I Love Harley-Davidson, But You Must Know This

//I Love Harley-Davidson, But You Must Know This

I Love Harley-Davidson, But You Must Know This


I Love Harley-Davidson, But You Must Know This

Here is the ignored elephant in the corner……

There is a potential major issue in the Harley-Davidson Twin-Cam engines. This is a statement of fact, not a bunch of wild guesses.  I’m not here to bash Mother Harley, but you should be educated to its causes, and possible solutions.

Okay, what issue are we looking at? It’s a very serious one that is enough to alarm you.   However, you can fix these defects and end up with a nice bike. Our objective today is to educate, and we are also going to outline some ways to fight back.   Yes, even the new Harley’s have serious, potential problems.  Even the expensive CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) bikes have issues not to be taken lightly.

Here we go…..

The problem is the design of the cam chain system.  It uses plastic “shoes” riding on the cam chains that can (and do) wear out. Harley has made some changes in later model bikes, but even with the new hydraulic tensioning system, it is not a true fix.  What is the problem?  The shoes rub against the two chains and the plastic shoes wear out.  When they wear in extreme cases, there will be metal to metal contact and this grinding creates metal shavings that can result in a catastrophic engine failure. If not caught soon enough, this can be so bad that the entire engine can be destroyed; cams, pistons, crankshaft and even engine cases broken.  It is a wickedly serious possible engine problem.  Be aware… it can fail as soon 15,000 miles (in extreme cases).  Even the newer hydraulic system can fail at 50,000 miles or less.  The cam chain tensioners have a section in every service manual that covers the Twin Cam engines and is very enlightening.

If your pipes are loud, you may not hear or get any warning.  The oil pump passages can clog up without making any noise whatsoever except when the engine starts tearing itself to pieces.

The scary thing is every Twin-Cam engine has the potential to have the cam chain follower issue, even the new models.  Check things out before this happens to you.  If it has a cam chains, it has the potential problem.

It is our intent to make you aware that pre ’06 Dyna’s and the 1999 to 2006 Twin-Cam Harley-Davidson engines have possible, serious issues and they can mess up.  How? In the most severe cases, as the spring loaded cam chain follower fails it shreds plastic material that fouls the rotary gear oil pump cutting off oil flow to the engine that can cause sudden catastrophic engine failure and destruction.  Also, metal to metal contact in these shoes produces metal filings to disperse into the oil prior to being filtered by the oil filter.  If this happens be prepared (worst case) to buy a completely new motor as rebuilding the engine may not be feasible. This is not a likely situation, but a realistic possibility.

Are the 2007 and newer, updated Twin-Cam engines immune?  No.  Do not be fooled.  Hydraulic cam chain followers are now used to get rid of the stiff spring that put too much pressure on the followers rubbing on the cam chain, but this is “no cure” as it only “delays” the problem.  Instead of the engine failing at 15,000 to 30,000 miles, it now fails at 50,000 to 75,000 miles.  There is only one true cure… getting rid of the chain system entirely and switch to gear driven cams.   Harley-Davidson should, in my opinion, make this a standard fix and not an after the fact option. If you can’t afford to install the gear drive system, then you need to disassemble and inspect the inner and outer shoes every 15,000 miles or risk engine failure.  The shoe material can also clog the oil pump destroying the engine.  There are plenty of motorcycle magazines explaining how to fix this problem and they can fail beyond the factory warranty period.  The problem has not been fixed; only delayed to fail above 50,000 miles and when the engine fails it may not covered under warranty.  Check the fine print in your extended warranty as this cam chain related failure may not be protected. Dealers will tell you it is a failed maintenance issue unless you take the steps we suggest.

You won’t even get a straight, honest answer from Harley dealers regarding this engine defect.  As I did research for this article, I called a local dealership, and the service writer would not answer my questions, and frankly gave me quite a song and dance, refusing to forward my questions and concerns to the mechanic or management. Disturbed and curious, I read a number of different service manuals, and while the drawing of what is good and bad with the cam tensioner shoes is published, there is no inspection interval listed. This leads me to believe Mother Harley knows a problem exists and Harley-Davidson dealers are actively not giving straight answers to customers. How can they not have published inspection intervals? The only mention of this possible failure is in the troubleshooting guide under “Valve train noise.” You will not hear any rubbing sounds or receive any indications the cam follower has failed even if you have quiet stock exhaust pipes on the bike. This is an issue that nobody wants to talk about, but is a real threat to your pocket book.

OK, now that we have ruffled everybody’s feathers, how can we combat this? S&S has truly been visionary in solving this issue. They had the foresight to develop a gear drive system to combat this very issue. It is my opinion, that all Twin Cam engines should have this conversion done, so you can rest easy on your higher mileage TC engines. The gear drive replacement is an excellent and the only true bulletproof solution.

As an alternative to gear drive, our only choice would be periodic tensioner shoe inspection. While not outlined in any Harley Service manual I’ve seen, looking at them and replacing as needed should be done every 15,000 miles. There are nice pictures of what to look for, but no recommended inspection interval. If you decide not to go gear drive, this is emphatically recommended. This periodic inspection can make any future warranty claim valid. On earlier engines, an update to the later style hydraulic tensioners will relive pressures and delay required service, but periodic inspection is still recommended. Check things out before this happens to you.

One way to help understand what may be happening inside your engine is to cut apart your oil filter at each oil change. Look through the pleats for any metallic or plastic debris. If you see junk, it’s time for your engine to come apart. You may be able to save your engine’s life by doing this.

Another thing to consider is better oils. Today’s better performing premium oils can delay the destruction.  While a bit more expensive than conventional oils, oil is still cheaper than engine rebuilds. Here, synthetics, such as the Bel-Ray Synthetic (part number 900-405), the Revtech MTP Synthetic (part number 740-786) or the Lucas Synthetic (part number 900-687) may be your best choice.

As we have a decent oil filtration system in our TC engines, a way to help the filter is to apply a magnet such as PN 740-742 to the outside of the filter. This will help trap any metallic grunge that may be floating in our oil.  Remember though, most of the bad stuff is plastic, and the magnet will not capture that.

I have tried not to bash Harley regarding this, and I’m sure they don’t care about my opinions. It has been my objective here to educate, not to assassinate the dealer network. Being forewarned is to be forearmed. As we pointed out earlier, if you have a higher mileage TC, you might want to inspect the tensioners before they bite you.

By |2018-04-06T11:20:37+00:00November 7th, 2012|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles|796 Comments

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  1. Dana December 8, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    nothing mechanical is perfect…been riding hd for 36 yrs. owned every thing except a knuckle and a flat head. either you ride harley or you don’t. information very informative. i wont lose any sleep.

  2. Tom Tailor November 18, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for this informative article

  3. Sam Burns October 25, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Say runout is okay. Install the gear drive cams. Then the flywheels shift.

  4. Jim Trejo October 12, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I had a new set if cams put n my bike at 16,000 miles witch was 1500 miles ago because I wanted more power out of my bike its a 1999 softail with the screaming eagle kit the dealer screwed me on Repairs ( dealer ) did the work anyway after they screwed up half my motor and the costs I had to pay that they said was to not havi g proper maintenance done ( witch was bullshit ) im wondering if I need to have mine chai. And guides checked now that I learned to work on my own bike any help would b aprishated

    • boston jim October 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Hey Jim, I think you might be confused, because I am ! This Thread/ Blog is about 1999 to present Twin Cam Motors ? In your comment, you said “1999 Softail”, that’s an Evo motor, with one cam. I know, because I have a 1999 FXSTC since New ! You need to find the BEST INDY TECH in your area, for half the money the Stealership wants ! Good Luck, BJ

      • James Trejo October 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        Thanks brother u no the bad thing about it is I asked for the old parts and they gave me 2 cam,s and 4 lifters I new I got screwed but never again them sob,s I will never again go to a steeler again thanks for ur reply. Jim

  5. Donny Lovette September 25, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I just traded in my 2015 heritage softail for a 2006 heritage with an 88ci…it has 47k on it and runs very strong…i love it…i also bought a 4 yr warranty on all moving parts…it cost over 4k for the warranty…for a $50 deductable they will repair literally anything so they say…but of course it has to break first…i am alarmed at this news…how can i tell them i want them to do preventive maintenance on the bike when it is running fine and has regular servicing? What can i do…i do not have money to spend on any extra problems that would not be covered on this bike…Thats why i thought i would be safe buying the warranty.
    Donny Lovette

    • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Hey Donny, Curious, WHY, did you trade in a 2015 for a 2006 ? I can’t believe a H-D Dealer would sell you a 4 year warranty ? Most Dealers, won’t work on a H-D that is 10 years old or older ? How many miles ? Did they swap out the Spring Tensioners, for the Hydraulics ? If they didn’t, you’ll be getting a New Motor, in the next 4 years ! Good Luck, BJ

      • Donny Lovette October 5, 2016 at 12:01 am

        Hi jim…traded the 15 to get my payments down…the 06 caght my eye…looked newer and cleaner than mine…just gorgeous…then in comes the previous owner for something and i got to talkin…found out hes a hd mechanic…older guy like me…one owner on the 06 …bought it new…been all thru it ….added upgrades to engine…lots of chrome on bike custom parts seat…just beautiful…when i rode it…was like a sporster on steroids…in a heritage frame…all leather was like new…anyway he traded it in for a new try glide cause wife broke her hip…so i was lovin the bike but told dealer i was wanting some kind of warrant since it was an older bike…and damned if he didnt offer me 4 yrs all moving parts for just under 2k (got that wrong before…
        So anyway got the bike…and couple days later was reading this blog and got scared to death bout the cam tensioners…got all wound up and went down to the dealer and told him what i read! He said he knew the previous owner…guy was heavy into building bikes…everybody knows him…and so forth…then i straight out asked him…if my 06 blows the engine for any reason will harley cover me? And he have me his word! I made him say it twice! All i ever pay is a $50 deductable! Got it in writing…an extended warrantee…sounds odd to me also but it works for me…anyway i am lovin the bike…no cat Vance and Hines pipes…too much chrome…and hauls ass…never heard a better sounding bike…even gettin use to the 5 speed…take care jim…talk at ya again sometime…donny

        • boston jim October 5, 2016 at 12:22 pm

          Hey Donny, I’m Glad your Happy, sounds like you got a Great Bike from a previous owner, you know the Bikes Past, etc. I wish you the Best of Luck, BJ

  6. richard peter September 21, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Very useful article!

  7. Jim Zaharia September 14, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I own a 2006 ultra glide CVO screaming eagle and now having a second 103 engine failure. My first engine failed this past July while I was on a bike trip to Michigan with 5 friends. I noticed that the engine started running rough and that the oil pressure had dropped to less than 10psi, then the oil light came on. I shut the engine off and called Bald Eagle Harley in Marquette Michigan which was 45 miles down the road. They told me not to start it and for me to get the bike to them and they would trouble shoot the problem. After having it flat bedded to them, and a diagnostic check done I was informed that the engine had metal throughout the block and pieces of metal in the oil. In discussion with the Service Manager and weighing out my options I decided to have them order and install a new 103 engine from Harley HQ. It took 5 weeks before I was able to return to Marquette and truck my bike back to Winnipeg Can. at some cost to me, Harley did step up and covered 2/3 the cost of the bill which was $6,700.00us. I had the bike back home in Canada and had been putting miles on so that the first breakin oil change could be done after 1000 miles or 1500km. It was at this time I took the bike to Gaslight Harley in Morden Manitoba Can. for the first oil change at which time I was informed that there was metal again in the oil, on the drain plug magnet and on the magnet probe put down the oil filler opening. Needless to say this motor will need to be replaced, but warranty should cover it because of the one (1) year timeline, which was only 3 weeks old. I should state that my original engine had less then 15,000 mile or 23,000 km. and the second newly installed motor had just over 1000 miles or 1500km for the breakin oil change. Now I’m waiting to see what’s going to happen and how long of a wait it’ll be this time…

    • Tom October 3, 2016 at 10:35 am

      It’s stories like this that may make me wanna trade for the new 107 HD. But we dont really know about any upcoming issues with THEM. I’ll ride my 103 for another yr or 2 and hope it holds together and watch for any 107 issues/recalls, always hesitant to trade to a 1st yr motor you never know…

      • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 6:16 pm

        Hey Tom, If History is any indicator, 1st & last year, Knuckles, Pans, Shovels, Evos, are desirable & in demand ! There are millions of Twin Cams out there, Time Bombs, with a Bad Reputation, they will Never have any value. I’m an Evo Guy, the New M8 reminds me of an Evo, with 4 extra valves ! Time will tell ! Good Luck, Be Safe, BJ

    • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Hey Jim, Got Snow ? Seriously ! I hope the H-D Dealer informs you, about what happened to BOTH motors ? And you inform us, here at this Forum, I want to know for future reference ! I’ve been following this motor since 99, & I’m not a Big Fan of it ! But, I don’t think, I’ve heard anything Bad about the 103″ ! Good Luck, BJ

  8. Kenneth Austin September 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Yes. I have heard about this I have a 99 fxdwg wide glide and use conventional oil thinking about trying synthetic for wear and tear on the motor still undecided

    • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Hey Ken, Did you buy this Bike New ? Original motor ? How many miles ? Has the Cam Tensioners been upgraded to Hydraulics ? If your Bike has been on a Diet of Dino Oil since 1999, it is full of Sludge ! Let’s say you started using Syn this week, the Syn would start eating at that Sludge immediately ! You might want to use a cheap oil filter, change it every week, till the motors clean. The Syn is going to clean up all the Sludge that’s been coating all your gaskets. The Bike will weep oil, till the Synthetic swells the dry seals, could take a year ? IMO, the only thing you have going for you is the Forged Crank & the Timkin Bearings ! Good Luck, BJ

  9. Jason September 9, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Hi Scott,
    What about the chain tensioner on the timing chain? Does that wear as quickly as the cam chain tensioner?

    • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Hey Jason, I’ve often wondered about the pads/shoes on the Balancing Weight Chains on the Twin Cam B, Softails ?
      Good Luck, BJ

  10. DONNY August 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Jimbo. Not enough info yet. But you know their track record. Do ya think the MOCO learned enything after 1999-2006? Somehow I don’t think so. Still love my ol 88.

    • boston jim October 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      HE’S ALIVE ! Donny where the Hell have you been, where are you ? I thought Hurricane Matty, took you down ?
      On the H-D Forum, there have been several 2017’s leaking oil around the valve covers, pinched gaskets, etc. Some think the covers are warped ?
      Good to here from you ! Two weeks from today, I’m going in for Cataract Surgery ! Wish me the Beat ! Later, BJ

      • DONNY October 24, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        BJ. So it’s true not only are you an “OL FART” your as blind as a bat.

  11. DONNY August 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Jimbo don’t ya hate those flaps an buttons on the back though?

    • boston jim August 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Hey Donny, Wake up! Harley has a NEW MOTOR! They took some old Evo’s, they didn’t sell, & put New Heads on them, I like it! BJ
      PS, Cyril Huze.com has a Great Blog!

    • boston jim August 28, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hey Donny, How about that New, “Back to the Future”, Evo motor? I think , I like it, except the Cast Crank?

      • DONNY October 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

        Jimbo, I still blame all this hoopla on you. Will never own another HD. Don’t care if they put rocket launchers on the things. Like I’ve said here before, my Twinkie TC88’s been great too me for over 10 years. Some of the things I’ve seen guys do to theirs I’m not surprised they don’t blow-up more often. You know Harley, lets wait and see in a couple of years if they got it right this time.

        • boston jim October 24, 2016 at 11:14 am

          Hey Donny, I’m putting in New Vinyl Replacement Windows, in my 1903 home, it’s as old as Ford & H-D ! I went to the Eye Dr., last Thur., he didn’t like the looks of them, told me to take my Meds, come back this morning, I passed the Test ! Having Cataract Surgery this Friday, on left eye ! I’m going to be a one-eyed Pirate for Halloween ! Good to hear from you, take care ! BJ

    • boston jim September 16, 2016 at 7:48 am

      Hey Donny, You missed my Birthday on 9/11? It was 48 degrees here this morning, I’m looking for those LongJohns you gave me last Xmas! What do you think of the New Motor? H-D had an 8 valve motor in 1917! I hope it’s not some leftovers? Stay Warm BJ

  12. boston jim August 8, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Good Morning. Donny! You know Best, Do what you gotta Do! Just don’t wait, to do something, before it BLOWS in the middle of riding season! Buy, Fix, Rebuild this winter, don’t get caught with your Longjohns Down ! Be Safe, BJ

  13. Donny August 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Jimbo . I’ve seen these motors in bike shops selling for around $2000. AND THERE ARE LOTS Why would I spend $6000+ to do all that s–t to this POS.

  14. boston jim August 4, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Hey Donny, you up past your bedtime? I think you both need S&S T124 Crate Motors ? Sell me your POS motor for a $100! I’ll have it bored out, balanced, trued, welded, gear drive cams, etc., like how it SHOULD have left Milwaukee!! BJ

  15. DONNY August 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Doug I think the problem is mostly with the TC 88″ motors.(?) My TC 88 is still bangin on also(28750 miles)But I check my shoes every spring. I can see in the near future (10,000 miles fingers crossed)that they will need replacing before they explode and yes the do explode if you don’t get to them before hand. Btw what year is your bike , does it have the shoes and springs or the hydro kind? Jimbo what do ya think?

    • Doug H. August 5, 2016 at 12:42 am

      I agree, it is mostly with the TC88 (Oddly, that engine is now out of production and has been for a while now. But that doesn’t stop detractors. )
      Mine is a 2010, it has hydraulics and the beefier (in the press fit area) crankshaft . Being a 96 that can handle being punched to a mild 103, I have no worries about the longevity or robustness of my engine . (My constant servicing and inspection has thus far proved me correct)

  16. DONNY August 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Jimbo up for my first squirt and jab of the day.

  17. boston jim August 3, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Hey Bob, Nice job, Spot On!!! Be Safe, BJ

  18. Bobby G August 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Harley chooses not to build good motors like S&S because they were the only American choice for over 60 years. Plus logic says there’s more money in repairs. When there is no composition why should they care about us.
    It’s only a matter of time before Harley starts improving because of INDIAN & VICTORY.

    • Doug H. August 4, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Not sure I agree with that.
      Harley almost died because of lack of quality in the 70’s and early 80’s as people switched to Japanese brands . (Oil leaks and reliability were a huge concern for any Harley from that era. To be honest, it is why I avoided them when I started riding)
      While it is possible that corporate has forgotten how badly they got slaughtered, I wouldn’t think it’s been that long ago that they would forget .
      Having said that, my late style TC 96 still soldiers on without oil leaks and with a reliability factor that makes my old GL1200 look like a total disaster .
      Every time I am in the engine for any type of service, I keep this website and what is said here in mind . To date (and at 53k miles) I have found no evidence to support the Harley bashing of the Twin Cam design that is found on this website .
      I just service and inspect as required and ride the piss out of it . The bike gives me no problems .

      • Jim November 9, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        Have a 99 fxdx 100m ran it hard runs great replaced inner plastic once😈😃😃😃

        • boston jim November 10, 2016 at 10:02 am

          Jim, You’re one Lucky Bastard ! Did you buy it New ? Must be the Forged Cranks from 99 – 02 !

  19. Tom August 3, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Jim; I gotta admit I was taken with that color. But I just turned 2000 mi on my 103 HO. May as well put a few more road mi on it first it wont be worth any less then on a trade.

  20. boston jim August 3, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Hey Donny, you’re up before 8:30 ? I don’t have shoes on my 86 1st year Evo Sportster or my 99 FXSTC, last Evo Big Twin! But, all 2007 to present Twin Cams have Wet Shoes, better than 99-06, but, still a problem?

    Last Friday, I did drink the Colonoscopy Kool-Aid, won’t have to do that again for 5 years! Br Safe, BJ

  21. DONNY August 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Jimbo no shoes before 99 or after 06. You gotta stop drinkin that cheep US beer buddy come on up and partake in the real stuff buddy.

  22. boston jim August 2, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Hey Tom, That Blue & Creme Indian, IS very nice! Good Luck with your Harley! Be Safe, Boston Jim

  23. Tom August 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    This ancient blog may actually be starting to do some good. I have seen owners selling 99-06s now making a point to list that the camshaft tensioners have been converted to hydraulic. Of course for the sellers of such machines that have no documentation of any such upgrade that will def hurt the resale because now any of those with over 20K on them we automatically assume it has NOT been done and will allow for such on the final price paid.

    I DID see a blue and creme Indian over the weekend that looked pretty good, but my new 15 FLHTP has a lot of trouble free miles ahead of it that I intend to put on.

  24. boston jim August 2, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Hey Donny, I’m sure you have SOME Doubt? And , what did you mean by, “you guys before”99-06? Us EVO owners? It’s nice to see that you’re up before noon! Good thing you don’t live in Maryland, you & the trailer, would be 4 miles downstream! LOL, BJ

  25. boston jim August 2, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Hey Mitch, I wouldn’t doubt it! In the 80’s, under Reagan, they got a stiff tariff against the Jap Bikes. The EVO was so successful, that they ended the tariff early! We went from Crappy AMF bikes to Crappy Twin Cams! Why can’t they build a nice S&S X-Wedge type motor?

  26. boston jim August 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    C’mon Doug, THAT’S BULLSHIT !!!

    • boston jim August 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      AIN’T THAT RIGHT, Donny ?

      • Doug H. August 3, 2016 at 11:39 am

        Dunno if you were talking to me about BS . But if you were, what is the BS that you mention?

  27. DONNY August 1, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I have no doubt in my mind that when the MOCO came up with this POS plastic shoe that they used,didn’t know that they would take out a complete engine . It’s just sad that they gave no one a heads up or warning about a inspection and maintenance schedule of such POS of plastic.( Now remember they used this from 99-06 so you guys before and after have no gripe in this blog ok.)

  28. boston jim July 30, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Hey Grin, The 110’s are the WORST! Where have you been? Tell him Donny! Good Luck, BJ

  29. The Grin July 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    You are right S&S Motors very good Motors I had the T1 11 after blowing up my twin cam 88 for this reason I will have to agree with you Harley needs to address this issue I am now writing the twin cooled CVO 110 motor we will see if it does any better so far the S&S motor run cooler with no oil cooler

    • Doug H. July 31, 2016 at 11:54 am

      I have no doubt S&S motors are very good .
      But they are reverse engineered copies of the factory units . (It is always easier to improve on an idea, than to come up with it on your own)
      That said, S&S does not build complete vehicles that must comply with EPA and CARB regulations for emissions and noise . (Harley-Davidson does) They also don’t mass produce units to the extent a major manufacturer does . Because of that, they can survive with selling a product that is far more expensive to produce than the competition. (An option Harley does not have without seeing customer base lost to other manufacturers)
      I have no doubt that Harley has a few S&S motors in their possession to reverse engineer their work. (as well as complete Indians, Hondas, BMW and the like)
      The fact remains that Harley customers want an engine that shakes at idle, is mostly air cooled, a V-twin and harkens back to a bygone era . But the factory is keenly aware that they must meet modern standards for longevity, driveability and government regs without the benefit of exact and frequent maintenance .
      Having to build an old design to please the customer, yet still please the government has got to be a nightmare on the drawing board.
      The fact is that most Harley owners are crossovers from other manufacturers, and won’t even crack open their owner’s manuals, much less a service manual . Further putting the engineers in a bind .
      Internet chats like this don’t show the whole truth either, as Harley has an amazing 75% customer return rate . It also doesn’t help that these chats keep going in spite of the fact the issues listed here have been rectified and are now widely known. (and hopefully inspected for on occasion)
      Anyone can bang on a keyboard, but not everyone has the knowledge of why and how manufacturing must happen, nor do most have the understanding how to prevent such failures once the product is in the marketplace .
      Bottom line is this; If one wants an old school design, one must be willing to accept the flaws that come with it.

      • OZZIE RYaN October 2, 2016 at 11:47 pm

        very WELL WRITTEN FRIEND……I JUST WOULD LIKE TO KNOW … DOES A 06/ 2007 built , 96 CI…WOULD HAVE THE HYDRAULIC CAM TENSIONER…set up.AS THE MANUAL…GENUINE ONE SHOWS That is is a spring set up…. only just brought it…..a week ago…. so so nice to ride…. as last flh was in 1974….cant believe how much they are better in !!! damn electronic though… now gotta learn all that… fun!! cheers all and thanks for the good info!

        • boston jim October 3, 2016 at 10:55 am

          WOW ! NO Comments in a month, & today, 8 in 9 minutes ! Ozzie, 06 & back has the Spring Set-up, Junk !
          So, if your 06 has Hydraulics, it’s been up-graded to 07 – 2016 status, much better, But, they still need to be looked at ? Easy Tip; I’d be checking all my magnets, & opening up my dirty oil filter, looking for metal & colored plastic from the Cam Shoes, before dumping in AMSOIL ! BJ, fatzusadotcom

          • OZZIE RYaN October 4, 2016 at 3:50 am

            Thanks for reply .. Boston Jim?in Boston I suppose…windy city? it made sense …a lot …all this chatter…made me feel ill at ease…. … and yes … so off with the cover and all good!perfect at 37ks or24000 miles and 005″ max run out…. in sitt…. u…. as we say in OZ….and a celebration… beer or two!we can’t imagine you guys having so many HD dealers and aftermarket engineers…and most importantly…enthusiasts… hard core too!!this is my first biggest cruiser.. in a long time , after riding many and still do…M Guzzis s…but wanted to …slow down..mm mm but what a pleasant surprise wow.. cheers mate and ride well all!!!!… Ryan in South Australia

          • boston jim October 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

            Hey Ozzie, I’m glad the Tensioners looked Good ! I wasn’t sure, if you said they were Spring or Hydraulic ? Your Crank runout at .005, is way too much for Gear Drive Cams ! Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, BJ

  30. Bill Glitch July 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I will say again that I never even had mine looked at until 60,000 miles and it was in fair shape. Thats when i had it replaced. with hydraulic tensioner and new pump.

  31. DONNY July 13, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Jimbo, ride er til she blows. lots of new take outs lyin around really cheep.

  32. boston jim July 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Hey Donny, You got a New Trailer ? Good for you ! If you still lived down by the river, you should Google “seven marine”, Amazing ! Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, BJ

  33. DONNY July 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Jimbo get it right the purple trailer down by the landfill. OK. These guys should read the whole blog. 2000-2005-6 guys.

  34. DONNY July 8, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Jimbo, I blame all this crap on you buddy.

    • boston jim July 12, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Hey Donny , Got snow ? It’s not crap, it’s the Truth ! Don’t shoot the messenger ! It’s the Ttruth, the whole Truth, nothing but, the Truth, so Help Me God ! BJ

      PS, the MoCo could have avoided all this crap, by building a motor as GOOD as S&S, but, they chose NOT TO ! Greedy Pricks !

      PSS, Donny when are you going to fix your POS, or ride it till it BLOWS, then retire from riding ?? Whats your plan ?

      • Doug H. July 13, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        S&S motors are indeed good . But they are not mass production units . They’re also reverse engineered improvements of the factory units . (It is always easier to improve on another’s idea, than to come up with the idea yourself)
        Having said that, the expense of going to that amount of trickery (for both for the company and the end customer) far exceeds what is required for mass production .
        Secondly, I doubt S&S is as concerned with emissions, and noise requirements that the MoCo is saddled with complying to .
        Thirdly, if we actually bought (in significant numbers) products from the MoCo that did all of what this web post is asking, the Twin Cam would surely disappear . (The V-rod is just what we’re asking, but yet the Twin Cam outsells it by massive numbers)
        However, the public wants an air cooled engine that shakes at idle and uses basic 1930’s architecture, and they have proven that time and again by what they choose to purchase . Don’t blame the MoCo for giving them exactly what they want, while making it comply to government regs .

  35. Ironindian02 July 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    This is about having fun for anyone to carry on like this I’m speechless. I never said I don’t like Harley. I’m just impressed with Indians power and comfort.

    • Doug H. July 12, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Have a friend that reminded me of an old saying the other day . “There’s an ass for every seat” . Enjoy what you ride, no matter what name is on the tank .

  36. boston jim July 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Hey Donny, Home Brew ? I thought you were still living in “the trailer, down by the river” (Chris Farley)! That river water could have mosquito larva in it? Kinda like that Tequila, with the worm ? UUMM ! Seriously, there are now 1403 comments on the 3 J&P Blogs about this POS motor! I’ve read each & every one of them! I wish I had checked off how many BLEW UP ! My guess 3 out of 4, 75%!
    Yesterday, I had to wake up the Maytag Man, my 17 year old washer, shit the bed. I noticed the guy they sent out, was wearing a Bentley’s Saloon hat, the BEST Biker Bar in Maine, not far from the Bush Estate! I said, “you must have a Harley”, yea!, “What year & model” 2000 Wideglide!, “Did you know they have a cam problem”?, sorta, they are good for 25 to 30K miles, “Have you checked them”?, NO, “you better check them ASAP, so you know where you stand”, he doesn’t say anything! I get the feeling, it’s his 1st Harley, & he knows EVERYTHING! “I said, the only thing you got going for you, is that motor has a forged crank”! He says, here’s your $80. bill, your washing machine’s cams imploded, you should have updated to the New Hydraulic System! I said, “you should have bought an Indian !

    PS, Yesterday, I went on RevPerf.com, they can make your POS motor, BULLITPROOF! NO SHIT!! LOL

  37. boston jim July 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Hey Bob, lets do that race again ? Line up even, you start in 2nd gear, & lets see what happens ? Have a safe summer ? Boston Jim, fatzusadotcom

  38. Tom July 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Doug; I think you’re right on all counts there.
    My friend was complaining about his FXDL sputtering and stopping sometimes
    I checked his air fliter it was BLACK
    He’d never changed it

    On Polaris, I guess Indians are ok…if you want to ride one
    Harley guys will not change to Indian, not the ones I know anyway

    We;ll see in 3-5 years what the resale value is…look at victorys
    they can’t GIVE em away…I for one think about that at purchase time as well
    But I have a nearly new 2015 Electra Glide Police so I’m good to go

  39. DONNY July 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I love home made beer. Those plastic bottles add so much flavor. UMUM

  40. DONNY July 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Wow he must be talking about you Jimbo. wonder if he read the beginning blog that started this whole mess of s–t.

  41. boston jim July 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Logic, what’s that, a New Micro Brew ?

  42. Bobby July 1, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Maintaining your bike is key however I’m not anyone promoting Polaris. Like I said I owned HARLEYS all my life and built them just like most of us.
    Everything in life is a choice.
    Of course Die hard Harley guys don’t want to hear this and I understand.
    I believe in logic and Indian today is a way better bike than Harley.
    I’m NOT saying Harley sucks. I’m also buying a 2015 Road Glide Amber whiskey because they only made them that year and it’s a rare color.
    Let’s talk about power: my stock Indian Chieftain with slips on pipes not cat, big air cleaner and remapping vs Harley street glide 103 with full exhaust, air cleaner cams and 10:1 comp positions. My stock Indian gives the Harley a one bike head start and I smoke the Harley until we reach the top of third gear then the Harley gets me.
    Not to mention I won 5 first place shows with a stock chieftain vs 20 to 50 PLUS Harleys. There is no reason to get mad on this post these are facts we are all adults you have to use some logic sooner or later.

    • Chad Youde July 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Ok so using logic and starting with your let’s talk about power. As your story goes you took your “stock” and by “stock” you actually mean by your own admission slightly modified and put it up against a street glide that you smoked until it took you at the top of third gear. The street glide in question by your own admission had full exhaust, aircleaner, pipes and 10:1 compression pistons I’m guessing. Most of which I would guess were for aesthetic purposes along with pistons that would bump the compression a whopping 0.3:1. Now using the logic of this board your bigger inch more technologically advanced Indian should have waxed the lower inch antiquated Harley but by your own admission it didn’t therefor pointing out the fact that the Harley for all of its supposed pitfalls is still a force to be reckoned with in the light of all of these technological advances made by other manufacturers. I don’t personally care who rides what as long as they enjoy riding the dam thing and get home safely. I ride what I ride because my needs vary drastically from weather and road conditions. If you happen to get the chance to test your metal against that of another and come out on top, you had a good day and he didn’t. The Harley’s I’ve ridden have given me many good days and countless memories. Regardless of your reason for picking the bike you chose, I hope that you can have the same experience or even better. Keep them wheels down and your knees in the breeze.

  43. boston jim June 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Hey Donny, you just get back from Laconia ? I got back last Sunday ! Down again for the 2nd year in a row, but, 300K is still a lot of Bikes ! Before yours & Bobs comments, I counted 1391 on the 3 different blogs about this POS motor, now with mine there is a total of 1394, there must be 1000 Blown motors out of that number! I have to agree with EVERYTHING, Bob said! EVERYTHING! I’ve been Preaching the New Indians since I did the Centennial Ride in 2001, from Springfield, Ma. to Gilroy, Ca., & back to Springfield ! The S&S motors are 10 times better than the H-D motors ! The Bottlecap Indian motors, were not Swiss watches? But, Neither are the Twin Cams? The Bottlecaps could be fixed, just ask Scott Holton ?
    Hey Donny, you know what I find AMUSING, YOU’RE still riding CRAP ? Be Safe, Boston Jim

  44. Bobby June 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Harley don’t give a crap because they were the only American choice since Indian went out of business in the 1950’s. Harley chooses not to completely fix any of these problems because they want you to spend money. I’ve owned 20 plus HARLEYS like most of us and now that Polaris is backing INDIAN these bike are way better than a Harley. I can’t stop buying these new Indians. I have three Indians as we speak and I would never give Harley another Freak’in dime. I used to work for many HARLEYS and the shit they talk about the customers is BS. Harley has ripped us all off. Conclusion: BUY INDIAN AND VICTORY THEY ARE BADASS BIKES

  45. DONNY June 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Can’t really believe people are still going on about this crap. How old is this blog 2-3 years. Almost 10-16 years after the crap left the factory. Has been amusing as hell though.

  46. Mike Tabor June 16, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    This is only a problem on 1999 to 2006 models and was really only of major concern to inspect tentioners for wear at approximately 25,000-35,000 miles. The 2007 later models are not affected by this problem and in my 10 years as a certified Harley and aftermarket technician I’ve only seen it once happen. (Putting oil in your bike after doing your own oil change would have prevented this, who would’ve guessed!). The problem with saying everyone needs gear driven cams is that the majority of people with the early style twin cam 88 have crankshafts that have beyond the allowable runout to install gear drive. If you have a crank with excessive runout you will either have gear chatter or gear whine. Installing the oversized or undersized gears sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t. Switching to the upgraded hydraulic tensioner a and high output pump is clearly the better way to go.

    • Doug H. June 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      I suspect that some of the people on this venue are agents for Polaris .
      I also think there is a lot of deliberate misinformation, and grudge holding going on .
      Having said all of that, to those that say they have switched to another brand . AUSTE !!!
      It is those that abuse, fail to maintain or neglect their machines that are the ones that complain the loudest when warranty will not cover repairs . (Or warranty has had to cover repeated repairs)
      Saying to me, “I’ve had my bike in for service at every interval that they told me too” doesn’t cut it for me . Closely following your owner’s manual, for proper operation and maintenance does cut it for me. But then who here has actually read their owner’s manual cover to cover and followed it religiously? (You’ll all say yes, but I bet if I looked at your owner’s manuals they’ve never even been opened, if you even still have them.)
      Having pissed a few people off, I now say enjoy the motorcycles from the other manufacturer. Those bikes too have weaknesses, and guess what? They too have explicit directions for operation and maintenance in their owner’s manuals. And you know what? They too will start showing issues as they age from the very same abuse, lack of maintenance and neglect.
      You may ask me, “Dang Dude, what brought this on?” and that is a fair question . So here is the answer .
      I was changing the oil in a person’s Ultra the other day, (he’s a neighbor down the street) when the oil didn’t drain out when I pulled the plug . It turns out I had to remove both the timer cover and oil pan on the transmission and scrape the oil out of the engine . I asked him when the last time the oil was changed. He told me it was at the mandatory 1k service and never since. (The bike now has 62k on the clock) This same person was griping about Harley quality, valve noise, the tensioner wear I found and just bashing the company in general. ALL OF THIS WHEN THE CONDITIONS ON HIS BIKE WERE HIS OWN FAULT !!!
      Now you know, the rest of the story .

  47. boston jim June 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Hey Donny , Got Snow ? IMO, the Best Ironheads were made between 1958 – 1969, XLCH, King of the Road !!!

  48. DONNY June 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    BJ yor old fart. Yah come to think about it some 40+ years ago a sporty iron head that I spent more time fixen then ridein. LOLOLO

  49. boston jim June 13, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Hey Donny, Nice to see your back from your long nap, or are you out on Work Release ? How you been, been out riding ? Slum Dog India ? Isn’t H-D making those 500/750 waterbuffaloS there NOW ? I’m leaving for Laconia Wed. morn, should have been there last Friday ? Gotta go pack! Hey Don, be easy on Doug, he’s riding his 1st H-D ! Remember how excited you were when you rode your 1st Harley ! Later, Boston Jim
    PS, Gonna Demo ride a Scout, up at Laconia !!

    • Doug H. June 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks for the kind words there .
      Also please remember I came from older bikes from other manufacturers .
      My Honda dealer was a jerk at getting parts for my 84 GL1200 (Parts would be sitting on his shelf for a week and they never call, told me parts were obsolete when they weren’t etc) so my experience with my Harley may seem a bit jaded .
      Oddly, the Honda dealer in my area is a powersports dealer who sells far more types of merchandise then the Harley dealer . But it is the Harley dealer who is open 7 days a week and always has customers in the shop and always has the same employees behind the counters .
      I needed a product I could easily repair and service with a minimum of problem getting parts, but still had all the creature comforts of a Goldwing . That’s why I made my switch . (Well that and Goldwings are no longer made in USA)
      Next time I’m at the dealer, I’ll check the VIN code on a 500/750 . That’s got me curious now . (Not that they’re what I’m looking for anyways)
      Ride safe

  50. boston jim June 13, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Hey Doug, Nice 6K, VaCa ! Did you ride to Boston & back to Nevada, with a couple of side trips ? Good for you! I’m packing for my 48th Laconia, leaving Wed. morning ! I’m normaliy up there for the whole 10 days, not this year, Legally Blind. I’ll tow it up with my FATZUSA.COM, tow bar! I gave it a Scavenger oil change last week, got ALL the dirty oil out. (Circa 1960 RMN) You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore ! HA,HA, BJ

  51. DONNY June 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Stoch Class action!!! Ha Hd is probably broke, they make more dough from selling T- shirts to Uppeas(?) world wide then bikes I bet. Good luck with that thought. Can’t wait until they move it all to India. No unions no red tape BASIC SLAVE LABOR. Get the picture. Take a close look around North America buddy. Your way of life is not gonna be around in 25 years. I don’t care either. I won’t be around. (I pity my grand kids kids and their kids they will be the MINORITIES then. (I give HD less then that. But we can all hope.) That is what happens when you get fat and un- competitive . in this day and age.

    • Doug H. June 13, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I’m not sure the MoCo is as bad off or indignant as we think .
      Remember, they survived the great recession without any government bail outs . Yeah, it hit them hard. But then it also hit many recreational vehicle manufacturers hard . Some of which no longer exist today because they couldn’t make their way through it .
      As to seeing bikes made in India here, I suppose that is possible . But more to the point, Harley is emulating what Honda did to get around the US motorcycle tax of the 80’s (Honda started building their large bikes in the US to evade the tax) It looks to me that Harley is doing the same thing to get into the Indian market .
      I also see a shift in available products to both attract new customers and retain aging customers while still retaining their flagship models . Will their idea work ? Time will tell . Would I invest my money in the MoCo ?(other then parts, accessories and motorcycles) NO!!
      But then, I have been advised to never invest in a company where I have an emotional connection .
      (Unfortunately that includes Harley-Davidson, Ford Motor Company, Boeing and the like)
      Ride safe.

      • Mitch Mechanic August 1, 2016 at 9:23 am

        Harley was indeed bailed out in 08.

  52. boston jim June 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Hey Stosh, I thought that would have happened many years ago. The MoCo has built millions of these bikes since 1999! You would think that dozens of Lawyers, had their motors Blow. They ride, talk, drink, together, I don’t get, why a Bunch of them haven’t gone after H-D ? There’s something FISHY going on, all these years?

  53. Stosh June 9, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Class action lawsuit ought to do the trick, since money is all the Harley suits give a crap about, hit them where it hurts.

  54. boston jim June 8, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Hey Ross, Thanks for the comment ! Do you own one of these motors ? The MOCO could fix the problem, But, why should they, they have 100,000’s of customers, that drank the H-D Kool-Aid ! They can’t help themselves ? They are addicted to the Stealership, the lies, Bullchit, until the Timebomb goes off ! POW !!! What happened to my motor, I used Syn-3 (Citco Crap) ?

    Now, if you bought a NEW Indian, you’d get a FORGED, One Piece Crank, 3 cams, gear drive, with a Roller Chain, Gear Drive, from the motor to the trans, NO Primary chains, Belt Final Drive ! One oil fill, for motor, primary, & trans, Neat ! Indian vs H-D, Bring it on ! Before anybody comments, take a few Demo Rides ! I’ve ridden 2 Dozen Chiefs in 9 Demo Days, with-in 2 weeks of the unveiling at Sturgis ! I have yet to ride the NEW Scout, with 69″ & 100 HP ! The Aftermarket has discovered the Scout ! The Scout will EAT Sportsters !

