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Changing out front Cam chain guide?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by XS650D, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. XS650D

    XS650D XS650 Junkie

    Im pretty sure my front cam chain guide is coming apart as I can here is slapping when I start the motor,
    once enough oil gets splashed on it the noise quiets down almost completely. What kind of money am I looking at to pull he motor and change it.Im not interested in getting into it myself.Does anyone know a shop in Ontario Canada that knows these bikes well and could do the work for me. There are a few shops near by but they either dont want to touch it or have never worked on one!
  2. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    I have never taken an engine apart and did mine almost 2 years ago. It was an easy enough task and there is a good thread in the tech section that covers it all the top end. I would not hesitate to do it again. Cant comment on the shops nearby as I am located in Atlantic Canada. JC
    YamadudeXS650C likes this.
  3. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    I'm not sure about shops near you, but pretty sure it's gonna cost a fair bit of coin though. IF you can even find a shop willing to do it, that is.

    I bet you'd save yourself a bit of $ if you could at least pull the motor yourself...save on the labor costs at least.
  4. willis

    willis xsive compulsive disorder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Calling MaxPete or Lakeview.... I seem to recall one of you having a contact there in the sunny southern coast of Canada.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  5. peterg

    peterg XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Cyclewerx in Toronto is a good bet.
  6. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I would NOT ASSUME that is an issue with the guide. I am happy if I get the cam chain tension just to the point where it does that, slaps a bit till the chain gets oiled. But do the check cam chain tension while the motor is idling with the 1mm +- ipin movement, and pull both filters look for chunks, strips of rubber or excessive aluminum in the oil, if there is nothing excessive, motor on.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    But, that's exactly how mine acted when the guide was on it's way out. It turned out that the rubber strip was about 2/3 of the way unglued .....


    I figure it was slapping against the aluminum base at start-up until enough oil splashed up to quiet it down. Replacing the front guide is just something most of these bikes need now. It's not really a mileage thing, more an age thing. The glue bonding the rubber to the aluminum is failing after all these year. I've yet to find one with the rubber actually worn out or through, just loose or fallen right off.
    nhsteve, timbeck, MaxPete and 3 others like this.
  8. XS650D

    XS650D XS650 Junkie

    Yeah 5T, think u got it, its original on my bike as far as I know. Im just concerned if I leave it what the outcome could be!!
  9. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Order the guide.... replacement cooper-bras seals.. for the guide and the head....sometimes we anneal them... order a head gasket....I seem to recall.. read some where.. there are different thickness from various suppliers.. perhaps another forum member can advise... perhaps upper cam seals, 0 rings and gaskets, cam adjuster gasket.... Yamaha bond... (used to seal rocker cover to head..no gasket)
    this is a one day..in and out project. Take notes.. photos dur'n the disassembly... you can do it. Read the manual.. pull engine. Pull rocker covers....note how the book says to remove... the top outer (4) four washer-seals on the head nut are difficult to remove.. (their rubber) use the replacements from Mike's. No need to split the cam chain... simply use a hard wood drift... and tap the 4 cam roller bearings out...tap sideto side (9-3 o'clock)... keep them marked and in order.... work the cam ..wiggle..wiggle….out... now.. the tricky bit.. don't lift the cylinders... you'll break the bottom end seal... remove head.... clean surface.. dicarbon the area and top of pistons. Once head is off.. the guide is visible and can be removed... install new guide.. loose… put cam back in place.. time it... see book... I like to turn engine over... insure the guide is aligned and centered on the track.. then I tighten the guide bolts. Head and cylinder surface must be clean.. clean.. and clean again... Prep the work area prior.... have room so that once you remove a part... nut.. washer... etc etc.. set them aside from the work are..in order.... some guys don't replace the cam seals.. gaskets.... if seals look ok... they just coat the gasket surface with Yamaha bond...
    basic tools.... torque wrench…. impact driver with proper bit.... cleaning chemicals... radio on the oldies.... a buddy to help point and snicker..(my position) ...if you have a wt? .. moment.... visit this site... Hey, yer in Canada... your weather visits you then hits my doorstep... you have plenty of time to get this done before spring.
  10. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    If you’re really set on having it done, call Terry Wolfe of WolfeWorx in London, ON.

    1040 Hargrove Rd.
    Unit 1
    London, ON
    N6E 1P5

    PH: (519) 680-1122

    Terry has prolly around 40 years of bike experience and he is a licensed mechanic as well as a licensed machinist. He has worked on countless XS650s - including mine. Two years ago my front timing chain guide failed completely and while I wanted to, and have the skills and tools, I simply didn’t have time to tackle it - so RobinC and I removed the engine and I took it to Terry. He did a complete top-end job on it (including sourcing OEM pistons and rings) and three weeks later, Lakeview and I popped it back into the frame in my garage in Windsor. Done like dinner.

    Having said all that, before tearing into it, I definitely would take a careful look at both filters and in the sump - see if there are any long slender slivers of black plastic. As far as I can tell, that is the best indication of a failing guide - although, they can die in one piece as shown above in the photo from 5Twins.

