How to Adjust the Valves on a Suzuki 800 Volusia

by Chris GillilandUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Allen-head socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Torque wrench

Despite its unusual name, the Volusia filled the role as an 800 cc entry in Suzuki's Intruder V-twin cruiser series between 2001 and 2004. While the Volusia shared much of its styling with its American-built counterparts, the Volusia's smaller stature and liquid-cooled engine made it appealing to the rider who wanted to spend more time riding, and less times working on his bike. Even so, the engine's valve train requires an inspection and adjustment every 7,500 miles. Don't let the apparent complexity of the job scare you off; equipped with a small assortment of tools, you should be able to not only check, but also adjust, the valves.

Park the motorcycle on its side stand and let it cool completely. Remove the bolt at the rear of the passenger seat, using a ratchet and an Allen-head socket. Lift the rear of the passenger seat up and pull it away from the rider seat. Remove the two bolts securing the passenger grab strap to the rear fender; this will free the rider's seat from the fender. Lift the rear of the rider's seat up and away from the motorcycle.

Unlock the left frame cover -- the plastic cover located directly below the rider's seat rails -- using the ignition key. Remove the bolts securing the right frame cover, using an Allen-head socket. Remove the two bolts from the front of the speedometer housing, and the single bolt at the housing base, using an Allen-head socket. Lift the speedometer off of the fuel tank and uplug the speedometer wiring harness. Set the speedometer aside. Remove the bolt from the base of the fuel tank, using a socket. Lift the rear of the tank upward and unplug the fuel gauge wire harness and fuel hose from the bottom of the tank. Pull the fuel tank toward the rear of the motorcycle and set it aside.

Remove the rectangular valve inspection covers from the tops of both engine cylinders, using an Allen-head socket. Twist the spark plug wire caps a quarter-turn, then pull the caps off of the spark plugs. Remove the spark plugs with a spark plug socket.

Unscrew the round timing inspection plug from the front left crankcase cover, as well as the generator plug on the side of the cover, using an Allen-head cover. Place a socket and ratchet over the flywheel nut, visible through the generator plug port, and observe the timing inspection port. Turn the flywheel nut clockwise until your feel resistance and the FT mark is aligned at the center of the timing inspection port. This will pace the front cylinder at top dead center in its compression stroke.

Measure the clearance between the front cylinder intake valve -- the valve closest to the carburetor between the cylinders -- and the rocker arm adjustment screw, using a thickness gauge. There should be between 0.003 to 0.005 inch of clearance between the valve and screw. Measure the clearance between the exhaust valve, located on the opposite side of the engine cylinder. The exhaust valve clearance should measure between 0.007 to 0.009 inch. Skip to Step 7, if the both valves are within specification.

Hold the valve steady with a flat-head screwdriver, then loosen the lock nut with an open-end wrench, if either valve is out of specification. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise to decrease the clearance, or counterclockwise to increase the clearance. When properly set, you should be able to slide the thickness gauge between the valve and the adjustment screw with a slight drag. Hold the adjustment screw steady and snugly tighten the lock nut.

Rotate the flywheel nut clockwise a full one-and-a-quarter turns to bring the rear cylinder to TDC in its compression stroke. An RT mark will be aligned at the center of the timing inspection port. Check and adjust the rear cylinder intake and exhaust valve clearances, as outlined steps 5 and 6.

Reinstall the valve inspection covers and tighten the cover bolts to 7.6 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Screw the spark plugs into place and tighten them to 18 foot-pounds. Push the spark plug caps into place. Screw the timing inspection and generator plugs snugly into place.

Slide the front of the fuel tank onto the rubber bungs behind the front fork, plug in the fuel gauge connector. Push the fuel hose onto the fuel valve at the bottom of the tank, then lower the tank onto the motorcycle's frame. Screw the tank bolt snugly into place. Plug in the speedometer harness, then snugly tighten the speedometer housing bolts. Reinstall the frame covers and seats. Tighten the seat bolts to 7.6 foot-pounds.


Never check or adjust the valve clearance when the engine is warm. Doing so, will provide incorrect measurements. Do not turn the flywheel counterclockwise or you may throw off of the engine's timing. If you miss your mark, go around again.

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