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Discussion Starter #1
Last weekend during the South 40 Marysvale Poker Run, I noticed the old girl was getting harder to start. We did lots of 55 mph flat valley roads (which i know makes the valve lash shrink faster) that were unavoidable. Anyhow, I finished up the 140 mile weekend with no drama, then came home and tore into it to find both the front and the rear intakes were tight. The rears have 9000 miles and have only needed two slight adjustments. The fronts have 3000 miles and have needed three full adjustments. So, I put in a call to VFJ to see if any new info has been learned about this ****ing Kawasaki problem. I was happy to learn that VFJ claims to have a solution. He said that Kawasaki did have a bad batch of valves years ago, but the problem I've been having is due to the fact that Kawasaki's valve/seat angle specs were never correct. They are too steep. He says that he started experimenting with shallower angles and wider cuts and has found it made a huge difference. He suggests going 2 mm wider on the seat, which puts more of the valve head in contact with the seat. He says doing this will make the power output drop about 1 hp, but the valves will last three times longer.
At this point, I'm game for anything. I'll give it a shot. I've done everything else short of having custom titanium valves made.
He also said that Vesrah and Kibblewhites WILL NOT WORK. He laughed when I told him I had used both before, and asked if I got 200 miles out of them. I said, "about that". Lol.
So, tomorrow I will take both heads over to the machine shop, and then order another set of oem valves. I hope to have her put together about a week from now, then I'm back to the desert to test it. Will keep you posted.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Got word from the machine shop today. All four exhaust valves were not salvageable, and two guides were a little too worn out to reuse again. Also have to buy 8 new seals as "precaution" (which I was going to suggest anyway). So all that combined with 4 new intakes, 2 new head gaskets, coolant, and machining brings this to........ouch!o_O
Oh well, as long as I can put away my feeler gauges for a good long while, I suppose it's worth it. I know many folks who've spent a lot more than this just to get their quads to 5000 miles. Since I've got 4x that on this Kawie, and she's still as much fun to ride as the first day I brought her home, I guess I can't complain.:sneaky:
 

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I sure hope this is it kickstart.
You ride too much to keep having issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I sure hope this is it kickstart.
You ride too much to keep having issues.
I hope so too. The bad thing is that I probably won't have any definitive proof until sometime in April or May of next year when I get another 3000 on it......Unless they get chewed up even faster than the non-oem valves, in which case I will know in just a couple weeks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was over at the machine shop today, and they took me back into the storage room where they have big tables set up to hold all the valves for the current projects they are doing. There were several hundred different valves sitting there. They showed me a good comparison of the angles on all the valves, and I was surprised to see my new valves fresh out of the kawasaki bag were the thinnest and sharpest angled valves on the table. They almost look used when brand new in comparison to some of the other brands/models. After seeing that, I think VFJ was right.......Kawasaki's had the valve angle wrong all along. It should've been a 2mm wide cut right from the drawing board.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So here's what the .080" or 2mm wide valve seat cut looks like. It definitely lets the valve sit a tad lower in the head. I had to back off the adjusters quite a bit off where they were set before to get the lash I needed. There is a bit more of the threads out now, but should still allow for several adjustments. But hopefully, like VFJ says, I won't be needing to do that for quite a long, long time!


 

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Discussion Starter #9
Circumstances yesterday dictated that I run a freshly graded dirt road in the San Rafael Swell at between 45 and 55 mph for basically the entire tank of gas. I've never needed (nor wanted) to do that with this atv before because I find it extremely boring, and it's hard on valves. However, the old girl fired right up this morning at a chilly 28 degrees F. So it appears that the new valve seats have indeed done what I was hoping for. I'm pretty sure that the old seats/valves would've needed an adjustment after that much torture.
 

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I have both a 2006 and a 2009 BF 650 4X4i, low miles, (under 2K) and the friggin valves won't go 150 miles without the usual spitting, backfiring symptoms of needing valves adjusted again.
Does this sound like what you've experienced?
What year is your BF?
Is this the only real long term fix?
How much more difficult is it to pull heads down to what you've had done?
Seems Kawasaki would own up to this and help us out :(
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have both a 2006 and a 2009 BF 650 4X4i, low miles, (under 2K) and the friggin valves won't go 150 miles without the usual spitting, backfiring symptoms of needing valves adjusted again.
Does this sound like what you've experienced?
What year is your BF?
Is this the only real long term fix?
How much more difficult is it to pull heads down to what you've had done?
Seems Kawasaki would own up to this and help us out :(
Mine never spit or backfired when the valves started getting tight. It just didn't want to start. Then when they went to zero lash on one cylinder but not the other, it shook the whole machine at idle until it warmed up. Dead giveaway as to what was happening.
Mine is a 2005.
This is the only fix I've found. VFJ said the same thing, and he's worked on thousands of these engines.
Pulling the heads off isn't all that hard. Just time consuming and messy. Just buy a box of sandwich bags and label them with whatever parts you put in them. Then it's easy to reassemble.
I find it very hard to believe that a company with as much experience in engine building as kawasaki wouldn't have used a more tried and true seat/valve combination on these bikes. These valves look pretty dang thin and knife edged right out of the bag.
 

