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Old 09-11-2011, 12:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cam Chain Tensioner Fix

I recently brought home a 2003 400EX and bought it cheap because it sounded like it was gonna splode. I posted here the other day about it and got confirmation to check valves and cam chain tensioner.

After setting the valves to spec, I fired it up and it was still bad sounding. I loosened the pipe and silencer so I could get to the tensioner and pulled it out. There was no spring action to it and it was completely collapsed. Not knowing how it really works, I put it back in and turned the screw to push the tensioner rod out. Then tried it again and it still sounded bad.

Took it off and realized it was missing the spring action needed to twist itself out and apply pressure to the chain guides. I tried looking up how to rebuild it and could not find any info. I decided to have a look inside. First I popped off that tiny retaining circlip and carefully pulled out the plunger assy. Mine had quit working because the tensioner spring winding had snapped at slot in the bottom of the plunger. This kind of spring is similar to what you would find in a lawnmower pull start. I pulled the rest of the wound spring assy out and using needlenose pliers reformed a new end to slide into the plunger assy.

It got kinda tricky trying to put it all back together. I coiled up the spring really tight and once it had a very small diameter, then grabbed it with the needlenose pliers and pushed it down to the very bottom of the housing. I then pushed the slotted end of the plunger assy down into the housing so it slipped over that reformed end of the spring...make sure it gets into the plunger assy slot or it will not work.

You do not need to preload the spring at all, it is pretty much impossible due to the direction the plunger assy unscrews anyway. So I set it in there and wiggled it around back and forth a bit until it all fit down in there. Then the hardest part was holding it all together and putting that little circlip back on. A second pair of hands would be nice but not necessary.

I decided to give this a try because I went on ebay earlier and everyone wants $50+ for a new tensioner and I would have to wait a week to get it. Anyway, it worked and now this EX is no longer a ticking time bomb. I wish I could have taken pix but I did not have any help and most of the time I didn't think I was gonna come out on top of it. Anyway, it is a pretty simple fix once you tear into it and may save you some $$$ if you give it a try.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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nice post gotta..thank you for the info..maybe this can help someone else out later down the road..thank you.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good post the cool thing would of been to have pics too.. thanks for sharing
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh I hear ya about not getting any pix...it was my first DIY and it was late last night...and no camera. I guess if anyone on here has a broken one laying around and wants to send it my way, I will take another shot at it and will have the camera handy this time around.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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was the noise a knocking sound or more of a rattle tap noise?
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've fixed a few tensioners on Fourtrax 300s, like that.
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Old 09-11-2011, 05:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiabloAmarillo View Post
was the noise a knocking sound or more of a rattle tap noise?
Rattle tap with some clanging here and there. It sounds like a normal motor now so the tensioner made all the difference for this particular EX anyway. I have another loud-as-heck EX (2006) stored offsite so I am anxious to bring it back home and see if suffers from the exact same problem. I had taken its tensioner out a few months ago but at that time did not fully understand a good one from a bad one.

Of course if it is not the tensioner, then I am gonna be bummed. The valves are in spec so that will mean some pretty deep issues in crank or bearings, rod etc.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I messed around with mine today and snapped some pics to help with your description...
Attached Thumbnails
Cam Chain Tensioner Fix-2011-09-23_15-44-51_648.jpg   Cam Chain Tensioner Fix-2011-09-23_15-46-09_531.jpg   Cam Chain Tensioner Fix-2011-09-23_15-46-36_304.jpg   Cam Chain Tensioner Fix-2011-09-23_15-46-51_203.jpg  
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2004 TRX250EX
AC Racing Nerfs - Oury Grips - Fmf Slip-on - Uni Filter - Razr Rears
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reece616 View Post
I messed around with mine today and snapped some pics to help with your description...
now can you get it back together?? lol
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"MOOSE WAGON "
91 TRX250X aka "MOOSE WAGON"
96 Polaris 400L sport (Mrs. Moose Ride)
07 Suzuki LTZ250 (Sons)
00 TRX350TM 4X2 (Resale bike)
01 TRX250EX (TLC Needed)

Progress and Help
JETTING
SERVICE_MANUALS
MOOSE_WAGON_makeover
2000_Rancher_Build
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yea, actually. I had it back together and then realized I didn't take pics so I did it again haha
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2006 TRX400ex
AC Nerfs - Swingarm Skid + Honda Racing Skid - Protaper Contour Bars - Rox 2" Riser - CBR Clutch Perch - Oury Grips - HT Moto Seat Cover - Custom Poly Case Saver - TRX450R Front Shocks - XR250R CDI - YFZ 450 Dual Piston Front Calipers - ITP T9 Baja Rear + GBC X-Rex - CanAm DS450 Front Rims +Holeshot SR Front - Dominator Bumper - UNI Filter - 13/39 Gearing - DID x-ring Chain

2004 TRX250EX
AC Racing Nerfs - Oury Grips - Fmf Slip-on - Uni Filter - Razr Rears
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