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Tightwad

Cam Chain Tensioner, Without Throttle Body Removal

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I have the answer to VFRQQQs question (and mine)... as to how much preload the spring gets out of the factory...

The official Honda answer is "NONE"... this means that the 4 turns required to retract the pusher piston all the way in ONCE is how the CCT comes OEM, either on the bike or out of the box...

Once placed in the motor and the key removes it extends all it can up against the guide...

So you guessed rather well there... giving it one full turn more is not going too far... I gave it 2 full turns more... I don't think that's overdoing it either... it's a very flimsy spring, so I doubt 50% more will cause premature wear anywhere...

It was Honda Montesa the Official Honda Distributor in Spain who answered my quiery.

This time thanks are in order... but they should get their act together with the recalls... :angry:

hondaseguridad.png

That post is most helpful, Auspanol - thanks for getting us an answer! :)

Forgive the perhaps already answered / obvious / dumb question (my eyes are exhausted of reading pages and pages of threads on this topic...and searching and searching), but will someone please "dumb this down" for me, and/or re-state the PURPOSE for "fixing" the cam chain tensioner's "lack of tension"; i.e. tightening it up or replacing it?

I've had a 4th and 5th gen before (gear-driven cams, so no problem), and one previous 6th gen (but only put 5,000 miles on it, and it was a young bike...) and my current 6th gen has 52k miles on it, but only the last 10k miles are mine - so this is my first time "dealing" with this CCT "issue". If / when it gets "too loose", especially (or primarily) the front CCT, will something CATASTROPHIC happen, or just make more and more and more noise?

I saw Switchblade's cut-away engine image, and from a cursory glance and general understanding of engines, suspect there's a possibility that if/when the tensioner gets too loose, the chain could slap around enough in there to actually SNAP / break, but is this a REAL fear, or will an out-of-spec cam chain just make more noise? I mean, I'm not saying mechanical clunking sounds anywhere on a bike, let alone inside the engine, should be ignored, ever, but how bad can it really get? Switchblade's cut-away image:

072413top-i.jpg

Sooo, why do so few people mention the MANUAL CCT (Cam Chain Tensioner) option? Is this a bad idea? Is it a GENIUS idea, but has just only been an option as of late? What am I missing? I could just do the "adjustment fix" of the original CCT(s) in my bike now, in lieu of buying new OEM ones, but is this manual CCT a viable third option? http://www.ebay.com/itm/360837192431

VFR%20manual%20cam%20chain%20tensioner.j

Anyone? Bueller? Manual CCT: Yea or nay?

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

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Tightening up the tensioner springs is all about trying to get more life out of the existing tensioner before spending the bucks on new ones.

A manual one has the inconvenience of not having BMW spring or hydraulic damping, so it won't absorb any chain lashing if this were to occur. The greatest risk I can see in a manual one is if you overdo it when dialing in the amount of turns as you may be forcing the guide too hard up against the chain causing premature wear and stretching it to The point you are back not at square 1 but -1 as you would then need to swap out the entire timing chain and gear assembly. Expensive remedy.

You may be able to er on the side of caution until you manage to get silent operation but you will always have an unforgiving threaded rod up against the chain guide. Some people swear by them. I guess the forward one will be a bit of a pain to adjust due to the tight access but... your decision.

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Tightening up the tensioner springs is all about trying to get more life out of the existing tensioner before spending the bucks on new ones.

A manual one has the inconvenience of not having BMW spring or hydraulic damping, so it won't absorb any chain lashing if this were to occur. The greatest risk I can see in a manual one is if you overdo it when dialing in the amount of turns as you may be forcing the guide too hard up against the chain causing premature wear and stretching it to The point you are back not at square 1 but -1 as you would then need to swap out the entire timing chain and gear assembly. Expensive remedy.

You may be able to er on the side of caution until you manage to get silent operation but you will always have an unforgiving threaded rod up against the chain guide. Some people swear by them. I guess the forward one will be a bit of a pain to adjust due to the tight access but... your decision.

