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Old 12-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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JuiceMan wants to know Dino or Syn?
Cool Crankshaft runout opinions needed with pictures

Hey Seasoned Harley TwinCam Wrenches...... I need your help and your collective, Hard Won Wisdom.......

I just bought this 2004 Ultra Classic and I got a smokin' deal on her, she has 40,500+ miles and is my FIRST HARLEY!!

I came to the forum and began to devour anything and everything on my 88 and on the Electra Glide Ultra Classic (FLHTCU/I) in general.

I quickly read about the cam chain tensioners and felt that I needed to check them out. I was hearing some engine rattling from that side of the engine but as I said, my first Harley. I am not familiar with the natural noises of the TwinCam engine.
So..... I took it to a local indie shop who's owner/operator boasts of 44 years of wrenching on Harley's EXCLUSIVELY......

He said my Ultra....."perfect man, I wouldn't touch a thing. Believe me, if there was anything wrong with those tensioners I would be able to hear it immediately." I asked about just cracking the cover and looking at them anyways and he got a bit impatient and said he would be glad to take my money but it wasn't necessary because...."after 44 years brother, my ears are trained well and I could hear any tensioner problems..." BTW and FWIW.......this "Local" Indie is in MEMPHIS, Tennessee...NOT Horn Lake, Mississippi..... I wanted to clarify that in case anybody who is on this forum knows the indie guys in Horn Lake. I like the shop in Horn Lake, Gemini Cycle Supply...............Gary is the mechanic/owner and he is knowledgable and very generous with his time, which is his money and lifeline. He is a consumate professional and knows his SH%@&T to be CLEAR.......The first guy is how I came in contact with Gemini...........

I've been a cage wrench all my civilian AND Military life, I just never cracked a nut lose on a Harley...........I decided it was time to just buy a manual and learn..........

Here are the tensioners..............

Primary........(not terrible for the mileage really from what I've read)

NOW.......The Secondary.....(disaster at any moment...)

ANYWAY.........LOOKING FOR A NEW INDIE SHOP.......(found one....LOL, thanks Gary)

I am trying to decide what to do and I need some wisdom and some advice.....without taking any more of Gary's time...
I am considering gears so I don't EVER have to think about the tensioner blocks disintergrating and clogging up oil passages and blowing my engine up when I am 3 states from home....
I have read all the great reports on the Hydraulic Conversions and the new compound the rubbing blocks are now made of and I realize this is probably true. I do plan on going with some Andrews 26 grind cams as I am just a two-up touring rider. We love going on long road trips and I want the torque and power to pass the big rigs on the interstate without too much shifting and I like to be able to get out of "tight" situations....that usually requires torque at low to mid revs........ is my pinion runout............Am I too far gone for gears????

This is my close to 0.000" as I could get it: fuzzy pic



It looks like 0.00350" which is not what I wanted to see at all...
Here's another one I got, (unfortunately):


I know that isn't the best setup but it seemed pretty stable....
It is a cheap a$$ Harbor Freight Machininst 1" Dial Indicator (no ball bearing in the tip.)

Well....... am I too far out for gears? I am a little nervous as the manual I have (downloaded from here) says the "Serviceable Limit" on the Pinion Shaft Runout is .003", which is Under what I am reading. But I don't have the budget to crack the cases and have the crank trued and welded so I've got to run it regardless.......
I think I am o.k. for sure on chains......
But I do want gears....I've read where folks have run gears for thousands of miles and they had .005" runout when they installed them........

Anyway, thanks for the patience required to read this LOOONG post! Am I A...... LOL!

I look forward to reading your opinions.....

Brian P. (JuiceMan)

Last edited by JuiceMan; 12-22-2012 at 07:41 PM. Reason: To Clarify about the "Indie" Shop.....
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Replace the inner bearings with full compliment bearings.Replace the tensioner shoes with Cyco's.Forget gear drive cams and leave the crank alone.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yep, replace the inner cam bearings and if your really concerned about the tensioners lasting , Put the New version upgrade in it and don't think no more
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have to agree with Autoworker, I am reading .00361 on your dial gauge which has you .00061 over the top for gears as is recommended by all the manufacturers of gears & cams.
I can truley understand your concerns about ending the tensioner issues by going to gears. Oh there has been some heated opinions of Gears vs Chains on this forum & I am sure if you search the forum you will soon get evidence of that first hand.

For me to sit here & tell you that the engine will not have noisy gears or any issues would not be a fair recommendation at all. I know what I would do but I have a track record of stretching the wire till its taunt if you know what I mean.

