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Manual vs Automatic Cam Chain Tensioner

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What's the jury ruling on converting over to manual? 

I don't like the thought of relying on an automatic in case of mechanical failure but for the manual I don't like the idea of having the lack of care free flexibility.

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Manual.. The reason for automatic is easy of assembly (no adjustment needed) and ham fisted mechanics that tend to over tighten manual ones. A manual tensioner, set right, generally does not need to be touched unless the engine it torn down. Cam chains last a lot longer, the chance of a chain jumping a tooth is greatly reduced.

Manual setup. Finger tight. Start engine, loosen the hear 'can of washers' tight by finger until the 'can of washers' sound just goes away. You'll still hear some noise but there is a big difference. DO NOT tight to remove all noise, that would be over tightened and will destroy the chain in short order. Once set, they very rarely nee to be readjusted.

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4 minutes ago, William1 said:

 

Manual setup. Finger tight. Start engine, loosen the hear 'can of washers' tight by finger until the 'can of washers' sound just goes away. You'll still hear some noise but there is a big difference. DO NOT tight to remove all noise, that would be over tightened and will destroy the chain in short order. Once set, they very rarely nee to be readjusted.

This is exactly why I said if he is comfortable doing it go manual.  Lots of  people can't seem to get it right.

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Yeah, I can be confident with the adjustment as long as I can leverage on the wealth of knowledge here.  Good stuff.  I'll give is a go.  Can of washers... awesome!  can you adjust while it's running?

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2 minutes ago, Whopharded said:

 can you adjust while it's running?

That's what he meant about can of washers sound.

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If the OEM design has a history of reliability, leave it alone. If the is a specific machine that had a history of failures, but the manufacturer made an update (DRZ400), then switch to the improved OEM design.

The only reason you should ditch a perfectly functioning stock chain tensioner is if you are running a non-stock valvetrain (stiff springs, big valves, aggressive cams) and competing in some type of racing where engine rpm changes are violent, like drag racing, flat track, etc. These are situations where there are loads on the cam chain that are well outside what the factory ever intended the stock chain tensioner to handle.

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On 10/16/2018 at 8:11 AM, William1 said:

Manual.. The reason for automatic is easy of assembly (no adjustment needed) and ham fisted mechanics that tend to over tighten manual ones. A manual tensioner, set right, generally does not need to be touched unless the engine it torn down. Cam chains last a lot longer, the chance of a chain jumping a tooth is greatly reduced.

Absolutely not true....

When Susuki first came out with the RMZ 450, they made the mistake of using a manual adjuster from the factory and they required frequent adjustment. I constantly had customers bring those early RMZ's to my shop thinking the top end was bad when all they needed was the cam chain adjusted. They needed adjusting about every 10 hours. Long before the top end ever needed serviced.

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8 hours ago, 2grimjim said:

Absolutely not true....

When Susuki first came out with the RMZ 450, they made the mistake of using a manual adjuster from the factory and they required frequent adjustment. I constantly had customers bring those early RMZ's to my shop thinking the top end was bad when all they needed was the cam chain adjusted. They needed adjusting about every 10 hours. Long before the top end ever needed serviced.

Never, ever have I seen a manual adjuster requiring constant resetting. A chain in an oil bath does not wear that fast, nor do guides. I could see the manual telling owners to check the adjustment regularly, just like they tell people to re-ring every 20 hours and new valves at 40 hours of runtime.

The big problem with manual adjusters is people over tightening them, cranking them down to silence the valve train. Over tightened, the chain wears, the journals wear. Soon, the parts wear, noise returns and now there are parts worn as well.

A thumper at idle is going to have chain whip and piston slap. Idle on a thumper is a violent process. Fire, coast with a lot of parts pulling from different directions, this makes a lot of noise. It is a balance between what is acceptable noise, too much noise (hammering) and too quiet (excessive wear).

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