    • Doug H. June 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      I’m back (Just like Richard Nixon LOL)
      No seriously, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this comments site. I’ve been on vacation, and yes I took my Harley .
      We traveled 6,000 miles and never missed a lick . The only thing that got on my nerves was a sore butt.
      If doing that many miles in such a short amount of time without having any issues is drinking the MoCo’s Koolaid, call me guilty . But don’t put me in a minority, because the truth is I’m not in a minority with my Harley, as I had the chance to interview other riders while on my trip and their reports were similar.
      That said, if a person could stir up a class action lawsuit, I’ll be watching and learning . The fact is that we’ve had nearly 20 years at this point to get that to happen, and to date I am unaware of such a suit . Does that mean that such a suit lacks merit? I dunno, but it sure smacks in the face of probability. (There’s gotta be a lawyer somewhere that would take it if he felt he could win it)
      All I know is that coming from Honda to Harley my experience has been exemplary . My Harley is more reliable, service parts are easier to acquire (and far less expensive) and my current bike is holding it’s resale far better than any bike I have ever owned .
      Have I drank the Koolaid? If letting the product endear itself to me of it’s own accord without the dealer telling me too is drinking the Koolaid . Then yeah I guzzled it like it is going out of style .
      Ride Safe

  55. boston jim June 8, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Hey Chris, I wanted to add; “DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH”!

  56. boston jim June 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Chris, I feel Bad for you, BUT, if you’ve been riding Harley’s for 35 years, this problem (motor) has been around , since 1999 ? Where have you been ? I hope you bought the 7 year Warranty ! The Best thing (IMO) is to trade it in, NOT on another H-D problem Bike, BUT, on a New Indian ! Harley needs to put a S&S Wedge 117″ motor in their New Bikes ! The 124″ Touring Motor, is also very nice, plenty of TORQUE ! BJ

  57. Chris A Anderson June 8, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Thank you for your in site I have a 2013 Harley Road glide ultra. Was wondering why it sounded like it was coming apart. Almost every time it starts now it rattles like he’ll . I am not happy. It only has 19900 miles on it. I know this is the problem. I have ridden Harleys for over 35 years,and if they dont resolve this problem free of charge,I will never buy another.
    Chris A Anderson..

  58. boston jim June 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    SPOT ON, Don !

  59. don stoner June 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Don’t you love it when somebody screws you up the you know-were, and there is nothing — nothing you can do but watch them take your cash and laugh all the way to their bank. LOT’S MORE PEOPLE OUT THERE, BUT THEY WON’T FESS UP THAT THEY GOT SCREWED.

  60. boston jim June 6, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Hey Frank, I have a Buddy, with a 2010 CVO 110″, it chit the Bed ! He bought a 124″ Touring motor from S&S, $5800.-, loves it ! Good Luck, BostonJim

  61. Frank June 3, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    I purchased a brand new 2008 Screaming eagle 110 v twin at 3500 miles head gaskets started seeping oil.At 8000 thousand miles loud lifter tap tore bike down found colapsed lifter pin walked out severely damaging engine cases.paid 24,000 for bike. I will never buy another Harley and I love them because they screwed me.

  62. boston jim June 3, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Hey Doug, Have a TRUMP weekend !! BJ

  63. boston jim June 2, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Doug, Got Snow ? Just came back from the P.O., just shipped a Scavenger to a Biker in Las Vegas, he has 2, 2003 Sportsters, last hard mount Sportsters, last of the Best, IMO ? Did you say “Think for Themselves”, are you kidding ? Most take what the Stealership says as “Gospel”! That’s the Major problem, they need to find the Best Indy Tech in there area, ask around, pay 1/2 what the Stealership wants ! We both want to educate the Rider, but, from different directions. You keep sticking up for the MOCO, for their past mistakes ! I put them down, for making those mistakes, in the 1st place ! The CEO, who recently retired, came from Johnson Controls, he never sat on a H-D, never mind ride one ! He was a Great Bean Counter ! Fifty years ago, we had to pay extra for Chrome parts, H-D has figured out a way to option Black Paint, unbelievable, Who New ?
    You keep doing, what your doing, & I’ll do the same thing, is the glass, 1/2 empty or 1/2 full ? Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, Boston Jim

    • Doug H. June 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      No snow here. In fact record high temps. (for June) in the Reno/Sparks area .
      I’m with ya about the dealer. I have only spoken to their head tech one time . The rest I come up with under my own steam .
      Remember, I also didn’t buy my bike from a Harley dealer . It came from a Polaris dealer that didn’t/won’t sell Indian . (That has more to do with the improvements to his property that Indian would require, rather then the bikes themselves)
      But keep your opinions coming !!! (I promise to do the same) It’s what makes America great and keeps our beloved Harley on it’s toes .
      As to a bean counter that never sat on a motorcycle . That sounds awful, I totally agree. Until I remember an auto company that was near collapse (Ford) that hired a bean counter from Boeing who at the time drove a Lexus . That proved to be a wise move and saved Ford from bankruptcy and government bailouts . As weird as having an airplane guy who drove a Lexus, running a car company such as Ford sounded. It worked well and Ford is a thriving company again . His name was Alan Mullaly .
      I guess sometimes it takes a person with a different perspective and no preconceived notions of the product to be the one to save the day . (Even if it does make the spine shudder at first)

  64. boston jim May 31, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Hey Dewey, You posted your question in the wrong spot ! This is J&P Blog about the Twin Cam, Cam problems. You need to go to the J&P Forum, where you can ask questions & get answers ! Good Luck, Boston Jim
    PS, Did you know, that in 2004, H-D rubber mounted the Sportster motor ? They also eliminated the trapdoor from the tranny! What was an easy fix, is now a complete tear down, split the cases, to get a look at the tranny? H-D really knows how to sell T-Shirts, & Upgrades ! Good Luck, BJ

    • Doug H. May 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Getting off topic a little here. But complaining about rubber mounted sporties, but then proclaiming that in the annals of Harley history it was an awesome move, is a bit redundant.
      In all my years, I have never needed (or was ever offered) a trap door on any transmission that would allow me to actually work on it. That being said, when there is a trap door (I find them on pickup trucks a lot) it is meant for a PTO and I still have to take a transmission apart for repairs .
      Oil contamination, (shavings) oil condition, noise, and shifting issues are the actual ways to properly diagnose a transmission issue. (There are those of us out there that are very good at it too, without needing to look inside)
      Otherwise, a trap door is another expense that people would complain about and an unnecessary weakness in the transmission case .

      • boston jim June 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

        Hey Doug, You’re getting to be a real pain in the Ass ! You finally own your 1st Harley, & you know everything about them ! I never said, “Rubber Mounted Sportsters were AWESOME”! They SUCK ! It was just another way for the Bean Counters to save money, & when there was ANY kind of problem with the tranny, you have to tear down the motor & split the cases, that’s INSANE ? Now the Bean Counters make Big Money, in the absence of the Trapdoor, that served us well from 1952 to 2003 ! BJ

        • Doug H. June 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

          Thx for that compliment. 🙂
          If anything I want folks to think on their own and never, ever, take another’s opinion as gospel without first doing some research themselves.
          Rubber mounting is a good thing. Especially when trying to get some of the vibrations out (a necessity, especially if the customers are demanding it) It actually costs more then hard mounting. (more parts, more complicated and minor frame change)
          I’ll bet if you think back to every car or truck you’ve ever had, they too were mounted in rubber . For the very same reasons .
          Anytime a hole is placed into a cast part, (machinist in me talking) you have created a weakness . The fewer the holes, the stronger the casting and less likely to have oil leaks.
          As to mine being my first, you are dead on . BUT, it wasn’t until years of refinement that I even considered a Harley.
          I may not have owned one, but I sure kept track of how they did/do things and that kept me away from them.
          Now that they have addressed the things I didn’t like,(archaic frame designs, single carburetor/crappy fuel injection, horrible electrical systems, crappy braking systems, engine/transmission reliability) I bought one.
          (09 – later touring frame can now at least hold a candle to the metric counter parts, Delphi fuel injection is down right good, Delphi electrics are also good, Brembo brakes with Delphi ABS is awesome, later TC has hydraulic tensioners, better crank press fit, better oiling system, and finally the later 6 speeds are superfluous)
          To say that I must own one for years to understand one is garbage . You wouldn’t tell your mechanic that he doesn’t understand your car because he doesn’t own one or just bought one .
          I understand that they used the trap door idea for 60 years . But they eventually must change because their competition has and will, and they would soon be out of business .
          Perhaps, they’ve learned why they lost out big time to the Japanese in the 70-80’s, (and the British bikes disappeared for awhile) and are now in an enviable position that they don’t want to loose .
          Either way, the first accessories I bought for mine were the factory service and parts manuals. I then made it my mission to read all three of them from cover to cover, (I am that anal) to be sure I completely understood how my motorcycle runs, how to repair it and modify it .
          As to mechanical things in general, this ain’t my first rodeo . I’ve been twisting wrenches professionally since I was 16 . If it’s got pistons, and tires, I can (and probably have) repaired it or modified it or know where the engineers could have done better .
          Ride safe

  65. Dewey May 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    2005 Sportster 1200
    when i turn the key the starter engages,
    starter button seems to have failed
    any ideas how to test it?
    bulled the starter relay and there seems to be some power
    going to the starter side always???

    • Doug H. May 31, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Not sure this is the correct forum for your question .
      This one is full of folks complaining about Twin Cam engines based on old, secondhand and sometimes incorrect information . (The spring loaded tensioners mentioned by the protagonist haven’t been used for 10 years, cranks have been hardened in the last 7 years, chain driven counter weights to quell vibration have been used extensively in other industries, etc etc )
      However, to help fix your problem I strongly suggest a factory shop manual that is complete with wiring diagrams. Then you can trace your problem down . (Sounds like you have a short high BTW)

  66. Rob McGinley May 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Hey Doug H
    Here you go


    and I could live with a cyl offset and dump the current rods
    Thats a minimal change for major benefits.

    Its time to harden that motor.

    • Doug H. May 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Interesting read.
      I honestly knew about the oiling issue when the TC was in the design phase, (There was a time when I was a strict Honda man and pointed/snickered at Harley) as I had been following the TC since the idea was first made public .
      Having said all of that, I must further admit that my current engine was a very deliberate choice. (I actually went to another State to purchase my bike)
      I knew about the tensioner issues on 88 engines. I also knew that by and large that problem was mostly solved with the 96. I also knew that the 96 has the better oil pump to prevent the bearing issue .
      My cam swap at 50k proved that correct, as the bearings were still original, and in perfect condition . I changed them only as a matter of correct shop practice for the new cams. The tensioners also showed the same thing . But as a matter of correct procedure, I changed them too while I was there. (I don’t do stuff 1/2 way LOL)
      I also knew the later 96 cranks had indeed been hardened to withstand the 103, and I knew that was done by tightening up the spec on the press fit . (I actually spent lots of research hours before I ever saw my bike in person)
      That new crank spec proved to be a correct thing on mine too, as when I measured the crank it was well within spec and technically could have taken a gear drive .
      All that aside, I live in the desert. Riding in extreme heat is not uncommon for me . With that, I also added an oil temp gauge and an oil cooler . (I have yet to see my oil temps exceed 200 so I wonder if I actually needed the cooler, but it will stay there)
      I also think that having my bike tuned has reduced overall temps, while improving performance and rideability . The de-catted exhaust, with slip-ons and high flow air filter help too .
      With those mods I am approaching the power levels of the 103, but still not worried about my crank as the later 96 uses the 103 crank . (My bike is a 2010 FLHTCU with 96)
      As to Harley coming out with the TC to protect sales and patent infringement . I actually believe that, and I can’t say I blame them for protecting themselves in that way .
      Remember Atari? They lost their dominance over the home video game market because they left the door open to aftermarket programmers . I can’t help but wonder if Harley saw the same thing happening to them .
      Ride safe

      • Rob McGinley May 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

        Good points Doug.
        But I am still sceptical about being days from home and relying on a Twin Cam. And I am not one of todays yuppies with a big bank account. Friend of mine has a CVO but it only comes out on sunny days for short rides. Other friends also dont put many miles on so they will never have an issue. Love the looks of the Ultra and the fit and finish is amazing I really enjoy listening to the sound of the Twin Cam. But reading and talking to so many that have had many many issues I will wait and see if Harley is getting serious about reliability and cost of ownership.

        • Doug H. May 26, 2016 at 3:31 pm

          Well, I live in Nevada. There are stretches of road where the next town may be 100-150 miles away . In some (if not most) of those stretches there’s also no cell service.
          The key with any vehicle to be reliable in those circumstances is a constant dedication to repair/maintenance using a hands on approach.
          Like you, I can’t afford to take my bike in to have it repaired/serviced. So I do all of my own work. Because of that, I know whether or not my bike is safe for a journey across my State . If it isn’t or just barely is, it gets whatever it needs before I leave. (That’s the “treat it like an airplane” mentality)
          All that said, I still carry a basic tool kit, tire plugs, valve stems, fix-a-flat, a small air compressor, a fire extinguisher and sometimes extra fuel.
          With all of that, I watch gauges like a hawk for any telltale problems that may be about to rear up, (A voltmeter that is a little low, Oil pressure that’s not exactly right, engine temps that don’t jive, ETC) and never, ever hot rod a machine when riding across the desert . (I like to have an envelope of 40% or more remaining of engine capacity and never exceed 75-80% of total capacity for brief periods)
          I practice this with all of my machines, and none have ever failed me when it would have really sucked . The Harley in fact has been rock steady with no variations in such conditions with such care. (I would treat an Indian the exact same way BTW, as I try to be fair and loving with any machine I have)

  67. Toby Bellamy May 23, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    I have an 07 electraglide and I’m at 25000 miles and am having issues with running hot,back fire when backing out of trotted and pinging. Have a thunder max tuner,true duals Vance and Hines and high flow air intake. Has been on dyno and stil no change. Has any one else had this issue

    • Tom Murray November 14, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Check your intake manifold and gaskets for the heat problem and popping plus check your exhaust pipes for loose bolts or leaks around the muffler.

  68. boston jim May 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Nice comment ! Be safe out there !

  69. Tom May 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Well, guys, too nice out to sit in front of comp anymore. Gonna take my “old” 1998 EVO Heritage out for a good ride today.

  70. Chad May 23, 2016 at 9:42 am

    No sadness here man I ride at least three hours a day five days a week. I have completely rebuilt an 1988 sportster hotrod, a 1971 ironhead chopper, a 1972 FLH along with helping others repair or rebuild numerous other bikes. I don’t need bike week or any other main stream motorcycle gathering to tell me what’s cool or not. I get what I like and if it don’t quite fit the bill I make it fit. If you’ve been around so long then you had to have heard the same stuff that’s coming out of your mouth right now in regards to and rightfully so the shovelhead and not so deservingly the evo. Remember the saying about shovels ride a mile and walk the rest. Bad thing is with very little work those shovels can to be a reliable source of power. The saying see no evo, hear no evo, speak evo. And all the crap about the factory catering to yuppies instead of real bikers. Not that any of this has anything to do with the cam chain tensioner “issue” that this blog is supposed to be about. Thing with that is HD rolled the dice on automotive technology that’s been in use for years. When they seen that was an issue they revised it. As far as the crank thing goes, S&S did a great job and there is no disputing that they improved upon the design just like they do with every part they manufacture. I will never agree that an engine capable of propelling roughly 600lbs down the road over a 100,000 miles is a POS. If anyone in the history of manufacturing made a product that could not be made better, that product would not only be boring as hell. It wold eliminate the thrill of competition.

  71. boston jim May 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Hey Doug, That’s not TRUE ! S&S, builds some BIG ASS Motors, both EVO & Twin Cam, that won’t tear your frame apart ! They are BUILT, BUILT WELL, the crank run-out is true, (hence the Gear Drive), they are balanced, etc. IMO, the Best thing that could happen to H-D, is to have S&S buy it, & own it outright ! Then we’d get a motor & bike, deserving of the H-D name ! H-D keeps putting out these POS motors, & S&S keeps making parts to FIX them. H-D subs out so many components,, WHY NOT, have S&S build the motor in the 1st place ? No more problems, Heartache, etc. Think about it, sounds better, the more I think about it !

    • Doug H. May 23, 2016 at 11:33 am

      I’ve never discussed or looked up SS . Don’t know why or where you got that idea .
      I did look up how Indian drives their cams . They do it with either a belt drive system with a myriad of pulleys or gear drives with themselves are driven by a timing chain using a plastic guide and a spring loaded plastic shoed tensioner .

    • ross van der hoek June 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

      well said jim , I could not agree with you more . S&S are so much better at building HD’s than the factory is, gear drive will solve the problem of cam chain problems ,but there is 1 big problem with that .HD cranks are poor quality and tolreances are to loose for gear drive cams .will they evr get it right , I doubt it .

  72. boston jim May 22, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Sad Chad, Have you read the 3 Blogs on J&P, 1300+ comments, 1000 Blown Motors ? Or the Jim Russell Article. Most of it is very good, BUT, the 2004 & up Sportsters are POS ! I’m not the New Kid on the Block, I’ve been riding H-D since 1963, bought my 1st bike from the Lowell HA, in 1967, in 1969, bought a 1950 Panhead, turned it into the Fastest Panhead in N.E., with a rebuild by the Infamous, Bob Labrie, with Sifton Cams & SU Carb. Had a small paint & custom shop, 1968 to 75 ! Been to every Laconia, since 1969, did Indians 100th Birthday Ride, from Springfield, Ma., to Gilroy, Ca., & back to Springfield, Ma.. Rode 2 Dozen S&S powered Indians. Rode to H-D 100th Party, been to Sturgis in 03 & 04 ! Went to S&S 50th in 2008 ! Rode 2 Dozen New Polaris Chiefs in 9 Demo Days, 2 weeks after the unveiling at Sturgis ! We have an International M/C related Business, selling 3 M/C products all over the world, everyday.
    PS, I’m 66, I don’t take anything as Gospel ! My whole thing about the POS motor, is it could have been, SO MUCH BETTER, BUT, H-D doesn’t care ? They know most of you, have drank the H-D Kool-Aid !
    PSS, Bert Baker, a well known H-D tranny builder, his personal street/drag bike is a BIG Inch EVO powered Monster, I wonder why, he didn’t go with a Twin Cam, because he Knows Better ! Get Real, Chad !
    PSS, You should email H-D, tell them you have an early Twin Cam, with over 100K, never been opened up, still stock ! Maybe, they’ll want it for the Museum, & give you a new POS ! What have you done ? Boston Jim

    • Doug H. May 23, 2016 at 11:52 am

      I dunno, mine has 52K, and has been opened up. But that was only to hop up the cams. (went from stock to 255’s man that ended up nice) But mine is a later style 96 with the later crank and hydraulic tensioners .
      I found zero wrong (I did the cam upgrade at 50k), crank was good, tensioners were good, oil pressure is still good at 35 on the highway, no oil leaks, starts every time, runs down the highway at 75-80 on cruise control with no vibration or issue and with ease .
      I didn’t drink anyone’s Koolaid, I’m letting the product speak for itself . Honestly it has been the most reliable motorcycle I have ever owned . Even better then all the other Hondas I have had. (CX500, VF700, GL1200) They needed constant electrical repairs, and maintenance was downright awful . The dealership in my neck of the woods didn’t make repairing or maintaining my bikes any easier and they are the reason I made the switch to another brand.
      I don’t like Indian’s styling and some of the creature comforts do look like something that could have been done at someone’s home with parts from fast food auto parts stores . (I gave Indian the first shot when I switched brands, and they weren’t for me)
      That being said, Harley has earned a repeat customer in me .
      PS, I bought my bike used from a Polaris dealer . The original owner traded it for a Can Am, as he was getting up in years and balancing a motorcycle was getting difficult for him .
      So yes, I made sure to start out with minimal investment and no warranty so the product could actually speak for itself and I would have that learning curve .

  73. Chad May 20, 2016 at 11:09 am

    You Harley bashers are really providing nothing of substance to this conversation. Mr. Blow Hard Jim and his POS this and POS that and I love the new Polaris Indian and I love AmsOil. Just cause it’s what you use don’t mean it’s the best. I have well over 100,000 miles and counting on my 2000FXDX that I purchased three years ago with 30,020 already on it. If you have something constructive to say, then by all means say it. But if your going run off at the mouth with your negative crap then keep it to yourself.

    • Doug H. May 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Hey Chad,
      Based on my own experience, (Which is becoming similar to yours)I’m beginning to think experiences like ours are actually the rule, not the exception .
      We’re not the only ones who have butt loads of miles on TCs and have had zero issues. I have several other friends who ride TCs and have never experienced so much of a hiccup . One of them died recently, he was a Harley man from the word go. Hated Goldwings and insisted Harleys are the best . He felt his Screamin Eagle 103 was the best engine to ever wear the Harley name .

  74. Tom May 20, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Rob; I see what you are saying and I guess they may be an alternative but like I said out of the 80 guys i know and ride with TWO have bought Indians. One guy has a problem with all his leather cracking.

    when I trade again I’ll give them another look, but they have their big units priced way up there…24K or so…and that IMO is just too much.

    I care nothing abt the new harley buildings, I go in there and play hardball with them. They dont like what I offer, f### em. I’ll go elsewhere. I rode out on my new Electra Glide Police for 16K out the DOOR ALL taxes fees license etc INCLUDED. Best money I ever spent (so far anyway)

    • Doug H. May 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      HAHAHA, You Indian guys have been jerking our chains (and your chains and/or belts) . Puns fully intended.
      I finally decided to spend some time looking into what makes an Indian tick.
      What I found should embarrass the Harley bashers.
      Hang on guys, because I am going to spill the beans .
      One of your Indian designs uses one timing belt that wraps it’s way around 7 pulleys . 7 pulleys!! For the crank to turn only 2 cams!! That is a design that will cause issues just from the perspective of it being so complicated (3 of those pulleys are idlers, with their own set of permanently lubed bearings)
      The second Indian design does indeed use gear drives . It uses a main gear to spin the 2 smaller gears on the camshafts . BUT GUESS WHAT??? It doesn’t end there . That main gear is connected to the crankshaft by a ……… wait for it ……. TIMING CHAIN !!! That timing chain is supported by a white PLASTIC guide and tensioned by a Hydraulic tensioner with a PLASTIC shoe .
      I also take back my being incorrect about Indian’s final ownership . It is indeed a subsidiary of Polaris, that information came directly from Indian’s own website under their history page. (That explains why my local dealer also sells Victory motorcycles and Polaris vehicles)
      Guys, if you are going to bash my Harley using another brand as an example to do so . You’d better get your facts straight . Because eventually I will get curious and verify (or in this case disprove) what you are saying .

  75. boston jim May 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

    HA! How do you Update a motor design from 1936? 80 Years ago?

  76. boston jim May 20, 2016 at 8:53 am

    SPOT ON. ROB !

  77. boston jim May 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I read it, about 5 years ago, it really confirmed for me, everything , that I had been reading about this POS motor, since 1999. Remember, this motor went on sale in Sept. 1998 ! The Article might need a little redo, BUT the POS motor needs a MAJOR OVERHAUL ! What say you guys, the old school guys know better, the wannabes, with deep pockets , don’t care, buy another & another ?
    The Twin Cam B motor is a real joke, 14 lbs, of extra chains & weights, how much extra torque to move that boat. My 99 FXSTC, doesn’t have any of those problems & he said my 86 Evo Spiortster was the BEST. He is wrong about the 2004 & up Sportsters, it’s A POS, No trapdoor in tranny, you’d need to split the cases to get at the tranny ? DUH ?

    • Doug H. May 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Nah, it needs an update. Cranks have changed, hydraulic tensioners have shown that they work, and it doesn’t even mention the partial liquid cooled version . (No comment from me there, haven’t researched it)
      No comment on sportsters either except to say I had a buddy who had a 1989 model and it was a disaster .
      He now rides a Buell, and it has proven very reliable for him)

  78. Tom May 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    For me, reliability will not be an issue as I will not put more than 40000 mi on my new 2015 (if even that) before trading and from what I read the hydraulic tensioners can handle that much.

    As to Indian I am sure thay are decent bikes, however
    not many guys are switching and/or buying. My reasoning for that is not many people have 24 grand to shell out but still want to ride. And they’re NOT going to buy a scout as their primary ride. So they have no choice but to buy USED. And there are very few used Indians out there and those still cost the better part of 20 grand. In south Florida I have seen and ridden with only TWO Indians
    and one of them was a secondary ride to his Electra Glide. They will never become the ride of choice, not in my lifetime for the reason above, as well as guys just prefer harleys.

    Give a guy 24,000.00 and tell him to visit BOTH dealers and he has to come back with one. What would be the odds he’d buy Indian? Maybe a few would, but I would bet MOST would come riding up on a new HD bagger of some sort.

    If had 24 extra grand to part with. (I dont) I’d visit the Indian dealer and ride one or two. But I’d most likely go to the MOCO and get a SG or a Road Glide in the end.

    • Rob McGinley May 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Actually Tom if you drop into a decent Indian dealer you will be blown away by how many used Harleys are there.
      The majority of Indian sales are to X Harley owners or as a second bike to a Harley owner. This is about 50% of Victory owners are X Harley owners.
      I do a lot of research into problem cars/trucks and bikes.
      Dont get me wrong I love the look and sound of a Harley but most people will tell you they changed brands because the cost of ownership was to high.
      I keep hoping they will refine the twin cam or at least fix the deficiencies. But if they do who is going to pay for those big gorgeous dealerships?
      I refuse until they address the issues.

      • Doug H. May 20, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        What refinements would you suggest ? And what deficiencies (when comparing an 88 from the 1999 model year to a 103 from the 2016 model year) would you like addressed?
        Keep in mind they have addresses several issues in the past 17 years .
        Also, the only way to hard mount a 45 degree V-twin of a size much larger then 80-85 CID and not have it shake itself and the bike to pieces is to use a balancer shaft . Otherwise, the V-twin needs to change to a basic design to 60 degrees to eliminate the need for the shaft . But then it wouldn’t be a true Harley and they wouldn’t sell .
        Car engines (and a few motorcycles too) have used chain driven balancer shafts for years . The technology is not new and was not new when the B motor came out .
        I’m beginning to think that if the MoCo built an engine that needed zero maintenance, never needed any form of repairs and lasted well over 500k miles while constamtly being abused, that we would still have people complaining . (They are usually the arm chair quarterbacks who couldn’t read a dial micrometer, and believe everything they hear on the internet)

        • Rob McGinley May 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm

          I don’t want a major change. I like the fact that the motor has push rods. The sound has to stay it’s iconic… It’s Harley..
          But let’s address some of the issues that have and still do bite to many people.
          Cam bearing failures.
          Weak pressed pin crank (forged steal 1 piece pls)
          Tension shoe failures. ( not fixed but yes patched)
          Takes to long and ridiculous amount of work to replace a belt.
          Stator failures
          I am not saying these items should never fail. What I am saying is they fail to often.
          I read an article on the development of the twin cam. During testing they found the oil temp was getting to high. Instead of adding an oil cooler they decided to reduce the amount of oil that gets to the head. The hot head was causing the oil to get to hot. It’s decisions like that that make me shake my head in wounder.
          I don’t know much about the reliability of S&S motors. But if they are as good as I keep hearing then maybe Harley could learn from them.
          But really I don’t think they can afford to loose all that service revenue…. So nothing will change…
          Not bashing ….. Just not going to get that new Electra Glide Ultra until I see some effort put into reliability….

          • Doug H. May 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

            Let’s address your recommendations one by one and see how we could make them fit in . (I’m going to play Harley engineer here, cause it sounds like fun)
            1 piece crank. You also said you wanted things to remain traditional Harley. We can’t do that and still give you the knife and fork rod setup that we have used for 80+ years . We are known for knife and fork connecting rods and that is done so that we don’t have to offset the front and rear cylinder to make room for a side by side rod setup with connecting bolts at the crank end of the rods . Instead, we now offer a pressfit that is also splined . Expect to see the sticker price of the new bikes rise by $500 to cover that cost when introduced
            We have address tension shoe failures in the past and are satisfied of their longevity at this point. (Warranty claims suggest our fix was adequate) However, the service and owner’s manuals now require inspection and/or replacement at 50k mile intervals. No warranty claims will be accepted for bikes that have not been inspected after 50k for chain tensioners
            We have reverted back to gear driven camshafts for all new models . To fulfill EPA noise regulations we have also made our exhaust systems whisper quiet . Expect a price increase of another $750 to cover the costs of the new exhaust systems and complexity of the new gear drive setup . (The gears are cut to very precise standards and there are 4 of them)
            Warranty claims also suggest that by upgrading our oiling system as we did that cam bearing failures are minimal and within expected failure rates. (about 2 in every 1000)
            Belts are a lifetime item and should last 100k miles minimal as is . (Unless abused, damaged, neglected) Warranty claims since changing the belt materials a few years ago are showing this to be the case. A change at this point would make the bikes differ significantly in appearance from their predecessors .
            As to alternators, that to me personally is a new one as there is usually another factor involved there .
            Adding an oil cooler to every bike would drive the cost up even further. (indeed there are oil coolers included when engine size and application requires it)
            Historically, oil coolers aren’t generally a part of the power train . But no, we did not reduce oil flow to the cylinder heads as we knew that would give us warranty issues with the rocker arm assemblies .
            Gee that was fun (back to being John Q Bikerider now)
            I think it underscores the devil and the deep blue sea that Harley’s engineers face . Customers want the traditional look and feel of a Harley, the EPA has changed the guidelines and ratcheted down heavily, and yet they can’t make buying prices too high without loosing customers who then couldn’t afford the product . I suppose they could send more production off shore, but customers don’t like/want that, (myself included) and quality control would only suffer .
            Never the less, they still somehow manage to address the issues (some say in good ways, others say in bad ways) and to even attempt to bridge all of those gaps is amazing to me .
            (Thanks for letting me have some imagination with this today)

  79. Tom May 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    For me, reliability will not be an issue as I will not put more than 40000 mi on my new 2015 (if even that) before trading and from what I read the hydraulic tensioners can handle that much.

    As to Indian I am sure thay are decent bikes, however
    not many guys are switching and/or buying. In south Florida I have seen and ridden with only TWO Indians
    and one of them was a secondary ride to his Electra Glide. They will never become the ride of choice, not in my lifetime. I personally would own one for a secondary ride and had 24 grand to part with. (I dont and I wouldn’t) But I’d most likely go to the MOCO and get a SG or a Road Glide first.

  80. Doug H. May 17, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    It’s kinda funny. The shovel guys said the same about the EVO, The pan head guys use shovel heads .
    AMF era was not good at quality control, even when compared to what some feel that what we’re getting today . (I’ve read horror stories about AMF stuff that never got past the first block after purchase, and leaked oil on the showroom floor)
    But yet, in spite of oil leaks and reliability issues, all of those bikes became desirable . I have no doubt we’ll see that with TC’s as they become classics too . We already have a cottage industry built up to support all of them, so it’s not too far out of whack to think that .
    Will that be the case with Indian? Will their reliability be better in the end? Will parts for repair be easy to find and inexpensive? It’s a bit too early for me to say.
    As to Indian, I have no negative sentiment towards them, other then the fact they are no more then a subsidiary of foreign corporation . (Even that is minor because that corporation is based in Canada)
    I personally try to buy from companies that are based in the US and do most of their manufacturing of the product I am buying here too . (I realize that I can’t have every piece made here, no matter who it is)
    Back on the crank issue, another forum suggested to look up the NHTSA complaints . So I did. I have to admit early 96 engines pop up a lot . But later versions don’t . (The running change to the later crankshaft directly coincides with the drop off in reports)
    Mine being a 2010 model with the later crank may also be direct evidence that the problem has been addressed . (I’m not making this up, at 52k my crank is still running true with no issues. Maybe I got lucky, or maybe I’m doing something different that prevents the problems)
    At any rate, based on my experiences with my machine, (It has been nothing but reliable, inexpensive to maintain, and is holding it’s resale far better then any other bike I have ever owned) I would definitely recommend and purchase another.

    • Rob McGinley May 17, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Your doing your Country a disservice!
      Indian is owned by Polaris inc of Minisota…….
      It’s a State in the USA !!

      Bombardier is in Quebec Canada
      They don’t build motorcycles
      They build ATVs Snowmobiles and the Spyder 3 wheeler

      • Doug H. May 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        I stand corrected. Thanks for the correction .
        Still, I’m not interested in Indian .
        That is a purely personal thing though, in that I don’t care for the styling, and the units I looked at (Yes, I looked at them first before buying my Ultra) are lacking in some of the creature comforts I got on my HD . (The biggest was the CB which I use frequently on group rides)
        The lack of a large dealer network, (for parts, I do all my own work) and rider support groups, (I joined and enjoyed national HOG and my local chapter and have made many friends there) also played heavily on my decision.

  81. Rob McGinley May 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm
    • Doug H. May 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      I read that.
      It is what got me researching.
      I think it needs to be updated.

  82. boston jim May 17, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hey Kevin, Congrats on catching the problem ! What year & model is your H-D ? And, what fix procedure did you choose ? Any upgrades ? fatzusadotcom, BJ

  83. Kevin May 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    This is dead on. I got lucky. During a routine oil change I asked them to check this out for me. Mine was damaged and ready to break apart. I had it replaced. I have warned all my Harley friends to this issue.

  84. Doug H. May 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I keep reading about crank issues and that Harley increased the crank run-out spec so they could duck paying warranty claims . I’ve also read that they use chain drives in the Twin Cams in an effort to deal with cranks that are out .
    So, I researched this one to the hilt. I hit the books, ignored the internet, and used my experience as a machinist/mechanic .
    Here’s what I discovered. The way we measure cranks on a Harley is not the correct way to measure them . They should be measured when removed from the engine, in a fixture and on both ends . If they are measured in the engine, you will also see bearing deflection . That gets worse when measuring only 1 side of an installed crank .
    So, to adjust for the way we typically measure the cranks (in the case, on the bike) Harley gave us the larger measurement to compensate for our follies . Their new measurement takes into account bearing deflection and the fact that all the run-out is now being shown on only 1 side. (Logically there should be more then twice what one would see if the crank were removed and the measurement taken on each side. But the sum of those 2 measurements will come close to the single measurement when in the case, plus any bearing deflection) So no, they didn’t do that to duck any warranty claims. They did that to aid in the way we measure the cranks in the field .
    Next, I took on crank scissoring . The biggest problem I found there was abuse and improper engine builds .
    The parts manuals clearly call out different part numbers for larger engines. The 88 requires Part number 23957-99, Early 96 requires 23729-07, Late 96 and 103 requires 23729-07A. The 110 gets 93729-07B (The last crankshaft superceeds all other numbers except for the 88)
    As you can see, Harley changes the cranks for larger engine sizes even when the stroke stays the same. (The 96, 103 and 110 use the same stroke)
    Why would a person build a big bore stroker motor without first addressing the crank to handle the added stress it will see ? (I wouldn’t dream of building a hot rod car without making certain the crank could handle it)
    The abuse part I see is usually caused by doing burn outs, (That is a lower rpm thing) and/or engine lugging . Remember that when the throttle is cracked wide open with the crank not being allowed to accelerate that puts one hell of a stress on it (Particularly on the primary drive side) . Couple that with a crank that was not designed for a big bore kit and scissoring will occur.
    The last thing is about chains. Harley did not go to chains to be cheap or as a way of dealing with crank run-out. They did so to bring the engine noise level down . (Gears are noisy)
    In fact, due to the complexity and added parts needed to use chains, it’s actually more expensive for them to do that then it would be for space craft perfect cranks with gear drives .
    Make no mistake, they need to make a profit too, and if a gear drive setup would have saved them money while still allowing for EPA noise guidelines, they would have done it .
    Also, has anyone ever looked at some of the automotive engines that use chain drives? (It is very old school in that arena) Some of the setups on those make my Harley look very simplistic in design . Yet we see some of those auto engines last for well over 200k miles and never have problems with chains .
    Good luck with your endeavors guys .

    • Rob McGinley May 16, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Doug H
      Your living in a bubble. Your towing the company line.
      Tell that story to the guy that tried to install an S&S gear drive on a STOCK Twin Cam and couldnt do it because of excessive crank shaft run out.
      Try to convince the guy with a sissored crank in a stock motor.
      Pressed pin cranks are cheep and unreliable.
      If your VERY lucky you MAY not ever have an issue.
      But for the price they want for these bikes they can do better.
      Its all about keeping those dealers rich doing repairs.

      • Doug H. May 16, 2016 at 11:47 am

        No bubbles here.
        Press fits on crankshafts are not new, nor are they endemic to Harley-Davidson .
        Small block Chevrolets used press fit harmonic balancers for a time. Both GM, Ford and Chrysler press fit their power steering pump pulleys to the pump crankshaft
        Ford 9 inch rear axles use press fit bearings to both support the weight of the vehicle and drive it forward.
        However, even those will have issues when the vehicle is modified, just like the guy trying to install a gear drive on a TC is modifying his .
        I still stick to the fact that a stock motor that is being abused (by burnouts) will absolutely have an issue .
        As will an engine that has been souped up without a corresponding crank update .
        Incidentally, my indy is not recommending big bore kits for performance anymore . He states that he can get the same power with cams and tuning . He also doesn’t recommend gear drives. His reasoning is that they are noisy and the parts he has gotten to install aren’t up to his standards .
        He also dispels the myth that cam timing suffers with chain drive, by reminding me that a Harley engine built for the street, should never get to that high an RPM where a gear drive is needed to keep cam timing in line . (The cases will have a problem at that high an RPM)
        Also, Harley cranks are supported by real roller bearings. (Part number 24605-07 for the 96) Naturally there should be some deflection in them . Automotive engines use Babbit bearings, the only deflection they give is with the oil clearance . Not thinking I’d want a gear drive on a crankshaft supported by roller bearings . By nature they move around more then an engine equipped with Babbits .
        It is the fact that the crankshaft is supported by rollers, (and yes they do wear with time and will cause even more deflection) that I would never measure crankshaft run-out on a Harley with the crank in the cases . Only sure fire way to get an accurate measurement is with the crank completely removed and placed in the correct cradle .
        I wonder how many cranks were replaced when the person measuring them actually saw bearing deflection? I also wonder what the readings would have been with just a new set of bearings? Or if the crank was removed and measured correctly?
        At any rate, we are dealing with very old school technology in the area of reciprocating parts with these motorcycles . (That is part of the reason we bought them. We knew that going in. At least I did.) To attempt to use modern standards, to gauge the wear characteristic isn’t the wisest thing to do .

        • Rob McGinley May 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm

          Yes the FLIMSY press pin crank will fail on a modified motor that obvious its a serious weak link.
          Your talking history in some of your examples lets stay with (todays technology)
          I had a Japanese bike with pressed pin crank and it sissored. that was back in the 70s ..IT WAS STOCK
          Check out YouTube on the new Dodge V6 diesel with pressed on over head cam sprockets that are slipping on the cam shaft.
          No serious engine mfg today would use such backward technology unless they were building in a design failure to make service profits.
          You cant in all good conciseness argue with that.
          Installing S&S cam gears is NOT modifying the engine its IMPROVING IT…
          You cant be for real ??????

          • Doug H. May 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm

            If our Harleys were of a more modern design, they most likely would not use pushrods, or be a 45 degree angle V-twin . (The latter naturally causes an engine imbalance)
            The fact that they are not, means that measuring them in the same way one might measure a Goldwing crank is not correct .
            I have yet to have someone tell me that measuring a crank in a cradle in incorrect.
            They won’t either, because I’ll counter with the fact that the spec for my crank is on page 3-4 table 3-12 of my factory service manual and shows the spec for run-out when measured in the case max .010 and run-out when measured in truing stand as .004 . Where do you think that extra .007 came from . THE BEARINGS !!! .
            Don’t believe me? Jack your car up, put a micrometer from the fender to the wheel and see if there is play in the wheel bearings . They are after all, the same type of bearing .
            Couple that with the fact the primary side is held in place by the chain and sprocket, and any run-out on that side will show on the cam chain side where being measured . (And yes a good seal will indeed hold that, that’s why they are made from flexible rubber with a garter spring built in)
            Harleys are built the way they are because the customer and government have demanded they be that way .
            Harley can build a proper V-twin, but we, as a whole don’t buy a lot of them (It’s called the V-rod)
            As to auto manufacturers using press fits on cranks and cams, I can site a few success stories (There are a few Ford’s around that do just that. Makes it a pain for the uninitiated to properly set the cam timing on a 2.0 ZX2 engine)
            Having said all that, I’m going riding on my Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 96 with 52k miles on it, and have every bit of confidence it will give me no issues .
            (It really can’t, I check everything regularly, and more often then required by the book. I am that anal)
            Sorry to have raised a hornets nest. But I know what I see in mine, and I know where the evidence has lead me .
            Should I ever need to replace mine, damn straight it’ll be another Harley. I’ll have no qualms about it being a Twin Cam either . I know their strengths, I know their weak spots, and I know how to avoid problems with them .

          • boston jim May 17, 2016 at 9:32 am

            Hey Doug, IF, & that’s a BIG IF, I needed a new Bike, & I don’t, & never will, because we own 2 Evos, I’d be looking, NO, i’d be buying a NEW Chief ! Watch the YOUTUBE video of the Power Stroke 111 motor come together, it starts with a ONE PIECE FORGED CRANK, 3 CAMS, A GEAR DRIVEN PRIMARY, DIRECT TO THE TRANS, RIGHT SIDE REAR BELT, & 119 LBS. OF TORQUE ! I’ve been to 9 Demo Days, starting a week after the Bike was unveiled at Sturgis, rode 2 Dozen different Chiefs ! NICE BIKE ! I want to ride the 100 HP Scout, maybe this Sat., my local DEALER (1/2 mile) is having a DEMO DAY !
            I believe every H-D from 1903 to 1999, is desirable, in demand, (AMF years ???), is simple, easy to fix, & has value ? You can’t say that about the Twin Cams, they have a BAD RAP, already, & there’s millions of them, No Value ? I believe they will become the $100.- Basket Case for the Next Generation of Garage Tinkers !

    • boston jim May 16, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Hey Doug, Congrats, nice job, a lot of research ? How’s the rebuild on your Bike doing ? What I don’t get is this EPA Noise Issue with the Twin Cam, has anybody seen it. The Sportster has had 4 cams, since it’s Great, Great, Grandaddy, back in 1929, the 45″ Flathead, that’s 87 years. It has 4 cams & revs higher, so the noise should be higher ? YES/NO ?

