S & S 106 or SE 103 big bore upgrade kit?

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by Sage Counsel, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    I have a 2008 Road King Classic with 42,000 miles (bought new in April 2008, I am only owner and rider). I am considering an engine upgrade and would like to hear opinions on whether to go with the S & S 106ci kit with EZ start cams (either 551 or or 583) or the Harley Davidson 103 upgrade with SE 255 cams.

    My bike is a 96ci Road King Classic with Rinehart true duals, a stage 1 ac, and a power commander III, lowered at the rear with the HD lowering kit.

    I have been reading extensively on this forum and others, so I know that are other combinations and cams, but I am inclined to limit myself to these two choices. I have about $2000 to spend, plus or minus a few hundred, and I will pay a pro to do the install, because it is more than I want to handle. I have estimates for complete install (parts and labor) for the 106 kit for $2300 (including power commander custom map), and for the HD 103 kit for 2000 (not including power commander map or dyno tuning - which I will have to get elsewhere -and with manual compression releases and required machining of stock heads included -- not needed for the 106 if I use the S & S EZ start cam)

    I am looking for improved low to midrange acceleration and power-- for example, I want the bike to jump when I twist the throttle in 6th gear when going 70 to 75 mph, so I can accelerate quickly another 10 mph or so. I generally ride 1 up with a light load. I also want improved pick up (torque) off the start. I usually ride on the highway at highway speeds above 60 mph, at sea level, in non-mountainous terrain, though I want hill climbing power if possible).

    I want to use stock heads, at this point, and limit use of any other parts not included in these kits, if possible (need for recommended extra parts would be relevant in deciding which kit to go with).

    My sense from reading is that both of these kits are good, and will be a big upgrade in power, so the basic question is this: Does the 106 ci kit provide enough additional torque and hp (and reliability) where I ride to be worth the extra money? To put it another way, is it better, or about the same?

    Secondary questions:

    Any hidden disasters in either?

    And finally:

    Any thoughts on the cam choice: S & S EZ start 551 or 583? HD 255 or 253 or 254E?

    Thanks for any assistance.
     
  2. biscuit

    biscuit Junior Member

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    Firstly,welcome to the site.Others will chime in for you as regards the 106 vs the 103.

    As far as the cams go,the Easy Start 551 and 553 are good choices.Both are 'bolt-in' and require no head or valve spring changes.My bike has very low miles-2200 klms-so i could resuse my lifters.Both provide great torque gains from low to middle range.HP gains too;if you're interested.
    I ride at lower RPM's and my bike is in the shop-expecting it back today-having 551's fitted.I want grunt,not power so that's the direction i took.My Brother's Fatboy is also in the same shop having 583's fitted.He rides harder and higher.It's horses for courses.Check out a post by jammerx about how he loves the 551's in his FLTRSE.

    I know Dyno charts are all different and have different variables,but i've just spent weeks researching cams and charts and posts and comments and sites.We settled on the S & S cams, and are dribbling with anticipation for the weekend,except that now it's raining and my Stepson is in Hospital.If you haven't done so,check out the Dyno charts on their site;fat and bulky and superior (551's) from 1500 to 3200.Bit of a dip then,and climbs again to 4200.Just right for a Cruiser or heavier bike,or a non-revver like myself.The 583's seem just as good if not better, and i fully intended to put those into my Deluxe;however S & S suggested the 551's instead.I have seen charts that make a bit more torque(only a bit),but they start at higher revs.

    The Easy Start feature is also a great attraction,and as a person who hates the Harley starting struggle,i think they're great.I did notice a fair bit of negativity on sites scattered around the 'Net,but these guys were making comments about how long these "things" will last(the cams) coming round and bashing the valves ALL the time the engine is running,or how long will the cam last by running only half a lobe.So either they don't realize the compression bit is fitted to the HEEL of the cam,or they don't know how cams work.I personally like and am satisified with the testing S & S has done.
    Further,these types of compression release cams are fitted to Kawasakis,Yamahas,Peugot diesel engines and also to truck and tractor diesels motors.They are not new technology.

    So,your choice.But they were our choices and we think we made the right one.
     
  3. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    Thanks Biscuit. Just the type of good info. I was hoping to see.
     
