APRILIA V4 VALVE CHECK & ADJUSTMENT - SUPPLEMENTAL GUIDE
(referencing a 2014 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS - last update July 2018)
NOTE: This is not a stand alone guide, but rather a supplement to Fostytou's guide. This supplement elaborates on certain aspects like supplies, tool substitution, and methods. Read through Fostytou's guide and then this guide before starting.
Much thanks to Fostytou for his extensive guide, Amauri for his generous forum knowledge, and Shaun Nielsen for his YouTube videos. This guide assumes you are doing this service with the engine still mounted within the frame. This guide details the use of alternative tools that I chose - refer to the Aprilia repair manual (downloadable through AF1's online store) for use of the factory tools.
Fostytou's walkthrough: AF1 Forum
Shaun's videos (part 1): YouTube
PART I : CHECKING THE VALVE CLEARANCES
Part one of the guide explains what tools and supplies I used to check the valve clearances and do the optional mods in Part III. None of the factory tools are required for a valve clearance check. I did not order the supplies/tools for an adjustment until after I confirmed that I had valves out of spec.
Tools Required for Checking Clearances:
Metric Basics sockets, hexes and t-handles, screwdrivers, spark plug socket, etc.
Torque Wrench any quality 3/8" drive with up to 90ftlbs will work for reassembly. I have a Snap-On TechAngle ATECH2FR100B which is a fantastic tool worth every penny even for the hobbyist amount of time I use it. When working on something like this, it is reassuring to see the digital display climb in real-time as the wrench is turned. Some of the torques involved are as low as 71 in/lb (the crank angle sensor on the clutch cover), but that can be done by hand with little worry. It is the 106 in/lb for the cam retainers where you may especially want a torque wrench that you can rely on to accurately deliver this 8.8 ft/lb value.
Skinny/Tiny Flathead Screwdrivers (example: a jewelers screwdriver set) I used three for each injector clip.
12mm Triple Square Bit (example: Lisle 60750 set) used to gain access to the manual crank bolt (primary gear behind the clutch cover) for rotating the cams.
Gasket Scraper I used a nylon tool for prying auto trim/interior clips to scrape old Threebond enough that rubbing it with a shop towel would get it up easily.
45* Bent Long Nose Pliers (example: Tekton 3516) used for reinstalling the four gold Aprilia clamps holding the throttle bodies. If you choose to go another route in re-securing the throttle bodies, you won't need these pliers. These pliers will have to be modified to make them useful. I had ordered the Suzuki-style clamps through AF1 but was disappointed for two reasons: the first being the bands are wider than the annoying Aprilia clamps, so they didn't fit within the groove of the rubber intakes as well as I would like; the second is that, despite spending thirty minutes, I could not find a suitable configuration where the access was any better or even position them so as to not interfere with the throttle body butterflies. Davidon posted a pic of a mod with extended bolts on these, but I couldn't foresee them easily being obstruction-free, so abandoned that clever idea. In the end, I used the Aprilia clamps on the front throttle bodies and then zip ties on the rear set. Keep in mind, you only remove the top four clamps. Refer to the "Modified Pliers" image in Part IV.
Tile Nippers or Wire Cutters (optional. example: Channellock 35-250 or some other tool, or tools, for removing crimp clamps) working on my old 2004 RSVR Factory, I found that the nippers were great for easily unclipping/re-clipping the standard crimp clamps ...but only if you can get straight at them, which isn't always the case. If you have to come from the side, you can try large wire cutters to "bite" the crimped section of the clamp and then twist a little to pop them and/or prying them with a flathead screwdriver. You'll still need the modified bent pliers above to reinstall the gold throttle body clamps, though.
Feeler Gauges (I like the Lisle 68150) I have two sets: Go-No-Go and a standard set because I personally feel better with redundancy. My Lisle set is the more accurate set according to my micrometer, but the inaccuracies are pretty much negligible. Some recommend pointed/tapered feelers as they will certainly make access easier, but I was able to use the standard-shaped ones. I found an LED penlight helpful for ensuring I wasn't getting hung up on anything. Amauri recommends imperial and insists there is no need to fuss over 0.01mm (0.0004") increments. He implies you waste a lot of time for very little benefit ...assuming you can truly differentiate the feel between 0.01mm and 0.02mm. He also advises against stacking gauges because results can be inconsistent. Judging by the figures posted by members of their dealership checks, one can assume the dealerships are not putting the effort into finer measurements. All that considered, I used metric and did fuss a little more on the ones out of spec.
LED Penlight (example: Streamlight 65018) not required, but it's the tool I found myself reaching for the most.
Valve Log courtesy of Amauri's wife. You can download it at the bottom of the first post.
Supplies for Valve Check:
Valve Cover Gasket Kit (AF1-897443) contains gaskets for both valve covers, the spark plugs, and the cam retainers (also referred to as u-bolts).
Threebond (PU37100015 or TB1200GAU) for sealing the valve cover gasket and stator cover if you choose not to buy the AF1 stator cover gasket (the factory uses Threebond for the stator cover).
Aftermarket Air Filter (optional) if you still have the original, I guarantee you'll want to upgrade once you see all the grit that gets past the flimsy stock air filter frame.
