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Thread: FYI: RSV4 valve adj w/engine in the chassis

  1. #1
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    FYI: RSV4 valve adj w/engine in the chassis

    This is not intended to be a step by step how to V4 valve adj procedure, just some observations that may help others.

    I’ve checked and adj the valves on a few customers RSV4s, but until yesterday I’ve not had to adj the front bank, only the rear.

    This latest bike was a shocker, with only 2,900 miles, 9 out of the 16 valves were out of specs towards the loose side.
    Some were .05 - .10mm beyond the specs but one IN valve on #2 cyl was at .65mm clearance, that's 1/2mm beyond tolerance

    This was the first V4 motor that I had to remove all four cams to adj everything back to specs.
    I found out that the Aprilia supplied cam timing/alignment tools were not designed to fit on the front bank of cylinders with the motor mounted in the chassis.
    Bellow are photos of the modifications I had to make in order to fit the alignment tools on the front bank of cylinders.

    This latest bike was also the first valve adj I’ve performed on an APRC motor, there is one important step not mentioned in the service manual.

    The early motors had one-piece EX cam gears, while the later motors use a spring loaded two piece gear designed to reduce gear lash noise, same as used on Shiver motors.

    Basically, the new two piece EX cam gears are sandwiched together with three springs between them, the springs apply pressure that cause the EX cam gears to rotate against each other.
    This preloads the gear teeth to eliminate any play where the IN and EX cams mesh together, thus reducing noise.

    What is not mentioned in the service manual is that before removing the EX cam you should insert a 6mm pin to lock the EX gear halves in position, thus preventing the springs from forcing them apart.

    Though not completely necessary, inserting the lock pin makes it a lot easier when re-assembling the cams and aligning up the timing marks.

    One last thing I found out is that having three of each size valve shim in my spares kit was not enough, for this motor I needed four 2.70mm shims.
    Keeping that many spare shims in stock is a very expensive initial investment of about $1200.

    Photos showing cam gear holding tool modified/ground down to fit on front cyl bank, crank locking pin modified to fit on LH side without removing flywheel and cam gear alignment pin bent to clear frame rail on frt bank.

    I've attached a valve log sheet (my wife made it for me) that I use to take notes and write down the clearance values with the shim sizes I used.
    Print it and record your adjustments so you can compare them to the next valve adj in 12k miles.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by amauri; 06-26-2015 at 08:04 AM. Reason: attached valve log sheet
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

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  2. #2
    Honest always, feared often Micah / AF1 Racing's Avatar
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    Damn, to have that many that far out...well someone at the motor plant was having a bad day it seems. .65mm is HUGE!
    Diminished expectations is the key to happiness in life.

    Micah Shoemaker
    AF1 Racing
    9900 IH35N
    Austin, TX 78753
    micah@af1racing.com
    @ShoemakerMicah
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  3. #3
    Honest always, feared often Micah / AF1 Racing's Avatar
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    Zero chance this motor has had piston to valve kissing right? The only other time I remember seeing 12 of 16 valves out was on an inline that had been over revved? Slightly bent valves are slightly shorter in total length....you get the idea.
    Diminished expectations is the key to happiness in life.

    Micah Shoemaker
    AF1 Racing
    9900 IH35N
    Austin, TX 78753
    micah@af1racing.com
    @ShoemakerMicah
    @AF1Racingaustin

  4. #4
    apriliaforum expert
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    Why was a valve adjustment being done so early? I guess i mean how did you know the bike needed adjustment so early. Valvetrain noises or motor ran rough?

  5. #5
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    Micah,
    When I first measured them I thought I must have been mistaken.
    My next thought was that that valve was bent, so I did a leakdown test and it showed 5%, no problem.

    When I pulled the cam and bucket I didn't see any wear, I saw that the shim was a 2.15mm on that valve while the other three were 2.65mm
    I replaced the 2.15 with another 2.65 and the clearance was now perfect.

    Looks to me like someone at the engine assembly line mixed up the shims.

