Author Topic: Valve check/adjustment  (Read 2091 times)

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Offline Godpossessed

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Valve check/adjustment
« on: July 03, 2017, 12:27:02 am »
I am fairly mechanical but I do not want to get in over my head. Would checking the valve clearance myself and then taking the bike to a mechanic if warranted be a good strategy? Are the valves usually in need of re-shimming at 24k miles?

Nervous in Birmingham

Offline jwh20

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 12:36:44 am »
In my opinion, if you can get to the point of taking measurements, you can finish the job yourself also.  And yes, the valves likely need to be adjusted at 24K miles.
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Offline C. Moore

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 09:27:56 am »
+1 on what jwh said. Once you are that far into the job you may as well do it yourself.  Get Fred's how to video if you don't already have it. He gives you a step by step on what to do and what to double check. Yes at 24K they need to be checked. I did mine at 26K and some were out of spec. I adjusted them all to the loose end. Good luck.
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 07:40:52 pm »
The last C14 I did the valves on at 26K miles had 15/16 OUT of spec on the tight side and the 16th one was right at the limit.  So I ended up adjusting all 16.  Pulling the camshafts sounds intimidating but it's not all that tough.  The Fred Harmon DVD's will lead you through it if you are unsure but the service manual is all you really need.
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Offline JTX

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 08:37:37 pm »
I am fairly mechanical but I do not want to get in over my head. Would checking the valve clearance myself and then taking the bike to a mechanic if warranted be a good strategy? Are the valves usually in need of re-shimming at 24k miles?

Nervous in Birmingham


The book says 15,000.  Is there a reason you didnt do it then ?

Offline Upstate Pete

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 12:11:13 am »
Oh boy,

You guys are going to kick my a** for this, but my 2012 has 52,000 miles with nothing but regular oil, and filter changes and one set of plugs. Since I bought it new. I have used motul t4 synthetic at about 5000 mile increments ever since I broke it in. She still purrs like a kitten, starts every time, and doesn't leak, smoke, or use any oil. It's never failed to get me home. Even after T-boning a deer last year. Killed the deer, but didn't go down. I was doing a bit over 50 mph when it jumped out about 30' ahead of me. I grabbed all the front brake I could and braced for impact. The deer was hit mid flight, in the ribs, just at the top of the front fender, wrapped around the nose of the bike and was launched to the left side road culvert. All the bike did was wiggle a bit and straighten back out. Most stable bike I've ever had. I had deer snot all over my left knee, and it busted every piece of plastic from the battery cover forward except for the lowers. Amazingly, it didn't damage the brake's, cooling system, instruments, or windshield. The front blinkers were dangling, but still everything worked. Insurance gave me $3800, but no one around here would touch it. So I bought all the parts and spent a weekend doing it myself. Take my advice, and pick up every piece of plastic you can find if you try this yourself, because none of the clips, grommets or screws come with the new parts.
Troopers were really cool. After filling out the report, I was standing there wondering what I was going to do. I was about 50 miles from home, in the Catskill mountains of NY. I was thinking of asking a nearby homeowner if I could park it in their driveway till I could borrow a truck, come back and try to get it. The trooper walks up to me and hands me his report, then asks where I live. When I tell him, he just goes, "well, you got a ways to go". I look back at him and said, "heck, I can't ride this, the headlights are gone". He just looked up at the sky and says, "suns still up".......... So I take another close look at everything. Nothing dripping, brakes seem to work. So I dangle the front blinkers over the busted bodywork somewhat where they are supposed to be. Fire it up.... was amazed that everything still worked. Gingerly started off, tried the brakes a couple times. It didn't shimmy, handlebars were straight. I rode about ten miles and stopped at a store. Bought a soda, and looked it over in amazement. Finished my soda, and rode her home at normal speed.
It took about a month for the insurance, parts to come in, and me to have her back on the road. There are a few inner fairing pieces I haven't installed yet. Like the inner fairing pieces around the radiator sides or the lower plate under the headlights, but I have since ordered them, and I never replaced the dynamat pads, or foam strips from inside the center sections so I notice a bit more heat around my knees.
Anyway, I'm be sure to go through the valves sometime this year and be sure to let you guys know how bad it is. Still, I'm not gonna let it bother me too much. I plan on keeping it forever. It saved my life probably more than just that time. I've been across the country with it with nothing but a tire plug kit, and a credit card, and it's given me more thrills than I'll ever get out of another bike. I'd post some pics, but I don't think I've posted enough times to be able to do that yet.