Four Spark Plugs (CR9EKB or CR9EB) it doesn't really matter performance-wise, though Amauri speculates the pricey EKB became standard in an attempt to improve starts in cooler climates.
Crank Cover O-Ring (optional. 857078) or you could put a bit of Threebond on the existing one if it leaks after reassembly. I reused mine and did not need to add Threebond.
Lint-Free Paper Towels and/or Duct Tape to stuff in the spark plug holes and intakes.
Rubber Vacuum Cap Assortment (example: http://a.co/04jHAFL) used to cap or plug fuel lines and also useful for capping throttle body nipples for the complete EVAP delete.
Shop Vac: for getting any grit that may have fallen into the plug holes or onto the throttle body butterflies before reassembly.
Tools and Supplies for Optional Procedures (Part III) :
Vacuum Y-Connector (example: Dorman 47354) only required if you plan to delete the EVAP and want to avoid running an additional hose down along the sprocket cover.
1/4"-18 NPT Tap only required if you plan to remove the SAS hoses and block off the factory reed inlets.
1/4"-18 NPT Aluminum Plugs two required, but only if you plan to remove the SAS and block off the factory reed inlets. You will also need to seal the hose connection on the airbox (see Part III for considerations).
33-ohm 1/2-watt Resistor only required if doing a full SAS delete with a stock ECU (not needed with Race ECU).
SS Coolant Hose Clamps (optional. MC-V4 Clamp Kit) with the throttle bodies out of the way, this is the best time to upgrade the last hard-to-get-to crimp clamps that the radiator fluid commonly leaks from.
Valve Access Procedure Tips:
The fuel injection wire harness connectors:
Each of the injector connectors on the throttle bodies were a bigger pain than removal of all of the crimp clamps combined. I used one tiny flathead screwdriver to push the end of the wire clip outward on one side so I could wedge a second flathead under it. Then pushed the other side so I could wedge a third flathead under the opposite part of the wire clip ...once both sides of the wire clip are lifted away with the wedged flatheads, the connector practically falls off.
The throttle bodies:
Removal seems to be optional. There are gold-colored clamps on the bottom of the assemblies that can be reinstalled with the modified pliers. Carefully pry them off with a flat head to reuse them. I have found it easiest to have the front throttle body assembly be the first one out and the last one in. Removal of the throttle bodies also allows access to the last few coolant hose crimp clamps for replacement (AF1 Kit) and to completely delete the SAS system.
The charcoal canister (EVAP):
If you want to keep the canister functioning, you'll need to temporarily disconnect the hose from the front throttle body to the canister. But if you're like me, you already removed the canister and zip tied one of the can's mounting bolts inside the hose near the top of the radiator on the clutch side. In this case, the plugged hose will simply come up and out while removing the front throttle body. Otherwise, find a suitable disconnect you can reconnect later if you intend to keep the EVAP system. The EVAP is found on all US models and 2017+ Euro models.
The SAS hoses:
Valve Clearance Check Procedure Notes:
Running over the center of each valve cover is a large hose, along with one from the right side of the airbox. These connect to the solenoid under the throttle bodies. At minimum, you have to loosen the clamps at the reed valves (squeeze the clamp tabs together) and/or yank the hoses up to allow removal of the valve covers. Another option I have seen is to cut the front hose above the SAS solenoid and add an inline connector instead of trying to gain access to the clamp at the front of the engine. Or, see below for info about the complete SAS delete and live life pretending the system was never even dreamt up by Aprilia (full delete requires removal of the throttle bodies).
Cam lobe position:
To check the clearance, the cam lobes have to be pointed at about 12 o'clock with the bike sitting level. If the bike is on a rear stand, it would help to add the front stand. I used a small bubble level to get an idea of lobe orientation relative to the cam retainer bolts. Luckily, there's some leeway here, especially when the valve spring tesnion causes the lobes to turn a little more than you want.
Turning the crank:
Turn the crank CLOCKWISE only - you do not want to risk loosening this bolt inside the cover and not realize it. Using the crank access on the clutch side, insert an 8mm hex socket on a 3/8" breaker bar (or socket wrench if that's what you have) with an extension.
Cam chain clicking:
A few days into the job and after I had fully drained the oil, residual oil rose up out of the heads and dripped over the reed valve covers. This seemed to coincide with the front cam chain clicking a few times during a full manual rotation. From what I have read on various forums, I believe I am right in assuming it was the tensioner evacuating remaining oil. As a precaution, once everything was back together with the oil refilled, I left the fuel pump harness on the tank disconnected and cranked the starter a few seconds to allow the oil pump to re-pressurize the tensioners.
I started with the Go-No-Go feelers. Do not force the feeler blade - if they require even slight pressure, then it's too tight and you need to try a smaller thickness. If it takes the thinner portion and doesn't accept the thicker part, the clearance is good. The rule-of-thumb is that the feeler gauge should only require the same amount of force needed to slide it out from between the pages of a closed book. Obviously, this means several people could get different numbers on the same engine, especially if using finer-incremented gauges. What I found helpful was to go through all of them, writing it all down as practice. Then I printed out a new sheet to do over with a better idea of what I should be feeling for.
If all are within spec, you can do the optional mods in Part III and then reassemble.
