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The 600 mile service: DIY or pay the $$?

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  • The 600 mile service: DIY or pay the $$?

    Well, with 475 miles on the new Kat I am fast approaching the requisite 600 mile service. I don't have my owner's manual in front of me, but I believe it's oil change, valve adjustment, chain maintenance, and check all nuts / bolts / cables for tightness/play etc.

    The dealer quoted me between $200 and $250 for this service. My question is, is there anything really critical that the dealer does, that means I should just pay for it? Or, would I be better off doing it myself.

    Bear in mind I am not a mechanic, but I can follow directions. I own a house and car and can turn a wrench or socket when I need to. But I have never done any wrenching on a motorcycle before. I don't even own a torque wrench.

    So, I know you modders and mechanical types will just say "yes what are you stupid?"...but I just wanted to know is there something critical or complicated that I am missing. Is it perfectly reasonable to do this service myself? I would rather not fork over 250 bones for what could be a glorified oil change.
    "The problem with most motorcycles is the nut that connects the seat to the handlebars."

  • #2
    $200-$250 is NOT going to include a valve adjustment. if it does i'd let them do it and make sure you go watch.

    go to my site

    it has lots of info - all the torque specs also.

    I would remove all the plastic - adjust the valves ( very important - as the valve have now seated ) change the oil & filter & check every bolt on the torque spec list. the carbs will need resync'd also.



    • #3
      I would let them do it and keep records for the sake of your warranty. If something goes wrong and you have no proof of scheduled maintenance, they might try to screw you. The only thing I do is oil changes, air filter, and other PM items to keep my Kat running and looking sweet.
      Oh, and did you get the 4 year extended warranty?


      • #4
        Based on what you stated, I recommend you let them do it, but like trinc said, make sure they actually DO the valve adjustment. Tell them you'd just like to peek in while the mechanic is actually doing it just for general info, etc..............(if he IS doing it, just ask a question without getting in his way or stopping him, and say THANKS for the info and then leave).

        If you see he's NOT doing it, go to the manager and talk to him. Tell him you've heard LOTS of horro stories and you'd simply just like to SEE that its done............should NOT be a big deal, unless they have something to hide! If this does not work, ask for the General Manger or the Owner if its a small shop. Tell them you are trying to gain some trust in them for future work, etc................
        I've owned over 70 Katanas - you think I know anything about them?
        Is there such a thing as TOO MANY BIKES?
        Can you go TOO FAST on a bike?
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        • #5
          Let's see, from the car world:

          IMHO: If you would feel comfortable doing any of the following car work, you would probably be comfy doing the valve adjustments yourself (given a factory service manual to walk you through it):
          Timing belt replacement
          Water pump replacement (*if it's driven off the timing belt or requires access via the timing belt)
          CV joint or half-axle replacement
          setting points & timing on an old car (pre-electronic distributor cars).
          If you would feel uncomfortable doing the above, let the garage handle it, at least this time...

          The valve adjustments are mostly time consuming, which is why normal Suzuki labor-sheet spec for it are 2.8 - 3.1 hours (at whatever the shop hourly-labor rate is) plus chemicals; $250 sounds right if that does not include the cost of the oil and filter -- but too low if it does include oil & filter. Around here, that service runs $301 - $312 at four different dealerships/garages to do everything on the spec list.

          Out of that time, there's about 20 - 40 minutes assigned to removing the upper and lower fairings (and reinstalling them afterwards), another 15 minutes to removing/reinstalling the carbs & airbox, and another 20 - 30 minutes for accessing the valves & sealing them back up. That means that between a third and half the service labor cost is merely getting access to the valves to adjust them (and sealing everything back up afterwards).

          This is also the single most important service your bike will ever see. If something went wrong on the assembly line, or a defect in a part (cam, valves, brakes, etc.) started acting up, the mechanic will most likely see it and correct it, possibly sparing your hide later from a very nasty accident. The oil will be changed, flushing out many of the metal shavings left over from the engine seating itself; the valves will be adjusted, the bolts that have expanded and contracted with heating-cooling cycles will be reset, and the critical components that *may* have been some how goofed during construction will be checked.

          If you do feel comfortable doing the car stuff I stated above, buy yourself a good torque wrench, a factory service manual, set of feeler gauges, oil filter wrench, oil, oil filter, tappet adjustment tool, and make sure you have 21 and 23mm sockets as well as a set of metric allen keys on sockets (for use with the torque wrench) ranging from 4mm to 10mm. Then follow the service manual set-by-step. The cost to arm yourself up for all this will probably run $200 - $250 if you don't have any of it in advance, but except for the oil & filter, you'll have everything else you pretty much need from here on out.

          =-= The CyberPoet
          Remember The CyberPoet


          • #6
            (Did I forget to mention that I love this place. WHat a wealth of information!)

            Thanks guys for the input. I am leaning towards having the dealer do it, and making sure they do the valve adjustment. But I still would like to learn how to do periodic maintenance like that to save money, and also to learn something new and get my hands dirty

            To answer a question above, I did not purchase the extended warranty, but have the option to as long as the 12 month factory warranty is still in effect.
            "The problem with most motorcycles is the nut that connects the seat to the handlebars."