Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Timing Marks??

Recommended Posts

I was checking my clearances last night and when aligning my timing marks, they just simply do not line-up. The arrow on the cam holder is either above or below the cam gear mark. I use both alignment marks on the right and left side. If I use the left side marks, ( sitting on bike ) and put it on the second mark then it is a little closer to the mark above the arrow on the cam holder. This is where I had it.

Where do you guys line-up your marks?

Is your marks dead on?

If mine will not line-up, am I better to be above or below the arrow on the cam holder, for timing ( advance vs. retard ) ??

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok here is the full documentation so if someone else searches, hopefully this help as it was not in my bike manual or the downloaded PDF full manual. The left side looking hole is way easier. I have provided all the supporting pictures.

Bestofmotocross.com Team AdverNETS

Rider: 122 Rob Gerwing with Team AdverNETS

2004 Honda CRF450 (Pictorial of Cam Timing Marks)


NOTE: Refer to your manual first, use these pictures as supporting documents that I created to help the process.

I hope this helps everyone out. I figured while I was doing my top end, I could provide some illustration to help out fellow TT'ers.

Cam Timing can be tricky if your not careful and I hope to save some people from destroying their valves or the infamous one tooth off problems or timing off ( backfire, won't start, runs bad ). Below I provided the pictures to help people see the cam timing marks for TDC and aligning the cam gear and timing chain.

Finding Top Dead Center (TDC)

Definition: Piston is at the very top of the stroke.

Left Side Alignment

Because the right side can be tricky as I illustrated at the end of this post and can put you off one tooth. I have found using the left side is easier and much more accurate. There is a cap hole to use, but I have illustrated with the cover removed AND with cover installed:

COVER INSTALLED (removed small round allen bolt plug) Not look GLASS!


Cam Lobes Need To Face Toward The Rear Of Bike (Intake Side Of Engine)


Cam Gear and Cam Chain

NOTE: Green String In The Piture! No matter how much of a hurry your in, put some kind of wire or string through the chain to prevent the chain from falling down. Once it falls down you will have more work ahead of you to just get it back up to the top.

If the chain comes off the bottom gear during re-installing the gear, lean you bike over to the right and have someone hold it and push the chain loose and let gravity let it slide back onto the gear. If this doesn't work you will have to take off the left side cover.

Quick Notes on old chains. As the chain wears, the timing mark alignment on the cam gear will not align exactly. My CRF450 the cam gear line is BELOW the arrow one tooth when I have aligned TDC. When I was aligned prefectly it backfired when trying to start so be aware sometimes you can be a one tooth off. This seems to be a know deviation with everyones bike. But if your timing chain is good, should line right up like below. You should never go more then one tooth in either direction from perfect mark alignment. If your mark doesn't line up perfect, make sure you turn over the engine with the spark plug out to check for any binding.


Optional Right Side Alignment:

This side is alot harder to line up and alot of people mess this up. Although I would like to note that it is nice to have the right side open to spin the crank by hand with a allen wrench in the crank bolt shown.




Another thing that is easy to do is forget to check your valve clearances. Make sure after reassembling the cam gear and timing chain to make sure everything is in spec.

What if bike feels very hard to kick over and you fear binding on your newly assemble cam or top end. Something everyone and I have run into is with a new cam it's easy to over look the valve clearance of the "Exhaust Decompressor". If this gap is incorrect, this can cause the bike to be very hard to kick over. If everything is aligned on the timing chain, this is the next place to look. The manual specifies .014" gap. I run mine at .010" and seems to start easier with the HotCam Stage 1.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By 33KTM350
      I just bought a Magura hydraulic clutch for my 2014 CRF450R.  Bought it thinking install would be easy, and I'm not sure that's the case now that I have the product in my hands.  I have searched the forums, YouTube, etc for install help specifically for my model year (2013 and 2014 are same really), and haven't found anything specific for the 2013-2014 model install at all.  Instructions from Magura are TERRIBLE, and are not specific at all to the Honda - generic instructions - so I'm debating if I want to return the product, cuz I don't want trouble or a big install job.  Question: for the 2013-2014 CRF450R install ONLY of a Magura Hymec hydraulic clutch - other model years are different and thus it won't be helpful for other model years - do you have any tips or feedback?  My concerns are below...
      1.  The 2014 model has a sleeve behind the clutch actuation arm that the Magura clutch slave cylinder fits into.  Stock, the sleeve holds one end of the cable, with a nut on the other end to keep the cable end tight in the sleeve.  The Magura slave cylinder, however, slides into the mounting sleeve  - but does NOT have a nut: the tension from the clutch actuation arm pulling on the metal Magura slave cyl tip end is apparently supposed to keep the Magura slave cylinder tight in the mounting sleeve.  Q: Will the Magura slave fit in to the mounting sleeve easily, stay tight, and is there any adjustment needed in order to keep the 4-6mm of freeplay that Magura recommends?  How easy is it to get the Magura slave fitted into the sleeve and the metal tip in place?  Is there enough freeplay between slave and tip end to mount in actuating arm AND the holding sleeve, so that the holding sleeve doesn't need to be unbolted?  
      2. The stock clutch cable and OEM setup runs out of the mounting sleeve (see pics marked "metal starts", and then runs through a metal sleeve that routes the cable through the engine compartment - keeping the cable away from the hot parts of the engine case, so as not to melt the cable insulation (I believe).  That metal sleeve is about 6-8 inches in length.  The Magura clutch cable, on the other hand, exits the Magura slave cylinder at an angle - yet has no such metal routing.  I don't think the OEM metal routing sleeve will accept the Magura cable either, so a) the OEM metal routing sleeve would have to be removed first before installing the Magura - and then b) you have to hope that the Magura cable can be routed in such a way with zip ties holding the hydraulic line that line will not touch or be close to the hot metal engine casing as you route it through the engine.  Q: how easy was it to get the OEM clutch cable and metal routing sleeve out?  Easy as unscrewing the nut on the other end of the OEM cable, on the other side of the black rubber cable flange in my pics?   
      3.  My stock clutch pull isn't bad.  I just like the feel of a hydro clutch.  Any feedback on how much better feeling and easier pull will be with the Magura?  What's your feedback on the difference?  FYI, I'm leaving my clutch plates and springs stock.    

    • By Eric Blasiman
      We have a 2016 CRF450R with about 11 hours out. never ridden hard always check the oil and change when needed along with the air filter. Took care of the recall that was required as well. Well when riding the bike was stalled out. Went to try and kick start the bike again. the kick start lever just back up jamming my knee into the handle bars and some how ended up cracking the case right by where the kick start goes through the case. Has any one had this happen or heard of this happening? What is the cause? 
    • By crfjunky1320
      Any advice on what should be replaced while I have the top end off for a valve replacement. Will do headgasket and springs of course, anything other parts you would recommend while I'm going at it?
    • By Ron Whitfeld
      The dirtbike is on it's forth year right now on the same motor job. I have to jump start it. Is it worth me trading for a 2009 650 brute force with7000 miles? Need some expert advice. Thanks 
    • By Lucas Hansen
      Just wondering what you guys do to remove black marks on your seat. My 08 crf450r has the red/black seat, and after each ride there are some black marks on the red from my riding pants. Not scuff marks, more like patches of black residue from my pants rubbing on the seat. I’ve tried the magic eraser which seemed to do the trick, but lately they seem like they aren’t coming off. Also tried scrubbing bubbles with a brush and no luck. Not too worried cuz I have an spare OEM seat, but I’d like to keep this one nice. Any ideas? Maybe I shouldn’t wear black pants?