PART II: VALVE CLEARANCE ADJUSTMENT
Part two is for those that found their clearances out of spec. It requires a lot of tools not normally found in the average handyman's toolbox. I opted to find/use alternatives to the Aprilia Service Tools when possible (all but one). You may only have to adjust clearance(s) on one head rather than both. If that is the case, then you will not need all of the tools and supplies below. The front head only really requires access behind the stator/flywheel cover. The rear head only really requires access behind the clutch cover. I had to make a single adjustment on both heads, so had to gather both groups of tools and all supplies listed below.
Tools Required for Changing Shims on Either Head:
M6 x 90mm Bolt (1mm thread pitch; search "M6 x 90" on Amazon - I found stainless which were fully threaded that I modified to match the factory tool) use instead of Crankshaft Timing Pin 020852Y to assist in maintaining timing of the crankshaft. Shaun Nielsen doesn't even modify his bolt and shows us a spare V4 crankshaft - the boss in his example crank is large enough to accept the full circumference of the threaded portion of the bolt. Though I modified mine to mimic the factory tool, there appears to be no need to modify the tip except to help guide the bolt into the boss. If that's the case, rounding it to the shape of a bullet tip would be easier and maybe more beneficial. Before modifying the bolt, thread a nut onto it - once done, remove the nut to clean up the threads. Not sure when this is necessary, but the factory tool may need the handle shaved down almost completely. Be mindful not to attempt to rotate the primary with this bolt in place. Refer to the "Replicating the Crankshaft Timing Pin" image in Part IV.
Stihl T-27 Torx (08123701000A) use instead of Camshaft Timing Pin 020851Y.Plocky discovered this alternative as it is also exactly 5mm in diameter. This is slid through the cam chain flange on the camshaft and into the first crank retainer to lock the crankshaft in place before removing the second bolt on the cam gear. I found a 2-pack on eBay and cut one to fit the front head within the confines of the frame. The overall reach of the one I cut is about 33mm from the outside edge of the right angle of the Stihl tool. There is an image of these tools in Part IV
3/16 or 7/32 Hex Wrench used to make installing the spring-assisted exhaust cam gears easier. Before removing the cam retainers, jam the two-part exhaust gear with this wrench and leave it there until the cams and retainers are reinstalled.
Motion Pro Gear Jammer (08-0427) use instead of the Gear Block 020850Y (aka Primary Gear Lock). The Gear Block is an overly-complex factory tool - check Fostytou's guide for modifying the Gear Block, allowing you to leave the clutch in place if you do not want to use the infinitely simpler Gear Jammer. I'm not even going to get into clutch removal as it is not needed unless you are hell-bent on using the Gear Block in it's silly, original form. The Gear Block is intended here to aid in loosening/tightening the cam chain gear bolts, then to maintain the crankshaft position while the camshafts are removed. Amauri advises against using the Gear Block for the cam gear bolts as the torque is transferred to the cam chain with this factory tool.
Aprilia Cam Gear Holding Tool (020956Y) you have to buy this quality control nightmare unless you make your own, which has been done. The factory tool has been updated to fit within the frame better, but you may still have to grind a corner so it clears the plastic wire harness cover on the rear head and/or open the mount holes a fraction of a millimeter so you can bolt it to either head - check fitment before carefully doing either modification. Luckily, you only need one of these warped (literally) tools. Mine required one corner being shaved to clear the harness on the rear head. The large round lip of the tool that the cam gear slides onto sat a bit higher, making it impossible to simply "slide" the gear onto the tool - I had to fiddle with the front head's cam gear for about thirty minutes.
Magnetic Probe for pulling buckets to access the shims.
Digital Micrometer (example: iGaging 35-025-40) useful if the label on a shim that needs replaced is unreadable and to double-check feeler gauge accuracy, which is nice when you are near one of the clearance limits. I found that all of my intake shims had nothing printed on them (or had been removed via heat). I found most of my labeled shims were slightly off, around 0.002mm, which is negligible. However, my tight exhaust shim that needed replaced was a full 0.010mm thicker than it was labeled! Had it been correct, it may have passed my feeler tests.
Additional Tools Required if Changing Shims on the Front Head:
To make changes to the Front Head, you will need all of the tools listed above as well as the tools listed within this heading. If you only need to adjust the Rear Head, you only need the ones listed above and do not need the tools listed within this heading.
Slide Hammer with Claw Tip not required, but a huge help in breaking the Threebond seal on the stator cover. Refer to the "Claw Tip" image in Part IV.
Large Crescent Wrench (18" for more leverage, but my 12" also fits) instead of the Flywheel Holder 020914Y, use a cresecent wrench in conjunction with the Gear Jammer placed on the primary gear to loosen the 17mm bolt securing the flywheel onto the crankshaft. Note: you only need to remove the flywheel if you are adjusting shims on the front head of a pre-circa 2016 engine and also have the newer Kokusan flywheel. If you have the Kokusan update part on a pre-2016ish model, it will look like there is just barely enough room to clear the flywheel, but there really isn't. However, eyeing the crankshaft boss with the Kokusan flywheel in place will still allow you to roughly verify timing of the front head if that's your only desire. The factory replaced the original Mitsubishi model with one larger in diameter (the Kokusan) on engine numbers above 03413, thus preventing access for the Crankshaft Timing Pin. Amauri advised the AF1 forum that at some point around 2015-2016 production, Aprilia then moved the access hole and crank boss so the larger flywheel did not require removal for valve adjustments. At the time of this writing, the exact engine number of this change was unknown. So, you may not know for sure if you need to pull the flywheel until you open it up. A strap wrench will not work as an alternative tool on the RSV4 as the flywheel does not clear the case enough to wrap it with the strap.
