KLX/KLR/DRz Manual Cam Chain Tensioner
Installing the new manual cam chain tensioner:
- You will need a pair of 13mm wrenches, a pair of needle
nose pliers, a 4mm hex key (allen head) wrench or socket, ratchet, inch/lb
torque wrench, gasket sealer (Hondabond, Yamabond, etc.), an appropriate size
socket/ratchet to turn over the engine.
- Remove the “automatic” tensioner body from the motor by
removing the two small bolts.
- Relocate the idle adjuster to the bolt holding the wiring
loom near the fuel petcock. Bend the tab slightly to angle it out. (See
- Remove the large plastic screw plug in the right side
alternator cover. See the “magic tool” in the photos.
- Back the adjustment bolt out a fair amount on the new
tensioner and remove the plastic sleeves from the mount bolts
- Put some Yamabond (Hondabond, Kawabond – whatever bond)
sealant or a similar goop on the tensioner gasket. I don’t know for sure, but
even grease may work fine.
- Install the tensioner in place threading in the supplied
NOTE: Be sure to install the tensioner with the adjuster bolt offset BELOW
horizontal center - see photo..
- Torque the bolts to 72 in/lb (6 ft/lb or 8 N/m) if you
- Turn the adjuster bolt in as far as possible by hand.
- Using 17 mm socket and ratchet,
A) Rotate the crank shaft slowly, counterclockwise using the nut
on the crank end, which will pull the cam chains taut on the drive side making
the tensioner side slack, while turning the tensioner adjustment screw by
hand. DO NOT spin the motor over with the starter, you risk jumping cam timing
or possible valve damage due to excess chain slack.
B) Turn the motor over for a few revolutions while applying
pressure by hand or very light tightening pressure with a wrench, holding the
wrench by the head at the nut. The tensioner bolt will turn in easily when
taking up slack in the chains, but will resist turning when either the chains
are under tension or when the slack has been taken up.
C) You should be able to tell when the slack is gone, the bolt
will no longer turn easily.
D) Using one 13mm wrench tighten the tensioner locking nut down
tight holding the acorn nut with the other 13mm wrench to keep the adjuster
bolt from turning.. The acorn is loctited in place and should not move.
E) Rotate the crank slowly over again to make sure valves are not
out of time and hitting the piston,.
- Start the engine and warm it up to operating temperature.
- With the engine running:
A) Loosen the locking nut and the tensioner bolt enough to hear
the cam chains rattle.
B) Gently finger-tighten the tensioner bolt until there is no
C) Back out the tensioner bolt slightly until there is detectable
light rattle (listen very carefully, this is extra-fine tuning to make sure
you don't over tighten)
D) Tighten the tensioner bolt back in slightly (about 1/8 turn or
less) until rattle is gone. [If you can not seem to hear any rattle,
finger-tighten the bolt, that should be sufficient.]
E) Tighten the locking nut while holding the tensioner acorn nut
in place with a wrench to keep the bolt from turning.
This works without gimmicks and guesswork that can over tighten the chains or
let them flail around in the cases. Re-adjust every several thousand miles or
if you hear the rattle of cam chains again. I think I’ve only done about 4
adjustments over the past 25,000 miles using the “sound” method on the KLX.
I’ve not done the finger-tighten method on the KLX because it is just as easy
to go by sound. If my hearing goes, I may change that. The key point is what
the tensioner does – it simply takes up excess slack so the chains don’t slap
around and wear prematurely. There is no preloading necessary.
Relocate the idle adjustment knob and mount to the wiring loom clamp as shown.\
Install tensioner with the bolt in the lower position as shown.
Here’s a handy “tool” to remove the alternator plug… Innovative, huh.
Rotate the crank shaft counterclockwise with a 17mm socket and ratchet or
5) While adjusting the tenisioner bolt in by hand, turn the crank several
revolutions to get most all the play out, then snug up the
Warm up the bike and readjust per instructions.