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Suzuki DL 250 V Strom Valve Clearance Check

Guide Date 2 January 2021

By nab301

Also covers Inazuma 250 as far as I know...

So, on new years day 2021 I eventually ran out of excuses not to check the valve clearances of my DL 250. The clearances are supposed to be checked every 5k kms (3k miles). The bike currently has nearly 10k miles recorded... with no checks done by me and the spark plugs are due for change every 10k kms/6k miles but haven't been changed either.

It's surprisingly easy to perform this check (no need even to remove the petrol tank) so I thought I'd scribble it down as a quick guide for those who have experience of this sort of thing but don't possess a workshop manual for the specifics. I was guided by the official Suzuki DL250 service CD and an ebay copy of the Inazuma manual on CD.

Remove the left and right side covers to expose the evap canister on the left and the coolant reservoir on the right. Two allen screws on each cover plus a pin in a rubber grommet at the rear end of each  cover. Pop the cover carefully out of this rear grommet especially if you haven't previously smeared it with silicone grease. Then slide the covers forward off two locating pins/grommets, visible from the front of the bike if you're not familiar. When replacing these panels there are 2 locating tags at the top of the panel which need to be located simultaneously with the front pins before sliding the panel rearwards. Occasionally it can be tricky to align everything.

The left side panel showing the various connection and mounting points
L/H panel showing front grommets, upper locating tags on the right of photo and rear plastic locating pin.

Remove the large crosshead screw securing the evap canister and then the half bracket that this releases followed by the rubber pipe to the rear of the canister. You can then push the canister to the front of the bike leaving the two pipes at the front end still attached.

The evap canister and the mounts on the side of the motor

Remove the canister bracket (1 x 8mm headed nut at the rear and 1 x 8mm headed bolt at the front) while removing the evap system purge control solenoid connector block at the rear of this bracket. Then swing the bracket out of the way to allow removal of the valve cover.

The half round bracket that holds the evap canister
The connector that control the purge of the evap canister

On the other side of the bike remove the two coolant reservoir tank bolts and I also removed the overflow tube from the filler neck to allow me to swing the reservoir  around to the front of the bike where it sits conveniently above the mudguard.

Disconnect the PAIR hose on top of the valve cover (the only hose attached to the cover).

Remove the four 6mm hex bolts from the valve cover, one on each corner. Tap the cover with a rubber mallet or similar and with a bit of fiddling with wiring etc above it the cover should lift up and slide out to the right side of the bike. Check that the two dowels are still located in the front edge of the cylinder head and the gasket isn't catching on anything.

This is a handy 2 valve motor with screw adjusters...

The valves and tappets and a notch in the camshaft can be seen

Remove the crankshaft hole plug 10mm hex key and the 17mm hex bolt TDC plug above it.

On the left of the motor we see the cover to access the crank and a threaded bolts that covers the TDC marks

Remove the spark plugs and turn the engine anticlockwise via the 17mm bolt on the crankshaft until the R mark on the generator is visible through the TDC plug and the notch on the camshaft in the above photo is at 3 o'clock (I forgot to take a photo in the correct position). This is for number 2 cylinder, the R/H one and should coincide with TDC and both valves closed. It's possibly easier to do it this way (watching the inlet valve close and winding up to TDC) as it is to look for the marks.

For cylinder number 1 (L/H) you then turn the engine 1½ turns (540degrees) till the L mark is visible and the camshaft notch is at 6 o'clock. Or use the more traditional method described above. I found it difficult to hold the engine at this point (whatever way the camshaft on the other cylinder was positioned, one valve was possibly just opening/closing). The engine tended to advance further than necessary. It worked out OK though.

Valve clearances are 
Inlet - 0.05 to 0.10mm (roughly 2 to 4 thou in old money)
Exhaust - 0.17 to 0.22mm (roughly 7 to 9 thou)

I'm happier working with imperial measurements for valves. The inlets were a slack 3 thou so left alone. The exhausts were a little too slack nearer 10 thou so I set them to 8 thou.

Reassembly is just the reverse as they say. I didn't replace the cover gasket, just visually checking that it wasn't trapped and after fitting new  spark plugs, firing it up, replacing the body work and a test ride there are no visible leaks.

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Reader's Comments

Upt'North said :-
Nice write up Nidger, I like the look of the WeeStrom.
18/01/2021 16:15:36 UTC
Snod said :-
Every 3K?? Yer 'avin' a larf aintcha?
18/01/2021 21:12:37 UTC
Kerry said :-
Having completed the job would you now leave the next check and plug swop interval to 10k. Could the offical interval be conservative to cover unsympathetic owners?