Small Three-Jaw Gear Puller (each claw has to fit through one of the flywheel holes that are 12mm in diameter) use instead of Flywheel Puller 020913Y. Again, you only have to remove the flywheel if adjusting the front head shims and you have the Kokusan flywheel on a pre-circa 2016 model. I did not have a small enough Three-Jaw Gear Puller on hand, but found another alternative: I once owned a small shop and just happened to have an old, larger-sized Suzuki motor mounting collar in my hardware collection that coincidently screwed onto the flywheel. I believe you can substitute this Suzuki collar with an M34 nut (1.50 pitch). With the flywheel bolt removed, I placed a 1/4" drive 13mm socket within the flywheel flange for a Pitman Arm Puller (part # W142) to push off of, preventing possible damage to the crankshaft - the 13mm socket could also be useful with the Three-Jaw Gear Puller. With the Gear Jammer also holding the Primary on the other side as back-up, I used the large crescent wrench gripping the Pitman Arm Puller to counter the force of the breaker bar applied to the Puller. To free the Gear Jammer after the flywheel is off, I put the M17 flywheel bolt back in and lightly turned the crankshaft back the tiniest bit. Refer to the "Flywheel Puller" image in Part IV to see how I assembled the Suzuki collar, the 13mm socket, and the Pitman tool.
Crows Foot - 13mm (example: Armstrong 64-713) this is required to properly torque the cam chain gear bolts, given the limited space for typical torque wrenches, on the front head.
Additional Supplies for Clearance Adjustment:
Stator Cover Gasket (AF1-GS898414) if you have to adjust the front head's valves or want to double-check the timing, you will need the stator gasket. The factory uses Threebond and no gasket if you'd rather go that route. The benefits of the gasket is that you do not have to wait for the Threebond to cure before filling the case with oil and the cover should come off easier next time.
Clutch Cover Gasket (857451) the clutch cover has to come off no matter what to gain access for jamming the primary gear.
Cam Gear Bolts (857008) you need two per cam chain sprocket, so four total if you have to do both heads. Though the manual states to replace these every time, these have been labeled optional by some. I have noticed that they are not what I would call "standard bolt material" as they appear to be a softer metal, possibly designed to stretch. I would advise replacing these bolts every time.
Loctite Blue 243 (oil resistant) for the cam gear and cam retainer bolts.
Crush Washers (857042) you will need four of these for each head, so eight if you need to do both. They are located under the bolts closest to the spark plug holes going through the main camshaft retainers. I failed to see these listed anywhere when I ordered my parts. At $2.50 a piece, I decided to save the wait and just flip them over - if you don't flip them, they might not sit into the hole exactly as they once did, which could throw off torque readings. I advise to definitely replace them the second time around.
Plastic Zip Ties (quality brand because some zip ties hold up better than others) I used these in lieu of the Aprilia clamps on the rear throttle body as I did not like the Suzuki clamps. Jsnontuono stated he used zip ties that were the same width as the gold Aprilia clamps, but I used "standard" zip ties that are smaller in width.
Aprilia Oil Filter (857187)
Drain Plug Crush Washer (857147) and some thread tape.
Engine Oil (one gallon plus a quart; optional: a second gallon) a lot of owners are using Rotella T6 5w-40 in their RSV4s. Since I pulled both case covers and left the engine sit a few weeks (noticed additional oil seeping up over the heads and running down the engine after a few days), more oil came out than a typical change. So the standard one gallon is not enough to completely refill it as usual, which is why there is a need for an additional quart. I opted to buy a second gallon of T6 so I could help flush out any grit that may have gotten in from the top with a second oil change. It's an extra $25 for peace of mind.
Shims (AF1-Shim-Kit-V4 or HCSHIM00 or AF1-CM228056 or individuals) there are a few options here and it may be wise to consider them all very carefully to ensure you have enough of the correct height shim for your particular adjustments. The early OEM shims were about 8.80mm in diameter, but the new 8.90mm shims are the same size used on a lot of KTM dirtbikes (most of the 250 model years) and the two diameters are interchangeable on the V4. The first two shim kits listed are the same Hot Cams kit and only contain a range of aftermarket shims limited to the shorter side (1.72mm to 2.60mm in increments of 0.04mm), while the third "complete kit" also contains additional OEM shims of taller height (adding 2.62mm to 3.15mm in 0.02/0.03mm increments). I say "complete kit" because if you need more than two or three of a certain shim, you may not have enough. I had no idea what the ranges were going to be, plus I have an Aprilia dealer and a KTM dealer nearby, so I waited until I knew what two I needed and ordered them individually. Unfortunately, it's not something they stocked (I didn't ask if they had individual aftermarket ones), so I ordered the one for the rear head and had to wait for it before I could bolt everything back down and move to the front head ...and then order that one. I've listed individual part numbers below. In a pinch on shims that are too big, you could use a sheet of 600grit or finer wet/dry sand paper lying on a piece of glass, add a little oil, and patiently shave the shim to size: move the shim with light pressure from your finger in a circular pattern, slightly rotating (not flipping) it often, and checking it periodically with a digital gauge. However, Amauri advises not to shave more than 0.025mm off a single shim.
note: all the original shims in my bike ranged from 2.105mm to 2.460mm on my micrometer, so one basic shim set would have sufficed since I only needed to change two.
