Check Those Cam Chain Tensioners

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by RibEye, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. RibEye

    RibEye Junior Member

    A friend, with an '03 Fatboy, just lost her engine to cam chain tensioner feet going bye-bye. I warned her that she needed to check them, and got the stuff needed to check my own. I said we could check hers as well.

    She mentioned the need to check them, to a local indy that she had doing her service. He checked them and said they were good for at least another 10K miles. She just told me he said "they were good", because, the answer she got would have triggered me to get them bad boys out of there! Anyway, 3K miles later, "thar she blows!?!"

    Dealer is putting in a new engine. Good thing she paid for the maintenance plan when she bought teh scoot from them last year. I thought she got took. Looks like I was so wrong. She has about 28K miles on the scoot, in total.

    So sad. I've got a little over 23K miles on my '03 RKC. I now have all I need to check my tensioners, so I'll be checking them within the next couple of weeks.

    Rich P
  2. War Horse

    War Horse Member

    I've been preaching about gear drives for years now, some people are to stubborn and/or cheap.

    Ya do the job once and never think about it again, the TC is the only H-D ever to have chains in it.....why o why??
  3. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    I went with the gear drive and have to say it's great not to have to think about chains and tensioners.
  4. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    IMO THE MOCO made a big mistake with the so called silent chains when a gear drive would be better look at gear drive truck motors and then look at chain or belts and see what will out last the gear drive and IMO give more accurate timing
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    IMO, the chain drives were the result of the decision to go to the inferior pressed cranks. The chains are more tolerent of some amount of runout at the pinion, although the oil pumps are an additional weak spot.

    Check those tensioner shoes on any pre-'07 TC engine (pre-'06 TC for the Dynas) at least yearly. Up-grade them as soon as the wear appoaches 50%. DO NOT push it. If they look bad, change them. Do so as soon as you can afford it. Roller-chain conversion or gear-drive, your choice, but change out the spring-loaded version.

  6. RibEye

    RibEye Junior Member

    One of us did the roller chain/hydro-tensioner change, and was greatly surprised at the amoung of foot wear when he went back in to check. I'm wondering if the wear in that scoot stopped when the rollers hit the feet, or if the chains are still digging into the feet...

    Rich P
  7. Butch

    Butch Active Member

    Made the switch to gear drive 2 yrs ago...right after my shoes munched themselves. Luckily I shut it down before any really serious engine damage resulted. very happy with the switch over.
  8. lakeforktx

    lakeforktx Active Member

    Is there any way to tell if they are bad other than ... looking or blowing up your motor... maybe a sound or something.. mine has, 24,000 miles on an 04 and they have never been checked......I'am I taking a big chance ????:newsmile07:
  9. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    Cam Chain Shoes - Harley Davidson Community
  10. Billbo

    Billbo Junior Member

    Question here --- IF the cam chain has about 30-40K miles on it, and the shoes are replaced with new spring loaded shoes (original type) -- do you think the chain would be so polished by then, the new shoes would tend to last a very long time???
    I heard once that the reason for the wear was a new and rough chain (burrs etc) rubbing on them, and that the chain polishes itself with wear over time smoothing out so less wear would be evident.