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Old 04-07-2011, 06:43 AM   #1
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cam chain tensioner ?

I just bought a 98 superhawk and was using this forum to familiarize myself with the bike. I found several threads stating that the cct goes bad and to replace it with a manual one. My question is do they go bad instantly or are there signs like a noticable performance issue? I tried to use the search function to help but didn't find this answer. Only change it out or your bike will die lol. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:00 AM   #2
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Well... I honestly don't know how you managed to miss it, since it's been mentioned in just about any CCT thread to date, and is the main point of nearly all of those threads... But here we go again...

So, ask yourself this... If the conclusion you have made is, "change them or the bike dies!", doesn't that give you a clue?

The reason that they are discussed heavily on these forum's isn't that they fail... Almost all bikes have that to some extent... The reason is that on the VTR, when they fail, the result isn't just noise, and a mild repair bill...

On the VTR the failure is nearly always instant and catastophic... On very, very rare occasions have there been reports of someone getting enough warning to gently, coast to a stop without grabbing the clutch and grenading the top end of the engine...

Because that's what happens... Noise, from the failed CCT, followed by the CCT letting go completely when you pull the clutch and remove the tension from the cam chain... And that's really, really bad...
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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Thanks for the answer tweety.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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There are also those who have 80k on the stock ones. I'd rather have the peace of mind. I will be doing mine (again) at some point before 15k.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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I just bought a mint condition superhawk with 1700 miles so I wanted to be sure not to screw up a close to virgin engine.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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i have had two fail and both times i have had a noise first and through dum luck have made it home and changed them in time
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:47 PM   #7
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I'm changing mine next month. I hope this doesn't bite me in the butt. I just don't have the money for it right now after paying the Honda dealership $1300 already in maintenance and I just bought it!
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, I just started making the Superhawk/Firestorm tensioners after someone here contacted me. Up to this point, I"ve done mostly Kawasaki tensioners since I had to make them for my own bikes. No one listed them for my bikes. When I made one I made five and started selling them. That was 2 years and over 200 tensioners ago.

The VTR tensioner kit has both tensioners with gaskets for $65 plus shipping. If you are interested feel free to PM or email me from this forum. I can fill you in on them
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klx678 View Post
For what it's worth, I just started making the Superhawk/Firestorm tensioners after someone here contacted me. Up to this point, I"ve done mostly Kawasaki tensioners since I had to make them for my own bikes. No one listed them for my bikes. When I made one I made five and started selling them. That was 2 years and over 200 tensioners ago.

The VTR tensioner kit has both tensioners with gaskets for $65 plus shipping. If you are interested feel free to PM or email me from this forum. I can fill you in on them
How many of the SuperHawk tensioners have you made and sold so far, if I may ask?
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:54 AM   #10
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klx678 wrote a lot more about it here: CHEAPER MANUAL CCTS!!
Sounds like a good product to me. Guy knows what he is talking about.
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CrankenFine View Post
How many of the SuperHawk tensioners have you made and sold so far, if I may ask?
You won't find me BSing on this. I've just started making them for the VTR and have sold three sets, two waiting to get the gaskets, but none installed. I am sure we will all hear the results with the first installations. Of course that is also how I started with the tensioners for the various Kawasakis too. The only ones I had immediate knowledge of were the ones in my own bikes. Of course I can give you a lot of references if you wish, but I believe they are also printed up in the other thread.

The one on the KLX250 was remote engineered, working with a rider in Austin Texas and me in Delaware Ohio. Several pictures, some measurements, some phone calls, and some reverse engineering measurements done from scaling the pictures resulted in a tensioner prototype that worked exactly as it should. The compound angle offset of the thru bolt made it a bit of a concern, but we did good. The VTR with the 3mm offset was relatively easy in comparison. I'm pretty confident in the results that will happen based on the Kawasaki experience. Now I just need to find out about the thru bolt length by long distance experience. I just learned that on a different Kaw unit, using a 90mm bolt where a 110mm was needed. I shipped out the new longer bolt after a quick phone call from the rider, no problem.

The thing is it isn't that the part is rocket science, it is the cost and effort of making them yourself. If I had to hand cut, thread, and finish each one I did I wouldn't be selling them. The first dozen were hand cut and finished with three or four scrapped out with angled threads. My fingers got quite hot with the heat generated by cutting the bodies with a band saw - aluminum is very efficient at transferring heat! That is purely a pain in the butt. By working out a good method for manufacture I am able to make them at a low enough price for a rider to skip the headache of making them and help the rider who either doesn't have the tools, time, place, or skill to do them.

I care enough about doing right by the guys that I had two packages misplaced and I send out new ones without any reservation. I got one back because the house address was 26 instead of 25 and it took a month and a half to return from the UK. The rider in Canada got the other after a lengthy delay in customs (no notice of that though), then got the second one. He actually decided to pay me and sell the other one rather than bother to send it back (I was going to split the return shipping with him), I guess he liked the result of the one he installed. Another rider didn't like the fact that a manual tensioner will have light chain ticking when cold, quieting down after thermal expansion, and wanted to return the part. I refunded him and paid the return shipping too.

So I'm trying to do right and treat riders like I'd want to be treated. I will only post a comment if it is in a thread about the tensioners, not just blatantly spamming everything. I will also say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" which I often say with the Kawasakis because they don't have catastrophic failure, they do it over time. Sounds like the VTR is in a different situation though. They can break big time.

I hope I've aleviated some concerns here.

By the way, after seeing your signature, I have a long diamond shaped prototype for the air cooled Suzuki GS1100, which I think fits a bunch of other ones like possibly the GS750, sitting on the shelf waiting to find out how long a bolt to put in it. The guy from Missippi who called me about it hasn't gotten back with me yet, know anyone who wants to play? I don't make 'em for the RE5 Wankels though... not much demand for them...

Yeah, I know... I've been around for a while and know what they are. A friend has a few Hercules Wankels, one with a sidecar.
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Last edited by klx678; 04-09-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:47 PM   #12
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I'm changing mine next month. I hope this doesn't bite me in the butt. I just don't have the money for it right now after paying the Honda dealership $1300 already in maintenance and I just bought it!
$1300.00???? What did they do, remove the third eye light and roll a new VTR underneath ?
If I may ask,,,, what service did you have done for that kind of $$$$$ If it's posted elsewhere, just point me in the right direction.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:00 PM   #13
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I'm one of the first UK customers who've ordered a set from klx678, not for for me but for a friend who's returned to biking after having rugrats and got herself a storm (guess what she had before sprogging..) anyhow, she got herself a '98 with OEM CCTs and having myself gone through imploding an CCT on a '9 with 35k (no warning whatsoever of impending doom) I wouldn't want anyone to go through the resulting new head and mechanics bill to have it all put back together, and the time off-the-road - it's a no-brainer to fit manuals ASAP.

klx678 has been double and triple checking the dimensions, and I've pointed him towards the CCT fitting workshop threads, plus when I get his delivered will be doing photos and a write up during fitting as way of thanks for offering such a enthusiastic service.

If you haven't seen it already his website shows his dedication and testaments to his CCts: kriegercamchaintensioners.com
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:25 PM   #14
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$1300.00???? What did they do, remove the third eye light and roll a new VTR underneath ?
If I may ask,,,, what service did you have done for that kind of $$$$$ If it's posted elsewhere, just point me in the right direction.
In a sense the sort of did put a new one underneath. The guy I purchased the hawk from found it from somebody who was in the military that bought it new and let it sit while being shipped out. It was in an air controlled storage unit which kept the body mint.

The bad news for me however, is that while sitting until now the tank had rusted and the carbs were in poor shape. Somehow the seller got the bike running and I heard and saw it. With only 1700 miles I bought it thinking I was getting a deal. Mint body, 1700 miles, sounded like a strong motor. Needless to say the rust was an issue about 20 minutes after I purchased it.

I replaced the fuel tank for $450 and both fuel filters $20x2 then drained the bowls to see if that would do the trick. When that didn't work I took the carbs off and apart to clean them out. When that didn't work I had had enough and brought it to the closest Honda dealer where their rate is $85 and hour.

They proceeded to tell me I needed to have my carbs rebuilt, a new battery, new air filter, PO blocked off four vacuum lines and a few more were missing so I needed to have that looked into, I wanted two new tires to replace the dry rotted stock ones, replace the spark plugs, and change the oil.

Just what the shop did came out to be 1300ish after tax. They wanted more originally. I told them they'd better try again on the price and got it down to what it is now. A lot of the services they sold me I could have done myself but they said in order to do the job THEY had to do it all or nothing.

Good news is with the exception of the CCTs I will not have to worry about anything for a long time I'm doing the CCTs next month after I build back up some money. Right now I am in the bike for $4900 and not too happy about it. Once I get it back I'm sure I'll be in a lot better mood. It just sucks right now not having something that you have paid that much for.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:33 AM   #15
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Talk about rusted tanks, I saw one to end all. An 88 Hawk GT that had blisters all around the top area. Each tiny blister was a spot of rust - from the inside out! The blistering ended at the fuel level of what had remained in the tank for about 20 years or so. Bike had 2300 miles, stored in a shed, what a shame. Worse yet the guy has a Norton in at least as bad of shape. The GT is in the process of being redone now. The Norton, heaven only knows...

But rust from the inside on the top of the tank... wow!
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:19 AM   #16
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Since we are on the topic, does anyone know what a Honda dealer would typically charge to get your CCT's replaced?
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:49 PM   #17
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You won't find me BSing on this. I've just started making them for the VTR and have sold three sets, two waiting to get the gaskets, but none installed. I am sure we will all hear the results with the first installations. .
Can you post a note when you've satisfied your R&D phase and they go into production? I am interested in set.

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By the way, after seeing your signature, I have a long diamond shaped prototype for the air cooled Suzuki GS1100, which I think fits a bunch of other ones like possibly the GS750, sitting on the shelf waiting to find out how long a bolt to put in it. The guy from Missippi who called me about it hasn't gotten back with me yet, know anyone who wants to play? I don't make 'em for the RE5 Wankels.
I should clarify that stuff in my sig. All the bikes other than the SuperHawk are former rides, retired or sold. Honestly if I saw another RE5 I'd run the other way. It pulled like a John Deere up hills but a total PITA to keep running, a truly bizarre piece of motorcycle history and belongs in museum. That's where mine is.
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:57 PM   #18
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Since we are on the topic, does anyone know what a Honda dealer would typically charge to get your CCT's replaced?
I got two quotes last week. The first was for $425 + parts from the dealer I was getting the work done at. They said that was a "deal" since the book called for 7 hours and they were only charging me for a max of 5. They'd start the clock and if it took less then I'd only get charged for that.
The second quote is much more reasonable @ $304 + parts.I'm taking it to the second one because they knew right what I was talking about before I even finished asking.
If the mechanic has to use the book for everything you don't want him touching your stuff. Of course it could have been the service writer trying to jack up the price for a bigger cut. Luckily for me this isn't my first bike and I researched prices and time frames before I asked for a quote.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:21 PM   #19
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Since we are on the topic, does anyone know what a Honda dealer would typically charge to get your CCT's replaced?
This is not something you want the dealer to do for you. We have a forum member here who found this out the hard way. It ended up being a 3-4 month wait on his bike while the dealership rebuilt his engine after screwing up the install. It is not that tough to do and there are pictures in the KB section to help you along.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:17 AM   #20
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I got two quotes last week. The first was for $425 + parts from the dealer I was getting the work done at. They said that was a "deal" since the book called for 7 hours and they were only charging me for a max of 5. They'd start the clock and if it took less then I'd only get charged for that.
The second quote is much more reasonable @ $304 + parts.I'm taking it to the second one because they knew right what I was talking about before I even finished asking.
If the mechanic has to use the book for everything you don't want him touching your stuff. Of course it could have been the service writer trying to jack up the price for a bigger cut. Luckily for me this isn't my first bike and I researched prices and time frames before I asked for a quote.

7 Hours?!? Only if they hand make the CCT's in the shop does it take 7 hours... Or even 5 hours...

I think I had it done in under 2 hours and I was fumbling around a bit, plus supervising another guy (novice working on motocycles) doing the same for the first time on another VTR...
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:22 PM   #21
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Can you post a note when you've satisfied your R&D phase and they go into production? I am interested in set.



I should clarify that stuff in my sig. All the bikes other than the SuperHawk are former rides, retired or sold. Honestly if I saw another RE5 I'd run the other way. It pulled like a John Deere up hills but a total PITA to keep running, a truly bizarre piece of motorcycle history and belongs in museum. That's where mine is.
At this point the only real R&D is how long the thru bolt should be. Right now they will come with 110mm until I know if I can go shorter.

I understood the service on the RE5, when it came to engine warranty, was to pull it out and replace it with a new one. They didn't have too good a rep for workability. Did you get a tax write off on the museum thing... or did you have to pay them to take it. Sorry. It just popped in my mind.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:39 PM   #22
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I understood the service on the RE5, when it came to engine warranty, was to pull it out and replace it with a new one. They didn't have too good a rep for workability. Did you get a tax write off on the museum thing... or did you have to pay them to take it. Sorry. It just popped in my mind.
That's true, Suzuki dealers "fixed" the engine by swapping it. I got neither a tax break nor a bill for the privilege of donating it. Let's just say I got to stop shoveling money into that particular hole and walk away...

10-4 on the R&D. I guess I thought you were indicating you would move on from machining them by hand to some automated CNC type process, and that you were awaiting some customer feedback to confirm it's ready to produce.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:29 AM   #23
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So I don't start a new thread on CCTs.

I currently have a '97 Firestorm with 45.900km onboard (stock ccts).

I really worried about this issue so I'm thinking options on how to avoid failure.

If I wanna go down the 'stock road' (as in getting new tensioners), what else should I change?

The two camchains, the two tensioners,and what else? Or can I just change the tensioners leaving the chains?
Changing the chains involes changing the cam sprockets?

If I wanna go the APE CCTs road i'm not technical at all, and I don't know if I can have somebody change them for me, do they have to be familiar with vtr cam chains? or any mechanic who works on bikes can do the job of adjusting them?
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:50 AM   #24
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Insider, you can do it yourself or have a good workshop just swap out the stock CCT's for new stock one's or APE's... No need to swap the chains unless they are out of service spec...

Keep in mind that if you select stock CCT's you will then need this to be done again at some point...

There really is no difference in terms of complexity when you choose between the two... The work to swap them out is the same except for adjustment, and for that there is excelent instructions avialable, so any competent mechanic can do that...

But, and there is a big, important but here... Do not make the mistake of going to the shop and simple asking them to swap the CCT's and take it on faith that they know what they are doing...

The big difference between the VTR, and 99.99% of all other bikes are that on other bikes, if the CCT fails, or is installed incorrectly, it makes noise and in long term can harm he engine... On the VTR it goes, crunch-crunch and costs money the first second the CCT isn't operating properly... Doesn't matter if it's a stock CCT that was installed improperly or a manual that was either improperly installed or adjusted...

Bottom line... It costs money the second the CCT's fail to work properly... So if you get a shop to do the work for you, make very, very sure to discuss this important fact with them, and it might be a good idea to print out the excellent material on other threads on this site to show them...

Apart from the need to impress this simple fact on them, there is no need fort them to be familiar with the VTR specifically...
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:50 AM
 
 
 
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