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Twin Cam Tensioner Concerns

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Old 07-11-2013, 11:38 PM
trbopumper trbopumper is offline
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Default Twin Cam Tensioner Concerns

I have an 06 RoadKing and have just recently discovered one of the engine design weadnesses thanks to this site! I have just over 60K miles on a stock TC88 engine and I'm beginning to panic about the cam chain tensioners.
I have reserve duty this weekend and a mandatory riding class the following weekend, so I guess I may have to take a day or so off and get into the cam chest to see what's going on. I haven't really noticed any significant noise, but my hearing isn't what it used to be (things that go boom, etc.).
I haven't seen any obvious issues with timing, etc. although it has recently begun slight decel. backfiring, but I attributed that to tweaking the Power Commander fuel/ignition profiles.
Should I be concerned?

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Old 07-11-2013, 11:42 PM
GriffinDenim13FLHX GriffinDenim13FLHX is offline
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60K on original tensioners... when was the last time you or someone else looked at them?
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:44 AM
thrapy thrapy is offline
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I think you should be taking a look real soon like today, cause I'm sure you're aware if it does come apart you're going to have big problems, good luck.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:45 AM
tbone108 tbone108 is offline
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Hello there
I think you have the last year for the old set up. If you search on this site there is lots of info. Don't panic you are where you are but don't push your luck. Someone may have beat you to it. Choice and cost are the next thing, don't forget about the oil pump if you just fit new slippers. TBO the cam chest is a can of worms in that where do you stop, it could be looked at as an chance to upgrade or just damage limitation depending if you keep bikes a long time or change them.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:51 AM
MNPGRider MNPGRider is offline
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If your bike is still stock (you do mention that you have a Power Commander), now would be the time to deal with a couple of issues.

The '06 is the first year of the EPA bikes....kind of a transitional year. Your stock cams are very weak, as they have no overlap. If you still have your stock RK pipes, you will find a catalytic converter in the right side muffler.

If you install a set of gear driven cams you will never have to worry about the cam chain tensioners again, and you can really liven up the performance with the right cam.
Andrews 21G is a great cam for the TC88 tour bikes.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:52 AM
foxtrapper foxtrapper is offline
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Location: USA
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Saturday job to check them. Hardest part is convincing the pipes to come off. The view with a mirror isn't wonderful, but it's adequate.

I've 50k on mine, and while they are well worn, they aren't at the failure point. I'll probably replace mine this coming winter. Haven't decided if I want to simply replace the shoes themselves (cheap), or go with the new and improved oem upgrade (expensive).
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:45 AM
AlanStansbery AlanStansbery is offline
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Yes, you should be concerned. The cam-chain tensioners on the 99-06 bikes have been problematic in some cases. I wouldn't be panicked, though. You've gone 60K without issue...another few hundred isn't statistically significant, i.e., 'chances are' you can ride a few hundred more miles without a meltdown.

I went with the S/E kit with its hydraulic tensioners. The only element left over from the original design, with this kit, is the inner cam chain--which is a roller chain just like the early design. The rest of the kit uses the design of the 07-and-up tensioning system.

The issue that kept me away from the gear-drive was the potential for run-out of the crankshaft. Andrews allows .003" run-out and still recommend use of their gears. I'm not confident that over time, my bike won't exceed this amount of run-out, e.g., in 90K or 100K miles. Whether this is really an issue, or just something in my head, I let it decide me on the S/E kit.

The other option (besides the S/E kit and gear-drive) is to convert your cam chest to the 07+ spec stuff. This will use the actual parts from the 07+ bikes, which means that inner chain will also be 07+ spec. The issue here is you'll need to get new cams, 'N' designations (I recall). These are cams that have the inner-end sized to your 06 case versus to the 07+ case.

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:47 AM
Denver Dave Denver Dave is offline
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If you are the original owner, you're going to want to replace them. Depending on how long you're going to keep the bike, another option is to just install new tensioners just like the ones you have and look at them every 20k. That's the best "budget" option, and it worked for me just fine.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:54 AM
tbone108 tbone108 is offline
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Let us no how you get on. I would plan what to do rather than just taking a look. Think it's gone past the just have a look stage. I think you should get a set of them crap plastic slippers and put them straight in. This will then give you time to make your mind up.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:27 AM
rhlhamlet rhlhamlet is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 495

60k without a problem? You are a very lucky man. I'd take care of that ASAP.
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