Cam chain tensioner gasket leak...


22 replies to this topic
  • jmc1583

Posted October 21, 2008 - 03:10 PM

#1

I made this writeup because the cam chain gasket is a problem on these DR650s and I went through this problem myself.


This leak can often be confused for a base gasket leak, but since 2004, DR650s have had a metal base gasket, which was a huge improvement. The cam chain tensioner gasket was not upgraded with the base gasket. I overfilled my oil which increased the oil pressure enough to blow out this gasket.

This oil leak can look like this : Oil at the arrows and even in the Suzuki lettering of the oil filter cover. Oil can also be seen on the lower 3 or 4 cooling fins.

Posted Image

The most effective way to find the exact leak is by :

1) Thoroughly cleaning the engine area.
2) Putting talcum powder around the suspect area.
3) Running the engine and watch for the powder to absorb the oil.
Note: My gasket only leaked at high rpm on the highway.

In case anyone doesn't know what the tensioner is, it is outlined in red and the gasket is outlined in yellow :

Posted Image

In order to replace the gasket, do the following :

1) Remove the clutch cable mount shown here :
(This should give you enough room to slide out the tensioner...You might need to loosen the clutch cable further)

Posted Image

2) Remove the two hex bolts at the left and right of the tensioner.
3) Slide out the tensioner. The tensioner is self adjusting, so it should extend as you remove it.

WARNING!!! Do not insert the tensioner fully extended! You can stretch/break the cam chain. You must retract the shaft of the tensioner before replacing. In order to do this, you must:

I) Remove the bolt at the end of the tensioner. This will give you access to a small screw which you can use to retract and lock the tensioner.
II) Using a small flat screwdriver, retract the tensioner by turning the screw.
III) Turn the screw the opposite direction to lock it in place.
IV) Remember to unlock the shaft after you replace the tensioner.

(Just mess with the tensioner a little bit. Its easy to figure out how it works.)

4) Replace the tensioner with the stock OEM gasket or silicone.
5) Extend the tensioner shaft with the adjustment screw.
6) Replace the adjustment screw cap.
7) Replace the clutch cable mount and everything else you took off.

Tell me what you guys think...

  • tubbytwo

Posted October 21, 2008 - 04:22 PM

#2

I overfilled my oil which increased the oil pressure enough to blow out this gasket.

How does the oil pump put out more pressure because of more oil? I can see too much oil hitting the crank and causing splashing.

At high RPM there would be more crankcase pressure (blow-by) and aggravate a weak gasket. Breather somewhere clogged?

  • jmc1583

Posted October 21, 2008 - 04:50 PM

#3

I was trying to find the thread I read, but it was explained that when you overfill the oil there is a lack of air-space for expansion. I'm not sure if this jump in pressure is from piston movement or just heat. If there is less air to compress...pressure is going to spike because the oil will not compress...Idk, it sounded believable to me.

Here it is...http://www.thumperta...ll oil pressure

A clogged breather might do the same thing...I would guess it would have to be clogged pretty tight though.

  • lowercasee

Posted March 06, 2009 - 05:04 AM

#4

Well, chalk up another leaky cam chain tensioner gasket. Notice it today when I was sitting in traffic and get the slight smell of burning oil. Looked down at the ACCT and sure enough, there's some oil down there. Guess I'll have to stop at the dealer on the way home and get a new gasket.

Nice write up jmc, thanks!

  • FossilB

Posted March 06, 2009 - 02:33 PM

#5

it's a good idea to have the piston at TDCC before doing this job to remove the tension off the chain from the cam

  • qwerty1234

Posted March 06, 2009 - 04:59 PM

#6

mine did it a few months ago. Shop replacing it and did the work under warranty. Shortly after that I got a leak in one of the side cover gaskets, spewed oil on my back tyre and down I went around a corner. I very luckily 'just' got off the highway 2 minutes before at 100kph and was doing about 30-40 around this corner when it let go. Once I pulled the cover off I noticed the gasket was pinched when it was first installed or had a minor tear in it causing it to bow upwards into the engine. Over time the small tear in the gasket got eaten through and eventually poured oil out.

