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Cam Chain Tensioner

This is a discussion on Cam Chain Tensioner within the ZX-14 forums, part of the Kawasaki Motorcycles category; Has anyone used cam chain tensioner off of a zx12 modified for a zx14. What are the differences between the two. And how many miles ...


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Old 09-23-2009, 04:48 PM   #1
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Cam Chain Tensioner

Has anyone used cam chain tensioner off of a zx12 modified for a zx14. What are the differences between the two. And how many miles have you had the zx12 cct on the bike.

I have 19,500 miles on my 06 zx14 and will rattle on start up for a very long time at times I replaced the cam chain tensioner with the 2008 model about 3,500 miles ago now it rattles just like it did before I replaced it the first time. when I first put it in everything was all quite thought that it had fixed the rattle on start up problem.Some times it rattles for so long before it quits I'm afraid of it damageing something I know the make the manually tensioner but would like to have an automatic one that won't rattle like the factory one does.
   
 
Old 09-23-2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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Before you get deep into this, are you sure it is the timing chain? I thought the same thing and learned the rattle was just below with the noise radiating up from the clutch discs.

Are you using synthetic oil? I had a problem on startup when I tried synthetic. After going back to mineral based, the startup noise disappeared once the synthetic was purged from the discs. (about a day of operation to fully remove the noise)
   
 
Old 09-23-2009, 05:10 PM   #3
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Cam Chain Tensioner

Quote:
Before you get deep into this, are you sure it is the timing chain? I thought the same thing and learned the rattle was just below with the noise radiating up from the clutch discs.

Are you using synthetic oil? I had a problem on startup when I tried synthetic. After going back to mineral based, the startup noise disappeared once the synthetic was purged from the discs. (about a day of operation to fully remove the noise)
Running Bellray Synthetic oil 20w-50w pretty sure it is the cam chain tensioner because it makes the same noise as when you first start the bike that normally last a second or two.
execpt it takes long time lately before the noise quites have notice if you give a little gas while it is at idle will quit but not always from what I have read on other fourms it is a know problem thanks for your input just searching trying to get other ideas. thanks again
   
 
Old 09-23-2009, 06:14 PM   #4
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My bike typically rattled for about 12 seconds nearly every time if the engine was off for more than 5 minutes.

I too played with the tensioner, increasing the tension (probably a no-no) and when that didn't work, I then realized it was something else. Sure enough, same side of bike as the chain, but because of the internal design, noise basically traveled up into the cam chain area.
   
 
Old 09-23-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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To isolate the source of the noise (or at least to eliminate the clutch rattle noise possibility), you can pull the clutch in before starting the engine...

Alternately, you can pull the clutch as the bike sits idling & notice if the noise changes... If it changes, then the cam tensioner is not suspect, as nothing has changed in that area...

There's usually a difference in the idling noise of our engines clutch engaged/disengaged... That noise is associated with the spinning of the clutch plates splined onto the output shaft of the transmission, & can include clutch rattle...

It's also interesting to listen to the tranny/clutch noise difference when the bike's shifted from neutral into gear...

>> Sorry if I helped to get things off-track, but I just figured I'd post-up my $.02...
   
 
Old 10-12-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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I would not worry about it. For one, if say the oil passage becomes clogged, the backup is this tensioner is ratchet style.
You have to push a lever to slide the locker over the teeth of the shaft of that tensioner. So, no matter the slight loss of pressure, the arm is so close to the slipper, there is no way the chain runs up over [those] teeth of the cam sprocket(s).
This noise is so common, that there has yet to be chain slipping off the sprockets and tagging valves. Not one 14 has done that yet; am I correct?
And you sure do not want a racing type tensioner. You need to adjust that every few hundred miles or every 5 times out on the WOT, where... Racing is racing.
   
 
Old 01-01-2010, 05:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
And you sure do not want a racing type tensioner. You need to adjust that every few hundred miles or every 5 times out on the WOT, where... Racing is racing.
Hubz14, I am not sure what you mean by 'racing type tensioner'? An APE brand unit?


I contemplated installing an APE tensioner in my 14 for nearly 2 yrs!!
The APE unit is simple and takes 30 minutes to install (due to removing the side fairing) and really never needs adjusting again!!
Put it in and drive it! DON'T HESITATE TO DO IT!!

The only time it may need adjusting is if you hear it start to rattle! That could take 10000 miles before you ever hear a chain rattle again!!

It's that EASY! I can't believe I put up with that rattle for so long!!
   
 
Old 04-26-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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From: Fort Worth, Texas
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Carpenter Racing has modded ZX-12 CCT that he machines and sells with all his engine packages. I have used a APE manual CCT on a FJ1200 many years ago. Works great but I do more road trips on the 14 so not going this way again. Was told 2009 14 has a different part# on CCT than the 2006/208...?? I have used Mobil 1 4T 10w40 and now Amsoil 10w40 and my 2007 14 has the CCT noise on cold start for 1 second then all is quiet...... ride it and have fun. Did same when new with Kaw break in oil.
   