    Quote Originally Posted by igotyofire View Post
    Why was a valve adjustment being done so early? I guess i mean how did you know the bike needed adjustment so early. Valvetrain noises or motor ran rough?
    Customer reported a lot of ticking noises.

    In this case the loose valve ticking sound was an early warning sign.
    What worries me is that when valves are too tight they don't make noise until it's too late.
    Last edited by amauri; 06-16-2012 at 10:27 PM.
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

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  6. #6
    apriliaforum Junkie hdtech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micah / AF1 Racing View Post
    Zero chance this motor has had piston to valve kissing right? The only other time I remember seeing 12 of 16 valves out was on an inline that had been over revved? Slightly bent valves are slightly shorter in total length....you get the idea.
    At 2400kms I checked my clearances and they were all out. One or two with no clearance and the rest out of spec either too tight or too loose. Its kinda like WTF.... where's the quality control. The bike costs $32,000 here in Australia (RSV4 Factory) and you would expect better for that kind of money, considering you can buy a 2012 cbr100rr for around $17,000 here. Its BS.
    Steel Horse Performance
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    2012 RSV4 Factory

    Born and Bred to Rip and Shred

  7. #7
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    Here's a valve log sheet and shim p/n list (my wife made it for me) that I use to take notes and write down the clearance values with the shim sizes I used.
    Print it and record your adjustments so you can compare them to the next valve adj in 12k miles.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by amauri; 03-26-2013 at 10:03 AM.
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

    Certified Aprilia Moto Service in Southern California
    Call me at 714 892-4056 for appointment

  8. #8
    apriliaforum Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by amauri View Post
    This is not intended to be a step by step how to V4 valve adj procedure, just some observations that may help others.

    Iíve checked and adj the valves on a few customers RSV4s, but until yesterday Iíve not had to adj the front bank, only the rear.

    This latest bike was a shocker, with only 2,900 miles, 9 out of the 16 valves were out of specs towards the loose side.
    Some were .05 - .10mm beyond the specs but one IN valve on #2 cyl was at .65mm clearance, that's 1/2mm beyond tolerance

    This was the first V4 motor that I had to remove all four cams to adj everything back to specs.
    I found out that the Aprilia supplied cam timing/alignment tools were not designed to fit on the front bank of cylinders with the motor mounted in the chassis.
    Bellow are photos of the modifications I had to make in order to fit the alignment tools on the front bank of cylinders.

    This latest bike was also the first valve adj Iíve performed on an APRC motor, there is one important step not mentioned in the service manual.

    The early motors had one-piece EX cam gears, while the later motors use a spring loaded two piece gear designed to reduce gear lash noise, same as used on Shiver motors.

    Basically, the new two piece EX cam gears are sandwiched together with three springs between them, the springs apply pressure that cause the EX cam gears to rotate against each other.
    This preloads the gear teeth to eliminate any play where the IN and EX cams mesh together, thus reducing noise.

    What is not mentioned in the service manual is that before removing the EX cam you should insert a 6mm pin to lock the EX gear halves in position, thus preventing the springs from forcing them apart.

    Though not completely necessary, inserting the lock pin makes it a lot easier when re-assembling the cams and aligning up the timing marks.

    One last thing I found out is that having three of each size valve shim is not enough.
    For this motor I needed four 2.70mm shims and I had to run down to my local KTM dealer and buy that fourth shim.

    Photos showing cam gear holding tool modified/ground down to fit on front cyl bank, crank locking pin modified to fit on LH side without removing flywheel and cam gear alignment pin bent to clear frame rail on frt bank.
    How did you flick the cam chain tensioner back out on the front bank? I never saw a way to get the tool in there with the motor in the chassis.

  9. #9
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Radley View Post
    How did you flick the cam chain tensioner back out on the front bank? I never saw a way to get the tool in there with the motor in the chassis.
    Tim,
    I didn't have to slacken the chain, tool #020865 bolts in place of the short cam tower and allows you to slide the sprocket off the cam hub and onto the tool.
    There is a locking device on the tool that prevents the sprocket from falling off once the IN cam is removed from the head. Works very well after I modified to fit.
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

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  10. #10
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    It takes me about six hours total from start to finish for a full valve adj where all 4 camshafts have to be removed. Longer if there are extra accessories in the way or if the bike is filthy dirty/greasy.

