Posted by: markbxr400
For those beginners that are intimidated by the thought of adjusting your valves, and aren’t sure about the different methods that are offered, here is a very detailed, step-by-step procedure to help you adjust your valves properly. There are much faster ways than this, but I believe you’ll be able to follow this pretty easily. I’ve added some photos in case this is not obvious. I’ve also graciously borrowed and modified some existing photos that others have provided. (This process works on a 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 KTM 250 / 350 / 450 / 525 / 530 4-stroke SX-F, XC-F, EXC, XCF-W)
1. If you’re also changing oil, you may want to heat up the engine and drain the oil the night before. The engine needs to be stone cold when adjusting the valves. Follow your owner’s manual to drain the oil and clean/reinstall the strainers.
2. Place the bike on a sturdy stand or lift, such that the bike is level and the rear tire can spin.
3. Remove the seat (one 8mm bolt under the rear fender).
4. Disconnect the positive lead from the battery (be careful not to short the battery to your frame with your wrench).
5. Turn off the gas, disconnect the hose from the petcock, disconnect the tank vent line from the frame connector, and remove the gas tank (I leave the shrouds on, and remove the upper 8mm tank bolt, and the two 8mm bolts that connect the shroud to the radiators).
6. Drain the radiator. The drain plug is located on the front of the engine, just below the radiator hose connection that connects to the bottom of the left radiator. I use a long funnel and bucket to prevent making a mess. Set the bucket on the ground in front of the frame, place the funnel just below the drain plug, and remove the drain plug (8mm – be careful not to lose the copper washer. When the plug has been removed, remove the radiator cap. The coolant will then flow quickly into the bucket.
7. Cut the tie-wrap on the right side of the engine that holds the crankcase breather hose to one of the radiator hoses.
8. Remove all three of the radiator hoses from the right radiator.
9. Remove the right radiator plastic fins (just snaps out)
10. Remove the right radiator. (If you have the cooling fan, you’ll need to disconnect the wire connector to the thermostat).
11. Remove the bottom hose from the left radiator.
12. Remove the top hose (left radiator) from the water pump.
13. Remove the left radiator plastic fins (again, just snaps out).
14. Remove the left radiator, pulling the thermostat and hoses out with it.
15. Using rubber bands and small plastic bags or saran wrap, cover the two hoses and the water pump inlet to prevent debris, tools or parts from getting in.
16. Reinstall and tighten the radiator drain plug.
17. Remove the spark plug wire cap from the spark plug.
18. Spray “carb cleaner” or “brake cleaner,” then compressed air around the spark plug base to clean it up. Make sure it’s clean as you don’t want anything to fall into the cylinder.
19. Remove the spark plug, using the KTM wrench, with a 13mm box wrench on top of that.
20. Remove the front and rear valve covers (six 8mm bolts. Be careful not to drop the bolts into the valve cover openings, and take care not to lose the washers). Be careful not to tear the gaskets, but remove them to gain full access to the valves.
21. Remove the crank stop bolt and thick copper washer from the lower front of the engine (6mm allen head). My experience is you can remove this bolt with the engine filled with oil, if the bike is level. However, I usually change the oil at this time, so I’ll drain it before removing this bolt.
22. Shift the bike into 6th gear to give you the mechanical leverage against the engine.
23. Have a helper slowly turn the rear wheel in the direction of normal travel.
24. Watch for the exhaust valves to open and close, then the intakes to open and close – then stop.
25. Carefully place a long plastic straw through the spark plug hole such that it reaches the top of the piston. The piston should be down a ways, but on the upstroke toward top dead center.
26. Have your friend carefully and very slowly continue to rotate the wheel until the straw lifts up as far as it will go. You’ll be close to top dead center.
27. Turn the front wheel to the right, and with a small flashlight, make like a contortionist, and look through the crank stop hole (you can do it) and look for the small horizontal groove in the crank. You make have to have your friend slightly move the wheel one way or the other until you see it – not very much. If you see darkness, you are not at the right spot. The groove is on the edge of the meat of the crank, not more than about ½ inch from the hole entry.
28. Once you are sure you have found the groove, take the crank stop bolt, remove the thick copper washer and insert it all the way by hand. Be careful at this point not to turn the wheel or engine while the crank stop bolt is inserted without it’s copper washer.
