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Old 12-01-2011, 08:55 PM   #1
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If you want something done right....

I guess the real title of the thread should be... "If you don't want irreplaceable parts up, do the job yourself!" Boy, I need to let off a little steam. I just got done with a batch of maintenance on my V and took it to a shop to finish ONE thing, and they it up. Haha!

So, my '09 Versys just hit 15000k, and I decided it was time for a bit of TLC. This bike is more or less my daily driver. I keep it maintained for the most part. Oil and adjust the chain every few hundred miles. Check the tire pressure, change the oil every 3k. I changed the plugs and tires at 7.5k.

At 15000k I went ahead and put a new, expensive chain and sprocket set. Put another set of plugs in. I changed the oil and filter. I put a new rear tire on. I also decided to remove the snorkles from the air box and the sub-throttle plates from the throttle body. Man it was running great too! Near instant acceleration, no more chain noise, fine and dandy.

There was just one more item on my list to have done. Valve inspection/adjustment. Now, I'm a pretty decent mechanic, but I just couldn't see myself having the patience to check the tolerances on 8 valves, and actually getting it right. Plus the shim kits are a bit expensive, and I just felt it was better left to professionals. This is the first time I've ever let anyone do anything else on my bike aside from changing a tire, never any mechanical work.

I take it to the only local bike shop close to my house, they got all kinds of bikes out front, and many are a lot more complicated than my 650 parallel twin! They are reasonably reputable, and I've bought parts from them too, they are only a little bit more expensive than online, but a lot slower. So I take it in Tuesday, they tell me it will be 2.5-3 hours of labor at 75$ per hour, and it would be done tomorrow. I said great, and walked home.

The next day...
I get a call. Bad news. The mechanic broke the main camshaft retention plate. They said they would take care of it. They said they were going to take it to an aluminum welder to see if it can be salvaged. That they wouldn't do that normally, but since it wasn't broken near the camshaft bearings... it should be okay.

It's friggin annoying. It's the piece that holds the end of the two camshafts down near the timing chain. And I really don't want a welded up piece of aluminum to be holding my engine somewhere between working great and having valves embedded in the piston heads from jumping a link.

At the same time, I understand that this part is basically irreplacable. You can not buy this part new without purchasing a new head that goes with it, and a head from the dealer is 1200$ plus some special tools to get it installed correctly.... I'm not sure that I want a used head installed either, as you never know what was done to it, and I've also heard that you can't really interchange this retainer between different heads.

I know that happens, and that any one could accidentally torque too hard on a part like that and it up. I just hate that it was my bike, and I can't help but think I probably wouldn't have made the same mistake.

It also sucks that this was supposed to be a 3 hour job that was to be completed yesterday, and I was planning on riding to Austin this weekend for UT graduation. Now I get to lose a hotel room booking from not going.

I called today, they said it was still at the welder, with no new news on it...
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:58 PM   #2
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And by the way, I'd have them pay for the replacement.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #3
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I don't really want to name names, it's a honest mistake...
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:00 PM   #4
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Editted my post, you should hold them accountable to replace the part, or all necessary parts.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Editted my post, you should hold them accountable to replace the part, or all necessary parts.
They did say they were going to make right on it. Which included the replacement of the head if needed. I haven't actually seen where the part was broken, I'm in Houston right now. It COULD be minor, it's just really annoying. I have a shop in the family, we've broken the same type of part on engines before. It's just that usually you can replace those! This one is a bit a of beast.

Right now, they are waiting for the welding shop to say yay or nay on it. If we didn't have such great welders in our area, I would certainly be very against it. However, if they aint got an answer by tomorrow, they are just stalling for time.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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Editted my post, you should hold them accountable to replace the part, or all necessary parts.
+ 1million
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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that sucks. This was exactly what I was going to do at my 16k mi maintenance: leave the valve check to a shop and do everything else myself. Now I may have to start buying tools to do the valve check on my own...
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:13 PM   #8
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:02 PM   #9
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the camshaft bore is machined while the cam caps are attached to the head, which means they are "matched" to that particular head. That is very precise machining, and in a perfect world, another cam cap from another head would work just as well. There is no reason why that piece should have broken it is positively located by hollow dowel pins that surround the bolts that hold it in place. Honestly, it might not be able to be welded, as there is a hard plastic guide (similar to the chain guide on your swingarm), that is bonded to the aluminum. I'm sorry it happened to you, that sucks. If you can get pictures of the cap before or after it has been welded, please share them. And it's definitely not pot metal (pop metal as you called it), it's of the same sand cast quality as the cylinder head itself. Good luck, and please keep us updated.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
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the camshaft bore is machined while the cam caps are attached to the head, which means they are "matched" to that particular head. That is very precise machining, and in a perfect world, another cam cap from another head would work just as well. There is no reason why that piece should have broken it is positively located by hollow dowel pins that surround the bolts that hold it in place. Honestly, it might not be able to be welded, as there is a hard plastic guide (similar to the chain guide on your swingarm), that is bonded to the aluminum. I'm sorry it happened to you, that sucks. If you can get pictures of the cap before or after it has been welded, please share them. And it's definitely not pot metal (pop metal as you called it), it's of the same sand cast quality as the cylinder head itself. Good luck, and please keep us updated.
Pot metal. Got it, I just picked up the term around the shop, must of misheard it, pot metal makes more sense. Learn something new every day!

