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Seems Harley is steering us 99-06 twin cam owners to upgrade to Screaming Eagle Cam plate. So, we are replacing Plastic spring tensioners with Plastic hydraulic tensioners at a cost of around $700 min. The plastic tensioners wear regardless if spring or hydraulic and need to be inspected at 20K miles. Not sure if i need to go to the expense of a new plate and just replace the spring tensioners. Any reason to not just replace the spring tensioners?
 

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You can replace just the plastic pads with some quality after market pieces for a few bucks and be good for a while.


Sent from here.
 

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Check out Cycogaskets.com They sell the correct upgraded shoe. You don't need to go the route of the hydraulic plate. Just take care of your bike and check the shoes every 10k miles.
 

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If you don't put a lot of miles on it and don't mind checking the shoes now and then, I wouldn't spend the dinero. I went with a gear drive on my '04 Road King while doing some engine upgrades and haven't had any issues in the last 40,000 miles or so. YRMV
 

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So, chains were upgraded with the hydraulic plate then. Can you explain the difference in the chains? Doesn't wear just polish them anyways? Is there an "upgraded" chain for the earlier models? Just a "plug n play"?
The original set up used a silent chain, then they swapped that out for roller chains.
 

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I'd replace the caged stock inner bearings with quality full compliment bearings which ever way you decide to go with the tensioners.
 

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Is there an "upgraded" chain for the earlier models? Just a "plug n play"?
There's nothing wrong with the silent chains. They weren't the problem.
The S.E. upgrade for the earliest models still uses the primary silent chain and sprockets because of the cam position sensor. There's a checkerboard of 2000 and 2001 models this applies to. All 2002 and up use the primary roller chain and gears like the newer 96" engines. But they all get the newer billet hydraulic cam plate, pump, and hydraulic adjusters. You don't get the hydraulics without the cam plate.

They all keep the silent secondary chain. You're supposed to mark it for direction so you can install it the same way when you install the cams in the new cam plate.

At least you get the high volume oil pump with the upgrade. Is it worth the price?
 
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There's nothing wrong with the silent chains. They weren't the problem.
The S.E. upgrade for the earliest models still uses the primary silent chain and sprockets because of the cam position sensor. There's a checkerboard of 2000 and 2001 models this applies to. All 2002 and up use the primary roller chain and gears like the newer 96" engines. But they all get the newer billet hydraulic cam plate, pump, and hydraulic adjusters. You don't get the hydraulics without the cam plate.

They all keep the silent secondary chain. You're supposed to mark it for direction so you can install it the same way when you install the cams in the new cam plate.

At least you get the high volume oil pump with the upgrade. Is it worth the price?
Good information here. "Is it worth the price?" I think that's subjective. Just about everyone says to upgrade to the hydraulic plate. Unless of course you can go to direct drive gears. Apparently, there's a lot of older Twin Cams out there running fine on the stock tension spring setup. I guess it depends on what you want, and how you ride and care for your bike. If I had unlimited funds I'm sure I'd have all the latest mods and the most horsepower I could get. Break one, buy another. But wouldn't we all? I really think the stock configuration works fine for someone that just occasionally wants to go out for a Sunday ride.
 

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The stock setup works but I'd get 'em out of my bike asap.
I have absolutely no verification and havent looked for support of the theory, but believe those springs have too much tension and cause unnecessary lateral stress on the cam bearings.
I could be way off base, totally wrong, but that's okay. I've done things way more costly than improving the cam chest of a motorcycle because of being wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for you input guys. Great information here!! Probably spend the money for the special tools and check the shoes every once in a while. Someone mentioned Cycogaskets. Do they sell quality stuff equal to James Gaskets. Their top and bottom kit seems fairly cheap.
 

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There's nothing wrong with the silent chains. They weren't the problem.
The S.E. upgrade for the earliest models still uses the primary silent chain and sprockets because of the cam position sensor. There's a checkerboard of 2000 and 2001 models this applies to. All 2002 and up use the primary roller chain and gears like the newer 96" engines. But they all get the newer billet hydraulic cam plate, pump, and hydraulic adjusters. You don't get the hydraulics without the cam plate.

They all keep the silent secondary chain. You're supposed to mark it for direction so you can install it the same way when you install the cams in the new cam plate.

At least you get the high volume oil pump with the upgrade. Is it worth the price?
Run silent chains are a problem, or rather thanks to the heavy duty springs the tensioners came with they became a problem that didn't have to be. Look at the damage evident on the stock shoes, at least the ones that haven't completely crumbled.

Looking at just the shoe, nothing else, the damage doesn't make sense and has caused many to suggest the random pockets of missing shoe are most likely unseen air pockets caused during the manufacturing process. The pockets are supposedly popped when wear reaches the air pocket.