18/01/2021 23:40:03 UTC
Henrik said :-
Nice, I have done the first also on the Zuma,...

Dont remember the exact numbers on adjustments, but no problem,

5000 km sure seems overkill after the first check is done ,.. seems to me just a trick to rip off people

Also its rediculess ,.. You cant even finish a normal 2 weeks trip without the need for a service

Guess I will make it: 5000-15000-25000-35000 etc etc

But still change the oil and filter for every 5000 ,..
19/01/2021 01:06:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'd stick to the first 3 services at 3k miles simply to ensure the valvetrain has settled in and gotten comfy. After that, if there's little movement I'd leave it to roughly every 8 to 10k. Like Henrik says though, keep on top of them thar oil changes.
19/01/2021 09:46:46 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Oil changes?
Why not it's winter after all, got to talk about something.
I believe, but I haven't checked lately that the BeaST is subject to 8000 mile intervals. That's oil and filter. Checking the stamped up history it's never exceeded that mileage and routinely it's been done once a year. I do it in the Spring and at that time mileage has always been under 8000 per year, typically 6000.
When the semi synthetic is changed it is typically quite clean looking and does not require topping up through the year, the bike has now covered around 68,000 miles.
I am very surprised that oil change intervals are still as low as 3000, why?
To make the dealer money?
Do these engines work that much harder?
I know people say it's cheap insurance but so would be changing your tyres every 3000 miles just in case.
We want to know.

19/01/2021 10:05:12 UTC
crofty said :-
Thanks for the write up and pictures, good to know its not too difficult, I have got my eye on one as a second bike.
Just one thing I didn't understand what does "purge control solenoid connector block" mean ?
20/01/2021 17:00:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
crofty - see the link below. It's the solenoid that allows the trapped vapours in the evap canister back through the motor...
20/01/2021 17:20:40 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ crofty , that should have said evap system purge control solenoid . The solenoid purges the fuel vapours from the canister back to the airbox and you need to disconnect the electrical connector to allow the canister to swing out of the way.
@UPT I guess the BM gets away with longer oil change intervals because there's no gearbox internals or clutch (plates) to potentially contaminate the oil ? The Suzuki manual does suggest only changing the oil filter every other oil change... As for the valve clearances I'd imagine that was the first check and bike was runing and starting fine, I had a Bandit 600 and I'm ashamed to admit I never checked them in the 30 k kms of my ownership ( 12K kms is the recommended interval ( 7.5K miles)) . It started instantly , hot or cold , idled , hot or cold and ran fine! (that's my excuse)
20/01/2021 17:23:58 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Nigel, I checked the valves on the ST at about 60,000 and they were fine, as far as the records show they have never needed adjustment only checking. I'm not bothering again.
20/01/2021 19:03:25 UTC
crofty said :-
Ren & Nigel, thanks for the explanation,
20/01/2021 20:17:13 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I hope it makes sense crofty.

Upt' - never check the tappets?!?!?!? My god man! Have you lost your marbles? Don't you go telling folks that after bedding in most tappets don't need half as much servicing as the manufacturers would have us believe. You'll end up with the Motorcycle Manufacturer's Mafia on your doorstep threatening to "pop a cap in yo ass". Not to mention swathes of anecdotal emails from bike bores telling tales of how their 1985 GPZ900R dropped a valve because they were 27.4 miles late with the service interval. Sooner you than me.

Even I think "I'm not bothering again" might be just a tad excessive. Maybe at 100,000, as a courtesy?
21/01/2021 09:04:49 UTC
Joe Fitz said :-
Thanks for the write up Nigel, it has encouraged me to have a go at doing the clearances on my Inazuma. Is theer any benefit in purchasing a vale adjustment tool?
21/01/2021 13:46:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The proper tool is the best thing Joe Fitz, but I made my own and it does the trick good enough for me. An ole bicycle tyre lever and a file...
Posted Image
21/01/2021 14:00:18 UTC
nab301 said :-
I didn't use any special tools and managed with what I had in my too box , the OE tools listed in the manual are feeler gauge set , 09900-20803 and the adjusting tool is 09917-14910.
21/01/2021 19:31:06 UTC
Bob said :-
That's remarkably easy to access - well done Suzuki.
I'm amazed that this engine has tappets, I just kind of assumed all modern engines were shim.
I guess that explains the very sort valve clearance intervals - I saw a road test in MCN of a new adventure bike with the same engine but bored to 380cc and one of the comments on the road test was the short valve clearance intervals.

For the doing of it I have a proper tappet adjustment wrench, it looks like a very thick allen key and it has a square hole pressed into the short end - it makes the job so much easier.

I'll stick with my shim-under bucket KLX250, the clearances are complete pain to do when they need doing but it's once a year as opposed to once every three months.