  4. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    Thought this email exchange between myself and a friend on this topic might be worth sharing in case soemone has some views on it:

    Thought I would share what a friend of mine sent me by email, off of this thread, and my thinking in response. Comments welcome:

    My friend's email:

    "Sounds like you have done your homework! First some Apple pie....You have ridden 40,000 (what I would call) "carefree" miles. Congratulations by the way. That's awesome!! No real maintenance issues, no strandings on the side of the road (no push starts from your friends), so why screw around with that for a few extra HP??!! I realize that everyone wants a little extra HP, but take it from me...it's pretty fun...but not necessarily worth it. You never know (1) How much extra (HP) you will actually get (2) If you are going to introduce problems once you go in the motor such as leaks, hard to start, overheating, etc. (3) Not sure if you'll get any warranty either (probably not).

    So...what I would do? I would continue to ride your bike for another 20-35K miles and then, maybe think about an upgrade. After 75K, your motor will probably need some care: Valve (lapping), Piston work (rings perhaps), maybe even some main bearings. The point here is, you have a good reason to go into the motor and do some work. While you are there, then you spend the money and get your upgrade. Over the years, I've seen guys go into perfectly good motors (to get extra HP) and I was one, that ended up wishing they had kept the bike stock, just because the reliability of your bike is way more important than having a little extra power.

    Now, for your answer. I'm guessing to a certain extent, but I think you will probably Get more power from the S&S Upgrade. But...you are working with an independent shop And unless you really know who is doing your work, you could be setting yourself Up for follow-on issues. What is their reputation? Many of those places can give You plenty of power, but may not add the codicil that with power (you may lose a little or a lot of reliability).

    Going with the HD 103 upgrade is probably the more conservative route to go (but may not give you the "handful" of throttle you thought). But....I'd feel more comfortable with that set-up as far as reliability goes. HD has been dealing with the 103 upgrade for quite a while now.

    CAMs...Higher lift Cams (S&S) will give you more power. Again you introduce issues and Possibly a harder start which brings in all the other bad things. (stripped ring gears, snapped pinion gears, etc).

    Crankshaft bearings should probably be fine at this point. You just ride your bike a lot, you don't "abuse" it.

    Gas mileage...Not sure with a the EFI.

    Hope this diatribe helps!"

    My response:

    "I think your point about waiting until 75,000 miles is a very good one. I am not patient about things like this, once I get the impulse, but that just makes a lot of sense, plus I will be at 75,000 in 6 or 8 months, or perhaps even sooner, as much as I ride -- so I don't have to wait all that long. The other, related point, goes to reliability once upgraded. The HD 103 kit installed by my local HD dealer who knows me well and sees me often may be the more reliable choice over time, and the few ft/lbs less may be a good price to pay for that peace of mind.

    So, assuming I wait, the question then becomes does the 106 kit provide so much additional bang that it is worth the extra bucks and the lesser peace of mind?

    Right now, I kind of doubt it. Here is my thinking.

    HD claims 103 ft/lbs torque at 3500 rpm (measured at the rear wheel) for the 2011 Road King with a 103 ci displacement -- but the 2011 RK has stock pipes and air cleaner, and stock cams. Stands to reason then that upgrading pipes and cams would produce more torque..... lets say, conservatively, 10% more pretty much across the band. That's 113 ft/bs of torque. The SE 103 kit is the same as the 2011, but with upgraded cams...so adding the kit to my bike (with its upgraded pipes and a/c and power commander) should produce 113 ft/lbs of torque at 3500 rpms. Torque curves shown for the upgraded cam in this kit are broad and long across the rpm range where I ride. Now maybe 113 ft/lbs is too optimistic...so lets say it's 105, and be conservative . . .

    S & S claims about 110 ft/lbs torque at or near 3500 rpm (measured at the rear wheel ); broad and long torque curves across the rpm range where I ride. About the same, and if better, not a lot better.

    Not sure buying those 4 or 5 ft/lbs with the 106 at $300 or more higher cost, is worth it, plus the "peace of mind" issues you discussed.

    Advantage, HD 103 kit, for me, it seems to me......"
     
