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At certain rpm speeds my engine makes a rattling noise. I know a lot about my engine and have done a total tear down of the top end and rebuilt it trying to fix this problem, replacing the cam chain and tensioner. This did not work unfortunatly. I heard many people with the same bikes (98zx6r) have this same problem. I also heard that they fixed this problem in the 2000 models and you can use the 2000 model cam chain tensioner on 98 models. Does anyone know if this is true[?]
 

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when you tore it down, did you check the piston heads to see if the valves had been smaking the top of it? i've heard this was the cause of something similar (although not the same bike).
 

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When I tore it down everything was perfect, except for a little carbon build up on the top of the piston heads, which I cleaned up. The pistons had very little wear on the skirt and head. The engine seemed to be in almost perfect condition. I was very impressed with the condition it was in after 17,000 miles. I'm 99% sure that it is the cam chain tensioner that is making that noise.
 

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A new OEM cam chain tensioner is not that expensive, about $50 to your door for ronayers.com. It is a very simple fix. It might be worth it just to replace it and see what happens.
 

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I have a similar problem on my '95 as well (bought it last year from a friend who said the rattle has been there for a couple years)... The rattle sounds like it is coming from the front sprocket area. I've tried lubing everything that needed lubing, tightening everything I can find that even looked loose (even cables), and it's still there. It only happens at certain RPMs, and another friend who watched me ride by said it sounded like I was "dragging a chain on the ground." From what SW said here, it could be my problem too. Just don't know how much of a "simple fix" it's gonna be, since I don't have anyone around to show me how, and trying to figure it out from the manual? well, i'm just not much of a mechanic yet.... <sigh> Alas, my baby rattles.

Keep the g's on!
 

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If that is what it is, it really is a simple, simple fix. It will take you longer to get the tank off than to change the cam chain tensioner. I have a '95-'97 factory service manual so I can supply you with a step by step and torques. The only difficulty I can across is that to torque the two attaching bolts required either a universal joint socket or something call a wiggle joint?

One thing you might want to check before you spend the $50 for the part is that it is possible to get the thing in upside down.
 

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I would recomend to anyone, to buy a service manual for you motorcycle. It tells you every little detail about your bike. Go to a dealership and they usually run about $50. They are a good investment.

I've talked to a lot of people that have zx6rs and they have very similar problems that Citabria and I have with our bikes. I heard a roomer that Kawasaki fixed the problem in 2000 or 2001 models by modifying the cam tensioner some how and that they fit on previous year models such as my '98.
 

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I agree, JonD. I've got a kawi manual and it's pretty good. However, it's less detailed than a newbie wannabe mechanic like me requires...(sometimes they become "destruction" and not "instruction" manuals) :) I have learned a lot about the bike just by reading and poking around.

JonD, I'm glad you brought up this issue - I had no idea it was widespread. We (friend I bought bike from, and I) have been rattling our brains (no pun intended) over this problem.

SW, I can probably figure out how to get the bike turned over (I'll have the wheels off next month for tire replacement anyway so it'll be lighter). Can you expand upon the manual's instructions? Is the universal joint socket one of those tools that allows you to tighten a bolt around a bend? And do I need to drain anything (besides taking tank off and battery out)?

Keep the g's on!
 

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JonD, did you replace the cam tensioner with a brand new one and did it make any difference to the rattling (i.e. RPM that it occured at, or was it gone for a while and did it return as it broke in?)

Keep the g's on!
 

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No need to take battery out, no need to drain anything. Yup, you need a socket that will work around a slight bend because the bolts that hold in the cam chain tensioner are right up against the frame. Holler when you need the help. I am off to class. Jeees, I love to torture the bony asses on Monday morning.
 

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Yeah, I replaced it and the noise went away for a while, about 3 months, then once it seemed to get broken in it would start to make that noise. sucks, cause I want to sell it and it looks bad when you start it up and it starts to rattle at certain rpms.
 

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Are you sure you got it in right side up? I wonder if it would do any good to take it out, reset it and put it back in. Wouldn't cost anything except time. Remember that it is only taking up slack one click at a time. Could it be that there is a slightly noisy period before it goes to the next click?
 
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