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Do we need a better cam chain? (Read 328 times)
Oldfeller2
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Do we need a better cam chain?
06/24/07 at 21:22:47
 
Having read lots of stuff about cam chain tensioner this and that and ways to get around the tensioner falling out too early -- I have me a question.

Do we need a better cam chain?

First, I found out what it is called (hy-vo cam chain) and I found out who invented it and why they invented it.

http://www.morsetec.com/Hy-vo.pdf

There are different grades of the stuff and it is made by different vendors for lots of different uses.  

My thought was this -- maybe it used to be better stuff than it is currently -- maybe it got cost reduced by Suzuki (or by whoever actually builds the chain for them, you pick).  We don't have to invent some mystical oil additive changes to explain why we have crappy chain -- it may just be the chain itself changed.

Next, I realized it comes in many functional thicknesses (you just add an additional stacked plate or two) for a stronger chain.

So, here are my current thoughts -- you keep buying the same old stuff from Suzuki and keep fighting the same basic problem of short 15,000-20,000 wear out life spans or you go and do something significantly different.

Your thoughts?

Oldfeller
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justin_o_guy
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #1 - 06/25/07 at 10:00:55
 
I agree fully with your thinking & thanks for the research. If you can locate a vendor offering a superior( less inferior?) chain, I would certainly be interested. I do intend to have the next one cryogenically treated, tho.

I still think it would be possible to put an electrical contact in the spring loaded tensioner to let us know when it is extended as far as it should go. That way we could run the thing & not have to wreck a gasket to go in & look or even have the down time, just ride till the light comes on.
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LANCER
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #2 - 06/25/07 at 10:31:17
 
I first learned of them when in the Army, part of the tail rotor control system is a hi-vo chain ... about a 3' section I believe.   We used to take the chains removed for wear or damage and make bracelet or watch bands out of them.  Those little suckers do not break when used that way.  I still have a bracelet left over from back then.
I would certainly think that the quality of the stainless steel used and thickness of the link sections would make the difference in durability/length of service.
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barry68v10
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #3 - 06/25/07 at 15:01:31
 
Although it would be safe to say the cam chain tensioner is the weak link...(pun intended)  Grin
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Oldfeller2
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #4 - 06/25/07 at 18:23:11
 
As you think about cam chain, realize that Hy-VO as a brand name is very pricey and the orient is unfortunately 100% metric (as are our bikes).  Still, as you oggle at this page looky looky at the CARBIDE PINNED very high durability silent chain they offer and drool a bit.

http://www.morsetec.com/ets.html#silent

If I were a betting man I'd say odds are our chain is a second generation rip off of the original Hy-VO, called "silent chain" when it is referred to in generalistic terms by the other chain manufacturers.

My money would go on either D.I.D. or Tsubaki as the likeliest culprit for our sorry current "standard grade" quick wear out silent chain.

http://www.did-daido.co.jp/en/shouhin/enginechain/index.html

http://tsubakimoto.com/product/auto/


But hey, just to talk about a silent chain first you have to identify the chain in ways that allow you to see if a vendor can make the stuff you need.   Ramsey out of Charlotte, NC has some interesting perspectives on plugging their silent chain into other people's applications and onto their gear sprockets.  They talk about how to ID what you've got so they can sub it with their product.  (PS Charlotte NC ain't that far away from me)

http://www.ramseychain.com/chain_identification.asp

Now, if I was betting my cards blind I'd think maybe we had something on the order of an 8mm or 1/4" standard type silent chain on our bikes simply because the bike's design is 20 years old and standard small silent chain was about that small back then.  Certainly it hasn't changed any in that period of time (except for getting real junky cheap recently).

But I haven't actually seen or touched a cam chain yet -- one of you that have please tell us what we've got.

Did any markings come on the packages you got when your ordered a replacement cam chain?  Who was the vendor?  What size was it?   How many pins?  Does a Suzuki factory service manual happen to state what size and type of silent chain we are dealing with?

I'm starvatin' for chain facts here .....

Oldfeller
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KenGLong
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #5 - 06/25/07 at 19:06:09
 
I have a new chain in front of me right now. There is an uppercase "M" on many of the link caps. The driving link seems to resemble the RPV Type 139 shown at your link but I can't be certain without taking the chain apart.

Ken
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verslagen1
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #6 - 06/25/07 at 21:14:55
 
I've been thinking of a way to check how much the cam chain was stretched before needing to tear into it.  And one way would be to check when one of the valves opens after TDC.  When fully stretched, it will be 7 late.  Something we'll all need to measure to get the right numbers for.

Of course, this wouldn't tell you how much the tensioner stuck out.
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justin_o_guy
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #7 - 06/25/07 at 21:43:52
 
My tensioner was slightly past the limit & the chain still had planty of "stretch" left. So, the spring loaded tensioner will become a potential time bomb before the chain is completely worn out. At least, thats the way it was inside mine. I like the idea of scooting the entire tensioner towards the  chain, to keep the tensioner compressed more.
Old Feller. when you find some prices, please share.

O.F. Do you need someone to send you an old chain to mess with?
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verslagen1
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #8 - 06/25/07 at 22:23:28
 
That's the way mine was too.
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Oldfeller2
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #9 - 06/26/07 at 03:58:33
 
Actually what we need is to know is what the spec is for the chain.  Somebody could get that off a box that the new chain shipped in, or somebody could get it from a shop manual, or maybe Bike Bandit or Roneyers has it on a microfiche picture somewhere.

