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Old 10-28-2010, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cam Chain Tensioner Pad Replacement Only

Hey Guys,
I have a 2003 FLHTCI with 40K and need to replace the tensioner pads. Outer looks great but inner is toast. Not sure how long I will keep the bike, so I only want to change the pads. I have adjustable pushrods and am looking for the dime store version on the easy and quick way to replace.

I have read all the threads and seen the HarleyhogUK tutorial. I also have the manual. However, all of them address the entirety of replacing pads, cams, bearings.

I have the cam cover off and have the JIMS tools necessary. So what are the next steps? Do I need to pull the Crank/Cam bolts and remove the cams? Can I leave them in place and just unbolt the support plate? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
Darkknight
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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...there's no way you'll be able to get to the inner one without removing the cam plate, with the adjustable pushrods, can you decrease the length of the pushrods enough so that you don't have to remove the rocker cover and remove the pushrods?
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Just did mine last Sunday don't know how you can do it any other way.

Needed the proper tools, had to remove the sprockets, the cam support plate the cams and bearings to properly change the tenioners. Don't see how it could be done any other way.

You have to completely unload the tension in order to do the change and you can't do that with the cams and chains in place. Also you can't replace the support plate with the cams intact with the secondary tensioner activated, it just won't go in. Unless someone has devised a shortcut I don't see how it can be done any other way.

It's not a hard job but it does take some time and the proper tools. You at least need the sprocket locking tool to remove the sprockets. I have been able to push the tensioner back with my thumbs while my wife placed a pin (finishing nail) in the hole to fix it back. The same can be done with the secondary tensioner once the plate is out.

I used a small table top arbor press to remove and replace the cams and bearings.

Remove the cover, unload the primary tensioner, lock the sprockets and remove them.

Remove the support plate, you may leave the oil pump intact. Check o-rings and replace if necessary (I always replace them)

Unload the secondary tensioner remove the cams and bearings. Now you can remove the retaining clips and replace the tensioners.

It's all basically by the manual.

If you don't have the tools and time then consider your local Indy.
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2002 FLHPI: SE Cast 95" Flat tops, Heads by Bean, Stock TB Bored by Hillside, Andrews TW21, Supertrapp SuperMeg 20 disks w/endcap, Jagg Oil Cooler, Glide Pro Stabilizing System, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey.

2006 FLSTCI: SE Cast 95" 10.25:1, Super Stock Heads by Dan Baisley, 50mm SE TB, Woods TW6G, D&D Fat Cat with QB, Jagg Oil Cooler, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey

Last edited by mfalba; 10-28-2010 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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change the inner cam bearings.(the ones in the engine case) 12.00 cheap insurance. torrington B 148. the bearings in the camplate should be fine.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strokerjlk View Post
change the inner cam bearings.(the ones in the engine case) 12.00 cheap insurance. torrington B 148. the bearings in the camplate should be fine.


What he said about the inner bearings!
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2002 FLHPI: SE Cast 95" Flat tops, Heads by Bean, Stock TB Bored by Hillside, Andrews TW21, Supertrapp SuperMeg 20 disks w/endcap, Jagg Oil Cooler, Glide Pro Stabilizing System, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey.

2006 FLSTCI: SE Cast 95" 10.25:1, Super Stock Heads by Dan Baisley, 50mm SE TB, Woods TW6G, D&D Fat Cat with QB, Jagg Oil Cooler, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Most definitely do the Inner Cam Bearings, very cheap & easy to do for top quality Timken product. Since you'll have the guts taken out, the old bearings will be right there and accessible.

If you're a cheap bastard like me, rent or borrow tools. Autozone has the bearing puller you can rent for free (get back your deposit). I bought a cheap set of bearing installers for $12 that can CAREFULLY tap in the new bearings. Just saying if you're keeping costs down.

Others go for the high quality George's Garage or Jims tools that'll get the job done with precision and less risk on a tool fouling up. If you're experenced in wrenching and go the "cheap" route, then you'll know to inspect the tools prior to placing them on your motor.

I completed my Andrews 26 cam & hydraulic tensioner conversion install last year and had no problems with tools/manual direction. Follow the manual or use a good source for instructions and you should be good to go. Good Luck!
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Since you are doing this yourself...you save the $500 plus charge for the stealership to go in there and do anything. If I were going in there for any reason, I would consider the hydraulic tensioner upgrade, which you can get for around $365.00 off e-bay. You get all new "stuff" including the tensioner shoes, larger oil pump and a hell-of-a-good looking and stronger support plate. You will never need the special tensioner shoe tools or finishing-nails to replace the new style tensioners....which you may never have to do anyway. I believe it was stroker that posted a picture of one of the new shoes showing little wear after 30K. All you will ever need is the sprocket locking tool and there are ways to even get around that. The old-school easy-bake oven technique can be used for any bearing replacements, except the inners.

