Author Topic: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question  (Read 14843 times)

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Offline BDF

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2013, 03:14:32 pm »
I don't think so- the groove that captures the anti- back up clip is not the same one that captures the 'hold the piston back while it is assembled' one. The assembly groove is actually quite narrow, as the other one should be in the first place. I really do not know why they made that groove so large. Maybe just a mistake based on the train of thought that they could let the cam chain loose [this far] without any danger of the chain skipping teeth and that groove is well under that size?

Brian


<snip>

As for the wide groove thing Brian, its my opinion that its that wide so at initial assembly it eases insertion without releasing the piston. I have always had to push hard on te tensioner when even fully retracted and held by the pinchy clip, to insert it. When it is inserted the pinchy clip releases and it has little further effect on the piston, the forward ring retains it from moving backwards at that time. No?
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2013, 06:45:08 pm »
I don't think so- the groove that captures the anti- back up clip is not the same one that captures the 'hold the piston back while it is assembled' one. The assembly groove is actually quite narrow, as the other one should be in the first place. I really do not know why they made that groove so large. Maybe just a mistake based on the train of thought that they could let the cam chain loose [this far] without any danger of the chain skipping teeth and that groove is well under that size?

Brian


the forward clip does have a "stepped groove" in that the rear section of it is larger than the forward section, this allows the ring to wedgie the piston up, and after insertion, the tangs on the ring hit and push the ring rearwards to pop it into the larger diameter of the external groove... I dunno, I assume Kaw did what you suggest, gave it plenty of clearance to insure it releases, yet still functions "ok".

You also have verified what I always thought but did not really know- it is the chain rubbing (clanking?) against the engine case(s) when loose. Makes me wonder if another fix might be simply mounting a thin piece of polyethylene where the chain hits the case? That might be a great production solution for Kawasaki- the slightly loose cam chain isn't the problem, it is the chain being loose enough to contact other metal and make a racket. HDPE would cure that and should last the life of the engine.

Brian


That made me take a closer look, because I did notice there was little clearance on the front side between the chain and case, but it didn't worry me because I could never put enough pressure on the chain before removing the tensioner or top chain guide, to make it flex one iota there.
I have to guess that the "shiny" spot may have been just due to normal rubbing while installing and removing during valve adjusts, and replacement.  ???

There is in fact a front chain "slider" that should preclude that syndrome, I wonder if that was worn?? or broken? It is mounted on a pivot point at the bottom, by the crank, and does seem to be slotted near the top mounting bolt, which should allow some flex.

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW

Offline Turbo

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2013, 09:31:42 pm »
I never use the factory automatic tensioners. They almost always have problems. I install the APE manual tensioners on all my bikes, and have never had a problem no matter how hard the bike is run. I bought my Concours with 8K miles on it, and installed the tensioner immediately and now I have 38K with never any noise at start up. Also, the tensioner has never leaked. I install them on every Concours that I work on for friends. Mike.

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2013, 10:59:01 pm »
how many have you seen with 100k on them? I mean, 100k using a MCCT?
 :rotflmao:

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Offline C14Addict

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2013, 11:06:38 pm »
MOB,
Brian reported 60K without trouble. Any reason a MCCT would not work the life of the bike?   This should extend this thread.
Don Frazier
79 GS1000 174K miles, Gone but not forgotten
08 ZG1400 118K miles, on way to next 100K

Offline Daytona_Mike

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2013, 11:08:09 pm »
Based on the information in  this thread and my noisy cam chain startup  sounds I ordered an Ape manual tensioner today.
thanks
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2013, 11:23:39 pm »
MOB,
Brian reported 60K without trouble. Any reason a MCCT would not work the life of the bike?   This should extend this thread.

well, to extend this thread further, as I asked, go back and back the tensioner off another half turn, start the engine and take it for a test ride.
I noted that Brian's experience and install instructions were based on removing the oem, and installing the MCCT withou turning the engine over or moving the chain, which is a replacement with the chain fully under tension, you replaced the chain, therefore all things are different... you are now trying to take up the slack of the newly installed chain, and guessing on if it ids correct, or over/under tensioned.