    I'm sure some people could do it in less time but this is not a job where you can take many short cuts.
    My six hours includes first washing the outside of the motor to prevent dirt from falling inside once the covers are off.

    In addition to the valve covers, both the alternator and clutch covers will have to come off to insert the crank alignment/locking tool.
    The RH clutch cover uses a std gasket, but the LH alternator side cover uses use a FIPG sealer that will have to cure overnight before you can restart the motor.

    I may look into investing the time to have a custom gasket made for the LH alternator cover, I hate dealing with FIPG sealers.
    Anyone have a spare or damaged LH alt cover I can borrow?
    Last edited by amauri; 07-12-2013 at 07:31 PM. Reason: updated
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

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  11. #11
    apriliaforum Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by amauri View Post
    It takes me about six hours total from start to finish for a full valve adj where all 4 camshafts have to be removed.
    I'm sure some people could do it in less time but this is not a job where you can take many short cuts.
    My six hours includes first washing the outside of the motor to prevent dirt from falling inside once the covers are off.

    In addition to the valve covers, both the alternator and clutch covers will have to come off to insert the crank alignment/locking tool.
    The RH clutch cover uses a std gasket, but the LH alternator side cover uses use a FIPG sealer that will have to cure overnight before you can restart the motor.

    I may look into investing the time to have a custom gasket made for the LH alternator cover, I hate dealing with FIPG sealers.
    Anyone have a spare or damaged LH alt cover I can borrow?
    I think 6 hrs is very reasonable to do that job.

    Aprilia racing do a gasket for that cover. A paper one. I never found a part number for it though, it might be in the WSBK fiche. Is that still on the racing site? If not i can forward you a copy if you don't have it.

  12. #12
    apriliaforum expert
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    I was looking at the procedure in the service manual for the RSV4 and adjusting the valve clearances does not appear to be much different than the other bikes with the exception of the single gear driven sprocket installed on the back side of the cam. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are careful in keeping everything aligned (ie: cam chain to cam sprocket marked off), and crank position secured, it looks like you can remove the cams and access the tappets without having to re-time the engine. This would just save some time and effort in removing the case covers.

  13. #13
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    I would not risk doing it without positively locking the crank at the exact position it needs to be, not even if I was working on your bike
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

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  14. #14
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Radley View Post
    I think 6 hrs is very reasonable to do that job.

    Aprilia racing do a gasket for that cover. A paper one. I never found a part number for it though, it might be in the WSBK fiche. Is that still on the racing site? If not i can forward you a copy if you don't have it.
    Thanks for the tip on the gasket Tim, I forgot to look in the racing parts catalogue.
    6 hrs is the best I've been able to do so far, took me a lot longer on the first bike I adj.
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

    Certified Aprilia Moto Service in Southern California
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  15. #15
    just another Aprilia fanatic amauri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rspec99 View Post
    I was looking at the procedure in the service manual for the RSV4 and adjusting the valve clearances does not appear to be much different than the other bikes with the exception of the single gear driven sprocket installed on the back side of the cam. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are careful in keeping everything aligned (ie: cam chain to cam sprocket marked off), and crank position secured, it looks like you can remove the cams and access the tappets without having to re-time the engine. This would just save some time and effort in removing the case covers.
    Two reasons why I would not attempt it without removing the side covers and positively locking the crankshaft in the correct position:

    1- When you release the camshaft towers on the rear cylinder bank, valve spring tension on the front cyl bank can push against the cam lobes and rotate the crankshaft (and vise versa when removing the front cams).

    2- The IN camshaft sprocket holes are slotted, not round. If the crankshaft moves slightly because it was not locked, you will still be able to line up the camshaft timing holes with the pin but not know that the crank has moved.

    Besides, removing the two side covers is easy.
    Never accept mediocrity, always demand competence.

    Certified Aprilia Moto Service in Southern California
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