Tapping Noise

I have had a 1984 VF1000 sitting in my shed for the last two years, I have started and intend to finish the task of renovating the good old thing. I bought the Bike with a Tapping noise from engine. I thought a Cam or Follower has gone no problem. But have replaced Cams and Followers with new or decent ones. The noise however is still there.
I have now removed the Engine to investigate Further. The Head gasket showed signs of water leaking into the Cylinders. The Exhaust valves have some play in valve guides, how much is acceptable? Could this cause the noise? Could the noise be Piston related? there is very little play with piston / bore.
I am a Motor Car Mechanic, tolerances, idea’s and things are different on Bikes. I do not want to place it all back together and it is still the same. I would appreciate some comments even if it is Go away.
The Noise is more of a Tap rather than a deeper thudding sound.

Since nobody replied, I’ll give it a try: I have heard that such noise could be a conrod bearing giving up. Does it sound at all like that? I had a very slight tapping sound in my F2, and I tried to locate it with a cheap engine stethoscope. Only conclusion was, that the sound did not come from top end, it sounded to be loudest near the clutch. I never investigated it more, although the engine is still in my garage. All I asked, told me thet the sound is so small, that I should not care about it. Download a shop manual somewhere, there you can find the tolerances and correct repair methods.

Thank you for that, I have taken both Cylinder heads to the Engine reconditioning Engineer that I use for him to pass his eye over the Guides. He said the Tolerance was ok and should not worry. He did Reface the heads and The Problem or Wear is in the Valves stems not the Guides. As these are not easily Available he suggested, Put it back together with new Valve Seals.
They did reface the heads and one was in need of it
The Noise is a clear hi frequency click or tap not a muffled lower end noise, that sounds to me like the lobe of the Cam moving over a Follower with a ridge along it.
The rear Cylinder I did not fit fresh Followers as you can not remove them with the Engine in. but will do so when the Engine is re-assembled hopefully this will cure the noise.
Thanks Again

And please report, if the noise went away. It is always good to know new things.

I have some noise on my VF1000F G engine but,as the old lady is approaching 100 000miles, I’m not worried. I believe that the noise on mine comes from the chains guides, mainly from the rear one.

I will reply here when I have some News. will not be soon though.

hi tony,
i was pondering your apparent tapping noise, you say that you originally bought the bike with a tapping noise and that you have changed some of the cam followers for decent ones, but the tapping still persists.
I just wondered if at some point in the past someone has changed some of the followers, but put FF ones in by mistake which are slightly different… its a long shot but worth checking, especially if someone else has been inside the engine before you.

have posted a few pics, at first glance they appear the same but, the fe ones have wider valve spacings so would not sit on the valves right, and the ff ones are thicker

Thank you very Much for that will Check and get back to you. 8)

going to have to eat a large portion of humble pie here, the rocker arm in the pic’s marked ff is possibly a vf750, it is certainly not a FF, it came to me in a mixed box of spares which was supposed to be vf1000FE and FF only,
after further examination of my own ff and fe engine, i would say that the rocker arms are the same…

just goes to show, a little knowledge is dangerous :-X

I’ve owned my 84 Interceptor 1000 since new. My engine makes a tapping noise once it’s warmed up. Coming from the rear cylinder head area. Sounds like a loose valve. I’ve just checked the clearances and they aren’t out of spec. Funny thing is, no noise on start-up. Engine is very quiet until fully warmed up. Then the tapping starts…

High there. These bikes can have a very noisy fuel pump and it is situated behind the rear cylinders, many people have been led down the path of tappets and cams only to find it’s the pump. Remove left hand side panel and listen closely to the area by the rectifier and see if that is where noise is coming from if so just change the filter as when pump is starved of fuel it makes a terrible clacking noise, you also get this if you run bike with no petrol tank on it. Hopefully this is the fault as it’s nice and cheap to fix!


Hi, when you say intersepter, do you mean the vf1000fe 1984, if so, do you use the valve lifting tool, if you do and have ware in the can journeys it possible to set the gaps too small, they will look in spec when cold but as the heads warm up the valves get longer, this causes the valves to open fractionally early, the escaping exhaust gasses sound just like a metal on metal tap,
I had this on my fe some years ago when I visited the Stafford bike show, both myself and bif who was there were convinced I had done a cam or rocker arm… after inspection at home I slackened the tapers off and threw the valve lifter in the bin, bike sounds as smooth as butter now…

The bike only has 25,000 miles on it. Hard to imagine the engine is “worn”…
I have the factory service manual and don’t remember reading anything about a valve lifter that pulls the valve up. I’m gonna dig deeper. I’ll check out the fuel pump. I can’t believe a valve is getting tight and letting exhaust escape early. It idles does nicely. And there’s no popping through the exhaust. I’ll recheck everything and report back. I do appreciate the info and shared ideas though…
Thanks much.

Apologies, should have said " cam lifting tool" not valve lifting tool.

I replaced the fuel filter. Noise is still present. Definitely sounds cam/valve related. What’s weird is, valves get “tight” as wear sets in. Not loose. My cams were replaced under warranty back in 84. I’ve adjusted the valves several times over the last 36 years. The cams still look great. Any pics of this tool that holds the cams up?

I’ll get a pic of the cam lifting tool tonight and post it up, in all honesty I wouldn’t use it, if your saying your valve clearances are tight I would slackened them off a little,
Some of the american guys actually set slightly over size .

A few pics of the cam lifting tool,

great i was just about to say the same if you forget to turn the fuel tap on you get told very noisily that the fuel pump is hungry ha ha