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manual CCT install prep/Q's

Old 03-21-2014, 09:34 AM
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manual CCT install prep/Q's

so i finally got a set of APE CCT's and gaskets. ive read the how-to's on here and the UK forum. from what i understand, all it really comes down to is making sure your on compression at TDC for the cylinder your working on. then its just a matter of pulling the stocker carefully, putting in the new one and making sure you get the right tension. in a nut shell at least.

i think ive decided do this myself because i want to learn more about the internals of the bike, get the satisfaction of doing it myself, and not pay a few hundred bucks to have someone who doesnt care about the bike all that much do it.

i do have a few questions.

1. i dont like how i read so many different directions on getting the correct tension for the manual's. i hear finger tight then back out 1/4 (which seems not very tight) among a few others. whats the correct way to get the right tension? Im wondering if anyone with APE's can count the exposed threads on theirs for me? should err on the side of to loose or to tight if it comes down to being unsure?

2. in regards to the cam covers, some people take them off, some dont. Is there anyway to be absolutely positive your on compression on the correct cylinder without removing the cam covers? i figure since ill be learning as i go, its one more thing to potentially screw up. is there any tricks any one knows to do it without taking off the cam covers? and if i have to take off the rear cam cover (which i read is easier than the front), then after im done with the rear, wouldn't the next TDC be the front cylinder for sure?

3. do i need to buy any other gaskets or anything else before i do it? i read head gaskets are re-usable? i dont like running into surprises when it comes to having my bike dissembled and then having to wait a week for a part to come in

as always your input and help is greatly appreciated. i wouldnt be able to do these kinds of things if it wasnt for this forum and the great people that always help me out.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:48 AM
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1. I hand adjusted mine while running. You can hear a difference as you tighten. RPM will slightly drop. I backed off to the point the drop started.
2. I took only the rear off. Be careful that the cam chain doesn't slip or you will need to take the front off. I'd review the procedure in the archives. I think I remember 270 degrees of rotation to get to the front TDC. Best check that to be sure.
3.Only the CCT gaskets. Valve cover gaskets are reusable.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by thetophatflash View Post
1. I hand adjusted mine while running. You can hear a difference as you tighten. RPM will slightly drop. I backed off to the point the drop started.
2. I took only the rear off. Be careful that the cam chain doesn't slip or you will need to take the front off. I'd review the procedure in the archives. I think I remember 270 degrees of rotation to get to the front TDC. Best check that to be sure.
3.Only the CCT gaskets. Valve cover gaskets are reusable.
thanks for the responses. so should i err on the tight side while installing, then start the bike when done and back out slowly and stop when the RPM's start to drop?
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:42 AM
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I did pull my front and rear cam covers
because that way you can make absulutey sure the cam chain doesnt jump
because you will always know that it is on the compression stroke and for added safety it put ty wraps on the chain to keep it there

as to setting the manual ones, i just put them on the same slack on the cam chain as the stock CCT's where when the engine was cold about 6-7mm slack
(about a quarter inch i think) that amounts into 1 full revolution from finger tight so pretty tight for internet standards but when it warm ups it will get some more slack

if i remember correctly when your on TDC compression stroke on rear cyl
then when you counter clock wise 450 degrees its on right tdc on front cyl, i didn't do that though and just rotated it in normal way of operation... because some people say it's bad to rotate your engine the opposite way of normal running.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:55 AM
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Well you should at least give me a call so I can stop by and watch you do it.

That way you know it won't explode when you try to start it.....
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:02 PM
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It seems weird that there's no way to know for sure if your on compression stroke for a cylinder without removing the cam covers. It would be a 30 minute job of u didn't have to pull the covers. I figured for sure they're would be a simpler way.

I'd rather only remove the rear cover so I'll have to read up more in the how-to's on how to make sure I'm on compression for the front after I do the rear.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
Well you should at least give me a call so I can stop by and watch you do it.

