New Wiki available at -Check it out or contribute today!

Main Menu

Howto: Valve adjustment with lots of pictures

Started by kapiteinkoek, October 07, 2012, 01:11:59 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Hi, my name is kapiteinkoek and I'm a Dutch GS500 driver. I drive 2300 miles a month in all conditions except when snow and blackice hit the road. My GS is a 1996 ocean blue bike, bought it with 9900 miles on the counter, about 44000 now. Crashed it after my first 600 miles so the front was destroyed, rebuilt it myself and did all my own maintenance since then. My bike is a part of my study, no bike = not going to college. Therefore my GS has to always work and always get me to my destination or home. Succesfully so far (if you dont count the crash).

Because kapiteinkoek is such a nice guy and he has a minute and a good mood I decided to translate my dutch newbie-valve adjustment tutorial for you guys. Some people (like me) prefer 100 pictures and some tekst over a video so there it is.

Despite the fact that kapiteinkoek has a chronic lack of time because of college I wrote the best tutorial of these forums, or actually the internet but I'm staying modest, extraspecially for you guys. Dealers easily charge you 200 dollars for valve adjustment while its not a hard job (not at all with the best howto of this universe) and it doesn't require that many special tools. The first time you will adjust your valves it may take a couple of hours, but the next service you will perform as fast as the best wrench guy (kapiteinkoek) there is.

Shopping list (this is for the EU guys really,

Feeler blades: Louis order no. 10003975 (€4,99)

Valve adjustment tool: Louis order no. 10003054 (€11,99)

micrometer: Louis order no. 10003868 (€19,99)

Possibly a valve cover gasket Louis order no. 10042825 (€22,95)

What else do you need:

- socket wrenches 19, 12, 10, 7
- hex key 6
- antenna with a magnet (buy it at a random store)
- flat screwdriver
- crosshead screwdriver
- micrometer
- small flat screwdriver
- a bit of sanding paper
- feeler gauges
- a pen to write with
- 4 new o-rings for the valve cover

- make something like this or write it down with your pen:

Furthermore it is a wire thing to wear gloves. Not only your hands will stay clean, old motoroil is carcinogen and you don't want that on your skin. Basically that is all you need. I have a socket wrench set from seven industries, its decent stuff for a good price:

Then let's begin. Take the most beautiful GS500 of this world/a GS500 of which the valves need adjustment. Officially this has to be done every 4000 miles. I'm not sure what this is like with other people but every 4000 miles at least one tappet will be off so I advise you to follow interval. Oil and oilfilter also have to be replaced every 4000 miles so you can combine these things.

Keep in mind to do valve adjustment with a COLD engine, if you don't you might measure a tappet clearance that will be different after the engine has cooled down!

When you are done looking at the picture of the best GS on this planet it is time to remove the seat

After this incredible hard job you remove the bolts of the side covers

My god I'm exhausted already but we keep going, pull the side covers loose so they can hang down

We are going insanely fast we're almost done. Now loosen the tank bolts

I find it easy to keep the tank up with a box, some foam or whatever

The designer of the gs500 tank had a weird sense of humour because the water drain is in front of the fuel petcock

Remove the waterhose and close the fuel petcock

Remove the hose clamps (I replaced mine for RVS hose thingies) and remove the fuel hoses.

I always let the hose run emty on an old towel, half of it spills on my engine but that's okay its gs500 perfume

Lay the hoses against the cilinderblock

Remove the tank and put it in a safe spot so the fuel petcock hangs free. I always use a crate with a newspaper in it or a strong cardboard box

I always do this outside because it will smell for a bit ofcourse. If you put the tank away and the gasoline has evaporated you can take your GS inside. Tip: put your bike on a white rag, if you dropped something you can easily find it. Next to that your grandma wont get angry if you spill some oil again (kapiteinkoek thinks back pitying to the time he removed the bolt in the bottom on one of the front fork legs and rotten oil sprayed everywhere with a sprinkler effect in her serre)

You are going to need some freeplay on your throttle cable to be able to remove the valve cover. Therefor disconnect your throttle cable.

Put the throttle cable to the side

Remove the engine breather

Its time to remove the valve cover. Start with the two middle bolts and then loosen up opposite bolts.

When the bolts are out, remove the o-rings on the valve cover. If they fall into the engine you wont get those out with a magnet. Don't throw them away you might need them again.

Btw I put all my bolts and stuff in little bins so they don't get lost

Push the cables to the side and remove the valve cover

The valve cover gasket can be removed too

You don't necessarily have to replace the valve cover gasket. If you don't know when this was done for the last time it may be a good idea to do this anyway. 2 services ago I screwed up this gasket, It wasn't put properly in the edge of the valve cover but it didn't leak. This time I'm replacing it to avoid leaking in the future though.

Next, remove the cover at the right side of your engine and loosen up the sparkplugs for a bit. This makes it possible for air to escape so you can turn the engine easier. I don't have a fitting socketwrench so I use a 19mm one, they don't need to be screwed in tight anyway.