I hope you are understanding what I am saying here, with the new chain install, you have to go back and look. I will venture it may be over tightend, due to the new chain. Just pay due dilligence and make the rest of the system last, the sliders in particular.

I'm not messin with ya, or being a ney-sayer her on this, just making it clear it wasn't the same swap Brian did, you changed things.
You may find the bike just as quiet with the bolt turned a half turn back out. If that is the case, you placed enough tension to wear the sliders by at least .031"

I have been dealing with the manual tensioner issue for 10 years almost, and when I hear people tell me they have not had to adjust for 20k miles, I just sigh and drop it.

 :beerchug:
 ride safe

I just have to add this...
Based on the information in  this thread and my noisy cam chain startup  sounds I ordered an Ape manual tensioner today.
thanks


If a manual adjuster, which would have costed uber less for Kaw to install, was so good..... why did they take the manual adjustment out of the system?
 Hell, you have to adjust valves...and other stuff... why not the cam chain?..... well?
anybody venture an answer on that? >:(
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 11:28:14 pm by MAN OF BLUES »

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Offline BDF

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2013, 11:51:45 pm »
Actually, Rich is right about the first part of this posting- I changed my CCT without disturbing the cam chain from the last time the bike had been running so the chain was stabilized. It would not be a terrible idea to start the bike, let it run for 20 seconds or so and then reset the manual CCT. That way the new cam chain will be properly bedded in the guides. But either way, not that big a deal IMO and nothing to worry about- the CCT would have to be very loose to allow enough slack to even potentially cause a problem.

As far as the rest of it.... whatever. Nothing to get one's knickers in a twist over- use the automatic CCT that came with the bike or a manual CCT; both work fine. The only real difference is the start up clatter which is not a problem either, just a bit of an annoyance to the human standing next to the bike.

I think the important thing to remember here is that the CCT merely takes any excess slop out of the backside (the return or non- loaded side) of the cam chain. The loaded side of the chain is always pulled quite tight by the crankshaft rotating the camshafts, which takes a lot of force. The back side of the cam chain has no impact on cam timing and must only be kept from getting so loose that the engine could possibly jump a tooth when being cranked over, decelerating rapidly (unlikely) or backfiring (which just about never happens anymore with EFI and proper spark timing).

Gotta' save up our collective adrenaline for something important.... like KiPass!

Brian


well, to extend this thread further, as I asked, go back and back the tensioner off another half turn, start the engine and take it for a test ride.
I noted that Brian's experience and install instructions were based on removing the oem, and installing the MCCT withou turning the engine over or moving the chain, which is a replacement with the chain fully under tension, you replaced the chain, therefore all things are different... you are now trying to take up the slack of the newly installed chain, and guessing on if it ids correct, or over/under tensioned.

I hope you are understanding what I am saying here, with the new chain install, you have to go back and look. I will venture it may be over tightend, due to the new chain. Just pay due dilligence and make the rest of the system last, the sliders in particular.

I'm not messin with ya, or being a ney-sayer her on this, just making it clear it wasn't the same swap Brian did, you changed things.
You may find the bike just as quiet with the bolt turned a half turn back out. If that is the case, you placed enough tension to wear the sliders by at least .031"

I have been dealing with the manual tensioner issue for 10 years almost, and when I hear people tell me they have not had to adjust for 20k miles, I just sigh and drop it.

 :beerchug:
 ride safe

I just have to add this...
Based on the information in  this thread and my noisy cam chain startup  sounds I ordered an Ape manual tensioner today.
thanks


If a manual adjuster, which would have costed uber less for Kaw to install, was so good..... why did they take the manual adjustment out of the system?
 Hell, you have to adjust valves...and other stuff... why not the cam chain?..... well?
anybody venture an answer on that? >:(
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Offline C14Addict

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2013, 01:08:04 am »
Time Out.  :-\
I did not mean for this to become an Obama health care debate!
I appreciate your concern that I may be doing it wrong, and certainly want to do it right, since I am diverting from the original design. I just cringe when I think what would happen if the chain snapped...  :(  Yes, there must be a reason why automatic CCT's are installed.
There was a lot of research done and I figure that my bike is exhibiting a very different problem than others, so I ask the dealer, I ask the forums, I ask other forums, and came to the conclusion beforehand, that I will try the APE MCCT as a possible solution. All I have heard is there should be some start-up rattle, but not warmed bike chain rattle for 20-30 seconds! Something was wrong.