My shoes "looked good" also according to my dealer, but I cut the filter open a week later and found little shards of orange tensioner shoe. These little orange devils can look good, but still pit and flake. The thing to do is get those the he!! out of there.....period.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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About the cam chain tensioners I will say this, and anybody who agrees or disagrees please speak up.

In my softail I went gear drive because of a certain degree of paranoia surrounding the standard tensioners. In my current Road King project, I decided to just replace bearings (all four), the cams, the tensioners and do an LMR spring because basically when you get into a build the bucks start adding up. So I just changed cams and freshened things up inside the timing case.

I believe that gears or roller chains are definately superior systems, but I also believe that there is alot of unsubstantiated fear surrounding the standard "old style" tensioners.

The reason I say this is that I would bet that the majority of HD owners out there never get into their timing case and change anything, drive their stock or stage 1 bikes tens of thousands of miles, never even worry about their tensioners or even know they exist.

I honestly believe there's alot more hype than need be, and that good maintanence can prevent major problems.
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2002 FLHPI: SE Cast 95" Flat tops, Heads by Bean, Stock TB Bored by Hillside, Andrews TW21, Supertrapp SuperMeg 20 disks w/endcap, Jagg Oil Cooler, Glide Pro Stabilizing System, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey.

2006 FLSTCI: SE Cast 95" 10.25:1, Super Stock Heads by Dan Baisley, 50mm SE TB, Woods TW6G, D&D Fat Cat with QB, Jagg Oil Cooler, Seat by Mean City, Windshield by Cee-Bailey
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There is one thing we all have to agree on.....we have what we have and no choice but to live with it.

I think there are 4 approaches:

#1. Ride it and don't worry about it until it breaks.

#2. Crack the cam-chest every 15-20K and inspect/change the tensioner shoes. I know guys that have well over 160K on spring tensioners serviced on a regular basis.

#3. Install the hybrid hydraulic tensioner system used since 07 (06 on some models) and double (possibly triple) the life of the tensioner system, gain a larger oil pump, a stronger support plate, throw away a handful of parts and the special tools needed to change the spring tensioners and....never have to worry about crank run-out.

#4. Install a gear-drive at 2 times the material cost of the hybrid hydraulic kit and hope the run-out stays within an operable tolerance.

Using the stealership average cost...they love to see you coming in for spring tensioner upgrades at $750 a pop. The hybrid kit installation will cost you around $1100, which may be the last time you need to do anything. The gear drive will set you back around 2-times the material cost of the hybrid hydraulic kit, 3-times if you spring for the larger pump not in the gear-drive kit.

I have not read every thread on every forum, but you just don't see much (if anything) concerning tensioner shoe issues on the 07 and later models running the hydraulic tensioner system.

Last edited by 1550vt; 11-04-2010 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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1550vt Option #3
Screamin' EagleŽ Billet Cam Plate and Oil Pump 25284-08
Retail Price: $429.95
From Chicago Harley.com Price: $343.96
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I picked mine up off e-bay for something like $365.00, which includes everything needed. I think it may be less the sprocket spacer kit...which may or may not be needed depending on which chain you have now (silent vs. roller). The Chicago price sounds good and I have picked-up a few things from them myself.

It's a good looking piece. I have a shot of mine attached.
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Last edited by 1550vt; 11-04-2010 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1550vt View Post
#4. Install a gear-drive at 2 times the material cost of the hybrid hydraulic kit and hope the run-out stays within an operable tolerance.

Using the stealership average cost...they love to see you coming in for spring tensioner upgrades at $750 a pop. The hybrid kit installation will cost you around $1100, which may be the last time you need to do anything. The gear drive will set you back around 2-times the material cost of the hybrid hydraulic kit, 3-times if you spring for the larger pump not in the gear-drive kit.
I think you're putting more worry into this crank run out thing than necessary. Reason being, those of us with mild engines aren't the onces experiencing all these crank run out issues. Not that it doesn't happen, it's just uncommon. Case in point, since I've done mine, two of my friends have done theirs, one at 41,000 miles, the other at 65,000 miles and neither had issues. Then another I know of with 147,000 miles on his gears and no issues there as well.

Cost wise, you're saying the hybrid system costs $1,100 installed? I paid $1,200 for my gears installed which included the S&S 510G cams. So not only do I never need worry about checking my non-existant tensioners. I get a +/- 3 hp increase due to the lack of friction from the chains and tensioners. Then throw in the hp bump from the upgraded cams and you have a nice performance increase.

