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Old 11-13-2012, 12:06 AM   #1
highwaythunder
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Default engine is making a loud clicking noise?

hi all, went for a cruise yesterday on the highway and something happened to my bike. i was moving along doing 70 while approaching the car in front of me. douche bag to the left of me kept speeding up and slowing down while i was motioning to get in front of him or to pass already. i finally had enough and gunned the throttle and got to about 85 and cut through the traffic and got away from those idiots. thats when my bike started having this loud ticking noise coming from the crankcase or engine. It does it while idling and gets faster as i rev the bike. Did i cause it to get low on oil? Did i bend a push rod? is this going to be an expensive fix if its a bent push rod?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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Could be either valves out of adjustment or an exhaust leak, those are the most common causes of clicks. Bent rod would have cause more than a click IMHO.

If it is a bent rod, and no further damage was done, I would think it would just be a few hours of labour plus the cost of rods. Or just the cost of rods if you can do it yourself.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:58 AM   #3
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Hows about some more info.....like first what kind of bike?

Second.....IS it low on oil.....check it....

More info needed.....
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:04 AM   #4
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bike is a 1992 kawasaki vulcan 1500. the oil level is halfway up on the sight glass tank thing. so i dont think thats a problem. and its more of a click. i would say its a knock
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:15 AM   #5
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Id say check the valves and then pull a compression test.....if that doesnt tell you anything start taking it apart.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:16 AM   #6
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ahhh i dont have time for this. im gonna ride it up to the shop tomorrow and have them do their thing
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:36 AM   #7
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Im not sure Id "ride" it.....if its a valve out of adjustment a bit....no big deal.

If its something more.....you might not make it.....or you could be costing yourself more money.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:39 AM   #8
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If you don't have a compression gauge try this: Start the bike and let it idle. Take a long screwdriver, put the end of the handle against your ear and put the metal end first on the engine case, then on each valve cover in turn. Try different places on each area and see if you can pinpoint the noise.

If you hear the noise clearly coming from the valve cover areas, it's likely a valve or rocker arm or something. Maybe even just an exhaust leak if you're lucky. If you hear that knocking noise coming from deep inside the cases you're probably getting ready to spend some serious coin. Anything down in there such as connecting rod lowers, main bearing, or whatever, probably means a total tear down.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highwaythunder View Post
Did i cause it to get low on oil?
YOu have to ask US if it was low on oil ?? Seriously ???

You need an experienced shop or mechanic to have a look at it.
And, apparently, you need to check your oil more often.

I suggest you NOT run it until you figure out exactly what the problem IS; the next symptom might be a hole in the case.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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How's anyone going to diagnose the problem if they don't run it and listen to it?
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
How's anyone going to diagnose the problem if they don't run it and listen to it?
I didn't say "anyone".
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:25 AM   #12
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i didnt ask YOU if it was low on oil ffs. I asked if doing that burnt out a huge amount of oil. i know how much oil i put into my damn bike. Its coming from the lower left side of the crank case. If its something thats gonna cost some serious coin. im gonna sell the piece of **** to some midlife crisis **** or some other arrogant jackass.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highwaythunder View Post
i didnt ask YOU if it was low on oil ffs. I asked if doing that burnt out a huge amount of oil. i know how much oil i put into my damn bike. Its coming from the lower left side of the crank case. If its something thats gonna cost some serious coin. im gonna sell the piece of **** to some midlife crisis **** or some other arrogant jackass.
Temper, Temper.

I thought you were asking us, and I am pretty decent at reading poorly punctuated and non grammatically correct posts. Also, if you are burning that much oil, I think you have a bigger problem going on.

"Did i cause it to get low on oil?" <------Direct Quote
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:18 AM   #14
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"I thought you were asking us, t..."

- I knew what he meant.

"Also, if you are burning that much oil, I think you have a bigger problem going on. "

-If the level is halfway up the sight glass, I wouldn't think he's burning oil. But yeah, I'd say he's got a potentially serious problem.

HIghwaythunder, if you've got a deep and loud knocking noise coming from the left side of the engine case, and the sound increases or decreases consistent with the engine speed, my educated guess as a motorcycle tech., would be that you've got a problem with a connecting rod, the crankshaft, a main bearing, or possibly a problem with the crankshaft end of your primary drive. Of these, all but the primary will require a complete rebuild of the engine. However, there is always a chance it could be something relatively minor, or that you're mis-reading the sound you're hearing as to where it's coming from. (I have done that.)

