650L camchain noise

I have a '97 Dominator that shares the same motor as the XR650L so this seemed like a good place to post this question.

I have 13,000km on the bike and it has developed a noise that sounds like the camchain at around 3,500-4000rpm. Occasionally the noise turns up briefly at other revs. Idle is fine, and temperature seems to have no bearing on it.

As these supposedly have an automatic tensioner, my question is has anyone else experienced this problem? It is a pain in the a** as in top gear at 80km/h it sits right on these revs, so I usually downshift to stop the noise.

Any feedback would be great.

If I remember, these bikes should have an auto adjuster just like the 650r. So, I don't know if you can really adjust it.

If you think its the cam chain, try replacing it. It takes some time, but its not all that hard to do.

You could have a cam lobe or follower going bad,I havent heard of this with a XR motor but this was a real problem with the early magnum engines, if the lobe or follower starts to pit it can cause a rattling noise at mid rpm, idle was usually quiet, with no stress, and higher rpm's got quiet due to higher oil flow, but really got noisy in the mid rpm area. Just a thought.

I have a 93 XR600, and the 650L has the same cam tensioner. They are known to wear and fail. My bike was making noises like you describe and replacing it fixed the problem. Replace both the shaft and the lifter. The ratcheting mechanism in in the lifter, but the shaft wears too. I put a new cam chain in there at the same time.

Thanks for all the info. I adjusted the valves today and while I was there I had a quick look at all the cam lobe surfaces (or as much as I could see through the adjuster openings), and could see no pitting, and the clearances were only .0005-.0015 out, so I would say that the chain and adjuster are definitely the problem

Obviously when I do the replacement I will get proper manual instructions, but since I am sitting here at the moment I might as well ask, does replacing the adjuster require rocker cover off, head off, or barrel off? Your answer will probably govern how soon I get around to doing it!

Thanks in anticipation,


When I did the chain replacement on my R, it took a while, but was pretty straight forward.

Heres the order I went in:

Drain the oil, first and foremost.

Take the valve cover off.

Take the cam and uppper cam sprocket out.

Either take your tensioner off, or make sure its all the way out.

Take your right case/clutch cover off.

After you get the bottom case/cover off, you should be able to see the chain.

When I did mine, I had to remove the clutch basket, and a couple gears to gain access to the lower chain sprocket. There might be a few other things in the way, or less things; I don't know the 650L very well.

After getting the top gear out, you should be able to take the chain out from the bottom after everything is off.

And use a long piece of wire to get the chain back to the top.

This is a very general and rough procedure of what I went though, but it can give you an idea at least. Its probably a bit different for the L.

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