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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I just bought a Ninja 500R as my first bike. It's awesome! But I am new to the whole motorcycle experience, so I have a few questions I hope you guys can help me answer.

1) What is a cam chain tensioner and what does it do?
2) Is it easy to synch the carbs and adjust valves by yourself?
3) I hear a weird sound when I'm in 4th, 5th and 6th gear. Kinda like a fan hitting a piece of metal or something. It is ok in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear though. What do you think it is?

Thanks for the help!

David
 

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to question #2 I have an answer, get yourself a carbtune 2 or any other vaccum (sp?) guage. that'll make syncing the carbs easy. get yourself a clymer or haynes manual and it will be quite a bit more helpful in getting everything worked on correctly. It'll have detailed instructions on adjusting the valves too.

where exactly are the noises coming from on the bike? is it exhaust noises? are the carbs making funny noise, or is it the transmission?
 

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A cam chain tensioner maintains steady tension on the bikes cam chain, and it adjusts the tension automatically. I don't know about a 500R, but a ZX7R has a known "problem" with the cam chain tensioner. Basically it still operates fine but causes noise (or vibration) to come from the engine area. It sounds like valve clatter. Like I said it's normal for a ZX7R but I don't know about your bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The sound seems to be coming from the engine area, but I'm not too sure. Like I said, it happens when I'm in 4th gear and up, so I don't get a chance to listen for the location of the noise. Thanks for all the info guys.
 

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Hi Dave

Glad to see its not just me who is learning how to get oily finger prints all over my face etc ;-)

I'd definitely back up freakinout, I've lived in my haynes for the past few months.

From what my friends have said, cam chain noice tends to be more obvious when the engine is idling / running slowly. The chain runs in the raised bit over the cams between the cylinders. The tensioner is the thing that sticks out of the front of the engine block. Bolt either side and a bolt on top of a pointy bit (thats not a great description). I'd be expecting a flapping chain kind of noise at low revs so I'd look elsewhere for now.

Haynes says a few things about it, some being reusable etc, others not. I have heard of them going but would not replace it unless there is more evidance. Kwak bits seem expensive to me :-(

Things you could try...

Pull in the clutch and let go of the throttle. Find out if the noise is related to road speed or engine speed. If it stays the same as the engine slows down then its not the engine (which is probably good). Could be something catching on the wheels? Spokes similar to fan blades (get the line of thought)

Have you checked your chain tension and checked the chain for tight spots? That sometimes kinda rattles (I think thats bashing aginst the swing arm which would suck).

If it only happens with speed, it could be something flapping?

The valve clearances are not *that* hard. I did mine this year, but they are quite an arse to get at, tank off, pipes to move, etc, etc. You will need 2 sets of feeler gauges and a spanner. A 1/4" socket to get onto the nuts if you are not using a spanner, as a 3/4 caught the cams when I tried. Think the nuts were 10mm. So thats 2 sets of feeler gauges, a spanner (think it was 10mm for the tappet adjusters) and a flat balded screw driver. The haynes manual talks about a kawasaki service tool. I have tried getting hold of one and as far as Kawasaki are concerned there isn't one for the EX500 (I called and asked). Removing the oil lines is not as hard as I expected (basically undo the screw and lift each end gently). You definitely want a service manual (haynes etc) if you are going to attempt this unless you are pretty good with mechanics (I'm not).


My front brake calipers made a clunking noice just before they fell off :-( I put them back on with threadlock and keep an eye on them now ;-)

The back of the belly pan may be worth checking, those two mounting bolts may not be secure (or the mountings can fall off on a older bike... I know what old people feel like now, everything is falling off and not working right ;-))

Er, lots of random thoughts, would be interested to know how you get along.

Good luck, can't have you off the road for too long!

PS I'm just an ammeter / idoit, if someone else with more clout says something that contradicts me listen to them :)
 

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Does the noise happen in the low, mid, or high range RPM. If the noise happens in the low range, you are going to slow for that gear. If it is in the mid or high RPM range don't worry about it unless it gets louder, it sounds like a valve out of adjustment, like on my 600. Also check and make sure that you don't have too much slack in your drive chain. Adjusting valves is not difficult, if you have the proper tools, but if you are a complete idiot about motorcycles, "no offense" don't try it take it to a professional and let them do it. go ahead and email me if you have anymore questions.
 
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