One other thing you get with a cam change, or at least with this set of cams is a cooler running engine. As it was explained to me, the exhaust valves stay open longer which in turn cools the engine down, and I can definitely tell it. Plus the sound is WAY, WAY better! It actually sounds like a Harley now. I was on a Patriot Guard ride last week and a few people commented on how good the bike sounds. And like myself, both my friends reported the same experience after their swaps.

But to be fair, I had to jet up one seeting and I did lose some of my fuel mileage. The best I can do now is 45 to 46 mpg at 70 mph, all hwy. Not bad, but not as good as it was. So there is a price for the performance increase, but well worth it in my opinion.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I agree the dealer cost of the gears vs. the hydraulic kit are close to the same and I don't beat-down the gear drives. I know lots of guys running the gears with no issues. I have not heard from anyone that has actually put their bikes on a dyno and "saw" the 3-4 hp claimed increase and I doubt that you could actually feel it anyway.

However, if you do the installation yourself, the hybrid kit is a more economical choice. You can install the hybrid kit using existing chain-drive cams for a total cost of the kit, which is close to $400 and you get the larger oil pump and billet cam support plate to boot.

I think the important part is the dealer/Indy install of the gears. They should have the correct tools and gear assortment to get the correct lash. The gear-drive manufacturers make oversize and undersized gears to get this right. Likely, the people that have removed their gear-drives due to noise or other issues...just threw them in without regard to run-out or gear-lash adjustments. I also like the fact that you have standardized components in the engine that you can get, or have fixed out there on the road with the hybrid kit.

Honestly, most of the stealerships out there would simply laugh at you or tell you they will have to replace the gear-drive kits with the chain-drive if you broke-down out there in most places. I guess I just like the comfort of having something in the motor that can be had at a dealership if something did happen out there on the road.

I am still waiting for someone to post any problem with the hydraulic tensioners being installed since 07. Haven't heard much-if-anything yet.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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......... I have not heard from anyone that has actually put their bikes on a dyno and "saw" the 3-4 hp claimed increase and I doubt that you could actually feel it anyway.
If you turned you're cam set up when you installed it then you felt first hand how hard the system is to turn. As to rather you'll feel 3 hp, I agree, probably not. But S&S claims they have dyno charts to prove it, and the way I look at it, 3 hp less friction plus 10 or so hp from the cam....it adds up.

Then take into account how many folks get all wrapped around the axle over true duals vs 2 into 1 and truth be told, that's a small hp/torque difference as well. So what I'm saying is, if you pick up 3 hp from the gears, and 3 to 5 from good pipes, then a good tune, it all starts to add up. That's if you're one of those guys who's into pure dyno results. Me, I just want a good running and efficent bike, no matter what the dyno chart says. That said, I think everything should be on the table so folks can make a more informed decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1550vt View Post
However, if you do the installation yourself, the hybrid kit is a more economical choice. You can install the hybrid kit using existing chain-drive cams for a total cost of the kit, which is close to $400 and you get the larger oil pump and billet cam support plate to boot.
Hard to argue with that and judging by your pics, it does look pretty trick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1550vt View Post
I think the important part is the dealer/Indy install of the gears. They should have the correct tools and gear assortment to get the correct lash. The gear-drive manufacturers make oversize and undersized gears to get this right. Likely, the people that have removed their gear-drives due to noise or other issues...just threw them in without regard to run-out or gear-lash adjustments. I also like the fact that you have standardized components in the engine that you can get, or have fixed out there on the road with the hybrid kit.
I tend to think you're right. The majority of folks having issues are the victim of an inferior installation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1550vt View Post
Honestly, most of the stealerships out there would simply laugh at you or tell you they will have to replace the gear-drive kits with the chain-drive if you broke-down out there in most places. I guess I just like the comfort of having something in the motor that can be had at a dealership if something did happen out there on the road.
As to being standardized, there is something to be said for that. But gears have a proven track record when installed correctly. So I'm very comfortable with the odds that mine won't fail, so for me, not a concern at all.

Main thing is, go with what makes you comfortable. They are both good choices.
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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The irony is that MOCO went with the chain drive in the TC and tried to "cram" all this stuff into that small area with the idea the chain drive would be quieter. What a joke....the TC is likely the nosiest engine ever produced. I am showing my age here, but I have been riding motorcycles for 40-years and over that time frame, have owned one Honda. I love my Harley's and the thing I love the most is that we can make all sorts of changes and they just keep on running and running no matter what we do to them. Properly maintained, these TC's are going well over 200K no matter what we seem to do to them.

I wish they had installed a gear-drive to start with, but they didn't ask us what we wanted. Actually, I would prefer a gear-drive, but just took what I considered the most economical and practical way out.

No argument here....run what you want and ride on!
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