Thank you for the perspective, Auspanol - seems like the OEM ones are worth the money and the manual ones have too much risk.

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You probably could take the old's CCT's and make your own manual CCT's ..

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Hi All.

I am new to VFRD and this is my first post and hope that this advice will ease the pain of NOT having to replace the front cct when the front chain has chattering. I have in the past replaced a rear cct and could not find anything mechanically wrong with the unit I removed, however fitting the new item cured my rear timing chain chatter. I am about to use the below procedure on a friends VFR which has front chain chatter, so I will let you know how I get on.

As the front cct is a pain to replace. Try this simple method and see how you go. It may save a lot of cursing and swearing as well as the cost of a new item.

METHOD REMOVED - The procedure of manually adjusting the tension of the cct, only appears to work for a short period. The tensioner gradually works its way back to its natural spring tension point. This is what happened to my mates bike and after a couple of days the timing chain slap returned, there was NO noise from the tensioner, it was chain slap. He will be fitting a new cct. The procedure apparently works ok on the CBR600F4i, but not on the VFR.

Regards Graham.

P.S. This is a Great Forum for us VFR addicts.

Edited by Grum

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WELCOME Grum and it looks like a great plan.

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Hi All.

I am new to VFRD and this is my first post and hope that this advice will ease the pain of NOT having to replace the front cct when the front chain has chattering. I have in the past replaced a rear cct and could not find anything mechanically wrong with the unit I removed, however fitting the new item cured my rear timing chain chatter. I am about to use the below procedure on a friends VFR which has front chain chatter, so I will let you know how I get on.

As the front cct is a pain to replace. Try this simple method and see how you go. It may save a lot of cursing and swearing as well as the cost of a new item.

NOTE- the adjustment of the plunger screw is quite course i.e. slight turning of the plunger adjuster CCW has a relatively large ish movement of the plunger. Same procedure should also work for the rear cct as well.

Good Luck.

Regards Graham.

P.S. This is a Great Forum for us VFR addicts.

The old turn the cct ccw is an old trick with little to zero merit, and there is no chain noise from a loose front chain, its the body of the cct itself that rattles. Several have replaced cct's this year, I expect them all to rattle if that arnt already, definitely by winter time. Increasing the lubrication flow to the cct, is the best solve Ive seen to date, Once you ran the tentioner dry for any period its too late.

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Hi Spud786.

Thanks for your comments, however I'm a little concerned by your comment that its the actual cct that's making the chatter.

When my rear cylinders developed the chatter noise it was fairly clear the noise was emanating from well away from the cct area. Using the old screwdriver stethoscope method, the noise appeared worst around the upper forward area of the rear two cylinder head, also it had the same metal to metal chain chatter sound I've heard on a couple of cars many years ago.

Also the cct I removed was bathed in oil so I don't suspect there was any lubrication issue there. These cct's are not like ones I've seen in cars where the actual oil pressure is applied to the sprung plunger assembly. The oil to these cct's is there just to keep the internal mechanicals lightly lubricated so I don't see how increasing the flow of oil to the cct will have any effect.

It appears from a few other postings that the problem may be the marginal strength of the internal spring, perhaps as these age, and as the plunger further extends to make up for chain stretch and guide wear, spring strength may become marginal. I do know the procedure I posted has worked on other models of bikes with the same or similar cct's.

Whilst I do not profess to be a motorcycle technician I have serviced since new my three VFR's plus all the cars I've owned in the past 38 years.

Within a week I shall be trying the method I posted on my mates VFR and will add some info as to how I get on, however I am feeling confident it should work, as for how long, who knows?

Cheers.

Grum.

P.S. Thanks Switchblade for your kind welcome, its great to be among fellow VFR junkies from around the world, there is a wealth of helpful info on this site, a great help to us all.

Edited by Grum

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Hi All.