We need the spec for the chain.  Sending me an old chain would be helpful, Justin, and I'll send you an address if you want to do that.  But I was hoping somebody knew the spec on the chain from some other reliable source.

As far as trying to find a price for whatever I can find, first you guys as a mass need to agree that I can negotiate for the group as a whole.  

Next, you need to agree to coming together as a "club purchasing group" to do a group buy under existing non-profit laws.  That means nobody tries to make a buck on a group purchase -- it rides for the true cost and no taxes are charged.  If you do other than this, you'd better have a business tax number and be reporting taxes.

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verslagen1
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #10 - 06/26/07 at 07:10:56
 
Provide a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.
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KenGLong
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #11 - 06/26/07 at 09:01:57
 
justin_o_guy wrote on 12/31/69 at 16:00:06:
My tensioner was slightly past the limit & the chain still had planty of "stretch" left.

Has it been determined that the tensioner (Suzuki calls this the "adjuster") really does run out of adjustment range before the chain is worn beyond limits or is the chain really worn beyond usable limits even though the "stretch" measurement shows it as still being in tolerance?

Sorry if I'm rehashing an old topic here but I don't recall if this has been determined yet. To put it simpler, is the problem the tensioner or the chain?

Ken
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verslagen1
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #12 - 06/26/07 at 10:51:05
 
To rehash the results of a previous thread...

Several have stated that they replaced the cam chain only to find that the adjuster was not pulled in by very much.  And needed to replace/modify the tensioner guide.

We are dealing with a complex system of steel and plastic.  The hard sprockets aren't likely to wear.  The chain is also steel and it's toothed design means we only have to be concerned with stretch.  The guides are plastic over steel.

With my own bike I've seen with chain stretch not even half of what's allowed will leave the adjuster hanging by a thread.

Unless someone's willing to take all these bad parts and inspect them to the n'th degree, I don't think we'll ever know what's exactly the problem.  Anyone want to take that on?  Even the sites you've listed stated that it takes specialized inspection equipment to determine the chain condition.

And I think the problem varies from bike to bike.  To some it's the chain, yet others the guides, to some sunspots.

OF, someone offered you a chain, why don't you take it and get it inspected?  If it costs, let us know and we'll start a fund.  But we should use a chain with a known measurements.  Such as stretch, adjuster protrusion with new guides, etc.
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vroom1776
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #13 - 06/26/07 at 11:46:36
 
okay, when I get that $$$ job, I'll but a brand new savage, open it up, measure the plunger depth, pull the chain, measure the length, close it up, ride it for 1000 miles, open it, measure, repeat.  will run mobil 1 synthetic.   Roll Eyes

let's not forget this thread (the one Verslagen summarized)! cam chain issues

okay, so that is fairly unreasonable.  but the whole issue is most likely caused by an interplay of:

1)  cam chain stretch
2)  tensioner (rear slide) wear (grooves) & becoming brittle
3)  poor plunger design
4)  poor tesnisoner (rear slide) design
5)  worn plunger spring
6)  oil quality & freqeuncy of changes?
7)  how it is riden, and miles
8 )  riding conditions (temperature)

1, 5, & 7 affect the length of the chain (5: is it possible the spring is putting to much force on the chain? likely not, so that leaves 1 & 7).  Maybe the service life of the cam chain listed in the FSM is too large.

we cannot "fix" the tensioner design.  we DO know how to "fix" the plunger design, BUT: what is the correct k value for the spring in the plunger?  we cannot buy these separately.  - at least we can get the circlip separately! - I don't recall if the FSM gives specs the plunger spring or not.  If the spring is out of spec, changing everything else will not really help.  So, where can we also get springs from?  On the other hand, spring strength does not seem to be an issue as we are all concerned that the plunger is too far out.

so, that largely leaves the tensioner (rear slide).  I feel that oil quality and frequency of oil changes can affect the tensioner (rear slide).  I also feel that excessive temperatues can affect the tensioner (rear slide).  I think the oil cooler mod may help keep the tensioner (rear slide) in better shape longer, but I think that may leads to issues with keeping the cam journals lubed.  As gunk builds up in the oil, it'll get dragged along the tensioner and wear it out.  Chemicals in the oil can interact with the terflon material of the tensioner.  Repeated hot-cold cycles (no way to avoid this) can make the tensioner brittle.

I don't think we should be changing our riding styles.  But, revving the crap out of the bike right after start up is not going to help any of these parts at all.

seems to me that we need an 3 point plan:

1)  inspect the plunger extension every year.  remove the plunger and visually inspect the rear slide for wear
1a) add the tab to the plunger if it more than 20 mm (maybe 24 mm ?) out
1b)  replace slides as necessary & measure chain
1c)  replace cam chain as necessary (maybe with a better one).  If the chain is replaced, the slides should be replaced as well.
2) run fresh, high quality oil, change often (Mobil 1 synthetic, IMO, or motorcycle specific oil)
3) let the bike warm up properly before riding, no high rpms to start it.
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KenGLong
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Re: Do we need a better cam chain?
Reply #14 - 06/26/07 at 11:47:23
 
verslagen1 wrote on 12/31/69 at 16:00:06:
Several have stated that they replaced the cam chain only to find that the adjuster was not pulled in by very much.  And needed to replace/modify the tensioner guide.

One person reported that their chain was within specs so he replaced just the rear guide. When reassembled, his adjuster was still extended too far so he replaced the chain and it all fell back into place...even though his old chain was not stretched to the point of needing replacement. (I think it was Kropatchek.)

That's the post that makes me think that the real problem hasn't been discovered yet.

Ken
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