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Xr400 Cam Timing.....need Help!

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Building up the motor of my XR440 last night, my mentor and I could not get the cam sprocket timing marks lined up exactly exact like we had done on my 1994 XR600 last year. We studied the "T" mark on the flywheel and determined ( by looking thru the spark plug hole ) that the piston was in fact TDC when the "T" was lined up with its mark. We moved the chain foreward and back, one tooth at a time, moved the cam sprocket 180 degrees, tried everything we could but the timing marks were slightly advanced instead of exactly flush when the flywheel was lined up. We did have a manual and read our steps over and over.

The margin is only about half a tooth or even less but it isnt exact and that left me concerned. The 600 I rebuilt in Aug. was exact. Also noted the cam sprocket could be installed in both sets of holes, meaning you could turn it 180, which was not possible on my 600......the holes would line up one way only. Anyway, this bike is new to me even though it is/was a tired 1996.

It has a stock cam.

Any thoughts? We reasoned that the flywheel could have slipped slightly on its keyway or the camchain had stretched but I think both are unlikely.

Please help if you can.

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I had the same problem after I installed my 440 kit.

Yes I also think both are highly unlikely.

So which timing marks exactly are you refering to that dont line up? The ones on the cam sprocket?

Does it turn over? Or do the vaves hit the piston and it stops? Dont worry, just turn it cearfully, you wont bend the valves.

Just read over the manual again and make sure doing it rite.

When the flywheel says TDC, it is. so have the cam lobes facing straight down, or up, I dont think it matters.

And on the cam sprocket there are three pointers, one straight up, one left and one right. Just get them so they look exactly in the 9, 12 and 3 oclock positions.

Then that should be it. put the rocker box back on, do a couple of bolts up and turn it over. If it suddenly stops. its wrong. if it turns over. its fine.

Good Luck!


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The 3 index marks on the cam sprocket are all advanced (9:20, 12:20, 3:20 ) which is to say they are half a tooth or less advanced or the left index is slightly above the horizon and the right index slightly below when the "T" is lined up on the flywheel index.

Maybe this is normal, I just expected it to be exact like the manual.

I haven't had a chance to crank the motor but I will surely go easy when I do.

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When I was doing my 426 mod I was told by BarnumsPro (Rob) that they can be slightly off. Made me concerned as well.. I am not sure if that is right or not seeing as my connecting rod broke and totally grenaded my cylindar and tranny.. I am thinking that I dropped a valve and the timing was not the problem but I have yet to disassemble the motor to find out why..

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I sometimes have the same problem; when the timing mark on the flywheel is lined up, the cam marks are off a bit. It was particularly troublesome on my '94 KLX250.

Then I found the answer. If you slowly engage the cam chain tensioner, the chain will pull the cam into position. If the marks line up, then you were correct. If they are now a tooth off, then you have to release the tensioner and slip the chain over one tooth.

This is particularly noticeable on older bikes that have slightly stretched cam chains. The tensioner does it's job and gets the slack out and the timing is correct, but you have to be on the correct cam teeth to start with. When I replace the cam chain, the timing is always much better before the tensioner is applied!

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