  5. R.Bingham

    R.Bingham Active Member

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    That 103 ft/lbs of torque that Harley claims is actually measured at the engine. Real world dyno testing has shown much less. Rider magazine recently tested the 2011 Road Glide Ultra with the 103in engine and was only able to manage 85.2 ft/lb @ 3600 rpm. Fuelmoto bought a new Roadking with the 103 power pak option to use as a test mule and their numbers for bone stock were similar, max torque was 85.67.
    Here is a link with actual dyno results. 2011 Touring 103 PowerPak testing by Fuel Moto - Harley Davidson Forums

    My vote would be for the SnS 106 because of the easy start cams. I believe you will have better hot staring results with these than with the SE 255 cams. If you go with the SE 103 option you will have to get compression releases because the corrected cranking compression will be at about 207 psi.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Another option you might want to consider is just doing a cam swap with either a SE 255 or SE 204 cams or even the new Andrews 48 cam. Any of these cams will work well with a TC 96 and show improved results over the stock cams. The Andrews 48 has similar numbers to the SE 255 down low but then carries the power out further.

    A cam swap with a good tune just might give you all the power you are looking for.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  6. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  7. R.Bingham

    R.Bingham Active Member

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    You said that you had a budget of $2000. I would take that money and do the cam swap myself(TQ has an excellent write up on the forum on how to do this, in fact I did this myself using his write up). The take reaming money and get a good tuning devise like a Mastertune TTS or a SESPT and a good dyno tune.

    Your stock heads flow well enough for what you are doing.

    Here is a dyno chart caparison of a stock TC96 vs one with a good tune and a 2 into 1 exhaust.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a dyno chart comparing the Andrews 48 (here called the express because it was a prototype) vs. the SE255
    [​IMG]

    As you can tell there is much to be gained with a cam swap and a good tune.
     
  8. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    Did you get the bikes back? If so, how is the ride?
     
  9. biscuit

    biscuit Junior Member

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    Yes,we did.My brother absolutely loves his 583's.Seriously;he just wont shut up about them!Have made an ENORMOUS difference to his ride.He swears his bike now feels like it's in 4th gear when it's in 6th!Top gear now pulls two-up from 100 kph; according to him it accelerates with power and venom.As i mentioned in some other post,we both have stage ones fitted-Thundermax with autotune,less restrictive Air filters and different pipes.I have standard headers with S.E.11 slip ons,and he's just fitted V&H 2into1's.

    He is so pleased with his performance gains that he CATEGORICALLY refuses to load the correct map(one with cam upgrades)into his T/max for fear of spoilling what he's got.He keeps on repeating that if only he'd done this 2 years ago.We're talking from about 2200-2300 rpm and up here.
    Me on the other hand;well,i'm still sort of on the fence and in the process of sliding off-to the good side.

    When i picked up my bike,it was mentioned that due to rain,no roadtest was performed(MY instructions) and the idle was up and down,and throttle response was poor.No biggie,i thought.I'll just chuck another map in it.

    Got it home and left it parked for a few days.More important Family things to do.Loaded the Zippers recommended map in on Thursday;went through the whole process,and it ran terribly.Fluffy,saggy,idle was up and down.Even during the map process,nothing went right.The idle speed refused to drop with the increase in engine temps,the rear cylinder AFR wouldn't budge and the bike almost started 2-stroking.Took it for a ride and it's safe to say i was disheartened.Especially because said Brother was calling me each day to gloat over his new found performance.

    Today i went back to it.Loaded Zipper's recommended map 546 in,went through the whole process and this time everything went well.The motor idles beautifully at 1008 rpm with a lovely LOPING lilt to it.And a nice rich burble as i ride along.Sounds just like the Harleys i hear on youtube or posted on this forum.Not loud,just Rich and Full and somehow slow and lazy.Almost indolent.

    Performance wise,it feels good.Only put 15 mins on it.I can now pull 4th gear at 60 kph,twist the wrist and i'm doing 80 kph before i notice.I ran 5th gear at 70kph and it pulled that nicely.So,i'm cautiously optimistic.Definitive test will be against the other Brother's unmodified 2008 FLSTF.With my stage one,i could pull him in 3rd.Now,i feel i could pull him using 4th gear to his 3rd.

    The Easy Start stuff works exactly as advertised.Almost too easy sometimes.You just forget about it and only remember when it clicks sometimes on shut off.
    So,my Brother is over the Moon with his 583's performance.Deliriously happy.Highly recommends them.
    My 551's will have to wait for rain to clear next week so i can smoke Brother number 2.
    Watch this space.
     
  10. Sage Counsel

    Sage Counsel Member

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    Thanks. Looking forward to hearing about it!