Aprilia Shim Part Numbers:
Valve Adjustment Procedure Notes:
(Stihl Tool = Camshaft Timing Pin)
Work on one head at a time
Remove the camshafts of one head, replace any out-of-spec shims, reinstall the camshafts, and then final check the valve clearances before moving onto the next head. This is why you only need one set of the specialized tools. You can save reinstalling the head covers until you are done with all shim adjustments.
This is not required and just double-checks that everything is roughly where it should be before getting started. The front and rear heads are separate in regards to timing - if the front is in time and the rear is in time, then the system is in time. In other words, you do not check the timing of the heads simultaneously. There is a "Tone Wheel" on the primary gear with three stamped indicator lines. One stamp has an "R" stamped next to it telling you about when you should be seeing the crankshaft boss through the clutch cover access hole for inserting the Crankshaft Timing Bolt. Another has an "F" next to it telling you when you should be seeing the crankshaft boss through the stator cover access hole for timing the front head. You basically rotate the primary until the desired indicator is pointing midway between the two clutch cover bolt holes that are above and slightly offest to the right of the primary. You should be able to see the crank boss through the access hole relating to that indicator. Now look at that head's cam gears and make sure the three dots on that head's two sprockets are aligned. If you don't see them, then the primary will need rotated another 360* to bring the cams around 180*. If the dots still don't line up, there is a timing issue. There is an image in Part IV showing how the stamp on the Tone Wheel coincides with the correct position for locking the crank and working on the rear head.
Removing the cam chain gear bolts without factory tools:
If you just verified the timing with the three dots aligned, rotate the primary 360* - this will rotate the cam chain gear, exposing the 13mm bolt that does not allow insertion of the Stihl Tool. Use the Gear Jammer to jam the intake and exhaust gears, thus preventing transferring any unnecessary stress to the chain (which can actually occur with the factory Gear Lock). Loosen and remove this now exposed 13mm bolt on the cam chain gear. Remove the Gear Jammer and carefully/smoothly rotate the primary 360* to the point where you can insert the Stihl Tool through the cam chain gear, the camshaft flange, and fully into the recess of the first camshaft retainer. The Stihl Tool will lock the gear in place and prevent stress on the chain during loosening. At this point, I also inserted the Crankshaft Timing Bolt into the boss and left it there most of the adjustment job. I'm a little paranoid, so added a zip tie to hold the chain to the cam gear throught the whole process. Now carefully loosen the second/final 13mm bolt holding the cam chain gear to the camshaft. Remove the Stihl Tool, but leave the Crankshaft Timing Bolt (this will keep the crank in the same position until it's time to remount the cams). Install the factory Cam Gear Holding Tool for the next step. Note: anytime the Crankshaft Timing Bolt was installed into the crank boss, I placed the magnetic Gear Jammer on the primary bolt as a reminder not to try turning it.
My observations on poor camshaft-crankshaft alignment and chain noise:
The access hole to the crankshaft boss on the stator side was not fully tapped at the factory on my 2014 RSV4 R. There was a large burr at the inner most part of the threaded hole. It was very evident by shining an LED through the hole, which tells me the Crankshaft Timing Pin is not required for timing and simply eyeing the boss was sufficient (though not fully accurate) at the factory. This is certainly a quality control issue as it wasn't a small burr, so there was no way to get my timing bolt to lock the crankshaft without risking destroying the good threads of the case. I had to use a drill bit to knock it down a little by hand and then my M6 x 1.00 pitch tap to finish it ...it just barely reached as the tap's shaft bottomed-out on the outside of the case. I later noticed that when I installed the Crank Timing Bolt into the crankshaft boss on the stator side to remove the camshafts, the Stihl Tool could not be placed easily. I am not sure what the issue here was because when I reassembled it, I ran into the same problem, just not as bad. With the Crankshaft Timing Bolt in, I had to slowly work (twist back and forth) the Stihl tool into the recess on the cam tensioner. Very odd to me because this is completely independent from the crankshaft since the cam gear is slotted. It was as if there was some sort of discrepancy between the camshaft flange and the location of the retainer recess. I was never inclined to believe there was a timing issue before or after the valve adjustments.
So on the front head with the discrepancy, I had to cowboy it when loosening the second cam gear bolt. I backed the Crank Timing Bolt a little out of the boss so I could insert the Stihl Tool (it still did not go in easily). I carefully loosened the cam gear bolt very slightly, removed the Stihl Tool, and then reseated the Crank Timing Bolt into the crank boss. With this method, I was still able to remove the second cam gear bolt without applying any stress to the chain.
