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Automatic primary chain tensioner

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Old Oct 17th, 2011, 11:50 PM     #1
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Automatic primary chain tensioner

I just installed an automatic primary chain tensioner in my '02 Superglide. It seems like the chain is too tight now. I followed the instructions the best that I could and it says that if the tensioner moves up and down when you flex the chain then you are good. The tensioner will move up and down slightly so I'm assuming I did it correctly but there doesn't seem to be hardly any loose free play at all. Is that normal with the auto adjuster? I have the bracket adjusted as low as it will go. The only thing I could try to correct is to reset the tensioner.
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Old Oct 17th, 2011, 11:58 PM     #2
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

Quote: Originally Posted by Dswartz View Post
I just installed an automatic primary chain tensioner in my '02 Superglide. It seems like the chain is too tight now. I followed the instructions the best that I could and it says that if the tensioner moves up and down when you flex the chain then you are good. The tensioner will move up and down slightly so I'm assuming I did it correctly but there doesn't seem to be hardly any loose free play at all. Is that normal with the auto adjuster? I have the bracket adjusted as low as it will go. The only thing I could try to correct is to reset the tensioner.
How many miles? I yacked to a friend who is a tech at a Stealership about this once and he said they always put a new chain on at the same time, Idont know if this helps
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 06:27 AM     #3
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Quote: Originally Posted by Jack Klarich View Post
How many miles? I yacked to a friend who is a tech at a Stealership about this once and he said they always put a new chain on at the same time, Idont know if this helps
22,000 on the chain. The tensioner came used off of ebay. It apparently came off a wrecked bike with less than 500 miles. Whether thats true or not i dont know but it was in good shape.
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 09:24 AM     #4
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

Just got back from my first test ride with the tensioner. I'm still not sure if it is too tight or not but I will have to admit it's shifting smooth as silk. The bike has never shifted so nice. I'm not sure if that's due to the tensioner or not.

However, I have noticed a slight whining noise coming from the primary with the engine running. I only notice it when Idling and sticking my head close to the primary. It's not super loud but I hope it's not an indication of a primary that is too tight. It could have been there before as well but I never noticed it.
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 09:36 AM     #5
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

You didn't mention which tensioner you installed but the auto tensioners will make a bit of noise when operating. If the noise is excessive then I would recheck the tension on the chain.
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 04:27 PM     #6
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

I have the Harley tensioner that came stock on all of the newer bikes. Is there a way to check the tension to ensure that it is working properly? I have almost no free play at all but the tensioner will flex slightly as I flex the top of the chain. I can only move the chain approx 1/4in to 3/8in or so, and that's with pressure when cold. Seems tight to me when compared to the manual tensioner. Is there a measurement that I can test it with to ensure it is properly adjusted?

The noise is not terrible but noticeable at idle.
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 04:40 PM     #7
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

The stock HD auto tensioner will keep the chain rather tight compared to past models. There's usually no slack in the chain to be measured when using one of the newer type retrofits in an older bike. I personally don't like the new design because they run too tight and can cause damage to seals and bearings but that's just my personal opinion and they will have a habit of being noisy because of the tightness.
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Old Oct 18th, 2011, 04:40 PM     #8
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Re: Automatic primary chain tensioner

Quote: Originally Posted by Dswartz View Post
I have the Harley tensioner that came stock on all of the newer bikes. Is there a way to check the tension to ensure that it is working properly? I have almost no free play at all but the tensioner will flex slightly as I flex the top of the chain. I can only move the chain approx 1/4in to 3/8in or so, and that's with pressure when cold. Seems tight to me when compared to the manual tensioner. Is there a measurement that I can test it with to ensure it is properly adjusted?

The noise is not terrible but noticeable at idle.
There is nothing in the owners manual, I would guess 3/8 to 1/2 inch should be good
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