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Old 04-20-2009, 12:31 PM   #1
jamesbrown OP
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Cam chain rattle and hard starting on 950A

Hey guys,

I'm looking for some assistance to diagnose a cam chain rattle and intermittent hard starting issue on my '06 950 Adv (7k miles). I'm aware of some of the threads on oil pressure symptoms and have looked through them. My symptoms:

- Fairly loud cam chain rattle, which occurred shortly after warm-up on the way to work this morning. It faded with increased RPM and disappeared after a few minutes.
- No accompanying idiot light to indicate loss of oil pressure, not even a flicker (unfortunately I don't have a gauge handy to confirm the correct pressures).
- The bike has become more difficult to start in the last two weeks.
- The bike started to idle slightly low until adjusted recently, but is still not idling 100% consistently.
- Oil level is good and appearance is normal.
- The bike is used daily and has been all winter.

My first thought was something in the oil (fuel or water) causing the hard starting and possibly thinning the oil, but I had the bike apart recently and there was no evidence of a coolant leak. The bike was blown over in the parking lot a month or so back and on its side for a while until I noticed it. However, I'm skeptical about fuel in the oil given the correct level in the tank and the amount that would be required to cause significant thinning.

I also had a flickering oil light on idle at very high temps. some time back. This occurred once and I checked a lot of things, inc. the filter and screens, seating of the ball valve on the oil return, tearing of the supply hose etc., and found nothing obviously wrong. The symptoms disappeared after an oil change, and haven't returned in the last couple of thousand miles.

I know others have experienced 'undiagnosed' cam-chain chatter, but this hasn't been a persistent problem on my bike. I'll see if I can get a gauge to check the oil pressures.

Any further ideas?......

TIA.

James
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
dougn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbrown

- Fairly loud cam chain rattle, which occurred shortly after warm-up on the way to work this morning. It faded with increased RPM and disappeared after a few minutes.
- No accompanying idiot light to indicate loss of oil pressure, not even a flicker (unfortunately I don't have a gauge handy to confirm the correct pressures).
- The bike has become more difficult to start in the last two weeks.
- The bike started to idle slightly low until adjusted recently, but is still not idling 100% consistently.
- Oil level is good and appearance is normal.
- The bike is used daily and has been all winter.

My first thought was something in the oil (fuel or water) causing the hard starting and possibly thinning the oil, but I had the bike apart recently and there was no evidence of a coolant leak. The bike was blown over in the parking lot a month or so back and on its side for a while until I noticed it. However, I'm skeptical about fuel in the oil given the correct level in the tank and the amount that would be required to cause significant thinning.

I also had a flickering oil light on idle at very high temps. some time back. This occurred once and I checked a lot of things, inc. the filter and screens, seating of the ball valve on the oil return, tearing of the supply hose etc., and found nothing obviously wrong. The symptoms disappeared after an oil change, and haven't returned in the last couple of thousand miles.

I know others have experienced 'undiagnosed' cam-chain chatter, but this hasn't been a persistent problem on my bike. I'll see if I can get a gauge to check the oil pressures.

Any further ideas?......

TIA.

James
first off i doubt whether the hard starting and the cam chain rattle are related.

i have identical intermittant symptoms as you....and i mean identical.

i also notice that whenever i fool around with the oil, whether it's changing the oil or pulling the filter, or lately i've been messing around with the tensioners....it can bring on or eliminate the symptoms.

here's some conjecture.....ktm knows what the problem is. they wont say. therefore it must be not easily fixed....
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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can't help with the cam chain rattle. I'm sure the only fix is full replacement like uk_mouse did. the hard start sounds like a weak battery. Mine would always start on the old stock battery but hard like you describe. After a installing a new one AND constantly keeping on a BT when not riding she fires on first try strong and idles solid.

Just my experience


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Old 04-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
jamesbrown OP
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Thanks for the input guys. My main concern is running the engine with low oil pressure (although the idiot light isn't coming on). It seems to be running fine this evening, but I'm not really satisfied with that. The only thing I could think of that might relate the hard starting and cam chain noise would be compromised oil, but that doesn't seem to be the case The hard starting concerns actual- or near-stalling shortly after start-up but it's not related to the battery (or connections) as the battery is only a few months old and the voltage is good. Quite possibly coincidental to the cam chain noise though.

