Katana Tool List Page
I get asked about "What tools do I need (or should I get) to do an valve adjustment, oil change, chain replacement, etc. on my Katana (GSX600F, GSX750F)" every few weeks.
Rather than repeatedly
answering the same question, I'm posting up a webpage with all the tools that you ought to have, the minimum you should need, and little bits of advice related to tools.
The Bike's OEM Toolkit
This is the very minimum everyone should have. It contains the basic tools
you need to adjust your chain, change your spark plugs, replace your battery and deal
with most minor on-the-road emergencies. If you do not have one, I sell them cheaper
than your dealer does -- send me an email with your year & model, plus your address
and I'll send you a quote.
Note that this should not be the end of your under-seat kit,
especially if you tend to ride more than 30 miles from home. A few good upgrades,
such as a leatherman or other versatile multi-tool, a tire puncture repair kit, a
good flashlight, some spare fuses, a 10' length of 14 gauge wire, a clean shop rag
and some bailing wire should be under the seat as well. I'll come back to this
paragraph some time later and expand on it to show you an ideal configuration for a
long-road-trip ready Katana.
Minimalists - The Valve Adj Quick List:
The Bare Minimum:
- Small beam-style torque wrench (0-25+ ft-lbs) or micro-torque wrench with 25-250 in-lbs (all '88-'06 GSX600F/GSX750F)
- Set of metric allen keys with 4, 5, 6mm (all models; some keys are in OEM toolkit)
- 2 sets of feeler gauges, .004" - .011" in .001" increments (all; 750 & 98+ 600 need only .004 - .009")
- Valve Tappet Tool or smallest adjustable wrench (nut-adjuster valves)
Shim Tool (shim-under-bucket valves: 92-97 Kat 600)
- 8mm wrench (nut-adjuster valves)
- 19mm socket & ratchet or wrench (all - turn the timing signal rotor)
- #2 Phillips Screwdriver (all - can be found in the OEM toolkit)
- 10 & 12mm wrenches or sockets & ratchet (all models - remove tank, airbox, etc.)
- Small Pliers for fuel line clamps (all - can be found in the OEM toolkit)
General Mechanics Tool Set:
This is the bottom line basics everyone who wants to do a valve adjustment, or any
serious mechanic's level work on a bike should have. If you don't already have a good
socket & wrench set, in the USA, I specifically recommend Sear's Craftsman brand mechanics tool sets; in
Canada, look at either Canadian Tire or Sears. Both brands have free lifetime replacements
on any hand-tools that breaks, chips, rusts, or otherwise dissatisfies, and both
companies are almost guaranteed to be around until the next millennium (unlike those
damn Builder's Square tools I bought so long ago -- never know when Lowes will be eaten or beaten
by HomeDepot or visa-versa).
The old adage about you can buy cheap tools over and over or buy good tools
once is very spot-on for this purpose.
At Sear's, I recommend buying the largest set of
boxed tools you can readily afford (by boxed tools, I mean tools that come with their
own toolbox specifically for storing those tools), and in my humble opinion, do not start
with anything under 140 pieces when talking about Sears mech tool kits. Specifically, you won't go
wrong with any of the following:
- 154 piece tool set (sears item # 00935154000)
- 182 piece mechanics tool set (sears item # 00933182000)
- 247 piece mechanics tool kit (more expensive than the others but includes a 25-250 in-lb micro-torque wrench - full kit is sears item #
- the 260 or 263 piece kits (sears item # 00933260000 and 00935263000,
These kits will give you all the basic sockets, ratchets, wrenches, allen
keys that you'll need to virtually everything on the Kat, aside from a few specialty
tools and particularly large sockets/wrenches for special needs. They last your lifespan
unless you lose them, and will also work with every car, bike or other vehicle you ever own (well, unless you buy that
funky 1954 Morris Minor or some other truly ancient foreign antique).
Note that Sears tends to have sales on these tool sets on a
regular basis, so it pays to watch their website for sales pricing (common times:
just after XMas, father's day, 4th of July, Back-to-School in the
second half of August, Thanksgiving [black friday particularly] thru XMas; they seem to run at
least one sale a month, and it can easily save you 10-25% off standard pricing).
Non-standard Sockets & Wrenches:
Most of the above kits don't range out to the size of certain nuts & bolts on the
Kat, such as the front chain sprocket nut (32mm) and the ignition advancer nut
(needed for the valve adjustment), so you ought to augment them with the following
items if your tools don't already include them:
- 32 mm 6-point socket (front chain sprocket, needed to change sprockets);
- Optional: 19 mm box/open combo wrench (ignition advancer rotor, needed for valve adjustments to rotate the cams). You can use a 19 mm socket to do this, but I prefer using a wrench.
You will still need a few more specialized tools for certain jobs. The
most critical one for the Katana is a torque wrench, which is used for far more bolts
& parts than you'd ever imagine (the purpose of a torque wrench is to let you install
a bolt at exactly the right amount of force, so you don't strip the receiver's
threads out by using too much force, and so it's not so loose as to vibrate back
out). Stripping out the oil pan drain bolt (16.5 ft-lbs) or a spark plug (8 ft-lbs) is very common for new mechanics
on the Katana who think they can get away without it and quite expensive to repair --
don't skip getting a torque wrench.
Words of Warning: unlike most cars, most of the torque-specific stuff on the Kat is very
low (small) torque values and represents steel threading into aluminum on the engine,
so being off means stripping the engine's receiver threads & very expensive (and often PIA) to replace or repair. Virtually all
clicker-style torque wrenches are very, very inaccurate in the lowest 20% of their range,
so if you insist on getting a clicker-style torque wrench, get one that's a
micro-range one (25 - 250 inch-lbs [NOT FT-LBS!]). For a starting toolkit, a
beam-style torque wrench (sears item #00944690000, $25 regularly) is both accurate for your needs at low values
and inexpensive compared to a good quality micro-torque wrench.
Do note that the 247 piece mechanics' tool kit I mentioned above includes a 25-250
in-lbs micro-torque wrench in the kit.
You'll need at least five screwdrivers for the Kat to do any serious
mechanic's work on it - a #2 phillips, a #3 phillips, two sizes of flathead, and if
you work on the carbs, a #2 JIS standard (which looks like a phillips, but isn't).
Again, I tend to turn to Sears for my screwdrivers (because they do replace them --
dull tip, chipped or damaged, no questions asked). A craftsman 20 piece (sears item #
00941516000), or larger set will provide you ever screwdriver you'll ever
need aside from the weird JIS standard one. If you're particularly short on space or
on funds, consider getting a bit-driver instead with a good assortment of phillips &
flathead bits (I've been known to buy cheap multi-tool kits just to get the bit assortments).
For the JIS standard, which you need for the carb float bowls, the ignition advancer
sensor plate and a few other places, you can find them on the web from a few sources,
and I have ordered inventory to start carrying them for sale myself if you want to score
them through me.
TIP: Always look for square shafted screwdrivers or shafts that have a 6-sided
nut-like fitting at the top, so you can use a wrench to add additional leverage when needed. Round
shafts suck the big one...
Unless you happen to have an air compressor handy at home, an impact
driver is the next item on the list. This device takes a hard hammer smack to the
rear and turns it into a little bit of rotation with a whole lot of torque. Used in
combination with a little bit of penetrating oil (such as PowerBlaster or Kroil),
this will let you remove most rusted, frozen, or loctited-on screws & bolts without
chewing them up. You can get them cheaply from many sources, including HarborFreight
stores and most auto parts stores. If you want Sears specifically (sears item
#00947641000), it's almost twice the typical market price at $25, but it is
craftsman, so it has a lifetime warrantee.
One word of caution: always buy one that (A) can be set to
rotate in both directions (clockwise & counterclockwise), and (B) has a square drive
end that is either 3/8" or 1/2" so it can be used with sockets.
