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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All, so I am at roughly 50k on my 2015 RGS so as preventative maintenance I thought I’d take a peek at my chain case components as well as my cam chain tensioner shoes. I’m also due for a fork rebuild, next on the docket.
Now, I know the new hydraulic tensioner design is less susceptible to failure in comparison to the old spring style, but it’s not that much work to at least have a look at the outer shoe to get a gauge of the amount of wear, so I’ve taken off the camchest cover & had a look.
Overall, the outer shoe looks good, and by deduction, I assume the inner is in similar shape (maybe .015” of wear) so I was planning on just buttoning it back up as-is; however, I was considering this as a possible opportunity for a cam upgrade. I already have a stage 1 with a power vision, so it’s a natural progression. With that being said, I was really thinking of holding off another year, just because I hadn’t planned on spending the dough quite yet.

Here’s the conundrum... With all of that being said, I started calling around to a few shops just to get some pricing ideas, and the consensus from the shops is that not only are my lifters suspect & could be subject to failure, but also that the inner cam bearings could also be a possible “ticking time bomb” at my mileage. Part of me thinks that while there may be some kernel of truth behind the shops comments, they are also in the business of selling things, so of course there’s an opportunity for them to sell some goods. By no means am I saying these places are merely trying to sell me on scare tactics, I’m just trying to be mindful of that aspect and keep it in perspective.

So I guess the question is, what’s the general consensus here about these specific internal components that are being specifically called to the mat and could hold a real potential for failure, or would y’all just button it up & ride it, taking the chance that nothing will go wrong? I know it’s a bit subjective since there are a lot of variables that come into play.

For reference, I am pretty darn religious about changing oil & filter every 5k, and have used either Castrol 20-50 vtwin syn or schaeffer 20-50 vtwin syn oil after the 1k break-in oil was changed. I don’t do burnouts or wheelies, but do twist the wick and have fun when the mood strikes. Ride to & from work everyday (about 50 mi round trip - mostly highway) with some long road trips mixed in every year.

It’s tough because, would I like cams? Absolutely. Do I need them? Not really - but these comments coming from some respected shops have me a bit concerned about the chances I would be taking, according to them, by running it as-is for another season, so approx. 15k miles.

What say you?
 

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With the newer motors I replace the lifters AND the inner cam bearings within the first 5000 miles. The hydraulic chain tensioner shoes haven’t been replaced in any bikes yet.
 

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With the newer motors I replace the lifters AND the inner cam bearings within the first 5000 miles. The hydraulic chain tensioner shoes haven’t been replaced in any bikes yet.
What do you mean by "newer motors" Troy? Any TC or M8? I see he has a TC. I never read much about lifter issues on a stock 103 TC if that is what he has as he didn't mention it being a CVO with the 110 (in which the stock lifters would have been replaced by now)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What do you mean by "newer motors" Troy? Any TC or M8? I see he has a TC. I never read much about lifter issues on a stock 103 TC if that is what he has as he didn't mention it being a CVO with the 110 (in which the stock lifters would have been replaced by now)
Yes, stock 103HO with stage 1 a/c, Dragula 2 pipes & powervision. The lifters for the twin cam engines don't seem to be as prominently discussed on forums even though I have read a few threads on them regarding questionable reliability, but the stock inner cam bearing has been a topic of concern & discussion for some time. The one shop that mentioned this as a primary concern basically said that the TC motors, especially '09 and up, are using a bearing akin to what was used in the EVO motors, which had a fairly significant failure rate from what I understand.
 

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>>>I was considering this as a possible opportunity for a cam upgrade. I already have a stage 1 with a power vision, so it’s a natural progression. With that being said, I was really thinking of holding off another year, just because I hadn’t planned on spending the dough quite yet.

Here’s the conundrum... With all of that being said, I started calling around to a few shops just to get some pricing ideas, and the consensus from the shops is that not only are my lifters suspect & could be subject to failure, but also that the inner cam bearings could also be a possible “ticking time bomb” at my mileage. Part of me thinks that while there may be some kernel of truth behind the shops comments, they are also in the business of selling things, so of course there’s an opportunity for them to sell some goods. By no means am I saying these places are merely trying to sell me on scare tactics, I’m just trying to be mindful of that aspect and keep it in perspective.

So I guess the question is, what’s the general consensus here about these specific internal components that are being specifically called to the mat and could hold a real potential for failure, or would y’all just button it up & ride it, taking the chance that nothing will go wrong? I know it’s a bit subjective since there are a lot of variables that come into play.

It’s tough because, would I like cams? Absolutely. Do I need them? Not really - but these comments coming from some respected shops have me a bit concerned about the chances I would be taking, according to them, by running it as-is for another season, so approx. 15k miles.

What say you?
Just do the cam upgrade. All cam bearings, lifters, all chain tensioners (zipper or Feuling), adjustable push rods and also add the LMR oil pressure spring. This will add about $300 to the bill for parts and the labor, well you're already paying for that with the cam install.
 

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What do you mean by "newer motors" Troy? Any TC or M8? I see he has a TC. I never read much about lifter issues on a stock 103 TC if that is what he has as he didn't mention it being a CVO with the 110 (in which the stock lifters would have been replaced by now)
I meant the newer TC with hydraulic Tensioners. The lifters are junk. After model year 09 Harley began using a new vendor and the lifters just don’t hold up. Every bike I’ve pulled apart has shown frosted and flaking plating on the rollers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just do the cam upgrade. All cam bearings, lifters, all chain tensioners (zipper or Feuling), adjustable push rods and also add the LMR oil pressure spring. This will add about $300 to the bill for parts and the labor, well you're already paying for that with the cam install.
I'm leaning that direction - getting the feedback I did regarding the inner cam bearing from one shop & a friend of mine who has done an engine build is pushing me that direction. However, what's the rub on replacing the hydraulic tensioner assemblies? - are those really that crappy as well? I planned on new shoes, but hadn't intended on getting the hydraulic portion.

I would do the install myself as my buddy has the cam bearing tool, and he has experience installing his own cams as well (he's also a drag car builder that races at B.I.R. so he knows a bit about engines....)
 

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However, what's the rub on replacing the hydraulic tensioner assemblies? - are those really that crappy as well? I planned on new shoes, but hadn't intended on getting the hydraulic portion)
IMO...HD tolerances are not that great. The quality aftermarket is better so if I’m in there change it. Also, take a look at the LMR oil pressure spring. When installed correctly it will boost you hot psi about 4, cold about 6.

Just sharing my experience. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
IMO...HD tolerances are not that great. The quality aftermarket is better so if I’m in there change it. Also, take a look at the LMR oil pressure spring. When installed correctly it will boost you hot psi about 4, cold about 6.

Just sharing my experience. Good luck.
Well, I suppose this whole situation is a manifestation, in itself, of your comment regarding HD's sketchy tolerances anyway - the fact that I'm even having to do consider changing cams, lifters, bearings, etc to ensure that my engine doesn't grenade is somewhat comical & also sad - but then again, maybe most HD owners don't put close to 50k on their rides before they trade them off, sell them, or it merely takes 10 years to get there, which by that time, they have already done cams for pure performance reasons anyway......

So, I guess I'll consider the new tensioner hydraulic assy as well - what's your thoughts on the fueling tensioner/hydraulic setup? They're not that much less than the zippers tensioner assemblies I guess, but less $$ is less $$. Fueling's still appear to be a single piston design, and I'm sure are still much better than HD's. Reading about Zipper's design, and although it seems to be an awesome design, is the tensioner pad rocking really an issue, even with bolt-in style cams? Or are they somewhat engineering a design to solve a problem that isn't all that prominent?

Yeah, I thought about the plunger & spring too - but maybe just get the LMR spring if anything. I guess I'll have to see what my cam plate & oil pump look like when I'm in there......
 

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I looked at the Zipper dual piton but chose the single to be safe.

The big thing about the new plunger is seating it in the cam plate. The instructions lay it out. The piston is modified to seal better and not allow leaking around it. It allows higher oil pressure until the pressure over comes the spring and then bypasses.
 