      OK, the Twin Cam A, has the rubber mounting, it jumps around at idle, calms down, out on the road ! But, What about the Twin Cam B, it being Solid Mounted, & so out of Balance, it needs Huge Chains & Weights, to offset the problem ? My 99 EVO, doesn’t have any of that Nonsense ?

      I didn’t quite understand your crank part #’s ? You seem to think the 96, 103, & 110″ cranks, are different, BUT, with the same Stroke ? Why, because they have different Part #’s ?

      OK, Here’s my experience with part #’s ! We have an International M/C business, sell 3, H-D related products Worldwide. Around 2007, H-D started to change the size of a part, on a couple bikes. I went to my local H-D Stealership, with the original part, that went back to the first EVO, then carried over to TC’S up until 2007. I was driving the Parts Manager Crazy, we both finally realized, he had a Dozen trays of this part, all the same, BUT, each box had a different part #? Go Figure, the parts manager didn’t know this, because of me, he does now.

      So, Doug, what is the difference in the 96, 103, & 110 cranks ? OH, the Scissoring, what a Stupid Ass way to assemble a crank, press it together! If anybody reading these 3 Blogs, & they shouldn’t be, if H-D had Built a Good Motor to begin with ! But, if yours implodes, & you want to fix it, find the Best Independent Tech, Balance & True the Crank, then WELD IT ! Better yet, Buy an S&S, Better & Cheaper ! IMO, Boston Jim

      • Rob McGinley May 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        Well said Jim
        I cant believe some people are so blind to the Crank issue.
        Did you ever see the Video of the Harley assembly line ?
        There is a section in there showing the cranks being assembled. Cool Vid
        And to think there is that much run-out caused by the roller bearings is crazy. If there was you would NEVER keep a seal in there. There would be motor oil leaking into the primary.
        I love the sound of the Twin Cam and love the look of it. But man Harley is loosing customers because of the weak points in that motor. MoCo fix the damn thin…..

      • Doug H. May 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        My bike isn’t in need of a rebuild at 52K miles . Oil pressure is great (34 psi hot cruise), as is performance, fuel economy and overall rideability .
        Try as I might, I can’t find a problem with my engine. (I do maintain, service and inspect it as though it were an airplane though. Maybe that’s why?)
        Best I can tell you on the cranks is this . (I had one heck of a time finding the facts here)
        Early 96 VS late 96 and 103 = The interference press fit spec is changed (made tighter I would assume to withstand the 103)
        Late 96/103 VS 110. = My understanding is that there is a bearing change in the con rods . I couldn’t find info on any changes to press fit.
        On my own machine. I have souped it up with a stage 1 and SE 255 cams. But, I did my homework. As mine is a 2010, it has the later 96/103 crank. So given the fact I did not increase the cubic inches, and am producing torque numbers just at (or slightly below) a stock 103, I’m confident I’m not overstressing the crank . I also don’t lug my engine, (tough not to do cause it sounds so cool) do burnouts, and it never sees RPM near or at the redline .
        Being an Ultra Classic, all out balls to the wall speed isn’t what I have in mind . (Hanging out on cruise with the occasional passing maneuver is)

        • Doug H. May 16, 2016 at 3:42 pm

          Oh, I forgot to add.
          The EPA makes the rules for motorcycle noise emissions.
          Their test take into account all the noise the motorcycle makes when running . (Minus the horn, tire, and wind noises)
          From there I have to speculate. But it would be this. (at least for me) When I fire up my Harley I want it’s exhaust to somewhat sound like a Harley . The only way to do that and still pass EPA regs is to quiet other engine noises .
          Being an air cooled engine, which by nature makes more mechanical noises then a liquid cooled. (The liquid coolant in the passages actually dampens quite a bit of noise) That puts my bike’s manufacturer between the devil and the deep blue sea . They want to please me to get me to purchase, but they still must please the EPA.

  85. boston jim May 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Rob, He’s not a Tech ! You’re spot on ! You explained it, in layman’s terms, the Best I’ve seen, Good Job ! If anybody sees the S&S Truck at a Rally, give their display Gear Drive Cams a spin, with your hand, it’s amazing !

  86. DONNY April 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    BJ. Some folks need to be educated in the ways of HD. Who knows the guy might be only 18-20 years old. Cut him some slack, wait for the next one. No snow. Out today on the Slide Glide for the first long run. 60 NICE.

  87. DONNY April 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Not at all. Not even close.

    • boston jim April 15, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Donny, Got Snow? How the Phuck are you? BJ

      PS, Can you believe that Guy? Just when you thought you heard everything!

  88. boston jim April 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Hey Gerry, I’ve got to hand it to you, you’ve got Balls asking a Stupid question like that on this Blog. They say, there isn’t a Dumb Question, well this is one of those Rare exceptions! At this moment in time, you have NO business owning a H-D! You’ll KILL yourself! Do yourself a favor, Google H-D Sportster, educate yourself, on the difference of the 2 Bikes. What’s behind the question? IMO, the 2004 & up Sportsters suck, NO tranny trapdoor! Sportsters, 2003 & back to 1957, are much better, IMO! Twin Cams, 2006 & back,really suck! I’m 66, when I was 10, I knew the difference between an XLCH & a Panhead! Be Safe, BJ

  89. gerald messer April 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    i am thinking of but this xl sportster c 2011 it has av twin, there are 8000 miles on bike it will cost me roughly 6500 . i really need to know if this bike falls into the catagory of twin cam engines – PLEASE LET ME KNOW

  90. James Garrison NW Pa. April 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    My 02 RK has 50+ miles and change the oil every 3K miles and use syn oil.I inspected the chain tensioner summer of 2015, they were like new.A buddy hadnt changed his oil since time began…an 01..with 70+ miles and they were laying inside..chewed up.Needless to say he needed a toltall rebuild.

    • Doug H. April 4, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Perhaps that’s why Harley doesn’t list an inspection time frame?
      Proper maintenance and use of suggested oils inhibits the problem?
      (Just a guess)

  91. boston jim April 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Doug, I’m Glad, that you’re Glad, that everything is sorted out, & you’re happy with the outcome. Did you do it yourself? Can you share, what the parts cost, for the next guy thinking about doing it? Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, & Good Luck, Boston Jim, fatzusadotcom

    • Doug H. April 4, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Hey Jim, I assume your asking me about the SE 255 cam swap .
      IIRC the cost was about $400. I got the cams as new take outs from eBay (The 110 guys take the cams out first thing, because the SE255 isn’t too good in a 110, but they make a 96 scream)
      The cam bearing puller/installer tool also came from eBay.
      The cam chest service kit (with gaskets, Torrington bearings, O-rings and breather service parts) came from Fuel Moto USA.
      The rocker cover gaskets and tensioners came from my local dealer .
      The lifters came from SummitRacing, as Crane Cams makes a replacement lifter for the EVO/TC Harley that is made in USA and inexpensive compared to the O.E.
      I don’t remember the exact cost break down though.
      Yes, I did do all the work myself as I find my Harley the easiest machine in the world to work on .
      Be sure to have a service manual for proper procedures and torque specs, as well as a way to tune your fuel injection for the new parts . And always use red or blue Loctite where the manual says to .
      Good luck and enjoy, it is fun and worthwhile experience .

  92. boston jim April 3, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hey Donny, Did you do it? Are you Mech. inclined? Bugsby, got bite in the ass twice, OCH!
    Why didn’t you make the J&P YouTube thing, clickable? I can’t be phucking around with these computer things! I think Bill Gates is the AntiChrist! Got Snow, I got some last night, more Monday morning! Sucks, I just took the snow tires off my Bike! BJ

  93. DONNY March 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    J&P has a very good video on U-Tube that goes into great detail on this repair. If you are in any way mechanically inclined it should be a breeze. You all should have a look. Saves a fortune.

  94. boston jim March 31, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Hey Jammmer, I always wanted a Joe Teresi (Easyrider Mag.) Jammer frame & bike! AMSOIL will lower your oil temp., 30 degrees! Are you using the long Dyna oil filer?
    Oil cooler, every little bit helps?
    I’d find the BEST TECH in your area, before, I’d go the Gear Cams. There are many shops, that won’t check out, the crank run out, just throw the Gear Cams in, now you’re worse off, than with the chain tensioners? Taking a bolt cutter to the push rods, eliminates, taking off the tank & valve covers (less labor)? fatzusadotcom, Good Luck, BJ

    • Doug H. March 31, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      I upgraded my TC96 and put SE255 cams in it . (As I stated before, I found zero wrong with the engine. But did replace the hydraulic tensioners and cam bearings because they are cheap and I was already in there)
      I didn’t cut my pushrods and went through the process of removing the tank, rocker covers and rocker arms .
      That meant I could use my OE pushrods and tubes, and would never need to concern myself with pushrod adjustment .
      I did replace my lifters too. Being an old school auto tech, I never run old lifters on a new cam no matter how good they look .
      My results so far (about 1,500 miles now) have been flawless .
      The engine now has 52k on the clock BTW .
      PS, I chose the SE255 cams (some hate em some love em) because my machine is a heavy weight Ultra Classic which rarely sees anything over 5,000 RPM and low end torque and extra passing power were what I wanted . (I am extremely happy with it BTW)

  95. Jammmer March 30, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks so much that in my opinion is the most info I have found regarding this situation. I only ran across the issue after i did a stage 1 upgrade to my 2012 fxdc . v&h slash slip ons Arlen Ness big sucker intake and a v&h fuel management system. I read in a blog somewhere that the engine ran hot from the factory so i went on a quest to cool it down . I am still not sure about the exhaust system as they are just slip ons . this is my first harley and i like it. It only has 2000 miles on it now but i am seriously considering the gear drive cam upgrade already . question do i have to change the rods and lifters too.

  96. boston jim March 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Don, Actually $8.73! Right now, I’m setting up a Biker from Texas, as one of my AMSOIL Dealers! Why don’t you become my 1st Canadian Dealer. Buy wholesale, sell retail, US profit $3.17 qt.? I’m also working with a Biker from South Africa, wants to be Sole Distributor of my FATZ? FATZUSAdotcom, click yellow Fatboy, click Mcoil, click Buy Wholesale, fill out app., your my New Dealer!
    Hey, I hear there’s a Big Wabbit, looking for Hairy Bags, to make a nest? BJ

  97. DONNY March 24, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Jimbo $9.00 a quart? Come north of the boarder and see how Our government puts the screws to it’s own people. You guys can buy OUR beer for less then we can, just walk across the line. Hay Jimbo, how long have we been on this blog. BTW I bet I have more bag hairs then you. LOLOLO Have a Happy Easter out there.

  98. boston jim March 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Hey Donny, I’ve got Boots older than you! Where are you? Still got snow? BJ

  99. boston jim March 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Hey Donny, you found what was stinking up the place, the Dead Horse, the 99 to 2006 TC!
    Fram! I wouldn’t put a Fram Filter on my lawnmower! AMSOIL is the BEST! The AMSOIL Nanofiber oil filter for your bike is EAOM134C, C = chrome.
    AMSOIL MCV, 20W-50, less than $9.- per qt.

  100. DONNY March 23, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Jim, I’m almost sure that today’s V-Rod is the devils spawn of a grand son of the motor that you are talking about.(could be wrong)BTW I turn 65 next year.So that makes you an older old fart!

  101. boston jim March 23, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Hey Donny, I don’t think Porsche had anything to do with the Evo’s? But, they did with the watercooled V-ROD! Rumor has it, that some variation of the V-ROD motor will be in all the Big Twins, sometime in the future? Let’s hope they dump that POS Twin Cam Motor soon! Today, wouldn’t be soon enough!
    Donny, if you’ve got an Indian Dealer in your area, go for a Demo ride, on both the Chief & Scout! And post HERE, what you think! Be Safe, BJ
    PS, I received 2 emails last night, an American Biker working the mines in South Africa & a Biker from North Hollywood, Ca., they both want to buy one of my FATZ’s! FATZUSAdotcom, BJ

  102. DONNY March 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Hay Jim wasn’t that motor supposed to be water cooled and weren’t the Germans(Porsche) involved in the design. I think they were involved with the evo top end, and heavily into the Sporty motor also at the time. I might be wrong though.

  103. boston jim March 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Hey Donny, I’m a 9/11/49 Baby Boomer. One of my Harley’s is a 1986 1st year Evo Sportster, punched out & lightened, it will blow off those XLCH Strokers, of Old! Hey, an easy way to check on the yellow or white plastic shoes, open up your dirty oil filter, stretch out the pleats, at next oil change! Do you put your bike away for the winter, with dirty or clean oil? Pretend it’s a boat, always put it away with AMSOIL & a Good Filter, not a Made in Thailand, K&N, TOO restrictive! Later, be safe, BJ

    • DONNY March 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Easier to just pull the cover off each spring Jim. Only put 1500 last year so put away dirty. Change every April. my oil is clear. Then again I ride like an old lady. This is my last bike. Had enough of the blind drivers in horse trailers, funny looking people from other countries trying to run me over. Besides my eyes are bad, reflexes suck, don’t pay attention anymore, time to quit this year.(AMSOIL, Fram all the best stuff. Used to cost about $30.00 to do it. Now it’s almost $100.00. God knows how much the service guy charge. It’s been a fun 40 years riding. My bike is the best that I can afford and i’m glad that there is a forum like this that People like me and you other guy’s can vent their rage and flustration on and do nobody any harm. But at the and of the day isn’t this topic a bit of a dead horse? After all it really only involves 2000- 2005 HD TC 88’s Twinkie motors?(Don’t make em any more?) After that the MOCO tried to cover this s–t- up with the present set-up.

  104. DONNY March 22, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    The problem Doug,is the yellow material that was supplied for the shoes. As it cooks it gets brittle and falls apart also the chains are not polished a little finer. They act like a chain saw also some of the springs could be a little to firm. COULD GO ON. Won’t. The newer shoes on the hydros should last longer if you use full syn. but they will ware out later rather then sooner.(My 03 FXDWG’S shoes are 1/4 gone at 25’000 miles I expect that If they don’t explode I might make 35-40,000. And Doug I was told by a service teck. They could explode all over the cam chest at any time….. = Big bucks.

  105. DONNY March 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm


  106. boston jim March 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Hey Don, I read somewhere, that back in the late 70’s, that AMF, was working on a overhead came motor, similar to the Victory! Then in 1981, the sale back to H-D executives who had barely enough money to buy H-D back, they had NO money to finish the overhead cam motor! All they could do was refresh the Shovelhead into the EVO! The EVO motor saved H-D, it was like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. There was only one reason the Twin Cam was crap, Greed! They found a way to build cheap motors quickly, the cam chains are very tolerant of a sloppy, unbalanced motor. And, sell upgrades, when you complained! It was a perfect plan, made a lot of money! Donny asked, What’s next? I don’t know, but, they need to pull a rabbit out of a hat! There backs are against the wall, stocks are down, Indian & Polaris is soaring! S&S makes wonderful motors, the X-Wedge, 124 Touring, with or without cam chains. I’ve been thinking about something Donny said, he got his bike at a bike junkyard! Get a junkyard bike, buy a S&S 124T (was approx. $5800.), now you have a real bike! Or, if you have Deep Pockets, buy a New H-D, get the 7 year warranty, & ride the Hell out of it! Be Safe, Boston Jim

  107. boston jim March 21, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Hey Donny, ya got the day off? Four comments in a row!I thought I had pissed off Tom, with my last comment, HA! Remember the 60’s, you could buy a used XLCH for $250. to $500., I bought my 1st Panhead in 1969, it had a rebuilt motor, for $250., the owner was a truck mechanic, bike had come to a screeching halt. I took it home in the back of his pickup, I adjusted, the tranny & primary chain & was back down his house in 2 hours. I sold it in 1975 for $2500. I think the early Twin Cams will be like those cheap bikes of the 60’s, starter bikes, for cheap money! They will always be POS motors, real sad motor.
    This is the 18th year of the Twin Cam, same as the Panhead & Shovelhead? I’m liking the New Scout, 100HP, from 69″! Suppers ready!

  108. boston jim March 21, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Hey Marc, Did you buy one of these POS motors? Did you not READ all 1200 comments, here on the 3 blogs about the Twin Cam motor? Why are you Thanking Spyder? He says he’s been a H-D Tech for 20 years, that means, he’s been there for the last 2 years of the Best motor H-D ever made, & all 18 years of the POS motor. He’s been drinking the MOCO Kool-Aid for 18 years. Today, a H-D Tech, could be a Certified mechanic, or the kid that washes your bike after service? I have never heard any employee of H-D EVER, say a Bad Word about the TC motor. It’s a Maintenance issue, Maintenance issue MY ASS, it’s a very Bad design! Designed for profits, chains on both sides of the cams, DUH! They built motors for 96 years without chains on the cams. They had a gear driven Twin Cam in 1929, with NO chains. The Twin CamB , has chains & weights on both sides of the motor? Why not just take the time to balance the motor, like the New & Old Indian. Why bother, we’ll sell them, we are H-D! I guess the EPA, hasn’t discovered the 4 Cam Sportster yet, DUH! Pans & Shovels lasted 18 years, the Evo 16, the TC is into it’s 18th, What’s next H-D, is this POS, the BEST you got? H-D owner since 1967, Boston Jim

  109. DONNY March 21, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Mark please convert K’S to miles for our American friends so they can budget the proper most likely repair needed:(I guess pretty soon we won’t need this blog any more. Most of the older Twin Cam’s will be either repaired or blown-up. What do ya think Jimbo? (Wonder whats next?)

  110. Tom March 21, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Thanks, Spyder for telling it like it really is. So I guess my new 2015 103 is good to go for a few thousand, eh? Thanks

  111. Adolf Thomas January 27, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Good information on Harley Davidson motorcycle.

    harley starter replacement

  112. Tc January 16, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Why can’t they use a roller set up similar to the one found in a snowmobile chain case

  113. Mike Mannell January 8, 2016 at 10:16 am

    The “Stealerships” are bad news….especially the HD dealers. No wonder their stock is dropping…

  114. Spyder January 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve been a H-D technician for 20 years and I must say, very nice sales pitch, too bad so much of it is bull. The ’06 and earlier spring tensioners do wear quickly, about 30-50k but you can upgrade to the hydraulics that the ’07 and later have and you can use your old cams, I have seen over 100k on them with almost no wear, never had to replace a single hydraulic tensioner but have had to replace dozens of gear drives, they have gears meshing which constantly enters metal shavings into the engine, the gears never are sized correctly and if they are too tight they whine, too loose and they rattle, both conditions prematurely wear out the cam bearings. The gear drive system is junk not to mention if you have a new bike they will void your warranty. The first question you should always ask yourself when reading tech articles is “Is this article trying to sell me something?” If the answer is yes then how can you trust if the info is true?

    • boston jim January 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Hey Spyder, Happy New Year! What year & model is your bike? What H-D oil is better, Dino or Syn 3, both good for 5K? So, if what you say is true, Big Twin Evos & all Sportsters since 1952 (KH flatheads) & all real Sportsters since 1957, must be wearing out. You didn’t touch on the real problem! A poorly designed motor! Sounds like your blaming the aftermarket, they are trying to rectify the problems, with that POS motor? H-D stock is down around $40.-, from around $70.-, Polaris is over a $100., the BEST thing for H-D, sell out to Polaris! H-D is Sad! BJ

    • Croz January 8, 2016 at 7:15 am

      The reason gear drives dont work is because harleys rotating assemble are so far out off true that the techs putting them in doesnt check to c how far the pinion shafts are out anything over .002 is to much,and harleys were gear drives from the beginning of time y did they change??

      • boston jim January 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

        Hey Croz, Spot on! Happy New Year, BJ

        PS, Today, a Tech, at a H-D Dealer, means the guy that you pay $115.- for labor, who changes your oil, & washes your bike after, & if he’s done sweeping the floor, maybe they’ll let him spend the rest of the day, trying to change a tire!

    • Dave Johnson January 8, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for the great info Scott. I am 65 years old, so it looks like my 2013 Harley Ultra will probably outlive me as it regards this business of cam chain tensioners.

      • boston jim January 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        Hey Dave, What you talking about Willis? My 1986, 1st year Evo Sportster & my 1999 FXSTC, last Evo Big Twin, will outlive you. Your Twinky, has a slim chance of outliving you! I’m 66, been to 47 Laconia’s! Be Safe, BJ
        PS, FATZUSA dot com

    • marc March 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      thanks, Spyder

    • Doug H. March 21, 2016 at 9:02 am

      I’ve been snooping around the Indian chat sites and problems are starting to crop up . I won’t list them, rather I’ll let you all do a Google search and find them. On the flip side, my Twinkie is running trouble free and is not experiencing any issues with it’s chain drive or any other systems (and yes, I inspect it regularly)
      While were at it though, knocking a chain driven camshaft design is a bit on the nutty side .
      If chain drives are such a huge problem, we wouldn’t see them en masse on automotive engines . (You very rarely see a production V8 engine from Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, MB, etc etc without a chain driving it’s camshafts) In fact every vehicle in my fleet has camshafts driven by chains . Those engines are a Ford 460, a Ford 5.0 HO, my 32 Valve 4.6 Ford and my HD TC 96 . (Heck my Honda VF700F and CX500 even had them, My Goldwing used them for the starter and as the primary means of moving power to the transmission shaft. Current Goldwing’s also use timing chains to drive their cams)
      Never ever have I seen or experienced an issue with timing chains unless the vehicle was abused and neglected . (I’ve been twisting wrenches for over 30 years professionally)

    • Rob May 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      The only reason the GEAR DRIVE system fails is because of crank shaft run-out.
      You as a so called Harley tech should know all about crank shaft run-out. Its a BIG known issue. If there is a lot of run-out the cam gear drive will be lose then tight during the 360 deg rotation of the crank.
      Matter of fact Harleys cranks have in most cases (unless you are one of the lucky ones) so much run-out the MoCo HAD TO use chains to compensate for such poor tolerances.
      If the MoCo would spend an extra buck they could use a forged crank like everyone else.
      As long as they keep pressing those 3 pcs cranks together at the factory there will be the need for chains not gears…

      Just the facts, not Harley bashing.
      If you really are a Harley tech you know this is true!!!

  115. DaviannaDavis December 30, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Provided Great Information on harley davidson issues.

    • boston jim December 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Hey D.D., Happy New Year ! What year & model is your H-D ? Be Safe, Boston Jim

  116. mark November 27, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Pan and Shovs are antiquated POS compared to my counterbalanced TC88,
    That said the spring tensioners are a problem, SMALL problem.
    The hydraulic conversion is simple and excuse to throw an andrews in. not bullet proof but gears are noisy unless everything is perfect.
    That all being said were talking about a Harley, wouldnt trade mine for anything !!!!
    You want performance buy a Ducati
    Reliability buy a Honda !!!!!

    • boston jim November 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Pans & Shovels are worth there weight in Gold ! They are desirable & in demand. Your “Counterbalanced 88” POS, will NEVER attain Pan or Shovel Status. Yes, you’re right, you will keep the Money Pit Forever, because anybody with a 1/2 brain knows it’s been a POS since 1999 ! Good Luck & Merry Xmas, BJ
      PS, Maybe, if you leave Santa a Hot Chocolate & 3 cookies, he’ll take it ?

      • Doug H. December 5, 2015 at 12:54 am

        Ya know, I read the post about this issue. (As well as others)
        It didn’t stop me from buying my 2010 EG Classic used in 2014 with 40k miles on the clock . (Sweet bike, looks and rides like new and my first Harley) From a Polaris dealer no less.
        I wouldn’t trade that Harley for anything else, except maybe another TC powered Ultra .
        Granted I have only put 10k miles on it .
        But in that time it has been an exemplary machine, and so far has been the best motorcycle I have ever had .
        I see folks complaining about chains in engines . Car companies have done this for years, as have motorcycle companies . (My Honda CX500, VF700 and GL1200 all had a chain(s) of some sort inside their engines)
        You complain about keeping a Harley running? Try keeping an 84 GL1200 on the road . (Oh and BTW the new GL1800’s use chains to drive their camshafts)
        The trick is to maintain/inspect your machine like it is an airplane . You would never fly in an airplane that has not been inspected/maintained recently . Why not treat your bike (or car/truck) the same way?
        Ever watch the pilot go over his plane, checking things before they climb in the cockpit? You should do the same before you sit in the saddle .
        It has been said in this thread that if one truly does not understand how a machine works and how to keep it that way, then maybe they shouldn’t be using it. I tend to agree.
        How many of you have actually read your owner’s manual from cover to cover? (be honest) Much less even cracked open a service manual?
        My last point is this. If these issues are so rampant, where are the class action lawsuits and/or government mandated recalls? (The goverment can enforce a safety recall for engines that stall unexpectedly causing the possibility of loss of control causing injury or death. Regardless of warantee status or accrued mileage) Those things simply don’t exist, leading me to believe these issues are not as rampant as this thread leaves us to believe.

        • boston jim December 8, 2015 at 5:01 pm

          Hey Doug, I hope you enjoy your used H-D, with 50K on the meter, you’ll be digging DEEP in both pockets to service that POS ! Happy Holidays, Boston Jim

          • Tom December 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm

            Boston Jim sounds like either an Indian rider that regrets his decision to buy a Polaris, or a Harley wanna be that cant or wont step up to the plate

            Yeah Jim it’s a lifestyle and you definitely aint harley material only wannabes bash other riders bikes usually because they’re jealous. Pretty sad, man

          • boston jim December 9, 2015 at 9:42 am

            Hey Tom, you seem to have all the answers ? If you had read all 1200 comments on the 3 Blogs about this POS motor, you’d know who I am ! I started riding a buddy’s H-D in 1963 at the age of 13, got my own in 67, was riding XLCH Strokers in 68. Got a 1950 Pan in 1969, rode it to Laconia, that year. I’ve been to 47 Laconia’s, been to Sturgis twice, rode across the USA, with the Indian factory team, Springfield, Ma. to Gilroy, Ca. & back to Springfield, Ma., the Original home of Indian, 1901 – 1953. I rode to Harley’s party in 2003, with American Iron Magazine & Chris Maida, the S&S party in 2008. I had my own shop before I was 19, flipped a dozen H-D’s before I was 20. Today, We have an International M/C business ! If there’s anybody on this Blog, who’s a WANNABEE, it’s YOU. What have you done ? Lifestyle, Get A Life !
            Oh, I gotta go, just sold an Evo Scavenger to a dude in Tx. Happy Holidays, Boston Jim

          • Tom December 9, 2015 at 9:52 am

            All words on paper Jim…mean nothing.
            Where’s your website? You say one thing and act like another. If harley tc were POS why then are you selling them (if indeed you HAVE a shop or have sold any)?

          • boston jim December 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

            Hey J&P bloggers, I’m a little worried about Tom, I’m beginning to think he’s a stalker. I don’t want to post my website, & have him calling or emailing me, everyday. He seems like one of those Bully customers, you can never satisfy. I had a product review in American Iron Magazine , 2004, by my good friend Chris Maida, which is in the J&P archives ! I don’t have to prove anything to this guy. I have 1000’s of customers around the world, including H-D of China, H-D of Laconia is a Great account, I’ll be there for my 48th, next June !

            I never said, I sold Twin Cams, I had a small shop, from 1968 – 75. I said, I had sold a dozen Harleys before I was 21, I’m 66, WTF ? Merry Xmas, BJ
            PS, if I won a Twin Cam, I’d sell ASAP, use the money to buy as many, H-D from 1936 – 99, 1st Knuckle – last Evo ! No POS TC’s for this wannabe !

          • J&P Cycles December 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm

            We respect everyone’s opinions and see nothing in his comments to indicate anything other than one opinion vs. another. J&P Cycles encourages everyone to be respectful to other’s views. Should we see activity that is deemed abusive or trolling, we do reserve the right to take action. We appreciate each and every reader on our blog and we hope you continue to read and enjoy the content we post.

          • Tom December 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

            Jim I wouldnt waste my time with you. Words on paper is all you are doesnt mean anything. Now Quit calling other peoples rides a POS (like you did with Bill we all saw it) with one side of your mouth then claim you’re in HD sales and sell the same bikes with the other (we all see that too) when you arent and never have been. Just go away

          • MR RYAN F EBELT October 4, 2016 at 4:33 am

            mmmmm,TWIN CAMS ARE OK if you look after them like any machine… but you … friend… diffidently older …. much older s kool!!, here in Adelaide…. South OZ at the Peterborough… motor cycle and Historic museum …. 120 miles north, one of extremely few ,,.. SA….Ozz built V twins… the Favourite… come see… enjoy-and STAY CHEERS!!!….A BIKE WITH A SOUL AND A DEEP ONE AT THAT,,,, CHEERS

          • boston jim October 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

            Hey Ryan, I’m a member of the OZ H-D Forum, I’ve got lots of friends in OZ ! I’ve been selling Scavengers there since 2004 ! Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, BJ

          • Doug H. March 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

            After inspection and finding nothing unusual or nothing needing replacement, we’re still rolling along with zero issues.
            I noticed someone complaining about finding neutral, I haven’t experienced this and can find it from 2nd or first with ease .

          • DONNY March 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm

            Hay Jimbo hows it going. Anyway check em every spring (old shoe style) New hydros last a little longer. But check the old ones each spring.

          • boston jim March 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

            Hey Donny, Got Snow? Boston was 77* yesterday, broke the “old record” by 5, here in Worcester, we tied the record at 74, Spring is HERE!

            I’m getting tired, of explaining what a POS motor the Twin Cam is to the Newby’s & Wannaby’s, that know everything, BUT, don’t know shit! The TC is 18 years old, same as the Pan & Shovel, what is the MOCO going to do? Polaris is taking more share everyday!

            Have you ridden any of the New Indians? I like the fact that it’s all Gear Drive, a tight, balanced motor, as opposed to H-D’s sloppy motor. I have a Good Friend Ray, from Laconia, with a 110 Touring H-D, after 3 years of problems, last winter he bought & installed a 124″ S&ST motor, he loves it, can’t believe the difference! I’m on a dozen Blogs & Forums around the world, getting tired of it, the Stupidity! I’ll just keep working our business, FATZUSAdotcom!

            Don, I think I met a friend of yours at the 2011 Laconia Rally. Big Tall Guy, nice guy, I think he wore glasses, had a Gold/Orange chopper, with a Big Motor you built? I was set-up at the Express Lube & Tire door at Laconia H-D, he needed a new rear tire, to get home! They didn’t have one. Big enough, but , he bought the largest they had! Do you know this Guy?

          • DONNY March 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm

            Wasn’t me buddy, never forget me, such stunning individual that I am. No snow any more. BEAUTIFUL SPRING ON THE WAY. As for the bike, this POS will be my last. Jim I have not had any problems with my ride( 03 FXDWG), but then again you have to ride more then I. Switch to a full synth., check the shoes every spring. Hope for the best. Like you I’m pissed that this little,yes little problem haunts most of the owners of the older Twinkies.(newer ones not much better by-the- way). Do your PM’S and add the shoe inspection to the list.

          • Howies Thunder October 20, 2016 at 11:46 pm

            I’ve got a ’99 Dyna Super Glide Sport with the TC 88 and 42,000 miles on it. had the cam chain tensioner shoes replaced at 38,000. They weren’t great but were far from disintegrated like some stories I’ve heard. Apparently the new shoes are longer lasting. And coupled with quality synthetic oil, they should be good for closer to 50,000 miles before needing changed.
            All that said, I don’t believe the TX 88 is a POS at all. It’s been very reliable for me. Lots of power and gets decent mileage. Good on long hauls and around town commuting. Never been stranded anywhere as long as I’ve owned it.
            I think on the next interval , though, I’m going to upgrade to gear drive, just so I never have to worry about it again.
            But so far it’s been a great ride, and I’m very proud of my Dyna with the twin cam 88, shoes and all.

          • boston jim October 24, 2016 at 11:19 am

            Hey Howie, Congrats, you’ve got a rare Good One, IMO, the 99-02 Bikes with the Forged Crank are the BEST ! Good Luck, Be Safe, BJ

          • boston jim March 10, 2016 at 6:39 am

            Hey Doug, I wish you the BEST of luck, Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, Boston Jim, FATZUSAdotcom

        • Tom December 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm

          I think you’re right, I hear no one in real life talking about this also see many with 80K and 100K on them
          Your 2010 has the hydraulic cam tensioner in it which really isnt an issue I’ll never live long enough to see my 2015 police have that issue

          Hell they recalled my hydraulic clutch I’m not even taking mine back cause it works perfectly why let em bleed and put a kit in it to possibly start trouble? If it aint broke dont fix it has been my motto of course religious maintenance is always good. I heard a new Indian chief Saturday and it sounded like a weak 750 honda shadow…no thanks, I’ll stick with HD Ride safe

          • boston jim December 21, 2015 at 10:54 am

            Hey Riders, I want to wish everybody, Happy Holidays & a Merry Xmas, except Wannabee Tom, he already has everything & ALL the answers ! Boston Jim

          • Tom December 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

            That comment pretty much tells everybody what kind of biker and human being you are, jim…but I’ll wish you and everyone a Merry Xmas! Ride safe

        • DONNY March 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

          Problem is Doug, the MOTO didn’t mention the inspection of this potential problem in the service manual. Lot’s of service guy’s got caught off- guard on this one I bet. Please anyone correct me if they will. Your motor seem’s to be OK. Can’t wait to see what’s next down the line.

          • Doug H. March 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm

            Far as I’m concerned and based on my observations, (That would be with later model’s equipped with hydraulic tensioners) THEY DON”T NEED TO.
            This issue is far overblown and any issue has long since been corrected . (That does not mean a failure rate of zero percent, which is statistically impossible for ANY mechanical device)
            It is forums like these that have and are making a mountain of a molehill on this one. I have asked my indy, my Harley dealer tech, and fellow long time Harley riders if indeed this problem is as bad as this post makes it seem, and they all agree that the percentage of failure is quite small .
            In addition, the percentage of failures I could confirm, vs the number of bikes built puts the failure rate under 3%, that is statistically in line (in fact better than) with accepted production and engineering practices of the best and most respected companies .
            The fact there is no class action lawsuits, (that I can find) nor any mandated safety recalls or investigations into the matter via NHTSA, (as of yet anyways) bears this out .

  117. DaviannaDavis November 26, 2015 at 4:45 am

    Thank you very much for educating us with this article.

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    • boston jim November 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Hey Glock, Welcome ! What year & model is your H-D ? Have a nice Thanksgiving, Eveytbody have a nice Thanksgiving ! BJ

  119. mike October 1, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    I did the S&S 585 gear drive in my 2010 softail cvo . I had it professionally installed. It woke the bike up great. The run out was perfect prior to install . But the vibration is horrible. It’s been tuned 3 times on the dyno. S&S blamed the crank. Sure easy to point it too something else I’m slowly getting use to it but once in a while it is total crap under load and heat. I would not do the gear drive ever again. The only thing left I wonder is the fuel system and injection is messing up the timing. I now have to live with the B motor vibration very bad from 2800 rpms and up. Oh well the price we pay for speed . But if you are going gear drive go with a more mid range cam if you like to ride hundreds of miles in a day.

    • boston jim October 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Hey Mike, I believe S&S is right. The H-D cranks aren’t balanced worth a shit. You’ve got those balance chains, with weights on the ends. The rubber mount bikes don’t have to use extra HP, to move the stupid anchors. You should have kept the EVO.
      PS, Today, H-D stock is down $9.50, 17% right now, they are blaming the surge in Auto-Trikes, Slingshot, Stallion, etc. The CEO, will be on the Stock Market Show, Wed., I’ll report what he says. They should have just built a better, balanced motor ! The New Indian, learned what not to do, from H-D mistakes !

    • Bzoned January 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Check your front motor mount, I have vibration issues and was reading online about replacing the stock rubber mount with a urethane mount. It is located under the voltage regulator and oil filter in the front on TCs. Check out Drag Pros, they are available on Amazon for$20.

      • boston jim January 27, 2016 at 9:39 am

        Hey Bzoned, Let me be the 1st of many to comment! ALL Softails from 1984 to the present, have rigid mounted motors, bolted to the frame, NO RUBBERS! Who wears rubbers today, only sissy’s. I suppose Charlie Sheen should have ? Did you just get your 1st H-D for Xmas? BJ
        PS, I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist! H-D owner since 1967! 47 Laconia’s !

        • DONNY March 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Charlie Sheen? RUBBERS? Really Jimbo! LOLOLO

  120. Mike September 29, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I have been riding and wrenching on motorcycles for over 45 years. I have a 2003 Pearl White FXDX that I love! Nice Machine. Also, currently own a Norton, Triumph, and BSA. I have 40,000 on my Twin Cam to include a Coast-Coast trip to the “Wall” in 2005. I’ve known about the twin cam problem for quite sometime. I plan on either replacing the shoes or getting the gear conversion this winter. I’ve been lucky with motorcycles I guess, but I keep them maintained. In 1997 I rode a 1963 Norton Atlas all over the United States. A magneto for spark, and used the stator and rotor for my lights. I would check my valves and file my points every three hundred miles. Also, checked my primary and rear drive daily. All motorcycles have issues of some sort.

    • Chad September 29, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Hey Mike.
      If you go with gears make sure you check or at least have someone check the run out on your crank. I went with the Screaming Eagle upgraded can plate and hydraulic tensioners for my 2000 FXDX. It came in kit form and cost me $499.00+tax at Historic Harley Davidson in Topeka Kansas. In my opinion the best dealership I have ever visited and they have a small museum in the basement that’s worth a look. Fits like a glove and with close to 20,000 miles since the installation, shows virtually no wear at all.

      • Mike October 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

        Thanks for the info. I’m considering the hydraulic tensioners. Sounds like a better and more economical solution.

    • boston jim September 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Hey Mike, Yes, you have been a Lucky SOB ! The 2003 models were the 1st of the Worst Motors, Cast Crank ! Nice 100th Birthday present from the MoCo, to it’s loyal customers. Don’t wait too long, NO coast to coast trips !
      Good Luck, BJ

      • Mike October 20, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        I plan on checking them soon. Before I ride again, I’ll pull the cover off and have a look. I can’t believe I’ve gotten 40,000 without problems. Lucky! I had a 1976 FXE back in the day LOL….and I only got 20,000 before it needed a top end. AMF…I went to BMW’s for years after that bike, but hey, BMW’s have problems too.

  121. Jim September 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Great information. I’m selling my 2001ultra and buying a metric.

    • Chad September 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Good, then you can figure out first hand all of the issues with metric bikes and sell it for a car.

    • boston jim September 9, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Jim, do yourself a favor ! Demo ride a New Indian Chief & Scout, you’ll be pleasantly surprised ! Be Safe, Boston Jim

  122. Rod August 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

    04 FLHTCUI: I wish this post had been around in 07 it might have saved my engine. It shelled at 50,000 miles due to cam chain tensioner failure. As I traveled the country and talked to dealers, they either denied knowledge of the problem or denied it being a problem.

    • boston jim August 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Hey Rod, do you live under a rock ? This has been a problem since 1999 ! Consider yourself lucky, some blew at 25K ! Buy a New Indian ! BJ

      • Tom August 28, 2015 at 10:31 am

        Indians just havent caught on, I have seen ONE on the road in the last 6 months. No Harley guys will buy them because of Polaris and the price is up there with a new Street Glide, also the economy. Bikes just aint sellin right now. Older monied guys will either buy a GW1800 or a trike, Indians have no market.

        Look for incredible deals to come on these soon, they just aint movin

        • boston jim August 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm

          TomTom, I have an Indian Dealer, less than a mile from my home, in Worcester, Ma.. Back in 1999, when the Gilroy, Ca. Indians started, my Dealer bought the rights to New England. In 2001, I was the only rider from New England, to ride from Springfield, Ma., the original factory from 1901 to 1953, to Gilroy, Ca., & back to Springfield. These were all 88″ S&S motors, nice ride. There was 12 factory riders & me, we had a 53′, 2 tier trailer, 80 bikes. I must have rode 2 dozen New Indians, in the 2 weeks out, & rode a New Scout home, with the ole flatheads, doing their annual pilgrimage back to their birthplace, Springfield. At Sturgis, 2003, a buddy & me rode the New Indian Bottlecap, nice ride. The week after Sturgis, 2013, the Demo truck came to town for 3 days. I made friends with the factory crew. You had to make an appointment, rides went out every 1/2 hour, if you missed your time slot, the crew Boss, would call out my name, I’d grab my helmet, & ride. In 9 days of Demo rides, I must have rode 2 dozen Polaris Indians, Sweet Ride. I want to ride the New Scout, 100HP, out of the box ! Take a Demo Ride, if YOU ride ?
          Tom, I’ve read all 1193 comments on the 3 J&P Blogs about the cam problems, 75% had Blown Motors ! The Twin Cam is a POS ! I have 2 Evo’s, have been riding H-D’s since 1967, every Laconia since 1969. What have you done, what year & model is your virtual bike ?
          On the 3rd Sunday of July, the Indian Museum has a big party, there was a club from N.J., 12/18 New Indians. I don’t know where the rock is you live under, but, there was a lot of New Indians at Laconia, & all over New England. BJ

          • Chad August 31, 2015 at 9:47 am

            I have not read all 1193 comments but of the comments I have read I wouldn’t guess even close to half of them ride and they sure as he’ll don’t wrench. The TwinCam makes decent power and is pretty reliable if you perform checks and the up on the maintenance. I was checking my tensioners every so often and eventually went out in the Screaming Eagle can plate with hydraulic adjusters so I wouldn’t have to check near as often. Several years back I was told “don’t get a Shovelhead all they do is break down”. So I went and bought a 1972 FLH. It had enough miles to justify a rebuild so I took out the engine and transmission, rebuilt them and put them back in. I put another 80,000 on that bike before someone was able to talk me out of her. Back in the day remember the old saying “here no evo, speak no evo, ride no evo. I remember people being up in arms about the introduction of the evo, going on and on about how it wasn’t a real Harley and all of that crap. It’s the same thing over and over. People have it stuck in their minds how a Harley should be or even motorcycles in general. Soon as something new comes out you can here the arm chair quarter backs and outright protesters stating their discontent with the newer version and they just don’t make em like they used to. Just cause you own a bike, does not automatically make you an expert on the subject. I know lots and lots of people who own motorcycles and I don’t see anyone of them when it’s raining or snowing out. He’ll I don’t see many of them out unless it’s eighty degrees on a Sunday. I guess what I’m trying to get to is, instead of jumping on a goddam blog, running your mouth and putting down another person’s ride. Why don’t you get out and ride your bike and figure your own shit out.

