Cam chain and Cam Chain tensioner. - KawiForums - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Cam chain and Cam Chain tensioner.

Ok, whose had to get this done and at what mileage did you bother? My bike is at 36k and my mechanic told me I should replace both the cam chain and tensioner, and then when he opened up the bike he realized he could only replace the tensioner because you have to split the crank to get at the cam chain.

My friend told me his 03 gsxr is the same way, a very big job to replace the cam chain. I find it a bit aggravating that my friend whose a ford mechanic knew that my bike would require an engine removal while replacing the cam chain, when the mechanic im trusting to work on my bike and get my valves to spec tells me that its only an extra hour labor over a valve job.

So, on my bike... I have the tensioner replaced at 36k and am told to wait until 70k or so to replace the actual chain because its hard to get to. The mechanic actually told me to hold onto the $80 cam chain for another two years so we can replace it when i decide to open up the engine for pistons or whatever else at that higher mileage. I have no use to store this thing for two years, so we'll talk about that today when i pick up the bike.


My questions.... Did anybody actually have a cam chain replacement done their bike, or did you just replace the tensioner since its such a big job? At what mileage? Do all bikes require an engine removal to replace the cam chain? After some research, I see that the zx6r is the same way, and so is my friends gsxr... im just trying to figure out if there are any bikes where its a simple job so I can justify why my mechanic made me order a part that he probably knew I didn't need....just so he can tell me to hold onto it for two years and keep my parts deposit.


Also, my one friend told me that its not a good idea at all to replace the tensioner without the chain because it will wear the chain out faster....while someone else told me its common to do that since its a lot easier to get to than the chain itself. It's like the whole break in debate, or whether or not we really need 93 octane gas... hard to find any consistancy.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 12:49 PM
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In the automotive industry its very UNCOMMON to replace a timing chain for any reason, there isnt a ton of strain on them and they do not really wear out (unless the vehicle has very high mileage).. I would recommend NOT replacing it, its a worthless job, that chain will outlast the bike.. The chain will only really stretch so much and its not the same as a drive chain, its not exposed to elements of have nearly as much strain on them either... In my honest opinion, do not even worry about that chain, the tensioner maybe, depending on how it works, (ei a spring that can get weak over time)..
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Nice, so I'll definitely tell him I need my 80 bucks back instead of storing a useless part in my garage for two years and 40k miles.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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The tensioner should be replaced if it shows signs of wear. My shop said the chain itself was good for 80,000 kilometers no problem, which is over 50,000 miles. Even then they don't just replace it, they measure the links to see how much it's stretched.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 01:27 PM
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+1 to what spitz said

a friend has a car with over 215k miles and original timing chain
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 03:27 PM
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My CBR600 went to over 130k miles with the original chain and it was still fine. I did put a manual tensioner on it because I was tired of the rattle.

But the ZX-9R engine has the chain on the end, not the center - there should be no need to take the case apart like he said. All he has to do is remove the cam cover and cams, then there's a little access plate at the bottom to get to that sprocket. In fact you may not have to take the cams out, depending on how much clearance there is beside them. He may have to take the engine down to get the cam cover off, I dunno about that - but what he told you is BS, pretty much all of it. He shouldn't have recommended changing the chain out of the blue, and he lied about why he can't do it.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Everyone gives me different answers. He told me he cant do it without moving or removing the engine, and my friend who has taken his gixxer apart more than once said on inline fours you have to remove the engine. I dont understand why he told me to buy a part that he knows hes not going to be able to install...maybe he just saw that its not that worn at all and decided that its not worth replacing it...but hes a fuggin dumbass if he thinks im paying for a part that I will probably never need. That 80 bucks is coming off my labor bill.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rockstar84
Everyone gives me different answers. He told me he cant do it without moving or removing the engine, and my friend who has taken his gixxer apart more than once said on inline fours you have to remove the engine. I dont understand why he told me to buy a part that he knows hes not going to be able to install...maybe he just saw that its not that worn at all and decided that its not worth replacing it...but hes a fuggin dumbass if he thinks im paying for a part that I will probably never need. That 80 bucks is coming off my labor bill.
On most of them that's true, because the cam chain runs down the center of the engine between cylinders 2 and 3. But the ZX-9R has it on the end (right side if you're sitting on the bike,) so it's not the case on this one. Like I said though, maybe he'd have to lower the engine to get the top cover off, I don't know about that.

See here is a ZX-9R engine (which also shows you can take the cover off without removing the engine.) See down at the end are the cam chain sprockets. Down at the bottom of the engine there's a bolt-on cover to get to the sprocket on the crank.



The engines people are thinking about saying you have to take the world apart are like this - notice the big groove in the dead center, that's the hole for the chain. As such you have to take the engine apart to get the crank end of the chain done. Unless the chain was breakable, which I've never seen before.




The fact that your mechanic didn't realize this makes me wonder if he even installed the tensioner. I'll bet all he did was roll it backwards to tighten it up, then when it gets loose again in a month he'll say the chain needs replacing and charge you a zillion dollars. You can't trust anyone these days.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to ask to see the old tensioner, he should have it around. I'm going to demand 80 dollars off because I'm not paying up front now for a part that I will not use for atleast another 40k miles. His fuck up is supposed to come in the form of an 80 dollar box thats supposed to sit in my garage for 40k more miles? I should hear from him soon about picking it up.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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$555 and the bike runs great, but it basically ran great before I took it to him. It feels like it might have a little more pep, but I dont really think its any quieter although he seemed to think it was. I don't care about the noise, as long as he did everything he said and the bike is good to go for another 30k atleast.

Cam tensioner added, showed me the old one
Adjusted 5 valves
clean air filter
replace fuel filter
clean air filter
change spark plugs
mounted and balanced a previously purchased set of pilot powers
AND new sets of wheel bearings in both wheels.


Not a bad deal all in all, but he said he would call this week and see if he can return the cam chain that he put under my passenger seat for me to keep. I have no use for it, if I need one and hear a knocking at 70 or 80k miles I'll buy one then. He is supposed to look into it this week. To me, the right thing to do would be for him to take the loss, give me an 80 dollar refund, and use it on another bike or ship it back in his own interest. Whatever, I'm happy to have the bike back but he should get in touch with me and work something out when he talks to his parts guy.
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