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Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:49 pm

About five miles from home, my new(er) bike started running badly. Cylinder #1 not firing. Checked carbs, and ignition all good. Pulled the cam cover off an found this. Cam chain is broken. Rear cam chain tensioner is broken. Hopefully not too much shrapnel in the crank case. Cam still turns and bike will start and run on one cylinder. Anyone ever have this happen? Thanks

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Last edited by Jake on Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved from Virago Help Tech Articles to Virago Help Tech
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: Arjay » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:55 pm

On ebay I bought cam gear, chain, guides and all related bolts ect for both cylinders for $50. A low mileage bike too.
Just wanted to shine a little hope your way. Before I do my overhaul I got to get engine gasket kit and new rings. I doubt I have much cylinder wear cause no blow by. I got new fiber clutch plates too. Also hsndy one guy on ebay sells "bag-o-bolts".

Your situation could be a mixed blessing if it forces you to do an overhaul.
Rj

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:37 am

I bought an XV920 in similar condition a few years back. The PO used clear silicone sealant on the oil filter cover and it plugged up the oil feed tube to the rear cylinder. The cam seized and... :bomb: broken rear timing chain.
Fortunately, the front cylinder was ok and the broken rear chain did minimal damage in the crankcase. I already had a replacement head and all the valve train components and I sourced a replacement piston & cylinder, new rings and a gasket set. I had a machine shop mic and hone the cylinder and it was in spec. I finished it in about 2 weeks and it ran like a top. I hope your project is successful as well.
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:29 pm

This happened on a relatively new, less than 500 miles, rebuild. If I need to, I can replace head, but cylinder and piston are 95mm, very costly to fix if needed. Started disassembly this morning, some metal, but no big chunks, on the magnet in the oil drain plug. Hoping it is just a bad cam chain and tensioner, nothing more. Won’t know exactly what I need until the engine is dropped and disassembled. Must at least lift the jug to clear the cam chain drive gear so the chain can be replaced. Can’t find individual head gaskets, so had to order complete gasket set to get one head gasket. It will take two weeks to get here. Will let you know what I find after complete disassembly.

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:01 pm

This is a weird and perhaps lucky experience. It appear only the cam chain and tensioner broke. I removed the head, lifted the jug without the rings coming out, removed the chain drive sprocket and the broken parts and everything but the chain and tensioner look good. I have no idea why this occured. Just a bad chain I guess ??? Pics attached show the head and piston to be in good shape, cam is good, some crap in the bottom of the case, but otherwise OK. Still waiting for parts.


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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:30 pm

Glad to hear there was only minor damage. I checked your album and you have a nice bike ! Cam & rockers good. No apparent piston to valve interference. Maybe the tensioner wasn't wound back enough before installing and it was too tight ? Or maybe in the schrapnel you might find a foreign object ?
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:21 pm

Thank you for the compliment. This actually occurred on my second, newer build 920. I’ll post some pictures when I get it back together. It has some nice features, wire wheels, 920R tank, M-unit. I got cam chain and tensioners from eBay that appear very good. The engine has been reassembled and reinstalled in the frame after gouging the paint on the front fender. Re assembly is alway more complicated that disassembly. A couple of more weeks and all will be well.

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:36 pm

uncleromo wrote: Re assembly is alway more complicated that disassembly.


:lmao: Got a chuckle at yer statement. How many times: "Damn..it ran fine till I rebuilt the carbs!"

That's too bad bout gouch'n the fender, but good to hear you escaped something major. What ya think, the guide or something pulled the lower portion of the chain away from the lower sprocket? Or just loose enough to drop ? Kept it from turning?
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:34 am

This is speculation and an admission of stupidity of my part. This was a junk yard engine from Bob’s Used Motorcycle parts in Phoenix (what a cool place, must have 150 Viragos). Got it and the frame with title for $300. It sat in the yard with no carbs, exhaust and stator cover for who know how long. I disassembled it, cleaned, machined, replaced parts and reassembled. For example I’m running XV 1100 cams. They are the same spec, but are newer and harder. A lot of 920 cams were soft and were easily galled. This also shows up on the rockers. I’m running 95mm XV 1000 pistons and 1100 rings because there are no over bore 920 pistons and rings available, other than custom (JE) pistons that cost a fortune. Any way, the cam chain for the rear cylinder was stiff, would not flex easily, even after soaking in gasoline, blowing it dry with compressed air, and soaking in oil prior to assembly. I knew this but it didn’t register that it would fail. I could easily spin the motor with a wrench after assembly. I suspect it just bound up and broke. You can see in the picture of the broken chain on the shop towel, it appears kinked. It is. It will not easily straighten. The cam chain guide that was destroyed was the stationary (captive?) one. The guide the tensioner bears on was OK, although I did replace it. The chain was still hanging from the cam sprocket so it must have fallen off the lower sprocket, allowing the motor to continue running on the other cylinder and not causing any more damage. Pulled the oil pump and used brake clean to clean the sump and pick up screen, lots of little bits of plastic and some aluminum. Live and learn ......

