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Zip tie for valve shim adjustment, a quick and easy guide.

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I have seen this trick mentioned briefly when doing some researched but the replies were mostly along the lines of it being sketchy or difficult. In fact it works very well and I have used this trick on both my FJ600 and now my RSTD. Use a good thick ziptie and there is no risk of it getting cut by the valve.


The method I use is this:

1) Bend a heavy(thick) zip tie to 90 degrees by pinching it with pliers, make sure that the short leg is 1-3/4" long to reach the valve.

2) Turn the engine over until the cams are pushing down the valves and insert the zip tie with the stem facing between the pair of valves you want to check. 

3) turn the zip tie gently to one side until you feel light contact or about 20 degrees, then while holding it there, slowly turn over the engine until you feel the valve grab the zip tie. If you miss, try lowering the valve and try again. 

4) If you caught it, properly, you can keep turning until you have enough room to pry out the shim from the bucket and grab it with a magnet as usual.

5) when do e, just turn the engine slowly backwards until it let's the zip tie go. Then you can wash, rinse and repeat for the remaining valves.


Hope this helps the other cheap buggers like me who don't have the tool handy!



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I used this method on my XJs but I haven't tried it on the XVZs. The XJ tool was a PITA and it was very easy to get installed incorrectly and crack a head. The XVZ tool works well, but they are hard to find. Fortunately I have one.


It's good to hear the wire tie works on these engines.

Edited by luvmy40
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2 hours ago, Prairiehammer said:

If I understand, you are inserting the zip-tie into the spark plug hole and holding open the valve by putting the zip tie between the valve head and the valve seat?

Correct, it gets trapped between the backside(top) and the valve seat in the head, holding it open.

Should I try and do a video or pictures of the process when my valve shims arrive?

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