Yamaha stepped up their performance game in 2014, unveiling an all new SVHO (Super Vortec High Output) engine capable of producing roughly 265-horsepower. While the SVHO engine brought huge performance gains to the Yamaha performance models, it has had its problems as well. Recently, there have been several reports of broken timing chains in SVHO models, which can lead to other internal engine parts being damaged. Yamaha did address the issue on the 2016 models, but it is too early to tell if the changes completely eliminated the problem.
There are many theories as to why the timing chains break on some SVHOs, but APE believes the problem lies in the automatic cam chain tensioners that come equipped on them. The OEM tensioner can allow the chain to loosen up, then suddenly tighten, causing it to break. This simply can’t happen when a manual tensioner is used. APE recently released their Pro Series manual cam chain tensioner for Yamaha 1.8 liter engines to hopefully put an end to this issue.
While auto tensioners can make service of the vehicle easier, they do not give the precise cam chain control needed for performance applications. Starting about a decade ago, some OEM auto tensioners began to prove themselves problematic. APE Pro Series manual tensioners have been used to remedy the problems created by automatic tensioners for years.
The motorcycle guys have been using these for a while now. In fact, the manual cam chain tensioner for the Yamaha R1 is one of APE’s best selling products. And though it is too early to say for sure whether a manual tensioner is the answer for the Yamaha Wave Runners, it is certainly not going to contribute to the issue.
Installation of the APE Pro Series manual tensioner is fairly straight forward. Since the APE tensioner is a direct replacement for the OEM auto tensioner, you just bolt the APE tensioner in place of the OEM. Then, screw the center shaft in until desired cam chain tension is achieved and the jam nut is locked. The manual tensioner will keep the timing chain in adjustment, giving you peace of mind when out on the water as well as more consistent performance, since the chain isn’t moving around.