Offline JTX

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 12:45:03 am »
I'm not surprised the motor has not exploded due to lack of valve check.  I had a 2000 r1 that i put 33k on and when i had valves checked at 22k it didnt need it.

I think a lot depends on how you treat a bike and how many times you run the rpm up towards redline. Which i rarely did on the r1.  It didnt need to rev more than about 6500 to do what it needed.

That said im still gonna have the valves checked on this motor due to its design.  After that i probably wont do it again.

Offline TimR

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 01:02:17 am »
Pete, I won't say anything other than you are a  brave man. I have to have a better piece of mind so I did mine at 15, no change, at 30 no change but the next one will need some adjustments which I'm running to 50 and almost there. I'm basing this on a clearance map the tech did for me on the check at 30.

All that said a friend of mine son gave him an old CB750. Now granted this friend doesn't do maintenance. He has  a shop change the oil on his bike sort.  Anyways he junked that 750 with a burnt valve. Another friend bought the bike took the head off and had a great amount of fun finding a machine shop who would touch it. When he did find a shop they replaced the wrong valve on the first shot.  :96:
Blue 1975 Z1B 900, Red 09 C14     I might not be perfect but at least I don't ride a Suzuki

Offline Upstate Pete

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 01:08:29 am »
lol, redline. you can't run one of these to redline without breaking the law. when I'm on most roads, it's at 3000 in top gear. that's 62 to 65. Basically idling. That's exactly why I bought it. I knew I'd barely stress a detuned engine designed to push 200 hp. On the other hand, it has felt a bit different this year. I will get to it and let you guys know.

Offline C. Moore

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 09:11:10 am »
I've yet to read about engine problems related to valve clearance. Just clearances out of spec. Pete, good to know your C14 is still purring like a kitten at 50k plus and a deer smack to boot. Ride safe or as safe as possible with all those deer trying to commit suicide.
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Offline BDF

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 09:31:22 am »
Lots of different opinions on this one but mine is that the valve trains on these bikes are extremely rugged and stable. The manual gives a spec. because of course they have to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with following directions of course and doing the check(s) when specified. That said, my personal opinion is that being at the edge of spec. is w/in spec., and even being outside spec. is actually fine as long as the valves are not loose enough to clatter and peen themselves, and not so tight that under any circumstances the valve lash or clearance reaches zero. A look around at other bikes using the identical technology of under- bucket shimmed cams will show much longer intervals between lash checks and I think the suggested interval for the C-14 is a bit too conservative.

I bought my '08 new and checked the lash at 25K miles. One valve was just under 0.001" tighter than minimum spec. and I decided to leave it simply because I did not think it was worth pulling the cam to re- shim that valve. Next check was at 50K miles and all valves were then in spec., the one that was tight at 25K miles having loosened up by that one thousandth of an inch. Given this, my next planned interval was 100K miles and have not quite reached that (99K on the bike :-)  ) so have not performed the third one.

Another thing that I found even more excessive is the 7,500 mile recommendation to change the iridium spark plugs. I was going to change mine at 25K when I did the lash check (I performed all major maintenance at one time while the bike was 'open and naked') and found them so clean and still correctly gapped that I hit them with anti- seize and put them back in. I did change them at 50K  miles but honestly they did not need changing then either. A lot of autos that use iridium plugs have change intervals of ~100 K miles. Not sure why Kawasaki recommends such a short interval and there has been a lot of speculation about that but I think it is far too short.

But as I said, this is just my own personal opinion, violating the maintenance schedule could cause a warranty issue should something go wrong with the engine, and certainly nothing wrong with using the recommended, shorter intervals.

Brian

Oh boy,

You guys are going to kick my a** for this, but my 2012 has 52,000 miles with nothing but regular oil, and filter changes and one set of plugs. Since I bought it new. I have used motul t4 synthetic at about 5000 mile increments ever since I broke it in. She still purrs like a kitten, starts every time, and doesn't leak, smoke, or use any oil. It's never failed to get me home.