HOWEVER, when you place the shoe against a run silent chain, what appeared to be random pockets are not random at all. EACH hole lines up PERFECTLY with a plate of the run silent chain. ONLY a run silent chain is capable of producing this damage, it is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for a roller chain to duplicate the same shoe damage.

The spring tension is way too much, forcing the run silent chain to dig into the shoes and the tension is enough to pull the sprockets, placing pressure on the cams, scoring the bearings.

Hydraulic tensioners with run silent chains would not have been a problem nor would the heavy duty spring tensioners with roller chains have been a problem. But the heavy duty spring tensioners combined with run silent chains caused the shoes to crumble and clog the oil pump and oil passages.

What's worse is that no one knows when failure will happen.The following pic is of the cams and bearings from a 2003 FLHR that was converted to S&S 509 gear drive.

Judging by the pic, how many miles would you say were on these bearings and cam? 7,000. Yup, just 7,000 one owner miles with all service records.

Hard to tell by the pic, but that's some serious scoring. The cam is pitted...PITTED. Ironically the shoes weren't that bad, I mean, as far as heavy duty shoes go, but really bad for just 7,000 miles. Some people get 80,000+ miles without a problem, some have destroyed themselves with under 2k
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Run silent chains are a problem, or rather thanks to the heavy duty springs the tensioners came with they became a problem that didn't have to be. Look at the damage evident on the stock shoes, at least the ones that haven't completely crumbled.

Looking at just the shoe, nothing else, the damage doesn't make sense and has caused many to suggest the random pockets of missing shoe are most likely unseen air pockets caused during the manufacturing process. The pockets are supposedly popped when wear reaches the air pocket.

HOWEVER, when you place the shoe against a run silent chain, what appeared to be random pockets are not random at all. EACH hole lines up PERFECTLY with a plate of the run silent chain. ONLY a run silent chain is capable of producing this damage, it is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for a roller chain to duplicate the same shoe damage.

The spring tension is way too much, forcing the run silent chain to dig into the shoes and the tension is enough to pull the sprockets, placing pressure on the cams, scoring the bearings.

Hydraulic tensioners with run silent chains would not have been a problem nor would the heavy duty spring tensioners with roller chains have been a problem. But the heavy duty spring tensioners combined with run silent chains caused the shoes to crumble and clog the oil pump and oil passages.

What's worse is that no one knows when failure will happen.The following pic is of the cams and bearings from a 2003 FLHR that was converted to S&S 509 gear drive.

Judging by the pic, how many miles would you say were on these bearings and cam? 7,000. Yup, just 7,000 one owner miles with all service records.

Hard to tell by the pic, but that's some serious scoring. The cam is pitted...PITTED. Ironically the shoes weren't that bad, I mean, as far as heavy duty shoes go, but really bad for just 7,000 miles. Some people get 80,000+ miles without a problem, some have destroyed themselves with under 2k View attachment 272312
I'm guessing those 7000 miles were put on over several years via short rides not allowing the motor to burn off the condensation built up in the oil. At least that's the type of damage I've seen from that very type of riding. Where the bike was stored, the temperature, dew, or condensation, all factors. See that a lot with older bikes just taken out around the block once a month or the owner think's they need to start it every two weeks and let it idle for a few minutes. Worst thing you can do.
 

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I've always been against starting a machine off season, for the condensation point.
I was taking to a skidoo guy who starts his in summer, I watches gauge, might even recommended. He gets it hot enough. I question is it really hot enough.

But my old truck was running good, until I parked if for summer one year. Then started leaking.

You would like to think they would build these season items to withstand that. But I am not convinced they care.
 

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I would be reluctant to go gears on anything after 2002, but guys do. The new style does seem better. I would consider retrofit kit. But it also comes down to if you don't ride much maybe not a big deal.

You can cut the pushrods and look pull cam, so you can see inside pads. You can also pull rockers to do it. New gaskets and seal might not be a bad thing for your bike, depending on age. Neither is hard, but neigher is something I feel like doing. Which is why I do think about retro kit and forget about it for 50k or so.

But replacing pads, for some peeople may get you 10 years.

Of course good time for big bore and cams, labor wise.
 

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I've always been against starting a machine off season, for the condensation point.
I was taking to a skidoo guy who starts his in summer, I watches gauge, might even recommended. He gets it hot enough. I question is it really hot enough.

But my old truck was running good, until I parked if for summer one year. Then started leaking.

You would like to think they would build these season items to withstand that. But I am not convinced they care.
Usually operating temp (200-220⁰F) at a minimum of 20 minutes. I like 45 mins to an hour. But if any condensation is noticed it's always best to change the oil and filter. I can't stress this enough with my 81 yr old mother in law. She just keeps starting her old truck once a week and lets it idle for 20 minutes. NOT good enough! LOL!
 
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