That way you know it won't explode when you try to start it.....
You want me to come down there and we can do it at your place?
My fear is it will explode when I start it aha
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jscobey View Post
thanks for the responses. so should i err on the tight side while installing, then start the bike when done and back out slowly and stop when the RPM's start to drop?
If you start from a slightly tight situation, rpm will rise as you loosen the tension. I liked mine on the loose side of that point where rpm starts to drop. I also put a paint spot on a flat of the bolt head as a reference point.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:41 PM
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This is done by putting the Hawk in 6th gear (thanks nuhawk and slowhawk) and move the rear wheel until the "RT" mark is aligned with the mark on the casing. When the marks are aligned, the TDC (Top Dead Center) is reached for the rear cylinder. Remember the mark has to be exactly aligned. View it dead on not to the side as it will skew the alignment. If you happen to miss it by just a little, just give the rear wheel a tug and it will move the mark ever so slightly. Remember that if you continue to miss the mark by rotating the wheel, eventually it will become almost impossible to move it because of the compression in the cylinder. You can relief this pressure by starting the hawk and start over. To be safe and assured that there is absolutely no tension on the lobe, it is recommended to open the cam cover but it is not necessary if care is taken when removing the CCT as detailed below.


this is any exerpt from the how to on here.

so am i wrong in thinking that the RT mark shows exactley where you need to be to do the rear CCT. and the FT mark is exactley where you need to be for the front cylinder to do the front CCT?

and then removing the cam cover is just to make 100% sure ur right on the mark? or are the marks misleading and you can be on say RT but not be at the right spot for the rear?
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:36 PM
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Another way to verify you will not have catastrophic failure is to remove the spark plugs and turn the rngine over with a ratchet on the flywheel... A couple revolutions will tell you whether there is any contact.

James
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:00 PM
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just reading about removing the OEM CCT's in my haynes manual. it says nothing of checking timing, TDC, FT, RT, or even opening up the alternator bolts at all... it says nothing of removing the cam covers, or anything.

all it talks about is the way in which to properly remove and replace them. i wondering how they could skip over such important steps if they are necessary? is it maybe because they are replacing them with stock CCT's and all the other steps or only for replacing manual CCT's? that doesn't make sense because either way your taking the tension off the cam chains.

a little confused here. im gonna check the actual honda manual and see what it says about it.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:38 AM
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The Haynes manual is wrong -

www.vtr1000.org • View topic - Haynes Customer Service

Haynes Customer Service
Postby flexibledoor69 Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:19 pm

Hey all,

I'm new on here, joined a few weeks ago and have only been lurking since then. I feel the need to comment on Haynes (that does the Haynes Manuals) due to very recent dealings with them.

Long story short was that I changed out the cam chain tensioners and followed the Haynes method. A few bent valves later I searched the workshop forum on here and saw that I hadn't followed the steps from other members to set the cylinders at TDC (which a lot of you have also mentioned is the missing step in the Haynes manual)

Unfortunately I lost my temper and sent a venomous email to Haynes telling them that their manual was wrong and I pinned all the blame on them. (in retrospect I know I should have set the cylinders at TDC so I know I carry blame on this one too...) I was not expecting a response from Haynes considering my rude email however I did get a response which exceeded my expectations.

The Haynes Motorcycle Editorial Manager personally emailed me back to apologise for the wrong information being typed in their manuals (info given to them direct from Honda) and also that they had not had any feedback from the general public regarding the steps in their manual being incomplete. She has also stated that they have changed the process in their manuals to the correct one and that it will be corrected in the next printing batch that they produce. (see extract below)
I am pleased to hear that the procedure to remove the top-ends is going well and that the manual has been useful. No need at all to apologise for the tone of your e-mail.

We have prepared an amendment to our manual and will implement this when the manual is next reprinted

I just wanted to highlight to this user community that I think this is a massively commendable effort on their part. I don't know how much it costs to change text parts when you're printing bike manuals but to undertake this just because a guy from Australia lost his temper in an email is amazing customer service.