Glad to know it's not just Kawasaki wanting to snag 1200$. Machined while attached to the head, interesting. I'll keep this thread updated, hopefully I'll get some new info tomorrow.

Here's what worries me: if they broke this critical part when it's located with hollow pins... What are the odds of them successfully completing a head swap?
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squanto84 View Post
the camshaft bore is machined while the cam caps are attached to the head, which means they are "matched" to that particular head. That is very precise machining, and in a perfect world, another cam cap from another head would work just as well. There is no reason why that piece should have broken it is positively located by hollow dowel pins that surround the bolts that hold it in place. Honestly, it might not be able to be welded, as there is a hard plastic guide (similar to the chain guide on your swingarm), that is bonded to the aluminum. If you can get pictures of the cap before or after it has been welded, please share them.
one other thing about welding metal. The heat of welding usually distorts the metal, due to the extreme localized heat needed to melt the metals back together. The cap could possibly be warped after welding. At the very least it should be welded while firmly attached to the head.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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one other thing about welding metal. The heat of welding usually distorts the metal, due to the extreme localized heat needed to melt the metals back together. The cap could possibly be warped after welding. At the very least it should be welded while firmly attached to the head.
Yeah, that was the big fear from both them and me, is the warping of the metal. And the main reason I didn't want it welded, but allowed them to consult an expert.

You know... looking at the engine, I've always wondered about the round spaces in the sides of the head. It makes sense now because of that milling process with those parts.

I would think they ought to be able to replace the head with a used head from a crashed Ninja 650R or er650n and just put my Versys specific camshafts in it to match the computer's timing. Does anyone see any reason why this wouldn't work?
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:37 PM   #13
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Sorry to see this happen to a fellow Kawasaki 650 parallel twin. But kinda glad I didn't do a valve adjustment yet @ 40k mi Thanks for sharing this info...I wonder if it's a common part to break
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:40 PM   #14
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Sorry to see this happen to a fellow Kawasaki 650 parallel twin. But kinda glad I didn't do a valve adjustment yet @ 40k mi Thanks for sharing this info...I wonder if it's a common part to break
I doubt it, at least google has never heard of it happening before with the terms I've searched. I think it's just a fluke/incompetence.

Can I have your engine head?
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:52 PM   #15
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I doubt it, at least google has never heard of it happening before with the terms I've searched. I think it's just a fluke/incompetence.

Can I have your engine head?
If my valves crash into my pistons at the 40,001th mile, sure haha
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:02 AM   #16
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If my valves crash into my pistons at the 40,001th mile, sure haha
Well I hope that doesn't happen. It's amazing how much free time you have when you can't ride... I'm having like... strong urges to ride, it's ridiculous. I was looking at Yamaha XT's on craigslist today and then I drooled over a Super Tenere on there for a while... This hasn't been the longest I've gone in two years without riding, but it's the longest it's been in the past 6 months, and when I didn't have a choice in the matter in 2 years.

I would say, get your valves checked! But now I don't think I recommend it, I should have taken the thing to the Kawasaki dealer and let them gouge me on price, but they weren't within walking distance.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:05 AM   #17
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Or it could seize and you come to a screeching halt while things explode from under you.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:12 AM   #18
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Or it could seize and you come to a screeching halt while things explode from under you.
That would be about what I'm imagining for whatever rigged up solution they try to feed me with that welded up, melted, possibly warped retainer.

Might wanna pull that clutch in and be wearing some Kevlar underwear when that happens....

I'm hoping that they decide they couldn't weld it tomorrow, so they can get started on installing my new heads...
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:39 AM   #19
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15000k is alotta miles. like 15,000,000

sorry to hear about the huge pain inthe and trobule
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:14 AM   #20
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I got 25,000 miles on mine, never had the valve thing done.

I was thinking I would have it done this winter...now not so much.
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