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Discussion Starter #1
The last few rides, today especially, I have gotten a strange metal rattling/scratching noise in relation to my RPMs. It doesn't sound horrible but it has recently cropped up and does sound potentially damaging. It usually doesn't occur right when I start the bike, and today after 15 minutes it started making the noise and it was loud enough that I could just barely hear it at 50mph with my ear plugs in and a helmet on. I'm not 100% sure it is from the engine but I don't know where else it could be from and it is definitely that area.

Any ideas what it could be? I haven't changed oil in 6 months or so and 1000 miles but it doesn't look low, although it is pretty black.
 

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Yes it varies with RPM, when I speed up and then shift up it gets louder and then quieter accordingly.
Before you spend too much money or time, start with an oil change and valve adjustment. Especially if the noise came on progressively. If you have a pre-2001 bike, adjust your cam chain tensioner as well. Once you the bike is running as it should, then start to tackle issues. I'm betting your valves need adjusting because mine makes a similar rattling noise when it gets in neglect ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Before you spend too much money or time, start with an oil change and valve adjustment. Especially if the noise came on progressively. If you have a pre-2001 bike, adjust your cam chain tensioner as well. Once you the bike is running as it should, then start to tackle issues. I'm betting your valves need adjusting because mine makes a similar rattling noise when it gets in neglect ;)
Alrighty I'll go for those steps, I'm sure I can handle the oil change but do you have any guide you can point me to or advice for the valve adjustment?
 

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cam chain tensioner
 

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Mine is a old 87 with the manual adjusted cam chain. I can't remember what year they went to the automatic adjusting one, I don't have any info on the newer style, but I think you adjust it at TDC on the compression stroke and just loosten the lock nut and it self adjusts and springs into the right position, then tighten up the lock nut again, done deal.

Anyone verify this please.
 

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Mine is a old 87 with the manual adjusted cam chain. I can't remember what year they went to the automatic adjusting one, I don't have any info on the newer style, but I think you adjust it at TDC on the compression stroke and just loosten the lock nut and it self adjusts and springs into the right position, then tighten up the lock nut again, done deal.

Anyone verify this please.
What you described is the manual cam chain tensioner. The 2001+ bikes require no servicing and no adjustment. They can fail though. It's SUPER unlikely, but you can check it easily. Just download the service manual supplement (for newer bikes) and look up the cam chain tensioner removal.


maddogj gave the correct link for valve adjustment! It's not as bad as you think, just take your time and you''l have NO trouble!
 

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before you go pulling out the old toolbox, I'd ask you if you can get it to make 'the noise' while the bike is stationary? From idle, slowly raise the RPMs from idle. If you can find that it will make the noise, start by putting a gloved-hand on various parts of the bike. The gloved-hand will protect you from hot parts, as well as remove any vibrations that may cause harmonic noises.

I had a 'noise' that I chased for a couple of months last year. Came to find it was a stone, thrown up and wedged itself into the battery box area.

noises only at speed, are usually vibration related.
 

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In the same line of thinking as tinman tim, check for loose motor mount bolts and stones on top of the engine. I had a loose motor mount bolt on top and the noise drove me crazy. It was RPM sensitive as well. More rpm's the more noise.

Just a thought.
 

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I've also found stones beside and behind the starter motor....needed some compressed air and a piece of wire to get them out, but I never heard them rattle.....just another thought.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
before you go pulling out the old toolbox, I'd ask you if you can get it to make 'the noise' while the bike is stationary? From idle, slowly raise the RPMs from idle. If you can find that it will make the noise, start by putting a gloved-hand on various parts of the bike. The gloved-hand will protect you from hot parts, as well as remove any vibrations that may cause harmonic noises.

I had a 'noise' that I chased for a couple of months last year. Came to find it was a stone, thrown up and wedged itself into the battery box area.

noises only at speed, are usually vibration related.
I can get the same noise while the bike is stationary. I'll follow that advice and see if I can pin down more precisely where the noise is coming from.
 

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Have you recently put on an aftermarket skidplate? After adding my skidplate, a lot more sound was directed upward. I also agree about checking the valves. I can still hear mine even after an adjustment, but it does get quieter. These air cooled engines tend to run a little noisy. Wishing you the best of luck in finding the cause of the rattling.
 

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I would highly recommend that if you do the valves ensure the jam nuts get properly torqued and I'd even put some locktite on it.
Numerous people, myself included, have had the jam nuts back off and cause a lot of damage to the head. Cost me $600 to get mine fixed. YMMV
 
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