Join Date: May 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The valve adjustment always involves opening the valve lash gap. The exceptions to that is adjuster or cam damage, that's it. Valves on these machines never loosen, and you should always hear a bit of valve noise. If it's quiet in there, be afraid!
What happens is the valve wears into the seat and effectively shortens the distance from the valve stem end to the rocker end. Once that gap closes, the valve will no longer close all of the way. As the engine heats up, the valve lengthens (thermal expansion) and takes up some of the gap. This is why they want the engine dead cold (ambient) before adjusting. At that point, there may still be a bit of gap when the engine is cold. Hot starting will become very difficult and eventually impossible. At that point, you may have already damaged the valves, and possibly the valve seats. Head removal and valve and seat replacement will be needed. If you are really lucky, if it's tough to start when hot, you may be able to get away with just an adjustment. You definitely want to make sure, however, that you never get to this point.
I don't know about the VTX, but valve / seat replacement on my 450 (4 valves/seats but only 1 head) with the head removed is between $500 and $700 US. I wish my 450 had the valve longevity that the VTX does. Oh well, performance has it's price I suppose.
'12 Road Glide Ultra, Kuryakyn Alley Cat intake, Screamin' Eagle Fatshotz slip-ons, V&H Dresser Duals, PV Tuner, NDana HID kits