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Cam chain tensioner failure/fix question

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  • Cam chain tensioner failure/fix question

    Cracked open the cam chest on my '03 twin cam due to oil light heing on and found the outer shoe was completely gone. A small piece of it was in the bottom of the case.
    I am going to replace the pump,plate,bearings and such with Fueling kit and am going to go ahead and replace lifters and pushrods...
    My question is should I be safe in just wiping out the cam chest and replacing everything and then changing the oil?
    I am concerned about where all the rest of that shoe has ended up since that one piece is all I've found. (Haven't removed cam plate yet to see if theres any behind it)
    Thanks

  • #2
    Carefully carve open the oil filter and see how much crap there in in there. I`m not sure but I`d be mighty suspicious about debris.
    Ear Tag no. 00030
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    • #3
      Yeah I cut it open and it looked good in the filter. There is microscopic gold dust in the oil if i look at it real close on my fingers. You can't see it looking in the pan and it's not flakes or even as big as grains of sand. It's super super fine so I'm not gonna sweat it. I guess.

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      • #4
        being as you opened the filter and didn't find any pieces I'd hope you would be OK with wiping down the Cam Chest real good.
        1986 FXR 2015 Road Glide

        Member #00014

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        • #5
          Welcome, DammitDave!

          Damn, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a "Dammit, Dave!" (just recently from my lovely wife of 43 years)



          I think you'll be OK.

          Cam chain tensioners were pesky in those years... I own a 2001, and formerly a 2000 Twincam, and have replaced several. Not terribly difficult, even for a "non-wrench" such as me.

          I just pull the cam cover off for a look-see at the tensioners every winter when I service the bike. I bought a dental mirror at Harbour Freight and you can wiggle it around behind the cam plate to get a look at the inner shoe. Just cost ya a gasket.
          PFFT PFFT PFFT PFFT PFFT

          2001 FXDX Superglide Sport. More horses than a feller would want

          Official HERD Member #00192

          "What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman

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          • #6
            Hey, D-D... I poked around and found some pic's you might like to see.

            I'm not sure if H-D made a change to the material on these? But I had several sets on my 2000 Superglide... changing them out at about 40k, and they really didn't show all that much wear. The first two pic's below are off my 2001 FXDX, a high mileage bike. These pics, the tensioners had 7,600 miles on them. Zero wear.

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            The inner one...

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            ~~

            Now, I ran out to the garage and rummaged around- here's an outer one off my old 2000 Superglide. This tensioner had 20k or so as I recollect, You'll notice the actual shoe wear is minimal. But the reason I changed it out is the outer steel arm had been improperly swaged, and the whole shoe was running crooked on the chain.

            Where I'm pointing to with the ballpoint pen- the ones you buy nowadays have a nice round radius where the chain enters and exits. The OEM ones had a pronounced edge there. I don't know if that was meant as an improvement or not. Anyway, seems they last a good long time for me. I just keep and eye on them... like you'd do brake pads.

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            Attached Files
            PFFT PFFT PFFT PFFT PFFT

            2001 FXDX Superglide Sport. More horses than a feller would want

            Official HERD Member #00192

            "What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman

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