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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

Long term follower, second time poster.
I was wondering if anyone else has issues with a strange sound that comes from the bike, similar to the sound of a sewing machine. Doesn't really matter wether I've got the throttle on or idling, when the engine warms up to around 85 deg there's an unusual sewing machine / rattle / loose washer sound. :frown2:

I haven't been able to narrow down where it's coming from, I've taken on suggestions here to secure the chain guard, removed the tools but I can still hear it. I thought it might have something to do with the type of fuel being used so I've tried 98 and 95 from reliable petroleums without any real difference.

Anyone have any ideas? It doesn't seem to impact performance but it's certainly annoying.

Will be forever grateful to any solutions, suggestions or tips.

Thanks
 

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Sounds like clutch plate rattle, then. Many bikes do that, then stops when pulling in the clutch, because then the plates are loaded. Dry clutch bikes are really noisy. It should be OK unless you have MANY miles on it and the basket is worn. Probably not in this case.
 

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Is it possible to be the cam chain tensioner not working properly? A problem with a lot of Kawasakis and some Yamahas, like the KLX and WR series. I know a bit about them because making them is a sideline I do.

Listen to the engine around the bike to locate where the noise is loudest. One really good way to be accurate is to use a mechanic's stethoscope or a long handle screw driver with the handle to your ear. Place the tip around places like the clutch cover near the clutch, the head, and the cam drive near the tensioner. Wherever the noise is loudest indicates the likely problem.

I haven't developed a tensioner for the 700 or 900 yet, but likely may play with it. Tight quarters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is it possible to be the cam chain tensioner not working properly?
Had my first 1000km service today, the Yamaha mechanics didn't find anything unusual, but they too suggested chain tensioner, so they tightened it up a a little. Haven't had a big ride on it yet, but just coming out of the mechs and it sounded quite different already. Fingers crossed that's it and it's sorted.
 

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Had my first 1000km service today, the Yamaha mechanics didn't find anything unusual, but they too suggested chain tensioner, so they tightened it up a a little. Haven't had a big ride on it yet, but just coming out of the mechs and it sounded quite different already. Fingers crossed that's it and it's sorted.
How do you "tighten up" an automatic tensioner? If it is the ratchet style, which I believe it is, the only way to "tighten it up" is to stick something in the body and slam the plunger forward putting undue tension on the chain, chains are not mechanically meant to run under tension. Plus your cams run in the plain bearing head, thing what is possible if they actually did jam the tensioner forward putting the chain under pressure... Like running a manual tensioner way too tight. You see, there is no "adjustment" on an automatic cam chain tensioner.



Yamaha's are fairly infamous for noisy cam chain tensioners. Nothing wrong with them, that's just how they are.
Yeah some say that about Kawasakis too.

I heard that about my Kawasaki KLX650 too. After two failed auto tensioners, the chains (2) were shot and the top end had to be disassembled - at 15,000 miles. I made a manual tensioner for the bike since no one had them listed. 50,000 miles later and no cam drive tick no valve issues. I got the same thing on my 550 Zephyr, "all Kaw engines are noisy". Didn't buy that line this time, made the tensioner for it, which was the one that put me in business of making them, and it's done 12,000 miles of quiet running, no cam timing variability by chain slack, no buzzing of the cam drive, no cam chain slap. Funny how that works. Ended up replacing the bad one in the KLX250 I bought too. No more tensioner problems.

Plus that noise is only a symptom the problem is slack in the drive, the cam timing is not consistent due to the loose/tight action of the cam chain as the tensioner pushes in and out again. If the chain ever gets enough slack in it, it can jump teeth at the crank and that can get nasty on the head when the pistons hit the valves. Known of VTR1000s taking out the head, piston valves, etc when their noisy tensioners that Honda denied were a problem, let loose. People who know, will replace the tensioners with manual ones whether they are making noise or not. They don't just get noisy, they can catastrophically fail. Also have had a few KLX300 riders have that happen, including snapping the cam chain.

