Cam Chain Tensioner

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by bobbeidel, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. bobbeidel

    bobbeidel Active Member

    What would be an indication (other than milage) that one needs to replace the cam chain tensioners?? I have a 2001 Road King that I bought about 2 months ago. It has about 28,000 miles on it.
    I'm a new users of this forum, so I hope I am posting this correctly.


  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Unusual noise from the cam side of the bike or orange flecks of plastic in the oil or filter would be a good indicator. No substitute for visually checking them.

    SALSERO Member

    I definately had the same question in my mind.... Thank you...
    And what about milage...?
    I have RK '00 that had 52.000km (approx 32.000 miles)
    Is there a specific number of miles or kilometers that Harley suggests tensioners to be replaced? Or what should be done is always visually checking?

  4. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    Glider has it right with the visual inspection. It's the only sure way. My '99 Ultra didn't have any unusual noises, nor, did I have the flecks of tensioner in the oil or filter. When I pulled off the cam cover, the primary tensioner was about 95% gone and the secondary wasn't far behind. TQ did a great work up on replacing the tensioners, which included some great pics. When I did my tensioner upgrade, you had to kind of piece the parts together. I see that Andrews now has a complete kit, that contains everything you will need to do the job. I will pass on the advice that was given to me....Don't wait. Pull the cover and check it out...
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Welcome to the forum. Lots of great info here in the self-help areas and in the heads of your fellow members.

    Unfortunately, there is no exact "rule of thumb" for when the spring-loaded tensioners might fail. I would suggest NOT waiting. Cut down an Allen wrench so you can get to the fasteners behind the pipes and take the nose cone (cam cover) off. The outer tensioner is right there and easy to see. The one behind the plate is a bit more challenging to see. Use a small cheap dental mirror and a pen light.

    The real question is what do you do next? Replace worn tensioners? Up-grade to a different cam drive mechanism? If the latter, which system - gear drive or roller-chain conversion?

    If you are thinking about changing the drive system, check out the kits that Herko has put together. I bought his roller-chain conversion kit and some of the optional tools he sells at close to cost (these are Georges Garage tools), and the KIT is truly EVERYTHING you need to do the job other than basic tools that you should already have. I think Herko also has a gear drive kit. Check out his kits and pricing when you are comparing options (see the link in the post below).

    TQ's Engine Build - Harley Davidson Community

  6. bobbeidel

    bobbeidel Active Member

    I was told by Joe Carson HD dealer GM, whom I know and trust, that around 30,000 to 35,000 miles is a good time to start checking the tensioners.
    Is it a major job? About how much would a HD dealer charge to do this job.
    I haven't checked with any of them yet. Just curious the approximate cost.

    Yes, this is a very informative forum.

    I just put AMSOIL 20-50W oil in engine and Mobil 75-140 in the transmission.
    Transmission seems to shift a little quieter, but not sure.
    AMSOIL is readily available here at Andersen store and a Yamaha dealer.

    Any comments

  7. doj1975

    doj1975 Active Member

    I am running Amsoil 20-50 in my engine and primary and Amsoil 75-110 Severe Gear in the tranny. I am very happy with the performance of both.
  8. dolt

    dolt Senior Member

    '02 FLHT, inner tensioner down to metal at 25K miles and outer 75% worn with a large chunk missing from one corner.

    '05 FXSTD, inner and outer worn about 75% at 12K miles with crack and small chunk missing from one corner in the outer.

    28K and 32K? Replace them; not expensive and if they go, could be bad juju.

    SALSERO Member

    I love that forum... :)
    Thanks for all the info...

    Another question:
    Ok. I probably have quite worn out tensioners. Is it safe and easy to unscrew the crank case cover bolts just for the visual inspection. Or does this action cause a leakage afterwards because of the unreplaced gasket? Does it need any oil replacement when case cover opened?

    By the way I started searching for the parts from US.
    Since I live in Turkey. Buying Harley parts from Istanbul is about 5 times the suggested retail price... :(

    I need your comments about 2 issues:

    1. Does it worth buying aftermarket parts?
    2. Do you have any suggestions about dealers that has online sales?

    Thx in advance... :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  10. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    If you're pulling the cover, replace the gasket either way, they aren't expensive, very little oil will come out when you pull the cover, just what is in the cam chest which is nil.

    As far as the tensioners, use harley parts.

    Dealers in the us to order from...
    Not all ship abroad so check with them first.

    Dealers That Discount Parts - Harley Davidson Community