Chain Tensioners = a catastrophic failure

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by Butch, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. Butch

    Butch Active Member

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    I had a catastrophic failure (dealer term) of both my chain tensioners over the holiday last week. With 39.4k mi. I knew they were probably close...but noooooo, the ol' bike ('99 ultra) just couldn't wait 'till winter. ...Long story short, I decided to change to the gear drive. After a week, got it back from the dealer this last weekend. Seems to run great. A little gear noise at idle, which sounds more machine like in the cam case.

    Anyway, my Q is...
    I noticed on the drive home (140mi) at highway speeds the oil pressure seemed to run between normal or about halfway between normal and 0. It didn't drop at stops (at lights and such), though a couple of stops it actually rose to normal. Chk'd the oil on the road and it was ok. Dealer replaced with HD synthetic (I normally use Mobil1). Before the change it was rock steady at normal pressure. Is this fluculation common with the new system or should I be concerned?

    Second, I'm reading an awful lot about crank run out. I would think the dealer would have checked this during the upgrade, however now I'm wondering!? Is checking the run out part of the normal procedure the dealer would use as part of the upgrade, or should I question them on it?
     
  2. wildspirit97

    wildspirit97 Senior Member

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    I would question them on the run out, but don't just ask them if they did it or not. Say, "oh, by the way, what was the run out on the crank?" or something like that.
     
  3. Neilwillo

    Neilwillo Member

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    I like the gear cams. You get used to the extra noise. It seems to be just when the bike is warming or cooling that I used to hear it. What sort did you put in?

    I'd be a bit concerned about the oil fluctuation. I seem to remember that the oil pump gets schrapnel in it from a tensioner failure. Maybe someone else could chime in and add more expertise than I have.

    I've also gotta agree about raising the crank runout with the dealer. Not a good thing to have at the best of times. Did you have a base line reading before your tensioner failure? How did you measure it? What symptoms did you have to make you wonder about runout?

    Cheers

    Neil
    Anyway, my Q is...
    I noticed on the drive home (140mi) at highway speeds the oil pressure seemed to run between normal or about halfway between normal and 0. It didn't drop at stops (at lights and such), though a couple of stops it actually rose to normal. Chk'd the oil on the road and it was ok. Dealer replaced with HD synthetic (I normally use Mobil1). Before the change it was rock steady at normal pressure. Is this fluculation common with the new system or should I be concerned?

    Second, I'm reading an awful lot about crank run out. I would think the dealer would have checked this during the upgrade, however now I'm wondering!? Is checking the run out part of the normal procedure the dealer would use as part of the upgrade, or should I question them on it?[/QUOTE]
     
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Butch

    The 99 bikes had some good cranks, not like the 07 and newer ones. I really don't think there's anything to be concerned about with yours.

    As far as the fluctuation in pressure. I would be a bit concerned about that with the failure and the possibility of any tensioner material circulating around in the oiling system possibly causing a problem in the bypass area of the oil system. Bring it to their attention and see if they want to change the oil again and explain what you have experienced. When a tensioner goes bad and parts are in the oil system, it's good practice to drop the engine oil pan and do a very thorough job of flushing the oil system well to remove any pieces of the tensioner that may be left in the engine.

    This is why it is SO important to keep tabs on the tensioner condition during the life of the engine.
     
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry to read about your problems, but I strongly second what Glider said above. No matter how many miles it has been (or not been!), I would dump the "Harley synthetic", drop the oil pan, completely clean it out, change the oil filter, open up the nose cone, completely clean out the cam chest, knock the roll pin out of the support plate, pull the spring and slider (plunger) out of the oil pressure relief port, clean out the port with a long Q-tip, loosen the pump retaining screws, go throught the procedure to align the pump, and reassemble everything. Put in a premium FULL SYNTHETIC engine oil like Mobil 1 VTwin 20W50. You may need to take the oil pressure sending unit off and make sure that the port in it is not packed with little bits of orange plastic.

    Get that oil pressure back to the right numbers (somewhere close to 30 psi or above at operating temps and speed). If it won't come up, I would worry that the pump is still not aligned right or one or more of the orings is messed up.

    TQ
     
  6. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

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    I would also spend the $$$ to UP-GRADE the oil pump...... HD makes a newer OIL PUMP that will do a better job....

    HD should of offered it a long time ago....

    and for MORE $$$$$$$$ fueling oil pump is what I installed .....

    IN my 2000 dyna fueling oil pump made SUCH an improvement.... The oil pressure never drops below 12/15 lbs no matter how hot a day...

    I USE 20/50 REDLINE SYNTHETIC....SYNTHETIC runs abiut 30* cooler in my bike as compared with reg oil oil

    ANY FULL SYNTHETIC OIL (20/50) besides HD syn 3 would be a SAFER bet...
    I WOULD NOT USE HD SYN3 IN ANY HOLE ON MY BIKES.....

    I also went with 570 SS gear drive...delkron cam support plate....10.25/1 pistons..flowed heads/manley valve work... about 100 hp..

    OVER 40,000 mi. and still has 208 rear/210 front cyl static pressure

    I bot a new FLHR

    I'll be putting GEAR DRIVE CAMS into this new bike b-4 too long.... as far as the OIL PUMP,,,, the better oil pump HD makes is already in the newer bikes o7 and up ....

    they also put in a better tensioner system and did away with the OLD tensioners our old bikes used....a better system but I'll still go with the GEAR DRIVE CAMS

    just my way..signed....BUBBIE
     
  7. Elmosac

    Elmosac Active Member

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    I'd get it looked at. You could have something in the oil pump from the tensor failure or your guage could be going bad, and it just happens to be right after the other problems. I would get it figured out though before you eat up more parts.
     
  8. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

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    Butch, I have a '99 Ultra and at 68,000 changed out the tensioners for a new roller chain conversion. As part of the conversion, the new high volume oil pump was part of the deal. But, as some responders have mentioned, you need to check out the oil pan and pump for any left over tensioner particles. I run Mobil 1, and run at 30 pounds all day long. Good luck..
     
  9. Delmar

    Delmar Active Member

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    When I purchased my 01 RK @ 34K miles the tensioners were recently replaced. That’s what attracted me to this specific bike, it had a twin sister (pun intended) that was a 02 and a few less miles but had the original tensioners.

    Are the new replacement parts superior in longevity to the originals? When do I have to start worrying about the tensionsers again? Butch will soon be asking the same question.
     
  10. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    In the case of replacement parts being better, there are constant upgrades done to parts and the suffix on the end of the part number changes but whether the chain tensioners are better remains to be seen. It was a poor system as evidenced by the fact that the system was scrapped and a new system that is retrofittable has been used in the 07 and newer bikes.