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Premium Member
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have mixed feelings about the geared cams over the chain drive. Can any verify for me the facts.

I have been told that the gear drive setup has been leaving quite a bit of shavings in the cone. Could this becaused by too much or not enough backlash (tooth clearance)?

Has anyone out there pulled there cone off with the geared set and noticed any shavings?

How much improvement is it using the geared over the chain?

Also I am planning a 103 build with 103+ heads with 10.5:1 cr and SE260 cams, SE 51mm carb, on a FXST STANDARD, would it be wise to use 4 degree advance on this setup and please explain why?

Thanks
Yes a NEWBEE but experienced in the finer pionts of life. Metal working and Machining!:cheers:
 

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Addicted to American Iron
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460 Posts
Gear cam drive or Chain???????????????

Do a search.....many many posts on this topic. I run chain but I know I should be running gear.
 

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XLIII
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10,078 Posts
rhaubert said:
I have been told that the gear drive setup has been leaving quite a bit of shavings in the cone...

Where'd you hear that one?
Admittedly, I don't get around much, but that's the first time I've ever heard that...:huh:
 

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IronButt
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6,364 Posts
CHUCK!!! that is it???.... nothing more???..... man on man you have let me down%[email protected]

Ok the SE chain drive system is a poor design ask any one even.....Chuck!!! HA HA :brows:

Ok the subject has been beat to death more times than I can count. SOOOOOOOOO what is one more time right?? From what I have seen this is me..... I amnot speaking for anyone else. That there is no rhyme or reason for the tensioner pad failure, so do,... some dont, mileage does not seem to be a factor. Nor does oil and yada yada yada.

Does the gear drive offer a better way to control cam timing?? yes as the timing stays where you set it, the tensioner is spring loaded so the timing is going to moving a bit, approx 4* back and forth. Will the tensioner break?? who knows some do some dont. Will the gear drive fail?? I have not seen that happen. Cost wise it is more money. Do they make noise?? a small amount of whrilling noise is normal, Hard to install?? Not really plenty have done it , at home, special tools ? a few you can buy or rent them( yes we do rent them)


So I hope that covers it and most certainly do a search I am sure you could go blind reading back post's on this subject. If you have more questions feel free to call me , Make sure you get the serect pass word from CSODAY. He loves this topic, I am sure he can shed more light on it than I :nunu:

Have a great day

Chuck take care and be safe!!!
 

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Hellbound Train
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5,595 Posts
I knew you couldn't resist Wrench. I was almost tired of fighting the good fight but this talk of metal filings intrigues me. Maybe there was just a bad production run or maybe the rumor is true and all S&S, Woods and Andrews cams are now made in China. We need to get to the bottom of this blatent cover up.
 

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Premium Member
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
csoday said:
I knew you couldn't resist Wrench. I was almost tired of fighting the good fight but this talk of metal filings intrigues me. Maybe there was just a bad production run or maybe the rumor is true and all S&S, Woods and Andrews cams are now made in China. We need to get to the bottom of this blatent cover up.
Sorry for posting but I have not seen a direct question about this. Delete this one then if there is so many.
 

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EASY DOES IT
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8,914 Posts
rhaubert said:
Sorry for posting but I have not seen a direct question about this. Delete this one then if there is so many.
From time to time we another "oil" thread...just so everyone boast about their knowledge...:laugh:
 

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IronButt
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6,364 Posts
Your question is fine, I tried to cover all the bases. There are private jokes that go on here after being here for a few years. We can start bashing on you now if you like?? Just kidding. The question is a common one and the issue is not the question as much as the playing field is cut in half those that like gear drive and the other that does not.
 

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0043--Licensed to Doof!
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Banned
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I am getting ready to go gear. Mainly so I can forget about it.
 

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Registered
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There is an article in this months American Iron magazine that also says that the cam lobes can depending on lift and duration hit each other and cause "disastrous results" with the chain drive system. They also mention that cam timing can be off as much a 4 degress like hdwrench stated and the need for performance valve springs with higher lift cams to prevent valve float at high rpm's.
 

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Premium Member
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the info. I'm a believer. Gear me up. Can the SE 260's use the S&S 4 gear set or do I need a whole different set of cams with the gears on the cams already?
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I Figured that, Thanks
I'll check other threads for CAms
 

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Premium Member
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It's not as if this subject needs another post, but from someone who has no agenda (and no HD wrenching experience until my *&%@$# bike comes in), I think the gear/chain argument has a lot of passionate, but not necessarily scientific posts.

It looks to me as if your choice of gears or chains SHOULD hinge on some objective you are trying to achieve. For instance, if you want the peace of mind that never having to check tensioners gives you, gears are a really good choice. If you're running a competition bike, whose performance may be measured in tiny fractions of a second, gears may be really necessary. If you are running a viciously brutal cam, gears may be your best bet for longevity. If you simply like the experience of trying new "hip" things, gears will satisfy your need. And gears will definitely let you showboat in front of all your friends who don't have them.

On the other hand, if you are doing a mild build, if you have a budget for your project that forces you to get the most "bang for your buck", or if you don't like the idea of tearing your bike down to install gears that might not fit or work properly without "fussing with it", gears are likely an overkill. Lots of high performance engines use camshaft drives that are not gears. Instead, they use belts or chains. Not to mention that NO ONE has ever published scientifcially credible results to prove gear drives yield greater power.