Still, I really like the DL250 and when all this nonsense is over I intend to bag a test ride on one.
22/01/2021 11:03:46 UTC
nab301 said :-
I looked up that road test of the 380 cc bike, the fuel consumption averaged around 50mpg, could just be the heavy handed MCN tester I guess but the CB500X looks better on running costs.

24/01/2021 19:54:28 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
MCN rates the Honda CBF125 fuel consumption at 86.5 mpg. I can only assume the MCN team absolutely screamed their test machine to the rev limiter in every gear and only rode uphill and into the wind. I'd estimate the 380 Suzy would likely achieve 80mpg in the hands of a regular rider with some degree of mechanical sympathy.
25/01/2021 16:36:40 UTC
Borsuk said :-
I am averaging 84 on the Himalayan which is 411cc so I would agree about the MCN test rider. Then again if you read their reviews they ride every bike likes it a racing bike. This is the one for the Himy.

"Within minutes you’re wringing its neck and the gentle throbbing is replaced by terrifying clattering. On a fast A-road with the throttle twisted to the stop in fifth, I had to watch as the photographer’s van pulled away with ease"

What do they think they are testing, an H2.

25/01/2021 22:42:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I can only suppose if the MCN testers spend most of their working lives trying to work out if the CBR-RRR is better than the GSX-RRR and the YZF-RRR around a sun kissed track in Spain, then everything else will feel slow. There'd be little point me reviewing a H2...

"Fuel consumption is excessive, seating position hurts my back, neck and arms, damn hard work in traffic, steering, suspension, seating, ground clearance not suited to off road, supercharger makes engine work more complex, pillion seat uncomfortable, luggage options limited, exceeds the speed limit in 1st gear, overly complicated suspension, too much electronics..."
26/01/2021 10:25:24 UTC
Ian said :-
Thanks for the write up. Im another who believed the bike used shims, as that is what a dealer told me! This brings this bike back into a future purchase option, along with the Himalayan.
23/02/2021 19:40:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I can think of 2 reasons a dealer would tell you it has shims.

1. Lack of knowledge.
2. A belief that shimming is more difficult and therefore you are more likely to bring the bike to them for the profitable service.

Either way it's not conducive to that warm fuzzy feeling that the dealer is on your side.
24/02/2021 09:14:27 UTC
Upt'North said :-
I'm sorry but I haven't been following valvegate.
But if I get the gist, why would any motorcycle salesman in a franchise have a clue what he's selling.
And why would we trust what any sales person tells us.
They lie like a cheap watch.
I'd be amazed if the workshop knew what was inside the engine never mind the sales floor incumbents.

24/02/2021 09:22:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
We have to accept the people like myself who want to know what is inside the engine are not the primary target customers for shops. Ideally from a profit point of view shops require customers that say "Can I sign up to your PCP/Finance deal?", "When (not if) I get it serviced here do you provide tea/coffee/a loan bike?" and "Do you sell matching clothing and helmets?". I'm sure most sales floor incumbents will know the answer to these important questions.
24/02/2021 11:20:48 UTC
Jim said :-
Talking of salesmen not on owning much, once upon a time I visited Peter Vardy, a large multi-brand car dealer franchise, with the intention of buying a wee Corsa for my daughter. The poor salesman, just out of school, tried to impress me by telling me that the latest model was the very best, as it has a 3 stroke engine. Much fun ensued.
24/02/2021 13:30:32 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
"3 stroke engine" - fabulous! Sharon's old Corsa (now her daughter's car) and Sharon's new 108 are all "3 stroke engines". Lumpy little things but they both seem to get the job done well enough.

I'm just trying to figure out if a 3 stroke is scientifically possible. Nothing immediately springs to mind. Could... could a rotary Wankel engine be classed as a 3 stroke? Maybe... maybe.
24/02/2021 20:23:08 UTC
Jim said :-
I toyed with the idea of asking him which stroke had been removed - suck, squeeze, bang or blow? But as he was upset after going to ask the service manager I didn’t have the heart.
24/02/2021 20:29:02 UTC
Jim said :-
And if I’d started talking about Wankel engines I’d have been asked to leave.
24/02/2021 20:30:11 UTC
Jim said :-
And if I’d started talking about Wankel engines I’d have been asked to leave.
24/02/2021 20:30:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I find if I say "Van - kel" rather than "Wankle" people tend not be so shocked.
25/02/2021 08:41:00 UTC
Upt'North said :-
So Ed me duck, let me get this straight......if only.
You walk around the streets of Boltoldburnstone entering into conversation with random strangers on the merits of the Wankel internal combustion spark ignition engine?!?
Strange in itself, some would think, but obviously there are no merits to the Wankel ICE because they all self destruct. Not a good feature for many.
Now get a job and pay some taxes, it'll make you feel better and give the locals a rest.
25/02/2021 09:23:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
"Boltoldburnstone"? I live in Hor-of-the-wich-enstone doncha know.