Now it is time to turn the crankshaft in the right position. The R||T marks should be equal to the contactpoint in the bottom left. At the same time the notches in the camshafts should be facing towards eachother or facing away from eachother. Turn clockwise.

Now the notches face eachother. If this is the case you can measure the right exhaust valve and both inlet valves. (left and right seen as if you were sitting on the bike)

Valve clearance should be between 0.03 and 0.08mm. If feeler blade 0.04 doesn't fit between the camshaft and the shim than the clearance is 0.03 or less, this means you have to replace the shim for a thinner one. If the clearance is larger than 0.08 you need to replace the shim for a thicker one. This generally doesn't happen but you never know, always measure. Clean the feeler blades before you use them and mind that they don't stick to eachother!

Looking good, 0.04 fits everywhere, the clearance is 0.04mm or more.

Now we check if the clearance is 0.08 or more. If 0.08 fits then you should put 2 feeler blades on top of eachter, 0.04+0.05=0.09 to check if the clearance is more than 0.08.

Looking good as well. 0.08 fits in none of them so these 3 valves are good. To measure the left exhast valve you have to turn the crankshaft again. This time you make the notches face away from each other. The R||T mark should be in the same place.

Measure like you did before:

Look at that, 0.04 does not fit. The clearance is 0.03 or less. We have to do something about that.

First you turn the crankshaft a bit more so the point on the camshaft at the other side is pointing down a bit. This way you know that the piston is down so you will not push your valve against it.

As you can see the point at the valve we will adjust is facing up while the camshaft on the other side is facing down (left in the picture).


Before you are going to do anything with the tool you must turn the follower in a handy way. In the edge of the follower is a notch to get the shim out. Make sure this notch is facing towards you so you can get the shim out easily. You can turn the follower with your finger. If the valve clearance was too small you might not be able to get it done with your finger. Try turning it with a screwdriver or a pice of metal wire (don't damage the camshafts)

Get the valve tool and put it on the edge of the follower, but pay attention that it is not on top of the shim or else you will not get it out. You may have to practice a bit, sometimes it slips off and the follower bounces back. That's okay, try again. You can try to keep the valve tool in position with your other hand.

Now get your bended screwdriver and a piece of sanding paper. Make sure the screwdriver is nice and sharp, you will know how important this is when you took an hour to take out 1 shim because it was dull.

Push up the shim and take it out with pliers or the magnet tool

I strongly advice to buy a magnet tool. If a shim or a wrench falls into the engine you can easily take it out. You can also close the gap in the engine with an old rag, but still if something falls in you have the magnet tool at hand. I also used it once to get my carkeys out of a drain at 2 am, a magnet tool is always handy.
Kapiteinkoek will show you how:

Now have a look at what is written on the shim. In my case it says 245. This means the shim has a thickness of 2,45mm. original Suzuki shims may vary in thickness with steps of 0.05mm. I advice you to use original shims, some non original shims do not fit into the followers properly. Been there done that, if you want to play safe use original Suzuki shims. These shims can be bought or traded at most Suzuki dealers, they cost me 6 dollars around here.

To make sure what you do is right you must measure the shim, perhaps it wore down a bit so you need to recalculate. Chances are small this happens, it never did in my case but you have to measure to know.

As expected it still is 2,45mm
Measure your new shim just in case
The valve clearance was too small so we take it a step thinner, 2,40mm to be exact.

Make notes of what you do. I write down what shims are in the engine and what shims come out and I save this in a file on my computer. I also keep my maintenance history there, I advise you to do the same. This also makes it easy to buy shims before opening your bike without going to a garage first.

If you have to go to a garage first you should put the shim you took out back on the follower. If more valve clearances are off you have to take those shims out too. If you turn the camshafts without shims on the followers the followers may scratch and damage your camshafts. If you leave throw an old towel over the engine so nobody drops in something accidentally. Also take out the valve adjustment tool to release preasure.

We continue, put in the new shim the same way you took the old one out

Now the fresh shim is in place turn the crankshaft a couple of times to push the shim into the follower properly. Measure the valve clearances again to see what you did was right.
Nu de verse shim op de juiste plek ligt draai je de krukas nog een paar keer rond zodat de nokkenas de shim goed in de bus drukt. Hierna meet je de klepspeling nog een keer om te controleren of het klopt wat je gedaan hebt.

Looks like its right!
Btw, it is important to work clean. If some rubbish gets between the shim and the follower the valve clearance may vary everytime the engine turns. Good thing to keep in mind.

Now we clean the valve cover with some brake cleaner

Might as well clean the engine breather

Now close up the engine. Put the valve cover gasket on the engine with the half-moons in the right place. The gasket only fits in 1 way on the engine, you will see how.

Before you can screw in the bolts you have to make sure the edge of the gasket is in the edge of the valve cover. You may have to push around a bit and push on the valve cover.

