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I {Heart} Hookers.
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1.) Let me ask this....what would you do in my position?

2.) Should I upgrade the shoe tensioner and keep chains or convert to gear?

3.) Which cam would give me the best bang for the money??

4.) I am looking to do the upgrade with a good buddy and he's very mechanically inclined, which is good because I am not?

5.) Do I have to check the runout if upgrading cams but staying chain?

6.) My budget right now will allow for conversion to upgraded shoe tensioners or new cam gears, oil spring, quickee install push rod kit, new bearings (I think the bearings are in the s / s install kit) and a good dyno. May can squeeze in the tappets. If you were me, which route would you go? Thank you so much!!
7.) Also, wouldn't I see a huge savings from not having to order the gear set if I stay with chains. That's a good lick right there that I could use in other places??

1.) I can't answer that fairly. I fix bikes. I had a customer bring his 2001 EG to me and it had noise. He wanted it fixed. At 28K it was time to check cam chest.

Here's my issue: I won't pull exhaust and a cover JUST TO CHECK the outside shoe. Its almost impossible to get a good view of the inside shoe and that's usually the issue.

I've also seen the original oem inside shoe break on reinstall, when the pin is pulled and the shoe slaps onto the inner chain. You can't put cams back in with inner shoe tension applied as it pulls cams together.

Secondly, cams can delaminate in the bearing (inner) and you can't see it. SO.....I cut pushrods, replace with adjustables and new tubes (you have too to get to adjusters. The tubes are shorter.) I pull the cam chest. I inspect the tensioners, check crank run out, polish the plunger for oil psi, replace spring, replace inner cam bearings, polish chains if needed (Tensioner replace) and if everything is good, put back together. The tensioners on this guy's bike were 95% with .002" run out.

If you have to replace tensioners, you HAVE TO remove the cams from the support plate and the front cam needs to be pressed out. If removing the cams, you need to replace the front cam c-clip. I won't reuse them.

If replacing the cams, you need to replace the support plate bearings.

All these parts, including the inner bearings come in the S&S cam install kit, including a gasket. INCLUDING oil pump feed o rings. You MUST REPLACE THESE. I know a guy who tried to reuse his and lost oil psi. It's a $1 part.

2.) Changing to gear drive is an issue of money, and your current crank run out measurement. .003" is max. Everyone says these cranks scissor. They do if you abuse the bike. Since HD started to press fit their flywheels, (vs bolting) they were coming from the factory with .003" and more......from new. HD calls for max run out to be .012". .....At that measurement, the oil pump has a trench worn in the body.

3.) Cams are a personal choice. I have the S&S 510. There's more opinions about cams then there are about pipes. I chose mine because it'll still work very well with the engine enlargement I'll be doing to 97".

4.) There's special tools that are REQUIRED. The inner cam bearing remover and installer are a must. I'm sure somewhere, someone used a Harbor Freight blind bearing puller, and tapped the new bearing in. Tensioner tool for moving to pin/secure is great, but pliars can work, However, you risk bending the tensioner. The securing pins can be made from nails or coat hanger. Tappet magnets are great. You can make tappet holders (prevents them from dropping into cam chest with cams out) from the stationary clip arms. Centering bolts are recommended if you remove the oil pump from the support plate. A scissors jack makes the job easier when bike is in 5th gear and you're rotating engine to adjust pushrods.

Not using the inner cam bearing tool: I recommend that as much as having sex with a common street whore, skipping the condom, doing it a second time, not pulling out, then going home and telling the wife about it, AFTER you have sex with her, before showering. Follow me?

5.) No, I do it on every engine to make sure I know if I have to yank an oil pump off and inspect the internals, or replace a wave washer due to excessive movement of the crank. I'f I see .003" or less, I'm a happy boy. More then that, (.006"+) and I can't guarantee the job, because the crank affects everything in that cam chest.

6.) Do it once. If you can't afford tappets now, ($100) and one grenades due to higher lift cams, which add more valve pressure (which the tappet holds) you're in for more issues.

If you plan on keeping the bike, do it right.