If the Mods of this forum want to broadcast this across other boards in this forum to let others know that the haynes manuals are being changed for this procedure I"m more than happy for you to do so.

Cheers guys, now its off to replace some bent valves!!
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
Well you should at least give me a call so I can stop by and watch you do it.
Scobey, with an offer like that, don't worry yourself. A seasoned veteran of the Superhawk will guide your every move (take him up on the offer).
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolverine View Post
Scobey, with an offer like that, don't worry yourself. A seasoned veteran of the Superhawk will guide your every move (take him up on the offer).
oh i definitely am! 8541 is only a 30 minute ride from me and hes already helped me out a bunch before. Plus i blame my OCMD on him

i just like to get a better understanding for how everything works and why. and im really dissapointed in the haynes manual getting it wrong considering timing is such a crucial step which if not followed, leads to massive damage.

i know theres a couple small mistakes like saying you need to drain the coolant to take the carbs off but the CCT mistake is pretty burnt.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:35 AM
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You have the service manual right?
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolverine View Post
You have the service manual right?
Yes deffinatley. In PDF form. It only talks about the CCT's in relation to dissasambling the whole head though. Cam shafts and all. I couldn't find anything that talks about just removing and replacing the CCTs. Fortunately there is some very we'll written how to's on here and the Uk site.

I'm just waiting for 8541 to reply to my PM on a time to meet up. I'm trying to get them in Tomorow or Monday. I've heard a few to many cases of people auto's grenading themselves while they have manuals on the workbench waiting to be installed.

Plus I'm doing a track day next weekend so I could have some peace of mind knowing everything is sound.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:57 AM
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Actually it would be better if I came to where you are at.

With that I do have to wonder why the urgent need to swap them out.

We could get into the whole "it's a poor design" debate but it has all be covered before.

The one true thing I see in common with the bikes that have had CCT failure is the bikes were bought used and the CCTs were not swapped out.

That is why it is recommend to swap them out when you get a new to you VTR.

Which type you run is up to you as the both work fine.

If the design is so bad, why is it that there were no CCT issues the first 3-4 yrs these bikes were out.

Also sure you will hear about the failures but when things don't go wrong, you tend not to hear about them. When there is no issue people generally don't mention it.

Now personally I will turn 100K on my bike in the next couple of months, I have put all those miles on, as I bought the bike new, and have only run factory auto CCTs the whole time (yes they have been swapped out a couple of times)....... so am I just lucky or do the auto CCTs work just fine if you do your maintenance and follow a couple simple rules.

Which leads to this, you changed out the CCTs less than 5K miles ago and here you are changing them again.

I do have to wonder why? We have had this discussion before but it does seem that you are changing things, just to change them.

IMHO you have passed on doing important things like getting your suspension components serviced and have just thrown farkles and mods at the bike that are not needed until that is done.

As it stands IMHO you need to, at a minimum, change the fork oil as you don't know how old it is, what weight was used or what the oil level was set at. The rear shock desperately needs a rebuild as the preload adjuster doesn't work and remember I told you I broke the shaft in my Ohlins shock because I let it go past the service date. FYI to rebuild the shock from that kind of failure cost as much as getting a head rebuilt, so you have been warned.

With all that again I am willing to stop by and check your work but I also do not believe in all the alternative ways of installing CCTs.


For me, the only way to do the job right is to remove the plugs from the side cover so you can rotate the engine with a wrench not mess around trying to turn the rear wheel.

You also need to remove both valve covers so you can see what you are doing.

The whole do the rear properly and then replacing the front without removing the cover can be done but why?

To me, my engine is too important to take chances and short cuts which make me guess and hope the front is in the right position and the chain doesn't jump a tooth just to save a hour or so needed to remove and replace the front valve cover.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:56 AM
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I respect all that. I deffinatly do. I did change out the CCT's that recently but I've heard of them going at around 5K. What's the point of risking it when I have the manuals waiting to go in.

