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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might require a careful reading to digest. A quick summary: I shimmed the valves but installed cams with cylinder #2 90 degrees past TDC (there are two 2T marks and I had the wrong one. Long story.). Had valve to piston contact rotating the engine (no damage done though). Remedied the cam timing problem and reassembled properly. Afterwards, I encountered a hard lock rotating the engine past TDC on cylinder #2 and 180 degrees backwards from there. I assumed a valve had lost a keeper and was contacting a piston. The cylinder head was removed and no damage found. A low miles replacement head was installed. Cams not installed. Rotated engine while holding camchain. Hard lock problem still there ruling out valve to piston interference. Played around with shift lever and temporarily resolved the lock; could rotate the engine freely in both directions. Installed cams, camchain and tensioner as per service manual. Noted that the lock problem returned a second time. (hard lock when rotating engine; lock points are 180 degrees apart).

Conclusion - disregard "problem" and assume it's cause is the neutral finder. Install engine and resolve issue using the neutral light, clutch and shift lever. I invite anyone who has experienced this issue to opine on the matter. I'd like to resolve it with the engine on my workbench just to be sure. I spent 20 minutes working the shift lever last night and could not clear the lock. As I work the lever, sometimes the sprocket will move indicating the engine is in gear and sometimes not. Whether sprocket moves or not the hard lock is present.
 

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quick question is the crankshaft 180 degrees (like the EX) ie one piston up while the other is down or a 360 degree (both pistons up at same time.
 

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ok so you get a hard lock when either piston is at TDC or conversely BDC. it seems to me your issue is either top end timing or btm end restriction. anything else would not produce a 180 degree lock.
if the engine is on the bench I doubt the issue is the positive neutral finder as the gearbox is free to turn no matter what the gearbox is doing in gear or out, unless the issue is inside the box locking 2gears out of sync but unless it was two specific gears the lock would not be in the same place I think this idea is a red herring. you have something locking the crank either at the top end or the btm end. I would not proceed until you have this issue sorted. just imagine getting everything together engine in the bike start it up put it in gear then Bang, start all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok so you get a hard lock when either piston is at TDC or conversely BDC. it seems to me your issue is either top end timing or btm end restriction. anything else would not produce a 180 degree lock.
if the engine is on the bench I doubt the issue is the positive neutral finder as the gearbox is free to turn no matter what the gearbox is doing in gear or out, unless the issue is inside the box locking 2gears out of sync but unless it was two specific gears the lock would not be in the same place I think this idea is a red herring. you have something locking the crank either at the top end or the btm end. I would not proceed until you have this issue sorted. just imagine getting everything together engine in the bike start it up put it in gear then Bang, start all over again.
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm convinced it's the neutral finder. I take 10 - 20 times longer than a professional mechanic to work on my bikes and am celebrating my 50th year of wrenching (since '73 only one visit to a shop and that to replace the crank on my '72 Kawasaki 500 H1B at age 16). Nothing dropped down into the crankcase. Plus, I freed the lock once before working the shifter. Heard and felt a transmission click that sounded exactly like the static click you hear in a motorcycle transmission that's at rest. The lock cleared when the click happened.
 

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07 Ducati SS800 '95 Ducati 900SS/SP '19 Honda CBR650R
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I invite anyone ......to opine on the matter.
Suggest using white marking paint pen to further accentuate cam/chain timing/top end markings (PRIOR to head removal)....being done to your satisfaction to ease cam timing during reassembly. (I do basically the same while doing Ducati timing belts, where1 tooth off can do extensive damage, of course)

Common sense would then dictate head removal (sorry) get more hands/helper (if needed) to hold camchain while totally rotating crank 360 degrees, thus trying to duplicate lockup, further isolating issue to either top (head) or bottom (crank) end. Look very carefully at cam chain tensioner and cam chain, link by link.

If necessary, while head still off, assemble cams and check full rotation of each camshaft using whatever tools necessary.

Thats all I've got.

Edited to add: have the factory service manual on hand if messing with Kawasaki Neutral Finder.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Suggest using white marking paint pen to further accentuate cam/chain timing/top end markings (PRIOR to head removal)....being done to your satisfaction to ease cam timing during reassembly. (I do basically the same while doing Ducati timing belts, where1 tooth off can do extensive damage, of course)

Common sense would then dictate head removal (sorry) get more hands/helper (if needed) to hold camchain while totally rotating crank 360 degrees, thus trying to duplicate lockup, further isolating issue to either top (head) or bottom (crank) end. Look very carefully at cam chain tensioner and cam chain, link by link.

