Camchain tensioner clatter

How noisy can these get and have the bike run acceptably well?

I’ve just done an engine transplant in the bol (looks like a main or big end went, and ate the plain bearing) and the replacement engine (formerly owned by crooky from my understanding) is a bit rattly from the chains or tensioners. It’s apparently done around 54k…Has been sitting a couple of years before i threw it in.

The bike has done just over 14k from new, and I’m trying to get it looking as tidy as possible…As you can see.

I’ve two new chains sitting on the shelf at home. Would putting these in, in situ resolve the issue, or am i likely to need to do more work than that?

Engine sounds fine and healthy otherwise, revs well, no flat spots…it’s just clattering occasionally on idle/at revs.

I’m going to check the valve clearances this weekend as well to make sure it’s not something more fundemental.

ANY pointers gladly accepted. I just want it back on the road where it belongs while i rebuild the old engine.

Apart from my first choice ( the cam chain ) I’d look at the cam lobes to see if they’re shot. Obviously you wont know this until you’ve taken the rocker covers off.

Good luck.

i would guess at cam chains or tensioner’s, also as its a unknown engine, it could be that someone has had the top end to pieces and not installed the tensioner’s properly, or maybe the spring or locking mechanism is getting worn…

Hi there I have had a lot to do with chains and tensioners lately on my vf I bought the main thing to be is thorough there are several things that cause the chattering on idle and usually gets worse as you initially rev the engine as Pete says it can be several things or a combination of issues when I stripped mine I noted that the chains had been changed but they were not D.I.D BUT SOME CHEAP CRAP THAT HAD STRETCHED and also the tensioners had fully extended so the rod was at full travel on the tensioner this was caused I believe by running the engine over a period of time with stretched chains this caused the rod to be unable to lock against the spring tensioner plate that the rod goes through thus causing the rod to move in and out unable to lock on the plate and causing a wear mark on the rod which the tensioner plate got stuck on. A good indicator is when you remove the rocker covers to grab the chain and feel for play especially where the chain runs between the cams if the tensioners are working then the chain will be tight also don’t be surprised if your cams have some slight pitting especially on the rear exhaust cam if the tappet gap is to large then investigate as normally the gap will only get bigger if something is worn or as been badly serviced in the past tappet noise is different from cam chain rattle cam chain is a chattering rattle where tappet noise sounds like the word a pronounced rhythmic tapping noise which is usually fairly easy to find the source by listening closely with a stethoscope or a screw driver lightly resting on the rocker. Cam chain rattle appears to come from every part of the engine due to the chain running down the centre of the barrels in a large open chamber which allows the noise to escape to all parts of the engine making it almost impossible to determine the exact source of the problem. Hope this helps and p.s have decent tensioners if you require some

Nice one Paul.

Thanks guys. I’ll have a look when i get time.

I’ve got to rebuild the other engine and get it back in at some point so the bike is all original.

I’ll get the covers off and have a proper look in the next week and see if i can identify where the problem is.

I’ve 2 brand new DID chains sitting waiting if i need to change those, but will take a look at everything else as well.
If it’s cams, i can use the ones from the other engine. They’ve only done 14k so should be good.

Food for thought!

So, after a 10 mile run with the new engine in, all camchain related noise stops.
Get a bit of clatter for a few mins on startup, but this eventually dies off and goes altogether.

Should i be worried about that? Seems to be lessening with time.

Could this be because this engine had sat for over 2 years before being run up again?


I am also having a ticking which is going thru the entire engine, 1984 US 1000F. Thought it was possible to be in the clutch basket, but after having it apart, it all seems good there.
I have been searching most of the cam chain/ valve ticking threads here and on other forums, and think I need some additional info.
The noise is coming from the front cyl head. Recently adjusted the valves, did not notice any wear on the cams, synced the carbs and the bike seems to be running very well except for the continuous ticking that matches throttle.
I have been looking at parts fiche’s and notice that a lot of the parts are unavailable. Is the tensioner that is so often referred to part #5 on the microfiche or is it the assembly listed as #3? I also notice the spring (#4) is NLA.
Lastly, for now, can someone give me a cam chain number to use? I would prefer to try one with a pinnable master link, although I don’t think doing it that way will be very easy either. Really don’t want to split the cases to change the chain if I don’t have to.
This engine is a fresh rebuild, less than 200 miles, and everything that was measurable is well within spec. So, I really don’t want to yank this motor out again.

My bike also has a rattle which goes when the engine warms up.Checked the valve clearances, cam followers and cams and all are ok.Cam chain was tight.Is it possible to replace the cam chain tensioners easily?

It can be done without taking the heads of but it’s a bit tricky…

Fred it 100% accurate as usual, I have done the cam chains on mine with the engine in the frame and while it is a pain to access some areas, once you grow a little patience, unlike me, you will be fine if you have average mechanical skills.
The tensioners are a bit tricky, and inspect them carefully, this is not a job you want to do multiple times.

Is this worth someone doing a howto on?

I’m sure this has been done on this site before, Bif or PAJ?

I don’t recall a thread on this subject and it’s not a procedure I have used on any of our VF’s.
I have used it on a CBX and a CB750 dohc both done in the frame.
I removed the cams,backed the tensioner off and removed the plugs
I then split the old chain and joined the new one to it and turned the crank to feed the new chain through the engine.
An able assistant to keep tension on the old chain as it is fed through is very handy.
It’s easier to rivet the link once the cams are installed and it’s sitting on a cam sprocket
Hope this is of some use,regards Bif

Oh, my bad. It must have been on the “other” vfour site, I will see if I can find it and copy it with permission.
Failing that, I may have to dig into the memory for the procedure in the correct order.
Thanks bif.