Oil Filter Wrench or substitute:
The oil filter on the Katana is supposed to be spun-on two full turns
(720 degrees) from point of the seal first starting to touch the block. That is a lot
of force to get them on and off, and really calls for a tool to do the job. My
preference is for the OEM filters (in my opinion, the OEM is best filter for the
Katana and the bike's extremely high temp range potential), so the Suzuki OEM oil
filter wrench ($4.50 + S&H through me) is my preference for this job. If you use a
variety of filters (different shapes/sizes), you may want to consider an alternative
tool, such as a three-prong self-tightening universal oil filter wrench adaptor, or a
Carb Sync Tool (manometer):
If you do valve adjustments or tear open your carbs, you need to
resync them afterwards. A manometer, aka carb sync tool is the tool needed for this
-- it's basically a set of four vacuum measures that allow you to balance the vacuum
draw between the cylinders so that the engine runs smoothly. For those of you
considering not buying nor building one (nor borrowing one) because you think your
next bike will have fuel-injection, let me clarify something: multi-cylinder fuel
injected bikes need the same basic tool to balance their vacuum levels as well;
injected fuel does not remove the requirement to sync.
The Basic Types of Carb Sync Tools:
- There are plans on the net for building your own using clear tubing and oil or water,
for under $20
disadvantages: very difficult to swap lines on a hot engine.
- Then there are the vacuum dial-type gauges. Prices vary highly with quality, and calibration over time tends to go off.
advantages: sometimes price, but usually not since you need four-gauge set.
disadvantages: gauges tend to vary from each other in terms of
calibration over the years.
- Next up are the liquid filled versions (if you get one of these, get one of the
newer versions that use glycol instead of mercury (see next paragraph for why), such
as the MotionPro SyncPro.
advantages: only mid-range price, newer glycol liquid versions
won't damage or destroy the engine if liquid accidentally sucked in.
disadvantages: liquid tends to spill in storage or
loading/unloading and often has to be replaced or refilled; if liquid is mercury, it can destroy the engine.
SPECIAL CAUTION: mercury is a catalyst to
aluminum that causes the aluminum to self-destruct on contact and will continue to do
so until it has bored all the way through the aluminum engine to reach the ground.
The issue is so serious that by FAA ruling, mercury can not be transported on modern
aircraft (because the structure of most modern jets is made of aluminum). For
pictures & more details, see PopSci.
com - Mercury + Aluminum. As a result, I strongly recommend against
mercury-based carb sync tools!
- RECOMMENDED: my recommendation are the solid-slug type carb sync tools. In
my opinion these are the best solution, the best tool, and oddly enough, the same
tool that Suzuki lists in their own factory service manual (although the Suzuki
version is about 3 times as expensive as the brand I'm about to recommend). Because
this version uses solid metal slugs in plastic tubes, there is nothing to break,
nothing to go wrong, and it'll work as well in 20 years as it did the day you bought
it. I recommend the Morgan CarbTune, which is
a best-of-breed example of slug-based carb syncs.
advantage: once-in-a-lifetime purchase, always works, no
hassles or maint.
disadvantage: weak US Dollar makes it
a bit pricier than some of the alternatives.
The Morgan CarbTune ships out of England and typically arrives in your USA-based
mailbox in 4 to 7 days from the day you order it (bit longer around the XMas
- And finally, the electronic carb syncs. These are intended (at least all the
units I've seen) for high-volume shops, the better ones even instruct the mechanic on
which way to turn the screwdriver (seriously).
advantage: great if you're doing 10 syncs a day and need to
maximize your tired mechanic's time.
disadvantage: prices are astronomical, issues with
lifespan of electronic devices of any sort (esp. with RoHS compliance leading to
whisker growth: NASA PDF Report on the issue).
Metric Allen Key Socket Set:
If you're doing a valve adjustment, you'll need a set of these to be able to use the
torque wrench with some of the valve cover bolts when you reinstall; you'll also need
them if you want to pull the headers off unless someone was nice enough previously to
coat the header bolts with high-temp anti-seize (in which case, you'll still need
them to put the headers back on with the correct torque using the torque wrench).
Again, I prefer the sear's craftsman version for this, and have a nightmare story
about a set of Stanley metric allen head sockets I picked up at WalMart in the middle
of the night to finish the "job".