 
Old 06-30-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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I'm all for the APE for racing/track/street > As long as I stay on top of the upkeep.
One waits for a rattle at 10K down the road is a worn, sloppy cam chain.

I see this whip on lift, which smacks the tensioner from a long distance. Then we have the, for every action is a slap back and forth till you apply throttle to tighten the front rung again.

If I watched how many times my radiator fan came on, then tried to mimic that same fan on and off action manually, I think I would overheat the bike and forget how many times I would be toggling that coolant like a fan switch. So, how do you like being in manual mode? 10 thousand miles on the whip and dig. That power slap which is not set closer so the slipper could be cushioned more is the problem I have with that noise to occur. A this cushioning give on the oil ride or pressure call it is lost. Now we adjust the noise out?

However, do we have enough of a gap of liquid move, we hear how much rattle you can get away with? The oil re-cushions the ride on the slipper? Never to slap it but to follow the pressure > unload and the two stay together forever, where no adjustment needed?

It sounds like forgetting to turn the fan switch on and off, you are too busy riding to cool the engine? Now you are adjusting cam chains too? Too busy to stay on top of the noise not to happen? I would think the drive chain is one too many adjustments.

That ratchet would have clicked it's way to perfect pressure once again; in the automatic design of it all. All quiet once the oil pressure quiets her down.

I never heard my tensioner make a peep until I placed it on a dyno. From that day on, it has a slight quick and gone noise before I can remove my finger off the starter button.

I borrowed a 2010 from a friend. His was on the dyno way before I rode it with 2,000 miles on it. That thing rattles you can hear it down the block. Do I blame the dyno brake on lift? I think that was the only action-REACTION I can think of; under a certain heavy load on a delicate component.

Something inside has let go and should be easy to return to normal like mine used to be before the dyno's brake loaded it more than just lift. A rebuild or a modification on the tensioner might solve what may not need to be addressed at all.

This is a machine, and machines make noise. There are dangerous noises. There are normal noises. The lack of that manual tensioner being neglected for 10 thousands miles till there is noise is dangerous, IMO.

It may show gear wear on the crank's gear? I know I just saw mine a few days ago and the teeth never looked better if not new looking. No meshing of both chain against tooth. This would show signs of wear on the drive side of the tooth as well as the coast side.

If you have the valves checked at said book interval, you can tell at the cam sprockets too. Most sprockets should have a polished pattern deep in the tooth. If not, they have their metallurgy down a lot better using the hy-vo chain design since 1979 or there about.
   
 
Old 07-24-2010, 03:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
I would not worry about it. For one, if say the oil passage becomes clogged, the backup is this tensioner is ratchet style.
You have to push a lever to slide the locker over the teeth of the shaft of that tensioner. So, no matter the slight loss of pressure, the arm is so close to the slipper, there is no way the chain runs up over [those] teeth of the cam sprocket(s).
This noise is so common, that there has yet to be chain slipping off the sprockets and tagging valves. Not one 14 has done that yet; am I correct?
And you sure do not want a racing type tensioner. You need to adjust that every few hundred miles or every 5 times out on the WOT, where... Racing is racing.
Clearly you've never used a manual tensioner. Honda's bullet proof XR/ATC 200 engines all used a manual design as did the Yamaha SR500, hardly racers. The early Kaws had manual adjust tensioners, not a particularly bullet proof design, but manual none the less.

In 28,000 miles I've adjusted my manual tensioner 4 times on the KLX650, more frequently in the first several thousand miles after the rebuild partially caused by the OEM ratchet style tensioners that failed and less often now that all is seated/broken in. In 28,000 miles the total adjustment has been less than one full turn of the M8-1.25 bolt, which is less than 1/16th inch. That is probably less than one tooth of the OEM ratchet mechanism, I can't tell you for sure since I tossed the OEM unit after seeing the wear pattern. That is part of the problem, the ratchet takes a long distance to snap over a tooth and if it doesn't quite get far enough it will get kidked back, rounding off the edges of the pawl and rack - eventually over a couple of teeth, which some of us have observed, making for a lot more play than you want to believe.

At this point I actually can't remember the last time I had to adjust the KLX tensioner. In 7000 miles on the Zephyr the manual tensioner has yet to need adjusting, it was replaced before the cam drive was hosed up, so the chain and such are seated/broken in.