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: beltdrive » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:23 am

Question ??
There must be hundreds of engines using cam chains - some of these cam chains most be the same -??

There must be some kind of standard otherwise each manufacturer has the fabricate a cam chain just for one particular engine and that is way too costly.

There must be a size guide and we can order that size cam chain for XV engines and the take a link or two out to make it fit instead of trying to use old rusted worn out used chains and hope the best ??

What size are XV chains and where can you get them by the length??.

Maybe I can get a new one for a 2019 Toyota and cut 2 links out and away I go?

Any input please, somebody most know something
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:49 am

OEM camchains..$40-60 / less shipping (depending which side of the pond your on). Wouldn't be any guessing/hunting down what works or taking links outta some non-XV chain. Bout every site still shows them available. JMO: certain internals I sure wouldn't wanna take a chance on a "might fit".
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: nanno » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:02 am

The type of camchain used is a so-called "morse-"chain. They are used plenty in cars and companies just link them to the right length. Even though (technically) you could rivet them yourself, it is an absolute p.i.t.a. to do, as you have to get the pressure just right or they will either fall apart or have a tight spot. (Which can lead to the above.)

Also at least with a fresh chain there's no way of swapping it without removing the head(s) anyway, so there's not much incentive to me for going down the risky route and rivetting them together myself.

@Uncleromo: did you pour some petrol into both inlet and exhaust ports to check whether the valves are still sealing nicely?
http://viragotechforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=43227 - Nanno's accumulated findings (and blatant show-off) - infos on my TR1's, my performance and reliability mods and a bit of show-casing of the stainless steel exhausts I build

http://greasygreg.blogspot.co.at (My blog - Greasygreg.blogspot.co.at)
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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: Arjay » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:08 pm

Just curious, did they do away with the master link that had a clip?

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: nanno » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:00 am

There's no reference in the spec of a hy-vo chain to have a "clip-"style link.
http://viragotechforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=43227 - Nanno's accumulated findings (and blatant show-off) - infos on my TR1's, my performance and reliability mods and a bit of show-casing of the stainless steel exhausts I build

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:15 pm

Nanno -- did it the other way, made sure the cam was at combustion ‘TDC', turned the head upside down and leveled it with some rags, filled the combustion chamber and checked for leakage into the ports. It’s all good.

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: uncleromo » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 pm

Belt Drive -- I worked on some Honda motors in the early 1970’s, CL175 and XL250, which did have ‘master link' cam chains. They were single row chains, much like a motorcycle drive chain, just smaller. Seemed to work fine. This may seem like an advantage until you drop the side plate or link clip into the engine and hope you can fish it out with a magnet. Most push-rod type engines in American cars use a Morse type cam chain as Nanno described.

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Re: Cam Chain Blues

PostAuthor: Arjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:39 pm

I was just curious if a clip was an option.

Speaking of peening a link closed, is there a way to prevent the link from binding up stiff? I'm going to be doing mine sometime soon. I was thinking of inserting part of a feeler gauge before peening the ends with the tool. Then I could remove the shim and hope the links move freely.

In the mechanical clock repair world, the winding of strong springs depends highly on a tiny rivetted pice of metal called a click. The rivet must be strong but the click must also be free to move as a spring wire pushes it into ratchet gear to prevent unwinding. On some old clocks when a click fails it can rip your fingers off.

The answer for the click is a fraction extra length and then the riveting portion is slightly smaller diametor. This provides a shoulder on one side and other side can be peened as tight as possible. The shoulder prevents the loss of the extra length and firm grip.

What I wonder is if I will be needing a master link and if yes/no do they have shoulders?

Any good methods? Info appreciated

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