If you're doing a valve adjustment, you'll need two sets of these to be able
correctly set the clearances on the valves. Critical that the set includes .004"
through .011" in .001" increments. Having sets that are bent at 45 degrees about
half-way down the feeler (or 90 degrees close to the tip) is a nicety, but not
absolutely necessary. Available via any auto parts store, as well as for $4 a set
Freight - Feeler Gauges - item # 32214.
Why two sets? So you can stick the minimum clearance under one valve while
you measure the paired valve for the same cylinder, to make sure you're not getting
any see-saw action that's throwing your readings off.
TIP: Webpage - How to use
Feeler Gauges Correctly (includes clear illustrations), by The CyberPoet.
T-Handled Metric Allen Keys (Ball-ended preferred):
Not absolutely necessary, but they really do make your life a whole lot easier when
you remove the fairings & other parts that use allen key bolts.
About $12 - $25 through most motorcycle shops (including CycleGear Stores), or you can get the
non-ball-ended version from Harbor
Freight for $6 (item # 37862).
TIP: If you've already previously invested in a battery powered variable speed drill/screwdriver, grab a metric allen key bit for it that matches the primary screws on the fairing. It'll save you a lot of time getting them out.
Valve Tappet Tool or MotionPro Shim Tool:
All '89 - '06 Katana 750's (GSX750F):
The Valve Tappet tool holds the valves on nut-adjuster Katanas (all years of Katana GSX750F) steady when you re-tighten the locking nut, and allows you to set the clearances easily with greasy hands. Available through me for under $10 delivered globally.
'88 - '91 Katana 600's (GSX600F)
'98 - '06 Katana 600's (GSX600F):
The Valve Tappet tool holds the valves on nut-adjuster Katanas (specified years of Katana GSX600F) steady when you re-tighten the locking nut, and allows you to set the clearances easily with greasy hands. Available through me for under $10 delivered globally.
'92 - '97 Katana 600's (GSX600F):
The MotionPro Suzuki-type Shim Tool allows you to lift the bucket to swap shims without removing the cams. Order via your dealer as MotionPro part number 08-0017. These engines do not use nut-adjuster valves and can
not utilize the Valve Tappet Tool unless someone either swapped heads or engines to the nut-adjuster type.
Whole Lot Easier Tools, or Tool-Substitutes:
These are not absolutely necessary, but they really do make your life a whole lot easier when
you do oil changes or valve adjustments (the minor & major services on the Katana):
- GearWrench 8mm Flex-headed Ratchet Wrench - Eases valve adjustments for nut-adjuster valved Katana's (use only a single finger when tightening to prevent over-torquing!) - available from Lowes for under $13, or from Sears for about $20. Go to Lowes.
- Mechanix MPact Gloves - Keeps you from slicing up your hands on your spark plug well risers & other sharp bits while loosening/tightening the nuts for the valves. $20 - $40 at hardware stores, auto parts stores.
- Magnetic Oil Drain Bolt Socket (GearWrench, among other brands) - Keeps you from dropping the oil drain bolt into the oil catch pan and having to reach in to retrieve it later. Nice, but not as good as solution as the fumoto valve upgrade.
- Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, model F111 - Replaces the stock oil drain bolt with a petcock valve with a safety catch, makes draining oil as simple as turning a lever. Note that 98+ Kats must dremel off some of the ledge next to the oil drain bolt hole to permit this to screw in (see install instructions on KatRiders.com).
- Spark Plug Gap tool - simple tool lets you check and regap spark plugs of all sorts (although the OEM NGK spark plugs for the kat -- available cheaply through me -- are pre-gapped from the factory).
- Hemostats (aka Kelly Forceps), 6 to 10" with curved jaws, locking type - this tool is a God-send for removing and more importantly reinstalling throttle cables at the carbs. Also super useful for vacuum cap removal & reinstall on the carbs. $1 - $10 via ebay or your local flea market.
