Gears vs Cam Chain

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by jigglestick, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. jigglestick

    jigglestick Member

    38
    0
    0
    Was wondering if I could get some feedback from those of you that eliminated your cam chain and went to gears.

    I have a '03 Road King Classic EFI with 72,000 miles on it. I have checked my tensioners twice. Once at 55,000 miles then last night at 72,000. The first time, they were worn only 1/16th of an inch. Last night they were another 16th further along. (Been lucky, I know.) I'm hoping they will get me thru the rest of the riding season. This winter I plan on either installing the upgrade to hydraulic tensioners or going with gears.

    I do all the work myself so I am looking at cost and ease of install in addition to performance. Any feedback would be extremely helpful and I thank you in advance.
     
  2. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    4,310
    73
    130
    You need to check your crank run out before proceeding with buying your parts, tools etc. If you run out is too much you will tearing the motor completely down to have the cranked trued or going with the updated hydraulic tensioner setup.
     
  3. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    7,198
    0
    34
    Like Bodeen said. Crank run-out is the foundation to it all. Feuling makes a nice tool for checking it while in the engine.
    Interested to know which brand of oil do you use.
     
  4. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    4,959
    83
    113
    On my 00 FXDS build to 95", Ported heads, Manley V/springs, all high performance stuff... Done early at 14,000 miles.

    I measured Crank run-out using a good Machinist dial indicator.

    I checked Only the cam side. .0015.

    Then installed PROPERLY measured and fitted Gear drive gears usiing SS570 cams.Along with the *** parts$$$$

    NOW IF I could have used Back Then, the Newley offered Conversion using the HD Kit for under 500$ in cost today.

    I would of NOT gone gear drives,:newsmile093: ***using Delkron cam plate, Fueling oil pump and lifters, 570G cams. Good to use but More $ than todays conversion.

    IF your not racing the bike , IT Will do just fine using the conversion.

    You get ALL the good stuff,,, Hydraulic tensioners (rid the shoes) New styld Cam plate. High volume oil pump, and etc parts for very Good Value in the HD kit.

    Then BUILD engine for your choice of a Cam.

    signed....BUBBIE
     
  5. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    1,814
    83
    203
    If "ease of installation" is important, the upgrade to billet plate, hydraulic tensioners and roller chains is the way to go.
     
  6. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    4,633
    68
    99
    Both options are not difficult to do. The key to the decision is as stated above - crank runout.

    The roller chain conversion option is the most forgiving. See here:

    TQ's Engine Build

    Harley Davidson Community

    Unfortunately, the Herko Kit is no longer available.

    The gear drive option will require measuring the gear backlash and then going with a larger or smaller gear to get the required spec (see #13 and #16 in attached). This is just a bit of added complexity and potential delay if the next size gears must be purchased after measuring the backlash in the two locations specified.

    Harley Davidson Community

    Regards,

    TQ
     
  7. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

    2,425
    0
    23
    All the replies here will get you in the right direction. If your runout is not up to par, I put something other than the standard HD crank bearings in the rebuild. The bearings they put in them of recent years are many times the cause of bad runnouts.

    Also if you are gonna power up the engine with a big bore kit etc, I'd have the crank welded after it's trued. With enough add on torque the HD pressed cranks can slip otherwise.

    Some guys complain the cam gears whine, but from what I've seen of them it ain't much difference from most primary noise. But then my hearing is pretty much gone of any degree of effectiveness. If you have any kind of slip ons or pipes the gear noise should not be an issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  8. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    1,814
    83
    203
    Gears can be noisy; backlash has to be just right which, as has been mentioned, may require an OS or US gear. Also need a hydraulic press to press gears on/off the cams; bearings (sometimes) in/out of the cam plate and assembled cam shafts (some times) with gears and bearingss into the cam plate. So, you get the gears, press them on, can't get the backlash in spec and need the US or OS gear. You call Andrews and they will send you one and you wait another week to finish the project.

    The hydraulic kit goes together painlessly; no press, everything just slips on or in.

    I expect, being an '03, that runout is within spec and truing the crank will not be necessary. However, should runout be > .003", say up to .005", the hydraulic setup will accomodate that kind of runout. The oil pump might need replacing in 25K-35K miles but you can run that long without issues; maybe longer.
     
  9. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    4,959
    83
    113
    There is a new replacement shoe for the orange chipper style ... It was said to do a good job on replacing the old style.

    Not sure where I saw them.

    I did see a picture, looked white like the ones uses in the new style of todays bikes(hydraulic).

    Thinking the fellow was getting old shoes with the springs and re-working to use this newer product and selling them...

    Seemed he was Offering to BUY any OLD ones out of a bike for 5$..

    I'll nose around and see IF I can find the site I saw them on... Thinking it was in a swap meet area as WTB, old cam shoes.

    signed....BUBBIE
     
  10. jigglestick

    jigglestick Member

    38
    0
    0
    Hoople,

    I just use HD 20w-50 oil. But I am real anal about changing all fluids regularly and on time.