Any idea's out there on engine shake after cam tensioner replacement?

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by cowboywildbill, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. cowboywildbill

    cowboywildbill Active Member

    This is a follow up from my previous post. I test rode the bike again and it still shakes pretty bad when you are coming to a stop and sit and idle. I tried slowing down with out braking and not downshifting and it still does it regardless. If I increase the rpm's up to around 1800 it smooths out and doesn't shake as bad. I know that it should be smoother at a higher rpm, but not sure what is going on. I think maybe they have the timing off a tooth or a pushrod adjusted out too much. They put adjustables in when they did the tensioners. It seems to idle OK but just shakes like a bad mount. The dealer that did the cam tensioners told me they couldn't even look at it for at least a week because they were just too busy.. I told them it didn't do this before they worked on it, and they said too bad but don't ride it until we look at it so it doesn't burn a valve just in case there is a problem with a pushrod.
    I am not happy with the way they are treating me. I have purchased 4 bikes from them and thousands of dollars in parts and so on. Any idea's on what my problem could be? I have heard that if you run these things too hard it can cause a problem like this, but I don't run it that hard. I don't know how it was treated before I bought it. I have put 5,000 miles on it.It has 30,000 on it now. Any help or idea's would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Rode the bike back to the Dealer in Frederick and had the shop foreman take it for a test ride. He did not feel anything unusual, he said some actually shake worse. I think all of the mechanics there are very confident and I trust thier judgement. But I know it shake more. He said it could be a soft rear mount, but thought i was OK. I'll ride it and see.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2009
  2. threesteps

    threesteps Junior Member

    Hope it works out. I haven't had the upgrade you write about but I agree and increase in vibration would concern me. We become very familiar with our bikes in terms of how they feel and sound. It can be very frustrating when you know something has changed, particularly after the dealer has worked on it, yet the only reply you get is "that's normal". Sometimes they are correct but from personnel experience I know "that's normal" can be an excuse covering up ignorance or unwillingness to spend their time correcting a problem.
  3. cowboywildbill

    cowboywildbill Active Member

    I agree, I amost think it could also be something going on with fuel or timing changing at low rpm with ecm. Although no codes are showing up. I'll ride it and see what happens. If it gets worse maybe it will be easier to diagnose.
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    First of all, if you are concerned that the shaking is significantly worse now than before the work was done by the Dealership, I would DEMAND that they check the bike immediately. I would NOT be limited to talking to the Service department. If you have talked to the Service Manager and NOT gotten a response like, "really, well we need to check that out now. How soon can you get it here?", then talk to the General Manager. If that doesn't help, find out who owns the franchise and call that person. If you do not get any support there, call Harley and talk to them.

    In the mean time, check that the links at the top if the engine (under the tank), and at the front of the engine are secure. If the Dealership did the work, it is unlikely that the sprockets would have been installed out of time. It would take a totally incompetent technician to do that. It is almost idiot proof.

    With adjustable pushrods, those can be poorly adjusted. But you can do that yourself without having to take anything apart. You do have to know what kind of pushrods they are, and how many threads/inch the adjuster screws are. Also, you need to know if the lifters are the standard "B" lifters or some other lifter. The key is how much stroke the lifter piston has. The pushrods should be adjusted to HALF that travel. See here for info on lifters:

    Hydrallic Lifters - Harley Davidson Community

    And here is the procedure:

    Adjusting Pushrods - Harley Davidson Community

  5. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    I agree with TQ. With the money that you have spent at this dealership, it's time to go to the top and bypass the service manager. Yes, it will put his servicing schedule out of whack, but that's not your problem. If this guy can continue to blow you off he will, just to make his life easier.

    That being said, I am a fairly good wrench turner. Not professional level, but I can hold my own. I did the roller chain conversion on my '99 Ultra, and again, I agree with TQ, this is not rocket science. It's basic, fundamental, fly by wire, step by step, mechanics. If I can successfully perform this operation, for certain, a "certified" HD mechanic should be able to do it in his sleep.

    Time to take off the "nice guy" gloves and get testy. You deserve better...Good luck.
  6. Gezzer Glide

    Gezzer Glide Active Member Contributor

    I had to remove my exhust from my 03 FLHT. After I put them back on I had the same shaking and vibrations you discribe. The rough idle and smoothing out with some rpms. The front heat shield was hitting the rear brake peddle making the whole bike shake. I readjusted the heat shield and the problem went away.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    As GesserGlide found out...sometimes the vibration is a SYMPTOM and not a cause. As TQ pointed out, there are many things that were "disturbed" before changing out the cam tensioner. They should at the very LEAST, pull the primary cover off and inspect THEIR work. That means they should at least have the old gasket and o-ring to show you they PULLED it to inspect for a problem. You do not want what GS34 had when he found out the dealer did not put lube back into the gear box.
  8. cowboywildbill

    cowboywildbill Active Member

    Thanks for the replys everyone. The first thing I did after the other dealer replaced the front motor mount was to realign the exhaust. It still didn't help. This problem seems intermitent. When you first start it it doesnt shake too much, after riding 20 feet and stopping it shakes ? I think it's fuel or timing or something going on with the ecm. I am going to go over the mounts when it cools down later. It is dead smooth at 2500 rpm on the highway. It's got me puzzled. I was an auto mechanic, but not a harley mechanic although I did do some work in the Evo day's on bikes at a Harley dealership part time. I never professed to be a Motorcycle mechanic, but feel confident in wrenching on them so I understand the basics and symptoms and diagnosing a problem, but this is baffleing, and will probably be something simple if we ever figure it out.
    Thanks again for the advice. Like I said in another post, this forum is worth it's weight in gold, so many of you are really sharp and on the cutting edge of these bikes and solving problems for us. I really appreciate being able to use this resource. It can and does save so much grief and money for us by not making a simple and costly mistake when doing our own work, on something that we wouldn't otherwise know to do or not to do. Thanks again.