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Discussion Starter #1
My X500 with Kawasaki FS730V is coming up on 200 hrs so it is due to have the valve clearance checked. I suspect they are a tad loose as I have a bit of valve ticking once the engine is warmed up. I have a new set of valve cover gaskets on hand.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I have the X500 technical manual and a Kawasaki FS730V maintenance manual. Has anyone done it without removing the engine shroud? It seems like a lot of extra work just to get visibility of those silly marks on the flywheel. Has anyone used a wooden dowel or similar to determine piston TDC? I was thinking of just removing the fan guard so I can turn the flywheel by hand.

I still can't believe this Kawasaki engine uses those silly eccentric rocker arm bolts instead of the more tried and true lock-nut and set screw arrangement. It seems to make a somewhat simple job more complicated.

Anyway, would appreciate any shortcuts or words of wisdom that anyone who has done it can offer. I have about 10 hrs to go before I'm going to tear into it.

Thanks.
 

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My X500 with Kawasaki FS730V is coming up on 200 hrs so it is due to have the valve clearance checked. I suspect they are a tad loose as I have a bit of valve ticking once the engine is warmed up. I have a new set of valve cover gaskets on hand.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I have the X500 technical manual and a Kawasaki FS730V maintenance manual. Has anyone done it without removing the engine shroud? It seems like a lot of extra work just to get visibility of those silly marks on the flywheel. Has anyone used a wooden dowel or similar to determine piston TDC? I was thinking of just removing the fan guard so I can turn the flywheel by hand.

I still can't believe this Kawasaki engine uses those silly eccentric rocker arm bolts instead of the more tried and true lock-nut and set screw arrangement. It seems to make a somewhat simple job more complicated.

Anyway, would appreciate any shortcuts or words of wisdom that anyone who has done it can offer. I have about 10 hrs to go before I'm going to tear into it.

Thanks.
So is my X540. Dang, another job to add to the list.
If you bring each cylinder up to top dead center on the compression/power stroke both valves will be closed. This is the way I adjusted every gas engine I've ever done. Never had a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So is my X540. Dang, another job to add to the list.
If you bring each cylinder up to top dead center on the compression/power stroke both valves will be closed. This is the way I adjusted every gas engine I've ever done. Never had a problem.
Correct. But the book wants you to remove the engine shroud and use the timing mark on the flywheel and align it to the magneto pole piece... if valves are open then rotate 180-degrees and recheck. I was hoping to save some time buy not having to remove all the junk attached to the shroud. All I really need to do is have the piston at TDC during the compression stroke (both valves closed). Most YouTube videos show guys using a screwdriver but I think I'd feel better using something non-marring like a piece of wooden dowel.

It appears the eccentric rocker arm bolts are a bit trickier to tighten and keep the adjustment than are the lock nut/setscrew style.
 

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Correct. But the book wants you to remove the engine shroud and use the timing mark on the flywheel and align it to the magneto pole piece... if valves are open then rotate 180-degrees and recheck. I was hoping to save some time buy not having to remove all the junk attached to the shroud. All I really need to do is have the piston at TDC during the compression stroke (both valves closed). Most YouTube videos show guys using a screwdriver but I think I'd feel better using something non-marring like a piece of wooden dowel.

It appears the eccentric rocker arm bolts are a bit trickier to tighten and keep the adjustment than are the lock nut/setscrew style.
You should be fine doing it the way you describe. I have used a long thin screw driver many times without problems. Just be careful when you turn the engine. Do it by hand with both plugs out. Never bump it with the starter. Especially with anything inside the combustion chamber. All you are doing is making 100% sure that your piston is up. Reach in and just touch it. Then get it the heck out. lol

Please post some pictures of the adjuster set up. Never messed with this kind and I don't have the books.
 

