cam tensioner

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by 87lwrdr, May 19, 2010.

  1. 87lwrdr

    87lwrdr Member

    I have a 99 RK with 23k that is starting to have tensioner issues. My question is, of the three ways to fix this problem which is the best way to go. 1) Just replace with new tensioners. 2) Replace with the Screamin Eagle Hydraulic Tensioner plate upgrade. 3) Go to direct drive cam/gear setup. Any help or guidance would be appreciated.
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

  3. Butch

    Butch Active Member

    This is a big debate on here - some for the new hydraulic, some for the gear drive.

    Mine chowed themselves last year (99 ultra). I was in break down mode 200 miles form home so with little time to debate I went with the direct drive.

    (Please guys no flames :s)
    To me the hydraulic solution is still shoes and I belive there is some wear to be had with it. Will they be better in the long haul compared to the old style shoes, who knows? To me the direct drive is proven technology. Although a bit more noisy than the shoes, and you have to make sure that your shaft is in tolerances to handle the gearing, I'm really pleased with the changeover.

    As far as which should you do...The dealer put it to me best. Am I going to keep the bike or get rid of it soon? If I'm going to keep it plan on addressing the old style shoes again in 30 or 40k. If I'm planning on getting rid of the bike, replace the shoes (the cheaper route), sell it and be done with it.
  4. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    Good question, and unfortunately there are probably as many good answers, none of which will be the same. A few years ago, I went with the hydraulic tensioners and a cam upgrade, and have not been sorry. To me, the labor involved in just replacing the worn shoes, front and rear, is probably about what it would cost to go the hydraulic route, with the latter obviously costing a tad more in the parts department. Whatever you decide to do have the inner cam bearings replaced too with the Torrington units. Good luck..

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    The 99 TC had more than the shoe problem!!!!!
    If not changed out Yet? the main cam bearing, A ball style, Needs to be up-graded to the Roller style...

    The problem Shows when the ball-bearing spacer-covers Crack, then totally comes apart(no bearing space holding) allowing cam to drop onto the bearing race and Eat and-or Blow-up of engine May result IF NOT caught in time..

    I know and I have been there and done that!!!

    The gear drive worked fine in my early 2000 FXDS... The crank run-out was 0.0015 and gear set (quietly) perfectly aligned...

    If your run-out is Not good meaning .003 or more, I would go with the "KIT" for Hydraulic conversion(more forgiving),,, that Also offers the much needed Oil Pump and Cam support plate for a very low coat 429.99 for the kit... and you do need tools and parts like, bearings and gaskets to complete the job Either way you go....

    I paid 350$ back in 01 for a feuling oil pump(450 today) then 300 or so for the cam plate from delkron.. That only being a part of my monster i built...
    The Needed up grades in the KIT for 429.99 I would buy,,, Even if going Gear Drives.. Just for the cost Savgs. of the high volume oil pump-plate... Compared to New style offered by them selves (750$$) 429.99 is a Good price for all "that" needed stuff...

    If you plan to keep the bike? I would go with one or the other "I suggested" But If you plan to sell or trade up?soon,,, then replace the shoes BUT remember that Ball style cam bearing, It needs to be addressed NOW if it has not been done previously!! It can GO anytime!

  6. motor

    motor Active Member

    I updated my 99flht last weekend with the late style HD plain bearing camplate with upgraded pump .I also got the new cams and adjustable pushrods ,I would highly recommend buying the kit/and cams-pushrods from Herco .The kits John puts together are priced fair ,and all parts are there .The hardest part was getting the pipes off .Didn't have to leave the shop for anything once I started .Ordered the stuff last wednesday ,received friday ,installed Sunday.I'm very satisfied.
  7. 87lwrdr

    87lwrdr Member

    I'm sorry for the late reply but my laptop was down and just got it going.

    Well since I posted my question concerning the tensioners I've learned a lot. I spoke with HD parts and service people and the consensus was to go with the hydraulic upgrade setup. Well this is where everything goes to (EDITED). I went out and bought (as recommended by the HD people) the hydraulic tensioner kit, the spacer kit and the gasket kit. We got the oil pump in and the tensioner plate and when we went to use the spacers to align the outer chain to the sprocket the inner diameter of all the spacers were to big and fit sloppy over the end of my stock cam. I called HD and was informed I would have to replace the cam because they don't make a retro fit spacer allowing you to reuse your old cam and gears. I now buy a new cam and a new outer top sprocket because my old one has the sensor and the one in the kit didn't. I figured as long as I'm getting reamed by HD I should buy adjustable push rods and new bearings to make the new tasks easier.

    To make a long story short, make sure you know how early your 99 engine is, because in my case going to the direct drive setup would have been easier and MUCH cheaper to do. I just can't believe HD would not offer any help with this horrible setup for the cam tensioners. They had to know it was a bad setup because they ended up changing it. Hope this helps out.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2010