Damaged Cam Cap - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Damaged Cam Cap

Cut to chase version:

Can the cam caps be purchased individually, or does Kawasaki make you buy a whole new head if they are damaged?


Full Detail version:

I've been working on doing the first valve check/adjust on my 2009 Versys, and thought everything was going reasonably well, until the final torquing of the cam cap bolts. The two main cam caps went fine, but there was a snapping sound during the process of snugging the bolts on the end cap, the one by the cam gears.

I thought I'd maybe snapped a bolt, or pulled threads out of the aluminum head, but it turned out to be a crack in the cap. There's also some indication that the cap might have been just a hair out of alignment with the cam, Though how that could be possible with dowel pins to locate it, is kind of baffling to me.

At any rate, the cam cap is now damaged. The crack is in the area that would house the circumferential ridges that the service manual refers to as "thrust blocks", on Page 5-24. Does anyone know if this cam cap is available separately from Kawasaki? I'll start calling dealerships on Monday, but I have a sinking feeling that this part might not be available without buying the whole head assembly. And that's not a thrifty option.

Another possibility might be to have an experienced machine shop try to repair the crack. There's a high tech welding shop in town that specializes in joining more exotic alloys, and work that's more difficult and intricate. But, I'd prefer to just get a new cam cap, provided I don't have to buy a whole head assembly to get it.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:02 AM
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There is a seller on ebay parting out a low mileage 09 Versys, "jyardog". I bought a stator from him and it was clean.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KAWASAKI-KLE...5443ad&vxp=mtr

Maybe if you msg him the cam cap is available. Shot in the dark but who knows.

On a side note, I recently imported from the US into Mexico my Versys. When I went to get my Jalisco plates, the traffic office typed in on my registration papers "Vertsys".
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 09:34 AM
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Much thanks to both kiko and invader. I did a quick ebay search last night, and missed these possibilities somehow. I sent an inquiry to jyardog about the possible availability of the caps that went along with the cams listed for sale.

And I bought the other item from losangelesmotorcyclesalvage outright. It shows some wear, but buying a new head would cost over twenty times as much, so it's worth a roll of the dice at $50.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 10:26 AM
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Cam caps are not interchangeable.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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One further development. According to jyardog, the cam caps can't be sold separately from the head, because they are "line bored". That means that they are matched. Grafting on a cam cap from another head is apparently a recipe for premature failure.

p.s. Didn't see the waltermitty reply before posting.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 12:49 PM
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In many situations, helicoils are effective for damaged threads. Your threads sound like they are ok, and damage seems to be within the cap itself.

You mentioned a crack...it may be worth your time/effort to let a machine shop assess it (if you are not comfortable in assessing/repairing). The crack is concerning- I'd be leary of welding, for concern that the heat may warp the cap. Machine Shop would be a good place to start.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertsys View Post
Cut to chase version:

Can the cam caps be purchased individually, or does Kawasaki make you buy a whole new head if they are damaged?


Full Detail version:

I've been working on doing the first valve check/adjust on my 2009 Versys, and thought everything was going reasonably well, until the final torquing of the cam cap bolts. The two main cam caps went fine, but there was a snapping sound during the process of snugging the bolts on the end cap, the one by the cam gears.

I thought I'd maybe snapped a bolt, or pulled threads out of the aluminum head, but it turned out to be a crack in the cap. There's also some indication that the cap might have been just a hair out of alignment with the cam, Though how that could be possible with dowel pins to locate it, is kind of baffling to me.

At any rate, the cam cap is now damaged. The crack is in the area that would house the circumferential ridges that the service manual refers to as "thrust blocks", on Page 5-24. Does anyone know if this cam cap is available separately from Kawasaki? I'll start calling dealerships on Monday, but I have a sinking feeling that this part might not be available without buying the whole head assembly. And that's not a thrifty option.

Another possibility might be to have an experienced machine shop try to repair the crack. There's a high tech welding shop in town that specializes in joining more exotic alloys, and work that's more difficult and intricate. But, I'd prefer to just get a new cam cap, provided I don't have to buy a whole head assembly to get it.

Last edited by bwwoodard; 08-03-2014 at 01:41 PM.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 01:19 PM
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Fab up a short piece of flat aluminium to match the top of the cap. There is a bit of room before you get to the cam cover. Use a slightly longer bolt and torque to spec.

You said it was the cap closest to the cam chain so the chain will be holding down the camshaft anyway. Those caps are not torqued very high.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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The crack is in the area where one of the thrust blocks will ride (see original post), so a helicoil won't help. It's not a pulled thread, it's a crack in the casting.