As for the shock I'm not sure what about the preload adjuster isn't working because it worked fine when catalyst reaction set things up. Still though I'm going to have the shock and forks done at the same time. But seein as I can't have the downtime from mailing things away i need to find a good semi local shop do it. The service limit on the ohlins shock is every 30,000 km. my bike doesn't even have 30,000 km (yes it's in KM cuz mines a storm from Canada) on it plus I don't think the shock was put it the day the bike rolled off the showroom floor.

I do know when the forks were last gone through an the oil changed as the seller let me know all that info. But still I'd rather make sure everything is tip top hence I'm heading your warning. I just don't want some average shop who claims they "rebuild" shocks do it.

Again about the CCTs I'd rather put them in than be paying for bent valves cuz I didn't. I get no one really says oh hey my CCT's didn't fail today on here.

Like I said if u read my post when I got the auto's put in 5000 miles ago it ended up being free because I asked for manual CCTs and the kid that ordered te parts just got the stockers. So they didn't charge me for parts OR labor. So yes at least I've got new stockers but that's still not the peace of mind I can get with manuals. Since the new autos were free, I figured **** I'll spend $90 to get APEs and never have to worry about snapping the throttle shut or anything. Ever.

I almost feel like your saying I've gotta "earn my stripes" or something before I'm allowed to do mods.

Trust me I REALLY do respect you, your bike, you knowledge, and your expierience.

The bottom line is I love the hawks platform. I knew when I bought it that I'd have to spend money on it to get it to be a more sport oriented "performance" bike. Suitable for the track. I knew I was going to do mods when I bought it. And of I didn't like dosing mods I would have bought a CBR or something.

It's just that recently I've done a lot of stuff. I've been putting money in the "hawk fund" for a while and recently just started doing the mods I've been wanting to do for a while. Like I always say on here I like wrenching almost as much as riding so the mods are fun projects as well as improving my bike.

I'm really not sure what the problem is with doing things when I have the extra time and money.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jscobey View Post
I almost feel like your saying I've gotta "earn my stripes" or something before I'm allowed to do mods.


I'm really not sure what the problem is with doing things when I have the extra time and money.
I can tell by these two statements that you did miss my point.

Go ahead and mod all you want. The point I was making is that when you make so many changes so quickly you really have no time to evaluate what you have done. So you end up not really knowing if the bike is better for you or not.

Now for the shock, I have personally never seen a hydraulic preload adjuster just start working again after it stops functioning but even if it did that is something that needs to be addressed because if it works one day but not the next you could end up in the ditch.

For the rebuild intervals 30K k is a bit high Ohlins states 12-15K miles or 10hrs of track time. http://www.ohlinsusa.com/ohlins-usa-why-service

It isn't just about mileage but also time plays a factor. You can loose pressure inside the shock, which will hurt performance and also the lower spherical bearing needs to be cleaned and serviced for example.

What can happen if this is not done is the bearing can seize and then you break the shaft in the shock..... been there done that and have posted the pics. If this happens be ready for a $500-600 repair bill.

For the forks, when was the last time the fluid was changed? What weight and type of fluid was used? What is the fluid level? When was the last time the bushings where changed? With this info you can work out where you stand.

Once again make whatever changes you want but I do question the order and priorities you have set in making the changes.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:06 PM
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That's straight from the ohlins HO-701 owners manual. So I didn't just make those numbers up.

But as far as the forks I have most of that info in a message on here somewhere. I can go back to find it. Like I said I know the forks and shock should be done. It's not like I chose manual CCT's over getting my suspension sorted. I just havnt found a shop that can do it that I trust. I also need to have time to have the bike unusable for the duration of the rebuilds because I commute on my bike so it's hard to get a few days where it's okay for the bike to be taken apart.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:58 PM
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I did it this way

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Old 03-22-2014, 07:47 PM
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I did my CCT's with the valve covers open and turning the engine over with a wrench. I set the tension, hand tight and 1/4 turn back. Then once the bike was put back together , I readjusted it when the engine was warm using the sound. I think I ended up backing it out a bit more. I'd err on the looser side for CCT tension. Slight loose is more likely to just cause more nose and increased gradual wear vs slightly over-tight, will dramatically increase wear on the cam chain, sprokets and tensioner blade/guides.

