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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up my new clymer manual,and i was reading about the timing chain adjustments,there are no specs on how tight the tensioner or chain should be,anyone have info on this?
 

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Just loosen the locknut and bolt to allow the tensioner free movement then fit it. Turn the engine over manually a few times to allow the tensioner to find it's position them tighten the bolt then the locknut.

Or did you mean torque-settings?
 

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Technically there should be zero tension and zero play. Overtightening the tensioner can damage the tensioner slider and possibly cause wear on the chain.
 

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GHOSTRIDER
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Just loosen the locknut and bolt to allow the tensioner free movement then fit it. Turn the engine over manually a few times to allow the tensioner to find it's position them tighten the bolt then the locknut.

Or did you mean torque-settings?
If your using a stock tensioner, then like the Irishman said, loosen the lock nut, then loosen the bolt. A spring inside the tensioner will apply the proper force to tighten the cam chain. Then tighten the bolt and then lock it with the lock nut. If your hearing rattling and noise from the cam chain, it may be a guide shaft or sprocket/roller thats wore out and allowing chain noise.
 

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GHOSTRIDER
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Technically there should be zero tension and zero play. Overtightening the tensioner can damage the tensioner slider and possibly cause wear on the chain.
Nope! Get a manual! :wink: "Technically" resides there right next to "been there done that" and "experience":razz:We used to drill and tap the tensioner housing and use a bolt to "help" the spring apply the predtermined and top secret,everchanging chain tension.:wink:Now we use "APEs' for the radical stuff.:lol:Only aftermarket tensioners have the ability to "overtighten" by human hands, the stock tentioners use springs.:wink:
 

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Just loosen the locknut and bolt to allow the tensioner free movement then fit it. Turn the engine over manually a few times to allow the tensioner to find it's position them tighten the bolt then the locknut.

You know, I read that exact same advice in a Haynes manual in 1979.
Ended up buying a new complete head was cheaper than replacing all the bent valves.

Kind of went like this:

Loosen up lock bolt, kick engine over, cam chain snaps tight driving the auto adjuster back into the housing, chain falls off crank sprocket. Kick engine over again, cams don't turn because chain is off bottom sprocket, pistons beat up valves.

Haynes manuals don't even make good toilet paper.
 

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You know, I read that exact same advice in a Haynes manual in 1979.
Ended up buying a new complete head was cheaper than replacing all the bent valves.

Kind of went like this:

Loosen up lock bolt, kick engine over, cam chain snaps tight driving the auto adjuster back into the housing, chain falls off crank sprocket. Kick engine over again, cams don't turn because chain is off bottom sprocket, pistons beat up valves.

Haynes manuals don't even make good toilet paper.
When the tensioner-bolt is loose turn it over manually like i said, don't kick it. Always worked on my mate's
 

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Kicking it is manual, but the Haynes at the time actually said to "kick" it.
That's when I discovered the disclaimer notice on the second page.

I assume you mean turn it over using a wrench on the end of the crankshaft, which is indeed the proper way.
 

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I will loosen the locknut on the tensioner first, then put a wrench on the end of the crank and turn clockwise to pull the cam chain tight on the front of the engine (so all the slack is at the rear) and then HOLD pressure on the wrench - while holding pressure on the wrench release the tensioner bolt and immediately retighten. This is easier to do with the carbs removed or with another set of hands.

The problem with the methods mentioned in some of the books -the cams will move when the engine stops turning due to the valve springs exerting pressure on them - and this can (does) cause some chain slack between the cams.

I much prefer to tighten the cam chain when I have the valve cover off while checking shim clearances - then once I'm done with the shims and tensioner, I will turn the crank forwards and backwards a little to make sure there's no slack in the chain - when you turn the crank, the cams should turn as well - if when you move the crank all you see if chain move, it's way too loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I loosened the locknut and used the kicker with my hand to turn it over slowly,thanks for all the advice .i got the slack out of my chain ,now hopefully the chain will hold up and not break.if it does ill probably barf then cry,but only one way to find out (famous last words).the chain was extremely loose and was making alot of noise,but i made sure the chain wasnt super tight it has just a little play
 

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I will loosen the locknut on the tensioner first, then put a wrench on the end of the crank and turn clockwise to pull the cam chain tight on the front of the engine (so all the slack is at the rear) and then HOLD pressure on the wrench - while holding pressure on the wrench release the tensioner bolt and immediately retighten. This is easier to do with the carbs removed or with another set of hands.