While doing the install, I tried to notice why the chain would make this noise, and see there is a lot of slack in the chain, at any rotation while slowly cranking to re-check valve clearance unless the tensioner is very snug. This does not define what happens when running, but centrifugal force is a powerful thing (I work with centrifugal compressors and steam turbines).

FYI, when manually rotating the engine to recheck valves, I checked the slack over the entire length, and there was no difference (would not expect in an oil filled case, but final drive chains do it all the time). Also on the side of caution, I actually backed off 3/4 turn.  I have no problem backing off more to find the 'chatter' point, but it is soooo sweet to not have that hideous rattle. And since it seems to run smoother, less hesitation when pulling off the line, and now sounds like it did the first day I started it back in 2007, I am sold on this solution.  Oh yes, I could have just replaced with a factory ACCT, but then I would be waiting for it to start rattling again. Since the chain was found to be in good shape, and I have removed the old ACCT to inspect and reset several times, this was my best choice.

I will back off a full turn from snug (although I will not take the cover off again to observe), and report back.
Don Frazier
79 GS1000 174K miles, Gone but not forgotten
08 ZG1400 118K miles, on way to next 100K

Offline BDF

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2013, 02:34:56 am »
Nah, that's juss' ole' Rich, and he gets a might excited if he thinks someone is doing something to a motorcycle that didn't get his prior approval. Nothing to worry about; you are doing fine. Adjust the CCT and forget about it- besides, Rich is worried enough for the next four people and he does not modify his bike so that it is stock for the next guy.

Brian

Time Out.  :-\
I did not mean for this to become an Obama health care debate!
I appreciate your concern that I may be doing it wrong, and certainly want to do it right, since I am diverting from the original design. I just cringe when I think what would happen if the chain snapped...  :(  Yes, there must be a reason why automatic CCT's are installed.
There was a lot of research done and I figure that my bike is exhibiting a very different problem than others, so I ask the dealer, I ask the forums, I ask other forums, and came to the conclusion beforehand, that I will try the APE MCCT as a possible solution. All I have heard is there should be some start-up rattle, but not warmed bike chain rattle for 20-30 seconds! Something was wrong.

While doing the install, I tried to notice why the chain would make this noise, and see there is a lot of slack in the chain, at any rotation while slowly cranking to re-check valve clearance unless the tensioner is very snug. This does not define what happens when running, but centrifugal force is a powerful thing (I work with centrifugal compressors and steam turbines).

FYI, when manually rotating the engine to recheck valves, I checked the slack over the entire length, and there was no difference (would not expect in an oil filled case, but final drive chains do it all the time). Also on the side of caution, I actually backed off 3/4 turn.  I have no problem backing off more to find the 'chatter' point, but it is soooo sweet to not have that hideous rattle. And since it seems to run smoother, less hesitation when pulling off the line, and now sounds like it did the first day I started it back in 2007, I am sold on this solution.  Oh yes, I could have just replaced with a factory ACCT, but then I would be waiting for it to start rattling again. Since the chain was found to be in good shape, and I have removed the old ACCT to inspect and reset several times, this was my best choice.

I will back off a full turn from snug (although I will not take the cover off again to observe), and report back.
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Offline LakeTrax

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2013, 04:56:10 am »
Previously.......

".....I wonder if installing a new mcct or new oem tensioner and leaving the cam chain alone could also possibly solve the problem.? :017:...."
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 05:34:20 am by LakeTrax »

Offline LakeTrax

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2013, 05:07:43 am »
Didn't really mean to be that dramatic ^^^ :rotflmao:

However, would still like to know what went wrong with the original tensioner?...

Bottom-line here is... she is rattle free! :great: :beerchug:
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 05:43:12 am by LakeTrax »

Offline C14Addict

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2013, 10:24:17 am »
I did not find any reason the original chain was causing the issue. Stretch was acceptable for 100K, no loose links, no axial sag, nothing. I just wanted to have everything in hand to solve the problem. Again, if I ordered a replacement stock auto CCT, and it worked, I would have found the problem, but just be waiting for the rattle to start again. If it did not work, I would be ordering a MCCT and try again.
I too would like to know what is wrong with the original. Until I fully understand what it does 'live', actually seeing it in action, can't tell just by speculation.

