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  1. #1
    Road Warrior Bagger's Avatar

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    Cam Chain Tensioners Twin Cam

    If you own a twin cam Harley older than an 06 Dyna, 07 for all others you may want to question why Harley recommends inspecting these tensioners at 20k.Here is some good info posted by "clutchglass" and "Doc" on cam chain tensioners.

    By "clutchglass"
    "The problem years were through 2003 or 2004. The 1st year/models to get the newer tensioner (as well as the self adjusting primary chain tensioner) were the 2006 Dyna models. In 2007 all the other models got them. Below is an explanation of what caused the cam chain tensioner issues (It was actually the cam chains at fault...not the tensioners), and one approach to fixing the issue. It's also something I'd advise everyone changing cam chain tensioners to think about.
    -clutch-

    "...The stock cam chain tensioner is actually a good design. For several years harley couldn't figure out what the problem was. There didn't appear to be a pattern when it came to failures...some failed with less than 20K on them...others failed in the 40k - 50k range...and most never had any issues.
    As it turned out, the die they were using to stamp the cam chain link sides would begin to dull, and leave a small burr on the edge of the chain right where it would contact the plastic tensioners after assembly. This (depending on the size of burr, and number of burred link edges) would cause premature tensioner shoe failure. The fix was simply to change the chain link stamping die at regular intervals...before they became dull.
    -clutch-"
    It's a good idea when changing the tensioners to closely inspect the chains for any burs. Remove burs with a jewler's rouge wheel, and clean well in a parts cleaner to remove any abrasive rouge prior to reassembly.
    Click here to enlarge

    By "Doc"
    "BTW this is what my cam chain tensioner (the worst one) looked like: Scary chit!!

    Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge
    08 streetglide, 96 springer softail

  2. #2
    I built this City RichardS's Avatar

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    GREAT thread!
    As many of you know, my main ride is my '03 Ultra, which because I have so many "second rides" coming and going from my garage has not accumulated many miles in the last couple years.

    I had the inspection done at the time of my big "Winter Project" a couple years ago, at around 18K, and I was told they looked fine, no signs of stress whatsoever.

    I still haven't hit 20K, but after reading some of the horror stories about spontaneous failure and resulting carnage, I am seriously considering the roller chain conversion before this riding season.

    Thoughts?
    Click here to enlarge
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  3. #3
    Moderator dawg's Avatar

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by RichardS Click here to enlarge

    I still haven't hit 20K, but after reading some of the horror stories about spontaneous failure and resulting carnage, I am seriously considering the roller chain conversion before this riding season.

    Thoughts?
    If ya got the cash and are worried I would put the hydraulic kit in. I would also go with the SE inner cam bearings (Torrington B148's). I'd also suggest pulling the tank and going through the rockers. That way you can freshen things up as you go. You could drill the rocker supports with a #43 bit for better oil return and use the newer style breather baffles. I would also suggest installing a Herko quick connect in the fuel line crossover to make future pulls easier.
    Click here to enlarge I blame soos Click here to enlarge

  4. #4
    Road Warrior Bagger's Avatar

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by RichardS Click here to enlarge
    I had the inspection done at the time of my big "Winter Project" a couple years ago, at around 18K, and I was told they looked fine, no signs of stress whatsoever.

    I still haven't hit 20K, but after reading some of the horror stories about spontaneous failure and resulting carnage, I am seriously considering the roller chain conversion before this riding season.

    Thoughts?
    Dawg seems to have you on the right track.Here's an interesting conversion I stumbled across.
    http://www.bikernet.com/pages/story_detail.aspx?id=8690
    Click here to enlarge
    08 streetglide, 96 springer softail

  5. #5
    I built this City RichardS's Avatar

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dawg Click here to enlarge
    If ya got the cash and are worried I would put the hydraulic kit in. I would also go with the SE inner cam bearings (Torrington B148's). I'd also suggest pulling the tank and going through the rockers. That way you can freshen things up as you go. You could drill the rocker supports with a #43 bit for better oil return and use the newer style breather baffles. I would also suggest installing a Herko quick connect in the fuel line crossover to make future pulls easier.
    dawg, great suggestions. I have some real concerns about a cataclysmic failure with with this scoot because it is my "keeper". I buried myself alive in it with accessories and can't live with giving it away in a trade or even selling it, since the market is so bad now I'd be losing my shirt even if I sell it on my own. As much as I'd like to step up my game to a new bike with the bigger displacement and 6-speed, financial realities dictate otherwise.