I prowl the streets, not walk. Any unsuspecting victims I find I pounce out of the shadows wearing my cape and my mask, confronting the shocked and startled good folks with questions like "Prey tell fair maid, dost thou believe it is possible to achieve a seal of meritable quality betwixt and between the vanes and chambers of a rotary engine?" or "Squire! Squire! Canst thou offer your musings on reducing knock from high compression internal combustion chamber, particularly when combined with a turbo or supercharger?"

Most of my victims are rendered bewildered and befuddled, staggering in a state of confusion and not uncommonly, anger at my interruptions. I hear such words as a person dare not repeat, nor oft times understand.

I call myself "Jack, the mechanistical questioneer", every one else calls me... "That #### with the motorbike".
25/02/2021 10:39:21 UTC
Upt'North said :-
The strangest thing about your reply Ed, is I believe every word of it. Every blummin one.
25/02/2021 14:20:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Then don't come unprepared to Horwich. Bring either a concise and informed knowledge of engines, or a taser.
25/02/2021 14:49:38 UTC
nab301 said :-
talking of Wankel engines I would have loved a Hercules DKW or a Norton Commander.
27/02/2021 17:59:31 UTC
Crofty said :-
Now that i'm back from my Irish trip thought its time i did the valves. its at 10k now and never been looked at. Inlets were at the lower limit 0.05mm but exhausts were tight at 0.10/12mm. thanks to Nigel write up it all went well, new plugs as well. took it for a run this afternoon, all good.
Posted Image
25/09/2021 20:20:57 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
While overall I'm happy with my CB500X in many ways, I admit I have a huge envy of the 250 Strom's seemingly simple tappet service. I dream of screw-n-locknut valves that require only simple parts removal to gain access as opposed to the 500's nightmare of pipes, wires, panels, cables, plastic bits and all else.

If my experience is anything to go by the tight exhaust valves should, next time, not be so tight. I suspect they bed in for the first few miles then settle in.
27/09/2021 10:14:42 UTC
Crofty said :-
I know what you mean Ren, I miss my NC700 because of the ease of valve check, not as easy as the v strom 250 but alot easier than shim changes
27/09/2021 14:28:06 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The actual act of swapping shims on the 500 is tolerably do-able. It's GETTING to the blasted shims that's the nightmare. Than and... realising you only have 7 of the 8 shims you need. GRRRR!

I've seen a video of someone doing the tappets on an NC750X. While the radiator has to come off once that's done it appeared to be simple enough.
27/09/2021 19:39:48 UTC
Crofty said :-
Just watched a video on the cb500x shims, lots of stuff to take off right enough. NC much easier
27/09/2021 20:40:36 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Yup Crofty. I think the CB500X is a very good machine all round save for this one flaw. I wonder if I could put the engine in upside down, this would make access to the valvetrain a lot easier.
28/09/2021 09:32:43 UTC
Crofty said :-
Yep its a great bike, on my radar for when the V Strom 650 gets a bit heavy, like the new colours
Posted Image
28/09/2021 15:17:13 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I would never choose a bike on colour alone... but. Yeah, the army style green is pretty good and when I got my first CB500X I chose the army style sand colour. Perhaps the army connotations attract me because they represent the rough and adventurous person I'd like to be and not the dull middling grey person I really am. It is worth noting that while I dislike grey colours both motorcycles and the car I own are all... grey. They call it silver but come on, it's grey.
29/09/2021 18:10:21 UTC
pocketpete said :-
I didn't think the valve check was very difficult on the cb500x it only took ren about 5 mins to sort them out. Oh and half a day strippng it down and the other half putting it back together. I found the whole process quite easy a few bres and a bacon butty.
My hand didn't even get oily. But the nc750x looks an easier prospect.
30/09/2021 12:17:41 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I hate to mention this PocketPete but as you know the NC750X comes in automatic and it wouldn't take much to put the rear brake on the handlebars where the clutch would be. I'll shut up now before Paula comes to beat me up.
01/10/2021 09:22:57 UTC
Mark said :-
Sorry to resurrect this but do you have link to the service manual for the VStrom 250, I can see one on Ebay but its silly money from Japan.


02/03/2023 21:00:36 UTC
Henrik said :-
If it's for valve adjustment just usea manual for GW250 Inazuma ,.. same
06/03/2023 23:27:21 UTC

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