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Anytime you're messing with valve timing and timing chains the steps after the timing parts are believed to be in proper alignment are always:
1. Rotate the engine at least 2 full revolutions by hand
1.a If any sort of 'extra' resistance is encounterd stop, go back and re-check timing
2. Recheck alignment marks
2.a if the makrs aren't aligned then go back and reset the timing again.

There are lots of tricks to make sure you don't have to go back and do the alignment again - making sure the chain is tight, zip ties, etc etc depending on the motor and how hard it is to get them aligned.
 

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thats whats throw me completely off, so engine is at timing mark. but the exhaust lobe isn't matching up perfectly. it looks like it's just 1 tooth out. BUT I marked the chains/sprockets, and it all matches up, so am not sure how it could be a tooth out.

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thats whats throw me completely off, so engine is at timing mark. but the exhaust lobe isn't matching up perfectly. it looks like it's just 1 tooth out. BUT I marked the chains/sprockets, and it all matches up, so am not sure how it could be a tooth out.
Yeah that looks off. You turned the engine a couple of revolutions and nothing hit? 'Just' 1 tooth off is about 21 degrees of crank rotation.
Can you post a side view pic of the cam sprockets and the top run of the chain showing them all in one shot? It's not mentioned in the service manual, but in practice there's a way to count the number of chain pins between the cam sprockets and it needs to be right.
 

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Yeah that looks off. You turned the engine a couple of revolutions and nothing hit? 'Just' 1 tooth off is about 21 degrees of crank rotation.
Can you post a side view pic of the cam sprockets and the top run of the chain showing them all in one shot? It's not mentioned in the service manual, but in practice there's a way to count the number of chain pins between the cam sprockets and it needs to be right.
Nothing hit indeed.

I did have to move chain on the bottom sprocket i think 1 tooth over to make everything fit the camchain/sprocket markings. so could that maybe have done it?

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after all this I think zip tying all 3 sprockets should be a mandatory step imo. woulda probably saved me this particular hassle.
 

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You need to make sure the chain has NO slack at all on the front side... I would say thats where your problem lays . There will be some pressure on the exhaust cam when trying to lay it back in place just keep messing with it and things will fall into place. Thats what I did because I had the same problem with mine and just messed with that exhaust cam and the slack up front and it finally fell all into place. Zip ties are a must here...
 

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You need to make sure the chain has NO slack at all on the front side... I would say thats where your problem lays . There will be some pressure on the exhaust cam when trying to lay it back in place just keep messing with it and things will fall into place. Thats what I did because I had the same problem with mine and just messed with that exhaust cam and the slack up front and it finally fell all into place.
yeah I remember reading one of your old posts. am hoping to do the same when the new shims turn up.
 

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I did have to move chain on the bottom sprocket i think 1 tooth over to make everything fit the camchain/sprocket markings. so could that maybe have done it?
Yeah, that would have messed it up.

You trying to line up everything according to your chain and sprocket marks, instead of going strictly by the punch marks on the cams and the index mark on the crank, is making it more difficult than it needs to be. Yeah, it worked for someone else here, but clearly it's not working for you lol.

You're going to have to remove the tensioner and reseat the cams. Make sure the crank index mark is correct, drop the exhaust cam in with the punch mark lined up to the cam cap as you're pulling up on the chain - it does need to be tight on that front run. Then drop in the intake cam with the punch mark lined up and get the chain on. There should be very little slack on the top run. Both cam marks should still be lined up (or very close), then zip tie the chain to both cams, then install cam caps. At some point when you're torquing the caps down the intake cam will try to pop.so make sure it doesn't.
After tensioner is installed, rotate a coupla revolutions and if all the marks line up you're golden.
 

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Yeah, that would have messed it up.

You trying to line up everything according to your chain and sprocket marks, instead of going strictly by the punch marks on the cams and the index mark on the crank, is making it more difficult than it needs to be. Yeah, it worked for someone else here, but clearly it's not working for you lol.

You're going to have to remove the tensioner and reseat the cams. Make sure the crank index mark is correct, drop the exhaust cam in with the punch mark lined up to the cam cap as you're pulling up on the chain - it does need to be tight on that front run. Then drop in the intake cam with the punch mark lined up and get the chain on. There should be very little slack on the top run. Both cam marks should still be lined up (or very close), then zip tie the chain to both cams, then install cam caps. At some point when you're torquing the caps down the intake cam will try to pop.so make sure it doesn't.
After tensioner is installed, rotate a coupla revolutions and if all the marks line up you're golden.
I've never got a straight answer to this question, does the chain placement matter at all? i know the belts on the ducati mattered because they we're effectively the timing marks.

but i take it in this case because a chain is pretty uniform compared to a belt it doesn't really matter?
 

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I've never got a straight answer to this question, does the chain placement matter at all? i know the belts on the ducati mattered because they we're effectively the timing marks.
No, chain placement doesn't matter, all of the links are the same. What matters is that when all the chain runs are tight, that all the timing marks are lined up correctly.
 

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No, chain placement doesn't matter, all of the links are the same. What matters is that when all the chain runs are tight, that all the timing marks are lined up correctly.
I thought as much.

just to learn a bit more.

lets assume I took the chain off entirely, and I went rotating the engine like a lunatic. but then finally I came to my sense, and put it back to the timing marker, put the chain back on, lined up the cams on the dots.

i take it everything will be fine? hmmm thinking about it, i don't think it would be fine because I assume the pistons must hit the valve at some point and force it out of time? or would it just be immovable and i'd need to go back to the timing mark?
 

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I thought as much.

just to learn a bit more.

lets assume I took the chain off entirely, and I went rotating the engine like a lunatic. but then finally I came to my sense, and put it back to the timing marker, put the chain back on, lined up the cams on the dots.

i take it everything will be fine? hmmm thinking about it, i don't think it would be fine because I assume the pistons must hit the valve at some point and force it out of time? or would it just be immovable and i'd need to go back to the timing mark?
You should be fine..Just realign everything
 

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lets assume I took the chain off entirely, and I went rotating the engine like a lunatic. but then finally I came to my sense, and put it back to the timing marker, put the chain back on, lined up the cams on the dots.

i take it everything will be fine? hmmm thinking about it, i don't think it would be fine because I assume the pistons must hit the valve at some point and force it out of time? or would it just be immovable and i'd need to go back to the timing mark?
In general, it's not a good idea to rotate the crank independently of the cams, but when you're doing this by hand you'd feel the crank stop hard if a piston touched open valves.
 

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I thought as much.

just to learn a bit more.

lets assume I took the chain off entirely, and I went rotating the engine like a lunatic. but then finally I came to my sense, and put it back to the timing marker, put the chain back on, lined up the cams on the dots.

i take it everything will be fine? hmmm thinking about it, i don't think it would be fine because I assume the pistons must hit the valve at some point and force it out of time? or would it just be immovable and i'd need to go back to the timing mark?
yes, you'd be fine so long as all the marks lined up.
Some chains will have a link or multiple links marked, but that usually has more to do with making sure you have all the 'slack' out on the tight side of the chain than it does with those links being 'special' somehow.

Its also important to note that cam chains will stretch and wear over time, just like your drive chain - it is possible for the marks to end up fractions of a tooth off when this happens, I doubt you've got this type of issue at 20k miles and if all the marks lined up when you took it apart they should all line up when you put it back together. Just keep trying and you'll get it eventually.
 
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