Need some advice! - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 17 Old 02-07-2017, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Need some advice!

Hi all,

I am struggling setting the tension of the cam chain. I have a manual style tensioner fitted instead of the auto sprung type. If i remove the tensioner and put my finger in to provide tension, when I crank the engine over slowly with the socket wrench the chain goes extremely tight at certain points. At these very tight spots I can actually pull out my finger and the top tension between the two cam cogs is way tight? Can anyone shed some light on why this is happening?
Thanks
Mal
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-07-2017, 04:38 PM
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The camshaft Lobes are working against the valve tappets! Be Careful when rotating like that because the chain might skip a tooth on any of the 3 sprockets. If that happens, it won't run correctly. If it skips several teeth you may bend Valves!

Does your bike have the steel bridge with slipper between the camshaft sprockets? Or is the slipper attached to the valve cover?

pdwestman
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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It has the slipper attached to the cam cover, its an 89 gen 1
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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I just checked the timing set up, arrows to the front, parallel to cylinder head edge, sideways T mark correctly aligned through peep hole. Confident and aware of the consequences of a chain shift. The chain just seems way too tight. I think I may fit the original style auto sprung tensioner.???
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 10:09 AM
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zooltan,
The automatic tensioners work great. That is why they have been the standard for nearly 40 years.

As to the manual tensioner and the slipper in the Valve Cover. The slipper in the valve cover actually pushes a visible 'bow' in the chain between the cam sprockets.
If you install either an Automatic or Manual chain tensioner Before the Valve cover, the taught chain will hold the cover gasket OFF of the gasket surface.
I believe this error has been the cause of many a stripped thread or broken cover bolt, because people still try to seal the gasket with 'Brute Force'.

So Tensioner on the bench, with its adjuster bolt Re-Tracted. Cams are timed (You did Not disturb the sprocket bolts, did you? If so, Re-torqued?). Cam bearings are Properly Torqued (104 in lb). Install the cam cover and properly torque cover bolts (70 in lb).

Now install the tensioner body, torque bolts 70-80 in lb.
With Finger tips ONLY, turn the manual tensioner bolt in to ZERO.
I may have miss-advised on other thread, Turn the engine over TWO Complete revolutions to again be at TDC Compression stroke. Again ZERO the tensioner with fingers and then snug the locking nut.

If you now wish to remove the valve cover (With MANUAL chain Tensioner) you will see a gentle 'bow' in the cam chain between the sprockets. But if you turn the crank the bow will pull tight. Just push the chain with your thumb and the bow will re-center. Re-install the cover.

If one removes the Center Spring from an Automatic tensioner, one can do the same thing. I only remove the center spring to do a valve tappet adjustment, main tensioner body remains securely bolted, no need to disturb its gasket.

pdwestman
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, good info. One term I do not follow is 'Zero' the tensioner? No markings on mine, just a long threaded bolt and a lock nut when bolt set to correct length.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zooltan View Post
Thanks, good info. One term I do not follow is 'Zero' the tensioner? No markings on mine, just a long threaded bolt and a lock nut when bolt set to correct length.
zooltan,
Can the long adjuster bolt be turned With-out Tools?
Fingers only, or not?

If you must use a tool to turn the long threaded bolt it will be a little harder to feel When the long threaded adjuster bolt pushes the rear chain guide from 'chain Slack' to 'Zero Slack'. We really don't want any 'Pre-load' on the chain.

With the valve cover removed and a visible 'bow' in the chain between the cam sprockets, one could watch the adjuster remove the 'bow'. Then rotate the engine 2 revolutions, check for 'zero' slack/pre-load again. The chain would now be TOO Tight to install the valve cover, but you would have a 'feel' for 'Zero'.
I hope this all makes sense?

Back-off the tensioner adjuster, use your thumb to make a bow in the chain again. Install the cover. Re-zero the adjuster, snug the lock nut.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

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post #8 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Got it, you mean by 'bow' the sags down a bit so the slipper fits down snug on it, too tight, it would be hell tightening down the cover. Understood sir, thanks. I will work on it tonight and report back.
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 12:07 PM
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Here's the proper way to use a manual cam chain tensioner:

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-08-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Guess you are not a fan then!
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