<snip>

Anyway, I'm be sure to go through the valves sometime this year and be sure to let you guys know how bad it is. Still, I'm not gonna let it bother me too much. I plan on keeping it forever. It saved my life probably more than just that time. I've been across the country with it with nothing but a tire plug kit, and a credit card, and it's given me more thrills than I'll ever get out of another bike. I'd post some pics, but I don't think I've posted enough times to be able to do that yet.
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Offline BDF

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 09:38:25 am »
I would agree with the other posters: by the time you are actually checking the lash, it is not that much more effort to actually pull the cam(s) as needed and swap shims. On top of that, transporting the bike with the valve gear open and exposed has its own risk of contaminating the area with dust and debris.

The only touchy part of pulling the cams I found was that when re-installing the cams, they will not quite seat in the bearing saddles and so have to be driven down with the bearing saddle caps. That takes a little care and is a bit sensitive because the caps have to be brought down tight in very small increments so the cams stay straight going into the saddles; the cams will come to rest sitting on the valves before searing in the bearings so that tightening the bearing caps actually compresses some of the valve springs. The temptation is to fully seat each screw but doing that will cause the caps to 'c***' in one direction and could break the runner that connects them.

Brian

I am fairly mechanical but I do not want to get in over my head. Would checking the valve clearance myself and then taking the bike to a mechanic if warranted be a good strategy? Are the valves usually in need of re-shimming at 24k miles?

Nervous in Birmingham
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Offline khager01

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 11:23:06 pm »
Brian,

I am assuming there is no way to rotate the cam so none of the lobes are pressing on the buckets when you tighten the saddle caps?  I am only asking because I am coming from a V-Strom and have only removed cams on the V-Twin where each Cylinder has its own cams. 
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2017, 12:12:17 am »
Simple answer is no...
There is not.

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Offline BDF

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 12:28:41 am »
No, at least not that I could see from a timing chart or in actual physical rotation of one cam while looking for the place where it drops all the way down.

Just to expand on this issue a little bit: there is a way to overcome the problem and eliminate it.  When installing the cams, as I said, they will not seat in the bearing saddles but instead ride of <some> valves. To seat them requires the cam be forced down against the pressure of the valve springs that are bearing against some cam lobes. This is not a problem in itself but the method used is IMO; the valve cam caps are used to force the cam into the saddle bearings and it is tedious to tighten each cap screw, say, 1/16 of a turn at a time so the caps move evenly.

What would be and is better IMO is to move the cam into final position first and then install the bearing caps so they seat squarely in the first place. The easiest way to do that is to put something rigid in- between the rough center of the camshaft  and the frame above and use a bit of force to push the cam directly. Then the cam bearing caps can be installed and tightened directly with no risk of the cam being 'not straight' during installation. A perfect tool for this would be some type of steel "Tee", a weldment or even two simple shafts fastened with one screw. The short end of the 'Tee' should be slightly longer than the distance between a seated cam shaft (the body of the cam, not a bearing or lobe) and the frame above. So say the distance is 4", then the short side of the tool or lever could be 4 1/8" long. Put between the cam and frame, it would only fit at an angle, then the longer arm of the tool could be levered down (or up depending on how one started) to force the cam down and hold it in position as a wedge. A screw- jack type of tool would also work; this could be a long bolt and coupling (long) nut, again placed between the cam and frame with clearance and then unscrewed with wrenches until the cam is driven down and seated.

All of that said, I have always done it using the actual cam bearing caps and the tiny amounts of bolt rotation to do the job. So much for the 'better idea and method' that I have not actually conjured up. The caps work fine, it just requires a little extra time and patience to use the cap screws and one must be a bit more cautious in installing them than would be required if the cam were not jacked up in the first place.

Brian

Brian,

I am assuming there is no way to rotate the cam so none of the lobes are pressing on the buckets when you tighten the saddle caps?  I am only asking because I am coming from a V-Strom and have only removed cams on the V-Twin where each Cylinder has its own cams.
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Offline khager01

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2017, 12:53:29 am »
Sounds good, maybe some industrious type needs to come up with a special tool, but there probably would not be enough demand to make it worthwhile, unless you could get some dealers to buy it. Most owners will probably only have the cams off once in the life of the bike
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Offline Just Cliff

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 12:19:21 pm »
Oh boy,

You guys are going to kick my a** for this, but my 2012 has 52,000 miles with nothing but regular oil, and filter changes and one set of plugs.


