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Discussion Starter #1
Would I need to take the engine off in order to reset the timing on the cam chain?

I lost the timing when I took off the camshaft cover which took the exhaust camshaft with it enough to take the camshaft chain off the sprockets. I would prefer not to take the engine off.

I'm wondering if it's reliable to draw the "in" and "ex" marks that are on the outside of the cam sprocket on the inside of the cam sprockets so I can see the In/ex levels against the valve cover level from the inside of the bike. I posted a video question below to make this more clear. I would really appreciate any help as this is really stressing me out. This is the one thing I didn't want to happen. This was my first valve adjustment. Everything else was going fine. Thank you so much!

Video Question:
 

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TBH, I'd probably just invest in a decent endoscope rather than mess around with the mirror. The one that I've got came with a metal mirror that can be mounted at a 45 degree angle to the lens and has an integrated light so that seeing something directly to the side is easy.

They range in price from about $20 up to several hundred depending upon the specific hardware included and the quality of the image. These are fairly useful for things like if you want to take a look into the engine through the spark plug holes or if there's something rattling around inside a hard to reach location.

EDIT: I'm not endorsing this specific one, but something like this would allow you to finish the project with a lot less stress and anxiety. Take note of the fact that it has that 45 degree mirror.

 

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The critical process of setting valve timing starting from an engine disassembled state, step by step, will be covered within the appropriate Kawasaki service manual. You are using a service manual for valve adjust/cam removal/ clearance, shim measurement and replacement....aren't you?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The critical process of setting valve timing starting from an engine disassembled state, step by step, will be covered within the appropriate Kawasaki service manual. You are using a service manual for valve adjust/cam removal/ clearance, shim measurement and replacement....aren't you?
Yes. I have a manual and have been using it as well as youtube videos. I've been researching this process for several weeks and at this point, am familiar with how to do a valve adjustment. The problem was not a procedural misstep out of ignorance, but an unfortunate accident: the camshaft cover was stuck after I took off all the cap bolts, and when trying to take it off with a bit of force, brought the camshaft with it for an inch or two, which was enough for the camchain to fall off the exhaust camshaft sprocket. It stayed on the intake camshaft sprocket. It happened very suddenly before I put timing marks on the camshaft, which I would have done after taking off the camshaft cover. So, I didn't do anything out of sequence. The camshaft cover was just stuck which led to the camchain coming off the exhaust camshaft sprocket.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So what I'm asking is, at this point, how to get the timing back without taking the engine off? I was wondering if there is another way. I know I'd need to use the TDC marks on the cam shaft sprockets, but they are only facing outwards, towards the frame of the bike, which leaves a inch or two of clearance between the sprockets and the frame- not enough to get inbetween to see if the TDC marks are level with the engine top. To get around this, I've tried to draw the TDC marks on the inside of the sprockets so I see them against the inside edge of the engine top, as well as using a mirror to get inbetween the engine top and bike frame to see if the TDC marks are level with the engine top. It seemed to work, but it's freaking me out too much that I'm probably just going to take the engine off to do it right. More learning for me, so in the end it''ll be good, since I seem to love this stuff, but right now it looks like a serious pain that i wasn't anticipating.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
TBH, I'd probably just invest in a decent endoscope rather than mess around with the mirror. The one that I've got came with a metal mirror that can be mounted at a 45 degree angle to the lens and has an integrated light so that seeing something directly to the side is easy.

They range in price from about $20 up to several hundred depending upon the specific hardware included and the quality of the image. These are fairly useful for things like if you want to take a look into the engine through the spark plug holes or if there's something rattling around inside a hard to reach location.

EDIT: I'm not endorsing this specific one, but something like this would allow you to finish the project with a lot less stress and anxiety. Take note of the fact that it has that 45 degree mirror.

Thanks. This is an interesting idea.
 

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Thanks. This is an interesting idea.
At bare minimum it should help with any related anxiety about whether or not the markings are lining up. I don't use mine as often as I should, but a decent kit should come with attachments for things like picking up loose bolts from hard to reach areas as well as for visually inspecting hard to reach areas like this.

The mirror may well work out for you, but if you've got the money, an endoscope can be very useful. I deeply regretted not having mine available when I was adjusting the fuel screws on my carbs.
 