So be careful when anyone tells you some noise is normal. Find out where the noise comes from then what can be done if needed. If it is truly no problem then run it. I also tell people who ask if they should replace an automatic tensioner before it starts making noise, why fix what isn't broke? The only bike I do recommend replacement regardless is the VTR1000, due to the near instant catastrophic failure, but most all others go bad over time so there is time to evaluate and replace. I wouldn't fix what isn't broke, the reason I say find exactly where the noise is coming from.

I say that because my 550 also has some rattle from the primary drive chain, but since it doesn't have to be precise in action, the bit of rattling truly is no problem. It is also different from that of the tensioner failing. The chain is heavy enough to take any snatching action and not wear out. After a $400+ bill for a top end I don't take "that noise is normal" as acceptable until I know what it is and why it does it, learning what can happen from it.
 

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Now today I kind of noticed what you might be hearing. It was almost a light clicking as if there was Passive Air Injection (PAIR) valve reed set clicking. I don't know if the XSR has them, couldn't find them on the parts schematics. My bike has a light clicking, like a sewing machine (wife sews a lot doing crafts and costuming) and it only has around 300 miles at this point. I doubt the tensioner could crap out that fast so I'm pretty certain it isn't the tensioner. I am really curious what it might be though.
 

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If you are new to the MT/FZ/XSR or Tracer 700 family, there may be some noises, which can be annoying or for minimum make you worry.

I usually do not hear any noises,
- I wear otoplasties,
- my helmet is very good ventilated and will be loud, when driving at higher speeds, see otoplasties,
- it is a Yamaha, there are some noises from the engine, but no reason to worry.

With the first 1000 kilometers/600 miles, most noted noises came from the drive chain. Losing the first greasing, forgetting the lubing of the chain and not checking the drive chain slack. Normally both is done during the first service.

There can be a rattle from the chain guard, see Yamaha recall loose chain guard.


Actually doing some kilometers with the spank new Tenere 700 of my wife, I listened to a little humming coming from the left side of the engine. I am sure it is a normal engine noise which is amplified by the tank shrouds, covering the engine more than used from the naked XSR. I do not worry, see my comment above, it is a Yamaha, and my Yamaha XSR is doing some little engine normal noises since 40 tkm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I doubt the tensioner could crap out that fast so I'm pretty certain it isn't the tensioner. I am really curious what it might be though.
So it's not the tensioner. I went for a little ride around on the weekend and its back.

If you are new to the MT/FZ/XSR or Tracer 700 family, there may be some noises, which can be annoying or for minimum make you worry.
I've done some more reading and a friend of mine rides an MT07 with the same sound. It doesn't seem un common but I'm curious what other peoples experiences are.
 

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The key point is to let everyone know of the possibility that it could be the tensioner and how to check to make sure it isn't - the mechanic's stethoscope/long handle screwdriver listening test. Like I said, I got that "they all make noise" on both the KLX650 and the ZR550 Zephyr. I bought that line on the 650 and ended up with a $400 top end job after the second tensioner failed, didn't do that with the Zephyr, put in a manual one and never looked back.

Be aware is the take away. Know what is what. I now do and I tell others to do the same. I'm not out shilling the tensioners, if you don't need them I don't want to sell you one. I want you to keep your bike running tops, not end up with it being rebuilt as I, and many others, have. Some bikes seem somewhat impervious to the tensioner issue. Let's hope the XSR is one of them... but know what is going on.

I won't take my tensioner out to make one unless I need to or maybe if someone needs one made for them and I need something to develop the part. Only then will I do it.
 

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Maybe it's time to look into making them. I have a good reputation in the Kawasaki and Honda communities dealing with the KLX models along with a lot of the air cooled early models and the Honda VTR1000 and CRF models. I got gaskets some months ago, but haven't done anything yet. If I did them they would be about $33 plus shipping, that's what I did back when I started and haven't raised them. It's more about keeping bikes running right. The reason why I always said if it ain't broke don't fix it.
 

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Is this the sound people are talking about. I just hit 500km and it really bothered me today. Sounds like a broken valve rattling about. I hope it's just the tensioner.

Hi, did you fixed it already? I have the same problem. After my today's ride I just start to hear this noise. Thank you very much for help.
 
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