You can get MAPs that are as close to what you need, off the internet. Save the Dyno run cash, (Usually $150 for 2-3 runs) and use it for tappets. Your issue is the correct tools.

Here's what you need:

Harley Davidson Twin Cam Inner Cam Bearing Installer Puller Remover Tools | eBay

7.) Gear vs chain is about a $150-200 difference. (S&S with install kit) BUT......if you buy gear drive, pull engine apart, and have too much crank run out, you can't use them anyway.
 

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Keep on Ridin’
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Dave does it again! This post needs to get a sticky.

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The only thing I can think of to add after Dave's post is, will it take another 11 years to put the next 30k miles on the bike? Your chains are now pretty much polished and the next shoes should last even longer.
 

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts
The only thing I can think of to add after Dave's post is, will it take another 11 years to put the next 30k miles on the bike? Your chains are now pretty much polished and the next shoes should last even longer.
Very true. Chains are naturally smoother after being run over plastic tensioners for 30k..... Second sets of tensioners gnerally last longer than the first set. :thumbup:
 

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Retired citizen
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The polished chains was the MoCo's fix back in '03. The '03> big twin tensioners last twice as long as the earlier ones.
The OP might not find his tensioners worn out when he removes the cam plate.
 

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Retired citizen
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why hasnt anyone mentioned a cam plate conversion???
better shoe setup, better oil pump
I assume you mean the hydraulic cam plate.
I wouldn't, I've had trouble with those making noise. I'd go with the HVHP oil pump tho and new lifters with the new cams.
 

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts
The polished chains was the MoCo's fix back in '03. The '03> big twin tensioners last twice as long as the earlier ones.
The OP might not find his tensioners worn out when he removes the cam plate.
Which was why the 2001RK with 28K just did, with perfect tensioners, was astounding. His issue was simply tappet noise, which was corrected with adjustable pushrods, setting plunger to .0140 vs .0100", and the Baisley spring.
 

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts
Tools needed: (left to right)

Tensioner tool.
Pins below.
Oil pump centering screws.
88" bearing install arbor. (96-up is larger)
88" bearing puller
96"/103/110 puller
96"103/110 installer
Cam gear lock 96-up
Cam gear lock 88
Tappet magnets
Pushrod tube holders. High tech models.
 

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts
Parts needed: (left to right)

(Reman'd cam chest with oil pump, spring, etc)

Pushrod tube kit
O rings
Exhaust gaskets
Cam chest gasket
Oil pump feed/return o rings
C clip (front cam)
Cam support bearings
Inner cam bearings (88=b148, 96-up=b168 )
Tensioners
Adj pushrods.
 

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Keep on Ridin’
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I think there a couple of places on the internet where you can rent the tools.

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Retired citizen
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Some of the reasons the MoCo went with hydraulic tensioners was to eliminate noise associated with the chain setup not wear problems. Also saved costs by using fewer parts.
Believe it or not the MoCo counts decibels like Scrooge counted his coins ! If they can eliminate decibels in one area of the bike they can add them to the exhaust note and still stay within EPA restrictions. The sound sells Harleys.
 

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I {Heart} Hookers.
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31,321 Posts
Some of the reasons the MoCo went with hydraulic tensioners was to eliminate noise associated with the chain setup not wear problems. Also saved costs by using fewer parts.
Believe it or not the MoCo counts decibels like Scrooge counted his coins ! If they can eliminate decibels in one area of the bike they can add them to the exhaust note and still stay within EPA restrictions. The sound sells Harleys.
Yep. Look at the cost breakdown:

1999-2006 vs (2006 Dyna) 2007-up

Old: spring steel tensioners, steel pins, Two side plates, mounting pin, c clip and shoe, with constant, 100% tension.

New: Tensioner shoe, small wound spring, cast aluminum body, 2 screws and pressure controlled by oil psi/rpm. Less pressure, less wear, less noise.

Old support plate: 2 support bearings, retaining plate, 5 screws, o-ring for oil pump to support plate seal.

New support plate: No bearings, rather two pressed bushings, no retaining plate, no o-ring (machined surface mating).

Old chain and gears: Double row.

New chain and gears: Single row, narrower, less contact area, less material.
 
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