If necessary, while head still off, assemble cams and check full rotation of each camshaft using whatever tools necessary.

Thats all I've got.

Edited to add: have the factory service manual on hand if messing with Kawasaki Neutral Finder.
This 650R engine is amazingly easy to work on. It's sitting on a workbench. Cams are marked IN and EX and still have the factory white paint on notches. It's easy to verify TDC by cam markings and my screwdriver rising to a peak. The cam lobes are oriented same as pics in the service manual at TDC. No mistakes with cam installation. Engine rotates freely if you remove cams and maintain tension with your free hand on the camchain. Hard lock comes back when you install the cams whether tensioner is there or not. Biggest mystery I've encountered since wrenching began in '73. Only one trip to a dealer and that was in '74. I own 8 motorcycles if you count my '02 Ducati 900 Sport that wore out it's rings out and blows quantities of oil out the breather. I've shimmed numerous bikes including the Duc plus replaced it's cam belts. The vertical twin Kaw is the "easiest" of all.
 

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Okay, this may sound crazy but let's say it's got something to do with the neutral finder; assume it's a transmission problem. Split the cases and take a look at what the transmission is doing. If necessary, reassemble the engine without the transmission, then prove that the top end will not lock up when there is no transmission. If it gets that far, then it's back to looking at the transmission to determine how the neutral finder is causing engine lock. Crazy, eh?
 

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Engine rotates freely if you remove cams and maintain tension with your free hand on the camchain. Hard lock comes back when you install the cams whether tensioner is there or not.
one last try. with respect to you and using Vulcan logic (reference to star trek) if that is where the issue is this has to be the cause. something is assembled wrong, either in the cam location/orientation or the crank is set 180 degrees out and your using the wrong stroke/marks.
something somewhere is fundamentally amiss overlooked or misunderstood it's easy to do when you are sure it's right (but isn't) from the back of my head I can recall 3 occasions members had this issue while working on the EX.
1. had the crank out of stroke, he was timing it up using cyl #1 (left) instead of cyl #2 (right) so the crank was 180degrees out.
2. he mixed up the cams and fitted the inlet to the exhaust putting the cams 180 degrees out.
3. he mistook the engine rotation while timing the cams turning it anti clockwise instead of clockwise this in effect put the tight part of the chain at the front of the engine instead of the back of the engine so when the tensioner (at the front) was fitted it put the cam timing out 10 degrees, (just enough for the valves to contact the piston) and make it lock.
I believe you have made such an error but can't see it as you are now convinced everything is correct and are looking elsewhere for the problem perhaps at this point some photos may help members to spot something obvious that is wrong but for sure if it locks up with cams in but doesn't when their out that has to be the issue.

one last point thinking logically if @haybaler and you were correct and the problem was the gearbox why would the engine lock disappear when removing the cams frees it up when the gearbox has not be moved or been touched in between removing them. sounds like a red herring to me.
I'm convinced you somehow have the cams mis timed and cannot see it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
one last try. with respect to you and using Vulcan logic (reference to star trek) if that is where the issue is this has to be the cause. something is assembled wrong, either in the cam location/orientation or the crank is set 180 degrees out and your using the wrong stroke/marks.
something somewhere is fundamentally amiss overlooked or misunderstood it's easy to do when you are sure it's right (but isn't) from the back of my head I can recall 3 occasions members had this issue while working on the EX.
1. had the crank out of stroke, he was timing it up using cyl #1 (left) instead of cyl #2 (right) so the crank was 180degrees out.
2. he mixed up the cams and fitted the inlet to the exhaust putting the cams 180 degrees out.
3. he mistook the engine rotation while timing the cams turning it anti clockwise instead of clockwise this in effect put the tight part of the chain at the front of the engine instead of the back of the engine so when the tensioner (at the front) was fitted it put the cam timing out 10 degrees, (just enough for the valves to contact the piston) and make it lock.
I believe you have made such an error but can't see it as you are now convinced everything is correct and are looking elsewhere for the problem perhaps at this point some photos may help members to spot something obvious that is wrong but for sure if it locks up with cams in but doesn't when their out that has to be the issue.

one last point thinking logically if @haybaler and you were correct and the problem was the gearbox why would the engine lock disappear when removing the cams frees it up when the gearbox has not be moved or been touched in between removing them. sounds like a red herring to me.
I'm convinced you somehow have the cams mis timed and cannot see it.
Thanks for the very well thought out post. If and when this is resolved there'll be a post for the benefit of all

Responding to your points: 1) Haynes and Kawasaki both document cam installation when #2 is at TDC. That is verified by 2T aligning with a mark. Screwdriver rise in spark plug hole #2 easily confirms TDC. 2) Cams are marked IN and EX so cannot be mixed up 3) Rotation direction is clockwise as per the recommended procedure.