If I inspected the bike closely I probably would have spotted it earlier as the gasket protrudes a little, but in this area it disappeared into the engine. Might be worth checking the edge of your side cover gaskets. This is a freak occurance for any motorbike let alone a DR650, but could prove to be fatal so worth a check

  • lowercasee

Posted March 07, 2009 - 07:38 AM

#7

/\ Thanks for the tips Fossil and qwerty. Never thought of the TDC thing, good idea.

  • lowercasee

Posted March 13, 2009 - 03:40 AM

#8

Got my gasket yesterday so I fixed her all up. Man I forgot what a PITA it is to remove a gasket. Took me like 30 minutes to scrape it off with a razor and then sand down the surface (with some 320 then 600 grit) to make sure it was smooth. So far, all seems well.

  • pacaver

Posted March 13, 2009 - 01:32 PM

#9

I had the same problem with the cam chain tensioner gasket on my '02. I used Permatex Ultra Grey Sensor-safe RTV silicone gasket maker and it's held up great on my cam chain tensioner. When my paper base gasket started gushing, during the top-end rebuild I used it on the cylinder head cover which doesn't come with a regular gasket. It also has remained oil tight for over 20 thousand miles since the repair. Good stuff!

Kevin

  • milk

Posted March 13, 2009 - 02:10 PM

#10

+1 on the permatex

pacaver where at are you located in pa?

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • pacaver

Posted March 13, 2009 - 04:14 PM

#11

+1 on the permatex

pacaver where at are you located in pa?


Harrisburg, the land of few caves. :)

Here's where I'd rather be:


http://www.cs.indian...e_adv03oct.html

  • milk

Posted March 14, 2009 - 05:13 AM

#12

wow!!! that's awesome!!! :)

  • drsmiley1962

Posted August 21, 2009 - 06:52 PM

#13

My 08 DR650 with 4900 miles started leaking last week. Went and picked up an OEM gasket and going to replace tomorrow. Should I apply a smal amount of RTV permatex gasket sealant to each side of the paper gasket before installing? I removed the exhaust header to make it easier to get to and while I'm at it I'm going to grind down the header weld. you would not believe how much of a hump there is unless you have already done this. Will it affect my carbureater after doing this? Thanks for any info, Steve

  • tubbytwo

Posted August 21, 2009 - 08:18 PM

#14

How about a picture of that exhaust "obstruction"?

  • crooks420

Posted July 10, 2012 - 06:35 PM

#15

I just did my cam-chain tensioner gasket last night on my 2007 DR 650. I coated the gasket with Ultra Black rtv silicone...... I have not ridden the bike yet to make sure, but I often do this with paper gaskets, and have not had a leak yet.
I mainly added the silicone dur to the factory gasket being "glued" to the cylinder..... what a pain in the ass.... It took me atleast an hour of careful scraping, and I still did not get it off 100%. So the silicone will take up any irregularities in the mating surfaces, and make it easier to remove.... if I ever have to.

I did remove the exhaust, header, and removed the hard oil lines from the top of the head, and the top-right side of the engine case.....this allowed me to pull the oil line back, and gave me alot more room to pull the tensioner out and work on that gasket.

Jesse

Edited by crooks420, July 10, 2012 - 06:38 PM.


  • dcdave

Posted July 21, 2012 - 09:08 AM

#16

I got my 2004 Dr650 last spring with 9000 miles and so far its been great - except it looks like I now have this leak after riding 500 or so miles. The repair sounds simple at first - then I see it requires removal of the "exhaust, [color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]header, and removed the hard oil lines from the top of the head, and the top-right side of the engine case." Is this something someone with limited mechanical skill can do? How do you get the piston at TDC? Thanks for any advice.[/font][/color]

  • jczlsr

Posted July 22, 2012 - 05:53 AM

#17

I just finished this repair with my limited mechanical skills. I did not have to remove the exhaust or clutch cable bracket. Just the oil line. However, removing the others would give you more room to scrape the old gasket off. I lightly coated the new gasket with Permatex Copper spray and it all sealed up with no more leaking. I also used new washers when a reattached the oil lines to. Just like others who have commented on this repair, the hardest part is getting the old gasket off.