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I rotate the engine on my 345 by using the pulley underneath.You can use a wood dowel but you have to also watch the rockers so your on the compression stroke.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just be careful when you turn the engine. Do it by hand with both plugs out. Never bump it with the starter. Especially with anything inside the combustion chamber.
Absolutely. My plan is to remove the ventilated fan cover on the top of the engine (3 small screws) that way I can easily turn the engine over by hand.
 

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Do it the way the manual says and you wont be wrong. If you sent it to me at the dealer shop that's the way it would get done. Due to cam duration and compression releases, the piston may or may not be exactly at TDC. There is a method to the madness.
The adjustments are not too bad.. Just a lil more touchy. May require a couple goes at if you have never done one with that configuration.

Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I completed the 200 hour valve check/adjustment on the X500 today. It was just as tricky and frustrating as I knew it would be. I don't have any photos as my hands were oily the whole time. However. there really isn't anything to see that isn't shown in the photos in the technical manual.

On hand I had the X500 technical manual, a Kawasaki FS730V service manual, a feeler gauge with .002, .0025, .003 and .004 gauges, and my torque wrench with a 10mm flare-nut crows foot.

All I can say is I have no idea what Kawasaki was thinking when they decided to use the eccentric carriage bolt/lock nut arrangement on the rocker arms for valve adjustment. It is the most asinine arrangement I have ever had the displeasure to work with. The range of wrench motion required to go from too tight to too loose was probably less than 10 degrees of bolt rotation. That means just touching the wrench on the bolt could cause a change in adjustment. Snugging down the lock nut caused a change in adjustment. Torquing the lock nut caused a change in adjustment. There was also no rhyme nor reason to the change. Adjust the valves a hair loose, tighten lock nut and they would get looser. Adjust the valves a tad tight, tighten lock nut and they would get tighter. I must have loosened and tightened the adjusting bolt 20 times.

I finally gave up using the common sense approach of actually adjusting the gap and locking it down. I resorted to what I could best describe as playing with the adjusting bolt and lock nut, moving each in different directions until it happened to tighten up with the adjustment where I wanted it to be.

A couple notes:


  • I elected to not remove the fan housing. It saved a LOT of time. My engine was spotless so there was no need to clean the fins. I did remove the fan cover. I used a wooden dowel to find TDC on the compression stroke while rotating the flywheel with a socket/ratchet.
  • As someone had suggested, be sure to have new gaskets on hand because no matter how carefully you remove the valve covers the gaskets will probably tear. My gaskets were stuck BAD around each bolt embossment.
  • I'm not sure which valves are which but on both cylinders the upper valves were within spec but the lower valves were way loose. (.005+)
  • The Kawasaki manual had a very specific bolt tightening and loosening order for the valve covers. The JD X500 manual had no such information. I went ahead and loosened/tightened them in the order specified in the Kawasaki manual. The bolts only get torqued to 5.9 Nm so it would be VERY easy to over tighten them if not using a torque wrench.
  • On cylinder #1 the lock nuts are on the bottom. That means that on cylinder #1 it is impossible to get any type of socket on there as there is no room between the lock nut and the frame of the tractor. In order to apply the proper 11Nm of torque I had to use a flare nut crows foot on my torque wrench. Even then, had my crows foot been 1/16" thicker I could not have fit it in the space available. I would be very interested to know what type of tool folks and dealers are using to properly torque the lock nuts on the lower valve on cylinder #1.
  • On cylinder #2 the lock nuts are on the top so there is plenty of room to get a torque wrench and socket on each rocker. Why didn't they put the lock nuts on the same way on cylinder #1. It sure would make it easier to torque.
  • The allowable range on the valves is .002 to .0039. The manual wants you to adjust to .002 which is really tight. I'm not quite sure why they would want the minimum as with the silly eccentric it would be too easy to get them too tight. As with most solid lifters, a tad loose is better than too tight so I elected to target .0025 as my adjustment.
I got it all back together and the engine runs much quieter than it did. The "ticking" after it warms up is not nearly as loud as it was. I mowed a bit of grass and I don't see any leaks around the valve covers so I'm calling this job done.
 
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