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kickstart,
I am so friggin tired of working on these rather than riding. I have friends who have Hondas and they haven't adjusted valves in 5-6 years of riding!
I cant even go 100 miles without this valve adjustment BS.
Would you be kind enough to email me the price and shop where you got work done? Guess I'm stuck with these two pigs... :(
Thx, and keep us posted how the new valves work out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
kickstart,
I am so friggin tired of working on these rather than riding. I have friends who have Hondas and they haven't adjusted valves in 5-6 years of riding!
I cant even go 100 miles without this valve adjustment BS.
Would you be kind enough to email me the price and shop where you got work done? Guess I'm stuck with these two pigs... :(
Thx, and keep us posted how the new valves work out.
I hear you. I've got two Yamaha atvs that have 1500+ hours on them and I've only adjusted the valves once! But they aren't half as fun to ride as mean green.

Any automotive or power sport machine shop can do the work for you. Just tell them to cut seats 2mm wide or .080". The angle is automatically set on the cutter bit for that width.
V Force John can do the job if you can't find a machine shop nearby.
Just make sure you do it pretty quick. If you are down to 100 mile intervals, you are risking having a valve head break off.
 

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So if you were to buy another brand of ATV other than Kawasaki, what would that be ? Between keeping the carbs clean and valves I’m not feeling the love any more...
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So if you were to buy another brand of ATV other than Kawasaki, what would that be ? Between keeping the carbs clean and valves I’m not feeling the love any more...
I hear you. But every brand has their faults. Kawie has relatively few compared to some other brands.

Currently, nothing else interests me. I went from Suzuki to Yamaha, then went to a Kawasaki Prairie specifically because I love solid rear axles, and the vtwin engine was so torquey and fun. The Prairie was so light, nimble, and quick that it was like riding a sport quad with 4wd.
Nowadays, nobody makes anything remotely similar to my machine. That's why I just keep loving it and maintaining it.
The only thing I've ridden lately that is as fun as my Prairie is my buddy's 1000 Outlander. But there are enough faults in that bike that I just can't bring myself to buy one.
Anyhow, I think I'll wait to see if Kawie drops the new 1000cc KRX engine into a Brute. And if they integrate a trailing arm suspension into it, and put the KRX headlights on it......we'd have a clear winner!

Btw, are you using pure gasoline? If not, you should. I've run about 1300 gallons of pure gas through my carbs without one minute of issue. The only place ethanol should be is in a whiskey bottle!
 

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We are fortunate enough here in the Boise area to have numerous locations of non-ethanol gas available. Only gas I've ever run thru both 650's. During the very hot summer months they sit, unridden, and I forget to start and run them for a few minutes each month. Then when It cools off enough to ride, I go to start them up and like clockwork, have to be torn down again to clean carbs. Even gas stabilizer doesn't seems to help. I am in my 60's and they get harder to work on every year.
Like you, I have a lot of open area to ride. The Owyhee range is only 30 minutes away. But my confidence is really weak at this point. All I keep thinking is, " what's going to break now?" I take a 30 minute ride up too Silver City and the 2006 machine is harder to start than you can believe, and this after carb clean and valve adjustment again? When they run, they run great. But now I'm wondering what's next? Timing chains? Cams? etc. I'm starting to record my work time on these verses ride time and it is not even close.

My riding is primarily for coyote hunting. There are a lot of cattle farmers here who count on me during calving season. Nothing extreme in terms of riding, but I do scoot from stand to stand, usually a mile ride in between and then repeat. That is why I really don't have a lot of miles on these. (under 2K)

Now it is prime time for me to ride and all I can think about is; do I tear this all the way down and do the same valve treatment as you have done? or just do another valve adjustment and hope for the best? Wait to hear if you really do get long life out of new valves? Or load them up and trade them in on something like Hondas? That's why I ask about brands. I'm not into full extreme riding, I do enjoy the responsiveness of the brutes, but they seem to have such a short run good length of time? I maintain excellent service on them. If you saw them in person you would say they dang near look new. Just finished last summer brake fluid changes, coolant, and all fluids again. I have two grandkids that these are supposed to go to when they get another 4-5 years older. To add injury to insult, I don't know about you in your area, but there really isn't any shop in this area I trust to do work? Sad, I know. But is they truth. Seems like there is so many different ATV's and nobody really knows what they are doing.