          • DONNY September 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

            2000-05,06? Twin-cam only guy’s.

          • Tom August 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            Maybe in NE but in miswest and FL seems everyone is on a Harley, they may have some cam issues but I have also seen hi milers that were never touched.

            I rise a 98 EVO Heritage and a brand new 15 electra glide Police, and if i want a TRULY trouble free LONG ride I have a 1996 XV1300 Royal Star to fall back on.
            I’ll trade my police on a new one LONG before some (if any) cam issues come up so it is a non event for me

            I do like the scouts but i just bot a 2005 Roadster 1200R with 6000 miles and NO cam issues for 3300 so that’s my “scout” for now.

            I just wonder, how hard would it be to SELL a new Indian in a couple years…my guess it it wouldn;t be easy unless you want to give it away.

            You sound like those Polaris Victory Guys…bunch of know it all snobs that think THEIR ride is better than anyone else’s. I sure hope what Indian riders there are out there are not like THAT, or they’ll be riding without ME in the group.

          • Joe September 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm

            Pffft…. So you took demo rides and recommend someone buys an Indian? You sold me pal! Not to mention one of the ugliest bikes on the road. To each his own I guess…

          • Tom September 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

            I’m with ya, Joe…I’ll just keep my 2015 FLHTP Police unit. Nuff said.

          • Mike March 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

            BJ- WOW dude! You are the epitome of a forum troll. Anything after your youthful days is a “pos.” While I agree HD should have done far more to improve quality and R&D when they had the money I do not see the point in telling everyone with a HD that if it is after 99 it is a POS and they should buy and Indian. I am here in Daytona at Bike Week, all the demo fleets are here and there are NO LINES TO RIDE ANY BIKES HERE. I have ridden 2 Indians, 2 Victories, 1 HD and I ride an 07 FXSTB. They are all decent rides. I do not have any faith in the current 103″ or 110″ motors myself because of some good friends that have issues with them but I wouldn’t bash them or their rides.

            My impressions of the Indian (Roadmaster, Chieftan)- it is a comfortable ride and the styling is spot on! I felt it under powered. The papers show it puts out more torque than my 07 FXSTB (the only mod to my bike is an exhaust) but the feel and throttle response go to my current bike and the 2016 FLHTCU that I rode here. I could easily get my front wheel to get light and the 2016 HD got very light with a quick snap of the wrist. This was definitely not the case for the Indian.

            The Victory (vision, cross country) was, again more comfortable than the HD. While I did find more power than the Indian it was still not as quick to respond as the HD (the cross country I rode had $7500 in extras including a performance exhaust). The sound system in the Victory was great and seemed superior to the Indian (the Indian roadmaster had a blow speaker at 2k miles).

            Both the Indian and the Victory were balanced decently and handled well. The Indians trans seemed to shift smoother than the HD or the Victory. A welcome and long past due small feature found in the Indian and Victory but lacking in the HD – NEUTRAL FIND! While at a stop you can only up shift into neutral, a feature that was on my 1985 Kawasaki but HD has still failed to embrace.

            For reference I have had and owned Kawasaki and Suzuki both in racer and cruiser form. I know what a 0-60 in 3 seconds or less feel like and I know what a balanced cruiser engine feel like. HD, Indian and Victory do not even come close, I am sad to say. HD should have passed the other manufacturers in V twins and in line 4 and 6 cylinder models back in the 80s when they had the chance.

            I have a 1989 Suzuki that is now worth what it retailed for back in 1989 because few of these survived and they are sought after by vintage competitors. As far as Pans, Knuckles and Iron heads they will have value, especially as their numbers decrease and their collect-ability increases but there are other bikes that will hold and even gain value.

          • Tom March 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

            I saw and rode a 2016 vintage chief nice bike but I’m not spendin 25K OTD for one. I’ll keep my 103 good bad or ugly it’s still doin ok.

            I DID buy a bike I’ve been wantin a 2005 yamaha royal star tour deluxe with only 12K on the clock. I think that 1300 v Four water cooled mill will out live me, and it goes down the road like a Town Car. I’m happy, y’all ride safe!

          • boston jim March 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm

            Hey Mike, I rode my 1st H-D in 1963, bought my 1st one in 1967, I’m 66, been to Laconia Rally 47 years! Been to Sturgis 03 & 04! Rode to H-D’s 100th, from Boston!

            Sounds like you agree with me! If you read all 3 J&P Blogs, 1200 comments, 1000 blown motors, you’ll agree! You’ll agree that every Twin Cam buyer was Betrayed by the MOCO! Recall, maintenance issue, HA!

            Back in 69, I was riding the “Billy Bike” before Dennis Hopper! I had 5 good friends, all riding XLCH’S, some stroked, talk about “fast & loud”! Anyway, one of those guys bought a 72 Kawi 900, then another guy, 73, same thing, 74 same thing, I pulled the trigger in 76, by then they were Dogs, smog crap, it didn’t go or stop. Then, 1978, I bought the Ice Blue Z1R, Cafe Kawi, the Fastest Bike in the world at the time. That’s the one Bike I wish I still had!

            I’m legally blind, since Jan.2015, or I might be at Daytona TOO! I have a Bunch of friends there, they are probably at my friend Dave Perewitz’s Paint Show, today! I had a buddy call me from the Beach Sat., Busting my Balls.

            Getting back to the POS motor, it’s in it’s 18th year, NO Big Twin has gone on longer, both the Pan & Shovel also made 18 years? The Beauty of the Indians, NO cam chains, NO primary chains, WHY, because Polaris took the time to design a well balanced motor, unlke the Twin Cam B, with it’s chains & weights on both sides of motor, WTF? We bought a shit load of H-D stock, when it was $8.-$12. a share. Sold most of it for $65., Thank you H-D. Check the price today? Back in 03 & 04, we sold most of our Polaris stock to finance the 2 trips to Sturgis, dumb mistake! Polaris is going GREAT, with Victory, Indian, & my NEW Favorite, the Slingshot!

            Well Mike, I gotta go get my Insulin shot, have a nice week & a safe journey home. Be Safe, Boston Jim

            PS, FATZUSAdotcom

        • boston jim September 3, 2015 at 10:42 am

          Tom & Chad; I wasn’t running my mouth, I was using my middle finger…. typing ! “you don’t know, WHAT, you don’t know”, one of my favorite sayings ! In my case, I knew from the Get Go, in 1999, that this Twin Cam Motor was a POS ! You Guys failed, you drank the MoCo Kool-Aid, you eat up all the H-D Bullchit, now you have some on your face, & you STILL WON’T admit, the Twin Cam is the worst motor in H-D History. The TC has NO value, they are not desirable or in demand, TOO many made ! And the problems ?

          I do want to thank all the TC owners, for buying all those POS, 10 years ago, we bought a lot of H-D stock at $8.- per share, sat on it 10 years, sold it for $65.-, thanks again, you made me rich ! Be Safe, BJ

          • Chad September 8, 2015 at 4:10 pm

            I actually prefer sweet tea to koolaid and the odometer on my 2000 FXDX proves that my TwinCam is far from a POS. It has been road tested through every type of weather condition that mother nature can throw at you and still runs strong at 100,000 miles. Glad you got rich on an investment you didn’t believe in. Maybe you should write a book.

    • bill September 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      When I took mine in at 60000 miles it was still ok but I replaced it anyway. I asked the guy about why some last and some dont and he said he thought it had to do with how you rode. Not riding hard or not hard but more like if you rode long distances for at high speeds a lot. But both dealers/mechanics admitted that it was a problem/weak link

    • David October 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      I replaced the tensioners at 30,000 miles on my Wide Glide. They already had specks/chunks coming out of the lining. It wasn’t going to be long. Thanks to the internet for telling me there was a problem, Harley Davidson didn’t say a word. That much is true. I love my Harleys but I don’t think much of the Motor Company. FTF

  123. Tugboat June 13, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Have a 1999 Fatboy and a 2014 Indian Vintage, love them both.

  124. Dan June 6, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    78,000 miles on my 03 Deuce. Never a problem.

    • boston jim June 7, 2015 at 7:33 am

      I’m amazed, 78 K on a 1st year cast crank Duece, you’ve got a keeper ! Maybe Willy G., will put it in the H-D Museum, someday. Good Luck & Be Safe, BJ

      PS, Did you replace anything ? Did you put in the “upgrade kit”, 95″ kit, gear drive cams, or hydraulic tensioners, something ? Did you buy it new, or did you buy it from a real biker, who knew, there were a lot of upgrades to make it last forever ?

  125. Steve May 30, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I am a very grateful HD 2007 Heritage Soft Tail Classic owner, thank You for your candid view on HD Shops. I have come across the same denial on mechanical issues. Like you I am not badmouthing HD, just that it’s impossible to get them to open up and explain this cam issue as well as other ones. Grateful to you for the solution , I have 36,000 miles on my 07′ the O2 sensor went this week, and the fuel filter clogged , all the same day.
    Now it looks to be another major issue if the cams don’t get changed, at least I am informed now, thank you.

  126. Ron Lowe May 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    My brother has a 2006 Street Glide w/a 88 c.I.motor that will lose power when it heats up, he seams to think it’s the fuel injectors causing the problem. He went back where he bought it, because of the warranty & they didn’t know how to fix it & couldn’t fine any problems & it still does it & they don’t know what to do . Any suggestions about the problem, he is in bad health & these people are not helping matters ,so I may half to go fix it myself. So a good tip on what is wrong might help me. Thanks ,Ron

    • boston jim May 19, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Hey Ron, this blog is all about the Twin Cam , Chain Tensioner problems. Your bro bike is the last year with the really bad spring loaded ones. How many miles ? I suggest you try J&P Forum, you can ask all kinds of questions, maybe there is already an answer there. Find the BEST Independent Tech in your area, take the bike there. Don’t phuck around, do it, before you have a blown motor & a $4,000.- bill. I wish you & your brother Good Health & Good Luck ! BJ

    • D May 30, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Sounds like ignition problem. Possible coil failure

  127. Robert Wofford April 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I have a 1995 Harley Fatboy with 30,000 miles. Is an Evo a Twin Cam?? Thanks!!

    • Bill Kruse April 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm


    • boston jim April 23, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Hey Bob, 30 K, that Twin Cam Evo is ready to blow, I’ll give you a penny per mile, what say you ? On 2nd thought, that was a BAD, BAD year, made in China cams, cheap cam chain tensioners, etc. On 3rd thought, let me sleep on it ! Boston Jim

      • Tom April 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        What the hell is a “Twin Cam EVO”? Are these twin cam motors with the cam fixed? Why not just get an EVO and be done with it?

        Seriously, it’s either an EVO (84-99) or a Twin Cam (99-UP)

        • boston jim May 8, 2015 at 7:47 am

          Seriously Tom, it’s Evo ONLY ! I have the last one, 99 FXSTC, & 86 1st year Evo Sportster, love them both. The 2004 1st year rubber mount Sportster, has a serious flaw, NO Tranny Trapdoor, DUH ? I was on a H-D Forum yesterday. A 2004 Sporty owner, since new, with 18 K miles, had a 1st gear problem. Because of NO trapdoor, they had to split the cases, to fix the 1st gear problem, the bill was $2,000 +, DUH ? H-D of Gettysburg, said the 1st gear was not getting any oil, WTF, it’s a splash lube, like every H-D since 1903. Right now, H-D is putting the final touchs, of the 2016 model year. Hopefully, the Twin Cam, will be gone ? It would be the 18th year, the same as the Panhead & Shovelhead, iconic motors. The Twin Cam will go down in History as AMF’s step-brother ! S&S’s Wedge motor is flawless, you would think H-D could do the same thing ? Maybe the new CEO of 5/1/15 will wake up the sleeping Giant, get us back to the Early years of the Evo, & all that excitement. I mean, what other company has grown men putting tattoos on their body’s ? BJ

          • Dirtroaddenny September 17, 2015 at 10:15 am

            Hey new member here,I all so have a 2004 1200r that second gear blew.same hd dealer battle field Harley in gettsburgh pa told me that second gear did not get oil and up in smoke it went!!! Around 2200$.took a bout 6or7 months to fix but I was told that I wood get free winter storage for the delay.when ii got the bill there was 300$ extra on it!! Last time they worked on my bike!! Last year they wanted 225 for a back tire 75 to put on.I went to a Indy and got the back tire oil change and insp all for 250!! See ya BFH

          • Tom September 21, 2015 at 11:34 am

            Aptly named…BATTLEFIELD HD

            You gotta quit drivin in there with that Confederate Flag in the back of yer pickup…LOL

            Seriously, I would FIRE that dealer and get another one also spread the word cost them as many customers as you can

          • Dirtroaddenny September 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm

            My grant problem was no1 hears 2and3!!my pop up oil stick was not looking up,so I go to the machincks and they tell me I need a new one no there was a white shirt in there when I was talking to the machincks and he tells me that there is only one left on the wall go get it before some one takes it down.I saw the one that was left and went back to get it and it was gone? So I had to get one with temp oniit payed about 30bucks more for it.now for strick 3 my brake leaver on the handle bars wood not come all the way back so I did not on if the brake was staying or not.so they told me that a spring was broke and they told me that they tore the place apart and could not find a spring to fit so they rebuilt it and it cost me135.00,after I got home I looked in the book and there is no spring in the brake setup.that’s the last time they saw my bike for survive.they wanted. 227.00 for a back tire 75.00 to put it on.I went to cycle1 in York springs and got same tire for 125.00 and 40.00 to put on,beware of BFH in Gettysburg pa !! Then there was a time back in 2009 when they dino tuned my 2004 1200r and here we are in 2015 and I still got carbs farts!!

    • Dave May 26, 2015 at 10:30 am

      No….Its an Evo. Single cam.

  128. Tom J April 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for this article and all the subsequent posts (except the nasty emotional ones). I was considering buying a Harley after being out of the saddle for 40 years when I ran into the large article that I believe is mentioned in this article. I asked the Harley salesman about serious problems with the twin cam engines and he denied it, of course. Can’t blame him. Then I found this article which is consistent with the larger, more detailed article. But it was the posts by honest HD owners that has convinced me to NOT buy an HD. I’ve always done all my own work on every vehicle I’ve ever owned in my 65+ years and will until the day I can’t anymore so how an engine is designed and built is important to me.

    BTW, I agree with those who say that someone who can’t or won’t work on his bike shouldn’t even own one. The guy who said he absolutely refused to ever work on his bike as no business having one, IMO.

    • boston jim April 8, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Hey Tom, I’m also 65, with 2 Harleys. been an owner since 1967. HD made the Panhead & Shovelhead motors for 18 years each. This fall model year 2016, will be the 18th year of the POS Twin Cam motors. I would never sell my 2 Evos, they’re Bullit Proof. IMO, the only TC’S worth owning, would be the 1999 – 2002, which had forged cranks, the only ones worth rebuilding, balancing, welding the crank, gear driven cams, etc. IMO, every all other TC’S are crap, NO resale value, they’re disposable, HD, designed & built this motor on purpose. If anybody reading this is in the market, BEWARE, BE SMART, BE SAFE. I’d be buying a New Indian, all Gear Driven, 3 cams, NO primary chain, Gear Driven, nice bike. The New Scout, 69 c.i., with 100 hp, take a Demo ride, I rode 24 different Chiefs, in 9 Demo Days. PS, I was the only New England rider, to ride Indians 100th Birthday ride from Springfield, Ma. to Gilroy, Ca. & back to Springfield, Ma., 30 days, I’ll never forget, the USA is beautiful from the seat of a motorcycle!

  129. Wannabe March 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Hey all. Very good article. Harley isn’t the only motorcycle culprit with this design. It’s rather prolific in the motorcycle world. I like the direct drive idea. I’m looking to get my first Harley. I can’t afford new, so the bike I get will have the direct drive installed!!!

    • Al Valiant March 19, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Converting to gear driven cams is a mistake as there is too much end play in the factory crankshaft assembly which will cause the pinion shaft gear to worm around. You can actually feel this at higher speeds (80+). The best and safest upgrade is the modern style cam plate and tensioner offered by H-D. It is proven to be reliable and all you have to do is check every 50,000 miles.

      • Tom March 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm

        Then my idea is a good one…buy new run the living dog shit out of it and enjoy then TRADE for another new one at around 30K…and dont worry or fuck with the tensioners…sounds like a plan

        • DONNY March 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm

          What a plan. Pass it on to the next sucker?

          • Tom March 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

            Well if you feel that way YOU go ahead and do a complete workup on yours then go trade it. If 1000+
            eases your conscience by all means have at it.

            And NO….NO…….NO….I’m not passing it on to the next sucker…I’M TRADING IT IN AT THE F****N HD DEALER YOU MORON…

            THEY….THEY……….are passin it on to the next sucker just like they always do….what the hell is your problem….you prolly dont even own a bike…LOL

          • Tom March 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

            Besides, on these newer HD models, even at 30000 I would seriously doubt they needed ANY adjustment other than maybe a quick inspection and maybe not even THAT…like people said on here there are other makes that have similiar problems, me i’m gettin a little bit tired of the harley bashin. I ride a new HD I dont whine or make excuses just enjoy it. It’s a fine machine and I for one am PROUD to ride American Iron…’nuff said

          • DONNY March 20, 2015 at 3:25 am

            If you read the blog. the models most affected were 02?- 06 with the cheap shoes, and bad chains. Later bikes changed to hydro. Still not a fix but better.Guys like you are sooo uninformed that its not funny anymore. This is a problem that’s 15 years old and will not go away any time soon. So go ahead and beat the shit out of your bike, what do I care. Pass it on bro, you got nothing too lose.LOLOLO

          • Tom March 20, 2015 at 8:26 am

            Donny; As I said I’ve never owned a 99-06 TC motor. I was aware of this problem, that is why I kept my EVO and went with a new 103. From what I can determine the new rushmore motors are much better as far as this is concerned. At any rate, I also understand not everyone can afford to buy new, so they have to settle for an older one with potential problems, and that is primarily what this blog is about. Ride safe, Bro!

          • DONNY March 21, 2015 at 3:17 am


      • artur April 23, 2015 at 2:17 am

        I agree with you. HD has crew of world wide class top engineers. There are reasons for chain rather than gears. Look at sport bikes – all driven rear wheel by chains rather than shaft or belt. Assure goo shoe on tensioner and twin cam is ok. In other view – how many twin cams are on second hand market today and all doing just fine. I think S $ S is lobbibg to buy yheir gears for doooozens of bucks… If I was S $ S CEO I would do the same.

        • Ed Ward April 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

          comparing final drive chain to a chain within the motor. What a stupid dumb ass statement. OK then why does HD use belts. God your stupid. My sport bike chain needs replacing every 10 to 15 K. Not that comparing the two makes any F(^^ing sense. Ignoring something or saying it is not so, does not change the facts. I have owned two HD in the very distant past, AMF’s, Yuk. I am shopping for a HD now. I love them. My brother in law has been a HD mech at the local shop for over 20 years and he is always telling me about these problems, but like they are a part of the whole joy of owning one.
          What is an old man suppose to do. I guess buy new, pay for the service intervals and warranty. trade when the warranty runs out. Lot of $$$, but hey it is a HD, just like a sailboat, a large money sponge.

          • Tom April 29, 2015 at 9:59 am

            Ed; Go buy a new one and forget all about these ramblings, my 2015 is rumblin right along and realistically I’ll have it long traded before it sees 30000 miles. You will love these new rushmore models, ask your HD mechanic, these are the best they ever made. Go ride one, tell me if I’m wrong

          • boston jim April 29, 2015 at 10:44 am

            Hey Ed, You have a way with words, I love it ! I have no use for AMF bikes, except the 78 Café Racer. I also have no use for Twin Cam H-D’s, POS. This August the 3016 model year bikes will be out. This will be the 18th year of the Twin Cam motor, same as the Panhead & Shovelhead, both Iconic Motors, in H-D History. I believe the Twin Cam will go down, as the BIGGESY POS, since 1903, hands down. Buy yourself a low mileage , late model Evo, almost bullet proof, you won’t regret it. Or buy a New Indian, Chief or Scout, everything is Gear Driven, Cams, Primary, etc.. Nice Bike !

      • Kim June 5, 2015 at 8:13 am

        My ’01 FatBoy is at the dealership right now. Took it in for the 50k service and after reading this article a few weeks ago, I asked them to inspect the inner/outer shoes for me. Turns out they were very worn and needed replacing. Thanks Scott Holton for writing this article!! Anyway Al Valiant, I opted for the “Hydraulic cam chain tensioner upgrade”, they mentioned it came with a new high flow oil pump and adjustable push rods….don’t recall anything about a “cam plate”. Does this sound like the same upgrade you are talking about?

        • boston jim June 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

          Hey Kim, the new cam support has the new upgrade hydraulic tensioners, included. The inner side of the cams, rest in the block of the motor, The outer side of cam rests in the cam support plate. IMO, the 1999 – 2002 are the best, because they have forged cranks. I would have gone to the BEST independent shop or tech in your area, instead of the H-D Dealer. Can you post, what it cost you to upgrade ? Lets get some cost numbers going on these J&P Blogs, find out what cost what, in different parts of the country ! Good Luck & Be Safe, BJ

          • Chad June 5, 2015 at 11:40 pm

            If it helps I purchased the kit I put into my 2000 FXDX from Topeka Harley for $499.95 + tax. The kit includes the Screaming Eagle cam plate, high flow oil pump, hydraulic tensioners primary chain and sprockets and miscellaneous hardware. The chain and sprockets did not work with my bike as the cam sprocket did not have the timing ridge. The Harley parts guy did tell me I would need a spacer kit also but the instructions said that for my bike it was not needed. He also suggested using adjustable push rods but I went ahead and put the stock pieces back in. I did notice that there is a bit more valve train noise so I will probably try some adjustable push rods to help with the noise but from what I’ve been told it’s supposed to be normal. If anyone has knowledge to pass on about the valve train noise I’m all ears. Other than that my bike runs much better than my buddies 2012 fuel injected 96″er.

          • boston jim June 6, 2015 at 6:55 am

            Hey Chad, I’m glad it all worked out for you. The adjustable push rods, allow you to cut out the old ones, without removing the Rocker Boxes, less work, if your not going to 95″. The valve train noise has always been noisy, not a problem, but, noisy. Dino oil is a little quieter, but, it’s crap, I’d stick to AMSOIL. I read all 1100 comments on the 3 blogs, 750 motors blew up, 3 out of 4, there is a Big Problem with this design. My 99 Evo runs fine with one cam, & my 86 1st year Evo Sportster runs excellent with 4 cams. The New Indian Chiefs run real well with 3 cams. Good luck, be safe, Boston Jim

  130. Chad Youde March 12, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve had my 2000 Dyna Glide Sport for almost 2.5 years now. Bought it used with 30,060 miles on it and didn’t get much history from the previous owner. I had put around 10,000 more miles on it when I first heard of the chain tensioner issue. I checked the tensioners and found they normal wear as illustrated in the article above but since it was already opened up I changed them. My Dyna now has just over 75,000 miles on it with minimal wear. I still check them on a regular basis but they are still good. I looked at gear drive cams for my bike and the S&S stuff was priced around a $1,000. I don’t have the authority to discredit this information but I do feel that if this was such a huge problem then the demand for product would be helping to lower the costs to around that of any other comparable cam shafts. Just my two cents worth. Oh and I’ve been riding for 37 years and this FXDX is by far the most adaptable bike I’ve ever ridden. Wish Harley would bring this model back.

    • DONNY March 14, 2015 at 3:42 am

      Normal wear? I’m sure if you read the whole blog , you would consider your self one of the LUCKY ones.

  131. CavScout62 March 5, 2015 at 6:56 am

    I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t wrench on their on bike. As for the cam chain tensioner problem, pull the cover and inspect the damn thing! When the time is right go with the gear drive set up. Install ’em correctly with the proper lash setting and forget about ’em. Amsoil from axle to axle and ride on…

    • Dave Johnson March 5, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Speaking about lubrication, I have used Harley synthetic oil since new in my flhtk. Is Amsoil the very best lube a guy can use in engine, trans., and in the derby cover?

      • CavScout62 March 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

        I’m not an oil engineer but I have seen cooler running temps, smoother running, smoother shifting, no more trouble finding neutral, and better fuel mileage since switching to AMSOIL.

        • Dave Johnson March 5, 2015 at 11:04 am

          Thanks fo the info Cav!

        • Boston Jim March 7, 2015 at 9:02 am

          Hey Cav! You are a wise man, smart, too! Dave would be wise to heed your advise. AMSOIL is the best oil money can buy. We have been the unofficial AMSOIL dealer for Laconia Bike Week since 2004. We supply ACME Choppers and Laconia H-D with their AMSOIL for rally week. Contact me at mcoil2 [at] verizon [dot] net if you would like to get AMSOIL for wholesale $. Boston Jim & Nancy

    • motographer April 29, 2015 at 10:01 am

      Watch the S& S “adjustable pushrods and cam change” videos. Seems the end of the cranks on twin cams get too much runout relatively easily;( the crank flywheels are just pressed together, not trued and welded)When the runout (wobble)at the end exceeds a certain spec you can’t just install gears. the chains give the sloppy assembly room for SLOP. Glad I looked into this twin cam crap motor before walking into a dealership.

  132. Steve garland January 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for the great article! I have a 2015 street glide and want to take out the plastic parts and replace with the steel gears after reading your comments

  133. Laurence December 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Everyone who is considering a Harley needs to read this in-depth article about the potential issues and expensive labor costs you will most likely face if you own a Harley.

    I’ve had many problems with my 2012 Twin Cam engine, and I have pretty much given up on Harley’s at this point. At least until they develop a fix for the problems.

    It’s really a shame that such an expensive product is sold with so many defects and the average consumer has no idea the types of costs you could be facing. Yes my bike was under warranty, but trying to get the warranty honored was a complete headache.

    Read away and buy a big Harley at your own peril.


    • Bill Kruse December 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      What a load of shit, you and Boston Jim need to buy and ride your Polaris Canadian junk and quit trying to make people think Harley’s have all the problems. Sounds like you both work for J&P.

      • DONNY December 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        NASTY MAN.

      • Tom December 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Evidently he hasn’t ridden a Rushmore 103
        and rolled out on a 2015 FLHTP Electra Glide Police

        I LOVE IT

        HD got it right with these new machines, love that hi output 103 and you cant even tell the fairing is there…I haven’t ridden Indians but I know of THREE reason not to but one:

        1. Victory….nuff said
        2. No dealer network established, finding parts and foreigners to work on em could be trickey
        3. Nobody I know is planning on riding one, HD guys won’t accept them as they aren’t really Indians…go ahead, buy one I will pass

        2 of my buds got 2015 HOGS last week after seeing mine in person…HD is back on top and THIS machine will keep it there!

        Ride Safe

      • sonnysalmons February 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm

        polaris is american dumbass ! and pretty fu**ing bulletproof at that , I eat , breath, and sh*t harley davidson. the guy has a very truthful point, he’s not out to bash harley! he’s just stating the fu**ing facts , if you can’t handle it then don’t read the fu**ing articles. I think he did awesome job looking out for the rest of us that do love our hogs !

        • Bill kruse February 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm

          Check your web site on Polaris DUMBASS , offices in Mn, Main headquarters in Canada. Bulletproof , what do you think CAN AM means?

          • sonnysalmons February 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm

            can am is owned by bombardi you fucking idiot , polaris and can am are two different companies , polaris started up in mn and has always been american dumb fuck ! it was started up by two farmers that built the first snow mobile and the rest is history! there’s a honda america , which has a head quarters here in the U.S. as well , check your website ! Does that mean honda is a american company as well ? according to your dumbass it would be ! fact is your dumb ass got pissed off because he stated a fact , american iron magazine did a article on the same thing !maybe if you weren’t so small minded you’d take it for what it was worth ! are you that fucking ignorant !

    • Kirk March 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      WTF is wrong with you? Apparently you subscribe to the adage that a sucker is born every minute….. Go crawl back into your twisted world and stay the hell away from the rest of us.

  134. Tom November 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve got a 97 FLHTP EVO, runs good has lo miles, I’m considering trading up to a 15 FLHTP. They’ve made a lot of improvements in 17 years (excluding the twin cam, which I’ve never owned)

    Should I trade my trusty EVO or just keep it? Harley has some good prices right now (after you get done slapping the dealer around a bit) I do like the new rushmore models, I may go for it.

    What do you guys think abt reliability of the new 14 up 103s?

    • Boston Jim November 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I’d buy a New Indian, Chief or Scout ! The Chiefs are all Gear Drive, cams, primary, NO stupid ASS, chain tensioners ! I’d keep the Evo ! If you read all 1000+ comments on the 3 different J&P Blogs, you’ll keep the Evo, & sleep well at night, not worrying, if your Twin Cam will make it to Sturgis or not !

      • Chad Tow December 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm

        Are you really saying that a Polaris “Indian” is a better motorcycle than a Harley? Polaris ha what a joke. I spend all day every day working in a multi line motorcycle shop and can tell you anything made by Polaris(under any name) is pure crap. As far as dealer networks and factory support they are almost as bad as the Chinese crap that the shop across town sells but will not support.

        • Boston Jim December 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

          Hey Chad, yeah, I’m saying that Polaris’s bikes are better than any 1999 & up Twin Cam ! And the Undisputable King of Custom Bikes, Arlen Ness, likes them too ! And what was H-D thinking, when they took the trapdoor out of the Sportster, when they started the rubber mount in 2004 ? Maybe you should
          transfer to a H-D shop, then you’ll see all the crap H-D gets from China, then you can Bad Mouth them ! Do your Homework, this is NOT your fathers or grandfathers H-D ! The current CEO, came from Johnson Controls, hadn’t even rode a bike, yet ! First thing he did was Fire, Erik Buell who forgot more, than the CEO would ever know ! And, all us “Baby Boomers” thought AMF were the worst years ! Merry Xmas, I hope Santa brings you an Indian ! Boston Jim

        • sonnysalmons February 5, 2015 at 9:07 pm

          i’ve had two polaris 4 wheelers and haven’t had any problems with mater of fact i ride year round with a bunch of other guys that have hondas, artic cats, yamahas , and can ams, me and two other guys have never had an issue with our polaris’s. and as far as service goes never had a issue with that either . don’t know what shop you work at but it sounds like it ain’t worth a shit , they probly don’t pay worth a shit either! the gear drive that polaris uses will always be better than the chain set up that harley uses , that’s what my harley has in it now ! pretty sad that harley couldn’t have done it to begin with !

    • sonnysalmons February 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      keep the evo , what the dealers will try to give you for
      it will almost be a slap in the face . I have a 99 fat boy with the evo, 07 fatboy with the 96 ci and in oct i got a 2015 fat boy with the 103 ci . theres not that much of a real difference in the 96 & 103 motors as far as performance , I went with the gear drive set up in my 07 and have been extremely happy with that choice and plan on doing the same thing to my ’15 once the warranty runs out , but out of all three my favorite is still my evo . if you can swing it keep the old one and get the new one ! you can never have to many harleys !

      • Tom February 5, 2015 at 10:00 pm

        Well, I traded the 97 Police and a 2001 Venture in on a new 2015 103 Electra Glide Police. Damn, this is a sweet ride! Big open rotors and fairing air vent reduce the buffeting and crosswind hassle a LOT. Still getting used to the linked ABS breaking but I think I scored a pretty good cruiser. The damn cop seat was WAY too high for me so off it went and I put an Ultra LO off a 2012 on it, it sits perfect. Instant Electra Glide Standard which is the scoot I wanted all along anyway.

        I still have my 98 Heritage EVO which I will not sell so I’m good. I got this 15 FLHTP for a great price, about 7500 less than a “regular” civilian one, for that kind of difference who cares if it doesn’t have a radio? Biketronics has a kit for $400 if I want one that bad. I’d highly recommend to anyone who’s thinkin about a new Rushmore to check out the Police models. Bug the hell out of the dealer he’ll come up with one if he doesn’t already have one. They’re out there, and most of them you won’t have a waiting period on. You will NOT regret straddling a new Rushmore, believe me!

        • sonnysalmons February 6, 2015 at 7:32 pm

          yeah ! a good friend of mine went last week and got a 2015 police bike and my other buddy who i also ride with got a new limited , they are leaving out tonight with the bikes in trailer heading out to arizona to ride in the warm weather for three weeks so i’ll get updates how well they like them ! congrats on yours though , i hope it gives you many years of carefree enjoyable memories ! ride safe

  135. Medula November 10, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Got 39,000 miles out of my 2003 anniversary road king and sooooo needed to change the shoe. Went hydrological.

    • Boston Jim November 13, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Hey Medula, you’ve got the 1st year of the worst motor, IMO ! The 1999-02 had forged cranks, H-D birthday present to 03 H-D buyers, cast cranks ! DUH ? All of them, 99 to present, the NEW 100K motor, were designed to be made cheap & quickly, the cam chain tensioners are very tolerant of a sloppy motor, unlike gear driven cams, where the motor needs to be tight, & true. Why do you suppose they had to put chains & counterbalance weights in the TCB motors, (softails) ? All the new Indian Chiefs, have a gear driven 3 cam motor, & a gear between the motor sprocket & the trans sprocket, NO primary chains, Great Design !

      • simmz October 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm

        The forged cranks didn’t come out until the 2005 model year. 2002 was the last year with timken bearings in the cases.

        • boston jim October 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

          Hey Simmz, I believe your statement is wrong. If H-D started the forged crank in 2005, they’d still be making them today, yes/no ? They cheapen the motor every year, not make it stronger (longer lasting) ? You are right about 2002, to a point. They got rid of the Timkin Bearings & the Forged Cranks, at the same time ! Doesn’t that make more sense ? The Twin Cam motors, are making the AMF motors, look good. The TC motor, will never hold it’s value, will never be desirable ! On the other hand, there are millions of them out there, in the near future they will get a lot of new riders on the road, for cheap $ ! There will be a new breed of backyard mechanics, to keep these POS, on the road ! BACK to the FUTURE ! BJ

          • simmz October 23, 2015 at 1:06 pm

            ’99-’02 hot forged/Timken, 4.000″ stroke
            ’03-’04 cold forged/roller, 4.000″ stroke
            ’05-’06 cast/roller, 4.000″ stroke
            ’06 Dyna cast/roller, 4.000″ stroke, sprocket shaft accepts new compensating assy.
            ’07-present cast/roller, 4.375″ stroke, sprocket shaft accepts new compensating assy.

          • boston jim October 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm

            Hey Simmz, Thank you, for correcting yourself ! It takes a man to admit he was wrong. I like the chart ! Are you sure about the 03/04 cold crank ? I have a good friend, who bought a New o6 Dyna 88″, with the 1st 6 speed, what’s your opinion of that bike ? Is there anything, he should be concerned about ? Thanks, Boston Jim

          • DONNY October 23, 2015 at 8:10 pm

            Go check out some bike shops look for all the twin cam 88s motors that are for sale. Hmmm I wonder why.

          • boston jim October 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

            Hey Donny, I love your comments, where’ve you been ? In your opinion, do you think the B motor is a bigger POS, than the A motor ? Because of the balancing chains & weights & all the extra shit that’s moving, eating up HP !
            Be Safe, BJ

          • boston jim October 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

            Almost forgot, last Tues., H-D stock was down $10. per share, was as low as $46., that’s a long drop from the $80. high in the last 12 months. They said, the problem was other Brands, Trikes & Auto-Cycles ? Auto- Cycles ?

          • DONNY October 26, 2015 at 4:13 pm

            BJ old buddy they are all pos as far as I’m concerned. Glad I didn’t buy new. But then again I’ve owned three so far, my 2003 FXDWG will be the last bike I will own. I really think most people just accept the high repair rate as normal. Isn’t the MOTO co Having a heard time right now? Remember the good ol days of AMF. looks like they are back.(Been back for about 16 years now don’t you think.)

          • boston jim October 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

            Hey Donny, good to hear from you ! Yes, last Tues., H-D was down $10. in one day, to $46. per share, down 17% ! They blamed it on other Brands, (Indian), Trikes & Auto – Cycles ? I can’t believe, this is the 18th model year of the Twin Cam motor, shows how uninformed the H-D buyer is ! The Panhead & Shovelhead, both went 18 years, both are desirable & in demand, holding their value. The TC will never hold it’s value, cookie cutter Bikes. What are they going to do next year ? Be Safe, BJ

  136. Chris September 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Robert, your 2014 model has a different and improved system. It’s not without its issues, but it is a major improvement over the early Twin Cams.

    New Sporty, two cams allows you to straighten out the valve train which makes it more efficient and allows the pressure from the valve springs to be distributed across two cams rather than one, thereby reducing the load on the cam(s) relative to that seen by Evos and earlier bikes (all gear driven).

    Gear drive cams require pinion shaft runout to be within .003″, not .100″ as stated by Bill Kruse.

    If the flywheels are within spec, gear drives, while they do make a mechanical noise, aren’t “noisy” if they are installed properly. You have to establish the proper lash (.0005-.001″) between the gears. There are oversized and undersized gears available to establish the proper lash. If they are too tight, they will whine, if they are too loose, they will chatter. When set up properly, gear drives are no noisier than the stock system, though the noise is different. If the gear drives are just slapped in without proper procedures being followed, you bet, they can be noisy.

    The condition of the chains plays a big part in how fast the shoes wear. Some chains have relatively sharp edges on the links which will wipe the shoes out. I’ve seen them gone at less than 10,000 miles. Some chains have nice, clean edges that don’t shred the tensioner shoes nearly as bad. I’ve seen a bike with 75,000 miles that looked great. How hard you whack on the throttle and load the shoes will make a difference as well.

    The shoes are brittle. Once they start to wear, they start coming apart in chunks, then massive destruction can happen very quickly. Check them regularly; if necessary, clean up the links on your chain and you will likely get some extra life, but know that the writer is correct, these shoes can be very problematic in the early Twin Cams.

    • Bill Kruse September 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      If you read Kruses’ reply again it says .10 run out, and once again how many riders have or know of someone who has had tensioner trouble. This is a parts vendor running a scare scam.

      • ed roberson November 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

        you think its a parts scam, I know 3 folks I ride with that have the best oil and services don regularly and its cost 3 of us I ll be the 4th this winter out of 10 that the shoes have went to sh*t this year. it starts at 25000 miles to 38000 miles, think what you want but folks like you and those who like you WILL pay the big $’s rebuilding if not replace the motor for having a blind eye. take the cover off look at outter shoe use small mirror for inside and you will be like the rest of us a little p.o. ed and I change oil @ 1500 miles in trans. primary ,engine so look at 15,000 to 20,000 or pay the big bucks. call if need be (e mail).

        • DONNY November 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

          Amen brother.

          • George M November 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

            What really irritates me is the fact that HD has not done anything to make things right for those of us that have purchased motorcycles with our hard earned money. Sure, they offered the “Upgrade kit” for $500.00 and another $600.00 for labor. That really stings in not only my wallet but my hind end as well.
            Granted, I can save the labor fees as I can turn a wrench but it still, to me and obviously a lot of other Twin Cam owners, leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.
            After wanting a Harley since as far back as I can remember, I finally took the plunge and bought my first FLSTC this last June. In September, I started her up and immediately heard an ominous metal on metal sound. Cam Tensioner Shoes!
            Now, I am in the process of not only converting from 88ci to 95ci, but converting to gear drive as well. I’m waiting for the Cam Tension Shoe tool so I can pull the the the Cam Plate to check the run-out. Regardless, machine work will be done and I will have a gear drive setup in place by this spring and will hopefully be able to make it to the ROT Rally this summer. Would I have bought the bike had I known the issues in advance? Probably. Would I have been a more informed buyer. Possibly.
            I am hoping I am not the only one here but I just “knew” this particular bike was for me. So, with that said, having the previously mentioned options still would not have swayed my decision to purchase my 2000 FLSTC. The bike cost my a little over 6K and by the time I have it back in running, reliable running, condition I will still be under the 10K price tag. Maybe someday I might win the lottery but untill then, I will be perfectly happy with my purchase and upgrades. I just wish HD would have had the balls to come clean and make it right. Thank you for reading my 2 cents worth.

          • Tom December 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

            Have never owned a 99 up TC motor and probably never will. Am thinkin about a new 15 103.

            My 98 EVO FLSTC vibrates, but no motor problems I’ll live with it.

        • Boston Jim November 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

          Hey Ed, you’re overdoing the 1500 mile oil changes, just a bit ! If you were using the Best, (AMSOIL) you could go 10K on the motor oil, 20 K with the Trans (75W-110), primary is 10 or 20 K, memory lapse. I’m using 20W-50, motor, 75W-110, tranny, & 10W-40 in primary, (less drag), might start using ATF in the primary, this spring. Always, put your H-D away with a belly full of clean fresh oil, every winter. Use a good filter, AMSOIL, H-D, or S&S, NOT K&N, they are crammed full of cellulose material, so restrictive, that the By-Pass valve is always open, letting unfiltered oil, flow into your motor. Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe, till later, Boston Jim

        • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

          You should probably get a harley manual, bike lift with jack, some tools and learn to upkeep your own ride. I’ve owned harleys for 35 years and have come to an understanding. First Harley Davidson warranties aren’t worth the paper their written on. (First hand experience with them, all the way to them calling the police on me) Every company makes shit to wear out. I just don’t like the look of the new indian (sorry if you own one). I would like to have an original. But I do like to wrench on things.Back to my point. If you can’t take a cam cover off and change the shoes yourself find a friend who can or just pay that dealer the ransom he wants. But I suggest you all learn to mechanic on your bike if your going to ride. You Tube is a big help there are some really nice mechanics willing to share knowledge.