The problem with the methods mentioned in some of the books -the cams will move when the engine stops turning due to the valve springs exerting pressure on them - and this can (does) cause some chain slack between the cams.

I much prefer to tighten the cam chain when I have the valve cover off while checking shim clearances - then once I'm done with the shims and tensioner, I will turn the crank forwards and backwards a little to make sure there's no slack in the chain - when you turn the crank, the cams should turn as well - if when you move the crank all you see if chain move, it's way too loose.
The preferred Honda CB750-1100 way.

I put it about 15 degrees ATDC then loosen the tensioner bolt. Retighten.
 

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Kicking it is manual, but the Haynes at the time actually said to "kick" it.
That's when I discovered the disclaimer notice on the second page.

I assume you mean turn it over using a wrench on the end of the crankshaft, which is indeed the proper way.
Dictionary:
manual:
1: of or having to do with a hand or the hands
2:made, done, worked, or used by the hands
3:involving or doing hard physical work that requires use of the hands
4:without electrical or other power a manual typewriter
Manual is hand power I think, not foot power..
Anyway, Jeff, when you turn the crank clockwise, doesn't the cam chain tighten in the back of the engine? I just went through this and that was my understanding. The cams turn in the same direction as the crank, right? Maybe it's different for my kz1100 but more likely, I have totally misunderstood it...:icon_frow my bike is still running though (for now!) :tongue:
 

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Anyway, Jeff, when you turn the crank clockwise, doesn't the cam chain tighten in the back of the engine? I just went through this and that was my understanding. The cams turn in the same direction as the crank, right? Maybe it's different for my kz1100 but more likely, I have totally misunderstood it...:icon_frow my bike is still running though (for now!) :tongue:
I know my name isn't Jeff but no it doesn't tighten in the back. The crank turns clockwise (as viewed from the right side of the bike. This pulls downward on the timing chain at the front of the engine, taking the slack out of the front. Not that you can push a rope, chain, or most anything limp, but that is in effect what it is doing at the rear. It feeds the chain to the rear which is then pulled up by the clockwise rotation of the cams. So any slack will be at the rear doing this.
 

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I know my name isn't Jeff but no it doesn't tighten in the back. The crank turns clockwise (as viewed from the right side of the bike. This pulls downward on the timing chain at the front of the engine, taking the slack out of the front. Not that you can push a rope, chain, or most anything limp, but that is in effect what it is doing at the rear. It feeds the chain to the rear which is then pulled up by the clockwise rotation of the cams. So any slack will be at the rear doing this.
OK, got it. thanks!:-D
 

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Nope! Get a manual! :wink: "Technically" resides there right next to "been there done that" and "experience":razz:We used to drill and tap the tensioner housing and use a bolt to "help" the spring apply the predtermined and top secret,everchanging chain tension.:wink:Now we use "APEs' for the radical stuff.:lol:Only aftermarket tensioners have the ability to "overtighten" by human hands, the stock tentioners use springs.:wink:
Maybe zero is not quite perfect, but I will tell you with about 43,000 miles on the KLX, 15,000 using two junk stock tensioners that are the norm for Kaw and the other 28,000 with a manual tensioner I've simply adjusted "by ear" for it and have a very effective simple method for those mounted in the center of the cylinders. Mechanically there's nothing magic there, just removal of play without overtensioning or allowing excess play, which is what happens when the tensioner pawl and rack become damaged in the stock "new improved" tensioners they put in a majority of their bikes. Some last forever, others can go bad in less than 10,000 miles.