Eventually I want to install a dash mounted oil pressure gauge, as described on the HOW, but I haven't had the time recently.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:28 PM   #5
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i would recommend checking the valves. Your description is telling me you have tight valves.
The clacking noise from the cam chains is a charactistic of the LC8. As long as it goes away above say 2000RPM, there is nothing to worry about.
Oil pressure is at its lowest at idle, and the clack is due to that.

If you hear the clack while riding, something is wrong.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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Didn't notice in your other posts; does your bike have a canister?
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:40 PM   #7
jamesbrown OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpmodem
Didn't notice in your other posts; does your bike have a canister?
Yes, it does. The hard starting began some time after the tip over - perhaps two weeks after, and I ride daily. It's usually accompanied by an idling problem shortly after start-up. I can try the 'Canisterectomy Lite' (I should really yank it all, but I'm working in a parking lot, so I try to avoid 'non-essential' tear downs ).
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:45 PM   #8
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ah the canister you guys have... sorry, we dont get them in Aus
Dont know anything about em'!
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:53 PM   #9
jamesbrown OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADVJake
ah the canister you guys have... sorry, we dont get them in Aus
Dont know anything about em'!
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
cpmodem
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Yeah, at the very least drain the tube. The canister is the source of many ills. Most folks remove them to get the bike back to the way it was designed to run.
Just sayin'
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:25 PM   #11
jamesbrown OP
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Hey guys. I drained the canister system and have been riding for another week or so. Some gunk came out, but very little. I'm still having persistent issues with noisy cam chains and hard starting. The cam chains are only noisy on starting in the morning (after a night outside) and, specifically, on reaching 2-3 bars on the oil temp. They then persist, even under throttle, for several minutes of riding. The oil pressure light always remains off. Oil levels remain good and constant.

What else could cause this? I noticed a slight ticking in the upper front of the engine block (lack of lubrication?), as well as more vibration through the bike and generally a louder engine/poorer running recently. I also get a slight smell of gas on starting, which suggests a rich condition. Perhaps ADVJake was right with the tight valves (it is roughly due for a valve check)? Or could it be an issue with the cam chain tensioner (doesn't explain everything)? Or something else?

Thanks.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:47 AM   #12
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Despite replacing my cam chains and tensioners last year, I still get occasional clatter from my bike.

It mainly seems to happen after the bike's been unused for a few days. The cam chains will clatter until the oil temperature gets to about 60C. Then it goes quiet, and it'll be fine for days.

I'm pretty sure it's none of the usual suspects, I've checked my water pump, oil filter, oil tank valve, oil bypass valve etc etc.

My latest theories are that it could be either a worn oil pump (seems unlikely) or the cam chain tensioner sticking in the compressed position. Haven't had time to investigate much recently though.

As far as the hard starting goes, I agree with the general opinion that it's probably fuel related. We don't have canisters on UK bikes, but I know my bike was very hard to start after I fitted a new fuel pump that put out a bit too much pressure. After I fitted a regulator, all was well. Not suggesting you do this, just illustrating the symptoms of the engine flooding when you try to start it.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbrown
The cam chains are only noisy on starting in the morning (after a night outside) and, specifically, on reaching 2-3 bars on the oil temp.
Just pointing out that the gauge on the dashboard shows water temperature. I've got an oil temp gauge on my bike, and the oil temp lags behind the water temp significantly. Specifically, when the dash shows 4 bars (100C) the oil temp can be as low as 40C. It takes a decent run, say 10 miles of normal riding, to get the oil above 80C.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:47 AM   #14
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Jamesbrown:
I am having he exact, and I mean EXACT, same symptoms on my 04. It was running great, sat for awhile, and it has been doing just as you describe lately. My theory is that the long time it sat allowed the hydraulic tensioners to bleed off and it takes some time for them to "fill" up again. I have no answer for the hard starting and erratic idling, though. I don't have a canister, adjusted my valves 2,000 miles ago and just changed my oil. I'm going to try some Seafoam gas conditioner.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:08 AM   #15
jamesbrown OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uk_mouse
Just pointing out that the gauge on the dashboard shows water temperature.
Thanks. In some ways, it's good to know that other people are experiencing this. The clatter itself doesn't really bother me if there isn't an oil pressure issue. I'll report back after a valve check, but from your experience it sounds like this isn't the cause. I'll check for a snag in the choke also, as that might explain the hard-starting/poor running if nothing else....

Thanks guys
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