Apologize for the long post, I just wanted to expound a little bit and thank you for your time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
We are fortunate enough here in the Boise area to have numerous locations of non-ethanol gas available. Only gas I've ever run thru both 650's. During the very hot summer months they sit, unridden, and I forget to start and run them for a few minutes each month. Then when It cools off enough to ride, I go to start them up and like clockwork, have to be torn down again to clean carbs. Even gas stabilizer doesn't seems to help. I am in my 60's and they get harder to work on every year.
Like you, I have a lot of open area to ride. The Owyhee range is only 30 minutes away. But my confidence is really weak at this point. All I keep thinking is, " what's going to break now?" I take a 30 minute ride up too Silver City and the 2006 machine is harder to start than you can believe, and this after carb clean and valve adjustment again? When they run, they run great. But now I'm wondering what's next? Timing chains? Cams? etc. I'm starting to record my work time on these verses ride time and it is not even close.

My riding is primarily for coyote hunting. There are a lot of cattle farmers here who count on me during calving season. Nothing extreme in terms of riding, but I do scoot from stand to stand, usually a mile ride in between and then repeat. That is why I really don't have a lot of miles on these. (under 2K)

Now it is prime time for me to ride and all I can think about is; do I tear this all the way down and do the same valve treatment as you have done? or just do another valve adjustment and hope for the best? Wait to hear if you really do get long life out of new valves? Or load them up and trade them in on something like Hondas? That's why I ask about brands. I'm not into full extreme riding, I do enjoy the responsiveness of the brutes, but they seem to have such a short run good length of time? I maintain excellent service on them. If you saw them in person you would say they dang near look new. Just finished last summer brake fluid changes, coolant, and all fluids again. I have two grandkids that these are supposed to go to when they get another 4-5 years older. To add injury to insult, I don't know about you in your area, but there really isn't any shop in this area I trust to do work? Sad, I know. But is they truth. Seems like there is so many different ATV's and nobody really knows what they are doing.

Apologize for the long post, I just wanted to expound a little bit and thank you for your time.
Wow, you've only got 2000 miles on them and they are already getting tight. Your's are worse than mine. I had two sets of kibblewhite valves smash out in less than 200 miles, but my OEM's have always gone at least 3000. One set on the rear went 9000.
2006 was one of the bad years with soft valves, but 2009 was supposed to be better. Is your 2009 any better than your 2006?

I wouldn't worry about cams or chains. I pulled my chains out at 18,000 miles, but I didn't really need to. They would all have gone thousands of more miles.
My cams are at 11,000 miles and are still looking brand new. (I run super high zinc oils).

FWIW, VFJ recommends not using stabilizer in these machines. He suggests just pure gas and run them every month. I use stabilizer in my generator and chainsaw without issue, but they don't have synced carbs feeding a large engine. My Kawie never sits more than a couple days, so I have no experience with stabilizer in it.

I didn't know you were so close to me. I'm near Salt Lake. You could easy send your stuff down here. We have two really good powersport machine shops down here. Send me a PM and I will get you their names.
Cost will just depend on what needs to be done. With only 2000 miles, your guides, seals, and exhaust valves are probably fine. You'd just need 8 new intake valves, 4 head gaskets, new oil and coolant, + the machining.
 

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Actually, my 2009 does not exhibit the same exact valve symptoms as the 2006, just really hard to keep carbs from needing adjustment. The 2006 on the other hand really had me looking hard to trade it in. After looking at other brands, I have to tell you, it amazes me, for the price of these machines how high maintenance they are with all brands? Course this is all the interweb BS so not really sure how true it all is?
I think at this point, I'll tear it down one more time, clean carbs, adjust valves, and record miles and how I ride. This should get me thru the winter and then if I still only get low miles before it gets hard to start again, I'm going to contact Kawasaki and press hard on them owning up to the 2006 valve issue.
If they tell me to pound sand, I will take you up on your offer and pull it apart for the VFJ valve fix.
Wonder why other years don't have same problems if they still are at the wrong angle?

