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Old 01-01-2008, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cam chain tensioner failure survey

I would be really interested on who has actually had a cam chain tensioner failure, what year of bike and how many miles. Also was it covered under warranty. It does not have to be a catastrophic failure can include worn beyond factory specs.

It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern that developes.

I had a 2003 Ultra with 40,000 miles that was beyond factory specs and replaced under extended warranty in 2005.

Doug
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Not my own bike but I just tore down an 03 with 25 thousand miles on it and the rear tensioner was metal to metal on one side, the oil pump had obviously pulled some junk through it at some point and the rear outer cam bearing was spun in the plate, I am replacing the whole works with an SE plate with the new style pump. I have taken a few others apart and seen some with less wear and more mileage and vice versa, the only thing I have noticed is that some cam tensioners definately seem to have more spring pressure than others, If I ever get the time I would like to set some different ones up on an old camplate and test the spring pressure with a scale. Spoke with a tech at a local small dealership and he said they had done about a dozen sets last year due to failure and he said he feels it is just the tip of the iceberg, a lot of these bikes built early in the decade dont get ridden much and are now just getting up in mileage where problems will start to show up.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here's some more reading on the subject ... http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=91607
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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2003 Road King Classic...33,457 miles - $1,028 repair bill...attempted to get Harley to pay and even filed a claim...response from Harley...NO... I normally do not purchase extended warranties and wish I would have...this is a repair that will need to be done as a scheduled repair...just like changing the oil except at around 25,000.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have 12,000 on this, taken today.
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My 03 was toast at 36k. Buddy's bike was an 02 ,failed twice in 100k
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a 01 FXSTI and replaced them at 43000 miles and they didn't look all that bad.
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machinist View Post
I have 12,000 on this, taken today.
That looks good.
How's the other one?
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I replaced the ones on my '04 Road King with 25,000 miles and went with gear drive. They were close to the failure point. I am hoping the new system on the '08's has eliminated the weak point in the system. Only time will tell.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I replaced the ones on my '04 Road King with 25,000 miles and went with gear drive. They were close to the failure point. I am hoping the new system on the '08's has eliminated the weak point in the system. Only time will tell.
May have eliminated one weak point but developed a new one to replace it.

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Old 01-03-2008, 11:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLeppik View Post
I would be really interested on who has actually had a cam chain tensioner failure, what year of bike and how many miles. Also was it covered under warranty. It does not have to be a catastrophic failure can include worn beyond factory specs.

It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern that developes.

I had a 2003 Ultra with 40,000 miles that was beyond factory specs and replaced under extended warranty in 2005.

Doug
Although my gear drives were installed before failure of any sort the inside tensioner was ready to be changed out and I believe the mileage was around 8500 at that time. I was lucky to have someone point it out to me before any real big problems happened.The outside shoe was pitted but within spec, whatever,could have made a mess if not caught early. Extended warranty was a good buy in your case,congrats to you for having it.
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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40K first time with wear but not failure,103K (original 40+63 more) second time and shot to hell.
Gear drives installed at that point and no worrys after 30K more miles so far.
Bike is 2000 FLHTC

Good friends '03 Ultra was trashed at 23K.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I replaced the tensioners on my RKC at 38,000. I was worried that they would fail miserably while I was on a long ride and I would be left stranded. The outer one was showing a little wear, but not bad at all. The inner one had worn quite a groove in it and was probably a couple thousand miles or so away from coming aprt. The part that puzzles me is that in the service manual, it says nothing about the tensioners as a part of general maintainance. Considering the amount of damage that a failed one can cause a bike...I think it should make note of that somewhere in the service manual.
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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May have eliminated one weak point but developed a new one to replace it.

The beat goes on.
What's the new weak point you're speaking of?
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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'03 Fat Boy - Went to gears last spring @ 14,000. The outer tensioner was the worst, but looked like it could have gone another 14K before it would have had to be replaced.
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