Thursday, June 30, 2005


My parts finally arrived today. I had trouble paying with credit card at We (me and the customer service guy) believe it was a problem with their credit card authorization system. As most on-line payment systems do, it asks for the name on the credit card, in case it's different from the ship-to name, which was true in this case. We think that it may not be looking at this, so the card wouldn't authorize.

In an attempt to expedite the order, I used PayPal. This was a mistake: I don't keep much money in my PayPal account, so it had to do a bank transfer, which was scheduled to take three days. It took four, which meant it cleared on Friday, and the order didn't go out until Monday. Fortunately, UPS ground from the midwest to northeast Georgia only takes two days, and so I got them Wednesday, which is about nine days after I ordered them.

I start by reinstalling the exhaust. The repainted headers look pretty good. I clean up around the mating surfaces with a tiny high-speed wire wheel, slip on the new gaskets, slip the headers over the mounting studs, and thread in the lower mounting bolts to keep them in place. The nuts go for a swim in the rust remover. I bought new gaskets for the mufflers, but I don't think I need them. The mufflers are pretty easy to remove if I'm wrong.

Mistake #1: I forget to check if I could move some of the shims I was taking out to another lifter that needed them. I probably ordered two extra shims because of this. Mistake #2: When I first wrote down what new shims I needed, I went in the wrong direction. Since I needed more clearence, I needed a smaller shim but initially wrote down the next bigger shim. I fixed this before ordering, except in one case where I ended up writing down the original size instead of the smaller size. D'oh!

The first screwup saved me on the second: I was able to reuse one of the old shims. Eventually I may be able to reuse some the others, but the wrong one I got is as big as the largest shim already, so unless I need to reduce clearance, I probably won't be able to use it.

Installing the camshafts is a bitch. The exhaust cam is not too bad, as you can align it fairly easily to the top of the cylinder head. The intake cam is the tough one. There's slack in the timing chain at this stage, but not a whole lot. The drive gears on each camshaft like to interlock when you are trying to adjust the intake cam. Once you have it in there, you have to check alignment by counting chain links (34 pins) from top of the head at the exhaust side to the alignment mark on the gear of the intake side.

Then come the cam caps, secured by a total of 16 cap bolts, which must be torqued in sequence. The manual says a couple of the bolts are longer, but not in my case; I noticed this when I took them off. Final torque is 12 N-m, which is fairly light.

Next comes the cam chain tensioner, which attaches to the intake side of the block with two fairly long cap bolts. You have to tighten them gradually. As with the cam cap bolts, final torque is 12 N-m. One of them goes on fine. The other one turns and turns and just as starts to feel like it's tightening up, snap! suddenly it's loose again. My first thought was that I stripped threads in the block, which is a Very Bad Thing, but instead the bolt broke. I removed the other bolt and the tensioner and was left with half a bolt (now a stud) sticking out of the block. I used pliers to back it out without too much effort. I am sure I did not over-torque it.

In retrospect, I was quite fortunate that it broke when it did. If the tensioner loosened up while the bike was running, it could be a Very Bad Thing, as in a slipped -- or broken -- timing chain and broken valves and pistons, plus a seized engine. So while I have a broken bolt, at least it's broken when the bike isn't running.

This all happened just after midnight, so I'll have to try to get replacement bolts (I'll replace both to be safe) tomorrow/today.

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