I have a Bandit 1200 engine in my garage with a broken cam-chain. The PO installed an ape CCT and set it too tight. The chain snapped in under 3k miles. Such shame, because the cylinders, pistons, cams, bearings etc were in great shape even at 85k miles and that engine should have easily lasted another 100k-150k miles with the stock CCT.(CCT were not an issue on Bandits of that vintage, only reason to go manual was on a Drag race engine build)

I know a local guy with a superhawk with 120k miles on it and still on original stock CCT's. My 2001 when I picked it up had 45k miles and It was close to 50k miles when I changed the CCT's. The original did not have any apparent wear. I was checking and adjusting the valves anyway, so it was not much more work to do the CCT swap the right way.

On the shock, to avoid down time, why not install the stock shock back on it while you send the Ohlins to rebuild. Catalyst Reaction is an excellent suspension shop and they know their stuff. So worth the hassle of shipping it IMO.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:46 PM
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finally thats out of the way!

DONE!! in about 3 hours from first wrench turned to last bolt tightened.

that was way easier than i made it out to be in my head. i took off the rear valve cover to make sure everything was correct and did the rear CCT. and then i did the front CCT based on the 450 degree counter-clock rotation of the crank to get to FT.

as far as adjusting the slack on the cam chain, the UK forums "how-to" guide for putting in manuals said 5-7mm of slack. thats way easier/safer at least for me then of start the back and adjust by noise..... because the noise id get to is BANG since id prolly back it out to far.

so i got 7mm slack on the rear CCT and then i measured with my precision caliper the distance between the top nut and the lock nut on the rear CCT, and copied that same distance on the front CCT to get the adjustment right.

started the bike and what do you know. no bangs cracks or booms.

just the sweet sweet sound of knowing my engine wont grenade in the next 5 seconds.

finally feels good to have a MOSFET r/r and manual CCT's.

now i can just enjoy my bike for a while!

Rick, i bought the bike with the ohlins installed so i dont have a stock shock otherwise id do that. plus i want my RC forks sorted and i dont have a back up front end so regardless im looking at downtime.

theres actually a very high end race suspension shop about 2 hours away i beleive, so im prolly gonna send everything there to be sorted and refreshed. i hear they are top notch.
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Old 03-03-2017, 04:56 PM
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Hey all,

Bringing up a 3 year old thread. Checking valves today, and decided to check tension on the cam chain (manual CCT's). (Its been years... )

-Are we still looking for 5-7 mm of play?

-Checked between the sprockets with the guide off?

-I'm assuming you rotate the engine a few times if any adjustment is made?

-Is the measurement made for example from top of chain to top of chain?

Thanks all, hope that makes a bit of sense....
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:02 PM
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Maybe someone can chime in with a number. I did mine by sound while running.
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jefejrs View Post
Hey all,

Bringing up a 3 year old thread. Checking valves today, and decided to check tension on the cam chain (manual CCT's). (Its been years... )

-Are we still looking for 5-7 mm of play?

-Checked between the sprockets with the guide off?

-I'm assuming you rotate the engine a few times if any adjustment is made?

-Is the measurement made for example from top of chain to top of chain?

Thanks all, hope that makes a bit of sense....
The 5-7mm is correct; I did mine at the looser end of that scale.

Yes you need to check that between the sprockets with the guide off. I didn't rotate the engine between adjustments. Yes the slack is measured on one side of the chain only.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:15 PM
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What do we think..? Thanks for the responses..
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:57 PM
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That seems loose to me; I set min to 7mm total with pushing down and pulling up, measured with a steel ruler.
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04-12-2005 09:04 PM


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