Cam chain tensioner repair - Honda Rincon Forum : RinconRiders Honda Rincon Forums
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Cam chain tensioner repair

Do any of you have the "rattle"?

There have been several threads over the years about replacing the OEM cam chain tensioner (cct) with aftermarket manual type (no spring). This is a fine method but I wanted to fix the stock one. This is done to eliminate the rattle that shows up in the Rincon. The rattle is worse when cold and goes away when hot…eventually it will not go away. The rattle is your cam chain whipping around due to inadequate tension and will wear out the chain more quickly than a properly tensioned one.

There are several threads relating to parts of this issue and repair, so some of what I suggest is not my original thinking. Here goes.

The stock cct uses a spring loaded ratchet that extends as the chain wears. This is the issue. The ratchet has 4 revolutions from full in to full out. When the chain is new, the cct does not extend much and the spring is tight. As the chain wears, the ratchet goes further out and the spring unwinds thus having less force available. Somebody posted once that they tightened the spring but had no more details how they did it.

On my atv the OEM cct started to rattle at 7500 or so miles and I just replaced it. Problem solved for a while. Then lately at 11,300 miles the rattle returned. I was going to put a manual cct in but did not want to always wonder does it need to be adjusted or not (and I am cheap). So I removed my cct to have a look.

Sure enough, on my bike the cct is currently at 3 revolutions out and I only have a little more travel left (1 revolution). The remaining spring tension in the cct was not enough to extend the ratchet any further. I had a spare cct from the first change. I disassembled it to see how to tighten the spring.

Here is the best description I can give.

· Remove the retaining circlip with the plunger held by a finger so it does not pop out of the cct body.
· Let the interior mechanism come out until the circlip groove is just above the cct body still holding plunger with finger.
· Use installation key or screw driver and add 2 to 3 “extra” full twists (complete 360 revolutions) to spring. I would not add more spring tension than this as the spring would have unwound the amount I am rewinding it.
· Then push plunger back inside cct body until circlip can be reinstalled.
· This seems complicated and took me a few hours to figure out it could be done without fully disassembling the cct.
· The difference in force the cct applies after fixing is very noticeable.

I reinstalled the cct and my bike is now purring again when cold at start up. When it starts to rattle again, I likely will need a new cam chain.

I had pictures but they were not good enough to show what I was doing...sorry. I will check in on thread if anybody has questions or comments about my repair. Happy motoring.

Rattle free again in Kentucky.

2003 green Rinny (12,400 miles), "25" Bighorn Radials (white letters out) full of extra slime, water pump mod, no warning labels, E Trex, everything else like Mr. Honda made it. 2000 XR 400r (est 3,500 miles). RIDE RED EVEN IF ITS GOT GREEN PLASTIC!

2013 Yamaha Super Te'ne're' (27,400 miles in 22 months), 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (392,000 miles) on tight and original motor. 2001 4Runner (82,000 miles).
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 01:34 PM
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Rattle free in Kentucky perhaps... but I can hear the clink clink of moonshine jugs all the way up ar!!
Thanks for the tip CD.. I will try that when the "rattle" returns

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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 02:31 PM
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Corndog, did you give any thought about using a different spring?

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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 06:02 PM
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· Use installation key or screw driver and add 2 to 3 “extra” full twists (complete 360 revolutions) to spring. I would not add more spring tension than this as the spring would have unwound the amount I am rewinding it

These are clockwise turns?

helpful write up - I'll try it. Thanx

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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First question - the spring is a very high tech, precision piece with lots of coils and the ends are bent very precisely. The spring unwinds rotating a part, it is not used to push or pull. I wanted the proper tension. I got mental over it and figured too much pressure against the chain guides would wear my chain quicker. Too little and it would rattle. In truth it may not need to be so exact, but I even wound mine the exact amount it had unwound from new.

Second question - I am old (51 and my Birthday is next week) and forgot, CW I think. The direction you would go to add spring tension. Then lock the installation key in the nearest groove holding the plunger until you can push it back in and engage the circlip. This is important and I left it out. Something else I left out is you are starting this process with the installation key out and the plunger fully extended. Remove circlip and ease plunger and plate out just enough to disengage the plate that prevents plunger rotation. Then wind spring tighter.

If you have a spare it helps to practice. I screwed around with the thing for a while to get it right before I did it on my current tensioner. I actually could have repaired the old one but was too lazy back then and it lasted 7500 miles. Before attempting my repair, I disassembled the first one to see why it wasn't functioning and it took me a long time (at least six brews) to figure out how to get it back together....it is deceptively simple for its function but its a Chinese puzzle. I still do not understand how the "ratchet" locks against retracting rotation, its basically just a long helical gear. I just gave up and decided what needed to be done, crossed my fingers and figured I would be buying a manual tensioner after my repair work failed.

