Possible Cam chain wear? - Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-11-2020, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Possible Cam chain wear?

Hey all,

Got back to my home at school from winter break to find my N300 is making a new ticking noise. 14' with 35k miles on er.

At this mileage, the valve train makes a certain amount of noise that I just gotta live with, and thats all well and good. But, now after having the bike sit for 3-4 weeks, its a got a new, intermittent, "trundling" ticking sound, almost as if something was tumbling around inside the cam area. The weirdest part is that the noise comes and goes. Sometimes I fire up the bike, warm mostly, but it can happen when cold too, and it idles and makes no unusual noises. Then suddenly it will start making the noise, and its quite obvious when it starts. Only audible at idle.

Bike still rides fine, makes as good of power as it always has, fuel economy seems normal, plugs are a nice clean white ish with no deposits, ect.

So, I decided to pop the valve cover off for the heck of it to check it out. 2 Exhaust valves a little out of spec, so I have re shimmed them already. Everything in there looks good, no snapped stud heads or debris, good oil coverage, cam oil bearings look as good as they always have.

The only thing I suspect is strange is that my cam timing marks don't line up as well as they used to I think. I counted the 36 links as per the manual and the chain was on right, so I put the camshaft caps back on, and now the intake cam doesn't look as lined up as before, in the direction that it would be if the chain was stretched. The Exhaust mark lines up perfectly, which is why I am concerned. Very hard to count the links on the chain with the camshaft caps on, so I will just pop them back off and recount again to make sure I am sane and that the chain somehow didnt skip a link during cap installation.

There is no spec for cam chain wear in the service manual which sucks, and replacement involves splitting the CC which I would very much like to avoid unless necessary. Most people I talked to in person said even if the cam chain was stretched, it won't make noise if its on the right tooth counts, even stretched to quite a degree, unless the CCT is maxed out or damaged otherwise. My chain doesn't appear to be insanely stretched, but it doesn't look as tight as I suspect a stock one would.

Any other ideas maybe? When the issue started, it had a spent set of oil in the engine, but was never low, and I rode the bike and noticed the sound, and did an oil change too. keep on top of my oil changes very well also. The weirdest part of this issue is that it started only after sitting for 3-4 weeks. Completely non-existent before winter break, and suddenly immediately noticeable after winter. I even store the bike inside my home while I am out of town since it gets kinda cold here in the mountains of AZ, so it stayed a comfy 60 ish all winter.

Any ideas guys? Kinda at a loss, my current plan is just to try it out with the 2 valves adjusted, and see how it does. My mechanic buddy also told me Kawis just make a good amount of noise with age, and if the valves and valvetrain parts are in spec, just live with the noise, which I happily could, I just want to prevent an explosion.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 09:19 AM
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Wow.. Sounds like a persistent tick. I actually posted this on someone elses question just a moment ago, but I had a ticking noise that sounds almost identical to yours. What it turned out being was a loose exhaust. Like at the very front of the bike where the pipes connect. Interestingly enough, if those are loose it can produce a ticking sound. It is kind of odd though that yours started after sitting.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Better yet, i adjusted the 2 exhaust valves on the cylinder #2, and the noise entirely went away. My exhaust headers are good, but the pipe mounts under the bike might be getting a little suspicious soon...

Can't complain, it's back to good as before. It does make slightly more torque on the low RPMs again, as it did after I did the last valve adjustment.

well dang that was not too bad.

Anyone ever had to replace a cam chain ever on an N300?

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