In my case, I am doing a mild "Hippo" build, and as an engineer and a mechanic since childhood, I see no compelling reason to switch to gear drives. My choice might change if I was doing something more radical to my TC 88 engine, but my mild build is easily handled by chains with little or no worry about

It simply seems that gear-drive cams are very well suited to some people/objectives, but are not the Holy Grail for every situation.

I suspect this will draw passionate responses from both camps, but I really have no quarrel with either position. Just don't tell me my build is doomed if I don't switch to gear drive. Chains are an intelligent choice in some applications. Gears are an intelligent choice in some applications. Just remember to make your choice on rational grounds, not "keeping up with the Jones's."

My upcoming build, for which I have almost completed ordering parts, will be chain drive because:
1) it requires less experience and expertise than gears,
2) it is cheaper
3) it is not plagued with noise problems
4) I'm only willing to pay for modifications that the "butt dyno" can feel
5) were it not for unpredictable tensioner wear, gear drives might not even exist
6) tensioner wear can be significantly reduced by chain polishing.
7) years of experience (non H-D) have taught me that it's easier and certainly more satisfying to upgrade in steps. Downgrading after-the-fact because your initial choice of components was not outstanding, is NOT a pleasant experience.

Cams or chains? There is no universal answer, so be sure you know what you are shooting for before you start.
 

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Premium Member
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I think the gear/chain argument has a lot of passionate, but not necessarily scientific posts.

If you simply like the experience of trying new "hip" things, gears will satisfy your need. And gears will definitely let you showboat in front of all your friends who don't have them.

or if you don't like the idea of tearing your bike down to install gears that might not fit or work properly without "fussing with it", gears are likely an overkill. Lots of high performance engines use camshaft drives that are not gears. Instead, they use belts or chains. Not to mention that NO ONE has ever published scientifcially credible results to prove gear drives yield greater power.

In my case, I am doing a mild "Hippo" build, and as an engineer and a mechanic since childhood, I see no compelling reason to switch to gear drives. My choice might change if I was doing something more radical to my TC 88 engine, but my mild build is easily handled by chains with little or no worry about

It simply seems that gear-drive cams are very well suited to some people/objectives, but are not the Holy Grail for every situation.

not "keeping up with the Jones's."

3) it is not plagued with noise problems

Thanks for the scientific and unbiased opinion!
 

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Pestilence
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2,092 Posts
vanwill said:
It's not as if this subject needs another post, but from someone who has no agenda (and no HD wrenching experience until my *&%@$# bike comes in), I think the gear/chain argument has a lot of passionate, but not necessarily scientific posts.

It looks to me as if your choice of gears or chains SHOULD hinge on some objective you are trying to achieve. For instance, if you want the peace of mind that never having to check tensioners gives you, gears are a really good choice. If you're running a competition bike, whose performance may be measured in tiny fractions of a second, gears may be really necessary. If you are running a viciously brutal cam, gears may be your best bet for longevity. If you simply like the experience of trying new "hip" things, gears will satisfy your need. And gears will definitely let you showboat in front of all your friends who don't have them.

On the other hand, if you are doing a mild build, if you have a budget for your project that forces you to get the most "bang for your buck", or if you don't like the idea of tearing your bike down to install gears that might not fit or work properly without "fussing with it", gears are likely an overkill. Lots of high performance engines use camshaft drives that are not gears. Instead, they use belts or chains. Not to mention that NO ONE has ever published scientifcially credible results to prove gear drives yield greater power.

In my case, I am doing a mild "Hippo" build, and as an engineer and a mechanic since childhood, I see no compelling reason to switch to gear drives. My choice might change if I was doing something more radical to my TC 88 engine, but my mild build is easily handled by chains with little or no worry about

It simply seems that gear-drive cams are very well suited to some people/objectives, but are not the Holy Grail for every situation.

I suspect this will draw passionate responses from both camps, but I really have no quarrel with either position. Just don't tell me my build is doomed if I don't switch to gear drive. Chains are an intelligent choice in some applications. Gears are an intelligent choice in some applications. Just remember to make your choice on rational grounds, not "keeping up with the Jones's."

My upcoming build, for which I have almost completed ordering parts, will be chain drive because:
1) it requires less experience and expertise than gears,
2) it is cheaper
3) it is not plagued with noise problems
4) I'm only willing to pay for modifications that the "butt dyno" can feel
5) were it not for unpredictable tensioner wear, gear drives might not even exist
6) tensioner wear can be significantly reduced by chain polishing.
7) years of experience (non H-D) have taught me that it's easier and certainly more satisfying to upgrade in steps. Downgrading after-the-fact because your initial choice of components was not outstanding, is NOT a pleasant experience.

Cams or chains? There is no universal answer, so be sure you know what you are shooting for before you start.


1) If you're gonna tackle a cam re&re, gears make it no more of a challenge than chains.
2)Short, or long term?
3)Noise is the least of your concerns when you're riding a HD
4)Refer to #2
5)Were it not for AMF, HD may not exist. But it is.
6)Not if the tensioners wear "unpredictable"
7)There is no downgrading. Play away with different cams, but the gears stay the same.

Minimize the shortcomings on the valve drivetrain, gears are nothing but a PLUS.
 
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