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What valve shims to keep on hand?

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I have 3 Yamaha 250F's that I am trying to keep maintained. I haven't messed with valves much yet, so need some advice. I checked the valve clearance on my 04 a few weeks back, and they all seemed to be very close to the bottom end of the acceptable clearance, except for the middle intake valve which I couldn't seem to get any feeler gauge in there. Had a out of state riding trip planned for a couple days out, so decided best not to mess with it at the time. I always seem to try and make things better, and end up regretting it.

I am looking to place an order today, and trying to decide if I should just buy some shims separatly, or buy a kit. From what I have read, seems like buying the kit ends up with many that you will probably never use. Also, what special tools are really needed to mess with the valves? Service manuals seem to always list a ton of special tools, that aren't worth buying unless you are running a shop.

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From my experience most of these bikes come from the factory with shims ranging from about 175-185. You will only get smaller from there. The shim kits you can buy go way bigger than that. Here is what I would buy if I were you, best bang for your buck:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hotcams-Hot-Cams-Valve-Shim-Refill-CRF250R-YZ250F-KX250F-RMZ250-HCSHIM04-/220904574007?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item336ef04c37

This comes with 5 of each size shim from 150-175. This should cover most thicknesses you will need with these bikes for half the price of a full shim kit.

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Any dealer who deals with Parts Unlimited can order 5 pack of same size shims for $6.00 same price as ebay. But if your dealer orders from Parts everyday you may have the shims the next day.

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I think the E-bay deal will probably be a good bet. Just easier than messing with going to a shop, especially when I figure in time and fuel.

Do I need to worry about a valve spring compressor or valve guide remover, or is that only if I get into it deeper, like needing to replace a valve?

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No you don't need a compressor or anything like that for the shims. To change the shims just remove the cam, lift bucket off the valve and replace shim. Very simple

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i have a stable of four 250f yammies,all of mine were shimmed around the 1.90 on the exhaust,and 1.82-1.85 on the intake.i would just measure your clearances and then see what shims you have in your motors now.then i would get a few smaller sizes for the intakes.my exhaust valves never have needed any re-shimming,and once the intakes were shimmed,they seem to stay put for a very long time.i have changed pistons and other top end parts at the 25-30 hr mark,and did'nt have to do any re-shimming to the valves.

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