Update: Checked tension last night and found the finger tight limit same as (maybe 1/16 turn tighter) than it was during assembly. Backed off a full turn, and remains quiet at start. I was considering loosening while running to find the point the rattle started, but needed some liquid courage before I experiment more. Don't think I will. Definitely will check it often, if that's what it takes.
Don Frazier
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Offline Turbo

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2013, 12:36:01 pm »
I have owned, and worked on kawasaki's for over 30 years. I worked on them full time for 15 years, and raced them for over 10. The automatic tensioners came out in the mid 80's. Prior to that they had mechanical tensioners. At first the automatic tensioners were terrible, and caused a lot of problems. I will admit they have improved a lot over the years, but they still have problems. I have seen a lot of them actually fail over the years, especially when the bikes are run hard. The ZX12 tensioners would fail all the time. The concours tensioners seem to be pretty robust, but they do stick. That is what you are hearing when you first start the bike. The tensioner is stuck, and once oil gets to it, and frees it up, then the noise goes away. I do not like my cam chain slapping around every time I start the bike until oil gets to it. The billet mechanical tensioners are fullproof, and will never fail. The only problem you could have is to overtighten one. You just tighten it with your fingers, and you do not have to worry about that. The automatic tensioners are prone to backing out when you suddenly chop the throttle at high rpm. The mechanical ones will not do that. When you read the factory Kawasaki race prep manuals for bikes such as ZX10's and such they tell you to modify the factory tensioner, or to replace it with a mechanical tensioner. That is Kawasaki themselves. A mechanical tensioner will not need constant adjustment. You set it when you install it, and then you re-adjust it whenever you do your next valve adjustment. That's it. I have had an APE one on my Concours for 25,000 miles of the hardest riding you could ever put on the bike with absolutely zero problems, and zero cam chain noise, and no adjustments. I will re-adjust it this winter when I do the valve adjustment. I think it is a very cheap upgrade, and also more reliable. I have installed 5 of them on friends Concours bikes when I did their valve adjustments, and same thing. They have had zero problems, and zero cam chain noise. Mike.

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2013, 10:23:06 pm »
Thanks for the input Turbo,
Addict di, and please correct me if I am wrong, went back and actually backed it off 3/4 of a turn... and still found it quiet. This is what I eluded to from te start. Not saying the MCCT is bad, just it requires a bit more finesse, and thought on the initial install. When I hear tales of people never having t touch tyhem for 30k miles, I do shake my head, as the old C10 and zx ones clicked about every 5-10 k miles, and . CLick was about .030" now if that holds, then maybe some folks are wearing te sliders more than normal. I have bbeen inside the Conni engines, and can attest to some pretty grooved out sliders. Most folks sell te bike before ever seeing this, many only keep a conni for 30k miles over a 5 year life ownership.
My comments are well founded, having owned and servicing Kaws since 1978. Also being formally trained prior t that at Yamaha factory racing/service academy.

Oh, the semi-automatic tensioners date back to the early 70'KZ series, where you backed off the locking screw that held the spring loaded tensioner, slowly rotated the engine thru 2-4 revolutions using the kickstarter, and locked the setscrew down. My 1978 KZ1000 Ltd has the original tensioner, working fine. It has about 800+  1/4 mile runs on it competitively, and many more thousand smile miles.

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Offline Bugnut

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2013, 04:35:47 pm »
Based on the information in  this thread and my noisy cam chain startup  sounds I ordered an Ape manual tensioner today.
thanks

Mike,

 PM me with the part number you used for it. Or toss it up here for the rest of us riff raff.

 Also, PM me about Nationals hotel. Good to go??

Thanks buddy,
Mike

Offline BDF

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2013, 05:58:13 pm »
Anyone can go to the APE website   http://www.aperaceparts.com/  and order one for a ZX 14. That is the model that fits a C-14.

Brian


Mike,

 PM me with the part number you used for it. Or toss it up here for the rest of us riff raff.