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You must follow crankshaft, cam sprocket timing mark positions and simultaneously comply to the exact documented cam chain link count between those marks. All in the book.
Pull the engine to set cam timing after cam removal? Is that extreme step actually required in the valve adjust/cam R & R instructions?

Signing off, good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You must follow crankshaft, cam sprocket timing mark positions and simultaneously comply to the exact documented cam chain link count between those marks. All in the book.
Pull the engine to set cam timing after cam removal? Is that extreme step actually required in the valve adjust/cam R & R instructions?

Signing off, good luck with it.
I'm aware of all of that. The problem is you can't see the cam sprocket TDC markings clearly without taking off the engine, because they face the bike's frame. There is about two inches of clearance between the frame wall and the engine top- too little to make an accurate judgement about whether the TDC marks are level with the engine top. Hence, my question. The manual does not specify that the engine needs to be removed, but it also doesn't make it clear how one could re-time the camshaft sprockets without taking off the engine. The way around this is to draw marks on the cam sprocket and chain before you take out the camshafts, but I couldn't do that after removing the camshaft cover (it was stuck so came off forcefully) which also picked up the camshaft, causing the camchain to come off of the exhaust cam sprocket, therefore losing the timing on the exhaust cam sprocket. Does that make sense? You seem to think I'm not following basic directions but that simply is not the case.
 

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I think your method with putting the marks on the inside and also using the mirror to verify will work just fine. Just be sure to turn the engine several times manually after you put everything back together to verify that everything moves in the proper timing as expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think your method with putting the marks on the inside and also using the mirror to verify will work just fine. Just be sure to turn the engine several times manually after you put everything back together to verify that everything moves in the proper timing as expected.
That's reassuring. My biggest question at this point, then, is whether rotating the crankshaft to check for TDC after tightening everything could bend the valves if, in fact, I am not at TDC? In other words, is there enough force from rotating the crankshaft by hand to bend the valves if I'm wrong, or can this only happen from engine operation?

Thanks!
 

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That's reassuring. My biggest question at this point, then, is whether rotating the crankshaft to check for TDC after tightening everything could bend the valves if, in fact, I am not at TDC? In other words, is there enough force from rotating the crankshaft by hand to bend the valves if I'm wrong, or can this only happen from engine operation?

Thanks!
When you are turning the engine by hand you will be able to feel if anything is binding up or hitting something. So you you should be able to do it without damaging anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When you are turning the engine by hand you will be able to feel if anything is binding up or hitting something. So you you should be able to do it without damaging anything.
That's great. One last question: If I feel something hit, should I reverse the crankshaft to back the valves off the piston heads? I thought that was suggested against. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
At bare minimum it should help with any related anxiety about whether or not the markings are lining up. I don't use mine as often as I should, but a decent kit should come with attachments for things like picking up loose bolts from hard to reach areas as well as for visually inspecting hard to reach areas like this.

The mirror may well work out for you, but if you've got the money, an endoscope can be very useful. I deeply regretted not having mine available when I was adjusting the fuel screws on my carbs.
I just went ahead and bought a Depstech wireless endoscope (~$70 on amazon). At first I was admittedly skeptical about your idea, but as I thought about it, I realized it makes perfect sense. This will help tremendously, and I can inspect the piston and cylinder directly for carbon deposits. Amazing! Thank you!
 

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I just went ahead and bought a Depstech wireless endoscope (~$70 on amazon). At first I was admittedly skeptical about your idea, but as I thought about it, I realized it makes perfect sense. This will help tremendously, and I can inspect the piston and cylinder directly for carbon deposits. Amazing! Thank you!
Excellent, it would be too much just for the current matter at hand, but you're likely to use it for things in the future as well. Even just being able to use it to periodically examine the condition of the frame and hard to see components for rusting is worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Excellent, it would be too much just for the current matter at hand, but you're likely to use it for things in the future as well. Even just being able to use it to periodically examine the condition of the frame and hard to see components for rusting is worth it.
Why do you say it would be too much?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Hey I tightened everything down and took some pictures with an endoscope. It's a little blurry so I tried to draw circles where the TDC marks are. The first three are of the exhaust sprocket facing the front of the bike. The last two are of the exhaust sprocket facing the rear.

Do you think the timing on the exchaust sprocket is off? Thank you.
 

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