  137. Robert September 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I have a2014 sgs please tell me this bike is safe from this problem..

    • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      You should probably get a harley manual, bike lift with jack, some tools and learn to upkeep your own ride. I’ve owned harleys for 35 years and have come to an understanding. First Harley Davidson warranties aren’t worth the paper their written on. (First hand experience with them, all the way to them calling the police on me) Every company makes shit to wear out. I just don’t like the look of the new indian (sorry if you own one). I would like to have an original. But I do like to wrench on things.Back to my point. If you can’t take a cam cover off and change the shoes yourself find a friend who can or just pay that dealer the ransom he wants. But I suggest you all learn to mechanic on your bike if your going to ride. You Tube is a big help there are some really nice mechanics willing to share knowledge.

  138. Jimmy Armstrong August 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the warning gear drive sounds like the true fix, after all spending 20 grand or better on a Harley not many people like my self can afford a new engine every 35 to 50 thousand mi. S&S is a well proven, they have always bettered what ever harley builds.

    • DONNY September 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      You must remember the MOCO adamantly stated that these motors were supposed to last 100,000 miles with no major problems. What suckers we turned out to be.

      • SteveB59 December 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        I beat the hell out of my 2000 Roadking for 50K miles, and have put another 10 on it since I grew-up a little. I’ve never had any issues with my motor, but I am definitely going to check the cam tensioner before next season. BTW, I’ve been using Full Synthetic since break-in & have only used K&N oil filters. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

        • Boston Jim December 16, 2014 at 9:15 am

          Hey Steve, was wondering, did you buy your 2000 H-D new, & what’s the total mileage today ? The 99 – 02 Twin Cams, has forged cranks (good thing), H-D’s 03, 100th birthday present to us, was a cast crank, to the present, BOO ! From 99 – 06 (except 06 Dyna) they had the strong spring loaded, cheap (made in China) tensioners ! Starting with the 2006 Dyna, H-D started using the hydraulic cam chain tensioners, much better, BUT, not the end all, they still need looking after. I also am, a Big Fan of synthetics, AMSOIL, is the only oil I use in ALL, my vehicles. I’m not a Big Fan of K&N, look at the tiny print on box, made in Thailand. I know for a fact, their air filters let in a lot of air & DIRT ! The bike will be faster, but, will die a premature death. The oil filters are made from the same filtering media. I’m looking at an Oil Filter Chart, from an Donny Petersen column, Sept. 2004, American Iron Magazine, that states; K&N-171c has 164 sq in of media, H-D 63731-99 has 63 sq in, WOW, what a difference, in the same size canister. There is so much media, crammed into the can, it restricts oil flow, that K&N has the Bypass Valve set at 14 psi, while H-D is set at 10 psi. The TC oil pump, is so much more powerful than the Evo pump, pushing oil against a much more restrictive filter, than the Evo filter, IMO, the Bypass Valve in the TC, MUST always be open, letting unfiltered oil, circulate thru the TC motor. One more fact, the Evo filters oil, after it leaves the motor, the TC filters oil, JUST BEORE, it enters the motor, think about it ! MERRY XMAS, to all !

          • Tom December 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

            The best way to own a harley is to do what my cousin has done for the last 30 years…buy the damn things new run the hell out of em then trade em in every 2 years with 20-30000 miles on aqnother new one…you get most of your investment back depending on model and no worries abt hi mileage failures…that’ll be the way I go from now on…I’m also old enough to be able to afford it.

          • Boston Jim December 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

            Hey Tom, Merry Xmas ! Good Point ! I’m also of the age, (65) that I can buy anything I want, the stock market has been good to me. Speaking of stocks, I sold most of my H-D stock, we bought for $8. a share, for $65.. After reading all 3 J&P Blogs, 1000+ comments, H-D had betrayed it’s customer base, I couldn’t support the MOCO anymore.
            Oh, I’ll never sell my 2 Evos, that was the motor that saved H-D from the Brink. Since August of 2013, I’ve ridden 2 dozen new Indians on 9 Demo days, nice bike, all gear drive, cams, primary, just like the “ole” Indians . I haven’t rode the New Scout yet, but with 100 hp, I will, next Demo day. The price $10,999.- !I’m also liking, Polaris’s Slingshot, check it out !

          • Tom December 16, 2014 at 10:30 am

            Yeah, I’m gonna check out that Scout as well! She looks GOOD

            Good job on the HOG stock

            I know HD treats its base like shit, but $$ is the bottom line to me…I got this 15 Police unit for what they sold for in 1997!! It was the deal of a lifetime, HD wants to move these FLHTP and the customer is the winner…unless I showed you the paperwork you would not believe it, unreal. Hey, let us know how that new Scout you’ll be buying works out!

        • Oz January 20, 2015 at 10:06 am

          My 2000 Road King had 40,000 mi. on it and was getting real loud with valve train noise. Opened it up and saw that I had just missed a tragic failure. The tensioners were in pieces. I went to gear driven cams and piece of mind.

    • Bill Kruse September 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      What a bunch of bulls—. Myself like most Harley riders have many times been around hundreds of other Harley riders, whether it was at bike week poker runs, bike nights, etc. How many riders have you heard complaining about this so called major problem with the chain tensioners. probably none! I just recently changed mine at 75000 miles, they looked great , I believe I had another 25000 miles left on them. If I hadn’t already purchased the screaming eagle kit to go back in my fatboy I would have put the cam cover back on. I run Mobil 1 oil, am a daily rider as we can do this here in Florida. This info put out by J&P , sounds like a promotion to sell S&S gear drives. That seems to be what Mr. Holton pushes as the quick fix. What they are not telling everyone is the gear drives are not for all bikes. If your crankshaft run out is over .10 the gears will wine and wear excessively. Everyone knows there can be problems with anything.

      • DONNY September 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        Bill some people might be a bit embarrassed to admit that their $15- 45 thousand dream bike was taken out by a .50 piece of plastic that should have never been engineered to be used in this application in the first place. (Would you tell someone at a show and shine that his bike sounds like shit. I’ve heard these things when they are gone and they are very distinctive in sound and by this time it’s too late. Big bucks time. ) I really think after this much time the MOCO would have accepted some responsibility by now. But no they haven’t

    • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      You can’t run gear drives on the newer models(told to me by the tech at S&S) because the crank shaft runout must be within .0015 and harleys tolerances on the newer soft pinion shaft is about .003. Please don’t get to scared just check them occasionally. You only have to pull the cam cover and you can see the outside tensioner.

      • Tom February 23, 2015 at 9:24 am

        Leonard; I agree.

        RE an earlier post I made, it is much easier to trade Harleys once you’ve shelled out and made the initial “jump” to a new one. I know not everyone is in a position to do that, thankfully however I am. One thing harley dealers are known for is giving outstanding trade in values for 2-3 year old bikes with under 30K miles. My plan is ride the hell out of it, trade in on new and let the next owner worry abt the cams. I’m not debating how long the cams will last, but the concensus here seems to be 30-35000 miles. Hell, my new 15 will be long traded by that point. That for me is the best way to go. Indians are not an option FOR ME anyway.

  139. harleybart August 31, 2014 at 12:38 am

    I have a 2007 road king custom TC96. I found it last year with just 1100 miles at a bankruptcy auction and got a steal. Anyway, I changed all the fluids, cleaned it up, and put 500 miles on before the lifters started tapping (lost oil pressure). (oil and filter are fine) I wanted to have an idea what to look for before opening it up so I’ve been reading up on oil related problems with the TC96. I heard of the plastic guides clogging the oil pump inlet but it would seem odd that this would happen on an engine barely broken in. Any HELPFUL suggestions/comments are appreciated.

    • jeddy tranquill September 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

      You WILL need a new oil pump and camchain tensioners however before all of this inspect them and see if they are worn or missing. Harkey engines are not bullit proof anymore like the shovel engines!
      I put on 25000 a year and Harley really screwed us on bikes costing $15,000.00 and up. Now I EXPECT problems!

      • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm

        I still own my shovel . Have a 2008 night rod special with 31000+ and the only thing ever changed is air cleaner, oil, and I think I changed plugs once. Had it up to 144 before rev limiter shut me down just last summer. I ride my 2007 springer classic mostly now. Took it down lately because of noise, did have some wear but shoes looked good at 11000. I think noise was actually coming from shift rod tapping on side of inner primary.(loose ball joints at rod ends) Love my quiet V-rod. And no I haven’t had any valve adjustments done at 10000 miles asHarley manual calls for, which if done by the book calls for removal of the engine from frame. Just wait till you start loosing power from flat cams then pull it and replace cams with hi performance cams and then see if she’ll hit 175MPH like she should.

    • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Just pull off the cam cover and take a look. Use the Harley service manual (No other). It will walk you thru the whole process. You may have to change your pushrods to adjustable if you don’t want to pull the rocker boxes off. You tube is helpful .The mechanic from S&S will show you everything you need to know on the cam change video.

  140. helen August 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Ty soo much i just did the compinsator sprocket as was same in 88 as 96 hot start issues

  141. New Sporty : ( August 16, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Hey Harley-D,

    What did adding a 2nd came to the TC do besides nothing and adding at least one problem?

    • Matt H August 20, 2014 at 2:28 am

      And to add to my previous response, since I missed this REAL GEM, you are about the dumbest person I have ever heard of, short of the mentally handicapped. Im pretty sure, if I started hitting you in the face with engine components, you couldnt tell a camshaft (or spell it apparently), from a spark plug.

      Go buy a bicycle.

      • boston jim August 20, 2014 at 11:42 am

        VERY FUNNY STUFF, but TRUE !

  142. New Sporty : ( August 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Man, how many horror stories am I going to read about?

    OK, So, I’m considering a Low Rider for 2014. THEN I come across all these cam chain articles. (I’ve never owned a TC, or even a BT. I’ve owned one 883 about 20 years ago. I’ve ridden a few Harleys.).

    I’m glad I didn’t go for the Big Twin that I was recently looking at.


    I absolutely refuse to work on any bike I own. AND I’m not into leaving it at the dealer for ANY amount of time, besides regular maintenance.

    The Yamaha VMAX uses both gear and chain on their engine.
    SUGGESTION: Boycott Harley-Davidson BT products until they change the design of their beloved 45deg. VTwin to something more ‘reliable’ than what I’ve been reading about, in articles like these.

    I need a bike. Not a horror story.
    I like Honda now. I had an 83 V65 I just sold. It ran, and never failed, except for a battery. The thing could barely keep the front wheel on the ground when taking off from a stop. That’s at moderate take off speeds.

    Good Luck and wake up all you H-D people that can’t seem to get away from the “Harley mystique”, which is bound to fail.
    Boycott H-D until they come up with a solid design.

    • BOSTON JIM August 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hey Sporty, you are absolutely RIGHT ! Twin Cams are POS ! Since last August, I have ridden 24 New Indians, on 9 Demo Days. All 3 cams, GEAR DRIVE, NO primary chain, GEAR DRIVE from motor to tranny, just like all the Indians from 1953 & back. Check them out, 119 lbs torgue, I think you’re going to like them. Boston Jim

    • Matt H August 20, 2014 at 2:26 am

      Idiots like you shouldnt have vehicles at all, you should have to walk. Thats probably too much freedom though, you might need a chaperone to make sure you dont hurt yourself.

      If you refuse to work on anything (because youre too dumb), then you shouldnt own anything (because youre too dumb), and you certainly shouldnt, and cant, rightly criticize anything they build, since youre too dumb to work on it.

      But apparently, you’re “smart” enough to read “articles” and learn JUSTTTT enough to come up with an “informed” opinion to rant on a website, when in reality, you’re just as ignorant, perhaps more so, than you were before. Oh, and rant on the blog, OF A PARTS DISTRIBUTOR; that would be like someone thats too lazy to fish, complaining about the build quality of a fishing boat. Who the f**k are you.

      Congratulations, you’re a schmuck.

      • Leonard February 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm

        I was just going to tell you you should lighten up just a bit. But then I read the blog you were responding to and realized you WERE being light on him. He has absolutely no business on, or around a motorized vehicle. Maybe a big wheel would fit him well, but then he would complain about having to pedal it.

    • custom iron works August 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

      NEW SPORTY. Get a life and learn how to spell.second you know nothing about Harleys at all. Maybe u should buy that v max jap crap and hang with girls.

    • kent February 14, 2015 at 4:15 am

      good. looks like harley finally found a way to keep ******* off their bikes! move to japan or china while your at it!

      • Tom February 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        You’re reading too much…most of that is horseshit. If you’re THAT worried you have a 2 yr warranty get on it plunk the damn thing in gear and RIDE…ride the hell out of it you aint gonna hurt it. Then when 35000 mi or so comes around trade the damn thing on another nre one! Pretty simple…

  143. Eeyorewolf July 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    OK so “I” need to check my tensioner shoes on my 07 Street Glide soon since my bike just turned 30K miles, (I know no much riding but that’s changed since I told corporate America they can kiss my a** and retired) 30 some years in the field installing, programming and maintaining industrial robots mostly for autos. Back to the “I” need to check my tensioners. Riding to me isn’t about showing the world that I have more money than brains, I have loved every Harley I have ever owned despite their obvious flaws,, 77 sporty,, 79 FXEF I paid cash for new when I was 19,, 97 Roadking FLHRI and finally my 07 Street Glide,, “I” made enough money doing my gig that “I” could have been classified I guess as a Yuppie but I never sold out,, references to a “Certified” Harley Mechanic that doesn’t work for a Dealership are interesting to me. My philosophy when it comes to bikes is if you can’t fix it then you shouldn’t be riding it, but that’s just me. “I” maintain my bike myself and fix whatever goes wrong with it. I like a little window dressing and even had my 79 custom painted once but what’s more important is the condition of what keeps you moving and what keeps you safe. I work on my own and do some work for very close friends for beer money because that is part of the game, if it wasn’t then in my mind I would be just a wanna-be biker. The original article was well written and informative, end of story. People complaining about the cost of repairs should realize they are including labor on something that in my opinion they should be doing for themselves. I don’t care how many certifications you give another mechanic, he is not going to care about my bike as much as I do, to him I am nothing more than a paycheck. No offense intended, I am merely stating the realities of human nature, I also don’t count on any politician left or right for my salvation. Change your oil religiously, get a service manual and educate yourself on how to maintain, repair and modify your ride or find something else to do with your time and money. I run Mobil 1 20w50 and add a few ounces of motorkote with friction modifers. I’ll be interested to see what my tensioner shoes look like. END

    • DONNY August 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm


    • Hotrodford3 August 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

      I also ride a 2007 FLHX it has just over 115k miles on it. It’s all original engine with a D&D fat cat, stage one high flow and I run Syn3 oil. The engine itself is all stock and never been broke down. It still has the original Cam chain tensioners which I have taken a look at by just popping off the cam cover. They still look good. I’m not easy on my bike, it has seen many 6500rpm shifts and the speedo has been burried over 120 on occasion. All that has failed from my abuse is the input shaft door bearing in the transmission. It lasted till 80k and the belt failed at 90k. Engine wise it has given me excellent service and if it blew on the way to work this morning I wouldn’t blink to rebuild it just the way it is. I don’t need high horse power, big cams big pistons in a daily rider. I’d rather have something that’s going to stay together and get decent fuel economy. I bought the bike from a dealer as a used rental, it had 15,500 on it when I bought it in February of 08. I was working for Earl Smalls HD at the time and we heard many questions about the longevity of the new hydraulic tensioners. I set out then to figure out just how long they’ll last along with the rest of the bike. 115k and counting runs better today then it did brand new. These engines start getting broke in good about 50k. I would suggest keeping an ear out for the Main drive gear bearing around 50-70k.

      • DONNY August 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        Good for you. Your one of the few that has one that the MOCO said that was supposed to last that long.

  144. rusty July 11, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Are you worried about that dredded tire that goes bad too Or the dredded clutch that can go bad or the notorious problem of the forkseals going bad? Yeah it is a chain with plastic shoes, but does anyone actually expect it to last for ever? Well you shouldnt..and if the manual told you to never check if you had oil in our bike would you follow that to? Its common sense yeah sh*t goes bad and keep up woth maintenance on your bike….this guy…is trying to sell you sh*t…….

    • DONNY July 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

      I never expected a $.50 part to destroy a $5000. motor. This whole problem is redumdent . The MOCO CO. got away with murder. Yes there are fixes but com on give me a break.

  145. George M Sweeney July 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I just purchased my first Harley, a 2000 FLSTC Heritage Classic with 38000 miles on it. The bike looks like it has been well taken care of and Cowboy Harley in Kyle Texas said the bike had passed all of the inspections required when buying and then selling a used motorcycle.
    Since I am new to Harleys, I am starting with a clean slate, so to speak. I hear what, to me, sounds like gear noise coming from the front half of the engine. Engine performance seems fine to me but, after reading your article, I am concerned I might need to put her in the shop to convert from a chain driven cam to a gear driven setup.

    Is there a way I can check to see if the Tensioner Shoes are worn without completely tearing the engine down?

    Thank you.

    • richard reynolds August 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      gear drives are very noisy, are you sure yours hasn’t been changed.

      • George M Sweeney August 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

        No, I haven’t…yet. I know what gear drives sound like in a small block 350 but am unsure if that distinctive whine carries over to a Harley.
        Thanks for your reply.

    • custom iron works August 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

      George m Sweeney. Just pop off the cam chest cover and have a look there right under the cover with the oil pump and cam support plate. very simple to check. may have to take off front pipe to get cover off. If you need help give me a shout more than happy to walk you through it just ask….

      • George M Sweeney August 26, 2014 at 11:03 am

        Custom Iron Works. Thank You for replying and pointing me in the right direction. I’ll let you know once I have checked.

        • George M Sweeney November 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

          I pulled the cam chest cover and it is not gear driven. Also, I saw small strands or threads of Nylon hanging from the outer cam shoe. I’ve tried taking pictures but the angle and light are poor. I’m waiting on the tools I purchased online to appear this week so I can check the inner cam shoe. Thank You all for your replies and advice.

  146. Southwestcycle March 29, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Good work Scott!! Some points are very interesting and informative like gear drive system, Oil pump system and numbers that you mention in this blog.

  147. Rob Eno March 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Ivv been bitten by these tensioners 900.00 repair bill by harley-davidson this is no bull they told me that’s what they do.

  148. www.cnikky.com March 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I would definitely not recommend these as ways to break the ice however.
    If I knew how to bake cookies, I would do that and send over a
    care package but Im much better at telling jokes so I go there and entertain, shake hands and thank the men and women who serve our country.

    Whether these are taken live – while you are doing a real
    gig – or whether you have them done on a false stage, will depend on you.

  149. Chewie January 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

    31 K on my 03 Supper Glide would like to up grade cam new bearings and switch to gear drive, but would like to know more about the noise the gear drive reportedly delivers?

    • boston jim January 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      31K on a 2003, 1st really bad year, (cast crank), your ready for an implosion any minute. Noisy gear drive cams, are the least of your worries, your crank needs to run real true. If I were you, I’d be checking my dirty oil filter for plastic or metal pieces, first. Then check with the best Independent H-D Tech in your area. IMO, theres no value in that bike, so check the cam chains, if bad, replace, if you really love this bike or there’s sentimental reasons for keeping it, then upgrade to hydraulic tensioners. Talk to the Tech, what would he do, if it was his bike, ask about checking the crank for trueness, gear drive cams, new SE cams & support, & how much money is in your budget ?

    • Big C March 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      I bought a 2005 Ultra with 25K on it. I found out about the cam chains and immediately had an autorized Independent Harley technician ( Not Dealer), install the cam gears and have had very minimum noise at all. I now have 45K and running like a champ. I do have a long history with Amsoil synthetics and they have superior lubrication qualities.
      Hope this gives some level of confidence to you guys out their with the potential problems.
      Big C.

  150. Jeff Moreman December 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I have a friend that told me of these cam tensioner problems years ago. He was a employee of H-D as a test rider and tried to let the mgmt. of the problems but was ignored for the most part. Nice to see someone else has noticed and has addressed a solution. It is sad that H-D won’t own up to the issue. I just had another friend that had to replace his complete engine due to the catastrophic failure mentioned in the article. $5000 for a replacement engine is a lot of money.

    • DONNY December 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Redundent subject seeing i’ts’ over ten years old and the MOCO didn’t do anything about it, sucked us all in and got away with it. Time to move on. TO SOMETHING ELSE. What a wast of time and money.

    • wrencher June 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Sadly just about everything these days have inherent design and material flaws. I’m a ford diesel technician ask anyone who has an 03-10 powerstroke or the lovely 3v ohc V8 V10 for an alternative Or even the new ecoboosts… What it really boils down to is profits to the company. For example the cranks are noted for becoming out of balance due to flywheel pressed to crank… why pressed on and not welded? $ if it cost say .25 in manufacturing to use a press vs 2.50 for welding x units produced that can be 100s of thousands of dollars maybe millions more. that will either translate to higher msrp or cut in profit. And with pencil pushers running things and using the adage of engineers looks and works good on paper… there won’t be a cut in profit. Chain tensioner failure happens ford uses polymer slippers in their V8s. Sure maintenance is key however what they all should use is a sprocket to mesh with the chain to apply tension not a slipper. However the sprocket would have a bearing in it just another component susceptible to fail… gear driven camshafts… I have had excellent success in small block Chevy race engines. Though I do maintain back lash and in some cases have a machinist fabricate a front cover with a Torrington bearing to act as a bushing if gear whine/chatter is produced on an engine with new cam bearings. I have been tempted to buy a sportster 72 or a used low mileage (4500) rocker c but after reading and talking to owners of harleys especially older dudes, the crank balance issue hasn’t been an issue with just newer engines. Sad to spend 1000s on a bike to spend 1000s more just to get it to be reliable. No different than 6.0 owners that either did egr deletes or installed bullet proof diesel egr coolers, arp head studs, and fresh oil coolers between 40-110k miles. Or the guys with 6.4s who’ve melted pistons using the truck for it’s intended purpose to tow or haul. Inherent design flaw. No wonder why there is a harley davidson edition ford truck… vibe seems to be hand in hand with ford and harley owners. Denial of issues (until the warranty runs up) false sense of pride (never took a bailout, never had an issue with mine so don’t bash me or my machine just because you’ve seen thousands of these things fail)

      • boston jim June 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Hey Wrencher, Well said ! The Rocker might be worth something, someday ! Low sales mean rare vehicles in 25 years, means big bucks. I’d buy a low mileage, late model Evo with carb, phuck the computer ! Stay Safe, BJ

        PS, 2007 & up Diesel trucks, suck !

        • Tom June 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm

          BJ: That’s why I kept my 98 EVO Heritage
          runs great only 21K it’ll out live me easily

          • boston jim June 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm

            Hey Tom, Same reason, I’ve kept my 1986 1st year Evo Sportster & our 1999 FXSTC, the last Evo Big Twin. I have NO USE for the POS Twin Cams.
            Evo Tip; Bosch 4 prong platinum tip spark plug, #4478, Best plug for Big Twin Evo, like getting a Big Cam for free ! BJ

          • Tom June 8, 2015 at 6:07 pm

            BJ; I need some plugs anyway, I’ll throw a set of #4478s in and give a report…Thanks!

          • boston jim June 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm

            Hey Tom, there’s an article in the June, Thunderpress,mag., online at thunderpress.net, click on editorials, then columnists, scroll down to Motorhead Memo, “Man and Machine”, by Kip Woodring. Everybody that owns an Evo, Twin Cam or even a Sportster, should check this out. Let us know what you think !

  151. Tom Meade November 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Will pulling the cover and checking the outer shoe let me know if the inner is ok?

    • BOSTON JIM November 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Tom, what year is your bike ? The answer to your question is NO, the outside could be good, & the inner ready to implode, some guys use a dental mirror, but, the best way is to pull cam plate. If it was me, I’d be going the S.E. route, with hydraulic tensioners. If you’ve got any concerns, right now, cut open your present oil filter, go thru the pleats, checking for orange or white “made in china” plastic, quick, cheap, inspection. If you find plastic, you might have saved your motor & a few bucks, good luck. BEWARE, BE SMART, BE SAFE ! BOSTON JIM
      PS, AMSOIL is the BEST synthetic V-TWIN OIL !

      • DeeMan December 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

        Yup…agreed. Amsoil is best. Bought a used 99 road king in 02 with 28,000 Klm’s. 1st year of the twin cam 88…and carburated! There was a recall on a cam issue that the previous owner assured me was taken care of. I rode that bike all over north america and at 92,000 Klm’s, I brout it in to the dealer for a checkup. The plastic on the tensioners was worn down to the metal and the chains were getting gouged with most of the plastic gone ( likely in the engine) I asked the mechanic what my o,pitons were. He offered to pull it apart and replace the cams, chains and tensioners with a set he had pulled from an 02 TC88. He said someone had come in, bought the bike new and asked for a stage 3 upgrade befo,re he put a mile on it and the stock cam parts were in a box in back. 900.00 bucks later, I had new cams, chains, tensioners and tappers to boot. So off I went riding all over bells creation for another 5 years. At 146,000 Klm’s I brought it in to get a check up. The mechanic told me the tensioners looked new and everything he could see inside looked like new…no obvious wear. Who am I to argue? Stock bike except for super trap slip ons and tons of cosmetic stuff but 100% stock engine top to bottom! That was in 2011. Last year I got her up to 159,600 Klm’s. No issues. Put her away for the winter and this spring I insured her, fired her up and took off on another adventure. In June a buddy was hurtin for cash and sold me his 2010 FLHTCU. Pulled the insurance off my trusty RK and put the ultra on the road. Heat heat heat…hot hot hot!!!! Great machine on the hwy…love the 6th gear the extra gallon in the tank and the extra power the 96 gives me but in town and traffic the heat is ridiculous. I attribute the overall longevity of my Rk to Amsoil. So I put amsoil in all 3 holes of my ultra, switched to high efficiency plug wires and iridium NGO plugs. It,s coled down a bit but not enough. Now I’ve got V&H true duals on order and a V&H fuel pak to take care of the tuning. Damn fuel injection…damn ECMs! The moral of this story is I have a 15 year old road king TC88 with 160,000 and still running good with no leaks or issues. Amsoil people!!!!!!

    • Alan Cook May 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Checking the outer shoe is NOT an indicator of the inner shoe wear. You need a small dental mirror or pull the entire thing to inspect the rear shoe. It usually wears much faster than the out. We can only assume more spring pressure or something. If your outer is showing signs of obvious wear, your inner will be toast. There is a company making a new shoe out of a better hyfax type material now that far outlast the Harley shoes and it is a cheap repair. Couple of hundred bucks in and out. You can google aftermarket cam tensioner shoes. Don’t buy the crap off of e-bay for these. Who knows where they came from. The otehr longer term solution is hydralic. In Canada, you are looking at 1500+ for this job.

      • Peter June 8, 2014 at 4:28 am

        Hi Alan, do you have a link to that better shoe?

  152. Jordan November 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Metric bikes all use this system. You don’t see them failing all aver the place. Also, the flip side of this is: if your crank travel is out more than a couple thousand, you will detonate your engine with gear drive cams. Funny how they never mention that bit of info in these fear mongering articles.Want to know more? Email me.

    • David Falaguerra February 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for the post Jordan. Yes, I do want to know more! I have a 06 STC and love the bike. It has 40K. I have been following this topic so recently inspected the tensioners. Pleasantly surprised to see they show very little wear. I will continue to check every 5K or so.
      When I do replace tensioners, I know I will need to install adjustable push rods, new plate, oil pump and bearings. ( harley kit is about $500 + push rods) Should I also replace lifters and cams? A complete job could cost to $2k or so.
      Does it make any sense to go gear drive or will that just create new problems?
      Does it make sense to spend 2k in the cam chest (on a bike with 50k +/- miles) or maybe I should spend the 5k for a new HD engine.?
      I love this bike and don’t mind putting money into it. I Just want to spend the money prudently.
      Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks, David F

    • jimmy March 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Hi, Jordan I bought a 1999 road king 18,000 miles can you tell me a little about the post you wrote about gear drive cams. Thank You jimmy

      • richard reynolds August 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

        i hve 2002 electra and i just replaced mine at 66.000 miles. they were badly worn but never got noisy. i went back with new tensioners made out of new material thats supposed to last longer. i do not like gear drive on account of noise.

  153. Michael Neeley November 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I have a 2005 FLHT that had to be repaired around the 40000 mile mark, very expensive repair unless you can find a local certified mechanic that does not work for Harley Davidson. With my situation the adjusters fell apart and clogged the oil pump meaning I had zero oil pressure! The motor did not sound right so it was shut down real quick, which saved the rest of my motor! The sad part is that Harley knows about it and does nothing to fix the issue! I went with a hydraulic tensioner that is a screaming eagle setup. Cost around $2000.00, my guess is that this would have been $3500.00 at Harley dealership!

    • DONNY November 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Michael I just today checked my tensioners, and was I pleasantly surprised. I have 21,000 on the clock and about less then a 32nd ware on the front shoe, can’t believe it after all the nightmares I’ve been reading about.I consider myself lucky so far. You can bet I’ll be checking them next fall, or every 5000 miles from now on.(Glad I put Mobil1 in it at 5000 miles)This also gives me a chance to gather all the stuff I need to change them out.

    • bill November 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      I had mine done the hydraulic tensioner, better oil pump and backing plate it was only $900

      • bill November 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        oh by the way that was at 61000 miles

      • will February 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm

        where did you have it done?

        • billglitch August 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

          Harvs Harley
          in macedon, ny

  154. Paul Stewart October 27, 2013 at 12:37 am

    So, as far as cam chain tensioners….aside from changing the entire engine to gear driven cams, plastic shoes on a metal chain is the concern? Parts wear… That’s why they made the shoes plastic, they are supposed to wear without damaging other parts (the chain). That’s what scheduled services are for, I know that’s just an excuse for them to make more money, but it’s just more cost effective for manufacturers to use less expensive materials on high wear items, it’s going to need replacing at some point, would you rather pay to replace cheap, plastic parts, or expensive steel parts? Yes, they have engineered better systems, and if you want the better, newer stuff…buy the newer bike. I don’t doubt that we all know how to maintain our bikes, but Harley doesn’t keep any secrets as to what parts will fail at what point. I always hear people complaining about their bike is a pos because it started making a clicking noise at 12k miles…. “Did you have a valve adj. at 10k?”
    “…….clicking… Parts wear”
    Engineer a 100% efficient engine, and I’ll give you every paycheck I make for the rest of my life.

    • BOSTON JIM October 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

      BOOOO, Trick or Treat !
      Do you have a job ?
      Can you explain to me, why todays H-D Sportster, 58th year (since 1957), his father, the KH (FLATHEAD) Sportster, his Grandfather, the 45 Flathead (1929-73) all had 4 cams, 86 years & still going strong, without an EPA noise problem ? The single cam EVO, (motor that saved H-D) makes more engine noise than a Twin Cam, with all their chains & BS, I don’t think so ! I’ve recently rode 33 new Indians in 4 days, they have 3 gear driven cams, 119 lbs of torque, very nice bike. Take a demo ride ! I’ve owned H-D’S since 1967, been to every Laconia Rally since 1969. I’ve ridden around the block a few times, BUT,I would NEVER buy a POS Twin Cam !

      • DONNY October 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Having owned 2 sportsters over the years, a 93 883- 1200 stage- 3 conversion wild as all hell(100hp.)and a 1200 custom.I wish I had kept both. No problems at all with the custom . The conversion could’nt run no more then 10 tho.miles, hydro shook apart all the time.I put 75’000 miles on that bike, what a blast. both ran like top’s. Can’t wait for all the fun to start with my 03 FXDWG this was supposed to be my last bike(retired) got a good deal on this bike ,knew all about all the problems , all easy fix’s not too expensive to fix in my case ,after all I didn’t buy it new. It only had 3500 miles on it. and was only 10 years old. So it’s worth fixing even if I have to pay some one else to do the work. Boy if I had bought this new it would be another story. Imagine I if payed 20 grand plus for a bomb.The part that pisses me of the most is the MOCO knew about this almost rite away and 10 no 13 years later they have done nothing but put a band-aid on the problem. Friction wares every thing out. Lets wait and see what happens to this water – cooled head thing , if any thing else it will be a disaster for the next 10-15 years also. Pre- engineers designed these on Friday put in production the following Monday or so it seems. Still have hope though my local guy is a talented wrench says twinkies are not bad at all after the little stuff is taken care of. Evos have gone the way of the shovel-head now most are on their 5-6 rebuild now. Ya you can buy a new one but Twin Cam’s are the way to go now, not much choice now. By the time they get all the bugs out of these things we’ll be winding-up rubber band powered bikes anyway.

        • BOSTON JIM October 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm

          Hey Donny, good luck , with the 03, 1st year of the worst motors,IMO. 99-02 had forged cranks, 2003, 100th birthday year, the MOCO, knew they’d sell a million extra bikes, most look alike, great for paint shops, anyway they make a 5 piece cast pressed together crank, wow, big deal. They should never be dynoed, the crank will move. This months BAGGERS (DEC) has a great article about TC cranks, http://www.revperf.com, check it out. If I ever come across a sweet deal, like you got, 1st thing , I’d do is send my crank to REVPERFORMANCE.

          • Donny October 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm

            Jim, why would I dyno a stock Twin Cam? Don’t plan on racein or building this thing at all. just ride the wheels off it —– slowly. and keep ears and eyes open. I’ve enjoyed it so far. I ride solo so I have nothing to prove to anybody. Python 3’s and a stage 1 kit are all I need buddy. most comfortable bike I’ve ridden so far. Mrs. loves it also. Like you why would I spend $5000-$6000 grand for speed when that’s not me.

    • Evan October 31, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Victory motorcycles Freedom 106

    • DONNY October 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Right on. I have spent 20 years in industrial maintenace setting. Seen all kinds of failures. They only had to look in side the primary side, the adjusting shoe is made of UHMW. long lasting not a fix but a better material all- round.By the way how do you adjust your valves in a bone stock raw HARLEY. They don’t come come with adjustable push-rods?20,000 on my FXDWG and not a sound from the top end. I bet the bottom-end is another story.

  155. Raven September 29, 2013 at 1:16 am

    I have never owned a HD motorcycle, as the price was more than I could afford. However I always dreamed the day would come. In 2 yrs I will be able to afford moving up to HD from the rice burners I’ve been riding and now I stumble across an article that shatters that dream all to hell. Over the yrs I’ve read
    many articles addressing aftermarket fixes for design
    flaws in HD’s and heard a number of accounts from HD owners of costly eng- drivetrain failures on HD’s
    before they were a year old or had 20,000miles on them. I guess some dreams never come true, sad as
    HD’s are such an awesome old school classic American
    motorcycle. I’m a long haul trucker and I just do not have the time, or $$$ to keep a HD running. I’m still dreaming of owning a American made motorcycle, just that the name tag will read Victory not HD.

    • Dan September 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Well, Raven, I know how you feel. I bought my first Harley, after I retired, in January 2011. I’ve ridden all types of bikes for 50 years, but I LOVE this motorcycle! It’s a 2003, 100th anniversary edition, Night Train. It had 10,016 miles on it then, and it now has 34,710…and I live in Michigan.

      I read all the “horror” stories about the spring tensioner shoes, and was very worried about mine last winter when I was at 24 thousand, so I watched some You Tube videos on how to check them. It’s pretty easy, and mine were almost like brand new!….very little to NO WEAR! I felt a whole lot better, and, while I know some people have had trouble, and I agree it’s not the way I would put together a motor, still, it’s a very small percentage, overall, of all the Harleys on the road.

      My advice is find a Harley you really like…maybe even rent that model for a day to make SURE it’s the one for you, then….BUY IT!….I doubt that you will ever regret it….I haven’t, and I have to say….I LOVE THIS MOTORCYCLE! lol

      Good luck.

      • Donny October 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

        I read some place that the cam’s are crap also (bad grinding ). Bad QC on their part. Sounds like you have had good luck so far. Keeping them.

    • BOSTON JIM September 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Raven, don’t listen to Dan ! Everybody, loves their 1st H-D, it took him 50 years to buy. He didn’t do much research or read ALL the 900+ comments on the 3 Blogs here at J&P Cycles. IMO, he bought the 1st year with the 5 piece, cast, pressed together crank, the “first of the worst”, motors. Buy a 1984-99 Evo Big Twin Motor, cheap money & Bulletproof !

    • billglitch April 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I have 65000 miles on my 03 road king. At about 60000 I took it in to have the timing tensioner checked and replaced if needed. It was still in good enough shape that I could have gone another 10000 miles (my opinion) without a failure. other than that I have done nothing other than normal maintenance

      • Tom April 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm

        Billglitch; If you’re gonna let this one article (which has proven by and large not to be something to worry about) change your mind YOU AINT HARLEY MATERIAL ANYWAY. Stick with the ricers which are proven performers but have no soul.

        OR…pony up enough to get a late model lo mile (-15000) Hog and ride and see why we love them.

  156. Cathy September 19, 2013 at 10:19 am

    just talking about the 2004 for um Harley Davidson Ultra Classic with less than 50,000 hubby looked at one at hd dealer the mechanic was selling for 13,995.00 I think its too much he says it rides really nice especially when you’re going 100 lol
    just wondering about these 2004’s there is an awful lot there selling that this Harley Davidson

    • BOSTON JIM September 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Cathy, don’t buy that POS ! The first 4 years of the Twin Cam were bad, only thing they had GOOD, was a forged crank. So, for their 100th birthday, they gave us a present, a 5 piece cast crank, pressed together, HAPPY BIRTHDAY H-D. These motors should never be dynoed,the crank can move. The Twin Cam chain tensioners are very forgiving, allowing H-D to build a cheaper motor, more quickly. Look around, buy a low mileage EVO motor (1984-1999) for cheap money. I’ve demo rode 30 different new INDIAN CHIEFS recently, for $ 18,999.- & a 5 year warranty, that’s what I’m buying next. I have 2 EVO”S, would never buy a Twin Cam !

  157. Curtiss McClure September 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    This is a true story. It happened to me. My bike is dead now from the death of the tensioners. It will not be fixed anytime soon. Something like this was my issues when I bought this bike. I did concider buying a different brand. I still love the sound of a Harley which I have for over 40 years. Now I will look for something else to ride.

    • Karl Dugas October 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Mine went out at 22,000 had it fixed for about 1500.00, it lasted about 700 miles. Down again what a bummer.

  158. Charlton Geel September 1, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Thanks again. correction on name.

  159. Charltob Geel September 1, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Thank you! I am glad I took the time to read your article. I live in Ft. Wayne IN. rode up to Mackinaw bridge at 42k on my Fatboy and the salesman ar 42nd parallel Harley told me. Not my local s. side dealer or “official” mechanic here in town where I bought my bike. Gaylord MI is awsome and kudos to you and the 42nd parallel Harley in Gaylord. I’d rather buy from an honest man 600 miles away then spend local if I knew then what I know now. Be aware and on point, thanks to you, about my Harley.

  160. Dave August 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Timing chain shoes and guides are a common failure item on any engine with this design, that’s just the nature of them. I’ve replaced timing chain sets on Toyotas, Fords, GMs etc…

    I recently purchased a 2013 FLSTC and had to roll my eyes when I seen the “new” Harley technology using this set up, not that there is anything really wrong with it but I think they at least should have gone with direct drive between the two cams.

    Anyhow, after reading this article I think it would be wise to check/replace the tensioners at 35k-45k and much sooner on the non-hydraulic ones.

  161. Bill Glitch July 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I have an ’03 Road King. I bought it new and in July this year, at 57000+ miles (now 60000)I had them check my tensioner for the first time and it was worn a good amount on one side and barely on the other. I think it could have gone another 10000 miles perhaps, but had them do the upgrade. Nobody wants to spend any money on repairing anything and we all hope things will last forever, but nothing lasts forever. As far as some of the pissing and moaning about this part goes I have no complaints about my bike.

  162. Mike C July 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Hi, thanks for this info, this helped me to question my HD dealer and confirm that this is what toasted my 2009 engine with only 30,000 miles (50,000) kilometers on it!

    This information helped me keep the diagnosis time below two hours and figure its not worth looking any further, the engine overheated and now I don’t want to spend another $2000-$4000 figuring out and fixing what has been damaged…better off putting the money into a new motor.

    Am now up for a new engine…beware!

    • Gary Kamieniecki July 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Just blew up my 95 stage 11 on my 2000 fat boy not impressed ordered a s&s to replace. Hd said they could rebuild it but back to the 88 base. Still with the same problem no thanks!,

    • Gary Kamieniecki July 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Was informed there is no engine to replace the tc88 on the 2000 soft tail . Just rebuild to have another major let down ! No thanks ,so I just have a big pile of junk not worth a hoot!!!

      • BOSTON JIM August 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        Hey Gary, let me get this story straight. You blew up your 2000 Fatboy, was it cam chain related ? You ordered a new S&S motor, then was informed by S&S, they had no motor to fit your bike, is that correct ? Why is that ? Hey Harley Bros, Gary posted this almost a month ago, can somebody help him out?I don’t know CHIT about these POS, other than, I would never buy one. What a piece of work, POS !
        I just spent 3 days demo riding the new INDIANS, WOW, what a nice bike, 119 lbs of torque, it pulls & pulls. I just might have to sell the 2 EVO’S !

  163. Larry July 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I have a 2000 Harley Low Rider FXDL 9300 miles My cam chain tensioners just went out!!!!!!! Bike has been well taken care of and this so early?????????