I did free the lock at one point by manipulating the gear shifter. My next step is to rig a clutch cable to the engine still sitting on my workbench and play around with clutch and shifter.
 

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The Factory Manual that I'm looking at shows 4 markings on the Rotor:

1|T that's 1 followed by a vertical line, followed by a "T"
2|T that's 2 followed by a vertical line, followed by a "T"

1
T that's 1 folowed by a horizontal line, followed by a "T"

2
T that's 2 followed by a horizontal line,folowed by a "T"

The ones with the vertical lines are TDC, used for adjusting valves.

The ones with the horizontal lines are 90 degrees away, used for cam timing.

Confused yet? Pictures to follow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Factory Manual that I'm looking at shows 4 markings on the Rotor:

1|T that's 1 followed by a vertical line, followed by a "T"
2|T that's 2 followed by a vertical line, followed by a "T"

1
T that's 1 folowed by a horizontal line, followed by a "T"

2
T that's 2 followed by a horizontal line,folowed by a "T"

The ones with the vertical lines are TDC, used for adjusting valves.

The ones with the horizontal lines are 90 degrees away, used for cam timing.

Confused yet? Pictures to follow...
You have solved the problem!! When the 2 is vertical that marks TDC. 90 degrees away and when the sideways 2 is at the mark you orient the cams. My cams are 90 degrees out. If you're ever in Maryland look me up because you're owed a cold one.
 

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Thank @yorkie as well, he refused to follow the red herring...and @ducatiman for noting the importance of pre-teardown inspection and marking, saves a lot of headaches.

So the 650 motor does not assemble at TDC, curious?
Maybe at TDC one of the cam lobes was too direct and there was concern by designers that there would be problems bolting down the cam holders, that's my guess.

Anyway, glad to get it sorted, cheers!
 

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thanks @haybaler for the moral support, despite having 20 or so manuals in the garage I never had the 650 so had no way to reference the installation of the cams sounds obvious really when you look at the manual page, good job mate.

@TMF I just knew the cams were out of time, call it gut instinct if you will and the gearbox/neutral finder wasn't the issue, also noted is the reference to keep the timing chain tight between the crank sprocket and the cam sprocket when fitting (on the EX it's opposite) inlet side, this is important to note.
glad it seems you have the answer now and rebuilding the rest goes without a hitch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thanks @haybaler for the moral support, despite having 20 or so manuals in the garage I never had the 650 so had no way to reference the installation of the cams sounds obvious really when you look at the manual page, good job mate.

@TMF I just knew the cams were out of time, call it gut instinct if you will and the gearbox/neutral finder wasn't the issue, also noted is the reference to keep the timing chain tight between the crank sprocket and the cam sprocket when fitting (on the EX it's opposite) inlet side, this is important to note.
glad it seems you have the answer now and rebuilding the rest goes without a hitch.
Your gut was right. I'm in the habit of rapidly scanning technical material for my job. That habit caused me to miss the step of rotating away from TDC when reinstalling cams.

If you ever get a chance to ride a 650R it'll make you forget the 500. I had a perfect EX that became expendable when I acquired a Triumph TT600 that was miles ahead in handling and power. The nimble handling, comfort, torque and linear throttle response of the 650R put in on par with the TT600 even though it gives away 30+ horsepower.
 

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If you ever get a chance to ride a 650R it'll make you forget the 500.
TMF my friend if you only knew, in my 60+ years riding motorcycles I have owned and ridden bikes that would make the 650R feel like a scooter, bikes from the FJ1200 to the KR1s, I own the 500 now as it was the first bike that came up while looking for a post retirement project, it's simple easy to work on and for a gentleman of my age light enough to throw around when and if I feel like it.
TBH these days I enjoy working on the bike just as much as riding it, which is why I built a 2nd one from scratch completely out of spare parts, I call it my project bike (or gen2) build it ride it a bit then tear it down change/modify it re build it ride it ECT, you get the idea it keeps me fit and on the ball mental wise.
 
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