With the manual tensioners there is the audible light ticking when the tensioner needs adjusted and it's less often than the valves on most bikes. It takes a few minutes, longer to take off fairing panels than the actual adjustment. Now that's far better than the two ratchet style tensioners that failed in 15,000 miles on the KLX, the second one cost $70 and in the long run a few hundred more for new cam chains and the rebuild.

The fact is I put a tensioner in an Eliminator while at Mid Ohio, 10 minutes to take out the old and put in the new. Then after a warm up another 5 minutes to adjust. It likely won't need adjusted for another several thousand miles. The total play when the chain starts lightly clicking is only maybe .010", a failed tensioner will have up to .125" play based on the wear a few of us have observed on the ratchet rack teeth where the rack is pushed back and forth under the pawl.

Then there is the cam chain guide wear caused by the spring or hydraulic pressure constantly pushing a bit on the guide, where the manual tensioners are adjusted only to take out the slack, not preload the chain. Most riders using manual tensioners properly adjusted (which isn't rocket science) won't go back to OEM "automatic" ones... none that I've ever heard of or read about.

Of course I hope the 14 doesn't have the same issues as the 1000 and I guarantee even if they did not all of them will have it happen. It only happens to some of the Eliminators, Concours, Zephyrs, and KZs. The fact is I've had two guys I knew of that had over 100,000 miles and just now are having problems. Both went to manual tensioners for cost, fine adjustment, and reliability.

Tensioner failures happen a lot more on the KLX650Cs and Rs because of the stress dual sporting and off roading will put on the cam drive. Not too many Concours are thrashed up a washboard gravel road or trail slamming the cam drive back and forth between acceleration and deceleration as mine gets. It is a whole lot less common on the street bikes, but if the tensioner does fail the manual unit is a totally viable way to go. It's better than having to pull out and clean an "automatic" tensioner every so often whenever it decides to quit working.

Last edited by klx678; 07-24-2010 at 04:20 PM.
   
 
Old 07-24-2010, 04:43 PM   #11
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From: Fort Worth, Texas
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I just ordered a new ZX-12 CCT (spring loaded design) from Jim at Competition CNC
he removes some material so it installs like OEM. $145.00 TMD he did say to remove stator cover and rotate the engine to self adjust before starting the engine after install. You do Not have to remove valve cover for this install... :-) Carpentner racing does this too, and recomends this on all his ZX-14 custom engine pckages he sells. It should be here soon. I will post up after I install. I know I am being picky but I HATE that 1 or 2 second tick on a cold start. 12K for a new bike and hear a CCT noise..NOT. I have a friend with 45,000 miles on his 2006 ZX-14 and the tick on cold start still does it with no engine problems.
Louis
   
 
Old 09-02-2010, 02:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Clearly you've never used a manual tensioner. Honda's bullet proof XR/ATC 200 engines all used a manual design...
Ask me again if I do not know the Honda line from 1965 up to 1999. Do I know the Honda cam chain of family from Z50, CB750, CBX marks the spot me a mile away?

5 posts and I missed this one is now in your mailbox. Clearly this is how I get in trouble is someone assumes I have no clue about a cam chain design, ask Sonic.

Once again, someone thinks I am about to get all upset about some cam chain adjustment and when we both line up at the line, someone is going to out last some sort of adjustment 3 hours in on the pit is pit, I hear something rattle on lift.

It is all about that subtle load on the slipper. That is the difference between slipping and shaving down the tensioner material.

Man, one think I do not do is become all upset you master mechanic your bike your way is all good. Only one person wins crossing the line or finishing a game of chance. That is what I like about this sport.
   
 
Old 09-04-2010, 01:11 PM   #13
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Just an FYI: The cam cap design of the ZX-14 makes it very susceptible to abnormal wear if your overtighten the cam chain with a manual tensioner. On the Hayabusa there are fairly robust ball bearings that support the cams on the gear end of the cams. There is no such luxury on the ZX-14.

I am no expert, but I have had both of these heads in pieces. It is surprising how different they are.

Last edited by Warp12; 09-04-2010 at 01:13 PM.
   
 
Old 09-04-2010, 03:39 PM   #14
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APE doesn`t sell a manual one for our 12r`s?????? Dammit man.....
I usually have one on all my bike from my KZ dragbike ,my ZRX1200 and want one for my ZX12R if possible....But you have to have a real feel for setting a manual one up or you get it too tight and cause all kinds of problems,too loose and other kinds of problems.....
   
 
Old 09-24-2010, 04:24 PM   #15
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From: LEXINGTON
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Quote:
My bike typically rattled for about 12 seconds nearly every time if the engine was off for more than 5 minutes.

I too played with the tensioner, increasing the tension (probably a no-no) and when that didn't work, I then realized it was something else. Sure enough, same side of bike as the chain, but because of the internal design, noise basically traveled up into the cam chain area.
WHAT DID U DO TO STOP IT?
   
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