Chain Tensioner Issue

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by Wayne R, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Wayne R

    Wayne R Active Member

    Hi Guys,
    About two weeks ago my wife and I went to Lake George NY we had a great time and I will try to put up some pics soon, but I have to figure out how to post pics, Anyhow on the way up probaly about 20 miles from the village I heard my bike get louder under load climbing one of the many hills, kinda like a chain noise, not sure how to describe a noise, but from reading many posts on this forum I am thinking the chain tensioners are on their way out, I have read and watched many of the videos on the forum about replacing the tensioners, actually many times but Im uncomftorable about how to install the cam bearings without a press, and how to adjust pushrods, the rest of the job doesnt look too bad and I think I would be good with aligning the cam timing marks, however being unsure of these things I decided to bring it to the dealer, from the many posts Ive read if in fact it turns out to be tensioners and Im pretty sure it is, I think I will have them install the SE hydraulic and oil pump upgrade kit, one of my questions is after reading many posts I cant figure out what type of bearings the SE kit comes with I have seen much on torrington bearings and was wondering if the SE kit doesnt come with these bearings should I consider purchasing Torrington bearings seperately to be installed or not necessary, I should also mention the bike is a 2002 Road King, and engine is stock and has 49k miles on it. Also while the bike is apart is there any other maintenance items I should look at in this area, I much prefer to ask here rather than at the dealer. Thanks for any help.
  2. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Make sure we are talking apples here. The inner cam shaft support roller bearing in your engine are probably the cheap INA roller bearings that HD uses as stock. These SHOULD be replaced with the B-148 Torrington roller bearings that are significantly better than the INAs IMHO.

    The support bearings in the plate should probably be replaced also since you will have the plate out to change out the inner tensioner to the hydraulic one, and the oil pump to the higher volume pump. This is NOT absolutely necessary if you are reusing the cam shafts and the original plate.

    However, if the kit comes with a new plate, it will probably already have bearings in it. If you are changing out the cams to a different grind, you might want to consider the whole roller chain conversion that uses the roller chain on the outside AND the inside of the plate. Additionally, you can upgrade to the cams and plate that do not have an outer support bearings in the plate. The outer end of the cams run in the plate journal on an oil film.

    See here:

    Roller-chain Conversion - Harley Davidson Community

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  3. Wayne R

    Wayne R Active Member

    just got off the phone with the dealer my suspicions were right the tensioners are bad, they suggested replacing with standard tensioners and did also recommend upgrading the bearings, at that point I inquired about going to the SE upgrade kit and the torrington bearings, which he told me came with the kit, Im also inquiring about maybe new cams also some of my problem here is I would just want a mild street cam with a little more low end response and maybe a little extra on the higher end, however I dont want anything that might entail the need for compression releases or hard starting issues, and though I understand lift and duration not sure how the numbers reflect on the road, hope I explained that ok, the second issue I have is my bike is pure stock with the exception of chrome add ons and I havent even done a stage 1 yet, mostly because im not one that wants the additional rumble on the bike, but I am realizing that should I go with a cam upgrade I would probaly have to go with the stage 1 to get the optimum performance out of the cams, and in that case from what Ive read believe the SE mufflers would probaly give me the least amount of rumble along with the air cleaner and a dobeck fueler, I realize im doing the stages backwards but had there not been a tensioner issue I probaly wouldnt be considering a cam up grade, so in short can anyone suggest a cam that I should go with and do you think it would be a problem with adding a cam upgrade without immediately doing the stage one, while writing this the dealer just called and basically said unless I do a stage 1 first cant guarantee the bike will run right, I was given a price of $459.00 for there fueler and 3 hours dyno time at $100.00 an hour and then I still have the cost of pipes, which I suppose is not a bad price but right now I just cant do all that, I told him I may do the pipes and add a dobeck fueler myself later all of which HD does not reccommend, where it stands at this point is im going with the SE upgrade kit with the torrington bearings, and leave out the cam upgrade until maybe after a stage 1, I just cant have a repair done to the bike knowing they wont guarantee its proper running afterwards I dont think the price is bad $565.83 for the SE kit and $300.00 in labor. They have to order the spacer kit so I wont have the bike back for a week or so. does anyone think the bike would run ok if the cams were installed and a stage one completed at later date. sorry I feel as though thats a dumb question and yet for peace of mind I have to ask. Thanks All

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member


    WAY too much money USE the TFI.....

    I think you can add the cam NOW...... THEN,,, YOU doing the Exhaust and Air Later like you want...

    The main thing I see here is YOU do the TFI as soon as they get their work done.......
    You will save much $$$$ and the TFI is less $$ for what you NEED... the HD tuner is way too much $$ and tuning itt is Costly and NOT NEEDED using the TFI....
    He is blowing smoke and I would NOT worry about their statement about Runability of the bike.... Let them do "their thing" then YOU do Yours... save the bucks...

    Any cam NOW would be better installed for Your future up grades.... A mild bole in like 21/26 or many other BOLT-INS FOR Low End torque and NOT high revving engine Unless you want to change the style I Think you and I would Both want on that big bike... No problem using a mild cam and Yes,,, You Won't get the most out of the cam UNTIL stage one is done...
    BUT the TFI is needed right off the get-go!!!

    Doing the cam install NOW and doing the stage one Later, will NOT hurt the engine. (.)

  5. Wayne R

    Wayne R Active Member

    Thanks BUBBIE, good info , I dont know why I let them talk me out of my original plan ,they made me nervous when they told me they would not be able to get the bike to run right I guess, Tommorrow Im heading down to HD to tell them to replace the cams and go with my original plan, Hopefully they didnt already install the cams, the only thing they didnt have was a spacer kit, and I did give them the ok to go ahead with the repairs without changing the cams so possibly this may cause me a little more in labor not sure, now I need to figure out which cams to use, Im going to research some of the info on this site and see what I find, and I see you mention a 21/26 is that a specific cam or a range of cams to look at any suggestions here would also be appreciated.
    Thanks Wayne R
  6. dcfatboy

    dcfatboy Active Member

    The Andrews 21 and 26 are mild cams which both give good low end TQ. The differnce between the the 2 is basically a shift in the power band - the 21 vomes on earlier.

    I have the 26 gear grind (26G) in my AMS 96" Big Bore. (I did all the labor.) I like to cruise in the 2500 - 3200 rpm range. If you cruise at a lower range, I would recommend the 21s.

    There are more options out there - I am just familiar with the Andrews 21 and 26 grinds.

    Attached Files:

  7. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    TFI with the cam aint gonna get it depending what cam you go with .. wouldnt work for my 255's rear cyl was to lean front to rich
  8. Wayne R

    Wayne R Active Member

    Thanks Bud , I intend to add the dobeck fuel adjuster right away when I get the bike back from the dealer.
  9. jaxdwg

    jaxdwg Active Member

    I agree with you BUBBIE
  10. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Not positive but I think what Bud is telling you is that the TFI isn't the best choice if you're doing certain cams.