During an unrelated AF1 forum search, I ran across a post by Mikef4uk showing the same cam gear alignment issue on his first RSV4's rear head! Mikef4uk suspected tensioners, while Amauri suspected wear on the sprockets to be the likelier cause. Mikef4uk had two bikes like this and replacement of the tensioners on the second bike (from the factory with the non metallic washers) did not do any good. Another possibility mentioned in that thread was a stretched chain. In Part IV, there is an image from Mikef4uk showing that his Crankshaft Timing Pin (aka Stihl Tool) could not pass through with the crank locked at the boss.
This particular timing chain on my bike was constantly begging for attention. Although it never exhibited the "common" rattle I've read about, a few days after I bought the bike I noticed the left side of the motor had this subtle vibration somewhere around 3000 RPMs from a stop. It sounded like a tensioner not fully pressurized and could also be subtly felt in the left footpeg. After the valve adjustment, these phenomena still remained. During the valve job, after it had sat few days (expelling additional oil), it seemed this head occasionally clicked during rotation of the primary. Unfortunately, I was not able locate the exact origin of these clicks and assumed the tensioner had receded from lack of oil pressure. Following the valve job, this chain alone was noisy for a few seconds during the first three start ups, getting shorter in duration each time until it ceased for every start afterwards, cold or hot. It alone still clacked for a second when the temps were below 70*F, but I think I've had several bikes like this.
Moving a stubborn cam gear to the Holding Tool:
The rear head's cam gear moved over fairly easily in less that five minutes with some fiddling, but I think I may have gotten lucky. The front head took at least thirty minutes. I could barely tell that the lip of the Cam Gear Holding Tool which the gear is supposed to slip onto was sitting a tiny bit higher - I basically needed to lift the gear a fraction of a millimeter up onto the Holding Tool, but the taught chain would not allow it. I ended up removing the small and middle camshaft retainers, only loosening the far one, and then placing a feeler gauge under the intake lobe nearest the gear in an attempt to lessen the height difference. It seemed like I would be fighting it for hours when it just suddenly slid over into position. They both slid right over with minimal fuss during reassembly.
Reinstalling the cam gear bolts without the factory tools:
The camshafts and retainers are already installed, the cam gear threads cleaned of oil, cam gear slid onto the camshaft, and the factory Cam Gear Holding Tool removed at this point. The issue here is trying to prevent any undesirable stress on the cam chain while torqueing the new cam gear bolts. The Gear Jammer won't work since the rotation is in the other direction. To guarantee precise timing relative to the crankshaft boss, the three dots, and the Stihl Tool recess in the cam retainer, you pretty much have to secure the chain via the crankshaft boss (something the factory apparently failed to do on my front head). I left the Crankshaft Timing Bolt in the boss 99% of the time I was actively adjusting the valve clearances to ensure the crank never moved. So with the Crankshaft Timing Bolt seated, insert the Stihl Tool fully into the recess on the smaller camshaft retainer. If the Stihl Tool is inserted, the camshaft is locked - this prevents most of the torque from being applied to the chain, so you can leave the Crank Timing Bolt in (using both coincides with the manual instructions). Add Loctite 243 to the first cam gear bolt and torque - if using the Crow's Foot, calculate the modified value. Remove the Stihl Tool and the Crankshaft Timing Bolt, then carefully rotate the primary at least 360* to get the second cam gear bolt in. I was able to apply the torque for the second cam gear bolt without the Stihl Tool or the Crankshaft Timing Bolt due to the resistance of the valve springs against the crankshaft lobes being slightly greater, so no worry of chain stress there either. If the camshafts do try to rotate, just use your free hand to hold them as it only requires a little more resistance. The first bolt secures the cam gear from slipping, but you can double check timing after you torque the second one to make sure.
Reinstalling the Flywheel without the factory tools:
I mentioned how to remove the flywheel in the section above called "Additional Tools Required if Changing Shims on the Front Head." With no other special tools being utilized, place the Gear Jammer back on the primary (jamming against the crankshaft gear again) and rotate the primary clockwise a little to lock the Jammer in place. Use a large crescent wrench on the flywheel that has already been slid onto the crankshaft. This wrench will lesson the 90lb load being transferred to the softer aluminum Gear Jammer on the other side. The way I did it was to use my left knee to counter the crescent wrench trying to come around while I torqued the flywheel bolt. I had my left hand on the top of the frame to brace/stabilize myself against the force of my right hand turning the torque wrench. Sounds harder than it is. Putting the cover on was no different than any other flywheel cover I have ever done in that I did not need to use dowels like Fostytou recommends. Refer to the "Crescent Wrench - Flywheel Assembly" image in Part IV for holding the flywheel with a knee.
