Author Topic: Old cam chain tensioner  (Read 549 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Tour1

  • Street Cruiser
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: 9226
  • Membership Level: Active
Old cam chain tensioner
« on: April 28, 2018, 04:55:23 pm »
My 87 has had a rattle around 2K rpm, going away at 3K.
I wasn't sure how it would look because I haven't seen posts about the old style and followed my instincts to buy the part first, crack open the manual later.
I took photos of the process, they should be public here:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/39epbcekmgTHeKiE6
I get signed in there automatically and still had to click "download everything" on a menu I got with a menu button, then "slideshow" on another menu and then I had to wait for the pictures to download to my tablet.
I paid $165.61 after tax for the new assembly.  This post is really for the virtual beginners like me who haven't got a lot of knowledge or research time.
1. Looking from the left side towards the front the tensioner is jut under the section the carbs flow air into.  My bike has a carpenter's hurricane tie substituting for some missing side fairing so I only had to remove the flat section and the crossbar.
2. Close-up of just the tensioner from the same angle.  The arrow on the housing pointing upward means when you reset the tensioner you must only turn the screwdriver clockwise.
3. When I backed off the mounting screws the tensioning function stopped with about 5mm of release out of a possibe full travel.  As the screws were backed out more the  weight of the chain was all that was pushing it out further.
4. When the old tensioner is all the way out you can see a small ring of clean metal where it was still compressed while running.
5. The new tensioner comes pre-compressed with a metal tab holding it in the retracted position.  It gets installed and torqued about 60 inch pounds (5 foot lbs) according to the chart in the manual section 1-9.  I pulled the tab with needle nose pliers.
6. Using a 1/8 inch flat blade screwdriver and turning only clockwise the used tensioner can be retracted and then by holding the plunger in the retracted position the small tab can be inserted to hold it retracted just like a new one.  This is the trick if you save the tab, otherwise you'll need 3 or 4 tiny hands the turn and hold the screwdriver tight while you tighten down the tensioner housing.  The cap screw goes in last.
7. That's my mileage, 82K+ and if the original tensioner has extended maybe 15mm that would be about 3/4 of total miles if there's 5mm left.  That might mean another 27K before the tensioner can't tension any more.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 05:12:30 pm by Tour1, Reason: more nouns & verbs »
1987 Concours

Offline MAN OF BLUES

  • I Need a Life
  • ******
  • Posts: 7699
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 5977
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2018, 07:55:38 pm »
Should have cracked the manual prior to buying the new one... :rotflmao:
If you would have removed the "cap bolt" first, to reveal the screw slot in the rotational piston pin, and rotated it, CW, and pulled the screwdriver out, noting if the slot relocated itself, it would reveal if the tensioner is actually broken, or simply sticky.
Did the actual spring on the old one break? There is a small "tang" of that spring, that when the spring is wound up, fits into the screwdriver slot.... tehy sometimes break, but more often the actual rotation pin gets a bit sticky, and doesn't rotate... from your picture, I believe it should extend much further than yours shows...
Having pulled, repaired, and or replaced both new and old tensioners,  most often its an easy repair, on the old style, simply turn that screw CW as you noted, while holding the tensioner in a manner that will keep the piston from flying out (its held in place by a flimsy wire clip ring), anyways, rotate the screw till its compressed / retracted fully back, and slide the screwdriver out, letting it "slam" outwards a couple times, it should free up... this can also be done in place, while on the bike, and most often allows it to move out and put pressure on the slider once again... this was also covered in one of the Chalkdust issues, as a hint provided by Guy Young, who explained it all to me the first time... it does work fine... unless your spring is broken... I've disassembled and reassembled the old ones also, and its tricky to get the right amount ofnrotations on the spring, trial and error, but it can be accomplished... if your adjuster is trial extended to the max,nand you still havenslack chain issues, better start counting links andninspecting the chain for wear and stretch...

A word of warning tho, NEVER try to rotate the screw CCW, while installed,  in an attempt to "force it to tighten", as this will result in it coming apart internally, and loose the clip inside the chain tunnel. Not good...

Re installing the original tensioner isn't tough, once you figure out how to hold it with the screwdriver inplace, retracted, in one hand, and insert and tighten down a retaining screw to hold the body in place before removing the screwdriver...
The install the second bolt, and retract and let it slam home, again, a couple times,  rotate the engine manually, and repeat.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 08:27:58 pm by MAN OF BLUES »

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline Mettler1

  • Iron Butt
  • *****
  • Posts: 3208
  • You want answers? We got answers!!
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 1431
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 12:36:36 am »
  If anyone here knows about the tensioner it IS the MAN OF BLUES!! :beerchug:
'94 Concours 115,000 miles-- 7th gear,2MM,KB fork brace,Over flowtubes,Stick coils,Tcro shifter,GPS,SiSF'sTorque cams,SPOOKFAK,block off plates, SS brake & clutch lines,KB risers, FENDA EXTENDA, emulators, SiSF carb Spa, Delkevic exhaust, Murphs' knee savers +grips, etc

Offline Mcfly

  • --2006 Concours--
  • Iron Butt
  • *****
  • Posts: 3690
  • What've I done!?
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 9921
  • Membership Level: Asst. Area Director
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 02:53:30 pm »

Re installing the original tensioner isn't tough, once you figure out how to hold it with the screwdriver inplace, retracted, in one hand, and insert and tighten down a retaining screw to hold the body in place before removing the screwdriver...
The install the second bolt, and retract and let it slam home, again, a couple times,  rotate the engine manually, and repeat.