- Vice-Grips, small Curved Jaw or Long Nose variety - Particularly important if you need to remove the carburetors' float bowl screws and haven't invested in a JIS screwdriver (and/or a JIS impact bit for your impact driver). Grab the screws from the outside edge and start them rotating. Yes, you'll eat up the heads a bit, but a whole lot less than trying to use a #2 phillips to do the job.
Special Note: Skip the "Fast Release" versions of these tools -- for this task, they are not as good as the old-fashioned versions. I prefer the small curved-jaw; MD86 prefers the Long-Nose variety.
- Chain Alignment Tool - these vary from the $27 MotionPro Chain Alignment Tool (rod-based) to the $80 - $90 Profi LaserCat Chain Alignment Tool (laser-based).
Electrical Tools - Multimeter:
Sooner or later, you're going to want a multi-meter, which is a combination
voltage-meter, ohm-meter and amperage-meter, to test your battery, test for shorts,
etc. For the Katana, you don't need a particular complicated (or expensive) one for
anything to do with the charging system or shorts, which is where you are likely to
actually use this tool. Harbor
Freight - Item #98025 - $8 multimeter.
Motorcycle Basic Chemistry Set:
These lubes, anti-seizes, penetrating oils, thread-lockers are really something every vehicle owner that works on their own stuff should have (concept of listing them suggested by the krewe at KatRiders.com):
- Marine Grade Wheel Bearing Grease - This stuff is used for a zillion uses on the
Kat, including just about every bearing anywhere. Marine-grade is usually only $1
more expensive than regular, but stands up to the water exposure on a bike better,
making it the logical choice. Auto parts store or boat shop.
- LocTite Blue (aka Loctite 242) Threadlocker or threadlocker stick, or Permatex equivalent - This is the anti-vibration stuff
that goes on all the nuts & bolts you can't afford to have coming loose from
vibration (imagine your calipers falling off and you got the idea), but need to be able to take out again readily in the future. Any auto
parts store, usually under one of the two brands listed.
Permatex Blue Threadlocker.
Special Note: DO NOT USE any red-color threadlocking liquids --
specifically avoid Loctite Red (aka Loctite 260-series and Loctite 270-series) as
well as Permatex Red -- unless you want to have to use a blow-torch and massive force
to remove that bolt or nut ever again.
- Copper or Moly-based high-temp anti-seize - these compounds prevent threads for
permanently binding to each other, such as the spark plug threads, while preventing
rusting & dielectric welding (bonding of different kinds of metal due to
electron-exchange). They also make torque readings more accurate. Look for a temp
range exceeding at least 1500 degrees as ideal (Loctite Copper Anti-Seize C5A is
rated at 1800 degrees F). Or go one better, and use Loctite's
Marine Grade Anti-Seize (2400 degrees, plus salt-water exposure
- Spray Electrical Cleaner - cleans out debris, dust, oil, grime, grease in
electrical connectors, prepping them for application of dielectric grease. $5 - $10,
most hardware stores (Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowes) in the electrical section.
- Dielectric Grease - if you haven't used this stuff, use it. After cleaning with
the Spray Electrical Cleaner, fill every electrical connector on the bike with it
like it's going out of business -- it keeps water from penetrating and keeps
electrical plugs from shorting, rusting, or otherwise getting damaged. When you don't
have electrical issues in a few years (or a decade or two), you'll thank me. Permatex
Dielectric Grease (aka Tune-up Grease). Any auto parts store.
Special Note: You don't want the spray-injector can of this stuff -- take
the 3 oz squeeze tube version and you'll be set for a couple bikes from end-to-end.