  164. Dave Johnson June 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I just bought a new HD Electra glide limited with the 103 engine. I take it that this engine has this fatal flaw too. What would be the recommended mileage to worry about this?

    • Brett Koranda June 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      2007 and up are equipped with hydraulic tensioners which helps. You’ll still want to check them around 50-70k.

      • Dave Johnson June 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

        Thanks for the info Brett.

      • Eric Kent August 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        Actually the fact that they are hydralically tensioned makes no difference as the shoe that rubbs on the chain is still plastic and still is prone to wearing out.

  165. Mat brannan June 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Hi just taken my 99 fxdwg in to get base gaskets done,he’s found the tensioner on its last legs at 15000 miles, lucky escape me thinks!!!!!!!

  166. toyman June 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Heard cam chain grinding at about 50,000 miles (02 electra glide). Went to dealer bought new tensioners. Went home to my garage and changed the tensioners. Less than 100 bucks. Only work I ever had to do on the bike in 70 thousand miles. Pretty damn good for a Harley if ya ask me. Used to rebuild my shovel every winter to get 10K out of the season.

    • Eric Kent August 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Sorry to say I am a quite good mechanic as that is how i make my bread and butter. I bought my Bike as a Recreation Vehicle not a repair vehicle.Any bike that I have to rebuild every year just so i can get 10000 miles out of is not a RECREATIONAL VEHICLE in my book it would have to be a bike that I keep for sentimental value.

    • David Falaguerra February 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Wow Toyman, you make it sound easy. Did you remove gas tank and open rocker boxes to remove push rods? Or did you cut push rods and replace with adjustable ?
      When I go through all the effort to remove cam plate (in order to get at secondary tensioner)I think it makes sense to spend the money (about 500) for upgrade cam plate, oil pump and hydraulic tensioners.
      Also, if you use adjustable push rods it will be easier to get back into the case to replace tensioners in the future. Hopefully 50K+ miles down the rode.

  167. Jason May 24, 2013 at 9:48 am

    The gear drive upgrade doesn’t work in Harley’s because the crank shaft is never “true” I have yet to see a true shaft that is I. Perfect balance. If you use gear driven cams on an untrue shaft the result is catastrophic engine failure!

    • bud August 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Jason i’m glad you posted that went to Sturgis 2013 had a 96 screamin eagle engine put gear drive cams in it 10,000 miles ago before I got home from there,my engine failed,I DON’T RECOMMEND GEAR DRIVE CAMS engine has 16000 on it,changed cams for the cam follower problem.

  168. Harry Cline May 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    A good deal of what I mention here was spoken about on another thread I read, and in a nut shell it also speaks of to and of the why’s and how’s this nation is so screwed up.

    We got people living way beyond their means in house’s and people paying 22% to finance a $15K +++ motorcycle.

    And yet those of you who can afford to play the game are the same one’s who help and have helped sell America out, you feed the speculators on Wall-Street.

    Why does one get the impression that most of these complaints against Harley Davidson motorcycles are coming from the wannabe with all that disposable income. You bought an image people !

    As well as that old saying that says if you can afford to buy it then you should be able to afford to fix. Harley Davidson sells an image not motorcycles. They no longer cater to the blue collar person. And haven’t since Ronny-Ray-gun bailed them out in the 1980’s.

    Next time it would be cheaper for most of you and less frustrating to just buy one of their tee-shirts and just pretend your an outlaw.

    • Bob Johnson May 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Amen, Harry.

      • lynn wall November 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

        Ditto, ive had 06 & 09 Ultra Classic, 06 had no power to pass but plenty of torque on take offs….got new 09 & plenty power to pass, but 2 up u better not stop on hill, no torque on take off.in shop for compensator at 9k,had too pay $100 to get upgraded one or he said stock would just go out again & other prob. …i like the look & sound of harley but love to ride my Goldwing i traded 09UC in on…i had always wanted a harley, never again

    • boston jim May 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Hey Harry, what are you riding or driving ? Foreign, I bet ! I bet you also voted for OBAMA ! If we could go back 50 years ago today, I think, it would be great. JFK would still be alive, the GEMINI (the right stuff) Astronauts, that was exciting. I’d still have 6 schoolmates, killed in Vietnam, for what ? 58,000 + GI’S gone, now Americans can tour there, I don’t get it. That was a time you could be sitting in the back seat of the family car, & pick out all the different cars, not today. You can look out your picture or kitchen window, into the neighbors driveways, I bet you see a lot of foreign cars. Do you think, the people that made your car, buy products or services, where you work, I doubt it, we are all to blame. We don’t have any real Heros anymore, unless you think SNOOP DOG is someone to look up to. GOD HELP US !

      • Daves1998 August 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

        Amen BostonJim im a union man ill keep buying Harleys as long as they keep building them here I will never own a foreign car or bike im not ignorant i do relize alot of the parts are foreign made cant help that but my bike was union made in the U.S.A by americans that is the problems we have here to many people bashing what we make……….BE AMERICAN BUY AMERICAN…….

        • Donny October 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

          Dave and Jim your are the reason your country is f—k’d your cars are junk,assembled with parts made all over the world. offshore cars are killing you,(nothing you can do about it either) and USA & CANADA are loseing jobs every day to your neighbours to the south every day. Your country can’t seem to keep it’s nose out of other country’s problem’s. let them sort out their own mess. When it’s all over then it’s all yours anyway, no problem.One of your union’s put me out of work after 20 year’s of service, a**holes. In unions since I got out of school. I’m 60 now.If you have grand kids, god help them in about 15-20 years from now.The yellow wave will want all their money back .DOES YOUR COUNTRY HAVE THE CASH. NO…. I ride HD american iron(ASSEMBLED WITH PARTS FROM ALLOVER THE WORLD) and drive Chrysler cars and Ford trucks. ONLY. PAY ATTENTION BROTHER’S.

    • Eric Kent August 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      HAHAHAHA so true Harry I am old school I can remember looking through Easyriders every month in the bikes for sale section. I can remember you used to be able to get a complete Basket Case with frame engine gearbox basically enough stuff to build you a nice bike if you were a good mechanic for 1500 to 2000 bucks this was before the Yuppies and the Japs started buying them up and Jacking up the prices. I would never spend 15000 dollars on any motorcycle for 15G I would expect a bike to keep the garage clean and answer the phones run errands and go to the grocery market to pick up food and drink for 15000 I would expect it to have a band and provide entertainment plus be GOLD PLATED AS WELL.HAHAHAHAHAHA……….My absolute limit for a bike is 5G and thats with a new motor and Gearbox.

    • joe September 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      how old are you ??? Reagan DID not bail out Harley He imposed anti dumping legislation. perhaps u shuld stick to facebook where stupid people comment

      • john timble September 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

        wasn’t it a 40 percent import tariff? i don’t think he meant bail out in the hand them money sense, more the save their a*s sense.

  169. […] gratifying to know that you helped others out. In the past few months, I’ve written a couple of articles detailing issues that are possible with the cam chain tensioners in our beloved Twin Cam engines. […]

  170. R.Dupont March 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Sorry about all the problems with the late model harleys but it’s good to hear brothers helping out others sense so many dealer financed shops won’t. I’ve been on the same 47′ knucklehead going on 44 years & harley wasn’t exactly customer orented in those days either. Once I stroked it I was own my own and the jockey box was the final straw with them. It’s still rigid (3rd) frame and I’ve crossed this country on it more times than some truckers! Thanks to the help of so many independents. Thought of upgrading to a pan or shovel but not till the knuck.dies for real. “ride her like it’s your last time & take care of her when she’s home”

  171. Ray Brown February 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I have an ’04 Ultra that had the cam chain tensioners grenade in Canada in ’11 at about 55K miles. I had the outer one replaced in Rochester NY (I rode it all the way there with it making a hell of lot of racket)and then replaced the tensioner plate and oil pump after I got home. Fortunately nothing more serious happened as when I took the engine apart the inner tensioner was totally destroyed. I used the HD kit that had the hydraulic tensioners. I have since put on a 95″ BB stage 2 kit and haven’t had any problems. I have run Syn 3 ever since it came out and have been pleased with the oil. I also have a ’01 Dyna that I haven’t torn into yet (it has about 30K miles on it). I will probably put gears in it when I tear into it and will probably put the stage 2 kit on it as well. Since it is carbureted I will just have to change the jetting.

    • john timble September 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

      ive been led understand that the crankshaft in a twin cam walks around a bit like an olds 455….hence, gears are not a great option, unless maybe they can be set up “loose”, i dunno. It’s a chain for a reason, same as the old v8’s…ever notice the old ohc yamahas from the 70’s never had this problem yet they had tensioners on their cam chains?

  172. Steve J. February 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Luck had for me when I took my bike in for some custom work on apes and such. My hearing isn’t all it should be as I’m 63 yrs old. I have an flhtci and Sinister cycles of Las Vegas, NV. was able to catch my cams rattling. My wife heard them before me. Harley warrenty wouldn’t pay for the upgraded cam kit as I had the new bike warrenty. I wasn’t about to put the same in so I upgraded. Best thing I ever invested in and my bike runs strong.

  173. boston jim January 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm


  174. boston jim January 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm


  175. Andre' Price December 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I have a 2009 FLHTCU-ULTRA CLASSIC ELECTRA GLIDE. and after reading all your coments on the cam chain followers and the hydrolic tentioners and the gear drive systems, not to mention all the blogs from your loyal readers. and on the issues of run out. The only tweaking I’ve done to the bike is the harley race tuner, arlin ness big sucker breather and Rush true dules and the big louie Rush 4″ slip-ons. I have 15,000 miles on it now, with no issues so far. what would be the best way to go at this point??? Please advise. Thank you.

  176. Stephen December 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I have a 2013 Fatboy Lo, and after reading all this, I was just wondering if I should be concerned with this issue?

  177. Brian December 22, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I bought my RK in Dec. 98 So it was from some of the first ones. I started hearing about the cam problems the second year. I had mine checked at 45K only slight wear was noted, but for good measure we changed the shoes. The replacement shoes were a tan color instead of the original white. They were changed again at 65K and they had more wear than the originals. At 95K I did the big bore and cam change again along with new shoes and cam chain. This time my mechanic/harley dealer owner polished the outer edges of the cam chain. His theory was that rough machining edges of the cam chain plates was causing the erratic shoe wear. At 110K I went to the 123K the whole ball of wax and did the stroker, different cams and gear drive. Had no problems until a deer tried to change places with me. I had always rode fast but never hard compared to most RUBS that are out there riding nowadays. Seems to be luck of the draw
    Ride Ride Ride and keep the rubber side down

  178. Mike December 21, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I have an ’03 FLSTC w/ 65,000 miles. I was planning on putting the new cam chain tensioner kit on when it came out last year but hadn’t got around to it yet when I heard a funny noise coming from the right side of the motor. unfortunately I was 300 miles from home on a holiday weekend. When the Harley shop opened 2 days later I trailered my bike in and started it up and the mechanic said he had never heard a sound like that before. I took it home and my harley mechanic knew exactly what it was. The cam chain tensioner. they were surprised it had lasted for 65,000 miles. I now have 75,000 miles on with no problems.

  179. Stu Barnes December 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I replaced my tensioners for the second time a couple of months ago. The first time was at 25,000 miles and a shop did it. I didn’t get to see the amount of wear, but the mechanic said they were ready to be replaced. I did the second set at 75,000 miles, mostly because I was nervous about having them fail. A buddy of mine did the service and I watched. The pads still had a good amount of life in them, although you could see some scoring on the surface. I’ve been running synthetic oil since I bought the bike with 5,000 miles on it. For the past 40,000 I’ve been using Lucas 20-50 full synthetic exclusively. My buddy says that using synthetic oil greatly increases the life of the tensioners and that after the first set has been replaced, the future sets don’t wear as quickly due to the metal surfaces on the chain being smoothed out with wear. We put in adjustable pushrods to make the job a lot easier as well. I’m sticking with the tensioners for the foreseeable future (mostly due to cost).

  180. Bud December 11, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Some of the less tech savvy guys may want to see if their local dealer offers a low cost cam chain tensioner inspection like this one. $25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yO3qKSi3wI

  181. boston jim December 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm


  182. Bob November 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

    It happen to me, lost a motor because of these cam shoes. Big dent in my pocket. And still not resolved. Bad Design for sure and bad for business. Harley should look at the possibilities of making some changes or other options..

  183. Trucker FRMC November 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Why they don’t just upgrade the design ie” the cause moving item across stationary item under tension” by replacing the plastic pad with a roller bearing gear on the tensionier ??? is beyond me the weak point then would be the spring, when it breaks or tension wares out. same could be done on hydraulic tensioniers I’m sure thus removing the spring failure. just my opinion! until then enjoy the Ride….

    • rjgarney December 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Agreed. Probably a cost issue. Gears would be better though, because as the chain stretches there will be slight timing changes between the two cam’s. Probably nothing that would affect normal driving but none the less….

  184. G- MAN November 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    hi… it’s me, g- man again.. justa respectful note to those who think they may have a superior edge with another brand of bike… i have worked on & ridden lots of different brands most of my life now & have not come across the perfect bike yet. sooo, get real, expand your horizons & think a little. one of my best ridn’ buddies does have a honda VTX.. guess what ? it’s died on him 3 times now, electrical problems , still under warranty towed to shop once after quitting in his driveway ( lucky) once out on the road, one more time at home with a fuel prob of some sort. he’s not very happy, says if one more thing goes wrong he’s buying a harley… true story – so there you have a true life example. his first bike was a harley he had to share with his brother & he’s thinkin’ his last bike will be a harley as well… i’ll have to ask him where his bro is… ha! ha! ha! later gang.

  185. john November 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    was thinking about “upgrading” from my 98 fxdwg to 2006 or newer ultra, might just keep the old evo.

    • dynafog July 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      keep the 98 evo i have the same bike and will not trade up. if i want a bagger i will get an EVO bagger

    • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      keep the evo. or get a real nice rebuilt well shovel…I’m a reasonably talented mechanic, rode yamahas for twenty years (from age seven on, dirt and street) and am quite brand loyal, when they impress me originally, and then bought a 70 FLH. Good, real good motor, and when stuff does come up, so easy to deal with after years of dealing with fine and complicated japanese design. I call it my tractor, partially cause of weight, partially cause i get most of the bearings or bushings i need off the shelf at the local john deere dealer.

  186. Dave Harris November 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Harleys……….Love to look at them…..best paint and chrome quality on the market……Sucessfully cater to a lot of weekend bad ass wanna bees and novice riders desparate to look cool. Lets be honest guys if Harley made airplanes would you fly in one? 95% of all Harleys bulit are still on the road. The rest made it home.

    • d c cabb February 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Good points. If Harley made airplanes they would be the best looking and well made planes on the market, but they might be too heavy to get off the ground.

    • matt June 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      go jump on your kawasaki. hope you break down. most bikes on rural roads or long trips are harleys. bet they wont stop when they see you on that jap piece of sh*t. most wont. harley riders are good to one another

      • FUD July 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

        Matt you must of forgot that your Harley has overseas parts on it and some from just over the boarder. And if anyone riding a Milwaukee /Oriental iron is too good to help someone because they choose to be different, they are not very good people.

        • Eric Kent August 30, 2013 at 1:36 am

          That’s so true about not being able to get off the ground.The motto at HD Design is why use 1/8 inch steel plate when we have all this 3/4 inch steel plate we need to get rid of? Lightness is a word spoken in an ALIEN LANGUAGE at HD Desgn.

        • Eric Kent August 30, 2013 at 1:42 am

          FUD I agree with you 100%. In my experience most Harley riders are not very cool people at all. How can you be down to Earth when you followed what 90% of the other guys are doing and paid 4 times what a Harley is worth just to be able to wear a Harley advertisement sign and be able to say that yes I ride a Harley. HAHAHAH LOLOLOL that is really sad.

      • Rob August 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

        have owned several Harleys years back loved the bikes just not the dependability have had 2 Kawasaki Vulcans cause with kids could not afford a Harley. at 1/2 price to a Harley got 70G miles on each never a single issue just traded for new rides I am going to try a Harley again this fall. but Vulcans are not sh-t
        there just not a Harley. mine never let me down.

    • dynafog July 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      and you probably ride a suzuki right ? cause people who talk Sh** about harleys have never owned or even ridden one. so stfu unless you can back what you say

  187. Brian Murray November 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I have an 06 road King. At about 20000 miles I was antsy about the cam chain tensioner problem. I switched to the gear drive andrews cams and got more power in the process. I rode the engine hard and at 95000 miles I did the top end and converted to a 95 inch kit. It has 113,000 miles on it now and never a worry about Harleys bogus cam chain tensioner design. Also as the chains stretch over time it effects your timing and your power declines. Gear drive never changes your timing as there is no chain to stretch with wear. Also got a 2008 Ultra now with about 23000 mile now and will be changing to gear drive soon.

  188. TOM FERGUSON November 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    i just installed MOTORKOTE in this ’05 dyna. this will add time before damage occurs. i got it at walmart. in the auto additive section. you can check the website out, http://www.MOTORKOTE.com made inUSA this stuff works ! engine runs smoother & quite .

  189. Gene Wiltscheck November 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I do not feel oil or rideing styles are a major contributer to the early style shoes wearing out. I have seen many one or the other shoe wore severe and the other with minamal wear. I feel the back of the chain leaves something to be desired. I have been polishing the back of the chains with a buffing wheel. It makes a huge difference. Many shops will have an old chain or two around in the metal scrap pile, take a look at the back of the chain under a good magnifying glass and you will see how rough they are. buff one up so you know what wheel to use and make sure to CLEAN thorghly. I feel this will give you many trouble free miles. Remember this is still a mechanical wear point just as pistons, cylinders,valve guides ect. Thank-you and have a safe ride

  190. T-DOG November 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm


    • dynadog July 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm


  191. george jaimes November 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm


  192. Larry November 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I own an 07 fxst. Could this be a problem for me?

  193. Dave R November 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I had a related failure on my 1999 FDX Dyna Super. At 11,000 miles the cam outer cam bearing let go and put metal into the cam chest.

    It turns out that the original TC88’s in 1999 had ball bearing on both front and rear cams (outer bearings)

    I talked to the service manager at my local dealer and he “Didn’t know anything about it”. I asked about TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) on the problem, and He looked at me like I was from another planet. Plain and Simple, The dealer service department(s) are under the influence of the factory. They are basically warranty shops and depend on the factory warranty payments to keep their doors open. What a load of fertilizer!!!

    I discovered that Harley fixed the bearing problem on 2000 Model Years by replacing the weaker ball bearing with a large roller bearing on the rear cam. The Service kit from Harley comes with the roller bearing.

    The failure took out the old pump when it sucked up a large chunk of the bearing sheet metal ball retainer. While I was in the cam chest, I replaced both tensioners……. They showed some wear which made me nervous, but they were not worn out. Now it sounds like I did the right thing.

    I will be taking my 2000 Ultra Classic apart and upgrading to the Hydraulic 2006 setup this winter. At 46,000 miles, It may be on borrowed time.

  194. HeavyMetal November 17, 2012 at 7:52 am

    If you are interested in joining our motor bike club
    you must have a full face helmet,riding gloves,leather jacket (can be vinyl,but must look nice) fringes on
    brake and clutch levers>unless you ride an automatic scooter that’s fine. we always ride single file and passing each other is prohibited and grounds for being
    excused from the motor bike club! Some of the activities we have are birthday parties(no Alcohol)marshmallow roasts, sit around the fire and sing etc.

    • Ward July 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

      LOL!!!! Thatd be the day someone tells me! How to ride!

  195. HeavyMetal November 17, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Get A Rice Burner! “Less Headache”

    GO Rice Burner Motor Bike Club!

    Note: if you’d like to join our club you must have a 70cc or greater and no more than a 450cc. Oh, did I say a foreign make, Anywho We will “beep” when we see you losers broke down on the expressways…

  196. PaulEsq November 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I had exactly this problem with my 05 Wide Glide. The stock tensioner surfaces were ceramic and disentigrated at 32K and destroyed my oil pump. Fortunately, it happened in the parking lot of a Harley Dealer and I had Extended Care (100K) which paid the bill. Unfortunatley, when I had a thorough maintenance tuneup at my (former) HD dealer at 27K absolutely nothing was done or said about the potential problem. It is apparent now that the tensioer surfaceswerenot even checked. Caveat Empore. Paul

  197. mike November 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Sounds like you all need to switch to Victory

  198. TOM FERGUSON November 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm


  199. Dan November 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    forgot the 2007 Heritage I wrote of in earlier post had 2600 miles on it when I bought it yes thats 26hundred,,,I changed to syn.oil a week after I got it home,,still noisy ,could it be the the same problem ?

  200. Terry Craik November 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Very old news Folks. Thanks anyway

  201. Brad Beall November 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

    This is an issue that an aftermarket parts manufacturer could profit from…

    Instead of the rather expensive gear driven set-up, which is limited to engines with minimal crank throw-out, why not make tensioners that use small sprockets that ride on the cam chain, instead of the plastic shoes used on the stock tensioners? Of course, the steel “arms” that the original H-D plastic shoes are attached to would also have to be different, to accommodate the sprockets, but like I said, a parts manufacturer should be able to crank out something like this with little difficulty.

    Yep, that’s my idea, but it’s not patented, so why don’t one of you parts manufacturers go ahead and come out with a new product? My only fee for the idea is one set of the new sprocket-type tensioners for my ’02 FXSTS(i).

    • Eric Kent August 30, 2013 at 1:57 am

      Access to a machine shop and a few hours and there you go a MUCH MUCH better solution and have the sprockets run on needle or ball bearings it really shouldn’t make a difference as they dont carry a LOT of tension. A++++ for a EXCELLENT IDEA.

  202. Richard November 16, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I have a 2000 FLHRCI with 248,000+ miles on the original engine…fact. I had the tensioner problem at around 35,000 miles. Showed up as oil being pulled into the breather at sustained high speed. Oil pumped out the breather all over the exhaust. Looked like the Red Barron shot down! Stopped, cleaned up, checked oil and proceeded down the road. After the second time, opened the timing case and both tensioners pads were near metal! Since then have inspected regularly and replaced three times and am ready to pull again. I considered gear to gear and elected to maintain the stock (upgraded) tensioner system and have had no problems to date. And I drive the bike like I stole it………….. So, with that said I believe the stock system is satisfactory and only requires responsible maintenance. I spent many years past modifying my bikes. I finally settled down at 62 and understand and appreciate the engineering that has gone into these machines. God Bless Harley Davidson……………….

  203. Dave November 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I have a 95 sporty is this something I should look in to…Ty Dave

    • gusotto November 19, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Ty Dave
      Not to worry.
      You have gear drive now.
      Different animal.

  204. Robert Walker November 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    sounds like the old saying you know why they make metric bikes to keep idiots off of Harley’s I am a Harley -Davidson dealer a lot of these post are plum stupid I have at the most have had 2 major failures due to customer just not paying attention to his bike alot of failures are due to UN proper use of manufacture oil not doing services when need excessive riding habits 2000 when twin cam came out not 99 sportsers have no place in this discussion 50,000 is the recommended time to replace them yes they are made of neoprene plastic there gonna wear if you hear a premature noise coming from vale train then most likely its giving you a tail tail warning that the are going out but you keep riding an not have it looked at the its your fault you just trash your engine ……….

    • Mack November 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Then if that is truly what you believe, you need to go buy a new car or truck and tear into the engine routinely to be sure it is not going to disintegrate., Oh and according to some other posts if it does fail it is YOUR fault for not doing oil changes twice as often as stated in the manual and opening the motor every 25k just to be sure something does not need replacing.

    • george February 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Dear Sir:
      I am 80 years old and have had harleys off and on since 1951. Although I am no mechanic, but I have tinkered with them for years. I completely agree with your assessment of the current chain tensioner problem. I think that the problem is completely overblown and is a product of agressive riding habits and inattention to oil changes, etc. and tinkering with performance so called upgrades. It is said that jack rabbit starts does not harm the tensioners, but it does. Dirt bikes with tensioner pads wear out quickly if jack rabbit starts are a habit.
      As a licensed professional engineer, I feell that you comments are completely valid.

      • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm

        keep the evo. or get a real nice rebuilt well shovel…I’m a reasonably talented mechanic, rode yamahas for twenty years (from age seven on, dirt and street) and am quite brand loyal, when they impress me originally, and then bought a 70 FLH. Good, real good motor, and when stuff does come up, so easy to deal with after years of dealing with fine and complicated japanese design. I call it my tractor, partially cause of weight, partially cause i get most of the bearings or bushings i need off the shelf at the local john deere dealer.

        • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

          oops…wrong column. was in reply to a different post/ but you know 1975 yammies have plastic shoe cam chain tensioners that are still good in 2013 with 50,000 K? I have a few….

    • Andy August 18, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Twin Cams came out in 99 on most Harleys, the rest of the big twins were converted to the lemon in 2000. So you say I’ll know when to replace my tentioner when i start hearing excessive noise coming from my motor? I dont use the manufactures oil, basicly because i want by bike to last. What im hearing from you is more dealer BS.

    • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      BS. nobodies running improper oil, the tensioners are junk and it’s a know problem. The local HD dealer has admitted it to me, as he knows he’ll never sell me a new bike, in love with the 70 FLH. He’s a good guy, actually keeps shovel parts in stock, pretty rare and the only reason I know him.

  205. Dan November 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I just bought my first Harley late this year (August) I love the Scoot ,but it does have a noise in the front of the engine, after test riding I told the salesman about the noise ,he started the bike and gunned it ,told me that was a normal sound but did sell me the extended warrenty. Oh ,it is a 2007 Heritage sofetail..I have had a couple of other riders listen and say it is normal sound,,,I have been riding for 40 years and this is the first time I have been concerned about long distance riding ,,should I be ? Any others owning the same bike have this noise and is it normal?

  206. Ed Anderson November 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I ride a 1991 H.D. full blowm custom chopper, Evo, No problems, 80 ci gets me down the road, who needs a twin cam anyhow, I would never buy one, at worst, put a 124 evo in my currant bike, too many people think newer is better, like twin cams, the only people maken money is H.D. dealers.

    • HawgDoc November 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm


  207. Stephen November 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I have an 07′ FLHX with over a 120,000 miles and have used Amsoil since the second oil change! Never a problem in the cam side, have replaced the inner primary support bearing for the trans mainshaft twice and a clutch hub due to the Asian manufacturer of the H-D part? Yes we know they do this… I am curious for when I do pull it down to see where she stands on wear, now that I’ve it out! Amazes me, as I have over 750,000 miles under me with 5 Harley’s starting with my 65′ Pan 2 Shovels a Evo and now my TC! Yes they have come a long way, better and staying close to the same in many ways! It was harder in the early years for sure, but have always worked on my own except for the machine work as my machinest has come along way all the years we have been together!

  208. The Elf November 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I have read almost all of the blog, which happens to very long. So I think I need to add my two cents. I love this articale and am glad that someone is bring the issue to the top. I have had many arguments with my dealer and the mechanics about this issue. So here is my experience and advise. I have two ’02 Dynas and they both have the problem. I fixed one and as soon as I can I will fix the other. My fix is to go with the gear drive cams. Not only will you save your engine but you will get a noticable increase in performance and response to the throttle.

    I had 30,000 miles on my bike and discovered the problem when I went to punch out the engine. After b–ching at the deal. I immediately went to gear drive because of the good thing I heard about them. I have now put over 45,000 miles on the gears with not even a hint of a problem. I didn’t have to change the oil I use (good old fossil 20W50) or change to hydraulic tensioners or polish the chain. It took me 3 hrs to do the work and the hardest part was to measure the runout. By the way it’s not .005 for the earlier models it’s worst more like .002. My runout was .0015 so I was good to go. My advise is to convert as soon as possible before the runout gets to large. You will not regret your decision. I have recommended this fix to a number of my friends with newer bike and not one has had a problem since. I have many of them thanking me for recommending the fix. I can tell you more about this issue but I think I’ve said enough.

    Shame on Harley for letting something like this go into production they should have stayed with the EVO, simple and undistructable. Many of my Bro’s have turned away from Harley for this very problem. They keep telling me “you won’t find this problem with a Jap bike”. You would think Harley would get a hint.

    • Eric Kent August 30, 2013 at 2:17 am

      I sold my Harley Heritage a few years back when Honda came out with the VTX 1800. When I saw it and rode it I was sold. It was made right here in the good old USA Marysville Ohio to be exact. I got tired of Harley being stuck in the past with TRACTOR TECHNOLOGY and not moving forward. Now that they are going to be building a water cooled motor I might try them again. As far as my VTX it has 60000 trouble free miles on it. I do my own work and Honda has always prided themselves on simplicity the maintenance is a joy to do and I have so far never had any parts break down.It is stock over 100 Horsepower and over 100 LBS/FT Torque so whats not to like?

      • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        water cooled heads is gonna be nothing but a staple fix to a major problem, EPA laws are mandating such a lean burn combustion chamber temperatures are getting ridiculous. ever notice the difference in heat coming off the heads of matching compression shovels, evos and tc’s? Pushrod air cooled v twin is a good, reliable design, but the EPA regs are killing it like the two stroke. Thats also why the twin cam exists, an attempt to make the valve train quieter for regulations. And doing it poorly.

      • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        honda simplicity my ass. How can you combine that with a dislike of harley simplicity?

      • lynn wall November 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        thats harleys latest attempt to drag themselves into new age to keep from losing more unhappy cust. like me…from 88ci in 06—-then 96ci & finally 103ci..but the prob is still the quality of the parts used to maximize profits and come up with something new every few yrs. to keep u hoping the American dream is finally gonna live up to exp…..i’m all for American but my money goes to quality not more hype….ive had 3 harleys but now (Honda) that name on any product = quality imo Lynn

    • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Yamahas in the sport bike range from 2005 to 2010 apparently had very bad “soft” cams like early eighties chevy 305’s, lobes would go round. Remind your japanese buddies of that next time they get on their high horse, all manufacturers have problems, just the japanese make WAY more products so everyone doesn’t have the same problem. Bad electrical in early 2000 honda cbrs, virago starters, vmaxs breaking starter clutch set screws every year, etcetera

  209. Jim November 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    And here I thought that Harley was such a fine piece of equipment. Why would they allow this to go on, with the cost of these bikes?

  210. Efrain L. November 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I have a 08 roadking, does this aply to me?

  211. blueglide November 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Had 04 road king put s&s gear drive cams in @10k had 53k when I traded it no issues . I plan to put gear drives in my 2012 road glide this is not a new problem s&s has been selling gear drives for years. Harley knows about this its just one more way to there dealers busy.

  212. Mattbastard November 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Victory – the modern American motorcycle.

    • Ed Anderson November 16, 2012 at 8:27 am

      can u say kowasakeeee

  213. Desert dan November 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I have had all the harleys over the years from knuckle head to the 09 96cu and 6 speed and you can’t beat the good old evo 97000 miles and runs great on my 94 electroglide.You never see a Harley in the junkyard I will still be riding mine and drinking beer out of a recycled can made out of your long gone foreign crap.

    • Ed Anderson November 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      I ride a 1991 custom chopper, Evo, would not have it any other way, runs good, I am with you bro

    • DONNY March 21, 2016 at 11:35 am


  214. trikwanchau November 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

    They also sell every Harley they made. What gives?

  215. Bogdan November 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Harley should do the decent thing and have a recall and offer to fix the problem. But again this is Harley and their only concern is profits, not so much customer satisfaction. I have a 2000 Fatboy, thanks for the scare.

  216. maverick November 15, 2012 at 8:34 am

    This is why I changed to S&S 5110 gear drives when I bought my 04 Low Rider. Never a problem.

  217. Paul November 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I have a 2004 Dyna Wide Glide. My mechanic told me about this and checked it out when I had 55k on the bike. There was nothing left. It was changed. Oil pan dropped and completely cleaned out. I had him do some inspections before I went on my next long trip. This was a couple of years ago. He new about the problem and took care of it for me. It was upgraded to one from drag. He said that I wouldn’t have this problem again

  218. Derrick November 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Just bought a used 04 Electra Glide. Asked dealer about these before purchase and they replace them on all bikes they take in on trade before selling.

    Tells me they know they have a problem also.

  219. rattletrap November 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

    if you could figure out a way to install a screen to
    keep your oil pump from scavenging the shreds of
    plastic, and maybe a magnet to catch any metal
    flake, you would probably save alot of $$ over that
    way cool gearset. H-D should be doing this! It also
    helps to look at your oil pressure guage every now
    and then.

    • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

      unfortunately unless you own one of the higher end bikes you don’t have an oil pressure “guage” and by the time that idiot light starts to glow it’s probablly too late. That said, it might not be a bad idea to suggest to those without a guage to maybe consider a kit, cheap enough and maybe good insurance..

  220. Nona Murphy November 15, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I have an 03 Heritage Softail. At 80,000 miles, I had to have a reman done as the cam journal broke. I was told by the head mechanic at my dealer that he had never seen this happen. Metal parts went throughout the engine but while riding, I heard what sounded like rain hitting metal (even over the pipes) and pulled over. We trailered the bike to the dealer for repair. Since I had purchased the extended warrantee, the HD service rep. said the repair amounted to $2400 and would be covered but they would only repair what broke. I explained that metal went throughout the engine and other parts were at risk because of this. They insisted that they would only fix what was broken and I would have to bring it back if something else broke or failed. I told them I wanted a reman done at that point so I worked out a deal for them to apply the $2400 repair estimate as a credit to the cost of the reman. Now, I have 150,000 miles on the bike and again worry this might happen again. The tensioners are checked regularly but the journal is a bit difficult to check. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

  221. Critch November 15, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Just a quick note to say thanks for the info. I am laid up in the hospital after back surgery and now can not wait until I am able to break out the tools and open up my 05 Wide Glide with 29k..
    Thanks again!

  222. Dave&Connie November 15, 2012 at 4:52 am

    We just replaced our Sport with a 1995 FLSTC Heritage. Do we need to worry about any of these issues? Thanks in advance.

    • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

      No, you have been blessed with the EVO aka the Evolution engine, IMHO the best engine ever to roll out of Milwaukee.. Take good care of it and it will take care of you. Enjoy your new toy.

  223. G- MAN November 15, 2012 at 3:23 am

    hi guys, & gals , been reading up on all the comments & suggestions here… some good stuff. there is no substitute for regular maintenance either by owner if capable or dealer shop. this issue with plastic material chain tensioner shoes is not actually a new one. the old brit bikes had a primary chain tensioning device that was black plastic material of some kind over a spring steel holding tension on the slack side… now this system had the same problems you are describing for the tc engines. however replacing & maintainig the primary was much easier & not catastrophic to the engine. the movers & shakers at h-d decided to go cheap here in my opinion. they really need to rethink what they are doing here & design a proper gear set to “FIX THE PROBLEM” gear whine should not be a problem at all with a helical gear set . myself i own a 91 flhtc that i just love… as for the tc, i would not want plastic mud going around inside my crankcase, that plastic that wears off could be just as bad or worse than metal finally going around inside the engine if it closes off an oil passage or clogs & jams the oil pump. h-d & the dealerships need to be real with their customers & treat them kindly not only with this issue but anything else that may come up. we all know how hard it can be to fix a spoiled reputation… much harder than fixing a cam drive… nuff said G- MAN

  224. Android November 15, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I Just bought an 06 FXDI superglide with 17873 miles on it from my local dealer. A friend of mine said there was an upgrade for the cam tentioner. After reading this information I should concerned about this, not only for the cam tentioner but also the IPB ( inner primary bearing) The dealer dont really tell you squat about anything. (past service history)

  225. Dave November 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    The engine in my 03 road king is being rebuilt right now for the exact issue written about here. Very frustrating that such a simple inspection an fix would have saved me almost $4000.

  226. Service Manager November 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I was a service manager at a large Canadian Harley dealership. We fixed a lot of American bikes on their way to Alaska with cam case problems on twin cam 88s. Our own customers were told to due everything by 40000kms or be ware. This includes cams,bearings and oil pump. Sometimes the plate is also no good. I have seen STOCK rear cam bearings go right away and take out everything. Cam cases have also cost Harley a lot of money. We did a lot of cam cases and engines on warranty. If you buy a Harley buy extended warranty always!!! Why do the dealers hate this issue? Service departments make little money from Harley on warranties. We rebuilt wore out engines on extended warranty yes wore out. Syn3 is shit. Amsoil adds at least a third longer life to your motor. Engine mods also always reduce life and reliability. I have 27 bikes yes 27. 3 are Harleys. Why buy a Harley? If you ride lots or tour there is a dealer with parts and service a few hours away at any time. Brake down on holidays on another brand and see how long you wait to get parts or service. Ride a nonHarley into Canada from the US and see how well your warranty works??

  227. Dave November 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I purchased my very first Harley last November. I have owned every type of Japanese bike made and a NSU back in the 60’s. The 2000 Twin Cam Electra Glide was in very nice shape. With 39600 miles on it. I purchased it for 8400.00. I was reading American Iron Magazine when I came across the article about the cam chain followers. At that time, the bike was in storage at the local HD dealer. I contacted them and asked them to check the followers. They found them nearly gone. Inside and outside. I also discovered that replacing them is about 850.00 with parts. I opted for the Hydraulic Cam Chain kit that HD has on the dealers shelf. The kit installed was about 1500.00, I have worked on bikes for years and I would of done the job myself, but the tools to do the job were 500.00. I figured to let them and get the warranty while I was at it. So, picking up the bike this spring, I took it home, the cam chain tensioners failed on the way to the house, about four miles down the road. I returned to the dealer to have it corrected and had no problem until yesterday, eight months later. The tensioners failed again. Which causes a lot of gear and chain noise on the right side of the bike. HD is looking into the problem again. Meanwhile I am again without a bike to ride. This is just a small problem though. I have put thousands of miles on Japanese bikes over the years, no mechanical issues of any kind. What do I think of the Glide now. I still will not give up on that bike. There is something about the ride, the noise and the experience of a Harley. I have been waiting 48 years for this bike. This is a part of owning a Harley. Yes I miss my 150 mph GSXR 750, the Vulcan 2000 cc, the CL/CB 450 and 900. The Intruder, GS 750 and many more. Would I trade this Harley for them back. Not even if you offered me all of them back. The Geezer Glide is very special to me. I guess the one thing I missed owning the Ricers, no need for preventive maintenance, no character, no “fun”. This repair is necessary to keep your TC’s together, But a simple hydraulic tensioner kit is all you need for 40 to 50,000 miles. It also includes a new oil pump,cam bearings and the cam plate to convert your 2000 to 2006 into a 2007 and newer hydraulic tensioner bike. I recommend it, even if it hurts now, it is better than picking up a new crate motor for 6500.00 plus labor. The manual said to check the tensioners every 20,000 miles. Another book I read said check at 40,000. Do not do that. If I had waited until 40,000 or more. I would be installing a crate motor right now. Check these followers as soon as possible if you are near the 38,000 mark. Ride the best, push it if you must, take a trailer or a truck. If your on another make, no one gives a …. .

  228. Wabiker November 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Ok.. so apparently My ’08 Crossbones is clear and should have the Hyd Tensioner.

    Now whats this about the Trans..?
    Just feathering the clutch ie parking lot riding.. Im getting a regular clunk from the trans.. being a long time sporty rider, is this “normal” or is this also a tensior issue? Dealer said its normal…

    • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

      My 08 tranny makes a fairly pronounced “clunk’ throughout all upshifts. Figured it’s a quirk of the 6 speed since it’s my first, anybody gao a “helpful” comment

  229. Alan November 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I replaced the cam bearings and tensioners on my 01 road king classic at 38,000 miles. The inner tensioner was 3/4 worn through. Good thing it was winter and a good time to tear it down.

  230. Jim November 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My 2000 Electraglide had worn out tensioners (over 50%) with grooves and pitting indicating the imminient failure of the tensioners at 20K miles in 10 years. Did a 95 top end and a set of Head Quarters 34G gear drive cams in 2010.
    Awesome performance through the full rpm range. 87HP and 101 Ft Lbs of torque with stock heads and it did not blow up on the Dyno! 42K today and still running strong. 70 -100 mph with just a twist of the throttle and plenty of torque. 20K (hard and fast) miles in 2 yrs compared to 20K in 10 yrs will tell you how much fun this bike is now.
    We know the tensioners wear and the plastic has to go somewhere. Is it worth your motor or your life to have the “catastrophic failure” described by other HD riders in their warnings?
    It was well worth the $1200 in parts( including special tools for the cam bearing replacement) I spent for the total upgrade,and not too difficult to do myself, especially when I saw how worn those tensioners were at that mileage.

  231. Mike Hall November 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Wow, This explains a lot. At 15k I took my 06 FLHT to the dealer for “valve train noise” and a faint knocking. They tore it apart & put it back together after they found it to be “in spec.”. Hmmm. At less than 20k it went back, same, same, ditto. It was still under their biggest & best extended waranty. The Service Mgr. & mechanic both agreed it was “noisy”, as did the HD District Service Rep. They all said “Drive it, if it comes apart, we’ll worry about it then.” No Kidding, DIRECT QUOTES !!! At 25k I was afraid to drive it on my 25mi. commute to work, it was REALLY rattling/knocking! I went round & round with aforementioned Rep., & he eventually told me they were NOT gonna fix it till it grenaded. If I persisted, he said he would cancel my extended warranty because I had Screamin’ Eagle pipes & a Stage ! air cleaner cover (stock air filter). Now for the Paul Harvey…..the r e s t of the story. This bike was a replacement for my FIRST brand new ElectraGlide that had one of the JUNK EARLY 6 SPEEDS that they, by their own admission could not make right. These were my 26th and 27th Harleys I have owned since 1987. I started as a Harley freak in 1976 at the age of 11. I now ride BMW’s. My R1200RT is a WAY better machine than any of the Harley’s I have had over the years. At 25k it has only had tires, & oil changes, and is just now getting broken in, not ready for the scrap heap like my last NEW ElectraGlide. I did say LAST didn;t I ? L A S T in more ways than one. Harle Davidson Motor Co. is very crappy in the way they support and stand behind their product.

