cam chain tensioner

Hello all, I have an 85 ff and and have had nothing but trouble with the front cylinders cam chain tensioner, I have replaced the chains more than once, and I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a modified version or any suggestions etc. Also I do not have an oil mod fitted I am just running the standard system. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I have the motor out of the frame as I also have a problem with the bike jumping out of 1st gear and back into neutral, meaning I have to keep my foot on the gear lever at all times at lights etc taking off.

A modifified cam chain tensioner did exist and was sold via the Honda AD, I saw a couple of them. They were made circa 1987,just after the end of the production. They are quite different of the previous sort . May be, CMSNL would be usefull to fetch some…

I share your cam chain nightmare. Seems to be a right-of-passage on the FE/FF. Any luck with figuring out what’s causing the gear slipping, though? I’ve got the same problem there too! I currently have the engine out and upside down but not sure what to look for (this is my first venture inside an engine - popping my cherry on the VF!) I can’t see any obvious damage to the gears. Do you reckon it’s a clutch issue?

Hello stoplight, I also have the motor out, and I have stripped it down, as far as the tensioners go I can see that (after removing the springs from the tensioners), that the front cylinder spring after measuring it is longer therefore not as much tension pulling back on the chain. So I am going to replace both springs with new ones. With the gear jumping problem I too can not see any obvious problems, the gear clusters all seem in good order, I have not measured anything yet (that is the shift forks etc). When I do and if I find anything I will post it, but I am starting to think that maybe the spring on the arm that connects to the shift drum may also be faulty, any way if you find any thing maybe you could let me know. Thanks for sharing my pain, it is such a shame with these issues as the bike handles really well and makes nice easy usable power and sounds terrific.

Done deal. BTW, I’ve just been reading a bunch of posts about the correct way to set the timing marks when re-installing the cams. Looks like the Clymer manual is wrong, if you’re using it:,85.0.html

And yeah, she sounds great when she actually runs!

hi guys, i had a similar problem with a cam chain tensioner that kept slacking off, in my case it turned out to be the pin that slides through the gate locking mechanism was slightly worn, you could just feel it was slightly thinner where the lock sits,

Interesting. I’ll have a good look at the pin. There seem to be a lot of ways to get chain rattle on these engines!! Thanks for your advice. I reckon it’s probably worth replacing the slipper blades and springs while I have everything out.

BTW, is the pin you’re referring to the one marked #10 in the CMS catalogue diagram (extreme left of image)?

hi, no the pin im referring to is part of number 15 on the cmsl diagram, its the pin that slides through the small locking plate which your spring attaches to, what happened on mine was the pin had slightly worn, which meant that the locking plate couldn’t grip it properly (ive even seen them wear a small groove on the pin so the lock plate cant get past it and keeps slipping back) which is probably what would have happened to mine in time.

i would definitely change the springs, but would only change the slipper blades if they are damaged

Gotcha. I’ll have a look at that this evening. Cheers mate.

Hello Stoplight, regarding the issue of the gearbox not staying in first or second gear and going back into neutral. I believe I have found my problem, as I brought the bike second hand and have no history of any rebuilds etc, I didn’t even think to check that all the little pins (5 off) were in the shift drum cam. But after checking I have found that one is missing (thats right some bodgey person has left one out) and guess what it is the one that engages first gear. That would explain why when I held my foot on the gear lever it stayed engaged. I hope that this may also be the problem with yours, as it is a relatively easy fix once you have the new pin that is. By the way I did not remove this cam off the drum when I stripped the engine so there is no way it could have come out, as the pins are captive when the cam is bolted in position.

Well found! I’ll have a good look and check all the pins are there. Thanks for the tip. My bike has obviously had a similarly history to yours… previous work mostly done by Bodgitt & Leggitt Inc. The plastics are from an FE, the engine is from an FF, and a previous tinkerer has stiripped threads and rounded bolt heads right the way down to the pistons! I think I used the impact driver more than any other tool during the tear down :wink: Yesterday, the oil pan and starter motor went back on and the engine got flipped the right way round again… looks like the rebuild has now officially begun. Nice feeling when you flick the ratchet switch from “undo” to “tighten” for the first time in months :slight_smile: