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How to Install Cam Chain Tensioner Extenders on a Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

Is your engine making a bit more noise then it used to? If it is, and you have over 20K miles, it's probably time to add an extender to your cam chain tensioner. If you're like me, you're probably saying, "cam chain what?" Well let's just say that there are a few chains inside your engine and when they get loose, they can start to slap against engine parts that they should not be hitting. There's a tensioner that keeps them tight, but only to a point. After awhile, a small extension is needed in order to keep everything tight. From my understanding, once the extension is added, you will indefinitely be taken care of because the chain only stretches so much.

Before ordering any parts, or tearing into the bike, you can check to see if the cam chain is actually what's making the noise or if you're just crazy. To check, first loosen the 8mm set screw on the side of the tensioner body, then remove the 12mm cap. Be careful not to strip the 8mm, like I
did. And be careful not to lose any of the small parts. Take a picture or refer to these pictures if you forget what goes where.


With the cap, springs, bearings etc. out, there will be an extender rod in the middle of the tensioner body. It most likely will be inside the body, and if it is 1/3" or very close to it, that means it's time to add an extension. If it's only inside the body 1/8" or not even all the way inside the body yet, than you are okay for a few thousand miles more.

If you've decided that you need to add the extender than read on. If not, put everything back the same way it came off.

Before tearing into the bike, order the extender from Joe at ChuckstersCustoms.com or if you're in Canada, they're available at your Kawasaki dealership.

Picture from ChucksterCustoms.com

Start by removing the tensioner cap by following the steps above. Now remove the two allen head bolts. With the allen head bolts out, carefully pull the body off. There is a gasket and O ring that should be reusable. If by chance you destroy the gasket, a thin layer of high temp gasket maker should work.


With the Cam Chain Tensioner off the bike, look it over and get familiar with how it works. Learn how it extends and retracts. With the arm completely extended, carefully clamp the tensioner ring in a vice or with vice grips and cut it off. I used a hack saw, but a dremel would be ideal. Be careful not to cut the arm. Cut the ring 90% and then just break it with a flat head screwdriver.

 

Now with the arm bare, put a small dab of red lock tight in your new extenders and press them onto the arm. Be very careful not to get the lock tight on anything else; it could possibly prevent everything from working properly. If the extender doesn't go on easily, it may be necessary to use a hammer. Be careful to not damage the teeth.


With the extender in place, retract the arm as far into the body as it will go. Now put the large spring back in place and the bearing on top of it.  Compress the spring and bearings all the way down with a small screw driver. While it's compressed, use the set screw to hold it down. (Did you understand that? If not, reread it. Life will be miserable if you don't compress the spring and lock it down with the set screw.) Now bolt the body to the cylinder, making sure you don't bump the arm. You want to keep it retracted all the way.

Now insert the spacer and the small spring and put the cap back on, making sure the little spring lines up in the center of the cap (that should be everything). Loosen the set screw slowly until you hear the big spring snap the bearing and spacer into place.

Torque the end cap to 14.5 foot pounds
Torque the set bolt to 43 inch pounds
Torque the allen bolts to 87 inch pounds








7 comments:

  1. I have a 1996 Vulcan 1500 L-C3 and my cam chain tensioner are solid with no cap has 2 bolts that hold it in place and the bolt in the end like yours but its solid no cap. can I still put cam extenders on this style?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good question. I'm not too sure, but I'd assume you could. Pull it out and take a look. Most likely it's very similar and could be extended in the same. way.

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  3. I did the extenders at 40K after the chain cut through a spark plug tube and soaked my left boot in oil. I'm now at 62K and replacing an exhaust valve that burnt due to a stuck KACR. I'm replacing both chains as the tensioners are almost completely extended again.
    Nice how to and photos.

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  4. Thank you Jared ! just finished my coasters and cam chain extenders, great pics and write up. left my computer open your page and checked it frequently ! lol
    bike is back alive again ! thanks again !
    Lonewolf

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  5. I'm getting ready to take on this project tomorrow I have one question. When you put it back together and loosen the lock bolt to listen for the click will it at this time extend into place where it will be tight? My fear is the extender wont be tight at this point and will be knocked off into the engine.thank you eric grant my email is ericlovesheather@hotmail.com if someone can give me some input thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm getting ready to take on this project tomorrow I have one question. When you put it back together and loosen the lock bolt to listen for the click will it at this time extend into place where it will be tight? My fear is the extender wont be tight at this point and will be knocked off into the engine.thank you eric grant my email is ericlovesheather@hotmail.com if someone can give me some input thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm getting ready to take on this project tomorrow I have one question. When you put it back together and loosen the lock bolt to listen for the click will it at this time extend into place where it will be tight? My fear is the extender wont be tight at this point and will be knocked off into the engine.thank you eric grant my email is ericlovesheather@hotmail.com if someone can give me some input thanks

    ReplyDelete