  232. Wrench November 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Don’t know if previously mentioned, but the reason chain drive is installed from HD is due to engine noise rules imposed by EPA. Laws these days say they must burn cleaner and less noisy. A sign of the times.

    Gear drive is the reliable alternative but it is noisier.

    A term that also comes to mind is ” Planned obsolescense” The product is engineered to self destruct so eventually you will have to buy a new one. Makes sense from a marketing standpoint if you want to sell more units.

    I hope all reading this info get their troubles fixed in time. I’m still trying to make my evo last another 20 years. Good luck!! ~W

  233. richard November 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    i have a 2000road king flhrci will i have this problem i just bought it 3 months ago runs good the person i got it from brother in law he bought a new one he is a trucker he road it mostly hiway miles has 29000 miles if so how much will it cost to convert to gear drive i will do a oil change and cut open filter to check it is it a big job for a mech. or costly

  234. vinnie james November 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    at 35,000 miles mine went about about 65mph…my bike has been sitting for 2 months. right where the tow truck left it. need to fix it asap.

  235. Jeb November 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    really? Some of you wanna tout your jap bikes? I’ve ridden several different brands over the years and out of all those, it was jap bikes trying to copy a Harley. Each one of them had their issues too! Both my Hondas had problems. the first one had one of the crappiest electrical systems you could buy. The other liked to eat cams (v4). The Yamaha I had, liked to eat trannies and the Suzuki I had also had a crap electrical system. One thing they all had in common was all those companies were trying to copy Harley! And they made some of the most uncomfortable bikes I’ve ever owned. I say that to say this; each bike had issues! I was told for years how the only difference was the name, and that might be true with the newer HDs. All I know is mine cost me the same as what a jap bike costs. And I’ve yet to have problems. It’s the most comfortable ride I’ve had thus far! And there is a difference!

    • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      yammie second gear disease it quite famous.

  236. C Whiting November 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Ok I have a 06 Night Train. What parts are recommenced to replace if I am not going with the gear drive set up? Bike has 15k on it now. Running HD synthetic oil since new. Are there upgrade parts to buy from HD?

  237. Steve Glassburn November 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    My 2005 Ultra sounds like the engine is coming apart when I crank it at times. It loads up on fuel, I have FI. I open the throttle and it will blow the raw gas out, backfire out the pipes and air filter. I had have this problem for 5 years and Harley cannot figure out what is causing it. Only does it at times. Last time it was in the shop they put a SE race tuner on it for some reason but didn’t help it.

    • Dave L November 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      not sure but i had a similar problem the fuel lines in the tank were cracked . sometimes it cranked liked the engine was going to blow ! locked up back fired i figured out the fuller the gas tank was the less the problem you should check this out

  238. MC Marv November 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Good information. Thanks Scott and everyone else except Rusty…I own and ride a 2010 H-D FXDC and did not know all this about the cam chain tensioners. I also own and ride a 2006 Yamaha Road Star and a 2011 R1200RT BMW. Enjoy all three and their differences. I know now which bike I will sell if I need to get rid of one. I think I really miss my ole early ’78 FLH. four speed, chain and carb.

  239. Dan Cutler November 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I would like to hear more about the rear-off-center issue. I think I might have this problem. I feel a slight wobble in a deep right turn on my ’06 FLHPI. Is there an easy check? A good fix?

  240. Bob K November 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I had a 2002 FLHT with the first set of stock tensioners replaced at 32,000 miles. The second set failed 7,000 miles later. Luckily on both situations I caught them before they totally failed. But after my second set failed I installed the S+S Gear drive with the 570 cam set. The 570 was recommended for a stock engine, 88ci. The bike had a slight lope and ran better than it ever did after the upgrade. I traded the bike off with 72,000 miles on a new 2010 FLHTC. I figured H-D learned from it’s mistake and moved on with the new hydraulic set up. Guess I was wrong. I sold off my wifes ’09 Sportster for a Honda VTX1300. So far no issues with anything other than she rides it more. I think that maybe the key if you want to ride without issues?

  241. Tony November 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Had mine replaced at about 30,000 miles on my 2000 Wide Glide. Caught it before it got down to the metal. My dealer recommended replacing the tensioners every 25,000 miles. Cost about $900 to replace. To convert to hydraulic was a few more hundred & I considered gear drive but there are pros & cons with every option. I bought mine used with about 28,000 miles & ill never know how it was treated in the past, but I use synthetic oil & I kind of beat on it. I plan on having them replaced again around 50,000 miles. The dealer never hid any info from me. Just a regular part of maintaining the engine. Ride safe & have fun!

  242. JEROME November 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Anyone know if my 09 Ultra Classic is affected by this. Just made 30k on it. So far ,so good , no problems.

  243. Roger rose November 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I have an ’03 ultra, at 40000 miles I replaced the cam tensioners with a tensioner shoe rebuild kit from cyco gaskets. These shoes just replace the shoe material only, reusing the tensioner body and spring. The shoe kit costs $7.00 a piece. The was the most economical way to make repairs to the tensioner wear problem for a do-it yourselfer. My biggest expense was the adjustable pushrods n tubes which prevented a lot of upper end disassembly.

  244. Tommy November 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Had 12000 miles on my 06 wideglide when it went down 600 miles from home on the way to DC for Rolling Thunder.Had to rent a Victory Jackpot to finish the ride.I now have 33000 on it and its time to check it out again.Its not fun to feel stranded away from home because of a design defect.One positive though,I did buy a Jackpot because I fell in love with that bike that weekend.40000 so far problem free.

  245. Mark S. George November 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve read the article on the CVO twin cam issue with wear. Well here is a story for ya. I purchased a new 2005 HD fat boy 103 in 05. This year I left Hartford Ct. for Sturgis, well I did not get far. Getting on Rt. 90 in Pittsfield Mass. the bike developed a vicious vibration. I was riding with my nephew who was on his 05 road king. My fat boy has 30 k and has been my baby. I bought it to replace my 1953 Pan head, what a mistake.
    After several hours at the local Harley dealer and only after the mechanic contacted the Harley rep did he discover that the oil pump exploded.
    Seams Harley pins one flywheel on and the other is pressed on. Seems the pressed on flywheel came loose causing the vibration. Harley has had this issue with others and once this happens the out of balance flywheel destroys the oil pump,likewise the twin cam chain tensioner was worn badly.
    I understand from a local Harley mechanic here in Ga. that Harley has had this issue with that motor but has kept it quiet. Shame on them!
    You would think that spending near 30 k on a bike would not have an issue like this, especially when the bike only has 30k on it.
    So for those of you contemplating a new purchase BEWARE

  246. No longer brain washed November 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Just add this to the many reasons I bought a VICTORY. After years of HD bs, I jumped ship and couldn’t be happier. Love the POWER and ease of maintenance. Do yourself a favor, check out the other American made motorcycle. The name says it all – VICTORY!


    • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Yeah, you are most certainly brainwashed if you think you are riding an American bike. Victory bikes are assembled in Iowa, but all the parts come off the boat. I’ve delivered loads of parts there and been on the docks. I’ve seen the containers that are trucked all the way to Spirit Lake. -and by the way, that all powerful Victory engine? Designed by Kohler industrial engines. There’s not a single SAE fastener on the whole bike. So you might want to think twice before you go puffing up your chest and pounding on it. You are riding a bike made by a snowmobile maker.

      • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

        harley used to make golf carts and snowobiles

  247. Dwayne November 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I have a 2006 Softail Std. FXSTI, should I be worried about the item(s) that this article is talking about? By the way, I am glad that I took the time to read it, very good information in here!

  248. Eric Kent November 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    You know what I love almost all motorcycles but I just love this issue. All you Harley guys that look down your noses at fellow riders because we chose to buy something that we didn’t have to work on and then call us names. My bike was built here in the USA and I sold my Harley so I could purchase my current bike. It is a Honda VTX 1800 and it has no issues I just clocked 150,000 miles with nothing more than valve adjustment every 15000 miles it still smokes every Harley who wants to try it and it has never left me stranded EVER. And besides that it was built in Marysville Ohio using American workers so next time you dickheads on your Harleys that want to look down you noses at us people that can’t afford to ride 30,000 dollar paper weights think about the great engineering on you twin cam bikes. Ride Safe.

    • Hambone November 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      I’ll have to agree with Eric. I wanted a new Harley this past Spring so bad, but just couldn’t afford it. Now that I hear about the twin cam chain tensioner wear issue, I’m glad I got a used VTX 1800. I love this bike and I dont have to tear it apart every 15,000 miles. Keep your knees in the breeze, your chin in the wind, and the rubber down whatever you ride! Happy Highways!

    • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Truely impressive, you complain about being called names and three sentences later you mass an entire group of people under the label “dickheads”. I do not know you nor have I ever looked down my nose at you or called you a name. I am really sorry that you cannot afford a Harley, oh wait you SOLD your Harley to buy your Honda, curious. If your only purpose for existence is to try to belittle other people whom you apparently feel inferior too, I’m sure you can find someone somewhere who really cares. There are several significant facts about HD that have been true since day one. Harley Davidsons require maintainance either by the owner (recommended) or by the Dealer if you are not mechanically inclined, in which case I personally recemmend you look for another brand of motorcycle. Harleys are more expensive than many other bikes but for the most part a Honda comparable to my Ultra Classic (is there such a thing?) will have a new list price similar to mine. Harleys have resale value, there is a point where they bottom out and either hold or begin to increase in price again, unlike the majority of disposable bikes made by those other guys. A Harley sells new 90% of the parts are made in America, 90% of a Honda arrives on a boat. NHRA national record (speed and elapsed time) not to mention another National championship belongs to Eddie Krawick, his weapon of choice is a Harley V-Rod. You claim to have “smoked” all commers, apparently you’ve not come upon a capable ” dickhead” on a well tuned V-Rod. Is there a Honda top fuel racing league? How many people do you know who still own their first Honda after over 45 years of faithful service? If my new twin cam requires requires that I inspect and possibly replace the cam tensioners from time to time, then so be it, it is all part of ownership in a major part of Americas History. Is the Corporation overly greedy? Yeah, but that is a part of being beholden to stock holders and participation in the free enterprise system. Will they fall on their ass again? maybe, maybe not. But if they do, thousands of loyal owners will help prop them up just like last time (witness the dude still riding hisAMF). Now that you have wasted all these “dickheads” time with your little tantrum do you mind if the “dickheads” get back to the discussion at hand as there are probably a lot of first time HD owners with real concerns about their investments. My first Harley was a 1949 Pan Head purchased used in 1966 it was still waiting for me after 39 months served as a young Marine in Vietnam and is sitting in my garage with my 1995 Bad Boy, my 2008 Ultra Classic and the old Ironhead Sportster in a Paughco frame that I recently purchased in several boxes. I am currently putting the engine together on my dining room table and my wife likes to watch me work on it, thinks it is a work of art and a pleasure to watch someone mold steel together to make a working machine. It’s pride of ownership and ability that drives most HD owners. Good luck with your Honda, I admire that you bothered to rebuild yours most people just throw them away and buy another one ooops there goes that “dickhead” thing, and good luck with that ugly little attitude of yours. Isn’t the annonymity of the internet a wonderful thing? Where else could you call millions of people (Harley Owners that is) “dickheads” in absolute fearless confidence? You should run right out to one of those “biker bars” run inside and tell them they are all “dickheads’ and after the laughter dies down and everyone else returns to their drinks and conversation the two or three honest to goodness “dickhesad” (there are always a couple in every crowd) wil probably drag you outside and beat the hell out you until some other “percieved dickhead” makes them stop. Now, can we get back to the business at hand or are the haters and the whiners just starting to circle above… Relax we ain’t dead yet. Have a real nice day and enjoy the ride, I know I will.

      • Jeffrey November 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

        I know a nice little bar called “Angels” feel free to bring your disposable non Harley there and visit the “dickheads” patronizing the bar. Make sure to call all the Harley riders “dickheads” too. Nice knowing you…
        Oh by the way, I was just wondering, why is it that all of these disposable motorcycle companies have to mimic the Harley V Twin engine?

        • john timble September 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          not so disposable, my other bikes are 70’s and eighties yammaha 3 and four banger inlines, they had their own quirks, especially the older three banger, but they last pretty.

      • kruzr November 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

        well said i also have a 82 shovel fxr,90 evo ultra and a 04 ultra.love all three.

    • Aim November 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Don’t be bitter because you can’t afford a Harley. I respect all riders and whatever they choose to ride, but jeez, you sound so angry! And btw, it’s not just guys who ride, but women like me.

    • HollywoodMerc September 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      If you ride more than 15K per year you don’t want to get buttstuck by the Dealer every 15K and have them “find other imaginary things wrong.” And keep your Bike for 10 days to two weeks. I’ll take a chance on a Harley, you can still get parts after 10 to 50 years. If not from Harley then from an aftermarket source. Higher resale too. 10+ year old Jap bikes are hard to find parts for, they may cost more than their scrap metal weight but they really aren’t worth much more than that. 🙂

  249. Mike November 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I had the plastic chain tensioner on my 2000 FLHTC fail two years ago. The motorcycle had 70,000 miles. I had little warning in terms of noise. When I did hear the noise it was too late. I was about 10 miles from home and the oil pump failed.
    Buffalo Harley blamed my riding style on the failure. Said it was from downshifting.
    The factory just switched to S&S for the rebuilds and $4,000 later I was riding again.
    Take heed.

  250. larry November 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    And they said AMF was crap, still riding mine after 32 years.

    • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Rock on guy, I had a Super Glide and a Low Rider never had a problem, most issues were electrical, mine ran great, nothing wrong with the old shovel… Ride it like you stole it and when it wears out rebuild and do it again, bowling balls need love too:)

    • DocBerg November 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Recently I was thinking about getting a newer Harley, and just ride the ’71 Superglide on special occasions. After reading all of this, and the blogs about the Evo engine problems, I think I will just keep riding what I have, loose tolerances and all.

  251. Doc November 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This article is junk since the author clearly doesn’t understand the difference between design and maintenance. Note: If you don’t change the tires periodically, they will eventually go flat. This situation could destroy you and the bike. A design issue? No. If you don’t pay your respects to maintenance of your bike, you are playing with fire. Best of luck!

    • Scott November 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Doc, I understand well the difference between design and mainanance. Show me if you will what the factory recomended inspection interval is? I went over every service manual I could, and spoke with different service managers in the HD dealer network with no results. How can it be a maintanace issue with no diections on when to check or service?

  252. Dave November 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I have a 04 flht with about 45,000 mi on it. I heard about this problem when I had 42,500 mi on the bike. So I had mine checked out. Shoes looked fine.A little more wear on the rear one,but still not bad. I use conventional Harley oil. Mechanic said if it was his, he would put it back together and ride.But as I already had quite a bit of money in the tear down, I told him to go ahead and replace them. Moral is, if you can do it yourself go ahead and check them. If their good put it back together. If you have the dealer check,go ahead and have them replaced weather they are bad or not.

  253. Norm November 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Put an Andrews 21 cam and gear drive in. Ended up with a noisy motor. At 30,000 miles cam tentioners were not that bad. One had a significant amount of wear other almost none. WE do mostly two up touring riding

  254. John November 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I am planning on buying a 09 FLHX that has the SE big bore kit and all the associated add ons sure hope this won’t be an issue with it. Reminds me of the problems guys were having with the Yamaha V Star drivelines and no support from Yamaha.

  255. Rick November 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I had about 80k on my 2001 dyna and ran one quart of gear oil and 2 qts of 20-50, any brand. At 80k both tensioners were only half gone, replaced and added jims adjustable pushrods, which broke at 140k, no fault of tensioner shoes, I now hate “Jims” adj pushrods.
    I polished the chains with rouge and a buffer for an hour or two, they both look like chrome, and may never need to look again for another 80k or so.
    The point of all this is, depending on your chain and how it is “stamped” when manufactured, will depend on how quickly it cuts into the tensioners. The thickness of the oil I believe helps too. I am not an advocate of synthetic, unless you are at redline all day long, and are afraid of seizing the motor because of abuse. I feel any ol oil is good oil if you just change it regularly, and my tenisoners and stock cams have proven this, at 150k. I ride it as hard as I anyone can, often near and above 100mph, but do have a cooler, and a filter magnet. Ride safe, change that oil at 2k. Rick in Anaheim.

  256. john vaughn November 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    whats rusty going to do when indian goes out of business again? more than likely rusty will buy a real bike hd. good luck rusty

  257. tuskir November 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Ride it till it explodes then re-build it !

  258. cosmo smead November 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    trade it for a honda oops they have problems also

  259. Bill November 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I will confirm that this information is correct. I had a 2005 Road King Classic and when I rolled 37,025 miles the engine came apart, locked up and left me stranded. I had the extended warranty and after the dealer disassembled the engine I was told only that there was a cam issue which resulted in a lubrication issue which resulted in damaged cams and a cracked engine case. This engine was well maintained with 4k mile service intervals using SE Syn oil. The engine was replaced but I then had electrical issues and some strange noises. I eventually traded and got a 2010 Ultra Classic. I have 23k on that engine so at the next service I’ll have the tech check for any issues. Thanks for the education..

  260. Mac November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Yer no older than you feel Mikey. Go get that HONDA Trike!

  261. Mikey November 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    To Stevenkng, Amen to that. I am an old f**t that is no longer interested in standing in front of bars. My fifth HD is a 2012 Trike. I noticed poorer quality right off. The 92 FXR handled the best of all and never had a problem. Not one. (EVO)
    Now all the little things with the trike HD says I just have to put up with!!!! I wish I had gotten a Honda Goldwing Trike. Better for us OLD F**ts

    • JIM November 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

      well boys ill tell you now,i ride a 2008 roadstar and at45000+miles i havnt had eney real problems unlike these overpriced harleys. i think ill keep my american built jap bike for now. by the way i still out run the hound dogs.

      • Aim November 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm

        My 07 HD Softail is running just fine with 54000+. And I’m a girl, not a boy. This is a Harley forum. Beat it.

  262. Mac November 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Y’all just buy a good ol HONDA and all yer problems will go away and you can enjoy riding.

  263. mike November 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    A failure at 15k to 30k on the ’99 to ’06 engines is flat out unacceptable. Since H-D refuses to warranty this by hiding behind their express warranty, it is still an implied warranty violation. As such, a class action suit is warranted (pardon the pun). This would also have the effect of stopping dealerships from playing stupid about the whole issue. Glad I still ride an EVO.

    • Cracky November 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Agreed. Personally I think that the dealers consider the majority of later model HD owners ‘high rollers’ and should be able and willing to pay extra to repair a wasted motor at 20-50K miles. They lay every trick in the used car-salesman book to wiggle out of liability for their product’s shortcomings. They guilt owners into covering their cheapness.

      • Michael November 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

        When has Harley EVER been cheap? My step-dad had pan heads, knuckle heads, and had a new Shovel before he died and he bitched LOUD and LONG about the price of parts and repair. A new Harley was always more expensive than a comparable Japanese bike.

        • Stvenkng November 15, 2012 at 12:35 am

          HD always stood for “Hundred Dollar” as well as Harley Davidson…..

  264. Tomcat November 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    i have 132,000 miles on my 2005 elecra glide standard i changed cam chain tensioers at 102,000 always used amsoil rode 1400 miles to sturgis 2012 and bike is still runnig good

  265. Scott Schroeder November 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I have 2008 ultra classic with 32000 miles on it. Have installed gear drive cams myself and have put 10000 of those mile on sence then. I haven’t had any problems at all. When I pulled the chain and shoe the shoe was completly wore out at 22000 miles. I had no metal damage to the motor. Yes these shoe wear and could cause big problems!

  266. Stvenkng November 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    ignore the errors if you can, I’m using the on screen keyboard and wearing my old glasses not a favorable combination.

  267. Stvenkng November 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Ghost Rider, not to worry, the 92 is powered by the tried and true EVO and is not suseptible to the many nasty little surprises brought about by progress. I have a 95 Bad Boy and other than a head,intake and pipe swap and upgrade to an SE57 cam my old Springer has never been touched other than regular oil changes, brake pads and tires and any one who thinks their hot rod twin cam makes any more power than my old EVO might find themselves mighty surprised stop light to stop light. I am speaking from experience since I also own an 08 Ultra Classic which I am extremely fond of as well. The ride is superior to most previous itterations though it does seem to run a bit hotterunder stop and go conditions. To address this cam tensioner issue, to be honest this is the first I’ve heard of it and thanks for bringing it to my attention. I have less than 20,000 on mine and have not noticed any out of the ordinary noises or performance issues but will start running more detailed check ups from now on. As for the guy with the Indian fettish, which copy do you own the Nort Carolina, Springfield, British, Vegas or where are they being built now and who is trying to ride the brand now? No offense but Indian died a long time ago for a reason. As for all you other Harley bashers, not all HD owners spend all their time sitting in front of bars anymore than all you Rice riders spend all your time doing wheelies and soppies or speeding down the freeway swerving through traffic giving “bikers” a bad name. Thhere is a discussion going on here about a very serious issue to some of us and all this extraneous crap is really not necessary.

  268. Mikey November 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I replaced the tensioner on 02 Roadking at 30k. Really worn. I am on my 5th Harley. I loved my 92 FXR. Man do I wish I still had it. I am very disapointed with Harleys attitude also. I kind of wish I had gotten a Honda!!

  269. John Silva November 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I had S&S 510G cams installed in my 2000 Heritage Springer in ’06 with over 50K miles on the motor. One tensioner pad was worn 50% and the other was cracked and crumbling!’
    This year, I had the same cams installed in my ’07 Heritage with 75K miles on the motor. Both tensioner pads showed minor wear however, I suspect that the hydraulic units were the source of abnormal noise that was eliminated with the change over to the gear
    cams. Also installed a Power Commander and had it dyno-tuned. Awesome performance! I use SE3 full synthetic oil with a K&P Engineering oil filter.

    • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Don’t waste another dime on the Harley synthetic oil. Your best bet would be to go with something like Lucas, Amsoil, Red Line, Royal Purple, Mobil VTwin, Motul or even Castrol. All very very good full synthetics

  270. herb November 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Wow, just bought my first Harley, 2013 Road Glide, do I need to be concerned about this wear issue?

    • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      You would know if you actually read the article. It covers ’99 to ’06 TC88 motors. (hand slapping forehead)

  271. keoke November 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I had a 1999 road king. Had the cam chain tensioners checked at 50k miles. Nominal wear. Harley is know for changing vendors from year to year. Must have been a good batch in my bike.

  272. Dave mn November 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    after reading your thread i wanted to ask those knowledgable people about piston slap noise on 103 and larger twin cam motors ive experienced it in a new 2012 harley ultra limited
    I brought bike to dealer and complained about loud noise in front head over 2000 rpms and up i was told by harley dealer noise is comon i said ididnt here noise till bike had 2000 miles on it they told me harley had pistons coated to suppress noise till break in there recomendation was to remove lowers and remove baffles and i wouldnt here the metal on metal sound anymore i have this in writing from dealer i sold bike after i started reading stories about complete engine failures on net by hundreds of loyal harley guys and gals harley should remember that our brand loyalty depends on the quality of merchandise and treatment we recieve ive owned 5 harleys very sad about out come and harleys new way of doing things they lost a loyal rider and avid supporter

  273. Philip T. November 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Just had my 02 Ultra do this! Cost me over $6300.00 , I also upgraded cam and power commander in that price.. So about 5300.00 for refurb , through Harley’s program, upgrade to a 95 cuc motor also.. Thats’ instalation included .. No real warning either..Just clackety , clackety..Crap!!
    Cam cover came off and peices fell off in mechs hand..A shoe , the metal click..several other little parts..Has been up graded with reman to the newer hydralic tensioners ..will see..they called today, and putting back in bike ..

    • Michael November 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      You’ll love the extra cubic inches and the tune! I didn’t like that my bike needed so much investment at only 25K but the rebuild really woke that engine up! Enjoy.

  274. JP November 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I have 81K on my 03 Softail, still going.

  275. BADFXD November 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Good read. I will offer this bit of advice, I too had heard of the cam tensioners going bad and at that time it was “suggested” that they be replaced at 25k. Since I was coming close to the mileage I pulled everything apart only to find nothing wrong with anything and I even had my wrench asking me “why are we doing this again?”.

    Now I will replace with the gear drive cams next time I go in there but my tensioners were fine. With that said I have always run synthetic oil and replace 1 quart with Lucas Oil Stabilizer. This combo works fantastic!

    Here again I fully agree the cam tensioners are a problem but if the motor is maintained there is a way to keep these running for miles but I agree replace these with the gear drives as soon as you can. If anything get a little more lift and duration to get a little more power out of the motor.

  276. Mark November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Completely agree with this article, but one very important thing was left out. The inner cam bearing in all twin cams are junk. The first time you go in to check your tensioners, spend a few extra dollars and replace them with the torrington bearing. I even know of some people that are doing this soon after they bring thier new bike home. My 06 CVO Ultra had 36,000 on it and the inner cam bearing took out the enitre engine. Tensioners still looked good. Glad I bought that extended warranty! This affects all twin cam engines.

    • Michael November 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Had the inner cam bearings take a dump on my 06 tour classic. Scattered metal through the engine. Had to buy a 95 inch kit with the 203 cams, head job and replaced the cam tensioner with the hydralic kit. 3300.00 later, it’s all good again. Only 25,000 on the motor when it started acting up. Gotta tell ya, the difference between stock and now is BIG. I actually love my bike after the build. Had been thinking about trading it for the new 103. Not anymore.

      • Michael November 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        As an aside, the cam chain tensioners were “wearing normally”, in that they would have gone another 25,000 or so before they needed changed. So not every Harley has the tensioners blow up. (just other parts that add up to 3300.00)

  277. David November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Wouls a 2012 Road King have this problem??

  278. mike dubois November 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Can someone here knowledgably list the bike models/years affected?

    Are not these tensioners installed ONLY on Twin Cams which are in turn installed on Softail and Fatboys and NOT on rubber mounted engines as found on RoadKings / Glides / Sportsters?

    The counter balancer i thought werent present on rubber mounted frames?

    If you would sort this out, a lot less “am i affected” questions would pop up.

    • Scott November 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      This affects all Twin Cam engines (all models except Sportster) 1999 through 2013. There was a a chain tensioner change between 2006 and 2007 that lessens the impact on 2007 and later engines, but this only delays the wear out point, it still should be periodically checked.

  279. High Mileage - 07 FLHTCU November 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I have a 2007 Ultra with almost 144,000 miles on it. I have not had any cam tensioner issues as previously experienced on my twin cam 88 in my 2002 Fatboy. I changed those as a preventive measure at ~ 78,000. The issue I am having with my 96 cubic inch is the transmission. I had to have it rebearing’ed at 90,000 and again at 132,000. I am blaming this on the tensioner on the primary chain not releasing pressure and this causing the main gear to fail and thus wrecking the whole transmission. Has anyone had this issue on a 96 cu. inch 6 speed?

    • Marty Paulsen November 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Baker drive line has a fix for this. it is called a bully manual chain tensioner. I had one installed on my 08 se3 ultra. when we had it apart noticed the inner primary had gouges in from the ring gear. this was caused buy the auto tensioner ratching up to tight, which in turn puts undo pressure on tranny bearins.

    • Mack November 15, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Most likely cause is using sixth gear below 65mph. That causes oil film failure in main output bearing, failure is aided by side thrust from helical gears. Add to that the tension of the rear belt on the bearings and is is easy to understand. Have seen several failures, all riders used sixth gear at too low speed to enhance sound and/or mpg.

      • Aim November 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Curious about this. I have 06 Softail deluxe. I can’t imagine riding in 5th gear up to 65. It would be awfully hard on the engine just judging by the sound.

        • Aim November 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

          I mean 07

      • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        Mack, I agree,… but can’t understand why some guys lug the motor? My ’06 FLSTC is a 5 speed. I have changed the final output belt pulley from 32 to 34. I can’t even get into top gear until somewhere north of 65mph. Don’t lug it guys! Wind it up….THEN shift

  280. HDcruizer November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I have a 2003 FLHT and was driven very easy with 35K miles. Had the tensioners inspected. The front showed minimal face wear, the back one looked like a small chip had broken off the corner. It was really difficult to see with a mirror and could have been overlooked, but my mechanic decided it was best to disassemble and get a closer look, That was good decision, as once it was all apart, even the front tensioner had a crack across the face and was ready to go. So just don’t trust a mirror when trying to examine the face. Oil was changed regularly and there was never any indication of a problem by looking at the oil, not sure if I had cut the filter apart whether that would have revealed anything, since the piece might have been pulverized. I didn’t see any particles in the oil passage ways or cam plate. Ended up installing a gear drive kit and couldn’t be happier. My lifters needed replacement too, so I also went with adjustable push rods. That was $1500 parts and labor.

  281. Ed Koenig November 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

    My ride is a 2002 bagger. The mechanic that does all of my serious maintenance, has a jar full of worn out chain tensioners on the counter. He finally convinced me that my bike should be checked. (51,000 mi.) One of them was worn completely down to the metal and the other was within a few thousandths. I feel I was lucky that I did not shell out the engine. He installed Andrews 26HG gear drive cams and at 60,000 mi. it is still running strong. I also switched to a K&P Micronic oil filter which gives the ability to disassemble and reallly inspect any residue. So far I have seen none. Also the oil pressure increased. I use Amsoil as I believe it is one of the top oils avaiable. To each his own, but I believe this is a serious design flaw in the twin-cam.

  282. captcraig November 14, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I have a 2004 FLHTCI at 80.000 some thing? started.
    oil pressure started going bad. I took it in and they said it was the Gage ? then the noise came. I had a seven year warrantee I told them to take it apart. They said if there is nothing bad you will have to pay for it. When they took it apart they said the crank was bent? BULL SHIT Try to blame me.
    but thank god I had all my paper work. They wanted to rebuild? I said no. They put a new create motor on and gave me a one year warrantee. after all of this witch took over three months it only cost me $50 Buck.

    • jeddy tranquill August 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      I have a 2004 Road Glide that also had a bent crank problem that HD of Vegas discovered when I complained about the vibration and racket it was making. They rebuilt the engine with many new parts when it had 65k on it and still runs good with 86k now. I also had to have the Screaming (Taiwan) Eagle 6 speed tranny rebuilt 3 times which was ALL covered under my 7 year warranty. The dealer in Rochester NY had to threaten the insurer to get them to pay but pay they did over $7000 in repairs. Now I have a twin cam that the oil pressure folds when it gets hot with no warranty and only 35k. Any suggestions? It is a 2011 RGU and I just love the bike except for the goofy rear ABS and the over size rear tire which makes for severe handling problems on uneven surfaces. Ride safe my friends!

  283. Tom johnson November 14, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Had a 03 anv. Road glide cam chain ten. Failed, I was lucky, only $1600 to fix, good Harley shop, did upgrades . Mec told me the main trouble was the rough chains,they eat up the tens. Had to have new oil pump, lifters and all, bike ran great up till then always used amsolevery 3-5k not a hard rider, had 36000k on the bike,really pissed me off. Then dumb broad ran over me at a stop sign 2000 miles later. Have a new trike now, great ride but diff. Tends to run hot, some say common. To 103s.

  284. Garry Nielsen November 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Folks, we all know that everything wears out. That said, It is on going changes in manufacturing processes that are creating as many problems as they are curing. Faster manufacturing ( CNC machining , robotic assembly) and other cheaper cost cutting methods do remove craftsmaship like quality and produce other, newer problems. That is why automobiles can cost a hunderd G’s or more for a good handbuilt one. Hand built engines made by true craftsmen seem to last forever by even they still wear out in time. Mother Harley is in the same boat as all manufactures, make them fast and cheap as possible while meeting EPA specs and having more power than the other guy. Today’s engines are far supreme to yesterdays but they are not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Now, with all of that said, there is only one real solution. Have a very knowledgeable craftsman hand build you a Pan Head engine but don’t expect it to preform with a Twin Cam on horse power or fuel economy.

    • bikerbychoice November 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      No it will probably run better with improved gas mileage.
      Ride it till your sore.

  285. Craig Hanson November 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

    There is another related issue that needs to be addressed. The cam gear them selves are failing. Having installed a brand new motor for 5K at the dealer I learned this the hard way! What I was shown was a gear that cracked and wobbled on the shaft speeding up this process. My dealer in Rice Lake, WI had two 06 ultra classics in at the same time with this same issue. I don’t know the mileage on the other bike, but mine had 23,300. Had I remember to pull my trailer hitch off before taking the bike in, my extended warranty would have covered the new motor. Just one more thing to piss me off with HD!

  286. crazyswede November 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Thanx for the headace!

  287. Ghost rider November 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I have a 1992 Ultra classic (FLHTCU) 1340. Does this problem affect my machine, Answer please.

    • Griz November 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      No. You are the proud owner of an Evo motor, not a Twin Cam..

    • Griz November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      No. You are the proud owner of and Evo motor, not a Twin Cam..

    • Dave November 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      This should not be an issue with your motor. It is a single cam.

      • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        Dave, wouldn’t it be alot simpler if people would actually READ the article? Wake up people! this covers ’99 to ’06 TWIN CAMS. I still can’t believe the MoCo is side stepping the throttle by wire engineering problems. Call me crazy: I don’t want my bike to have Toyota Camry style problems -hanging it wide open or shutting it down at 70mph. Scary! I’ll stick with my old push/pull cables thank you very much.

  288. Bill Hawkins November 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I have a 2000 FLHT and at 15000 I replaced the cams with gear driven system from Yuill Brothers. They designed and make several cams for the HD. I had Freedom Cycle in Reno install and Dyno my HD and it never ran so great as it does after the installation. I guess I dodged the bullit by having this done several years ago. Look them up, I believe they have the best system.

  289. ultraboy November 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

    This is an issue that has been fairly common knowledge for many years. As has been stated above, gear drive is the way to go for those fortunate enough to have crank runout in the .000 to .003 range. Yes, gears can ‘tolerate’ more than that, but it’s not a wize choice. All that being said, I recently upgraded my 2007 96″ Twinkie at 30,000 miles. Cam tensioner shoe wear was ‘acceptable’ but crank runout was .006. I was not splitting the cases, so I went with an Andrews chain drive cam set. What I did install was the (fairly new) Zippers dual piston tensioners. These are J&P # 633-867. Read the write up and decide for yourself. The price was right, I paid 128 bucks with GC and other discounts. As far as wear, the jury is still out on that one, as I don’t have enough miles yet, but I will inspect frequently. Don’t bash up on Scott too much, he does know more than most of us.

  290. D.Crayton November 14, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I have a 99′ Heritage Softail Classic with 28K on it I bought 2nd hand. 1st HD I’ve owned.
    Maintained well by previous owner. Is this a problem on this bike also?
    If so, what is the BEST action to take without costing an arm and leg?

    • Dave November 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Yes, your motor is within the range of those that have cam tensioner wear issues. Have them inspected and as noted above, check them every 15K-20K miles. At some point you will need to upgrade to the hydraulic tensioner from H-D or Andrews or……

      • '99 FLSTC Owner November 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

        He’d have a hard time figuring out where the cam chain is since he has an Evolution engine.

      • Frank Hart November 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        Dave, Twin Cams came out in 1999 Touring & Dyna models. Softails came out in 2000 with the TC(B) motor. I hope this helps when you’re handing out advice on repairs.

    • '99 FLSTC Owner November 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      NO you don’t have to worry about this issue. You have an Evo engine, not a Twin Cam. Evo’s has a single cam with a gear, not a goofy chain and tensioner.

      • '99 FLSTC Owner November 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm


      • bikerbychoice November 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

        Yeah gotta love the bullet proof EVO
        ride it till your sore

    • Frank Hart November 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Your ’99 Softail is NOT a Twin Cam motor it is an Evo motor so you don’t have the same problems as the TC’s. There are no cam chain tensioners in an Evo motor,it’s gear driven. The 1st year for Softail TC’s was 2000, so you’re in good shape.Enjoy that EVO !!!

    • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Your best bet would be find the best price on a gear drive cam kit. (http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANDREWS-S-S-GEAR-DRIVE-CAM-KIT-INSTALL-SUPPORT-KIT-CAMS-TWIN-CAM-99-06-/400336717245?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&hash=item5d35ed85bd&vxp=mtr) If you already have a good working relationship with a COMPETENT indy shop then they won’t have a problem helping you.
      You may wish to install a more aggressive set of cams…. but I would not recommend it. This #26 Andrews cam with the S&S gears is about the best combination out there. I don’t know why the #26 grind is not the stock cam used anyway…. (a lot of people don’t know that Andrews makes the cams used in the factory) This is the exact same kit I used for my ’06 Heritage. -it runs beautiful. Whether your bike is carbureted or injected you must adjust the fuel accordingly, and to get the full benefit of the cam change I would highly recommend tuning the exhaust to the cams. You can do this without breaking the bank.

  291. Art Nelson November 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Is there any way that I can get on a mailing list that will continue to send me this kind of info??

  292. Pete November 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

    What if you have a softail. Isn’t there a whole other issue with the shoes on the balancer chain system. To inspect those requires a complete engine disassembly as the cases have to be split? What is the failure rate on those tensioners?

  293. Greg Graham November 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

    On Feb 29, I bought my first ever Harley. 2012 Softail Heritage Classic. A month later, while driving at approx 50 mph, I noticed a wobble in my steering when I let off the gas. Thought maybe the road was bad. Ran a few errands, then jumped on I-75 for my 15 mile trip home. I reached 70, let off the throttle, and a massive wobble started. It was everything I could do to get the bike stopped. It almost threw me off. Had the dealer pick it up after I limped home. Turned out to be that the chrome wheel spokes were not tight because of a problem with the chroming process, which in turn destroyed the rear hub. Both wheels were changed to tubeless and the rear hub was replaced. 27 days in the shop for this fix. In late May, I noticed my turn signals stopped working and my headlight would vary in intesity. Went to switch to high beam one night, and the headlight bulb exploded. 5 more days in the shop. Faulty voltage regulator from the factory, which now has a recal on it I have had three regulators on my bike). Folks, I knew when I bought my first Harley that they were not known to be reliable creatures, but I never dreamed of having majors problems right off the bat. Believe these people who are warning of cam problems. Check your bike often. Second guess Harley techs! Ask questions!

    • Mike Hall November 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Highly recommend trading that pos for a new BMW. MORE power, WAY better gas mileage, QUALITY construction, DEPENDABILITY, BETTER BRAKING system, handles better, rides just as good. See my other post on this forum.

    • Jeffrey November 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Hey Greg I can relate. I bought a new 2005 FXDX. One day I am riding the freeway at 70mph in the rain. suddenly, the bikes steering starts wobbling wickedly. I lay off the throttle and it stops. I took it to a HD Dealer in Riverside (I bought it in Reno new) at under 500mi. The mechanics could not find or duplicate the problem. I rode it off and the problem continued. I determined that the bike would do this on a road that was sort of “wash board”. I took it back to the Riverside Dealer and they finally figured out the problem. They charged me $95. in labor and about $3.50 for the part. They said that if I had done the 500 mile service with them, they would of found the problem at that time. I checked the service manual of what is checked and there is no check for what was missing from the bike to cause the problem that may have killed an inexperienced rider. Never went back to that shop in Riverside again, never will. Right after that though I dropped about $2,500. at another HD dealer in Loma Linda, CA for performance upgrades. I guess I should mention what the problem was and how a $3.50 part almost killed me. The top front engine mount bolt was missing. This caused the steering to wobble wickedly, but only under certain conditions! Hope this helps to save a life or two. Inspect your bike often and look in all the nooks and crannies.

  294. Mark Bobbi November 14, 2012 at 8:17 am

    T- Man Performance has their own proprietary cam chain tensioner/plate upgrade that is ideal for high horsepower/upgraded TC motors.

  295. steve November 14, 2012 at 8:04 am

    i’ve gota 2005 harley fxd super glide with over 39k miles and became very concerned when i read about this recently. i change my own oil every 3k miles with synthetics. fortunately, when i had it checked, everthing was ok, in good condition still. i did find out that a friend lost an engine due to the cam shoe chain tensioners failure. definitely get it checked. i’ll try to go with the gear drive cams next if my crank run out is in tolerence.

  296. T burton November 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

    my 6 cyl,valkyrie only gets better and better as i blow by the harleys

  297. Jeff Ross November 14, 2012 at 7:10 am

    This is actually an issue involving potential loss of life and limb. We read about this all over the web, but apparently the NTSB either does not know about it or does not think it is serious. If this happens to me I will file a complaint to the NTSB; I’m sure that if the problem is indeed widespread by fact of numbers, NTSB will act and force a recall. But I suspect that only rarely does anybody actually file a complaint. And since by luck or whatever, there may not have been a lot of actual accidents the issue is not on the radar. So the NTSB probably considers it a nuisance, buyer beware, etc. Only if we quit buying motorcycles will Harley do much, or else this is really not that much of a problem that is being overblown on the web by a relatively small group of owners (sample bias). I guess I will find out, I have an FXD that had the original cam bearing problem only grudgingly acknowledged by and now also a FLHTK. In some ways, we are our worst enemies!

  298. Chuck November 14, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I had my ’02 Twin cam since it had just under 20k on it , put 30k more on it myself , and about 3 months after an accident heard some squeaks coming from the cam chest, I took it to my local indy shop who is very reputable and does nice work without breaking the bank. He determined that the cam chain tensioners were ok but needed changing, but the cams and lifters were scored very badly. While he was inside I had him find out if the gear drive could be installed. It was in fact well within specs . HD’s spec runout tolerance is/was .003…my actual was an amazingly low .001 ,so the gear drive was a no-brainer while he was changing the cam and lifter set. No more “periodic” or 15000 mile inspection checks .It runs strong , two-up… and btw, I use Royal Purple 20W50.

  299. Rusty J November 14, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Indian Motorcycles are the Best bikes made in the U.S.A. Try it you’ll like it.