I am new to VFRD and this is my first post and hope that this advice will ease the pain of NOT having to replace the front cct when the front chain has chattering. I have in the past replaced a rear cct and could not find anything mechanically wrong with the unit I removed, however fitting the new item cured my rear timing chain chatter. I am about to use the below procedure on a friends VFR which has front chain chatter, so I will let you know how I get on.

As the front cct is a pain to replace. Try this simple method and see how you go. It may save a lot of cursing and swearing as well as the cost of a new item.

NOTE- the adjustment of the plunger screw is quite course i.e. slight turning of the plunger adjuster CCW has a relatively large ish movement of the plunger. Same procedure should also work for the rear cct as well.

Good Luck.

Regards Graham.

P.S. This is a Great Forum for us VFR addicts.

The old turn the cct ccw is an old trick with little to zero merit, and there is no chain noise from a loose front chain, its the body of the cct itself that rattles. Several have replaced cct's this year, I expect them all to rattle if that arnt already, definitely by winter time. Increasing the lubrication flow to the cct, is the best solve Ive seen to date, Once you ran the tentioner dry for any period its too late.

I took your recommendation and increase mine by 1mm ..

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The rear cct, are normally the best on longevity, the fronts are much more chronic. and without a stethoscope its really hard to tell which bank it is. Even with a stethoscope it can be a tedious to tell. The reason I know the internals of the tensioner that makes the noise is because I ran a test, to where the chain was tight enough, I could hear it rubbing hard against the guide. Did this by loosening the mounting bolts on the tensioner 2mm, this allowed the tensioner to extend taking up the slack. Then I retighten the tensioner mounting bolts forcing the tensioner even tighter, still made the noise (not a rattle now but more a knock knock rattle) and obviously the chain was very tight cause I could hear it rubbing excessively against the guide(as in dragging sound). That's how I knew, its not a loose chain causing the noise, but the tensioner itself. While the rears can eventually have issue, the fronts don't see near the fresh oil supply. Although the rear also has the same limited oil supply, its angle allows for oil to pool much more than the front. So Im not saying that you couldn't have something wrong with a low miled rear tensioner. I'm saying increasing longevity via oil flow will aide with noise and extend their lives as a means when you replace these tensioners. The oil port entering the tensioner is about 5mm, the gasket on these tensioners only allow for .5mm flow . Without good oil flow , they wear and vibrate, and many times right off the bat(at least with the fronts). Increasing that gasket hole from .5mm to 2.75mm eliminates the oil flow issue, via my testing and inspection. I wouldn't increase the oil flow more than that, but I have been building several thousand miles on the mod, on a bike that sees a lot of tight track gun and run exposure. Ive been very pleased.

As to the turn out ccw I tried that about 90,000 miles ago, its a very old trick, didn't do much in my case.

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Wow this is becoming very interesting. By what you are saying spud786 There are clearly two separate issues that the cct can cause.

1. An undeniable slap or chatter from the timing chain. OR

2. The internals of the cct developing a rattle.

The problem I have experienced was clearly the the timing chain chatter for which the procedure I posted may be a simple fix. I have yet to experience a rattling cct, HOWEVER I totally agree should the internals of the cct start rattling then it must be replaced. Whilst I still have trouble getting my head around the need for better oil flow into the cct. I can understand that no doubt the pulsation effect of the timing chain will reflect back into the cct, only guessing, but this vibration back into the cct may eventually wear the worm gear creating the rattle. The next time I replace a cct I will look at slightly enlarging the gasket oil hole.

I wonder if Honda can be approached and refer this matter to their technical experts, would be interesting to get their comments.

Cheers.

Grum.

Edited by Grum

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A rattling cct sounds like clack , clack, clack, which the common assumption is a loose chain, this is 99% on the vfr noise issue, poses no threat to failure(atleast on the vfr no real cases of such), other than a lot of intermittent noise at times.