Getting the pivot lever correct on the clutch cover:
It had been nearly a decade since I last owned a sportbike or pulled a clutch cover, so it took me a while to figure this all out. Unfortunately, Fostytou's instructions confused the patience right out of me: "...45* toward the right rear of the bike." A better way to express this is, "...45* away from the rear of the bike." So, with the clutch cover in-hand, hold it as if you were going to place it onto the case. Turn the pivot lever clockwise until the spring grabs the case cover and starts providing return tension. Now, turn the lever counterclockwise until the lever is parallel with the length of the bike and pointing straight back. Continue to rotate the pivot lever counterclockwise about 45* more and then assemble. Once everything is mated-up, use your bare hand to turn the lever clockwise until it stops (without the help of the cable and clutch lever) - this is what Fostytou means by "preload taken out." At this point, the pivot lever should point towards the front edge of the oil fill cap - you want it located here to provide the most-linear pull for the cable. The distance from the lever edge to the cable tab on the cover should be roughly 50mm. You can quickly verify proper function of the assembly (with cover bolts hand tight) by using a crescent wrench to turn the pivot lever clockwise, or hooking up the cable and pulling the clutch lever, while shining a flashlight through the oil fill and confirming that the plates separate.
SAS and EVAP:
If you didn't do these while waiting on a shim order, now is the time to do the optional procedures found in Part III.
You do not have to put Threebond halfway around the entire valve cover (unless maybe you are trying to reuse the gaskets). You just have to put it where the half-circles in the gasket are located like the factory does.
Reinstalling the Throttle Bodies:
This can easily become the most painful part, but there are several ways to tackle this. I tried a few and finally settled on reusing two gold Aprilia clamps for the front set of throttle bodies and plastic zip ties for the rear set. Zip ties certainly aren't the ideal solution, but my sanity is precious. Start with the front set by "preloading" the clamps onto the rubber boots (there's a notch on the clamps that will catch to hold them in a ready position) - I placed both clamps with the clasp section facing rearward, then rotated about 45* towards the flywheel side (basically pointing at the left footpeg). I connected the wire harness to the underside of the front throttle bodies, pressed the assembly into position, and checked with my LED light that they were fully seated. Once I got the modified pliers around the two clamp portions, I put on a work glove and re-gripped the pliers with an underhand grip. This grip allowed me to put more pressure on the clamp as they require a lot with these small pliers. Once clamped, I then "preloaded" the rear rubber boots with half-started zip ties. These were placed so the fastener-portion was angled about 45* rearward, but each went their own direction - so the right side faced toward the right footpeg and the left faced towards the left footpeg. I connected the underside harness and seated the rear throttle body, then pulled the zip ties tight and cut the excess off.
Arranging the harness on the back of the airbox:
I opted to cut the two zip ties holding the large mass of harness to the top of the airbox early on to get all of that plastic out of the way. However, if everything isn't put back just so, it will make it difficult to remount the tank without forcibly shifting it into place. The problem I encountered was where the harness goes down between the rear head and the frame (rear-left of the airbox) - the loom and connectors were pushing against the underside of fuel tank on the left side, making it impossible to thread the fuel tank mounting bolt into the frame. I found an image in the manual that showed me how to route and arrange everything to minimize obstruction. This image is in Part IV.
PART III: OPTIONAL PROCEDURES
The heads were exposed for several weeks while I toyed around with this and waited on shim orders. Although I did well in keeping them covered, I know small bits of grit were sticking to things. So before I started reassembly, I poured a little bit of oil over the camshaft area in an attempt to flow any dirt/debris that may have gotten in there down and hopefully out the drain. I left the old oil filter on and filled the case with a gallon of Rotella T6. To ensure everything had good oil pressure before combustion, I turned the motor over a few seconds with the fuel pump still disconnected. This will throw a Service Warning that will disappear after a few flicks on/off and/or a few seconds of running with the fuel tank fully installed. I then ran the motor a few minutes to allow the oil to burn off the case and the exhaust, while also checking that the fans were coming on (213*F). Then I did a full change again with the fresh second gallon of oil, the new filter, and the new drain plug gasket. To avoid bottoming-out the drain plug and cracking the pan, do not torque the drain bolt to the factory spec of about 21ft-lbs. Instead, add some thread tape and then torque to about 15ft-lbs.
These procedures may void warranties. Consider your location's emission and inspection requirements before disabling and/or removing these systems.
If running a Race ECU, the SAS is automatically disabled as it interferes with mapping. You can leave it fully intact, but you may as well remove the entire system and add block offs since it will not throw an error code.
If you do not have a Race ECU, there are these options:
1) leave it all in place;
2) disconnect the hoses at the reed valves at the front and rear of the engine, cut them back so they are out of the way (this only makes sense if you never want to remove your throttle bodies), and plug the reed valve holes;
3) remove the hoses completely, plug the reed valves, and leave the SAS solenoid under the throttle bodies and attached to the wire harness so the stock ECU still sees it;
4) delete the entire system and fool the stock ECU into thinking the solenoid is still there - this is what I did.
What does the SAS do? The Secondary Air System is designed to reduce exhaust emissions, sometimes known as PAIR (Passive Air Injection) in Japanese bikes. The main component for these systems is the solenoid, which passes fresh air (commonly in a pulse fashion) from the airbox into the two reed valves to mix with exhaust gases leaving the cylinder. This dilutes the exhaust gases, helping to pass emissions standards. The additional oxygen from the fresh air also aids in the chemical reactions inside the catalytic converter of the stock exhaust.
What about the environment? The SAS dilutes the exhaust while helping the catalytic converter to be more efficient. There is concern that catalytic converters are not the perfect answer to ozone and climate issues. It seems that although the immediate effects of catalytic converters cannot be denied with regards to nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions, they have been found to release small amounts of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere that would otherwise not be produced at all. Subsequently, long-term use of catalytic converters will certainly reduce the accumulation of nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide from combustion engines, but at a substantial increase of detrimental nitrous oxide emissions.