 :o  Oh yeah...  piece of cake, now that that's all cleared up.   ;D

I guess the later model cct isn't compatible?  Seems easier, though about as, if not less,  reliable.   :truce:
Performance -- Rear: C14 Shock - Front: Sonic 1.1 w/emulators, Fork Brace - SISF Jet Mod & Ex Cam Sprocket - Tokico front brakes
Comfort -- Russell Day Long - Madstad - Cruise Control

FL/SE Assistant Area Director

Offline DC Concours

  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1956
  • 2001 Concours, ~19K miles
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Forum Subscriber
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 03:59:56 pm »
MOB, When will I know mine needs servicing? I read about this tentioner all the time...how do I know when one is going bad?

Offline MAN OF BLUES

  • I Need a Life
  • ******
  • Posts: 7699
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 5977
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 07:44:59 pm »

Re installing the original tensioner isn't tough, once you figure out how to hold it with the screwdriver inplace, retracted, in one hand, and insert and tighten down a retaining screw to hold the body in place before removing the screwdriver...
The install the second bolt, and retract and let it slam home, again, a couple times,  rotate the engine manually, and repeat.

 :o  Oh yeah...  piece of cake, now that that's all cleared up.   ;D

I guess the later model cct isn't compatible?  Seems easier, though about as, if not less,  reliable.   :truce:

Compatability issues, and model change cuttoff points with respect to swapping them out, can be found in the COG library, in the  "Best of Chalkdust I&II", its located in the "technical documents section" there, sorry for those that are forum only subscribers, they can't get to those as its a COG member only thing.

To make it short, the various parts can be swapped, but have to be done in unison with others, as the plastic chain slider and adjuster interface differs between old (spherical end) and new (flattened plate end) styles.. (all the associated part numbers and combos are noted in that Chalkdust writeup)
I personally found the old style, when working, to last longer, and give less chance of failure, along with the simplicity of being able to do the "retract and release to take up slack" operational advantage.
The new style ones, with the ratchet, seemed to frequently have the small spring that keeps tension on the ratchet pawl, displace, and wedge up, and stop it from operating as designed.. but that also can be removed, and repaired, to function as normal again, with little issue.. either one can be accomplished in less than an hour, with 2 wrenches and a small screwdriver, in a parking lot.
Lots of people "bump" the new style adjusters actuating pin, with a nail, to push it in a click or two, which seems to result in that spring displacement... it shouldn't, but it seems to occur.

As for "when to replace"?  Well, when it ceases to function, and repair of the part cannot remedie it.
As noted, on the old style, when you turn the screw CW, and release it by pulling the screwdriver out, and after repititions, find it only returns to the same "o'clock" slot location, maybe then, if it doesn't "snap" when released, or return, it may be a broken spring, and need replacing...

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline Tour1

  • Street Cruiser
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: 9226
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2018, 12:02:22 pm »
DC Concours, when the cam chain gets loose it sounds like an engine knock or similar major problem.  In my case it got gradually louder during rare use last year then was very apparent on my first rides this year, but only between 1700 to 2200 rpm maybe.  I think the chain makes a peanut shape in there with the chain tensioner creating the waist line of the peanut somewhat against gravity.  At higher rpm centrifugal forces push the chain further out to take up the slack but I expect that involves less tooth engagement.
1987 Concours

Offline Clem

  • Looking for twisties in the flatlands
  • Mini Bike
  • **
  • Posts: 174
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 11353
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 04:13:57 pm »
Somewhat related question:
When I release the clutch lever in neutral I seem to hear more mechanical noise than when it's pulled in.
Bike is an 01 with 45K miles, noticed this toward the end of last season.
Is this related to the cam tensioner and apologies if its a stupid question.
2001 C10, lightly farkled

Offline MAN OF BLUES

  • I Need a Life
  • ******
  • Posts: 7699
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 5977
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 07:20:19 pm »
Somewhat related question:
When I release the clutch lever in neutral I seem to hear more mechanical noise than when it's pulled in.
Bike is an 01 with 45K miles, noticed this toward the end of last season.
Is this related to the cam tensioner and apologies if its a stupid question.

Analysis via verbal description, in word, on a forum is very difficult to do, when it comes to "noises",
Not trying to skirt the issue, but just say that the answers, which will be many and varied, as always, may not be accurate.

I can say this, when revving in neutral, the engine and drivetrain has no real "load", so anything related to the clutch pack, or gear train, will be louder and more discernable... not saying there is something wrong, or broken, just saying it simply makes more noise, and can be heard easier.
If the noise heard is not a "horribly sounding one", and just something you notice, its likely coming from the drive train and clutch, and even the starter clutch and that chain and tensioner, but all may be fine...  and normal.

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline Clem

  • Looking for twisties in the flatlands
  • Mini Bike
  • **
  • Posts: 174
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 11353
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Old cam chain tensioner
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2018, 11:43:19 am »
Thank you MOB, that's my feeling as well appreciate your input!
2001 C10, lightly farkled