The wind up type tensioners have been used for years on different models, Suzuki has a compression spring tensioner they produced to replace their wind up types. The compression spring tensioner provides a lot stronger direct tension, compared to the more complicated windup spring types. Chain life seems to suffer more with the compression spring types.

as fas as turning out counter clockwise, how far could you turn an 1/8th turn or so(that's pretty normal), you've temporarily extend the plunger, but without the spring tension holding it out there, vibration will cause it to rotate back to nominal . If your chain was loose due to lack of tension , I would expect to see a half to a full turn ccw wise atleast and that would be extremely uncommon to see without a broken spring.

Edited by spud786

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Hi Spud. Thanks for more interesting stuff.

Just to add a bit more detail to my own bike and the cct replacement. It had done 76,000k's when it developed a very noticeable loud intermittent timing chain slap/chatter. It was very easy to locate it to the REAR cylinders, and again, the source of the noise did not appear near the cct, perhaps I'm one of the 1% that has timing chain slap! and not a cct rattle/clack.

At the time I simply fitted a new cct. The bike has now done 93,000k's with no further noises. I've had no issues with front cylinders (yet!) and the cct is original.

I kept the old removed cct from the rear cylinders, and today I removed the C clip to have a look inside, it easily came apart. Again there was plenty of oil inside and all the internals appeared perfect. Its operation prior to pulling it apart was smooth in both directions. The only fault that this cct could have developed is a slight loss of spring tension.

Also, before pulling it apart, I extended the plunger half way then tried to force it back, it took a hell of a lot of pressure and some jiggling to force the plunger back against the worm gear and spring tension, far more pressure than I could ever imagine the cam chain could apply to the cct, still, I guess its a possibility with heat, vibration and time that this might happen.

So I guess the bottom line with these cct's is that in time the spring tension becomes marginal and no longer has the force to apply the required tension to the chain guide, causing chatter, and, as you mention, there is a fine line between having just the right tensioner pressure to stop the chatter or too much causing premature chain and guide wear. And as you have experienced they can also develop their own internal rattle.

As I said, a mates bike has developed as he states - A loud intermittent chatter noise from the front cylinders. I have yet to hear it but when I do I shall have a very close look to establish if its chain chatter as I had, or a noise purely from the cct. And provided the cct plunger retract and extend feels smooth and therefore no indication of a broken spring, I will give the cct plunger a bit of a ccw turn to take up the slack. It may be the lazy way out but Its worth a try just to avoid the mongrel job of replacing the front cct. As to how long it might do the job for is anybody's guess. Will let you know what I find.

Cheers

Grum.

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Front CCT started clacking last year on mine only at first start up and after approx. 30 seconds it would quit. A year later it would start clacking at any point in riding it. Replaced both couple months ago, so far so good .

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Hi Switchblade.

Did you take note as to the noise you were getting? Was it loud chain chatter or a localised noise at the cct? Did you do a bit of a comparison of the spring tension between the new and the ones you removed? Was there anything you could find wrong with the ones removed?

Cheers

Grum.

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Clack clack not the knock knock.

The new CCT had much more tension. My old front CCT had just a little tension left at cold, I would say after a run thru the Dragon and engine at high temp even less tension ..

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Out of the 5 tensioners Ive had, whether they made noise or not, I really couldn't tell any difference tension wise, going from old to new, they seemed about the same. The rear tensioner I had go out around 90,000 miles, had more of a knock knock sound than a rattle, the front ones have been the rattley ones.

Edited by spud786

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I reckon so.

What say yea all?

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Yep ....


There easy to change ..

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I just installed a new OEM Honda tensioner and it's leaking oil from the top of the tensioner. It rushes out the top of the tensioner when the bike is running.

Could I have poked a hole in the tensioner when I was winding the new one up to install the key?

It's the only thing I can think of. Could I have gotten a defective tensioner?

Any input is appreciated.

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Is it leaking past the bolt at the pointy end of the tensioner or the two mounting bolts?

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you have to put the screw in the top of the tensioner, or else it will do that. #12 plus the washer

Edited by spud786

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