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Old 04-19-2010, 06:47 PM   #1
jamesbrown OP
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Timing chain tensioner questions

Hi guys,

06 950 Adv. I've had a noisy engine since day dot, specifically intermittent camchain noise throughout the rev range without low oil pressure. I'm familiar with the threads on camchain noise by Kamanya and uk_mouse.

I replaced the hydraulic tensioner element on the rear cylinder about 8 months ago and that appeared to resolve the issue. However, the camchain noise has been getting louder again recently. It remains somewhat intermittent, but has become gradually more frequent, more persistent, and louder. It occurs throughout the rev range and is not associated with low oil pressure. The same thing happened before I replaced the tensioner element last year.

Now I'm wondering why the hydraulic tensioner should fail so quickly. The spring shouldn't fail in eight months of use, surely? Could this be associated with an elongated timing chain? Could something else promote the failure of the tensioner element? I didn't actually measure the tensioner element when I removed it last time, but the replacement did resolve the problem.

Also, the tensioner element is held in place by screw #60036008000. I see reference to a longer screw here with p/n #60036008100

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=359792

But I cannot find this p/n in any of the usual stores, which is weird.

One last question: if I decide to simply replace the tensioner element again, rather than digging deeper, is there any reason why the tensioner element shouldn't simply be switched out? The only reason to lock the rear to TDC would be to measure preload, right?

Thanks guys.

James
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:48 PM   #2
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I can find both these parts, wonder what the difference is ...the later just a little longer? Should be alot longer since it costs twice as much as the original.

Anyone know how much longer? Possible to just add a spacer on the original? Or will that take a quick trip around the engine trashing everything it makes contact with?

Working on a service on my -04 and last i measured the wear on the cam chain seems to be close to the limit but hopefully a longer plug holding it might be enough for the summer and maybe look further into the engine next winter.

/Johan
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:33 AM   #3
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Jamesbrown: how many miles has your 950 done?

Last summer my 2004 950 ADV (45,000 km/28,000 miles) started to clatter for a second or two directly after starting. I changed the oil and filter (Motorex 10W/50, as always), but the start-up clatter continued. Never any clatter during running; only upon start-up at any time.

This winter (at 51,000 km / 32,000 miles). I replaced both the hydraulic cam-chain tensioners (CCTs) and the clatter disappeared. And so far, after many starts but not many miles, it's stayed good.

To test, I reinstalled the old CCTs front-in-rear and rear-in-front, and the clatter was worse than it ever was. By reinstalling one good (new) CCT at a time I found that the CCT that was in the rear cylinder was the one at fault. It was also worse in the front than it was in the rear. Maybe because it's up-side-down, and therefore drains down more easily (quickly) than it did when upright when installed in the rear. If this is correct, it suggests that the oil is draining out via the ball-valve, rather than between the plunger and the casting of the CCT.

However, if your cam-chain is noisy while the engine is running, I think that it is more likely to be an over-long cam-chain, or worn cam-chain guides. I see no reason why the CCT should get shorter as long as oil is supplied at the correct pressure.

My KTM dealer did offer me the longer CCT plugs (60036008100, price US$ 19 against the original item: 60036008000 at US$8!). I don't know how much longer they are (sorry). The part is not listed on their on-line shop.

This long plug will enable us to get more life out of our cam-chains and guides, so in this context, they offer good value for money. Maybe.

I never locked the engine with the locking bolt while removing the CCTs. When measuring, I just made sure that the engine last turned in the correct direction by turning the flywheel, using the 14 mm key, in the CCW direction. The cam-chain will not jump on the cams when the CCTs are removed.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:32 AM   #4
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I have ~50 000kms on mine, some clattering on startup, and sounds like its chewing rocks all the time on idle and with revs, have had a hard engine sound since i bought it with 3500kms.

Never heard the clatter of death that it has when first starting up after an oilchange.

Think it says when bolting the plug in u should have 6-11mm left when u start feeling that the CCT starts beeing compressed.

/Johan
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:31 AM   #5
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To fit the CCT is it a difficult job? How long (average) would it take to do?
I'm not sure they are fitted to my bike as I've only had it a few months, how do I tell if they're fitted or not?

Cheers
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeGee
To fit the CCT is it a difficult job? How long (average) would it take to do?
I'm not sure they are fitted to my bike as I've only had it a few months, how do I tell if they're fitted or not?

Cheers
Hi Gav

Your bike has CCTs. If they wear out, they can cause a brief clatter just after starting.

If you have this one- or two-second clatter it may or may not be causing damage.

Cheers, Rupert
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:19 AM   #7
jamesbrown OP
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Thanks guys.

Dirty950: I'm thinking along the same lines of replacing the (probably) faulty CCT(s) now and digging deeper next winter. The longer bolt is, according to the thread I linked, 5mm longer. I just can't find it in an online store

RedRupert: the bike is still relatively low mileage at <10k miles. I wouldn't have expected worn guides or elongated chains by now, but I don't know(?) Everything should be in alignment; no major engine work has been done on the bike. Also, while they are hydraulically operated, I think the issue here is that the (spring in the?) tensioner element is becoming too compressed over time, which is causing problems even at normal operating pressure (i.e. after start-up). Actually, I wouldn't view a brief start-up clatter as problematic (it is to be expected, I think). I should have measured the faulty element when I removed it last time. I know uk_mouse did these measurements and reported in detail on the H.O.W.

DeeGee: yes, your bike has them. Replacement alone should be very quick for the rear cylinder. You need to remove the oil tank to access the front cylinder.

jamesbrown screwed with this post 04-20-2010 at 05:24 AM
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbrown
Thanks guys.


