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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

I had an engine rattle at about 14,000 miles, seemed to happen all the time. The shop told me, "Those bikes are just noisy." I didn't believe him because I knew what my bike was supposed to sound like.

Suspecting the valve clearance, I muddled my way through a clearance adjustment for the first time. The exhaust valves were completely closed with no clearance. Put them back at the higher end of spec. Seemed to work OK. Now the engine sounds much better, but there's still a rattle at low speeds/low gears.

Since this did improve it, is it safe to assume that's what it is/was? What else could it be, since the valves are all now within spec? One strange thing was it was very hard to find TDC on the left side piston, since the marks on the flywheel did not line up with the way the cams were supposed to point. I had my gf hold the crank at "F" since I had calculated it was exactly opposite of "C" (it would slip and turn if not held there). If you don't know what I'm talking about, I can explain more, but most who've done this will know.

Thanks for any tips or advice or ideas on how to move forward.
 

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Something else to look at are the cam chain tensioners. The chains tend to rattle when they stretch out. The VN750 I had to have manual tensioners installed. Much better than the automatic ones Kaw provided. Uncertain if they make a manual tensioner for the 500 or not.
 

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Hey folks,

I had an engine rattle at about 14,000 miles, seemed to happen all the time. The shop told me, "Those bikes are just noisy." I didn't believe him because I knew what my bike was supposed to sound like.

Suspecting the valve clearance, I muddled my way through a clearance adjustment for the first time. The exhaust valves were completely closed with no clearance. Put them back at the higher end of spec. Seemed to work OK. Now the engine sounds much better, but there's still a rattle at low speeds/low gears.

Since this did improve it, is it safe to assume that's what it is/was? What else could it be, since the valves are all now within spec? One strange thing was it was very hard to find TDC on the left side piston, since the marks on the flywheel did not line up with the way the cams were supposed to point. I had my gf hold the crank at "F" since I had calculated it was exactly opposite of "C" (it would slip and turn if not held there). If you don't know what I'm talking about, I can explain more, but most who've done this will know.

Thanks for any tips or advice or ideas on how to move forward.
Adjusting the valves can make it sound quieter, as far as mechanical engine noise.

At the "C" mark, the intake and exhaust lines on the cams should be horizontal and line up, if not, you need to rotate 360 degrees. The lobes on the #2 cylinder should be pointing up.

For the #1 cylinder, if I'm not mistaken, you need to use the "T" mark. If in the right place there should be a circle on the rear cam at the "9 o clock" position, no mark on front cam. The lobes should be pointed upward.
 

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Something else to look at are the cam chain tensioners. The chains tend to rattle when they stretch out. The VN750 I had to have manual tensioners installed. Much better than the automatic ones Kaw provided. Uncertain if they make a manual tensioner for the 500 or not.
The manual tensioner from the 454 can be used but always used the auto one from the 500 because we found it to be a better design.
 

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I've got the same bike. Check the inside of your exhaust headers for cracks, check right side first - that's where my rattle came from. It sounded like valves or tension but there was a clearly visible crack and the rattle disappeared after tack-welding.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Adjusting the valves can make it sound quieter, as far as mechanical engine noise.

At the "C" mark, the intake and exhaust lines on the cams should be horizontal and line up, if not, you need to rotate 360 degrees. The lobes on the #2 cylinder should be pointing up.

For the #1 cylinder, if I'm not mistaken, you need to use the "T" mark. If in the right place there should be a circle on the rear cam at the "9 o clock" position, no mark on front cam. The lobes should be pointed upward.
On my bike, "T" and "F" are within a few cm of each other, and the flywheel could not be held at the "T" setting. It would slip one way or the other. Also, the little circle on the cam was not at precisely 9 o'clock unless I held it at "F." The lobes were pointing up. I had read elsewhere to use "T" but I figured either my flywheel is slightly out of alignment, or it wouldn't make a big difference, or maybe there's something slightly different in the way my 500 was put together...
 

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On my bike, "T" and "F" are within a few cm of each other, and the flywheel could not be held at the "T" setting. It would slip one way or the other. Also, the little circle on the cam was not at precisely 9 o'clock unless I held it at "F." The lobes were pointing up. I had read elsewhere to use "T" but I figured either my flywheel is slightly out of alignment, or it wouldn't make a big difference, or maybe there's something slightly different in the way my 500 was put together...
I had trouble keeping it precisely at "t" as well, but a little messing around with a heavy ratchet kept it from rolling over. I think the most important part is that the lobe is facing up and not putting any pressure on the valves. I adjusted and checked mine several times.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've got the same bike. Check the inside of your exhaust headers for cracks, check right side first - that's where my rattle came from. It sounded like valves or tension but there was a clearly visible crack and the rattle disappeared after tack-welding.
I am not very familiar with how to check that. Can you tell me more?
 

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I've got the same bike. Check the inside of your exhaust headers for cracks, check right side first - that's where my rattle came from. It sounded like valves or tension but there was a clearly visible crack and the rattle disappeared after tack-welding.
I am not very familiar with how to check that. Can you tell me more?
you'd have to remove the headers and look inside. If you do that, make sure you replace the crush washers.
 

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I had trouble keeping it precisely at "t" as well, but a little messing around with a heavy ratchet kept it from rolling over. I think the most important part is that the lobe is facing up and not putting any pressure on the valves. I adjusted and checked mine several times.
I pay no attention to the marks......As long as the lobes are facing up (180 away from valve stem you can adjust.
 

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So I checked the right side header pipe after doing some more reading and hearing this was a common problem. I also did the "stethoscope" check with a long screwdriver to identify the location of the rattle. Yup -- a big crack right at the bend on the cylinder head end.

I'm now considering dropping $200 to get a new OEM pipe. I read all kinds of quasi-fixes that don't seem to last that long, and I hate this freakin' rattle. I don't know how to tack-weld or have the equipment...

I will get a new crush gasket. However, since I would be replacing with OEM, would I need to re-jet the carb or anything weird like that?

P.S. sidenote -- does this site run incredibly slow for anyone else because of all the ads?
 

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So I checked the right side header pipe after doing some more reading and hearing this was a common problem. I also did the "stethoscope" check with a long screwdriver to identify the location of the rattle. Yup -- a big crack right at the bend on the cylinder head end.

I'm now considering dropping $200 to get a new OEM pipe. I read all kinds of quasi-fixes that don't seem to last that long, and I hate this freakin' rattle. I don't know how to tack-weld or have the equipment...

I will get a new crush gasket. However, since I would be replacing with OEM, would I need to re-jet the carb or anything weird like that?

P.S. sidenote -- does this site run incredibly slow for anyone else because of all the ads?
Nope......On both counts. :)
 

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Lindog,

Other than the assault on the ears the rattle does not affect the performance or reliability of the bike. I ran one set of rattling header pipes for over 90,000 miles before eventually replacing them. Mack's silicone earplugs helped a lot. :)
 
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