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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting ready to drop in a new race cam and head gasket. I haven't opened her up yet but she has a few miles on her. I'm debating if I should wait and see if I have any retainers broken and replace them with 04/05 retainers or just swap them out with 06/07 retainers.....suggestions? I have an 05.
 

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well i broke retainers on my 2004 and my 2006 zx10r. the both suck. but they have always broken on the intake side apparently due to valve float. the last time i pulled my valve cover to install my race cam on my 2006 i had 7 that's right 7 broken retainers on the intake side.. i installed carpenter springs with my new cam and installed new stock retainers and i have not had any issues since, carpenter makes titanium retainers, they are a bit pricey but supposedly bulletproof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ahhhh I may have to re-think then. I was going to use the stock springs per the race manual but I would rather go with what people are seeing here than a race manual.
 

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Speed Freak
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I ran for the longest time stock springs and stock retainers on my 04 and never had a retainer break, but 3 other 10rs I worked on had broken retainers from 04 threw 07's

carp springs and retainers are about 380 bucks their spring kit is 150 so yeah 230 for ti retainers. kibble whites retainers are about 290 but their spring and retainer package is 580 bucks! ouch....
 

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MIdlife PIMP
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I'm in the same boat!....gonna tear her down in a few weeks and get the cam and HG installed.............I am gonna go with the stock springs but will replace the retainers with Ti!...........I have heard too many horror stories!
 

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MIdlife PIMP
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When will one know that they need this done to their bike? I just pick up and 04 with 4300 miles.......:dontknow:
some have had good luck with the stock alum. retainers............some not!
If you ride hard and up near redline alot...I would say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!.......do a search on Retainer failure.........it isn't a pretty sight!.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think Ill stay with the stock retainers. They are only $3.11 a piece so I can get all of them for less than $100 then maybe Ill get some after market springs.

Garth,

Do you think maybe the ones that are breaking have shroomed/stretched valves or maybe were too set tight trying to get that extra bit of HP? Maybe if we set on the middle to upper end of clearance we wouldn't see this. I'm asking you because I know you have done a ton of these. Not to mention your a ZX-10 god LOL.
 

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Speed Freak
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hahah please don't say zx10r god I get in trouble apparently lol...

Honestly it has been a hit or miss run of these retainers.

like I Said my 04 had stock valve train in it for 4k miles and then I put the race intake in and rode it like that for another 18k miles and then I put in carp springs when I did an epoxy small port set up but ran those same stock retainers!

Dirt ninja had me to a cam install for him when i lived in Orlando and his bike was a bone stock 06-07 and when I took his head off and took all the buckets off I found 3 broken retainers on the intake side of the STOCK valve train.

I think it is a hit or miss because we could have heard more stories about this but yet again every zx10r owner isn't on this website.

To be honest man if you run stock springs while your in the head and I would do this from the VERY BEGINNING of my motor build I would just wait one more paycheck and order the carpenter springs and retainers or at the VERY least order titanium retainers.

BUT thats just being very umm I guess you could say safe. I personally remember worrying as I was in the middle of a top end run when I was trying to get my bike to rev to 13,100rpms from the ign module worrying about the valve train lol. So if I Were you consider those 3 options

1. buy carp spring and retainers = $380
2. buy carp retainers = $230ish
3. wait and see if you even have any broken retainers

if they haven't broken yet I don't think they will but your running a good chance and its all going to be preventative maintenance.
 

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Speed Freak
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Good point. Sounds like I should go with the carp spring and retainers.

yeah, I know times are tough but honestly, to know you never have to worry about your valve train other then valve adjustments is something worth paying almost 400 dollars for piece of mind! :thumbsup:
 

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putting a race cam in with those stock springs is a mistake. it might work for a while and you might get lucky. but the reason the stock retainers are breaking is because the stock intake springs float the intake valve and they slam shut, beating the hell out of the retainers. web cams says you can use stock retainers on a cam of up too .400 lift, that is more than the kawi kit cam, as long as you replace the springs. so getting ti retainers might stop them from breaking, but they are actually heaver then the stock aluminum retainers, and will still float the valve.
 

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I had heard about some retainer failures before I bought my 06. When I asked around about it, I got next to nothing in feedback-just one response here and one on another forum. I have first hand knowledge of one bike that suffered this and it gobbled up a valve. In all fairness, that bike was abused and beaten on in a way that few would ever consider doing.

Since you guys are talking about putting in race cams and valve float, can I assume this is happening primarily to track bikes?

I'd hate to pull a head off to R&R the valve train for preventive measures if the risk is minimal on a street machine.
 

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i have had broken retainers on both of my zx10,s. and my friend has a 2006 that had the same issue, all bikes where street bikes with stock cams,springs exc. we did ride them kinda hard but not any harder than anyone who enjoys a little fun. when you add a race cam with more lift this problem will get a lot worse. like i said somehow i was riding around with 7 broken intake retainers for an unknown amount of time without swallowing the valve. i think that if i had the race cam installed and had broken retainers, the valve would have went very quickly. i have spoken to a few people who do land speed and other forms of racing and they seam to agree that the stock retainers are OK with good springs. Sal at ace performance who ported my head build a world record 2006 zx10r in the standing mile. 209mph. he runs stock retainers with a kawi kit cam, and revving the bike 700 rpm over stock with the kit ecu. no failures.... sorry if this is hard to read,,, its late!!
 

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Shit.

I've got 12k on it now w/o any trouble-at least that I know of. I haven't pulled the valve cover yet to check anything.

Hopefully my particular bike isn't one afflicted with this problem. If it were really widespread, Kawi would have issued a recall and I'm sure this would be a very well known/widely discussed problem among forums and riding circles.
 

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I'm a little concerned now. The only way to check is to yank the cams. I'm surprised to hear that some retainers were broken yet the motor never sucked a valve.

I don't ride her anywhere near redline. I think I've wound it up 3 or 4 times just to see the shift light come on. Other than that, I just don't like to spin it up that much on the street.

With 12k on it, should I be concerned in anyone's educated/experienced opinion?
 

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its not an isolated problem but i think this just become an issue with extended visits near rev limiter, like top speed runs. i rode my bikes modestly most of the time but i do live near some long straights and have done dozens of red line in 6 gear runs. i suspect this as the culprit. i would not worry in your situation. my 2004 had about 30,000 miles when they broke. and my 2006 had around 12,000 but it was ridden much harder.
 
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