  • dcdave

Posted July 22, 2012 - 06:58 AM

#18

ok - thanks for the response. Looks like I'll have to give it a shot. Probably try the permatex gasket maker solution.

Edited by dcdave, July 22, 2012 - 06:59 AM.


  • dcdave

Posted August 14, 2012 - 06:23 PM

#19

Rant - Is this a joke or am I a dumbass - or both? I finally tried to fix the leak after reading numerous posts on the "simple" fix and feeling confident I could do it. Following the manual on removing the CCT and other posts, I attempted to find TDC by turning the crankshaft - but before I could access the crankshaft, I stripped out the Allen wrench hole on the cap covering the crankshaft (supposedly a common occurrence). So I have read you dont need to remove the cap, just turn the rear wheel to find TDC. Well how do you turn the wheel while you are looking in the hole to see if you are at TDC? I never even got to trying to remove the CCT because I could not find TDC, which I have read can be critical (dont believe everything you read?) I do not see how the simplified instructions at the top of this thread could enable a non-mechanic type to do this fix. I'll just live with a little oil leak.
Cheers.

  • Craig in Denver

Posted August 14, 2012 - 08:01 PM

#20

Rant - Is this a joke or am I a dumbass - or both? I finally tried to fix the leak after reading numerous posts on the "simple" fix and feeling confident I could do it. Following the manual on removing the CCT and other posts, I attempted to find TDC by turning the crankshaft - but before I could access the crankshaft, I stripped out the Allen wrench hole on the cap covering the crankshaft (supposedly a common occurrence). So I have read you dont need to remove the cap, just turn the rear wheel to find TDC. Well how do you turn the wheel while you are looking in the hole to see if you are at TDC? I never even got to trying to remove the CCT because I could not find TDC, which I have read can be critical (dont believe everything you read?) I do not see how the simplified instructions at the top of this thread could enable a non-mechanic type to do this fix. I'll just live with a little oil leak.
Cheers.

Clue #1, don't go postal when you don't understand something. We all started somewhere. The instructions at the top of the page are exceptionally well done, kudos to jmc1583.

I suggest hosing the bike off before you start, paying close attention to the head and under the tank (if it's still on). You don't want dirt falling into an open rocker arm cavity. Remove a plug, stick a straw in the hole, rotate the wheel, watch the straw rise with the piston. The plug hole is at a sharp angle to the piston travel and the straw will bind/bend, so bump the tire, watch the straw, wiggle the straw, bump the tire, etc. When the straw stops, you're at one TDC.

Remember that there are TWO TDCs, one with both valves completely closed. This is the one you want. On the second TDC both valves are slightly open (called 'overlap'), the one you don't want. Remove both valve covers (they have reuseable o-rings). Wiggle both the intake and exhaust rocker arms. At one TDC, both rockers will be immoveable, solid. This is where you don't want to be. Rotate the engine another revolution, watching and wiggling the straw. Now try to wiggle the rocker arms again, side to side; there should be slight movement. It's unlikely you'll feel .004 with your fingers with oil damping the clearance but side to side is more obvious (larger clearance). This is where you want to be. Rotate the engine watching/wiggling the straw, two or three times. Somewhere in here, you're going to have the 'Aha' moment. Now ya got it. Wiggly rocker arms are the correct TDC. :thumbsup:

The piston is at the same TDC both times. The cam, rockers, and valves are not.

This next tidbit is going to take a leap of faith. It doesn't matter where the 'T' is in the little window. :blink: Since both valves are closed for almost 360* (BDC of the compression stroke, TDC of the compression stroke, spark, BDC of the power stroke), the straw is more than close enough. When it stops and the rocker arms wiggle, you're at the mysterious, coveted TDC.

Don't chop up your gasket surface with anything harder than alum, no steel (razor blades for instance). An old credit card has been mentioned. Leave your impatience in the house, relax, enjoy the project, even if it takes all weekend.

Cheers

Edited by Craig in Denver, August 14, 2012 - 08:09 PM.





 
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