    In fact, come to think of it, there were slivers in my sump - BUT - the entire remainder of the plastic portion of the guide had become detached from the metal shoe as shown in 5Twins photo.

    If you want to read the entire saga - search on "Lucille pulls another one on me".
    I documented everything with "photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explained what each one means"....<Alice's Restaurant for us oldies>.

    Anyhow, as pointed out by others, removing the engine is simply not that big a deal and it certainly would save you a bundle of loonies and toonies. It can be done alone - if you are strong (the engine/tranny weighs about 165 lbs) but is easy with two people.

    Before you ask, it is NOT possible to replace the guide with the engine in the frame. There simply isn't enough room above the engine to remove the camshaft cover / rocker box assembly.

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
    TwoManyXS1Bs, grizld1 and FatChance like this.
  11. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    … ooh....order a couple of extra cam " pins ".. slippery little devils.. they have a tendency to get lost.. " depart " the scene... I put them in a sandwich bag.... use a long metal... square tip screw driver to remove the advance unit.... a chisel … no no no… it just cuts metal and damages the unit.... a plastic screw driver doesn't transmit the hammer blow as well as a metal screwdriver... knock the retaining ring loose.. and work it off with the advance weights... behind the advance unit.. the " slippery little devil..".... cam pin... a clean needle nose... pick it out.. it must be removed prior to slipping the cam rod out...it won't clear the seal....note the distance between the pin and the seal..keep that in mind.. take notes..for reassembly. Read the book.... grease the cam rod....
    Once you have the engine on the table.... put it at TDC.... see the timing mark on the bottom... and with the cam cover off.... note the " notch " and " dot " as mentioned in the book.... take photos.... again.. for ease of reassembly....once satisfied...proceed with tear down.... I'll add more as my gray matter stirs.... off to a local swap meet…. look at rolls and rolls of Harley " take off parts " no one wants.... :)
    nhsteve and MaxPete like this.
  12. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Oh godammit Mike - why did you mention these f@cking pins? You've spoiled my mood for the rest of the day.

    BLOODY RIGHT! When I installed the PAMCO unit on my '76 a couple of years ago, one of those f@cking pins went missing and I must have spent two fruitless hours searching for it - before realizing that, as advised by, (I think) Gary I had ordered a few spares too. So, I used one of the spares and finished the job - and then about 6 months later, the original appeared - lying right in the middle of the garage floor still shiny and sweet as pie.

    Where he!! it had been all those months, I have no frickin' idea, but it definitely disappeared and then re-appeared.

    If I still sound angry and frustrated about this YOU ARE CORRECT!

    Order some spares - if only to prevent loss of the originals!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  13. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I have just re-read the "Lucille pulls another one on me" thread in which I replaced (or more correctly, had replaced - by Terry Wolfe) a totally failed front timing chain guide. I noticed several interesting milestones along that journey:
    • the engine pull by RobinC and I and the dramatic discovery of the failed guide - see Post #74 and onwards;
    • the exhaustive comparison of timing chain guides - see Post #123 and onwards;
    • XS650D actually was following and I recommended Terry Wolfe to him at Post #130 - but a reminder never hurts.
    Anyhow, Lucille continues to run like a champ - and I now have roughly 8,000 miles on the re-built engine without any difficulties at all (except for the usual drama related to starter gear #4 / starter hairclip).

    I must say, it made me sad thinking of the help that RobinC so generously gave me and seeing the photos of us in my shop, coupled with the fact that just a few weeks later in the fall of 2018, he passed away suddenly.

    So, the lesson is, live your life guys and remember the words of the World's Most Interesting Man....


    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  14. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Took 2 days for me cause original gaskets were hyperglued to all covers. Took my time using paint stripper and scraping them off. Patience is key in all of this and sometimes help putting things back together. JC
    gggGary and MaxPete like this.
  15. nhsteve

    nhsteve XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Patience. Ahhh...........yes. I'll take a 5 gallon industrial-strength container, please!
    gggGary, MaxPete and jetmechmarty like this.
  16. XS650D

    XS650D XS650 Junkie

    All good info Thx Much
    Im trying to get my head around doing the job myself. On the fence. May call the guy in London,thats a 3.5 hr drive one way.
    I probably could get the motor out myself or with some help from a neighbour .
    MaxPete and gggGary like this.
  17. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Getting the engine out and then back in - with a helper - is not really a big job. Neither is doing the top end.

    gggGary likes this.
  18. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    …. install the starter cable.... once engine is in the frame..bottom bolt inserted.... before you rock the motor upright for the upper mounts... it's a very tight fit for the starter cable nut... :)
    nhsteve, MaxPete and gggGary like this.
  19. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I never remove the starter cable down at the starter motor, I leave it in place. I disconnect it up at the solenoid. The motor gets removed/installed with it still in place.
    nhsteve, MaxPete and gggGary like this.

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