I even was lucky enough to not damage the gasket much and just reinstalled using the old one. I really didn't expect it to work and the dealer had no gasket it stock thus a delay.

I have ridden it around home 20 miles or so and no oil leak. It has been cold started several times now. Absolutely no rattle at start up...I am very pleased.

I am glad to answer more questions or if anybody needs more help they could call me and I will get my spare and walk you through it by phone...just PM me for my number. I am usually only on forum on weekends now.

2003 green Rinny (12,400 miles), "25" Bighorn Radials (white letters out) full of extra slime, water pump mod, no warning labels, E Trex, everything else like Mr. Honda made it. 2000 XR 400r (est 3,500 miles). RIDE RED EVEN IF ITS GOT GREEN PLASTIC!

2013 Yamaha Super Te'ne're' (27,400 miles in 22 months), 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (392,000 miles) on tight and original motor. 2001 4Runner (82,000 miles).
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 11:18 PM
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Sounds like taking apart a ruger mark III for the first time. Could you post some pics sometime of your spare one?
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Along the same line, the tensioner can be diagnosed as your issue without removal. Just remove the access bolt on the end and insert key or screw driver. Start machine cold and immediately engage the key or screw driver and turn it ccw slightly adding tensioner pressure, if rattle goes away, you have the issue. Be ready to burn your hands...I did.

And just buying a new stock one you will have low spring pressure again as the thing will unwind out to match your cam chain wear. Its a design flaw in the tensioner (or assembly flaw when the part is made with too little spring winding) in my opinion or Honda thinks at longer extension of the tensioner your timing chain is toast. I respectfully disagree with this and will not change my chain and guides until the tensioner fully extends or for some other reason I need to look inside the engine. At 7500 miles my tensioner was 2.5 revolutions extended as I checked it. Now its at 11300 miles and 3 revolutions (remember previously I said it only has 4 revs total). Based on that wear rate, I figure I will go about another 8000 miles before I need a timing chain...knock on wood. By then the original battery...yep still in the machine, might need replacing also.
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2003 green Rinny (12,400 miles), "25" Bighorn Radials (white letters out) full of extra slime, water pump mod, no warning labels, E Trex, everything else like Mr. Honda made it. 2000 XR 400r (est 3,500 miles). RIDE RED EVEN IF ITS GOT GREEN PLASTIC!

2013 Yamaha Super Te'ne're' (27,400 miles in 22 months), 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (392,000 miles) on tight and original motor. 2001 4Runner (82,000 miles).
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Elwood, I put it back together as a spare for friends. Its fine now, I rewound it also.A diagram would have helped me but nothing internal is available and all microfiches just show the tensioner part. The part is only $75 but, I figured it would not last long.

I own two Mark IIIs. They are a piece of cake compared to reassembling this tensioner when you do not pay very close attention to how it comes apart. It literally took me hours and I rebuild engines for fun. The method I describe though requires only slight disassembly and 5 minutes to do once you have the part in your hands.

2003 green Rinny (12,400 miles), "25" Bighorn Radials (white letters out) full of extra slime, water pump mod, no warning labels, E Trex, everything else like Mr. Honda made it. 2000 XR 400r (est 3,500 miles). RIDE RED EVEN IF ITS GOT GREEN PLASTIC!

2013 Yamaha Super Te'ne're' (27,400 miles in 22 months), 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (392,000 miles) on tight and original motor. 2001 4Runner (82,000 miles).
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 12:20 AM
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Cool. Thanks. I think I'm a ways off yet, but with my luck, ya never know.

Sold 2007 Red Rincon, 25" Bighorns, Warn 25RT, ATV GURU Front Bumper / Over-Under Hitch / Double Tube Rear Bumper with Warn Lights Option, Line-Xed Racks, Mobil 1, Tamarack front box, custom cooler rack insert, Garmin Zumo 665 with XM radio/weather and a new scratch on every ride.....
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 11:08 AM
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Thanks Corndog, i did this last night to my old one. Worked just as you described. From looking at the ratchet rotation you mentioned, there are "just enough" threads to force the plunger stop against the circlip.

Excelent Post... and yes, while running i tried just rotating the spring. 3500 miles on mine. just over 2 turns tight with engine off. Plan on installing the modified piece later this week.
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