With a mere .00061 over that would have to be your decision & yours alone no matter what advise you receive. In the end it's your mill & really no one elses. In my books chains & rubbing blocks suck, I mean really suck.

The alternative is the newer hydraulic tensioners which would be a trade-off & worry free miles ... thats the safe side ... depends if ya want to push the limit or not.

It is like ridin a razor blade sometimes ya come off the end uncut & sometimes ya bleed.
We never even said a word,
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled...
And we rolled...... clean out of sight


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Old 12-22-2012, 07:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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YankeeBob is reading this now saying WTF is this?
I would change out the inner and outer bearings and gear it. But, that's just me.
"Sh!t doesn't stink unless you poke it"

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Old 12-22-2012, 10:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had .005 run out with gears. They weren't noisy, but I was running a Boarzilla and it was loud as ****.

If It got any worse, I think it would cause me problems...

Id say keep it chain and upgrade the tensioners and also keep an eye on that crank every year or 5000miles.

No sense upgrading to gears and spending all that money if your crank is just going to blow up your oil pump down the road and cause you more problems.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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FXDRYDR is reading this now saying WTF is this? FXDRYDR is reading this now saying WTF is this?
I'd pass on gears and go with the new hydraulic tensioner set up. IMO, the best option going hands-down. Gears only make sense in a very hi perfect build, or if there's a financial driver. Even-up, conversion is the best solution.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Im new to wrenching on Harley to. I remember reading an article about that chain in the secondary side. Something about that design that is suppose to prevent wear on the tensioner shoe. Unlike the design in the primary that has rough edges and will eat through the tensioner. I only bring this uo because im shocked at the amount of damage to the secondary tensioner. was the article wrong? My flhx has 5k on it and I do the oil changes myself. Im not scared to break it but I dont want to break it cause I didnt check something routinely. How often would you all recommend I check tensioners? Every 5K every 10k or every oil change.

Sorry for the hijack. This tensioner issue freaks me out.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would do the hydraulic conversion with the Andrews 26N and new bearings.

I was in the same boat with just about the same run out and did 37N's with 95 kit and head work several years ago. No worries now and the added power and tq is very nice.
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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JuiceMan wants to know Dino or Syn?
Thank you all for the advice. I do believe that either the Hybrid kit or a pieced together 2007 plate and tensioners, etc... are the way I'll go.
Dare: I have always enjoyed reading your posts and respect the opinions you tender. I also happen to agree with you. However, this is going to be a bike that will be used for long distance trips with my wife on back. I worry about finding parts at the local Harley shop 3 states from home if I am running gears. (Of course if I am needing parts for my gears driven cam chest.....I probably need more than I am gonna be able to fix in the Motel 6 room/lot)

Again, thank you all and I will post the repair and how it turns out.

Brian P.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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that's the run out I had. at the time there wasn't many options. I went with the SE hydraulic plate with chain drive cams.

now I see theres new updated shoes as pointed out earlier. if I where on a stern budget that's what I would do. update shoes and torrington inner bearings.

by the way.. very creative indicator bracket.

just my 2 cents.

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Old 12-26-2012, 11:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I bought the Andrews hydraulic tensioner upgrade kit from Herko. If you change to the new tensioners, you will have to change cams too. Herko's kit comes with everything, no searching for parts, no fuss. Comes with the torrington inner bearings and new high pressure oil pump too.

Ya gotta love some of these dic-head mechanics that claim "I've seen it all". Wonder how many engines have been damaged with that know it all attitude. Good job trusting your own instincts.

Last edited by Buck99; 12-26-2012 at 12:19 PM. Reason: clarify
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I had .0025 and I put new inner bearing, and the hydralic tensioner kit and new stock cams and outer bearings I had. The inner bearing surface on the OEM cams was damaged from the bearings starting to fail. That was a 32K, I now has 35K and some change and all is OK. A lot better oil pressure now with the upgraded pump.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I didn't have that much runout, but opted for chains. Went with the SE hybrid hydraulic kit (you can find deals out there). Shoes will last longer & a bigger oil pump to boot. Your call. As others said, change those inner bearings!!! You'll like the 26's.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by autoworker View Post
Replace the inner bearings with full compliment bearings.Replace the tensioner shoes with Cyco's.Forget gear drive cams and leave the crank alone.
and if you want to spend more money go to the SE camplate and pump, it is a nice setup, but you don't need to spend 450.00 if you don't want to
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