RedRupert: ... while they are hydraulically operated, I think the issue here is that the (spring in the?) tensioner element is becoming too compressed over time, which is causing problems even at normal operating pressure (i.e. after start-up). Actually, I wouldn't view a brief start-up clatter as problematic (it is to be expected, I think). I should have measured the faulty element when I removed it last time. I know uk_mouse did these measurements and reported in detail on the H.O.W.
This is how I see it. I could be wrong, though:

The spring-and-ball valve is there to stop the hydraulic CCTs collapsing/draining down, especially while the engine is not running. While running, the oil pressure pumps the CCTs up, which keeps tension upon the chain. If there is clatter, it must mean that the chain is loose:

A) because it's beyond a weak (leaky) CCT's ability to apply enough pressure, or

B) the chain/guides are worn/stretched so much so that the CCT is not long enough to tension the chain properly.

A new non-leaky CCT will put first right; longer pugs will put the second right.


I don't think it's very good to have clatter at any time - metal hitting metal is never desirable. Is it? That's why I went to the expense and trouble of getting rid of the start-up clatter.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:56 AM   #9
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Yes, agreed. No contact is desirable, but it seems that a small amount on start-up is symptomatic of the design. For now, I think I'll just measure the preload and fit new CCT(s) (unless the preload is out, in which case I'll have to dig deeper) and fit the longer screws (if I can get them ). If it does turn out to be the CCT(s) again, I'm still a little stumped as to why they would wear so quickly; ultimately you could be right about the chain/guides being worn. The preload was OK before, but it might not be now....anyway, thanks again
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbrown
Yes, agreed. No contact is desirable, but it seems that a small amount on start-up is symptomatic of the design. For now, I think I'll just measure the preload and fit new CCT(s) (unless the preload is out, in which case I'll have to dig deeper) and fit the longer screws (if I can get them ). If it does turn out to be the CCT(s) again, I'm still a little stumped as to why they would wear so quickly; ultimately you could be right about the chain/guides being worn. The preload was OK before, but it might not be now....anyway, thanks again
Why don't you order one long plug - they are half the price of the CCTs? You can try the long plug in one cylinder at a time - I think it's highly unlikely that both cylinders are responsible for your noise - usually one will wear before the other.

You can order the long plug by part number from any KTM dealer.

It will not be wasted money, as you will need one (two, actually) sooner or later. as it is a fact that cam-chains wear eventually.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRupert
I don't think it's very good to have clatter at any time - metal hitting metal is never desirable. Is it? That's why I went to the expense and trouble of getting rid of the start-up clatter.
Hi,

I am sure the clatter is not metal on metal.

There are two chain guides per cylinder. One has the CCT pushing on it, the other is fixed on the drive side of the cam chain. The sound is generated by the static tensioner guide being slapped by the cam chain as a result of not enough chain tension on the CCT side guide. At low revs, as the cam goes past TDC the valve springs accelerate the cam to the point of removing tension on the drive side of the chain. The chain has some slack that once the engine has caught back up, it whacks the static guide as it is pulled tight.

Once the CCT's have come up to operating pressure the symptoms stop.

I am sure the CCT's once they get past a certain point of wear they "leak" more than designed and cause the clatter symptoms. It would be interesting to find out what causes the "wear" - certain oil? Debris abrasion? Tolerance issues?

My bike since it's little hiccup has run well with no return of the symptoms. It's still not the most mechanically quietest bike but this is what it seems to just be. I have a 990S too that's almost silent in comparison but I am sure that it's just missing some clattery character.

My 5c.
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:35 PM   #12
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Measured my tensioners today while checking the valves, they are very close to starting spec and nothing seems to have changed since i checked last 10 000 kms ago so guess ill leave them as they are.

/Johan
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:55 PM   #13
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clatter

Just as a benchmark, my 08 990 has clattered intermittently on startup for about 1-2 seconds since new. I feel inherent in design. Back in the day all KTM's sounded like a box of rocks but no more, quiet and smooth for me(motorex 10-50)
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:08 AM   #14
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Thanks for the idea. 38 degree celsius fever, bored, bike at reach, occasionally clattering cam chains, 32000 km.
Opened first the front cylinder bolt, no oil dropped out. This means that there is room for the oil in the front cct to come out. The bike had been standing for a few days.
Then I took the rear tensioner out and pumped both full of oil, squeeshed them against each other and the front gave up first, repeated a couple of times, and yes the front leaks more.
This could mean that the front tensioner, which is facing downwards would wear faster because it gets much more start-ups while being empty, more movement>more wear.
In the rear, the tensioner is placed so that it can not drain empty, because the hole is pointing up.
I opened the front CCT, there is a ball-valve and a spring inside. Took me a while to find them from the living room :) There is no seals, just metal surfaces sealing the oil.
When the oil-pump starts pushing pressure the CCT:s should tighten immediately, but if the front CCT has bled completely empty there is a bit of air inside, and the air has no route to get out because the in/out holes are in the lower end of the CCT. This would explain why the clattering sometimes lasts for a while after the bike has not been used for a while.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:48 AM   #15
RedRupert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skuikka
Then I took the rear tensioner out and pumped both full of oil, squeeshed them against each other and the front gave up first, repeated a couple of times, and yes the front leaks more.
This could mean that the front tensioner, which is facing downwards would wear faster because it gets much more start-ups while being empty, more movement>more wear.
In the rear, the tensioner is placed so that it can not drain empty, because the hole is pointing up.
My rear CCT was at fault. I installed the rear in the front and the symptoms were worse. I also tried one new CCT with the not-so-bad old one from the front, and it was OK.

On the work-bench - when filled with oil, the bad rear CCT compresses more easily. The oil gets out between the body and the plunger, rather than via the ball-valve.

The rear CCT had signs of wear on the outside of its body. I don't know how it came about. I'll go and check it more carefully.
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