I converted the KLX as you mentioned and have instructions how to do so in the KLX650 group at Yahoo since about 2000. If you have been around a few sites where the guys have had issues you will know it is possible to overtighten with the stock one. Some guys will loosen the mount bolts till it clicks over, then retighten them - can you say overtighten? The thing was the Zephyr was an old style thin wall body and couldn't easily be made manual.

I knew the GPz550 had the same tensioner body shape as the Zephyr and about 260 other model/year Kawasakis. I contacted an APE supplier to see if they knew if there was a model crossover, I was willing to pay $51 for one. They had no idea or clue for that matter. I then emailed APE giving the needed reach inside the engine and asked if the GPz tensioner would work or could they make one with that reach. APE didn't bother to reply to my request... So, with a 750 Zephyr owner in England egging me on, I made my own and about 4 more. They were quickly bought up by KLX owners on the Yahoo forum, especially since I sell them for about half the price of most other tensioner kits and included new fasteners and gasket - $25 plus the cost of flat rate shipping. I found an efficient way to make them at lower cost and, since it isn't my primary living (industrial tech teacher in a middle school), I keep them reasonably priced.

Oh, I did make the 750 tensioner for my English friend, he took three and loved them. Has posted on the Zephyr-Zone. He originally was overtightening the bolt, but finally did what I had in the installation instructions and came back with a note of how quite it now was. I also think I have a few riders using them that come to this forum and am pretty much the automatic "go to guy" for anyone asking in the KLX650 group and the KLX650 thread on ADVriders.

In the past year I've sold roughly 100 Krieger Cam Chain Tensioners (site is still in fine tuning stages)making them for the Kawasaki air cooled in-line fours, about 80% of the new liquid cooled twins and fours, DRz/KLX400, Hyabusa, Concours, ZL series, and have done custom ones with a Husqvarna in the works soon. The tensioners have gone to 25 US states, 3 Canadian provinces, England, Scotland, Finland, Netherlands, Latvia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.

I've not received any requests for refunds or returns with the exception of when I sent the common Kawasaki tensioner to a rider with a Z7S, which uses a different body shape than the common Kawasaki tensioner, I custom made the tensioner and gasket for him.

The crazy thing is, when I asked about the noise on the forums so many people both on the KLX and Zephyr said "that's normal, Kawasaki engines are noisy." Believing thatcomment after the second tensioner cost me a top end tear down to put in new cam chains and sliders. One Concours rider got the similar reply from an actual Kawasaki dealer, but with an added kick in the butt. "There's nothing we can do about it. That's normal, they're all noisy. It's old technology." He called me the next day after picking a Krieger tensioner up at my house, to tell me that "the cam drive is now quiet. I'm very pleased.. The fact is, normal or not, the cam drive noise is a sign something is wrong and should be fixed. In most cases on any Kawasaki noise from the cam drive is a failing tensioner. I have a reasonable cost solution, others have a more expensive solution, but a fix is a fix and should be done.

So I've got some time playing with cam chain tensioners and am aware of some of the weaknesses of designs. The fact is a good fixed position manual tensioner that is slightly out of adjustment is better to have than a failing "automatic" tensioner or a poor manual design like the RMz450 Suzukis had. The Kawasaki units just allow too much back and forth play when they fail. I could see where the KLX tensioner was pushing back and forth over four teeth and I could see the rounding of the edges of the rack and pawl. I figure thats almost a quarter inch of play. So far in 4 adjustments over 28,000 miles I've turned the manual adjustment bolt in less than 1 full turn. Quite a difference.

I'll not have another "automatic" tensioner in my bikes again unless I have no choice or I see it is a reliable unit from an engineering standpoint. Right now I haven't seen one in the Kaws - or most others for that matter.

The next project is to look at a twin cam CB750-1100 engine to see if there is a reasonable cost solution to their cam tension issues. Not as easy as the Kawasaki and others. I'm not betting it's going to be able to be done, but it's worth a look... someone said it needed done, so I'm going to look. Another adventure.
 
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