Motorcyclist has learned that Honda's '99 CBR600F4 may be subject to partial cam-bearing seizures due to improperly torqued camshaft caps—surprising news given Big Red's stellar reputation for reliability and quality control.
Motorcyclists' sister publication Motor Cycle News broke the story in its April 28th edition, reporting that an improperly torqued cam cover (a new, single-piece unit for '99) could be pushed sideways and lead to a pinched bearing on either the exhaust or inlet camshaft. According to MCN, a Honda U.K. rep said, "The bearing doesn't exactly lock solid; the engine just gets very noisy…"
American Honda admits it's seen about a half-dozen of these partial-seizures (out of 2500-3000 units sold), and that, according to PR Manager Pete terHorst, "it appears that none of them were racing, all of them were low-mileage, and our initial determination is that the camshaft holders may have been improperly torqued-down… The process for installing the camshaft holder is critical in terms of the torque sequence and the amount of lubrication that's used on the journals. If it's excessive it could actually cause a little bit of a problem."
The fix? Honda told us that the few U.S. customers who've experienced the problem have "gotten all-new parts… whatever they needed," and that dealers have been alerted to the proper torquing procedure. "We don't think it's a major issue." says terHorst.
We'll wait and see how it all plays out; in the meantime, F4 owners should check with their dealers for any updated information. –G.V.M.