Why disable/delete the SAS or PAIR? This has been debated for years as to the worth of doing so. The consensus in all motorsports is that there is no noticeable performance gain in simply disabling the systems. However, an active system can reduce peak performance if getting the mapping tuned, as the pulsed fresh air causes problematic readings. Many report a reduction in popping during deceleration after removal, even when using the stock ECU. Additionally, with the system deleted, there is less clutter in the V4 engine area. This theoretically allows for cooler ambient temperatures during operation, due to increased air flow.
How to fool the stock ECU into believing the SAS solenoid is there: Amauri advises that a 33ohm 1/2 watt resistor wired between the two leads will prevent the stock ECU from throwing a code. Simply cut the wires at least an inch behind the connector (allows re-attachment of the connector if ever needed), extend the wires a few inches to get more room to work, and add the resistor between the two wire ends. I placed 6" of 1/4" wire loom over the entire new extension and routed it along the frame - there's a horseshoe-style harness clamp on the inside of the left frame to hold it in place. Again, this is not required for the Race ECU since it is programmed to disable the SAS.
What else needs to be done? You have to block the two reed valve inlets and plug the airbox to seal the systems. The common solution for the reeds has always been to replace the stock covers with pricey block off plates. On the V4, this is not really possible unless you remove the engine to access the rear cover. The cheap solution is to buy large vacuum plugs and place them over the cover inlet, then hope they can withstand the heat. Amauri's advice is to use a 1/4" NPT tap to add threads to the stock inlets and then add a 1/4" NPT plug. Pairs of these aluminum plugs can be found in various colors on eBay. Some recommend blue Loctite to seal the threads, but a picture that Amauri posted shows teflon thread tape. The rear inlet can be tapped with it still attached if you unbolt the two ABS bolts there and push the unit out of the way the best you can to get a straight shot. To allow more play of the ABS unit, I also cut the zip tie binding the hoses, the mount, and the heat shield together, then replaced that zip tie after. The front cover will not need to be removed if you already have it off from the valve check. I removed the clutch-side radiator fan to give me enough wrench clearance and a second access point. Once the tap got started with some oil, I used a 7/16" open wrench to turn it. You don't have to bury the tap ...unless you want to bury the plug. I was able to plug the hose connection on the airbox with a spare grommet that fit securely into the hole - it was just another spare part I happened to save from the old shop. A large vacuum cap would be ideal here along with reusing the stock hose clamp - unfortunately, there is not a cap large enough in the kit I mentioned in Part I. You could also cut the hose short and use a zip tie to secure a large bolt inside the open end to plug it.
EVAP Delete (Removing the Charcoal Canister):
EVAP stands for evaporation emission control system which is found on all US models and the 2017+ Euro models. The common complaint associated with removal is the occasional faint smell of gasoline in an enclosed area after shutting the bike off since fuel vapor reduction is what it was designed to do. The benefit of removal is unimpeded airflow away from the radiator, allowing the system to cool the bike more efficiently.
How to remove the EVAP: With the large canister removed, there is a hose that runs up from it into a T-connecter near the front throttle body. Pry off the two crimp clamps closest to the throttle body for the canister hoses. Then slide a vacuum plug over each one. You can see on the rear throttle body that the factory does not put any type of clamp here since they produce a vacuum ("depression"). If you haven't already done the basics of removal, supposedly you need to also delete the circular one-way valve on the breather hose connected to the bottom of the left side of the fuel tank (the brass fitting nearest the back of the bike) so the fuel tank can equalize pressure. I do not see how this makes a difference, but I removed it anyways since I do not know the inner workings of the canister. Some replace this hose with a smaller diameter hose and run it down to where the other hose connects to the belly pan fairing. For less clutter and a cleaner look, I bought a set of vacuum connectors and ran a small length of hose from the tank's rear nipple and spliced into the other breather hose just in front of it. See the "Fuel Breather Y-connector" image in Part IV.
Does the ECU notice that the EVAP is missing? No. The EVAP is not monitored by the ECU, so there are no wires or error codes to worry about with the stock or Race ECU.
PART IV: REFERENCE IMAGES
Example of the Modified Pliers:
Replicating the Crankshaft Timing Pin 020852Y:
Taking the M6 x 90 bolt, I added some aluminum tubing and a nut so that about 2.50mm of thread was exposed. I placed this into the drill press and simply put a file against it to turn it down to 4.40mm in diameter at the tip. Be patient as this may take some time depending on the coarseness of the file.
Stihl Tools (replaces Camshaft Timing Pin 020851Y):
Claw Tip (on Slide Hammer):
Flywheel Puller (one option that I utilized):
Tone Wheel Alignment Position for the Rear Crankshaft Boss:
Example of Crankshaft-to-Camshaft alignment being off:
Utilizing the Gear Jammer to Assist in Flywheel Install:
Crescent Wrench Braced with Knee for Flywheel Install:
Airbox Harness Routing:
Fuel Breather Y-Connector for EVAP Delete:
(end of guide)