The part of the cap where the cam journals would make contact is fine, though. Which also make me wonder how critical this part of the cap really is. And, whether removing the damaged section and cleaning it up would solve the issue, or be disasterously foolish.

I do have concerns about whether the heat of welding will effectively destroy the thing. Unless the person doing the welding has some clever heat sinking widgets to work with to localize the thermal energy.

Here's a photo, so you can see what I'm talking about.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:05 PM
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As the saying goes....a picture is worth 1,000 words--thanks. The "broken area" appears to have been there to help provide stability and additional surface area for attachment to the head.

I believe there's greater risk for damage in welding it, rather than removing it ... as you considered.


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Originally Posted by Vertsys View Post
The crack is in the area where one of the thrust blocks will ride (see original post), so a helicoil won't help. It's not a pulled thread, it's a crack in the casting.

The part of the cap where the cam journals would make contact is fine, though. Which also make me wonder how critical this part of the cap really is. And, whether removing the damaged section and cleaning it up would solve the issue, or be disasterously foolish.

I do have concerns about whether the heat of welding will effectively destroy the thing. Unless the person doing the welding has some clever heat sinking widgets to work with to localize the thermal energy.

Here's a photo, so you can see what I'm talking about.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:32 PM
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From your picture it looks like that piece is dong very little. I would feel comfortable removing, cleaning up the area and re-installing. But that's me. Check out the price of a new one if it gives you peace of mind.

I wouldn't weld it though. All you need is for something to come loose and fall into the engine.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

IBA# 38547
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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"Check out the price of a new one if it gives you peace of mind."

There's the rub. It's not possible to buy a new one from Kawasaki. If it were, I'd do it in a heartbeat and chalk it up to experience. But the fact that the cam caps are matched to each individual head, from all the evidence I'm able to dig up, means that if you break one of these things, the only replacement option is to replace the entire head assembly. That's four figures, in the cost department. If I pay a dealership for the new head, and installation, it's going to be $1500 at a minimum, and could go up to $2000.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 04:04 PM
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jbweld?
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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'The "broken area" appears to have been there to help provide stability and additional surface area for attachment to the head. '

There are ridges on the camshafts, called thrust blocks in the service manual. The cracked area is there for the thrust block to spin in. What I don't know for certain, is the purpose of the thrust block on each cam. Is it to locate the cam and keep it from moving back and forth?

It's hard to believe that there's regular contact between the steel of the cam's thrust block, and the aluminum of the cam cap, because that would cause rapid wear on the aluminum, unless it's the oil film that provides enough protection to prevent actual metal to metal contact.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 04:46 PM
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From what I can tell those 'thrust blocks' just keep the camshaft from migrating during use. The cam is suspended in oil at speed so it might move a little causing issues. There should be no actual contact with the bearings except at start up.

If the other side is fine, the broken cap still holds the cam down and the channel of the head itself holding the bottom of the cam from moving left to right I don't see a problem with just using the cap as is. That is after a clean up to make sure nothing else falls off the cap metal wise.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 09:09 PM
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Weld?

My dad had a bmw head that cracked on him welded once. It lasted the life of the car.

Cheers!


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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 12:16 AM
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Here's the view from underneath. It's open up to the top square opening. Oil is fed on the other side in the solid bearing groove.

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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I had already paid for the item pictured, then had misgivings about it and sent the seller a message indicating that maybe I didn't want it after all. But, I've decided to get it anyway. I'll see how it fits, and plastigage it. If I get lucky, and the clearance is acceptable, I'll run it and see what happens, I guess. If it's too far out of spec, it might be possible to address, too, depending on which direction.

This might all end in disaster for the head, but then I've really got nothing to lose. If it works, the info in this thread might be of use to someone in the future.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 12:39 PM
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This is scary. When you say you were torquing the bolts, I understand that to mean that you were responsibly using a torque wrench and doing the job the right way. Is that correct? If so, this is chilling.

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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I used a torque wrench. At least, for the first eight bolts. The four on the end cap are trickier. Clearance is not the best. I used the torque wrench where I could, and kind resorted to doing it by feel where I couldn't.

What caused the problem wasn't over torquing, though. I'm pretty sure the intake cam was not aligned exactly, and the edge of the portion of the cap that fits over the thrust block came to rest on the thrust block itself. When the bolts started to draw the mating surfaces together, that obstruction became an issue.
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