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Well if you do lifters S&S premium is the gold standard IMO, I would change them, mine took a shit at 11k , so I used that platform for cams, lifters, adjustablr pushrods and the install kit which came with timken bearings and new seals. Never did a oil psi spring but will keep that in mind for the future in case, sounds like good advice when already there.
 

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Mine were wiped out at 19k on my 16. Due to the stock coating coming off the junk stock lifter rollers. Wiped out everything in the cam chest short of the cams.

I have the Zippers dual piston tensioners. And the Zippers cam chain drive gear. The slap in that gear alone is a joke from the Factory. Added Feuling lifters and S&S adjustable push rods. PSR billet cam plate and Feuling high volume oil pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Starting narrow down cam choice, will still consider new tensioner hydraulic assemblies, but now it’s a matter of which cam.

Looking at:
Fuel Moto cam package
-woods alpha lifters
-FM pushrods
-gaskets etc

Cams: here’s where I’m not sure of which will be the way to go - ranked on current 1st choice to last:
Cyclerama cr-570-2 $700 for the kit
Andrews 57h $608 for the kit
Woods tw-222 $750 for the kit
S&S MR-103 $608 for the kit

The cr-570-2 has been getting rave reviews as a bolt in for stock 103’s without any additional work, and it seems the Andrews 57’s are good too, but like more compression & come on later than the 570’s

I also called cycle Rama & they said they would match fuel motos price on the kit, they use standard S&S adjustable pushrods, but said they have their own lifters. I can’t seem to find much on the cyclerama lifters, any thoughts on those?
 

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If you change the cams DEFINITELY do S&S premium lifters and S.E. inner cam bearings. If you hold off until next winter just wait on those parts. Lifters usually only fail in a 110”, in a 103” in less than 10k miles(some kind of defect probably) or in bikes that have upgraded cams and stock lifters.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, after taking into consideration what should be done to minimize the risk of some sort of major failure, which was based on multiple sources of input - parts are in hand!

Went with Fuel Moto - they just happened to have a moving sale discount, so good timing, saved a few bucks, plus the cams were "on sale".

went with the FM kit of: Cyclerama CR-570-2 cams, adjustable pushrods (s & s timesavers - as FM was out of their house brand), woods alpha lifters, cam install gasket kit. I also picked up some fueling cam chain tensioner shoes - apart from a few folks who recommended replacing the entire tensioner assemblies for front & rear chains, most everyone seems to think the stock hydraulic assemblies will be fine. New shoes won't hurt though since I'll be in there and if I need to change the hydraulics down the road, it will be easier since I will now have adjustable pushrods.

Now I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up here in MN so I don't have to burn through a ton of LP to keep my garage warm - and then it's on like donkey kong!

Thanks everybody for the advice and opinions
Bennie
 

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At some point, on the TC, they switched to hydraulic chain tensioners. Ever since that point (well before 2012) there really have been no problems with the tensioner shoes wearing out.

I put 150,000 miles on my '09 (hydraulic).
 

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Mine were wiped out at 19k on my 16. Due to the stock coating coming off the junk stock lifter rollers. Wiped out everything in the cam chest short of the cams.

I have the Zippers dual piston tensioners. And the Zippers cam chain drive gear. The slap in that gear alone is a joke from the Factory. Added Feuling lifters and S&S adjustable push rods. PSR billet cam plate and Feuling high volume oil pump.
I got no use at all for those dual piston tensioners, they wear way to fast. That material is just as bad as the MoCo first design.

 

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At some point, on the TC, they switched to hydraulic chain tensioners. Ever since that point (well before 2012) there really have been no problems with the tensioner shoes wearing out.

I put 150,000 miles on my '09 (hydraulic).

The hydraulic cam plate cam out in 06' in the TC 96" in the Dyna's and in 07' for the touring bikes. While I do know some that have made it over 100k miles on the original shoes I would certainly recommend checking them at 40-50k miles. I had my 110" in my 2012 CVO eat a cam bearing and destroyed the engine at 47k miles. When I opened the cam chest I inspected the shoes and both were worn past spec and the inner was way worse than the outer. So I would atleast check them every now and then. Don't take it for granted that they will last 100k miles.
 
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