Loud ticking upper cylinder, cam gears shot - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Loud ticking upper cylinder, cam gears shot

I've heard a lot on this forum about ticking issues and it normally being the ACCT but wanted to let you know that if you have a loud ticking and it does not go away with the replacement of the ACCT then you probably ought to pull the engine. I took my engine out and found that the rear upper cam chain is really loose and the cam gears are chewed up. Has anyone else had this problem? I don't understand how this could have happened unless the cams were not properly hardened, and my bike is a 2005 with 10,500 miles on it... anyway I would like to hear anyone's opinion or story if they have had this problem. It really sucks paying what I did for the bike and a year later deciding to look into this problem and it costing me around $500 in parts. It had a quiet tick when I bought it but not loud enough to worry me but anyways that's that.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:00 PM
Crap, I WAS in 5th gear.
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Yep, stretched cam chain or loose tensioner over time will chew up your cams. I'm pretty sure mine are stretched, too, but they've been like that for 30,000 miles. Just a slight clackety-clack from time to time. The cam/chain design is the achilles heel of the 750.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:47 PM
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"The cam/chain design is the achilles heel of the 750." You can say that again. The Vulcan 750 should have been designed like every other Japanese v-twin, with ONE cam chain per cylinder, and a proper cam chain tensioner. I can see no reason for the double chain design, it just makes the engine a lot more complex, and a lot more prone to failure.

Probably what happened in this case is the tensioner failed, but you continued to ride it, stretching the cam chain, which whipped around and destroyed the gear. I would be surprised if it didn't do some other damage, like to the guides and slippers. The fact that it happened to an '05 with such low mileage sounds a bit odd, but I have long suspected the quality of the tensioners deteriorated over the long production run. They were a bad design to begin with, and required very exacting tolerances to work properly. As the manufacturing tooling wore, the tolerances got sloppy, and the tensioners failed right away. I have some experience to back this up. I put 80,000+ miles on my '93 with no cam chain tensioner problems. On my '02, the tensioners failed at around 20,000 miles, and I replaced them with a new set of oem tensioners. They failed at a hair over 10,000 miles. At around 30,000 miles, I switched to TOC manual tensioners. I now have over 70,000 miles on it, and it's still fine. I have not had to adjust the tensioners once, after adjusting them a second time about 2 weeks after installing them. Apparently I did not get them tight enough the first time.

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
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