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Cam chain questions

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  • Cam chain questions

    Hi, first post here and first Hawk I've worked on. I think I posted to the wrong section last time, my apologies. Was going to adjust the valve clearances so I pulled the valve covers, everything looks pretty good, bearing surfaces and all, but it seems like the cam chains both front and rear had a bit of play in them. They seemed pretty tight, but I could pull them a touch at the top of the cam gears. I've rebuilt a CB motor before, and this doesn't seem right to me.

    Searching around, I found this page which was referenced in another post here. What's odd is that while the other poster's "wedges" were flush, mine are ~3mm into the tensioners (both seem to measure the same). The chain tension only changed a slight amount as I was rotating the engine by hand, and exhibited this "play" throughout the whole cycle.

    Should get ready to pull the engine to replace the chains? Could the chains be fine and just need to replace the tensioners? The bike runs seemingly fine, it's got ~50k miles.

    Many thanks!​
    Attached Files
    Last edited by k_49; 06-09-2023, 04:54 PM.

  • #2
    If it is running fine what are you trying to fix? Put the valve covers back on it and go ride it.
    88 Blue Hawk GT - Under construction but rideable (guest approved)
    89 BlackHawk 2.0 - On the lift and being assembled
    90 Hawk GT (color as to yet be determined) - Still on the shelf in crates


    • #3
      I guess I'm just trying to catch timing chain problems before they cause any big problems to the engine. I haven't heard about really any related failures on these bikes, so I thought I'd ask if this is something to be concerned about.

      You're probably right haha, might as well enjoy the weather and worry about it later.


      • #4
        I'm on my 7th Hawk. Never had a noisy chain or problems. Can't say that about the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09 I bought new. I think they were up to 5 variations in 4 years.
        89 Red Hawk, 2021 Rebel 1100 (bike 41) Some Past/sold in reverse order:,FZ09,97 Magna #1&2 , 97 VFR750F, 87 VFR400R, 88 Hawk, 86 SRX 600, 77 RD400, 79 CB650, 04 VFR, 88 Blue Hawk, 89 Red Hawk, Yamaha SRX600, Harley 1200C, Yamaha RD400, Harley 883R, Yamaha 750 triple, Vlx600, Honda 450, Honda 400, CB550F, Kawasaki H1, BMW R69US, Yamaha R5C 350, Honda 160, Bridgestone 175, 1950 Harley 74 w/sidecar, 65 Harley 250 Sprint, 1948 Harley and my 1st bike-1941 Harley 74 knucklehead my dad gave in1963.


        • #5
          Well, I just had a chance to look at it again, was planning on just putting it back together but with a fresh eye it really looks like it may have jumped timing. I can't get the "FT" timing mark to line up on the side cover and have the camshaft lines parallel to the head. When the camshaft is aligned, the flywheel is way past the FT mark.

          My understanding is that engines that jump timing run horribly if even at all, yet I've ridden this bike and it seems to run and idle just fine. How is this even possible? Agh.

          Any thoughts?

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          • #6
            Hawk cam chains are good for 100k or more and rarely if ever cause any issues. There's usually a bit of misalignment showing at the sprocket when at TDC, yours looks pretty normal to me.
            J.D. Hord
            Keeper of Engine Nomenclature, 9th Order


            • #7
              Huh. That's really interesting. Well that settles it then, thanks for your knowledge, really appreciate it!