However, no one here can diagnose your problem completely accurately over the Internet, so before you make a decision on the bike I'd suggest getting someone more familiar with them to listen to it. Take it to a shop or get someone you know to stop by and listen to it. You want to be as sure as you can be before you trash it or whatever.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:23 AM   #15
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I heard what I thought were knocking/slapping valves on my Suzuki C90... it turned out to be a loose locking mechanism on the door that covers my gas cap. I was hoping it was only something loose, and I looked and poked stuff testing to see if it anything was loose. Found out the door was loose when I pressed my hand over the cover while doing about 50mph. I was relieved because I didn't have to do any scooter surgery. The bad part was Suzuki wanted $85 for the locking mechanism. The good part was, with part in hand, Lowes had one that fit for only cost $8.

But looking at Vulcan pictures on Googlé, that's probably not your case, with the noise beginning very suddenly. If you're not 100% sure the noise is coming from the engine, poke around in the general vicinity looking for something loose.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highwaythunder View Post
I asked if doing that burnt out a huge amount of oil.
And just exactly how do you expect US to know that.......without even knowing if the oil level was LOW or not......FFS.

Unless you peg the engine at redline or over and let it sit like that for a long time with no load.......there should be nothing you can do to an engine to "make" it burn a huge amount of oil. Running is laying down,maybe.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #17
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It's looking to me like an experienced tech should be checking it out.
Such noises can often be pinpointed without even running the bike, but you have to know how to search.
Sometimes, rocking the crank to and fro will tell you what's going on.
Someone who is intimately familiar with the type of machine only needs to listen.
once and they can tell you with a degree of certainty what is wrong.

It's not likely to happen on an interwebz forum.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:37 PM   #18
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Ummmm. Might i suggest a cam chain tensioner.. Just sayin. Replace the one you have with an aftermarket one.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:14 AM   #19
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Why would you suggest replacing the chain tensioner?
Have you heard it run?
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:43 PM   #20
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I have not.. In my years of working on bikes i hear it all the time. "Ohhh man my bike is ticking brooo, i think i need a valve job, i think i need new cams, oh i think i need to check clearance, oh i need to rebuild the head..." Lets replace your tensioner and viola the noise goes away. And WE look like geniuses!!!! Give it a looksee
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:58 PM   #21
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On the bikes with cam chain tensioner problems I've worked on the noise sounded more like a "whir" or a "buzz," and sounded distinctly different from a bearing or crankshaft knock, or a valve tap or click. But like I said, the problem can't be diagnosed over the Internet.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HORNzcycles View Post
I have not.. In my years of working on bikes i hear it all the time. "Ohhh man my bike is ticking brooo, i think i need a valve job, i think i need new cams, oh i think i need to check clearance, oh i need to rebuild the head..." Lets replace your tensioner and viola the noise goes away. And WE look like geniuses!!!! Give it a looksee
By your logic, any time there is an abnormal sound emitting from a motorcycle engine, you should replace the cam chain tensioner.

That's the initial stage of a typical shotgun approach.
What's next?

Mufflers?
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:25 AM   #23
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What does he do if the bike doesn't have a cam chain tensioner?
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #24
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Just a thought.

If your cell phone can take videos, take a video (make sure the volumn is turned up). And then post it.

We may not be able to tell you for sure, but at the very least we would be hearing what you're hearing.

Ticking sound (i personally am not that worried.....however a Knocking sound would concern me) If it's a ticking sound that doesn't get louder when applying throttle, I personally would feel safe riding it to the shop.

Again...just a thought. And my two cents.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:28 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joemac View Post
That's the initial stage of a typical shotgun approach.
What's next?
What's next for me is to suggest that you stop being such an ass.

He said it is a possibility........and it IS.

How about contributing something useful instead of just picking fights ???
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:50 AM   #26
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I merely said it's a case of shotgun approach to a repair, which it is.
Never replace or adjust something in hopes that it fixes the problem.
That's not diagnostics, it's guesswork.

As to picking a fight; your calling me names seems to fit that more accurately than your accusation.

Oh, yeah-
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:28 PM   #27
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I suppose I could suggest replacing the exhaust gaskets, or the primary sprocket compensator, as both of those COULD be the problem.

But not having listened to the bike, and only having read a description of the noise on-line, that would be a foolish and overly broad approach, would it not?

And if joemac, or anybody, called "BS" on my foolish advice, that wouldn't be picking a fight. That would be GOOD advice for the OP.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:13 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highwaythunder View Post
bike is a 1992 kawasaki vulcan 1500. the oil level is halfway up on the sight glass tank thing. so i dont think thats a problem. and its more of a click. i would say its a knock
The good news first...

You're gonna have a heck of a tough time bending a push rod on an overhead cam engine - there are no push rods.

One thing that has cropped up with Vulcan 1500s is that the cam chain tensioners run out of adjustment or can just plain go bad.

I'm not positive and I can't seem to get on the Kawasak parts site, but I think the engine has hydraulic valve adjusters.

So you may have a valve adjuster issue.

