Sunday, March 14, 2010

Valve Adjustment / Carb Synch - Complete

I spent about 20 hours this weekend installing the highway pegs, fender extender, replacing spark plugs, adjusting valves and synching the carbs on the Connie.

The hardest part of the job was taking all the stuff off to actually get to the valve adjusting nut/screws. I took pictures and had labels and containers to keep the various small pieces in some sort of order - and to remember how to reassemble things.

The valve adjustment itself takes about an hour - plus several hours to take stuff off so you can adjust the valves. I set the intakes (the rear ones - by the air box) to .006 inch and the exhausts (the front ones - by the exhaust pipes) to .008 inch. It helps to remove the feeler gage from the set and bend it slightly so you can slip it easily in between the screw and the valve stem. There are 16 valves to adjust - 2 intake and 2 exhaust for each cylinder. Access to get a screwdriver, wrench and torque wrench in there is a little tight but do-able. Getting the valve cover off is a bit of a challenge because it's a tight squeeze. The gasket stayed with the cover, and it's reusable so that's nice. I put a little silicone in the cutouts.

Carb Synch II
Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
The carb synch is a piece of cake compared to the valve clearance. The trickiest part is getting the 4 vacuum lines off the carbs and then getting them back on. The vacuum from the four carbs were pretty close to each other anyway - but I turned the three adjusting screws a little just to see if I could get them closer. The tool itself looks pretty impressive and it came from England so I think it's pretty cool. The mechanic and books say you should synch the carbs after adjusting the valves - so I did it.

The only disappointing thing was that by the time I was done it was fairly late Sunday afternoon - and the weather wasn't all that nice, so I didn't have a chance to ride much. On the plus side - the bike is ready for long trips when it warms up - and I don't have to think about the valve adjustment for another 6,000 miles. I think it will go quite a bit quicker next time now that I know how to remove the various bits and pieces.


Problems -
Stripped a screw head that was recessed inside a hard plastic heat shield. Had to hack saw behind it to get the cover off and then use a vice grips to get it out. The fairing and heat shield screws are a problem in general on this bike. They are soft phillips heads - and there are a lot of them of various lengths. When my piggy bank is replenished I think I might spring for one of Murphs Stainless Steel Screw Kits with allen heads. That kit comes with a map to show which length screw goes where - which will be very useful.

I took off the pulse cover since I was going by the book. The gasket almost came off intact - but not quite. Scraping the old gasket off took about 30 minutes but I had a new one ready to install so it wasn't a big deal. Next valve adjustment I might use the bump-the-starter method of getting the cam lobes in the right position and won't have to take that cover off again.

Schucks has fuel hose but no fittings. Autozone has no fittings either. Carquest sold me a plastic fitting from a Holley carb kit for 2 bucks so I could splice into the fuel line and run the engine with the tank off for the carb synch.

Main fuel line sprung a leak near the end. I think I may have damaged it pulling it off. I spliced in a new piece of fuel line since replacing the fuel hose looked like it would require pulling the carburetors and the air-box (although you might be able to do it with a pair of hemostats - but once you pull the hose off the carb-bank there's no going back). This was about my 18th hour of motorcycle maintenance and I didn't feel like jumping on that. That spliced fuel line should work fine and a new one will have to wait along with pulling the front fairing to fix the crack, flushing the brake fluid and changing the coolant.

One of the rubber grommets on the frame that support the gas tank fell off when I was reinstalling the tank. Didn't realize it was off until I was buttoning everything up and noticed the gas tank was rocking from side to side. Had to take off - the 5 hoses, electrical connector and bolts to put the grommet back in place.

One of the California fuel tank vacuum hoses had a leak. There's a lot of rubber hoses on this bike for emissions control. Luckily Schucks had a piece I could use as a replacement.
Overall things went as well as I could of expected. The bike runs a lot better and I think I will be getting better mileage. I'm not sure if it's the new plugs, the valve adjustment or the carb synch - or all three that helped.