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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Smack in the middle of Illinois
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You can buy a manual tensioner or (if you are handy) modify the stock tensioner into a manual one.
Take a stock tensioner, remove all the parts, drill it out and thread it to 8x1.25mm - find a fully threaded bolt of adequate length (or get a piece of 8x1.25 threaded rod) and a 8x1.25mm nut - you might weld a wing nut or hex nut on the end of the threaded rod, but you should not tighten the tensioner more than finger tight (I just use a piece of threaded rod with a hacksaw cut slot in the end so I can use a screwdriver to speedily back off the tensioner when necessary, but this is just for the cheapskates that refuse to install a new cam chain and don't care if it might cause damage cause they are only going to ride it the rest of the season and sell it. "Then it will be somebody else's problem!"
Now I hate to burst your bubble, but when the cam chain is worn to the point the tensioner will not take up the slack, just installing a manual tensioner will not always stop the ticking or keep the chain from jumping time - when the chain is worn past the point the automatic tensioner can take up the slack, the chain no longer fits the sprockets properly. The noise you hear may be the ill fitting chain trying to climb the teeth on the sprocket and then snapping back to the bottom of the teeth as the chain gets tight from the climbing action. If you over tighten the chain, the chain will wear faster and may jump time even though it's tight. Try it and good luck.
I just put in a new chain when it's needed and stay with the auto tensioner, but that's me - I spent $4000 to get the machine - a couple hundred every 3 or 4 years is just maintenance and insurance it's not going to leave me stranded somewhere that I don't want to be stranded.