I'm not surprised the motor has not exploded due to lack of valve check. 

I seriously doubt the motor will explode.

My valves were done the first time at 64,000 with 9 tight & again at 120,000 with all of them tight. 2 having almost no clearance. Considering doing them again at 200,000 just to satisfy my curiosity on how they moved after that mileage.

Cliff   :beerchug:

Offline Deepsea

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 05:09:30 pm »
The cam installation tool sounds like a good idea Except it needs more than one point of contact. Cams can and have been bent. Even just a "Few .001" " will cause long term problems. Been there done that. As long as you don't drive the cam down with just one cap you'll be fine. Tighten them equally a few turns at a time. It's how these engines are designed to be assembled.
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Offline khager01

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2017, 07:07:40 pm »
I wonder how they do it in the factory. Somebody, somewhere in Far East Asia has to be assembling several motors a day. Who knows they may have a special tool to do it with.
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Offline BDF

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 07:28:23 pm »
Well I was not thinking of anything even remotely 'heavy' enough to bend a cam. At a guess, perhaps 100 lb. of force applied to the center of the cam. It will deflect some certainly but it will drive down and anchor on the two cam bearing saddles on either side of the pressure point, which I would put in the center. Any deflection in the cam, and I agree there would be some, would not be enough to cause a problem tightening each bearing cap until the surfaces seated but not reaching final torque.

Of course multiple jacks could also be used and that would work fine but it would be more difficult and they would be more things in the way when installing the caps.

The only reason I even thought of it was that I found using the bearing caps to seat the cams tedious, and I have seen two examples of people misaligning the caps by going a little too far with one side and snapping the runner between cap sets.

My plan was to use a bolt and a long nut to form a jack for each cam on my next lash check if one or both cams needed to be removed. I have stud and nut sets in 1/2- 13 and would use them only because I have them but certainly would not 'wind them down' with any appreciable force.

Brian

The cam installation tool sounds like a good idea Except it needs more than one point of contact. Cams can and have been bent. Even just a "Few .001" " will cause long term problems. Been there done that. As long as you don't drive the cam down with just one cap you'll be fine. Tighten them equally a few turns at a time. It's how these engines are designed to be assembled.
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Offline Upstate Pete

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2017, 02:47:52 am »
I'm very glad to see others have neglected the recommended valve service intervals also. I stopped at my dealership around 20,000 miles, and mentioned a clearance check to the lead mechanic. He just looked at me like I was nuts and said, "is it making noise?". I said "not that I know of" so he had me start it,. listened to it a bit, and said, "I'll tear it down as much as you like, but I'd leave it alone".
I just can't get my head around the tightness issue. These things are shim under the bucked. I'd think they would wear (over time) loose, rather than tight. Just what wears to make them tighter?

Offline SpeedyCoop

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2017, 10:06:21 am »
My understanding is the valve seats recede into the head due to strong spring pressure and repeated closings(think jack hammer). Over time they get tighter till no clearance then the problems can begin(popping through exhaust or intake then to burnt valves).

Offline BDF

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2017, 10:40:53 am »
Wear in the valve train causes the amount of clearance, or lash, to change. Wear between the valve face and the valve seat cause the lash to become smaller, or brings the lash 'tighter'. Wear between the cam and cam follower (the 'lifter') and whatever small amount of wear that occurs between the valve stem and shim will cause the lash to increase or become 'looser'. It depends on how the valve trains wears as to whether the system gets tighter, looser or stays the same over time and miles.

Unfortunately, other than actually checking the lash on each valve, there is no way to measure, or even make an assumption as to the condition of the valve clearance. By the time the system is clattering, it is far too loose in my opinion. And there are no symptoms of the lash tightening until it goes to zero or less (less than zero lash means the valve never completely closes and is 'hung open') and hot gasses burn the valve face(s) and valve seat(s). The first symptom of that is exhaust noise, reduced power and by that time, internal valve components have already been damaged.