Once the valve cover and gasket are in their place you van put new o-rings in the right place.
Nadat het deksel op zijn plek ligt en de pakking er goed tussen zit kan je nieuwe O-ringen op de goede plek leggen. Use new ones to avoid leaking.

I didn't have any fitting o-rings anymore so I put back the old ones after covering them in some idontknowgrease. Maybe it will work, else I will replace them again later.

Boutjes erin en alles handvast+eenbeetje

Engine cover back on

The smart reader already saw that the side of the engine was mounted with not-original bolts. This is because I had a little adventure with a torque wrench, I pulled all the bolts beyond their yield strength because I misinterpreted the manual. I temporarily used other bolts to replace them with original new ones this service.

They are so pretty agian

Throttle cable back on again

Another tip, put something in front of the front wheel so the bike doesn't fall of its stand when you push it forward a bit accidentally.

Put the spark plugs back in properly

Officially you cannot use spark plugs twice, the ring will be pushed in but I wont tell if you wont. If you don't know when the spark plugs were replaced the last time it is a good idea to do this as well.


Congratulations, your valves have been adjusted. Now it is time to synchronise your carburettors. You always have to do this after you adjusted your valves.

I used the kapiteinkoek-carbureatorsynchronisermachine. A machine like that costs about 3 dollars and is very accurate (like a carbtune)

Remove the caps of your carburetors

Put the ubermeter in a handy place and connect it

For the smart reader, the oil level was not at the 0 mark anymore. This is because when I drew the scale the temperature was lower. Doesn't matter, its about the difference in level anyway.

You synchronise the carbs with a running engine and that requires some fuel. I always put in a funnel in the fuelhose. I lost mine but luckily I found one in a dollhouse

You only need a little bit of fuel. I open the fuel petcock underneath the tank and let a little drain out in a bin.

Spilled a little nobody will notice

Now it is time to start the engine. Make sure the engine is running idle and as constant as possible at about 1700 rpm. You can do this by turning the stationary screw at the bottom of the carbs.

1500rpm, could be a bit higher but will do

We look at it for a bit

That is quite a large difference, we turn the stationary adjustment screw (can be found between the carbs if you look from above) and keep an eye on it

That is a very good result. Keep in mind that the difference in level will come back when you change the rpm, you don't have to do anything about that because this is normal. If the levels are constant and the same around 1700 rpm you are good.

Now put everything back together. Like before it is a good idea to put something in front of the wheel so the bike wont fall off the stand. You can also put it on the side stand.

Connect the fuel hoses and water drain hose

I use thick fuel hoses so I can use only 1 clamp, I secure the other one with a tywrap.

Important thing not to forget, open the fuel petcock

Did I mention you should open your fuel petcock? I forgot once your engine will stock after something like half a mile. Ofcourse you cannot think of why it happened at that moment

My bike wont start why is that?

Last time I adjusted my valves my engine wouldn't go round anymore. Ofcourse I thought I did something wrong but it turned out that my battery was empty all of a sudden. I still don't know why, everything works like it should including the battery. I charged it and everything worked again.

Another cause could be you forgetting to open the fuel petcock (I told you so). Another cause could be the fact that your fuel hoses may be empty. You can put the fuel crane on pri for a minute to let the fuel run through.

You can also check if you did not accidentally hit the engine stop button when you released the throttle cable.

The original Dutch post can be found here:

More information about the carburator synchroniser can be found here (no time to translate yet):

An equally large and awesome howto about front brake caliper revision can be found here (also Dutch, try google translate that may clear some things up)

including a creative and supereffective way to refill the braking system (you guys should learn Dutch)

I translated this pretty quick so the English can be shabby. Pictures enough though hehe.


That must have taken a lot of effort to put together. Thanks for taking the time!  :cheers:


'04 GS500
Quote from: POLLOCK28 ( what I understand from frequenting various forums you are handling this critisim completely wrong. You are supposed to get bent out of shape and start turning towards personal attacks.
Get with the program!



98 Aztec Orange, F1R Cobra Exhaust, Jetted , Rear Hugger, Stainless Chain Guard, Sonics / Kat600, Fork Brace,
Superbike Bars, Pro Grip, Bar End Mirrors, LED conversion...


Guess I should be getting the tools n get ready...amazing job man :-)


Israeli GS Lover.
Current Bike : 1994 GS500E.
Previous Bike : 1999 GS500F.


Where do you get the shims from? To bad there is no gs500 owners around here. I probably just take mine to a good motorcycle shop and let them do it, since after i buy everything needed i could have just paid some one else. Still nice write up, if i already had the tools/shims i would diffidently do it myself.
2006 GS 500 F


Quote from: kapiteinkoek on October 07, 2012, 01:11:59 PM
The designer of the gs500 tank had a weird sense of humour because the water drain is in front of the fuel petcock

Lol'd so hard. Glad i'm not the only one who thought this!!
2005 GS500F
Thread located Here.

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk