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New kid on the block Cam Chain Tensioners

Old 05-28-2011, 06:21 AM
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New kid on the block Cam Chain Tensioners

I know many of you are now aware of the parts I make. I got a request from a member about two months ago asking if I made the tensioners for the VTR since I had a lot of good comments on those I've made for the Kawasakis from the duals sport 250 to the older ZX/ZL/ZG. They've been mentioned in a number of the forums. So I did the VTR and now have had some feedback given here, although the old addage seems true. Satisfied users don't often make comments, the dissatisfied do. So I guess no news is good news. I've sent about a dozen tensioners out and gotten some feedback on a few. I've learned and now the following is what I've got...

Here is a shot of the parts:

As you see, there is an O-ring seal to try to stop any oil seepage. It is a calculated compression fit for the Viton O-ring to squeeze it in against the body and threads. The kit has new fasteners, gaskets, instructions, and a couple of decent quality stickers you'd not be ashamed to stick on the bike. I like stickers and made sure I have good ones I'd want, much like the rest of the kit. The first two tensioners I made went in my two Kawasakis. As for the stickers, I have a couple on the back window of the truck that sits out in the sun every day, after roughly two years there's been no fade in the colors. 3M apparently makes a good clear laminate.

The body is 6061T (sounds trick, but it's just common easily machinable and corrosion resistant aluminum) and the fasteners are zinc coated for corrosion resistance. I'd use stainless, but then it would require anti-seize to keep the stainless nuts from fusing with the stainless bolts, just not worth the hassle. My poorly cared for bikes, when it comes to cleaning, have never had the zinc hardware rusting.

The adjuster bolts look long... and they are. But I got feedback that the long bolt on the front makes the adjustment easier and possible without removing the fuel tank. I considered making one longer than the other since the rear bolt is quite long looking and quite visible, but I am still out on the topic. It would make a "front/rear" issue and it could have someone mounting the short bolt set up in the front. Still, I could use the feedback to decide whether to make a front/long, rear/short set up - any thoughts?

Another tip I got was that it was difficult to install the allens in the front, but the flush fitting fasteners are good in opening up the lock nut to be loosened and tightened, which was my reason for the countersunk fasteners in the first place. So to remedy that I am offering up a 3/8 drive allen socket as a $3.00 (what it costs me) for those who want to pick one up and avoid the hassle with a normal L wrench. It is an option because it isn't needed by everyone so why charge everyone.

So that's what was made up based on what information was given. The damage, you may ask? Well presently with the cost of materials, work, and shipping included as of June 2011 it is as follows:

U.S. = $70.20 shipped by USPS flat rate priority 2-3 day from date shipped
Canada = $76.95 shipped by USPS flat rate priority 10-12 day from date shipped (unless customs decides to mess with it)
All other countries = $78.95 shipped by USPS flat rate priority 10-12 day from date shipped (unless customs decides to mess with it)

I know this is kind of blatant spamming, but since it was originally requested by a member I figured it was probably of interest to the membership. I won't be vacationing in Tahiti on this deal, but I can pay some bills. If the moderator(s)think it's wrong or in the wrong place they will delete it or move it. But hey, it's about keeping some good bikes operating properly at a reasonable cost now, isn't it. Otherwise I'd only undercut the competition by a tenner if it was just about the money.

I will say I was amazed when I learned the VTR tensioner failure was like catastrophic. The Kaws will run quite a long time with a bad tensioner, eventually ruining the cam chain(s), but only afer a few to several thousand miles with the tensioner moving in and out overriding the ratchet set up. You guys NEED to take care of that problem. I just hope I'm a valid option.

Thanks for any help and most definitely for giving me the chance to do the job and communicate with some of you. Maybe I'll see some of you at Mid Ohio Vintage Days or Superbike weekend. We'd have to touch bases beforehand since I don't go there to sell stuff, I go for the races. You wouldn't know me if you walked by... well, unless I decide to have a shirt made up... that's a thought now! Couldn't miss me then. But I'm still there for the races, that and some BSing and fun. I look forward to seeing the Eliminator owners there again this year, I visited with them last year.


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Old 05-28-2011, 08:35 AM
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Looks nice and well thought out. That price is per pair, right?
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:19 PM
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How thick is the aluminum? Does the backside of the tensioner body recess into the motor?
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:38 AM
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im not a not a fan of the long bolt on the rear but i like the O-ring and flush mounting bolts. its nice to see someone charging a fair price for their product instead of high markups and overpriced shipping.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:10 PM
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Prices are correct for now (as long as I don't have material or hardware increase and the USPS holds with their flat rate stuff). I don't see any of that happening for a while and most likely it would be an increase in USPS flat rate before the other stuff.

The price has two reasons. I didn't get wrapped up in fancy production methods or over-engineering the part and, because I am one guy doing this on the side, the overhead is low and "the labor" is cheap. I'm more enthusiast than manufacturer.

The body is .500" 6061T aluminum, which is good stuff for the application, we did the research before choosing. There is one other alloy, a 3000 or 5000 series alloy, that we felt would work too and were going to use it, but it cost more. It's all about the machinability and corrosion resistance.

The tensioner body does not extend into the cylinder or head (which ever has the tensioner mount, I've seen and done both). With 1/2" of thread and support in the body for an M8-1.25 bolt, it is not needed. To do so would add significant cost to the production without any return on doing so. I also do not annodize the part because it adds no value to the design. If someone wants a red or blue one Duplicolor sells a transparent color spray for engine parts that's been featured on the various car shows. That's what I'd recommend.

Thank you for your input. It will help make what VTR riders would like - well, except for the colored tensioner thing.

I'm thinking I may just do the two different tensioners with a note in the instructions telling the installer to put the long bolt in the front.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:24 AM
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I am thinking about shortening the rear bolt by about a 1/2"~3/4" on mine.
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:10 PM
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I was going to go 20mm shorter on the rear tensioner.
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