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primary chain tensioner

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Old 09-27-2012, 08:51 PM
dan conner dan conner is offline
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Default primary chain tensioner

seems like i read some where on the forum about getting the self-tightening primary chain tensioner to ratchet up---seems like 0 to 30 and hit brakes hard? do this several times? any ideas?
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:48 PM
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Potato_Potato Potato_Potato is offline
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Hard up and down shifts will get it to ratchet up tighter, but most, including myself have the problem of not ratcheting down resulting in a chain that is so tight that it is hard on primary, tranny & clutch bearings and produces a howling sound similar to a turbo.

Burt Baker has built a cottage industry around HD drive train failures and here is what he says about the automatic chain adjuster.

The Attitude Chain Adjuster solves the issues associated with the stock auto chain tensioner on 2006-Later Dyna 8 2007-Later Softail/ Touring models. The first moment the chain has enough slack into it to ratchet the shoe up another notch, and thus tightening the chain, it will. One notch tighter might not be an issue, but you don't have any control of when this mechanism stops tightening the chain. The end result in many cases is the primary chain is so tight that it will start wearing out left side motor case bearings, inner primary bearings, clutch hub bearings and transmission output gear bearings. Our manual chain tensioner allows you to adjust the chain to the proper 5/8-7/8" (cold) freeplay, and never have to worry about the chain getting too tight. We offer this chain adjuster for fitment with stock outer primary covers, as well as a package deal with the Bully Primary Cover.

The other option is Hayden M6 and in this case one that I favor over Burt Baker’s Attitude Chain Adjuster.

IMHO it is not worth your time, primary fluid and possibly gaskets, to mess with HD’s Auto adjuster. If you are having problems have a Hayden or Baker standing by to change out.

I have no engineering background or training what-so-ever but I did grow up on a tropical island and fished more than I went to school developing, at a very young age, a strong sense of how fish hooks work and Harley’s Auto tensioners are similar in all respects to fish hooks.

Then add to that Harley's elimination of the inspection cover requiring you to take off the floor board, outer primary and its associated fluids and gaskets just to measure your chain deflection would be cause for me (if I were king) to fire every engineer responsible.

Click the image to open in full size.

I donít believe everything I think.


Last edited by Potato_Potato; 09-27-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:28 AM
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Pine Tree Pine Tree is offline
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Originally Posted by dan conner View Post
seems like i read some where on the forum about getting the self-tightening primary chain tensioner to ratchet up---seems like 0 to 30 and hit brakes hard? do this several times? any ideas?
IMHO, doing that several times and you'll end up with more problems then just the adjuster.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:36 AM
Oldsarge29 Oldsarge29 is offline
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Is there any problems with the factory adjuster on an 08 ultra classic? I don't want that thing to bite me in the azz later on.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:29 PM
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Mark@ Baker Drivetrain Mark@ Baker Drivetrain is offline
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Potato, thanks man your making my job easier. Old sarge all Harley's 07 and up have that same stupid auto tensioner get rid of it. I would like you to buy ours but we have heard a lot of praise for the Hayden.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:12 PM
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smitty901 smitty901 is offline
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almost don't hit the brakes just roll on quick from a stop then back off coast to almost stopped do it again.
It will ratchet the self adjuster it normally does it on it's own on normal riding but some times we are just to smooth
Infantry leads the way
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:33 PM
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RIPSAW RIPSAW is offline
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Brakes would have nothing to do with it. Basically it ratchets up when the looseness (little over 1/2") of the chain allows it to. If anything reving up in low and then getting off the throttle would cause it to ratchet up if the free play of chain allows it to. There was an older unit that had a full set of buttress ratchet teeth that from what I understand did stick. Newer style is relieved in center section like picture. Most people thing they get too tight but if you do manually check you must push a lot harder on it to check then you would a manual adjuster. The spring you see is the pusher for the ratchet. There is also two heavy coil springs that put preload on chain to make it quite. They give impression that chain only has 3/8" of play.
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Last edited by RIPSAW; 09-28-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:50 AM
StubbyVNVLVMC StubbyVNVLVMC is offline
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Default Hayden vs harley davidson auto chain adjuster

First off I want to say I have used Hayden M6 Chain Adjusters for years. I installed my first in my 1976 LowRider and was amazed at the smooth shifting (NO CLUNKING) and the ability to shift into neutral without trouble. I installed one in my 2000 RoadKing and found the same performance. I also installed one in my 2004 RoadKing and loved the smoothness of shifting without any clunking. For some reason I got a hair up my butt and than installed the Harley Davidson Auto Adjuster in the 2004 RoadKing. I immediately noticed clunking, trouble shifting, whining, and trouble finding neutral. The Dealer told me to let it wear in for about 500 miles. I did so and still had the same problems. After numerous (DISCUSSIONS) with the Service personal and them having my bike for over a week, I PUT THE HAYDEN M6 back in. I STAND BY THE M6 and SWEAR it is the BEST OUT THERE! I have a 2010 StreetGlide now and am installing an M6 into it and a Screaming Eagle Competition Clutch. I am sure I will be pleased with it.
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Old 12-15-2014, 06:04 PM
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98hotrodfatboy 98hotrodfatboy is offline
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Default Old fashioned

They used to use the same adjustment procedure on my 66 plymouth for the rear brake auto adjusters. They really didn't work the greatest then either unless you kept them clean an lubed. I just think it's a little funny that they're still using the same technology. I guess a belt drive would solve that problem, ehh....

Last edited by 98hotrodfatboy; 12-15-2014 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 12-15-2014, 06:04 PM

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