29. Wiggle all four valve rockers. They should be loose (will slightly wiggle). If they are not loose, remove the crank stop bolt and go back to step 23 and repeat until the rockers are loose.
30. Once you have top dead center and the crank stop bolt in, you are ready to adjust the valves.
31. Using the ProMotion feeler gauge (0.005in on one end, 0.004in on the other), check each valve with the 0.005in gauge. Note, the gap is not just under the adjuster screw, but actually below the small metal cylinder that’s attached to the bottom of the adjuster screw.
32. If you can’t get the feeler gauge in, try the 0.004in feeler gauge. If it goes in, and is relatively loose, you’re ok. If it doesn’t go in, you’ll need to loosen the lock nut (either 10 or 12mm), and slightly loosen the adjuster screw until the 0.005 feeler gauge will go in.
33. If the 0.005 feeler gauge goes in easily, and moves around freely, you’ll need to loosen the lock nut and tighten the adjuster screw.
34. With the 0.005in feeler gauge in, adjust the screw until the feeler gauge drags snugly. Holding the adjuster screw at the right position with your screwdriver, tighten down the lock nut (slightly more than just snug). Remove the feeler gauge, then torque the lock nut to specs (11Nm or 8ft-lbs. Check the valve again with the feeler gauge to make sure nothing moved.
35. Some folks will remove the crank lock bolt, roll the engine a few turns, find top dead center again, and recheck the valves just to make sure they did things right. Your call, but if you did things correctly, you should have found all of the valves pretty close to specs. If that was true, you should be confident that you did things correctly. If you didn’t find your valves close to specs, then I’d suggest a recheck.
36. Once all four valves have been checked and, if needed, adjusted, install the gaskets and valve covers with the 6 bolts and washers (torque to 10Nm or 7ft-lbs –actually, I just tighten a little more than snug, as it’s a bear to get a torque wrench in there).
37. Remove the crank stop bolt, add the thick copper washer, reinstall and torque to specs (25Nm or 18ft-lbs). This is very important. You do not want to rotate the engine until you have done this.
38. With your kick starter or back wheel, slowly rotate the engine, listening for any abnormal noises and feeling for abnormal circumstances (such as parts/tools in the engine, crank stop bolt still in without the washer, valves not functioning properly, etc).
39. Inspect your spark plug while you have it out. Look for color, clean and adjust the gap and then reinstall the plug (or install a new one).
40. Reinstall the spark plug wire cap.
41. Remove the three plastic bags off the radiator hoses and connections.
42. Reinstall the left radiator, threading the right side hoses through the frame.
43. Reinstall the two left side hoses to the water pump and radiator.
44. Reinstall the left side plastic fin (just snaps on).
45. Reinstall the right side radiator and plastic fin. (If you have the fan, reinstall the electrical connections)
46. Reconnect the right side radiator hoses.
47. Remove the small bolt/washer bleed plug (8mm) from the engine that is right next to the spark plug.
48. Also remove a similar plug/washer on the right side radiator (8mm).
49. Using a funnel, carefully fill the radiator (through the radiator cap opening) with the proper antifreeze/water mix. Watch through the engine bleed hole until antifreeze starts to come out, without bubbles. (Go slow).
50. Reinstall the engine bleed bolt/washer and tighten just beyond snug.
51. Continue filling the radiator until the level is about 0.4” above the coils.
52. Rock/shake the bike around a little. You may get a small amount from the right radiator bleedhole. Add a little, if needed to get to the specified level.
53. Reinstall the right radiator bleed plug/washer just beyond snug.
54. Reinstall the radiator cap.
55. If you drained the engine oil, replace your filters (don’t forget to pre-fill the cavities between 1/3 and ½ full – would be wise to take the bike off the stand and lay it on its right side to do this) and then add the right level of oil.
56. Install a new tie-wrap around the upper right side radiator hose and crankcase breather hose.
57. Reinstall the positive lead to your battery.
58. Install the gas tank.
59. Reinstall the seat.
60. Once you feel everything’s back together, start it up, let it run 5 minutes and recheck the oil, and fill to proper level. After it’s cooled off, recheck and fill, if needed, the antifreeze level.
61. You’re good to go.