Brian

I'm very glad to see others have neglected the recommended valve service intervals also. I stopped at my dealership around 20,000 miles, and mentioned a clearance check to the lead mechanic. He just looked at me like I was nuts and said, "is it making noise?". I said "not that I know of" so he had me start it,. listened to it a bit, and said, "I'll tear it down as much as you like, but I'd leave it alone".
I just can't get my head around the tightness issue. These things are shim under the bucked. I'd think they would wear (over time) loose, rather than tight. Just what wears to make them tighter?
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2017, 11:32:27 am »
I'm very glad to see others have neglected the recommended valve service intervals also. I stopped at my dealership around 20,000 miles, and mentioned a clearance check to the lead mechanic. He just looked at me like I was nuts and said, "is it making noise?". I said "not that I know of" so he had me start it,. listened to it a bit, and said, "I'll tear it down as much as you like, but I'd leave it alone".
I just can't get my head around the tightness issue. These things are shim under the bucked. I'd think they would wear (over time) loose, rather than tight. Just what wears to make them tighter?

You cannot tell by listening.  I don't care how "experienced" the dealer claims to be, it's simply not possible to discern, by ear, the state of all 16 valves in a C14 engine.  How many too-tight valves does it take to cause serious damage to your engine?  Exactly ONE!  The only way to tell that the valve clearance is set correctly is to measure them.  If there were any shortcuts then folks would be doing that instead of the time-consuming process that is detailed in the Service Manual.

I'd use extreme caution at a dealership where the "lead" mechanic is so ill-informed to believe that "is it making noise" is the criteria for whether a C14 needs a valve adjustment or not.
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Offline Tinsailor

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Re: Valve check/adjustment
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2017, 12:39:31 pm »
Oh boy,

You guys are going to kick my a** for this, but my 2012 has 52,000 miles with nothing but regular oil, and filter changes and one set of plugs. Since I bought it new. I have used motul t4 synthetic at about 5000 mile increments ever since I broke it in. She still purrs like a kitten, starts every time, and doesn't leak, smoke, or use any oil. It's never failed to get me home. Even after T-boning a deer last year. Killed the deer, but didn't go down. I was doing a bit over 50 mph when it jumped out about 30' ahead of me. I grabbed all the front brake I could and braced for impact. The deer was hit mid flight, in the ribs, just at the top of the front fender, wrapped around the nose of the bike and was launched to the left side road culvert. All the bike did was wiggle a bit and straighten back out. Most stable bike I've ever had. I had deer snot all over my left knee, and it busted every piece of plastic from the battery cover forward except for the lowers. Amazingly, it didn't damage the brake's, cooling system, instruments, or windshield. The front blinkers were dangling, but still everything worked. Insurance gave me $3800, but no one around here would touch it. So I bought all the parts and spent a weekend doing it myself. Take my advice, and pick up every piece of plastic you can find if you try this yourself, because none of the clips, grommets or screws come with the new parts.
Troopers were really cool. After filling out the report, I was standing there wondering what I was going to do. I was about 50 miles from home, in the Catskill mountains of NY. I was thinking of asking a nearby homeowner if I could park it in their driveway till I could borrow a truck, come back and try to get it. The trooper walks up to me and hands me his report, then asks where I live. When I tell him, he just goes, "well, you got a ways to go". I look back at him and said, "heck, I can't ride this, the headlights are gone". He just looked up at the sky and says, "suns still up".......... So I take another close look at everything. Nothing dripping, brakes seem to work. So I dangle the front blinkers over the busted bodywork somewhat where they are supposed to be. Fire it up.... was amazed that everything still worked. Gingerly started off, tried the brakes a couple times. It didn't shimmy, handlebars were straight. I rode about ten miles and stopped at a store. Bought a soda, and looked it over in amazement. Finished my soda, and rode her home at normal speed.
It took about a month for the insurance, parts to come in, and me to have her back on the road. There are a few inner fairing pieces I haven't installed yet. Like the inner fairing pieces around the radiator sides or the lower plate under the headlights, but I have since ordered them, and I never replaced the dynamat pads, or foam strips from inside the center sections so I notice a bit more heat around my knees.
Anyway, I'm be sure to go through the valves sometime this year and be sure to let you guys know how bad it is. Still, I'm not gonna let it bother me too much. I plan on keeping it forever. It saved my life probably more than just that time. I've been across the country with it with nothing but a tire plug kit, and a credit card, and it's given me more thrills than I'll ever get out of another bike. I'd post some pics, but I don't think I've posted enough times to be able to do that yet.

Welcome to the Deer Killing Club my good man! Started calling mine "Lucky 13" after that.