VF500 camchain wear


Like an idiot, I have bought a 1984 half faired basket case Austrian origin VF500F to fix up. I managed to hear the engine before I bought it, and it had a camchain rattle as the revs increased. At idle it was OK. I was kind of hoping a tensioner was sticking so it would be a straightforward fix. However, having opened the engine up I can’t see any evidence either tensioner is sticking. It does look like the tensioners are at the end of their travel so maybe the camchains are worn. I am sort of surprised as the dual link chain seems over engineered for the task.

I have to decide whether to repair or donate to colleague who will use in an Applied Mechanics course at work.
I have a good spare engine but seems a shame to scrap an engine that is fine otherwise. The valves look good and the cam followers are fine although one exhaust cam has a few pits. The odo reads 68000 km on it and the condition of the bike is consistent with that.

Anyone replaced camchains in a VF engine before? I assume you have to buy endless ones and split the cases? I can see getting the pistons back in the bores being a challenge.

I’ll probably end up posting this to other forums too so apologies if you see it elsewhere.


VF500 - keep the spare engine. You may well need it for parts later.


The thing is I have three 86 engines, 2 really good, and one only fit for parts, and then this 84/85 engine. The 84/85 engine has quite a few differences so while there is some merit in keeping it I am not short of 86 bits. I have to decide what I am going to do with the VF500F when its fixed up. Too many bikes, not enough room. I suppose the best scenario is to fix the 84/85 engine, fit it back in the VF500F and sell it. Then I just have my VF500F2 to keep with a good spare engine and a basket case 86 engine for parts.

I have trimmed the rubber tube around the camchain tensioner springs. This seemed to be preventing the spring from engaging the tensioner through its full range of travel. I will fit the engine back and live in hope this will get rid of the camchain noise. Nothing wrong with hopeless optimism…


The Honda manual, as I’m sure you are aware,gives details of how to check the chain for wear.
I have recently completed a rebuild on an 84 motor I purchased from a college.
As you say the differences between the 84 and later engine are many,the diameter of the coolant pipes from the cylinder head being only one of many.
The half faired version looks sharper in my opinion and I have gone for an 85 Italian blue and white paint job with red and gold decals.
The forks will be black though ala the US version along with 3 spoke cast wheels with a 3’’ rear rim and 130/70 tyre.
The tensioner seems to be more of a problem than the chain the locking mechanism is fairly weak,but it’s amazing the miles some of these engines achieve on the original chain.
Regards Bif


My manual must be defective because i can find no reference to how to check the cam chains for wear. I have pdf version with the pale blue and helmeted rider on the cover. I also have a green hard copy version which I haven’t checked yet.

I agree about the looks. The half faired is much nicer, which is one reason I bought the F model. My F has the comstar wheels.