    So it makes way more sense to take your suggestions, spend the money to improve what I have and insure it's mechanical health, since I'll be riding this bike a long time.

    I appreciate the specificity, by the way, about what to have done. I'm not going to BS you. I'm not capable of doing the work, even though I own the tools. But knowing precisely what the best course of action is from a rider with your level of experience will put me at a great advantage at the dealer, so I can't get snowed.

    Up until last summer I had a dealer I had been loyal to for almost 25 years, and I trusted the Service Manager, who treated me with respect and always called me in to look at what he was doing while the bike was torn down before trying to extract more $$$ from my wallet. Beyond that when I did my homework (the few times I had nagging doubts) by calling around for second opinions and prices he was always competitive, so I wasn't getting taken advantage of by my trust either.

    But unfortunately that dealer was shuttered by The MoCo (along with a lot of others, I know), and now 25 years of loyalty is down the tubes and I'm starting over, and already having misgivings about the new dealer I'm trying, who seems to have an attitude because geographically I could have just as easily been coming to him all these years. (I live in the middle of both locations.)

    Anyway, yea, I know, I'm making an awfully long story about this, but the point is I want you to know how much I appreciate your advice, because it comes at a time when I need it the most.

    Armed with your advice I can either go to this new guy I'm trying (doubtful), or go to the next dealer, about double the distance but maybe minus the attitude, which I'm not liking, and know WTF I'm talking about when I put the bike in their hands. There's nothing worse than saying "do whatever you think is best" unless you have an established trust like I had with my last guy.

    So your advice at the least is going to make me look like I have a clue, and a lot more likely going to result in my cash going where it should instead of where they want it to go because it's easier or more profitable for them.

    Thanks for that. Seriously. Every dollar counts nowadays and I'm not one to "save money" by not doing something important like this that will cost a lot more (potentially) if I don't do it than if I do.
    If I'm planning on keeping this bike, I need to do what's right, not what's cheap, so you can bet this note will be in my pocket when the scoot goes in the shop.

    Edited to add: Bagger, ditto! And thanks for the good link!
    Click here to enlarge
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  6. #6
    Moderator dawg's Avatar

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bagger Click here to enlarge
    Here's an interesting conversion I stumbled across.
    http://www.bikernet.com/pages/story_detail.aspx?id=8690
    " That would be the Andrews conversion kit. Herko has a kit he puts together just like that. If one goes that route and doesn't want to get a tuner, they would have to choose the 12N cam as it is "stock like"
    Click here to enlarge I blame soos Click here to enlarge

  7. #7
    Moderator dawg's Avatar

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    Here's the Herko kit that John puts together

    HerkoCamConversionKitLabeledPicture.jpg
    Click here to enlarge I blame soos Click here to enlarge

  8. #8
    Moderator dawg's Avatar

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    I've done both the conversion kit on a bud's bike and the SE hydraulic kit on another (soos')
    Click here to enlarge I blame soos Click here to enlarge

  9. #9
    Road Warrior Bagger's Avatar

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    Thank you dawg! Awesome info to have here for our members.
    Click here to enlarge
    08 streetglide, 96 springer softail

  10. #10
    I built this City RichardS's Avatar

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bagger Click here to enlarge
    Thank you dawg! Awesome info to have here for our members.
    I have to second that. I have no doubt there's a lot of guys in addition to me that will benefit tremendously from this info. And this particular subject has been one of constant discussion and debate for years, so having someone with firsthand experience doing multiple and complex variations of "the fix" is a tremendous asset indeed!
    Click here to enlarge
    LIVE FOR THE RIDE!

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