You got me thinking about how much $$$ I have invested in these and its so damn easy to have a kneejerk reaction when you take such good care of them. I also, will stop using the Amsoil fuel stabilizer and just run pure non-ethanol gas and be more diligent in running them, although this time of year I get out almost every weekend. The cold doesn't bother me at all, tho' my friends have to pull over and warm their hands on the engine at times. :)

I've never replaced the belt up to now either, always covered in trailer and not left outside. What do you recommend for belt replacement? Seems I've read the kawi side by side belt will last a long time for the BF's?

While I have modified my F150, (Roush system, performance chip, etc.) I really have no interest in doing the same to my 650's unless you think there is something I am missing?

I do ride for fun, my days of craziness are behind me, but, truth be told I go thru some pretty hairy terrain that would keep my wife up at nights if she knew it! When these BF's are running right, really isn't anywhere they wont go. I've ridden up and over thru the Owyhees to the Jordan Valley, Oregon and when we lived in Twin Falls, I've ridden thru the South hills to the Nevada border chasing ol' coyote.

Thanks for your replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Actually, my 2009 does not exhibit the same exact valve symptoms as the 2006, just really hard to keep carbs from needing adjustment. The 2006 on the other hand really had me looking hard to trade it in. After looking at other brands, I have to tell you, it amazes me, for the price of these machines how high maintenance they are with all brands? Course this is all the interweb BS so not really sure how true it all is?
I think at this point, I'll tear it down one more time, clean carbs, adjust valves, and record miles and how I ride. This should get me thru the winter and then if I still only get low miles before it gets hard to start again, I'm going to contact Kawasaki and press hard on them owning up to the 2006 valve issue.
If they tell me to pound sand, I will take you up on your offer and pull it apart for the VFJ valve fix.
Wonder why other years don't have same problems if they still are at the wrong angle?

You got me thinking about how much $$$ I have invested in these and its so damn easy to have a kneejerk reaction when you take such good care of them. I also, will stop using the Amsoil fuel stabilizer and just run pure non-ethanol gas and be more diligent in running them, although this time of year I get out almost every weekend. The cold doesn't bother me at all, tho' my friends have to pull over and warm their hands on the engine at times. :)

I've never replaced the belt up to now either, always covered in trailer and not left outside. What do you recommend for belt replacement? Seems I've read the kawi side by side belt will last a long time for the BF's?

While I have modified my F150, (Roush system, performance chip, etc.) I really have no interest in doing the same to my 650's unless you think there is something I am missing?

I do ride for fun, my days of craziness are behind me, but, truth be told I go thru some pretty hairy terrain that would keep my wife up at nights if she knew it! When these BF's are running right, really isn't anywhere they wont go. I've ridden up and over thru the Owyhees to the Jordan Valley, Oregon and when we lived in Twin Falls, I've ridden thru the South hills to the Nevada border chasing ol' coyote.

Thanks for your replies.
I just was down at an atv repair place in southern Utah. They see all machines, but are known for specializing in Hondas. You wouldn't believe the pile of Rincons, Ranchers, and Foremans he had unless you saw it with your own eyes! I asked the owner if Hondas are as bulletproof as some say. He said, "take a look around". I asked him who makes the best atv. He said, "they're all bad, and that is good for me". Lol. You go over to the Can Am forum and everybody's complaining about how much maintenance is involved. You come here nowadays, and it's nearly all people buying mudders secondhand and having issues. The Yamaha forum is just people bitching about issues with the now discontinued 700, and wishing they'd have bought the 686 instead. Polaris forums are full of guys who have bought brand new machines and had issues before the end of their first ride. My buddy shares a back lot with our local Polaris/Kawasaki dealer. They park all the vehicles being repaired out back, and I can tell you that the Pos out there outnumber the Kawies 25 to 1. Bottom line is they all have issues. No brand is perfect.

I've noticed a couple dozen times that you can stretch the valve adjustment interval quite a bit if you keep it under 30 mph. That might get you through the winter.

We never hear of the 2012+ Brutes having valve issues. They must've changed the width and angle. I forgot to ask VFJ about that.

If belts are kept tight, and not abused (runnin in high when you should've been in low), they will go 3000 miles+. I've gotten 3000 on all of mine before I needed to remove a shim or two. Then they'll go another 1000 or 1500 if you keep an eye on it.
Oem belts are the only way to go. Don't ever buy anything else no matter what you hear. You can buy an oem belt made for the older Teryx if you want, but I didn't see a whole lot of improvement. Just don't get a newer Teryx belt (it's WAY too long).

For carbed machines, I think the Dynatek is an absolute must. Besides improving performance, it gets rid of that damn limp mode, and the belt light reminder. Also deletes the reverse limiter. And, I notice slightly better mpg too.
 
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