Cam chain tensioners - running on borrowed time!

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by TQuentin1, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    OK, Gents. Looking for your experience and comments on up-grading from the OEM chain-driven cams with chain tensioners (spring) to the gear drive systems doing the work yourself. What did you pick (mfg. and part #s)? What special equipment did you HAVE TO HAVE? Any lessons learned that you care to share?

    I feel like I am riding on borrowed time at this point. Had the outboard tensioner dissintegrate just after I go the bike, so I replaced it. That was about 20k+ miles ago. The inside one MAY BE ORIGINAL!! Bike has 70k+ on it now. I am thinking I need to bite the bullet and do gear drive!

    TQ
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    TQ, the new style hydraulic unit can be reto fitted to the older TC engines. I think yours would be a good candidate. They are new to the TC lineup but look real promising compared to the older style tnesioners.Compared to the gear drives that can be noisy with any excessive runout on the shaft, I think this would be the way to go.

    If not take a look here.

    Roller Chain Conversion - Harley Davidson Community
     
  3. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Glider,

    I did look at that info in the Quick Links Tips Forums. I like that option from the standpoint of reducing the worry about the tensioner shoes over the mechanical tensioners. However, I like the idea of the gear drive from a cam timing consistency stand-point. Don't intend on putting hot cams in, so it may be over-kill.

    I have read the articles in the tips section on the gear-drives. I am interested in hearing other folks hands-on experience. I think I need to make a decision and "git 'er done".

    TQ
     
  4. formike56

    formike56 Junior Member

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    what years did that style of tensioners come on. I heard that when they came apart that trash would get into the oil pump and starve the upper end of lube. End result was a dead scooter. Is this a truth?
     
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Looks like it is 2006 from the info in the Self-help forum (see Glider's post above).

    Yes, that is the rumor-mill on the old style tensioners. When I had problems with mine, my oil pressure dropped to zero. Not sure what happened first, but when I opened up the nose cone, there was lots of little yellow bits of plastic. I think probably the shoe came apart jamming the oil pump pressure relief slider (plunger) causing the oil pump to scavange most of the oil. I was very lucky. Did not seem to do any more damage than the shoe. Replaced the OEM plunger spring with the Baisley one, new plunger, new tensioner on the out-board side and buttoned it up. So far, so good - but I have my fingers crossed!!

    TQ
     
  6. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

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    I did the roller chain conversion a month ago. I am very satisfied with the results. I installed new inner bearings and the new B lifters also S/E adjustable pushrods. I used Andrews 26N cams. I bought the inner bearing remover and installer and all the parts from a fellow called Herkobagger, very good to deal with. He supplies the whole kit plus options. I would highly recommend him

    My tensioners were OK but I had about 5th wear on the lobes of the rear cams and also there was some pitting on the lobes and inner bearing area.

    I was all set to do gear drives but opted for the hydralic roller chain setup.
     
  7. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    The early TC engines seemed to have less problems stemming from the tensioner material going south (99-early 2002 or so) The later tensioners seemed to be a problem then they revised the material they were made from and also the shape of the pad which helped but still didn't eliminate the problem.

    The new style is in the 2007 and later engines but is retro to the earlier models.
     
  8. breeze110riding

    breeze110riding New Member

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    Where did you get your bearing puller?
     
  9. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

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    All of my parts, including bearing puller and bearing installer and cam crank locking tool came from Herko@insight.com He is very good to deal with and very quick to ship parts out. If you like PM for more information.
     
  10. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, the S&S or the Andrews gear drive systems do have some appeal to me since I am somewhat of a blockhead and like the idea of gears more than chains. But I have two worries:
    • Runout on the pinion shaft
    • Oversize/undersized gears possibly required for 34T and 31T gears
    This means that the runout needs to be checked and verified below .003 before getting the gear set, and then after deciding to install the gear drive, oversize or undersize gears may have to be ordered/purchased after assembly begins. This whole process could result in considerable delay just waiting on parts!!

    The advantage of the roller chain upgrade is that you just need to buy all the stuff and install it!! Still chains though.

    TQ