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Thread: Timing chain rattle on start up

  1. #1

    Timing chain rattle on start up

    Hi gang.
    I have a 2013 f800gs. It has roughly 22k miles on it. I purchased it in September for a Colorado BDR trip next summer.
    I love the bike but have two abnormal noises.
    One is a rattle on startup. Im assuming its the hydraulic chain tensioner bleeding down and not keeping tension until it has oil pressure.
    The other noise is rattlish as well between 3500 and 5000 rpm. Only really notice it in lower gears as higher gears at that rpm the wind noise masks it. It is not the same rattle. Almost sounds like a metal clip that isnt tight vibrating.

    Is the chain tensioner worth replacing to the aftermarket ones that combat the pressure release?

    Anyone else experience a light metalic rattle on acceleration in those rpms?

    Thanks for any advice

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I get quite a clatter with my F800GS upon start up. Not so much if run daily. More so after sitting awhile.
    I don't know what it really means on the bike but not concerned.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  3. #3
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    For the rattle upon startup: "They all do that." You are correct, the hydraulic chain tensioner tends to bleed down when the bike has been sitting, even for a little while.

    After a lot of research, I've chosen to keep my original OEM chain tensioner for a couple reasons. The rattle, then subsequent quietness after a couple of seconds, tells you that the hydraulic chain tensioner is actually doing its job. There was no/little pressure, then there is now pressure. The aftermarket ones are only at the perfect tension after you adjust them, which is done by feel/noise, whereas the hydraulic tensioners should (in theory) be at the optimal tension once they build pressure. In my amateur mind, that means I should have less worry about improper tension, and possibly less wear on the chain/guides. I enjoy riding longer distances, so I don't want to be spending additional time messing with the chain tensioner in the middle and at end of the day. I'd make sure that you're using the proper oil (SAE 15W-50 API SJ/JASO MA2).

    The other rattle could be a number of things. Coming from a K and an R bike, these F's aren't nearly as smooth. I'd take a couple minutes and make sure that all of your frame bolts, bash plate bolts, etc. are at the proper torque, as there have been some reports of vibrations going away after everything is tightened up properly. Big beefy bash plates also reverberate a lot of noise back up to the rider. The valves aren't known to move much during the first ~40k miles, but you should have had a check done at 12k miles and would technically be due for another one soon (24k).
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

  4. #4
    The cam chain rattle is well documented and nothing to worry about, it's just part of the character of the bike. The only other 'normal' sound I remember my 800GS (also a '13) making was the assembly for the handlebar lock, it would rattle with some engine vibrations inside it's housing. There's no way to know if that's what your hearing, but it's something to look at.
    I bought the bike with 30k miles on it and sold it with almost 50k for $500 more thanks to some suspension work and other random farkles. The bikes hold value well if taken care of and tend to be built like tanks.
    Last edited by rcb78; 12-19-2020 at 04:00 AM.

  5. #5
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Annie's 2013 F800GS has rattled on start up for as long as I can remember.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    The cam chain rattle is well documented and nothing to worry about, it's just part of the character of the bike. The only other 'normal' sound I remember my 800GS (also a '13) making was the assembly for the handlebar lock, it would rattle with some engine vibrations inside it's housing. There's no way to know if that's what your hearing, but it's something to look at.
    I bought the bike with 30k miles on it and sold it with almost 50k for $500 more thanks to some suspension work and other random farkles. The bikes hold value well if take care of and tend to be built like tanks.
    I think you are on to something with that rattle idea. It sounds like it is coming from that area. Ill check it out when i get home tonight.
    I feel i got a pretty amazing deal on this one.
    It came with sw-motech crash bars, touratech skid plates, hand guards and luggage racks, did x-chain, and excel wheels with brand new tkc-80 tires. I added some touratech panniers and she is ready for adventure.

    Thanks for your help

  7. #7
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    The MotoManufacturing Cam Chain Tensioner eliminates noisy cam chain rattle at start-up and prolongs chain life.

    https://motomanufacturing.com/cam-chain-tensioner/
    The only dumb question is the unasked question!

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  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnsd View Post
    The MotoManufacturing Cam Chain Tensioner eliminates noisy cam chain rattle at start-up and prolongs chain life.

    https://motomanufacturing.com/cam-chain-tensioner/
    It's sold out.

    It seems to me I had a bike one time where I had to release a bolt and the adjustment adjusted itself using a spring? Once the mechanism moved, the bolt was tightened and I was good to go. I can't remember which bike it was.

    I'm not sure my old ears are trained enough to manually adjust one with the engine running

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  9. #9
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnsd View Post
    ...prolongs chain life.
    If consistently set correctly... and possibly at the expense of the cam guides? Hard to know because there are so many variables...
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
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  10. #10
    If people are not seeing wear issues ill leave it.
    I am a bmw/mini automotive tech and certain engines in both brands have had significant issues due to timing chain tensioners failing. The tensioner on this f800 is the same design, spring loaded hydraulic tensioner.
    Ill just run it i guess

  11. #11
    Caution: Everybody should be attentive to the clatter and most importantly the duration of the clatter upon startup. It is normal for it to make noise for no more than 2 or 3 seconds upon a startup. If the clatter persists much longer than this the tensioner is failing to extend as it is supposed to. The risk is not the noise. The risk is that the noise is caused by cam chain slap and that slap can break cam chain guides. They are neither fun nor cheap to replace.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  12. #12
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Caution: Everybody should be attentive to the clatter and most importantly the duration of the clatter upon startup. It is normal for it to make noise for no more than 2 or 3 seconds upon a startup. If the clatter persists much longer than this the tensioner is failing to extend as it is supposed to. The risk is not the noise. The risk is that the noise is caused by cam chain slap and that slap can break cam chain guides. They are neither fun nor cheap to replace.
    I think that is a good, prudent way of thinking about the noise
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  13. #13
    Are we there yet? tonyfr's Avatar
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    Different bike, but I have a K13GT that rattles during startup after sitting for a while. What I do is bump the starter a few times to rotate the chain. It stops the rattle on startup. Might help.
    2009 K1300 GT
    1984 Kawasaki ZX750-E1 Turbo
    2005 R1200 RT - gone

  14. #14
    Cam chain guides are not expensive (<$50 for all) and anecdotally can be replaced without much more labor than a valve clearance check, meaning you don't need to open up anything else besides the valve cover. Again, anecdotally speaking, but you'll hear valve chain noise when when the engine is hot before you should need to worry about the guides. The chain can be replaced with top end only work and that would be the time to replace guides.

  15. #15
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Itís a little over 9* and the bike hasnít run in a while. If I started it now there would be quite a rattle.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

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