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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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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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Corndog, did you give any thought about using a different spring?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #5
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:D) 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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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Discussion Starter #8
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.
 

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Cool. Thanks. I think I'm a ways off yet, but with my luck, ya never know.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
bump for current question
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bumped - this is how to fix cam chain tensioner issue
 

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glad you put it back up .mine started on last weekend ride
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Another forum member here has been PMing me over this issue. His tensioner was broken upon removal or it got broken during trying to test the plunger. Pay close attention to the aluminum around the circlip groove. If any cracking is noted I would buy a new tensioner, even if you plan on tightening the spring in it. Loose parts in the bottom end of the engine could be catastrophic.

When testing tensioner operation with the unit out of bike and in your hands, do not let the plunger release and snap out to full travel. You should retract plunger first and then hold it in with your finger. Remove screwdriver or installation key and slowly let off some finger pressure and let plunger come out a small amount. Try to push plunger back in, it should be locked in place. Let out some more plunger travel and push with finger again. At any point in plunger travel it should be extending under spring pressure and locking against pressure trying to push it back in. This is how it automatically takes up chain slack. The plunger actually pushes on one of the chain guides....not on the chain itself.

BTW, my Rincon is around 12,500 miles now and the cam chain is still nice and quiet at start up.
 

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Thanks for republishing this thread of yours Corndog. As you know, I have been fighting a rattle type noise in my low 242 mile / 42hour 2013 Rincon. I posted my video of the noise in another thread, but haven't received much feedback from people as to what it might be. As stated earlier, the rattling noise (lower engine area) is only during cold start up which would go away after about 5 minutes. Today however it seemed to last for about 20+ minutes of riding. Changed oil and filter last weekend, but it made no difference. Today, I decided to check valve clearance and it was spot on at 0.15mm for intake and 0.33 for exhaust. So, I guess that isn't the source of the noise either.


Can't imagine that the tensioner has failed at such low miles and hours, but I suppose it is possible. Last night I decided to order a new chain tensioner anyway just to have on hand before I pull the original one out. Think I'll try your method of adjusting the original tensioner first and see what happens. At least I'll have a new one on hand if I damage it.


If the tensioner doesn't fix it, I will be at a complete loss. At that point, I might just keep riding it until something breaks. Then I'll know for sure what it was...


I will keep you guys posted. Thanks
 

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Ok guys. I just received the new tensioner in the mail today. Going to pull the old one out over the weekend but have a few dumb questions on doing so. Can I simply just unbolt the tensioner and remove it from the engine or do I have to use the key to retract the plunger first before removing it? Also, does the piston have to be at TDC on compression stroke or anything like that before I pull the tensioner? How about installation of the new tensioner...it appears that it is already retracted with the key installed in the end. Install it like this and once bolted in, then pull the key? I've been reading through the manual, but it's not exactly clear on how to properly remove and replace it...


Thanks again for any feedback you guys can provide!
 

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Ok guys. I just received the new tensioner in the mail today. Going to pull the old one out over the weekend but have a few dumb questions on doing so. Can I simply just unbolt the tensioner and remove it from the engine or do I have to use the key to retract the plunger first before removing it? Also, does the piston have to be at TDC on compression stroke or anything like that before I pull the tensioner? How about installation of the new tensioner...it appears that it is already retracted with the key installed in the end. Install it like this and once bolted in, then pull the key? I've been reading through the manual, but it's not exactly clear on how to properly remove and replace it...


Thanks again for any feedback you guys can provide!

Using the key to remove will be much easier. If you don't you will have tension pushing back while you are taking out the bolts. Even if you have a small screw driver to hold it where it's at it will work. Once you pull it out, put the new one in with it retracted all the way and then once bolts are tight, take the key out and it will extend as much as is needed.

Also, if you out the key in the old tensioner and put it in a grove close to where it is, and then pull it out, you will be able to see how far your tensioner is extended.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When I remove tensioners, I just remove the mounting bolts evenly (turn one a few revs then the other, back and forth) and let the plunger extend as the tensioner comes out, it does not have a lot of spring pressure. TDC is not necessary to install it, but the plunger must be retracted and the key holding it. When I install a CCT, I push new tensioner body up against cylinder flush to make sure there is no force against it, then finger tight both bolts in and wrench tighten. Remove key last step.

SAVE THE KEY
 

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Thanks for the info guys. Well, I decided to go ahead and put in the new tensioner just a few minutes ago. Didn't see anything wrong with the original one that came out. Replaced it anyway with the new one and unfortunately no such luck. Still the same %$*&%$# noise.


So far I have changed the oil and filter, checked valve clearance, and replaced the tensioner. No luck at all. On cold start up, it still rattles pretty good like there's marbles rolling around in the engine or something. I didn't even bother running it for a while tonight. As soon as I heard the rattle noise again, I shut it off and called it a night in the garage. It kind of pissed me off.


Getting close to throwing in the towel and considering going riding and beating the crap out of it to see if I can get it to break for good. I'll probably come to my senses tomorrow though and before I make things worse, I'll load it up in the truck and run it over to Honda so they can have a listen and see if they have any ideas because I've run out of them!


Sorry for the rant. Just wanted to give you all an update...
 

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Thanks for the info guys. Well, I decided to go ahead and put in the new tensioner just a few minutes ago. Didn't see anything wrong with the original one that came out. Replaced it anyway with the new one and unfortunately no such luck. Still the same %$*&%$# noise.


So far I have changed the oil and filter, checked valve clearance, and replaced the tensioner. No luck at all. On cold start up, it still rattles pretty good like there's marbles rolling around in the engine or something. I didn't even bother running it for a while tonight. As soon as I heard the rattle noise again, I shut it off and called it a night in the garage. It kind of pissed me off.


Getting close to throwing in the towel and considering going riding and beating the crap out of it to see if I can get it to break for good. I'll probably come to my senses tomorrow though and before I make things worse, I'll load it up in the truck and run it over to Honda so they can have a listen and see if they have any ideas because I've run out of them!


Sorry for the rant. Just wanted to give you all an update...
That's your valves. Make sure your at TDC exactly when checking. If they come out to be good. Run it!

The rincons have a tap, just the design of them.
 
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