Hydraulic Cam Chain Tensioner Upgrade

Question Ok so I have a 1999 Twin Cam A motor in a Electraglide. 95 incher with hemi heads 600 lift cams mikuni fat cat exhaust and all the other goodies to make a torque monster. I have never gone away from the cam chain tensioners of old. I just keep my eye on them periodically. At 23000 miles I did the performance mods and decided to replace the tensioners as part of a preventive measure, they actually still looked great. Now I am back in there at 48000 miles and found little wear depth wise in the pads but significant pitting. I pulled the cam plate and cams completely out to get a good look at the rear pad to find same pitting issue. I cut my push rods so I will install the se quick install rods. I will upgrade to the Timken inner cam bearings while I got it open. I will put back my cams they look awesome with 25000 on them. I will put in a fresh set of lifters. Now here lies my question after all that info. I am faced with the decision to do the hybrid upgrade to the hydraulic tensioners or s & s gear drive. Or say screw it and run what I have always run the stock tensioners which means I just install the new tensioners lifters push rods and inner cam bearings and look at it again in 15000 or 20000. What are your opinions on this topic? Also it would be very cool to see a video for doing the hybrid conversion and also the full conversion that uses the new bushing style cam plate. I also had a thought on that bushing style cam plate. With the low oil pressures of a Harley which is better for roller bearings so you don’t wash them out doesn’t seem good for bushing style bearings. I know Chevy has used them for years but they push 50 60 pounds of oil pressure. Well would love to see your feedback on this topic.

AnswerTony, S&S gear drive is probably out of the question for your m/c. There is a good chance that your pinion shaft will be out of spec for this kit. The run out can not surpass .003″. With your Performance upgrades, and almost 50k miles; there is a good probability that your shaft will be over this max spec. The hydraulic upgrade with the updated oil pump is your better choice. Thanks for your question.

Question Cam Chain Tensioners on Twin Cam 88 My son just purchased a 2003 Road King we want to upgrade the chain tensioners to the hydraulic ones. I have watched all of you videos several times but am having trouble making decisions.
We are going to install the screamin eagle cam plate and High output oil pump.
Install the EZ adjustable push rods
Here is where we are having trouble
1. Do we upgrade to aftermarket cams? I have read the Andrews 26a’s are a good choice
2. The kit does not come with new gears and chains. What source do we use for those?
3. The stock lifters. It seems no one on-line or on the videos I have watched upgrades the lifters. Are the stock ones adequate enough?
4. Do I go to my local Harley shop and purchase everything there or do I go online and buy them at a less expensive price? Probably just my choice!
Please respond,
PS – Love being a fix my hog member
Thanks! Ralph

Andrews, or S&S, or H.D. They, are all top quality. What is most important is that you do your homework and figure out which cam will fit your riding style best. Read the cam descriptions on the manufacturer’s web sites. Compare them and try to read about other people’s experiences with the cam’s you are interested in by checking out on line forums.
When you settle on a cam, see what the manufacturer recommends for gears, chains, bearings, spacers, etc.
As far as lifters: If this m/c’s current lifters have high miles, or show signs of wear when you inspect them; replace them when you are doing the job. Otherwise, Harley’s stock lifters will be fine.
As far as where to buy: It is always better to purchase your parts locally; where you can have some kind of recourse if you are experiencing a problem. If you deal with a small, local bike shop/garage; definitely support them if they are reputable, or knowledgeable about what you are looking to do.
When buying online try DennisKirk.com as they stand behind what they sell.
Good luck with this performance upgrade. If you have anymore questions, we will do our best to help.

Related Video: Cam Chain Tensioner Inspection

See the Full Video Class on this type of project: Cam Chain Tensioner Class
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7 Responses to “Hydraulic Cam Chain Tensioner Upgrade”
  1. Wilfredo

    I am wandering what would you recommend the inspection interval be on the Cam Chain Tensioners I have a 2003 soft tail classic with 18,000 miles

    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Thank you for the post. I believe Bob says every 5,000 after 15,000.

  2. Kyle

    I have a 2004 Ultra Classic with a 88 inch engine. when I start it cold my oil pressure is in the 30’s at idle. After it gets hot at idle it is close to zero. What do you suggest?

  3. Mohammed

    I’m upgrading my TC 88 with the S&S 585 gear drive kit and can’t find any vedios related to the cam gear upgrade for TC engines. Also it’s not clear to me weather the bearings that needs removal/replacement are the ones in the crank case or the ones in the cam plate.