The way to know if it is the tensioner or valve adjuster is to listen to where the ticking is coming from. If it is coming from the cam drive tower, that is play in the cam chain allowing it to rattle. Not an immediate critical issue, but potential for future issues like the cam chains wearing out prematurely, possible cam chain slider damage, and worst case scenario the cam chain jumping a tooth and possible valve/head damage. The latter would only happen after a long long time based on what I know about the cam drives, but it could happen. If the noise comes from the cam area it may be a collapsed valve adjuster if they used hydraulics on the bike.

I know a fair amount about the cam chain adjuster thing because I've developed a sideline business making manual cam chain tensioners when I had to make them for my own bike. To date I've been in touch with about a thousand riders and sold near as many kits - it grew as more found out about me. I also learned more as I communicated more.

Should you find the ticking is from the cam drive, I've actually sold a few manual cam chain tensioner kits to Vulcan owners to replace the failed OEM units. There is some kind of extender out there, but the thing is if the OEM unit quits working right, what's to stop it from screwing up again. The manual unit installation is non-invasive (no engine apart deal) and relatively easy for someone with minor but decent mechanical experience. It takes about an hour.

Key point, make sure where the noise is coming from. The rear cylinder cam drive is on the right side, the front cylinder I believe is on the right side. The rear cylinder cam chain tensioner is on the back right side of the cylinder making me assume the front cylinder tensioner will be on the back left side. It is the same tensioner design for all years of Vulcan 1500 engines from 87-08.

Feel free to PM me if you find that is the problem. I can help.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
On the bikes with cam chain tensioner problems I've worked on the noise sounded more like a "whir" or a "buzz," and sounded distinctly different from a bearing or crankshaft knock, or a valve tap or click. But like I said, the problem can't be diagnosed over the Internet.
That is the case with the in-line 4s. They tend to buzz. My ZR550 did like a hornets nest. This is because the cam chain drive runs all the cylinders and it sort of smooths out the cam speed variation, along with the higher operating rpm.

The big singles and probably the big twins will have a lot more of a rattle to them due to the single cam drive chain for the cylinder making for a larger amount of variation in cam drive pressure. Plus the slower engine speed allows for more time for movement. That was what I experienced with my KLX650 single, a lot of clatter, totally different than the Zephyr.

Essentially, to inform others, when the tensioners fail they are allowing the plunger to be pushed in and out instead of holding position, allowing the cam drive to rattle and the cam chain to flop around. This also will cause valve timing issues that can affect performance to an extent.

Before I knew about the problems I had two tensioner failures on my KLX, one at 5000 miles and another at around 14,000 miles. The second one caused starting problems "backfiring" out the exhaust. In the long run the manual tensioner took care of the problems after a rebuild to replace the ruined cam chains (should have gone manual when the first tensioner went bad, but no one told me about them). I've only done 4 adjustments in 30,000 miles, the first three were due to the new chains seating in (the KLX uses 2 chains), the fourth was probably about 11,000 miles ago. Less attention than valves require. Besides you can hear light ticking if it needs adjustment.

Cam chain tensioner issues are common on certain Kawasakis and other makes. Honda has problems with the VTR1000 Superhawk/Firestorm that are actually catastrophic when they fail. The Kawasaki KLX250 has problems as do a large number of the 4 cylinders. I just started with Yamaha WR250R/X and 600/1000 supersport tensioners. When I get calls I do what I can, usually being able to manufacture the part.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:23 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost Rider View Post
YOu have to ask US if it was low on oil ?? Seriously ???

You need an experienced shop or mechanic to have a look at it.
And, apparently, you need to check your oil more often.

I suggest you NOT run it until you figure out exactly what the problem IS; the next symptom might be a hole in the case.
Not sure why you'd say that. If you check, Kawasaki has two marks on that sighting window. One is the high level mark, oil above that is over full. The other is the low level mark, obviously below that is too low. In the middle is pretty much perfect. Besides, what I got from his comment wasn't if he actually was low on oil, but a question about if he starved the top end on oil, which I doubt he did.

Having two Kaws and worked in a shop that sold them along with other bikes that used a sighting window, I've had "a few days experience" with them as well as some of the characteristics of the bikes.

His oil level was good to go and I doubt he hurt the top end. With some diagnosis on where the sound is coming from, he will know what the problem is. I will say there is definitely the possibility that one of his tensioners may be bad. The old Vulcan 88 was known to be a good performer, actually a stronger runner than the later Classic. They were known as UBFs - Ugly But Fast.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:43 PM   #31
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Psst... Hey Mark, if and when you get a tensioner built for the CB360,let me know.... I could let you use my old beater for a test mule
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:29 PM   #32
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I'd have to get a look at one to see if I can do it. I know some of the Hondas had a sprocket set up on them for the roller chains.
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