    • David P November 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Ok Rusty, I think we get the point you love Indian’s.

    • RR November 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Rusty J,
      Enough of the spam already.

    • Joe November 14, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Enough already Rusty. This is not about Indians. Nice looking bikes for sure. Too bad they cannot stay in business.

  300. Darrell November 14, 2012 at 3:27 am

    2012 Ultra Limited- 8,000 miles on bike. I have not had any engine issues but the brakes are another story. Vibration/shake in rear brake espically riding double. Dealer did all the usual fixes. Harley rep came & rode it. Says its normal- all the touring models are doing it. They will not do any thing more for me. They say its because of thier new frame & mount system. My last Harley- very disappointed for 25,000-GGs. They refuse to stand behind thier product.

    • Shorty November 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      All new touring bikes are not doing it. I have a 2011 Road King Classic and I don’t have that problem. I have 35,000 miles on my bike and the only problem I have had was a warped front rotor which was replaced under warranty. Maybe you should try another shop.

  301. david e November 14, 2012 at 1:55 am

    This info has been very informative, and my condolinces go out to all with these twin-cam motors, one very important fact that has not been addressed is that, if you have installed gear driven cams,and put it on a Dyno, you will put extreme pressures on the crank that WILL DAMAGE IT, NO MATTER WHAT THE YEAR MODEL. I could on with all the whys and were-fors, but I will not bore you with all that. Just do the research yourself. Some things just aren’t rocket science. Even though tolorances may be within limits in normal operating conditions, all bets are off when placing an engine in such a state that a Dyno does!!

    • Chuck November 14, 2012 at 6:52 am

      I have no desire to put my bike on a dyno. I dont see the need for a normal use rider to do it either. If youre into bragging rights and my ” ” is bigger than yours…go for it.

      • David P November 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

        Desire to put your bike on a dyno or not, if you ever have a custom map done for an aftermarket fuel programer your bike will be put on a dyno.

  302. PHILLIP November 14, 2012 at 1:41 am





    • oliver November 14, 2012 at 7:00 am

      check your low speed sensor and MAP sensor.

    • gusotto November 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

      June 2012 issue of American Iron (page 26 “Letters”) stated a few customers had their bike die on acceleration. Most 2009 and newer.
      Harley rep passed along info that the connector that plugs into the left-hand side of the throttle body, behind the air filter backing plate, was causing the terminal pins to create dust and therefore a poor connection, due to vibration. The fix was to disconnect the connector, blow it out with air and use dielectric grease. (Thanks to post from MB)

    • Joe November 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Instant cut-offs are usually an indication of an intermittent broken or a permanently broken connection. This connection can be at the battery terminals, it can be at an ignition switch terminal, there can be a short (wire insulation rubbed off) up in the switch housing containing the kill switch, etc. I have heard of bad spark plug wires causing this condition. More rarely, a bad coil.

      You need to check to see if the ECM is throwing any trouble codes then go from there. If the codes tell you nothing, take the seat off, start the bike, and start jiggling wires to see if you can duplicate the condition.

    • Luke November 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

      Hi I had the same problem and my H-D service tech found out that my kill switch ( or run switch they call it now) was bad, And it would cause it to send a signal to the engine to shut down. Replaced the kill switch and haven’t had that problem since. But it did take him almost a full day to find the problem. Hope this works for you.

    • Nick Bardaville December 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      My 2007 Electraglide Standard was stalling when I slowed down to stop .. I had the fuel filter changed and it still did the stalling.. I put some fuel injector cleaner in the bike and it stopped the stalling. The Mechanic said that I may have gotten some contaminated gasoline……Now the motorcycle runs fine and every 4 or 5 tanks of gas I will put some more injector cleaner in the tank.

  303. nugene November 14, 2012 at 12:53 am

    DAMN , DAMN, Why don’t we all get together and make a recall happen ?

  304. spider November 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I have a 2006 ultra I got it new in Dec 06 I use fully sin. Ams oil it has over 105k mi. on it and runs great never been apart and no problems but I am going to check them it’s time I ride all year don’t want to be on the side of the road in the cold I think a lot of it in the way you ride if you love to abuse your bike been there have fun but check it often

  305. Don P November 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    There were NO timken left bearings after 2002 in twin cams. A retrofit kit is available, and I would recommend it with an overhaul or serious performance upgrade;(the cases must be split to do it). As to the chain/ tensioner issue, I have seen very few 07 up failures with well maintained bikes. Gear drive is cool, but as stated, requires a straighter crank than you might have. Bob Woods has a nice gear over belt set-up that can help in this area. It is not cheap, but it is top quality. Just ride it!

  306. david r grayko November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    It started out as what I thought was an exaust issue on my 07 Road King, going along at 75 mph. Then I thought maybe a bad fuel injector ? Bad motor at 22,000 miles, how disheartning. Service at HD recomended a factory rebuit engine and that they had seen this happen before. So with labor I owe VISA $4300.00 Not bad for a $18000.00 bike

  307. David E. Loy November 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I bought my 05 standard with seven thousand miles four yrs ago. I now have 102,000 miles on it. I have been worried to death about this problem as all the mechanics i know want to fix Harley’s problem. For a fee of 1200 bucks. I took my filters apart twice and they looked good. I feel this is and should be Harley’s problem. All said and done you will have well over 20,000 dollars in a bike that everyone says is going to fall apart before 20,000 miles. This should be a class action why nobody has done it I don’t know. One more little thing. My friend rides a 08 street glide. The needles were freezing up in the fuel supply. The bike would just shut down to idle out of the blue. It is amazing he has not been run over. It happens with no warning. Harley knows about this also with no recall. If it hasn’t killed yet it will. Come on Harley fix YOU’RE PROBLEM.

  308. Randy November 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Can you list years and models affected. Are ALL HDs twin Cam. I an considering buying a used Roadking, would like to steer clear of a known problem. This would be my First HD.

    • Soft 02 November 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Pre 07 twin cam bikes. Although the best years for the 88″ bikes are the 03-04 as they had the forged crank and Timken lefty bearing. These are good candidates for gear drives and would make them bulletproof!

      • TAHOE GUY November 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm

        Are you saying that a 2002 does not have a forged crank and a left side timken? I think so.

      • James Fanette November 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

        I had an 03 ultra and had the gear drive and andrews 37g cams installed at the dealership along with screamin eagle high compression heads. This was performed at 26000 miles there was very little spalding on the followers at the time. after the install there was NO whine at all, great performance, and at 32,000 miles driven gear shed two teeth only one was found and the crank was ruined. The crank was cast not forged they replaced it with another cast crank and put the origenal cam drive setup back in, the crank had the roller bearings with the left hand press on spacer, no Timken style rig. After about 6000 miles the crank failed in the pin and started rubbing the cases. Sent the engine to Harley’s engine reman program
        and had it remaned plus upgraded to 95ci for the same price. Never had anymore trouble ran great after I put my high compression head back on it. At 79,000 a little girl in a borrowed Mustang hit it head on when I was sitting in the left turn lane, replaced it with a 12 ultra, have 30,000 miles on it, sure wish I had the 03 back

      • fwb35 November 14, 2012 at 7:39 am

        The 99 to 02 twin cam 88’s had the forged bottom ends

      • Sarge November 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        I was told, when I went through the HD program at MMI in Phoenix, that after ’02, all twin cam engines went away from the tapered timpken bearing and changed to a flat style bearing. I’ve been a HD tech for over 10 years, done many cam system up grades and repairs. Don’t know what soft 02 is talking about, he may have been misinformed on the bearing issue, tho. Tahoe guy is correct. The dealership I worked for was less than honest with their customers regarding repairs and service. They send lots of work to mu shop with their attitude. Any way, change oil and filter @ 2,500 mi and check tension system every 15,000 and use synthetics.

  309. Dave November 9, 2012 at 9:55 am

    me like the other writer i’ll keep my EVO tried and True never a problem twist throttle and go no worries about cam chain tensioner pads wearing out next motor will be another Evo prolly an Ultima

  310. Jeremy November 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    This article gives a ton of mis-information and is clearly written by someone seeking to either sell parts or mislead people, I don’t typically contribute to online conversations but after receiving this link from a customer I felt compelled to give my input. H-D has had ongoing problems with their tensioner assemblies in the 99-06 Twincams, the introduction of the hydraulic tensioner assembly almost completely negated this problem in the current engines. Installing Gear drive is an option, but you will need very tight tolerances in your pinion gear runout to accomodate the installation, if you own a ’07 or later Twincam you’re very unlikely to be able to meet those spec’s. H-D has released a retrofit kit for the ’99-’06 platform, we have installed hundreds of these and they work flawlessly, they are more cost effective, and do not produce the unfavorable whining noise that you can end up with after installing Gear Drive. We have consistently found that tensioner failure is directly related to maintenance, if you change your oil every 2500 miles as H-D recommended for years, you drastically reduce the chance of either system failing. I know that H-D recommends 5K intervals (this is to show a lower cost of maintenance) and everyone runs Synthetic oil, we still recommend the 2500 mile service if you want your engine to survive. Your oil filter will need service prior to 5K, it’s cheap insurance to service your bike at sooner intervals, people forget that this is what your bike uses for lubrication as well as cooling. One good overheat will destroy your oil, it will progressively lose it’s protection values with continued operation and cause engine component failure, specifically the components of your cam compartment. S&S is a great company that offers some of the best after-market products on the market, but make sure you do some research before you run out to invest thousands of dollars in a gear drive.

    • Soft 02 November 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      The only point I don’t agree with is the SE kit still doesn’t address the inner chain and some have had the shoe get eatin up by the OEM link chain.

      • como November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

        if you concern is that great trade it in on a honda

    • GlennJ November 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Thank you for the excellent commentary. With your permission I would like to ask you another question: Are you a believer in the advantages of synthetic oil in the big twin engine? I race motorcycles (not Harley) and use synthetic in everything, but my dealer service manager says he has literally never seen an engine failure related to petroleum based oil and is not convinced there is an advantage to synthetic in the H-D application. I have synthetic in it at the moment, anyway.
      Your input would be greatly appreciated.

    • pjcria November 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

      I have a Yamaha Raider and the service interval is 5K on the oil changes and they have no issuse like this at all. How can you say there is a lot of mis-information when you go against your companys recomindations and say to change the interval. That my friend is being dis honest about HD. Don’t cover for them they printed it they need to stick by what they print!!

    • Art Nelson November 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Great BLOG. It has been mentioned that there are several repair manuals .. Which do YOU find the best for someone wanting to replace tensioner assemblies without taking it to a shop.
      ART Deadwood SD

      • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

        I have found that the factory service manual has been worth every penny. That applies to whether you are working on a Harley, a Yamaha, or even something like a Polaris snow machine. The others like Clymer, Haynes, and the software based style are simply not complete.

    • rdrnr1963 November 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      I agree with the majority of what is said here, however, I installed gear cams in a 2004 Roadking with no tolerance spec issues whatsoever and they worked just fine even up until I decided to do a stroker kit. The gear cams, even with installation labor costs was still $1,500 or less which is far cheaper than replacing a motor when the chain drive setup decides to take a dump. I’m still running gear drive cams (S&S) and she is thumping along very nicely. Bottom line is do your research like what is suggested here before jumping on ANY band wagon regardless of the direction you go.

    • TOM FERGUSON November 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm


  311. Doug B. November 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I have a 2008 Road King and imagine it’s affected. How much for parts and/or labor to do the gear drive modification. I’m a DIY guy but don’t want to get in over my head if this is a “High-Tech” job. Please advise, Thanks.

    • Rob D November 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Let me know what you find out. ’07 RK 20K miles and have had mine checked and shows no signs of wear but am interested in seeing what the fix might cost.

    • Soft 02 November 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Its not affected. Wouldn’t loose sleep on it.

      • Dave November 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

        Doug and Rob, As Soft 2 noted your motors are not affected. They have the updated hydraulic tensioning system. The gear drive could easily run you a grand even if you do the work yourself.

  312. Glenn Kietzmann November 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I was told by my dealer in 2000 when I purchased my FXDWG that there was a customer fix that needed to be done concerning the wrong cam bearings (should have been a dealer fix on a new bike). Well I didn’t worry about it until 30000 miles. When the bearings were changed, inspection showed that the shoes were extremely worn, but not broken and no metal to metal contact (so I was in good shape). Changed the tensioners with a supposed better version of the stock form, put the motor back together and continued to ride. I’m not a hot rodder with my fist continually down the throat of the carburetor, which I believe can be a contributing factor to failure. Anyway I will have them replaced again next year at the 50000 mile mark. I consider changing the tensioners to be routine maintenance, but it would have been nice to have an interval inspection time printed in the manuals. Check those tensioners and make the fix even if a little wear and you will have a lot of miles left in your Twin Cam.

  313. Carl'sEVO November 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Things like this make me that much happier to be hanging on to my EVO in my FLSTS 🙂

    • bikerbychoice November 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Me too. I love my 400,000+ evo. If it aint broke ride it till your sore.

  314. Debbie November 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Nothing that can’t be resolved through a class action lawsuit against Mother Harley. If she won’t acknowledge this known issue and warranty it for the riders of their product, then they should be help accountable. They could prevent a huge financial blow if they perform a recall like other major company’s instead of hiding it and hoping it will go away. Thanks for the info, I will definitely keep this article for future reference in the ase it is needed.

    • Gary November 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Hi Debbie
      I think a class action lawsuit is the answer for this fix. After spending over 20 Grand for a bike I think they should back-up there product. If this was a new car do you think that we would have to be concerned about it not getting recalled?

  315. Brian Jordan November 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    You are accurate with this issue. However I upgraded my ’03 to the hyd. set up with the higher volume oil pump myself. The gear set up would be a better choice providing you are able to get the cams you want. I’ve been told that inner and outer cam bearing alignment must be dead on in that application or the inners can spin inside the casting. (fail) There are several other “denied” Harley issues such as; failed drive belts, inner tank fuel lines and rear wheel off center. Had the inner fuel line from the check valve to the pressure regulator rub a hole from the raised section inside the tank 3 times. Put plactic wire loom around it the last time which has worked. Drive belt replaced with a sidecar version that just happened to say “Screamin Eagle” on it. Working on the “oh so common” off center rear wheel issue still. (looks stupid) Remember, if you have a problem with yours, chances are so does someone else with the same model. I just love the classic comeback: “Buy a new one”.

    • Dan Cutler November 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I would like to hear more about the rear-off-center issue. I think Ii might have this problem. I feel a slight wobble in a deep right turn on my ’06 FLHPI. Is there an easy check? A good fix?

      • Dave November 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

        Check your rear tire (or maybe even your front one). I had this problem and it turned out to be a bad rear tire. It had some broken cords or something. There was an almost imperceptable bump on one side of the rear tire. I was sure glad to be able to fix it with just a tire replacement.

  316. Jeff Davison November 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Been following this thread… Just thinking out-loud here.
    Pop that timing cover of and look at the nylon shoes…
    A gasket, an oil change and just replace the thing!! Cheap!! Do it every two or three years depending on mileages.


    • James November 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      I agree checking it is easy, buy a small dental mirror at walgreens or whatnot. This will make it easy to the the one behind the cam plate.

    • Dave November 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Checking them is relatively easy and cheap. Replacing the outside one is also relatively easy. However, replacing the inner shoe is fairly expensive and time consuming. The cam plate and cams must be removed. Attenion everyone!!! While you are in the cam chest, don’t forget to replace those cam bearings!!!!!! The INA bearings Harley uses as OEM are also sub-standard!!! NEVER go into your cam chest without replacing those bearings with the MUCH better Torrington B148 bearings.

      • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        Well said Dave! Do your homework people! Whenever possible, always look for a domestic replacement part. The ONLY parts I buy from HD are ones not released for aftermarket. Its becoming obvious that the quality is being engineered out of Harley. I guess the MoCo didn’t learn anything from the AMF days. I have both wheel bearing sets to do this weekend. The Asian factory units are failing. I finally found an American supplier. (WJB) p/n DH559339 One would think that for the price of the bikes, the factory would not cut corners in all places like bearings….

  317. M Gray November 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    A rough gear chain is the problem as well as the design,of you take the time to polish the back of the cam chains this will fix the problem.

    • James November 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Funny, I thought about that when I had it apart but could not find anyone who had completed doing it.

  318. 05Bully November 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I have a 2005 90 c.i. Suzuki Boulevard. Very strong, very dependable. I’m not worried about my “cheap” Jap bike leaving me stranded anywhere. I love to look at Harley’s, beautiful machines..most of my friends ride them, but I am a worry-wart and constantly worrying about my bike would ruin the ride for me. My 2 cents.

  319. Janet November 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I am one of the unfortunate ones! Thanks to H.D. for not taking ownership and pride in there workmanship, my bike 2006 softail deluxe, lost its engine. My oil was changed evey5 thousand k. No warning no lights when my engine went. I had extended warrenty and even this failed me.
    Kinda makes you want to tell everyone to run away from these bikes.
    On the day my bikes engine litterly blew up I had 62800ks on it. This ame day my huspand turned100,ooo on his Kawasaki cruiser. He has never had any problems with his bike . This bike had its oiled changed every 5 thousand ks also…Do I need to say anything more?

    • Rusty J November 14, 2012 at 5:57 am

      YES, Buy an Indian the best bike in the U.S.A.!!!

      • John November 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        You’re the classic Indian idiot–no facts or common sense.

        I have a 2008 FLHX with 109,000 totally trouble-free miles. Never had any of the cases opened for anything. I just ride sanely and change oil every 3,000 miles. Anyone can destroy a new motor if they ride it like the warranty will take care of you.

    • Randy November 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Evo’s rule !

    • Rok November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Janet, I ride Kawasaki cruisers also; an ’06 1500 and an ’05 1500. Kawasaki Vulcans suffer from the same problem, although not ALL of them. The can follower shoes are alot longer than Harley’s. As such, it takes them longer to wear to an unuseable level. A worn tensioner shoe will manifest itself by marking the spark plug tubes first, then after the chain saws through them (aluminum), oil begins to leak. A quick check your husband can make is to remove the tensioner screw-on covers and look at the recessed rod in the tensioner body. If it’s recessed more than 5/16″ the tensioners need to be pulled and have “extenders” put on the rods where the factory spacer is now. It’ll literally take a half hour to check them and a couple hours to do the mod.

    • Shoot November 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Janet is correct the Kawi’s will get 2 hundredthousand taken care of but they have their problems with cam chains and shoes they need to also be watched

  320. harley tech November 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Iv been a Harley tech for many years, and yea they do wear out over time but look at your service manuals, every 10,000 mile they are checked and every 5,000 miles it is retitend to speck, its just anything else on your bike if u neglect the bike and what it needs you will have issues with how the bike runs and how long parts last. Another thing Harley covers that part in there warrenty, so u are right but u need to tell all the truth not just the bad stuff, way to go on doing your home work

    • Dave November 15, 2012 at 8:44 am


      • JC November 16, 2012 at 7:39 am

        HAHAHAHAHA! Awesome. how to you “retitend to speck” a cam chain tensioner? And in what book does it say to do so every 5k miles? How do you “retitend” every 5k when you only check every 10k? Should have never started this.

  321. rusty November 8, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Well, you mentioned that the run out might be. 005 but wait, up until 2008 the spec was. 002. Harley lost all quality control and that run out spec is. 010. If you look further the spec for the oil pump is. 004, so guess what. @ .005 you wasted the oil pump too. Very common in the twin came especially after 2008. When Harley said f**k it! Buy a new bike! Let’s get out the whole story here folks these engines have and are destined to failure. I bought a new CVO bike in 2008 and took it apart with 11 miles on the engine and found. 004 run out on the crank pin. Iimedeatly brought it to the attention of my dealer. The owner acted surprised especially when I told the spec for ever was. 002 (quite frankly that is too much) so when we contacted the factory there answer was to ride the bike andhave fun under an extended warranty? F**k it. Well the first oil pump failed @ 1000 miles, thesecond @ 4500 miles. You be the judge? We need quality control to start with. If this scares you it should! They are out and still selling the same problems. There are fixes but dig deep. Or get the extended warranty and by all means get rid of it before that warranty runs out. Just hope you don’t mind you’re bike sitting in the shop for repairs while every one else is out riding.

    • Randy November 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Evo’s rule!

      • Steve November 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm

        Couldn”t agree more. Give me a gravity fed, carbureted, 80cid “Blockhead” any day of the week. Just wanna get my kicker installed & would like to go back to points. Seen to many guys stranded ’cause their EFI fuel pump module puked or the IGN. module crapped out. easier to carry a spare set of points & . condenser. (if the matchbook trick don’t work) Don’t need or want bigger, faster, fancier, more complicated crap. I Like enjoying scenery & the ride, don’t need to get there any faster or fancier.

  322. Soft 02 November 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

    While yes the spring style is one to be checked often the 07+ are far less prone to this by design Many folks are getting well over 100k on the newer design. As someone stated going gear drive is not the answer and crank runout comes into play. You are advised not to go with gear drives if runout exceeds .003 and the MoCo has a tolerance of .012 Unless you send your crank out to be balanced, welded and trued gears are not an option and if you think the SE hyd plate fixes this it doesn’t. It only addresses the outer chain and leaves the inner a Morris style flat link chain. Andrews among others have conversion cams to allow for the inner to utilize the roller style cain. With gear drives you don’t get the advantage of the higher volume pump. The 07+ hyd design has proven itself in the field and is the only way to go if you don’t address the crank. As you can see by the pics (at 90k) once the chain wears down far enough it will not go much further as the rollers bridge the center. Look into Andrews conversion cams and hyd plate. Cheaper than going to gears and can be done by most people. IMHO.



    • Dale Holland November 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      My 04 RK Custom at 24k started having trouble withreal loud noise from timing cover. Being broke I purchased new tensioners and RR myself. After 400 mi on it aft the new tensioners I still have same noise? Bike runs great actually better than it did. Now what? I’m in garage now as winter has set in Breckenridge Colorado so any suggestions?

  323. rvillaruel November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

    At 14k miles a friend in ca.[DANNY HAM….R.I.P.] talked me into having him install a screamin eagle high volume oil pump with hydraulic chain tensioners…he showed me my stock tensioners and they were almost to the metal in places[uneven wear]..i nowhave 60k miles and replace oil and filter every 5k miles..costly i know but im still ridin….i have yet to inspect my tensioners but have no foreign debris in my used oil or filters.think i ll go to 100k before i take my engine apart…i feel that maintenance is the key to stayin on top of any factory [secrets]..i also use syn3 oil….also not recommended by the naysayers and whistleblowers..ride a harley….keep it harley……in the wind

  324. jim brown November 8, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I have an 04 RoadKing, changed mine to gear drive at 25000, and my tentioners were already starting to pit pretty bad. I’m glad i did now i have piece of mine, i dont have to wonder when they are going to fail.. Have a friend with an2002 RoadKing, worn tentioners cost him a motor.

  325. John Biggs November 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I had mine checked at 37K and they were only slightly worn. I had him go ahead and change them while it was apart. I did use a reputable mechanic. ( In my Mind) He told me about the runout question and mine was well within specks I now have 79k on my 05 Road King. He pushed me into a slightly bigger cam (it has a little more lope and improved mid range power) I like the sound of the Gear Drive. I will ride it till it die’s not big on spending $ that I don’t have.

  326. Ira November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    BTW, I do use RevTec Synthetic oil in my engine and Belray for my trans.

  327. unicron November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Does this apply to efi sportys as well?

    • Soft 02 November 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Sporty’s are gear driven and don’t have chains.

  328. Ira November 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for the info. I have a 2010 Super Glide. Would this apply to me as well?

    I have over 21,000 miles on my bike at the moment so I do a fare amount of riding!

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Soft 02 November 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

      No. You have the upgraded hyd unit. Check them at 100k.

      • Al November 14, 2012 at 6:54 am

        I have a 2009 springer CVO with 8000 miles. Does this apply to my bike? thanks

        • Dave November 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm

          Your motor should have the upgraded hydraulic system. That said, have them checked at 50K.

          • Buckwyld November 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

            I recently bought a 99 super glide with 30,000+ miles from a dealer. Should I be worried

          • Dave November 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

            Yep. ’99 through ’06 TC’s are affected. Have heard of rare failures as early as 7k miles. I have an ’06 Heritage Classic, checked tensioners at 30k when I heard of the problem. Looked again at 48k miles, looked like they had another 20-30k left on them, but I changed them anyway. Now have 78k on the bike and haven’t been back in the motor, but it’s about time to look again. I think the second set will far outlast the first set, as the chain has been polished by then.

          • mike November 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

            i have 2004 springer does this apply

      • Yardedog November 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        I have a 2012 Road King with 103 is this something I need to worry about

        • Dave November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

          Your motor should also have the upgraded hydraulic system. That said, have them checked at 50K.

          • Efrain L. November 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm

            I have a 08 road king those this aply to me.

          • T-DOG November 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm


  329. Miguel Sanchez November 8, 2012 at 7:33 am

    The article was well written, however you neglect to tell people about the potential dangers of running gear drive cams. You have to first see if your bike has the correct crank run out to accept gear drive. Anything over .005 run out you cannot use gear drive because the run out is too much and you can damage the teeth and then you may even brake a tooth off and then you are still talking about catastrophic failure. The only real problem solver for this issue is to do the correct preventative maintenance on your bike. Make sure that you are using a quality mechanic that has experience with twin cams. I fell that next time you post a blog about something like this you should get all of your fact straight and tell the whole truth and just not try to sell people more expensive parts.

    • Stanley L. Stowe November 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

      I have a 2004 Ultra Classic. I have 21,000 miles on it and have changed oil as suggested, and still, I worry about something going wrong. I have heard of this problem before, but need to ask…..at what point, miles wise, should I begin to worry?? Will synthetic oil help prevent the problem over conventional oil? Is there anything else I can do to insure there is no premature failures with these guides? Thanks

      • Soft 02 November 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

        Oil does not seem to be a determining factor. Maybe driving style. I would check them every 15-20k. I recommend you make a habit of cutting your filter open at every service and look for pieces of orange plastic.

        • DP Simmons November 14, 2012 at 12:36 am

          The oil filter is not where the small plastic loogies will lodge…. They will clog up the oil pump passages and I have taken some out of oil pumps. Do whatever you have to do to get that tensioner out of there. You don’t want to see the parts of the motor that have been starved for oil….

          • STEVE November 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm


        • Richard D November 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm

          I have a 2003 FXD. Checked the tenisioners at 30K miles, the one on the back was worn out. caught it just in time. I replaced them with the orignal ones. Also one the came lobes was missing a chuck of cam lobe. Where the hell did that go? Replaced cams with Andrew TW 21. So far so good. I have used syn since it was new. I now have 50k miles and getting ready to check them again. Regarding the missing piece of cam. I think it was that way when it was installed.

          • Tony Nick November 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm

            You should look at purchasing the hydraulic cam chain tensioner upgrade that Harley offers for ’99 – ’06 HD’s. You can use your existing cams. Includes a new and improve cam plate along with a new oil pump. The new oil pump is much better than the old oil pumps by providing much higher feed rate and higher scavenging rates.
            You won’t have to worry about the tensioners wearing out.

        • Julie Budas November 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

          My plastic was white!

      • James November 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        The only way to tell is pull the cam chest cover and inspect. My 02 Fatbay with 20K had a serious issue with shoe wear, especially the rear one. I disassembled and repaired it myself. About 550. in parts from Lakeshore Harley. If you are mechanical at all you can do this repair. I had experience on car/trucks but never on a Harley and looking back it was a difficult job. I put in the upgraded hydraulic cam plate and oil pump. My runout was out of spec for gears. My cam chain shoes broke and crumbled with ease once I had them out on on the bench. Scary.

        Check it at your next oil change!

        My 2 Cents

        Feel free to contact me with questions.

        Jimmyuforia [at] gmail [dot] com

        • James November 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

          As a follow-up, I seriously looked at just replacing the worn spring type tensioners on the original cam plate, and if cost is major fact this can be done. You must know however it does not make any difference in dis-assembly or reassembly. The cams will still need to be removed from the cam plate in order to put the new spring tensioners on. You will not be saving any work or labor only some money. The new spring tensioners were about 80 each when I did my research. for the extra 300 or so dollars I felt it was worth the upgraded cam plate.

          • Shawn November 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

            Cams do not have to be removed. The cams stay in the cam plate and are removed as an assembly. the worst part is getting the exhaust off.
            I agree and did do the Hydraulic tensioner upgrade..

        • Savvy_0ne Sioux Falls SD. November 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

          I had a 2001 Harley Ultra Classic 43000 miles that this exact situation happened. It cost me thousands of dollars in repair costs. Fortunately I did not have to replace the entire engine.

      • Bruce A Underwood November 14, 2012 at 5:08 am

        Sorry to say but there is not a set time. I had an 03 FLHPI Roadking it had 46 thousand miles when I wrecked it. I owned it since it had 5 thousand miles with no problems. I replaced it with another 03 but a Lowrider FXDL that had 20 thousand miles. This bike was rode hard and I needed to replace the tensioner within a short time. The dealer started warning me after 30,000 to get it checked. So you should keep in mind how you drive and check accordingly.

      • W. G. Smith November 14, 2012 at 5:26 am

        As to worry about your 21k on engine, have had and ridden HDs for 40 years, new bikes are much better than pervious models. Not bulletproof but better. Mileage and maintenance-go hand in hand. Have over 102K on my 06 Classic. Had full top end rebuild and hotter cams done at 100K. The heads still looked new. Do regular checks, use synthetic (Amsoil) oil and change every 3K and check the tensioners. Stop worrying and enjoy the ride!

      • Jeff November 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        I have a 2004 FLHTI that I maintain exactly as the factory recommends for hard riding (2,500 mile checks, etc.). I have 81,000 miles on her right now and do cross country through the desert in the summer (120 degrees) and ride all through the winter in Colorado. I had to change the tensioners at 52,000 miles the first time. I noticed a drop in oil pressure and went straight to the dealer. They cleaned it out, replaced the tensioners and the cam plate (which included the oil bypass valve – which had become clogged with debris) changed the fluids and sent me back out. (At that point in time, I was just becoming aware of this as a systemic issue.) She rode fine until 75,000 miles, then I started hearing a grinding noise in the cam area. (I have loud pipes so I hadn’t been hearing anything until it was too far gone.) At that point, I elected to do a reman through the factory program rather than try and band aid the problem. I had them knock it out to 95 at the same time. That reman comes with the new SE tensioner. I’ve been very happy with the 95. All this to say, I’d change out the tensioners every 25,000 or so to be safe.

      • Ted Richardson November 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        I caught mine by watching the oil pressure, and when it dropped to almost 0 at idle, I strained my oil through a mesh, noting the orange plastic pieces as suggested by my mechanic. I upgraded to the next gen oil pump (Screaming Eagle), decontaminated the engine, for a total incl service of $1200. Ouch!

        • Fred Fouche' November 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

          James, Saw your comment on J&P website about oil pressure and contamination. I have a 2007 Ultra Classi w/1675 actual miles, bought used w/ 800 on it. Bike was garaged for 4 or 5 years. Harley checked it, said they installed new pump and clutch basket and did first 1,000 mi. service. pressure drops real low when warmed up to operating temp. Is that normal? Dealer said nothing wrong.

          • NICK November 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

            Nothing is wrong, the oil pressure usually drops very low when hot. I work for a dealer, common question & concern. As long as the oil pressure comes right up under acceleration and stays up above 32 when cruising down freeway, its good. It’s unfortunate how uneducated some people at dealers are, and that they are not willing to at least offer some correct information to the public.

          • Rob November 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

            I’ve got 51,000 on my 07 Ultra Classic, yes at Idle the oil pressure is just above 0. It does move up to good pressure when I running at speed on mine.

          • Rob November 21, 2012 at 12:58 am

            Doe, brain fart, I have the Electraglide Classic not an Ultra. Anyway, great bike, love it.

      • Jason Jackson November 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        You are correct to be concerned. On my 2006 Ultra Classic the Harley Dealership changed mine out for hydraulic actuated cam tensioners at 42000. This may have simply been a way to save them some grief in the long run since I was still under an extended warranty. If I were you I would start to inspect them every 10K after the initial 20k. If you don’t ride your bike hard it should not be a problem. Later on you might want to seriously consider a gear drive system-I plan to.

      • Yad November 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        I have been using Amsoil and mine went out at 30,000 miles changed to the hydraulic cam tensioners I have a 2004 Electra Glide I changed my oil pump as well better oil pressure now

        That’s it Harley should have a recall on this issue rather then the Harley owner having to deal with it Don’t ya get enough money on our constant upgrading and adding Chrome ????

        Wait do I hear Class action suit any hungry Lawyers out there… Don’t be fooled only the Lawyers make out on this, Owners only get pennies on the dollar But the company would have to pay millions Enough said..

        Thank you

      • Greg November 15, 2012 at 1:19 am

        I have over 35,000 miles on my 02′ Ultra, I had the cam chain pads inspected by very well quality mechanic. And he told me that what ever I’m doing,to keep doing it! He also stated that my engine was the cleanest one that he has ever seen. I change my oil at the beginning of every year, and I use Ams Oil 20w50. I have riden hard at times but like to love to cruise easy and smooth. I love my Ultra and baby it, probably because they don’t come cheap! Well maintained keeps it going!

      • Chris Williams November 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        I have put Harley Screaming Eagle Synthetic oil in my 2005 Springer since about 2000 or 3000 original miles from new on it. I just had my cam chains and followers checked (due to the suggestion) a few months ago at about 20,000 miles and was told they
        are fine. I was told (which is true) since I do not run my engine hard ( and to my estimation the use of the synthetic oil) that every thing was fine.

      • Mike November 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm

        I had a 2005 Ultra I bought new and put 82,692 miles on it . Ihad the owner of a dealership in Springfield tell me there might be a problem , I had it tore down and checked at 63,000 and sure enough the would have not went much further before it was a major problem. While we had it down we upgraded the cams and put new bearings in it and tensioners. This is a problem and it is a major tear down to upgrade and not cheap. Harley mentions nothing in the owners manuel or service manuel for this problem or list it as normal mataniance . So my question is what are they trying to hide. This should be a recall problem, I love Harley and would not ride anything else over my 62 years but they need to step up to the plate and do whats right by their customers. We have made them what they are today and what they will be in the future.

      • James Powers November 16, 2012 at 5:28 am

        Stanley I just pulled my 02 classic down and my inside shoe was completly gone. Metal on metal and never heard a sound and Im always listening to my motor. That was at 39,000 miles. I opted for the hydrolic cause I could do it myself and there are problems with gear on gear just like all of them. Just pull it down every 40,000 instead of 15,000. But the shoes are fairly easy to change out. Good luck and please check them shoes now. p.s. I use Mobil 1 full synth.

      • William Mollencupp December 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        You should have it checked out , or check it yourself, with 20k being a number to at least open it up, and look at the tensioners.
        It also makes very little difference what oil you use, what seems to make more difference is riding it every day, and don’t let the bike sit, the oil runs off of the tensioners , and when the chain runs over it eats them up until they get oil.

    • DP Simmons November 14, 2012 at 12:31 am

      That crank runout is a lot more forgiving than you realize. I have taken out at least 5 chains and put back in gear drives in engines that already had 30K. Harley engines will allow for some “limberness”. I did my own gear drive change over at 18K miles and it now has 60K and its still going strong. I installed the Andrews #26 grind. I don’t know why HD didn’t use these cams for STOCK. It runs beautiful.

      • Jason Jackson November 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm

        Is there a whirling noise that comes from the area where the gear drives are?

        • DP Simmons November 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

          There is a slight gear whine but it is not so loud that it is offensive. I have heard some gear drive kits that are very loud, almost like a supercharger. I don’t know why some are loud, some are not. My 2006 FLSTC has had Lucas full syn 20w50 since the 1000 mile service. Its got right at 60K on the clock and it runs quiet. I really like how the synthetic keeps it running cool as well.

      • sonnysalmons February 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        i have put the same thing in both my tc and your right they do run beautiful ! your also right harley should have done this from the get go !

    • Rusty November 14, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Buy an Indian, The best Motorcycle Made U.S.A.

      • Kenny B. November 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        Not helpful to the topic, just bragging about what you own. Lame.

      • Chris November 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

        LMAO you mean one of those wonderful Indians with a powerplus 100 , or the Harley Softail knock off with a S&S engine to funny

      • Mctiredofit November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        Shut up! These “my bike is better than yours” comments is tiring, especially if the rider has warm summer days riding experience or less than ten years averaging less than 6,000 miles a year experience.

      • foghat November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        Is your gal’s ring a wanna be diamond ?

      • Claire Holden November 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        been ridin’ since 1975. Springers, flatheads, panheads, pan/shovels, rigids, yada, yada, yada. Husband has 2000 cranberry Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide. 138,000 miles on ‘er. Ride ALL THE TIME.
        He does ALL his own work on the scoot.
        INDIAN ??? REALLY ?? If it’s not old and NOT
        a REAL one, U can byte

      • bikerbychoice November 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

        I dont own a twin cam but do have a 1997 ultra tourglide. The evo was upgraded to 110 ci at 145,000 miles. The bike now has 410,000 miles and has never had an issue with metal fatigue or any metal to metal issues ever. The point being made is a good self maintenence every 3000 regardless of how you ride is mandatory to any harley and quality oil and filter(lucas/fram all i have ever used )is the key to high mileage and worry free engine life. Ps. Keep the wind in your face and the tires down and ride till your sore.

      • Mike December 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

        I had a 03 Indian Spirit I like the S&S motor but it was always something with that bike. I have a Friend who has a Indian Chief He rode it out west and barely made it home. had to have a new power plus installed when he got home and the tranny also.

    • Mack Langdon November 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

      It is a moot point. New cranks can have run out of .012 and still meet specs that have been changed to agree with the cheap pressed cranks they now offer. Too many shortcuts in mfg to name all, but my 07 EG had compensator go bad on way back from Sturgis in 09. That shifted the pressed crank out of phase to about .048 inch. Only things reused in rebuild was bottom case halves, (new bearings and trued and welded crank) and heads. 15k miles later on way to
      NM the front cylinder let go, (found out there is known issue with 103 upgrade kits). Traded that piece of junk for different brand bike and couldnt be happier. If you want to make a lot of noise and stand in front of a bar posing like a bad a– biker, by all means buy Harley. If you want to RIDE, buy something else.

      • Rok November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Mack, they are all machines and they ALL have their respective issues, it doesn’t matter the brand. The big problem here isn’t the fact that people are going to use this problem to brand bash, the problem is that this info wasn’t released 10+ years ago. Somebody knew it and sat on it, covering their own ass with fine print while their customers unknowingly took it in the @$$ on repairs.
        So much for integrity.

        • jw November 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

          Geez, I found this out in 2004; this isn’t new. It’s been well documented on the internet on multiple chat boards.

      • Earl November 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

        really not sure what is going on with harley now.
        Had a 2003 sportster that i just sold this year with no problems, My 2010 Dyna constantly a problem, last one rear axle bearing went out, destructing the rear wheel, lucky I had 2 weeks of warranty left.
        Really starting to think the older bikes were built better.
        Whats going on with Harley?
        Love the brand and the name but starting to become something that is too costly to maintain after the warranty.
        My bike made every service before time and never ridden hard or abused.

    • Don Gose November 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Well said Miguel. I was looking for the author to mention crank run out and he never did. Almost half the stock cranks I have seen with very little mileage have between .005 and .008 of run out. Which tells you that that is an exceptable amount to the factory. So as far as I’m concerned yes harley should go gear drive but then it cost more money not just for the cams but they would have to produce better cranks.

    • Ray Clause November 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      I have an 01′ Harley Deuce and changed out my chain drive with very low millage because of said problem. I have 40,000 miles on the motor now. It is a 95c.i. running 640 S&S Gear Set. And i have had no problems as of yet. Glad to have gotten rid of the chain drive.

      I now also have a 2011 Road Glide Ultra with a hand built 120R motor. When i built the motor my Harley Dealer told me that the new Hydralic chain system should last for over 50,000 miles. It does not make me feel safe but i didn’t change it at time of my build. It still bothers me so when i check the chain drive. If it is worn and looks bad i will be going to an S&S Gear Drive it they have a Gear Set for this motor.

    • Bobby Moser November 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      As a 25 yrs of building automotive drag racing engines ,chain and gear drives all have their issues,you are correct about the run out .The only real fix is a belt drive,that elimates timing.vibration harmonics ,the tension of the belt is controlled by a pully no rubbing no wear.Does any company make a belt drive for the V Twin?

      • JC November 16, 2012 at 7:30 am

        S&S X-wedge engine.

      • Speed Metal November 16, 2012 at 7:52 am

        Wood Performance.

    • lefty November 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I own a 2004 fat boy that has been customized with a 300 tire and right side drive tranny and it has the original engine that has been serviced every 2500 miles or less and has 52000 miles on it.I put plugs in it at 50000 because I felt bad about it I run nothing except high grade fuel 92 and up with 2 and a half inch pipes w/ forcewinder breather If you want to see it for real go to leftys motorcycles.net

    • Julie Budas November 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      The preventative maintenance is 6 hours of labor. At 15,000 miles that is pricey maintenance for anyone who does any serious riding.

    • johnny walker November 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Well said, “preventative maintanence”. Not re-engineering 100+ years of actual bike building. With parts that are proven to twist a flywheel set on a drag race.

    • James (Iggy) Hignite December 21, 2012 at 6:17 am

      I’ve replaced a few of the spring tensioner assemblies with hydraulic tensioner set ups on the twin cam engines and found that simply polishing the chains before installation is the best way to avoid any future problems. I’m a ASE Master/L1 (Advance Level) Tech with over 35 yrs in the repair industry and seen my fair share of chain driven & gear driven set ups. My advise, polish the chain before installation.

      • DONNY August 26, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        The best advise on the whole blog. Polish the chains , still a bit of a pain but it works. Should have a MOCO recall.

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