Rod knock? Timing chain rattle? Both? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Rod knock? Timing chain rattle? Both?

https://youtu.be/oGX6NYBd_9c Just got the bike To start on its own....
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 12:29 AM
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Sounds like a VERY loose cam chain to me. You can try this and see if it helps https://www.vn750.com/forum/37-engin...rick-acct.html If it does, then the cam chain tensioners have failed. What concerns me is how long it may have been run like that. Running with a loose cam chain will damage the chains, guides, tensioners, and sprockets. I had an engine fail due to a broken cam chain. I may have let it go to long that way before switching to TOC manual tensioners. I would not run it like that.

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1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, should I set the motor to TDC first, or does it not matter? And should I twist the tensioner all the way in and release or just parshall?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 02:07 PM
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It doesn't matter where the engine is set, just don't let it turn while you have tension off the cam chains. Turn it all the way in, then release it. The problem with the oem tensioners is that cam chains, even properly tensioned ones, have a certain amount of "whip" That pounds on the tensioner, and eventually wears out the internal threads that allow the tensioner to advance as things wear. Eventually the threads wear enough that they bind. It has nothing to do with the springs. Use to everybody was replacing the springs with stronger ones. But because the worn threads were binding, the tensioner still couldn't advance. The main issue seems to be the fact that the housing is made out of aluminum, including the threads, and that is what wears due to the constant pounding. There is another trick that I tried to do a long time ago, and that was to use a screwdriver to tighten the tensioners while the engine was running by removing the cap and sticking the small screwdriver in to turn the screw. The screw (internal part of the tensioner) was shaking so bad that it literally knocked the screwdriver out of my hand. There should have been almost no play between the inner and outer threaded parts of the tensioner.

There are 3 possible ways of fixing this problem. You can get new oem tensioners, which is the first thing I did when I heard that rattle. They are not cheap, and lasted only about 10,000 miles till I heard the rattle again.

The second, and IMO best way is to replace the automatic oem tensioners with steel manual tensioners from TOC. Manual Tensioner

That's what I did, and rode for almost 80,000 miles before a cam chain finally broke. The TOC tensioners have enough adjustment range that they will properly tension the chain even if it is worn beyond the service limit. Of course that doesn't mean the worn chain may not still break, but it should at least make it last longer.

The third way is to take the oem tensioners apart and convert them to manual tensioners. There are instructions for doing that on here somewhere. But I don't recommend it, because the oem housings are made of cast aluminum, and may crack under the stress of the constant pounding from the cam chain. The threads in the oem tensioner are also aluminum, and not very long, so it's a pretty weak design. Basically the tensioner is taken apart, all the internal parts are removed, then a long bolt is threaded through the threads that were originally used for the cap over the tensioner bolt to screw into. Since they were originally designed only to hold a cap, I don't believe they are strong enough to actually hold the bolt against the chain for very long. Some people swear by this method, but from an engineering standpoint, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. You could do it to begin with, see if it stops the noise, then get the TOC tensioners.

I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.


1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
2004 Honda Rebel 250
1979 Vespa P200E
2002 Vulcan 750 parts bike
1994 Yamaha XT225 parts bike
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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I tried with no change... I wish I could take the valve covers off without having to pull the motor... but from what I’m told i cannot. I don’t mind changing the chains out if needed, as long as I’m able to find a diagram for the timing marks. I may do what you suggested on the manual tensioner... I’m just worried the chain will snap while I’m driving down the road. I even tried turning the tensioner counter clockwise with no luck it wouldn’t budge out anymore.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:26 PM
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If you jump ahead to page 9 on the thread that talks about converting to manual tensioners, a member used JB Weld to place a nut inside the end of the tensioner housing. This puts the stress back into the same place as the housings were designed for. No worries about the threads stripping out.


'89 Vulcan 750 Bought 4/12/18 @ 17805.9 miles $800
Purchased stock. Wrecked once
22490.0+ miles

Completed modifications:
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Pittenger View Post
If you jump ahead to page 9 on the thread that talks about converting to manual tensioners, a member used JB Weld to place a nut inside the end of the tensioner housing. This puts the stress back into the same place as the housings were designed for. No worries about the threads stripping out.
Very interesting, I will give this a try. Thank you!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VN750Rider/Jerry View Post
It doesn't matter where the engine is set, just don't let it turn while you have tension off the cam chains. Turn it all the way in, then release it. The problem with the oem tensioners is that cam chains, even properly tensioned ones, have a certain amount of "whip" That pounds on the tensioner, and eventually wears out the internal threads that allow the tensioner to advance as things wear. Eventually the threads wear enough that they bind. It has nothing to do with the springs. Use to everybody was replacing the springs with stronger ones. But because the worn threads were binding, the tensioner still couldn't advance. The main issue seems to be the fact that the housing is made out of aluminum, including the threads, and that is what wears due to the constant pounding. There is another trick that I tried to do a long time ago, and that was to use a screwdriver to tighten the tensioners while the engine was running by removing the cap and sticking the small screwdriver in to turn the screw. The screw (internal part of the tensioner) was shaking so bad that it literally knocked the screwdriver out of my hand. There should have been almost no play between the inner and outer threaded parts of the tensioner.

There are 3 possible ways of fixing this problem. You can get new oem tensioners, which is the first thing I did when I heard that rattle. They are not cheap, and lasted only about 10,000 miles till I heard the rattle again.

The second, and IMO best way is to replace the automatic oem tensioners with steel manual tensioners from TOC. Manual Tensioner

That's what I did, and rode for almost 80,000 miles before a cam chain finally broke. The TOC tensioners have enough adjustment range that they will properly tension the chain even if it is worn beyond the service limit. Of course that doesn't mean the worn chain may not still break, but it should at least make it last longer.

The third way is to take the oem tensioners apart and convert them to manual tensioners. There are instructions for doing that on here somewhere. But I don't recommend it, because the oem housings are made of cast aluminum, and may crack under the stress of the constant pounding from the cam chain. The threads in the oem tensioner are also aluminum, and not very long, so it's a pretty weak design. Basically the tensioner is taken apart, all the internal parts are removed, then a long bolt is threaded through the threads that were originally used for the cap over the tensioner bolt to screw into. Since they were originally designed only to hold a cap, I don't believe they are strong enough to actually hold the bolt against the chain for very long. Some people swear by this method, but from an engineering standpoint, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. You could do it to begin with, see if it stops the noise, then get the TOC tensioners.

I went ahead and tried this multiple times and it finally worked for a little bit anyways. I still could hear some tapping maybe it was the other tensioner I’m not sure just yet, but it wasn’t real loud. When I heard the noise come back I immediately stuck the screw driver back to the tensioner and it nearly beat it out of my hand! So I do believe I’m going to convert this one and put a spare but inside, just to see what happens. Everyone here has been such a huge help to me and I appreciate it a lot!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 04:28 PM
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the engines are noisy sounds ok to me
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