 Also, PM me about Nationals hotel. Good to go??

Thanks buddy,
Mike
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Offline Daytona_Mike

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2013, 11:58:16 pm »
Based on the information in  this thread and my noisy cam chain startup  sounds I ordered an Ape manual tensioner today.
thanks


Mike,

 PM me with the part number you used for it. Or toss it up here for the rest of us riff raff.

 Also, PM me about Nationals hotel. Good to go??

Thanks buddy,
Mike

You are good to go for the Nationals next year. One king room for you and the wife.
The APE part number is KTZX14 and I found the best price on Ebay of all places. the package says : ZX14 and Concours(e) 2008
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Offline Bugnut

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2013, 02:37:21 pm »
Thanks Brian for the item. We chatted a couple years back about it. I think I'm finally ready to pony up. I saw KTZX14 and KTZX14-12 Pro from them and just the non "pro" version through a few vendors. Good deal - ordered the KTZX14.

Thanks A BUNCH Mike! Will chat about it more at Al's next month?

Mike

Offline City Slicker

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2018, 11:33:28 pm »
I realise this thread is old, but very useful information...

Perhaps someone who has performed a removal and replacement of the original tensioner can help me with information about how the piston is released when replacing it into the cylinder head, and whether it has actually tensioned the chain.

I've just performed a valve clearance adjustment for the first time, following the Kawasaki manual for the procedure. It states that once inserted you rotate the crankshaft a couple of times and will hear the sound of the piston releasing itself.

Well, I've done this and heard no clunk, quite a few sucking and clicking noises from the oil supply lines. Not confident, I gently tried rotating the crankshaft in the opposite direction, no movement detected. Little poke around the trailing side of the cam chain to test for slack, seems tight to me.

Is there any way of checking? I'm concerned that the pin might not have been released, should I be?

Offline lather

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2018, 12:32:22 am »
I don't think you need to worry. I've done the tensioner install 3 or 4 times and I found that the hard thing was to keep the piston from releasing pre-maturely (BIG WHOAH BOYS!). It seems it takes very little to release it. Also I think you can test it by backing out one of the mounting bolts a few turns. If the piston is not released you won't have spring pressure on the bolts. With the piston released, with each turn of the upper bolt the spring presses the tensioner out, leaving the bottom bolt slack. Hope that makes sense. I aint good at splain'n stuff

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2018, 02:57:07 am »
I agree old thread, useful info. Great advice.

I've had my ZX14 for 10 years and hated the startup rattle from day 3.
 I modded a OEM CCT in my bench vise drill bit and tap and have not heard it since.
  I got an 08 C14 5 yrs ago and immediately modded the CCT with a spare ZX14 one.
 Sold the connie a few years ago to a buddy.  Still quiet and strong runner. It has not been checked or adjusted. Neither has my ZX
  Point being, keep the original. Nothing wrong with it.
Tired of the rattle? Consider manual. Buy it or make one.
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Offline City Slicker

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2018, 10:13:55 am »
... I think you can test it by backing out one of the mounting bolts a few turns. If the piston is not released you won't have spring pressure on the bolts. ...

You're absolutely right. Just checked this now and there is spring pressure. Thanks for the advice!

Offline Buzzard

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2018, 05:39:16 pm »
City Slicker, just a thought. I am in the middle of a valve adjust, so I am messing with all of this right now. As to the cam chain tensioner, I looked in the service manual to see the method of holding the tensioner back for assembly. The manual shows collapsing the piston all the way with the metal ring in the single groove at the end of the cylinder. I also have a set of videos ( I like them, bought them from a member on this site, won't say any more to avoid conflict) which includes several discs dedicated to valve adjustment. In the video, the gentleman collapses the piston only until the metal ring catches on the last of the saw tooth like rings, not on the single groove near the end. the difference is that you end up with 3/8-1/2 inch of piston protruding, rather than nearly none. This allows for a more certain release of the piston from the metal clip. Hope this helps, and that I described it adequately.

Offline City Slicker

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Re: Cam Chain & Tensioner (I think) Question
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2018, 06:44:18 pm »
Can you confirm that the correct method for setting the catch is as shown in this video

I did not do it this way, hence my caution.