The spray injector puts out far too much quantity for the small connector passages on
the Katana and is more suited to large construction equipment or industrial
- Chain Lube - there are a ton of differing opinions on what's the best
brand/make/type, and even what it should be made of (oil vs. wax). So many in fact,
that I put together a webpage on chain maintenance & the differences, so you can make
your own decisions (CyberPoet's
Chain Wear & Maintenance Webpage, covers lubes as well). Either way, you need
some form of chain lube! IMHO, the best hand-applied chain lube for the Kat based on
my own experiences (that's over 60k miles on 98+ kats alone) is Permatex Chain Lube (item #80075) -- with this
stuff, I got 27k to 30k miles on the OEM factory chains before they got anywhere
close to be needing to be replaced. BONUS: the can fits under the 98+ seat behind the
- Chain Cleaner - Suzuki calls for the use of kerosene to clean the chain, which is
great if you can find pure kerosene in your area. In Florida, they obsoleted kerosene
from sale at standard pumps at the same time they made kerosene room heaters illegal
for sale. The camping kerosene they sell at camping supply places (and Walmart)
contains too many other compounds to be considered for use, including chemistry that
will damage your o-rings. So that leaves you two basic choices: either hit an airport
that services jets and hope you can talk them into selling you some, or using an
alternative product. I use an alternative product called SlugeAway (by Moose Racing)
which is phenomenal for the task -- it eats the grease/oil away in nothing flat, then
gets rinsed off with water (bio-friendly too). A pint should last a year for just the
chain; a gallon lasts a few years including cleaning the swing arm & rims and runs
about $25 a gallon.
- Penetrating Oil - We're not talking WD-40 here, we're talking about
higher-powered penetrating oils whose job it is to climb up frozen/rusted threads
(i.e. threads that should have seen high-temp anti-seize previously & didn't) and
loosen them so you can get them out. The best stuff on the market is called Kroil, by Kano Labs, but it's not likely to be
found last-minute when you need it (so order some ahead of time). The next best
choice is PowerBlaster (these
days abbreviated to PB), specifically PB Penetrating Catalyst by Blaster Corp; you
can normally find it in any auto parts store or walmart (don't get it confused with
their PB-50 product, which is their WD-40 equivalent).
TIP: Penetrating oils take time to work, they are not instantaneous in any
sense. Spray, go away for an hour, come back and spray again. Wait several hours and
repeat. The more often you spray & wait, the more penetration any of these
penetrating oils will get and the easier stuck and frozen bolts will be to remove
Motorcycle Advanced Chemistry Set:
These chemicals are stuff you don't really need, can be harder to find, but are valuable in their own right:
- Silicone Lube - Clear spray silicone lube works like a micro-layer of super-slippery grease but
never degrades except by transference contact. Ideal for throttle cables, carb
butterfly springs, carb slides, and lots of other small moving non-electrical parts. $7 - $12
most hardware stores, some auto parts stores.
- Red Rubber Grease - a special vegetable-oil based grease formulated for rubber
components to extend their lifespans and replenish surface VOC's while preventing
excess VOC loss due to chemical & environmental exposure. Used sparingly on brake
caliper seals, vacuum diaphragms, velocity boots, they keep the rubber from aging or binding. Particularly important if manufacturers have stopped making rubber parts for your bike's systems.
Unfortunately, not sold normally in the USA, it is available in the UK readily as Castrol Red Rubber Grease (note: renolit also markets a version).
The good news? I have a 1 lb. vat of the stuff and send small batches (which is all you'll ever need) out on demand with orders for free.
SPECIAL NOTE: This stuff stains clothing, hands, etc. Even with neoprene or rubber gloves on, some will soak through and stain your fingers. You were warned.
Bonus Point Tools:
These tools are not necessary really in any sense to work on the Kat, but they do make any mechanic's work more pleasant (suggested by the krewe at KatRiders.com):
- Magnetic Parts Tray - Easy way to hold those pesky nuts, bolts & tools that want to roll away. HarborFreight - $6 for the small rectangular one.
- Shop Scissors, Kitchen Scissors or Gardening Shears - Fast easy way to cut fuel & vacuum line hoses cleanly. $1 for the kitchen scissors at most Dollar stores, $4-$8 for gardening shears at Walmart.
- Bag of Shop Rags - Cotton or disposable heavy-fiber paper. Although I prefer the
cotton ones, my other half isn't enamored with me when I wash them in our washer &
dryer (LOL). BUT I also found that if I buy 100 at a pop, they're almost as cheap as
the disposable paper ones that don't stand up as long.
HarborFreight - $12 for 50 cotton shop towels.; 250 Paper Shop Towels in a box at Advanced Auto Parts - $11.