes a long time to leavel out.
Written by Gee 1700, on 07-27-2011 18:21
I have a 2005 road star on a cold start cranks fine. I let it warm up good when i start riding it starts popping and running flat. 
The only way i can get it to stop gear down and give it the gas after a few times it will quit is this normal if not what can it be i have change plugs and its still doing it. 
let me know, 
agaee 1700
Written by bobkoval, on 07-16-2011 23:17
i have the same set up, i have v&h big shots, k&n air and fi2000. i have only a little back miss when decelerating from a cruse speed. if you have back fire on decelerating, you may have intake leak. and or did you remove your ARI, baron makes a plug kit to plug air inlet holes in the heads.the kit comes with instructions. with after market pipes and air cleaner, it is a must.
In need of a Qualified Mechanic to perfo
Written by Braveheartz2, on 07-16-2011 17:00
I have a 2008 Yamaha Road Star Silverado. I love the bike and want to get it fine-tuned. Since I bought it I have added the Vance & Hines Big Shots exhaust and the V & H Fuelpak, and the K & N High-Flow Air Filter. I recently took my bike for the 16,000 mile service. The Yamaha Mechanic is a really nice guy and is certified, but I really don't think he has the equipment and/or training to perform a tune up and dyno test; something is not right and apparently my bike is running at its peak performance. I need to find someone in the Lexington, Kentucky area that is a mechanic or knows a dealer or mechanic that knows what he's doing. My bike seems to have a miss, or something like that. I put torques cones under advisement of a friend, but the bike backfires on deceleration. I need someone to look at this that knows what their doing. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Way out of my league.
Written by BigRod52, on 05-22-2011 22:39
I went to the dealer for an oil change on my 05 Silverado 1700. They told me it was do for the 16000 mile valve adjustment and said it would cost $800 and that it would take about 9 hours of labor. Now after reading this I see why they want that much money and think it would take me a week to do. Damn, I wish I would have had a father growing up, maybe he could have taught me how to work on mechanical stuff. LMAO...
Written by josegitarra, on 05-24-2009 14:02
This is sooo informative, however. it doesn't tell 
me if itneeds to be wormened up to operating temp. 
or just cold. I don't know how this works.
Cableguy did you find a solution ....
Written by TGC_XV1700, on 04-13-2009 05:50
to the back firing through the carbs and general lumpy response ? I have the same problem right now and wondered if you found a fix ? my issue is only happening with the rear cylinder, it pops on take off, lumpy at times, and will pop and spit with closing the throttle. 
Written by cableguy, on 05-19-2008 20:10  
It just sounds as if it isnt in sync.  
I'm also have a problem with gas mileage I have a 07 RS Silverado 5004 miles on it . I do not ride it hard, Ive checked air presure, thats not it. It back fires thru the carb when you crack the throttle....
Written by Helmut, on 10-25-2008 17:53
If you are working on the 1700 engine remeber to write down the bolt pattern as you remove them. There are only 3 sizes of bolt not 4. Also you cannot remove the head spacer on this engine size without removing the entire rocker arm with it. 
I have done this both ways -dial indicator method and feeler gauge method. Feeler gauge is easier to me and removing required covers to get timing marks is the best most accurate way in my opinion. 
Be sure that you have some RTV sealant as well before you start there are 2 bolts that require it.

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