Cam Chain Guide Question

Solomoriah

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I have not, as yet, gotten the cam chain guide replaced on my '80 Special. It has probably 18,000 miles on it, and I've been told repeatedly that most bikes that age need the replacement... and further, I've found small bits of the plastic in the oil when changing it.

But, I've not found any evidence that the guide is naked. The oil isn't sparkly, and the engine doesn't make what I'd call excessive noise. And that's where my question comes in... has anyone recorded a video of an XS650 running with a completely failed cam chain guide? I'd love to hear what it sounds like, so I can evaluate my own. My bike is kind of ticky-ticky when idling, but is not what I'd call excessively noisy at highway speeds; I can hear the valves a little, but not as much as my CB650, which makes sense since the CB650 has more of them.

Anyway, just hoping for some guidance here. I'm not mechanical enough to do a top end myself, so I'll have to hand it over to my excellent local mechanic, probably over the winter, to get the replacement done, and if I must I can afford it. But naturally, I don't want to do it right away if I don't have to.
 

jetmechmarty

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I have not yet pulled this engine and observed the condition of the front foot. I ran out of adjustment on the tensioner is the tell.

The engine that this one replaced has 57,000 miles on it. I have found telltale bits of plastic in the oil, but not in some time. With the bottom cover off, I can see the front foot still has the plastic slipper in place. The bits likely came off the edges. This engine doesn't ring like the one in the videos. I say if you can adjust it normally and it doesn't sound like mine, you may rest easy.
 

Paul Sutton

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The rubber off the front guide can come completely free from the metal base but remain functional due to the cam chain keeping the two parts in alignment. On my XS I found some small bits of rubber broken from the edges and several bits of Aluminum on the filter mesh. The Aluminum was not the fine stuff that stays suspended in the oil, it was bits the size of pin heads. I occasionally heard a slight metallic noise when idling.
 

Solomoriah

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Hmm. Mine has a noise kind of like in the video, but not as pronounced, and only at idle when first started.

Now I'm not so sure I shouldn't go ahead and get it done.

Thanks for sharing the videos, jetmechmarty!
 

Jim

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You ever install that speedo I sent ya?
 

Solomoriah

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Not yet. The current one hasn't died yet, and if I wait a bit longer I can sync the odometer on the one you sent with the original dead unit, approximately anyway. I took pictures of the "new" speedo, the one I think is dying now, when I put it on; with that and the reading from the original dead unit, I can figure out how much I'm off, which I've done, and saved the target number on my phone. But if the current unit does go ahead and die, I'll swap whenever.
 
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