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Hello I'm new to the forum and i bought a '00 400ex yesterday and put about 2 hours on it today. While riding i noticed a ticking that definately sounds like valves. I'm under the impression valve noise is common on 400ex's. My bike doesnt have any signs of needing a valve adjustment. It starts right up and has good power. My buddy with a 660 was only beating me by about a quad length or less and the drag was long enough for me to top out 4th.
 

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You don't normally hear the valves ticking unless they are super loose (15 to 20 thousandths clearence). Most noise comes from a worn cam chain. On a high milage motor that recieved minimal maintenance, you might hear piston slap. Neither will have a huge effect performance, but if the engine's deficiencies are corrected you will have a noticable performance improvement.
 
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