Gear Driven Cams vs Chain Driven Cams?

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clewis022002

Well-Known Member
Messages
56
Location
Fort Knox Ky
Buddy of mine has been telling me I need to switch to gear driven cams to "protect" my engine since chain driven cams cause damage due to a defective tensioner from the factory. Read about the issue on some other site and seem its hit and miss with the factory tensioner. I guess my question is should I spend the $ on gear driven cams of take my chances on the HD factory chain driven set-up.
 

Baddd bagger

Moderator and Buddy.
Messages
5,046
Location
North jersey
I have an 09sg and I know from my buddy that the newer ones from when they started using these are way better from older models like evo models but he did say that at 30,000 miles I should switch them out for gear driven as they are more reliable dont know myself just gonna wait till I hit 30,000


Ride it like you stole it!
 

Bill

I used to own some shit!
Messages
7,115
Location
Omaha NE
Your buddy is full of poo....

There is a possibility of a deteriorated tensioner trashing the motor but.... They are $30 each, change them every 25k miles and you'll be in good shape...

The other option is upgrading your cam plate to the newer style with hydraulic tensioners which can also give you an upgraded oil pump.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk 2
 

Baddd bagger

Moderator and Buddy.
Messages
5,046
Location
North jersey
Well my buddy has been building motors for 20yrs and I'm gonna guess he knows a bit about them so I will go with his advice


Ride it like you stole it!
 

Bill

I used to own some shit!
Messages
7,115
Location
Omaha NE
Well my buddy has been building motors for 20yrs and I'm gonna guess he knows a bit about them so I will go with his advice


Ride it like you stole it!

I was talking to the OP.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk 2
 

crutter

Site Supporter
Messages
844
Location
Frederick, Md
Do like bill said and just upgrade to the hydraulic cam plate with the hydraulic shoe tensioners. Your crank has to be in a certain tolerance with its runout to use the cams. If the run out is to much on your stock crank you have to pull your bottom end to get the crank tried up. If your crank is in spec today what says the runout won't change in 30000 miles. While the gear drive does free up some parasitic horsepower I prefer the hydraulic cam plate. I don't remember you saying what year your bike was. You may not even have the "bad" tensioners. All the 06 and newer motors have the upgraded tensioners. If doing the new cam plate with hydraulic tensioners check out the new duel plunger hydraulic tensioners from zippers. They are cutting edge and coming back with great reviews.
 

Zach

Site Supporter
Messages
5,785
Location
Portland, OR
Need to know what year the OP bike is. Like crutter said though, if it's already using the hydraulic tensioners, just keep it. Replace them when needed.

Gear drive is great, but runout needs to be less than .003 with very little chance it will move. Gear drive is probably overkill for most street applications, especially with todays crank tolerances the factory is allowing.

Zach
 

jrbonniwell

Site Supporter
Messages
736
Location
VIRGINIA BEACH
It was only the early twin cam engines that used the spring tensioners, when the 96" came out they switched to the hydraulic tensioners. So if your bagger is an 07 and up your good to go!!
 
Last edited:

crutter

Site Supporter
Messages
844
Location
Frederick, Md
They used the spring tensioners in all twin cam motors up to 2006(2005 for dynas). That's also when they changed the journal sizes of the cams
 

dbell66253

One of THE 150!
Messages
622
Location
South Florida
I had my crank trued and welded and went with gear drive cams, I have no problem with them, but there are a lot more choices with chain drive, and as stated before with the new (07-up) hydraulic tensioners, the wear is a lot less, also you can upgrade if you have an older bike.
 

clewis022002

Well-Known Member
Messages
56
Location
Fort Knox Ky
Well, that settles that since my bike is a 2010 I shouldn't have to worry. He wasn't trackin on the upgrade (never said he was smart) since his bike is an '05 he said this was one of the first hings he had done. I personally don't touch the motor unless its simple stuff. Anything internal gets done by the pros, thus the reason I wasn't sure about the tensioner.
 

crutter

Site Supporter
Messages
844
Location
Frederick, Md
That's great news. So now to install a set of cams in your bike all you need to do is pick your cams and get some gaskets. Where do you live? Guys on this forum live all over the us and are always willing to help. No need in spending 500-800 in labor when you don't have to! While you have the new tensioners I would recomend some upgrades to the cam chest while you are in there. First is the inner cam bearings. The stock ones from Harley are become junk when you start adding power. Upgrade to the screaming eagle/Torrington bearings($15.00). Second I would say get a billet cam plate w/ hi flow oil pump. The stock plates aren't that great. The new pump flows more oil at higher pressures. The billet cam plates are precision made to allow maximum oil flow through the plate. I would also upgrade the oil pressure spring and plunger. The spring is made by baisley and will give you 10 psi of oil at idle when the motor is hot. Unlike the stock spring that gives you 0. The last thing I would upgrade is the tensioners. I would go with the Zippers duel plunger tensioners(150). They allow for better chain stability which leads to more accurate cam timing and a quiter valve train. Again these are just recommendations and things I have done in the past with good results
 

clewis022002

Well-Known Member
Messages
56
Location
Fort Knox Ky
Thanks for the info. As far as help goes Im in Korea for a couple more months then I will be in Louisville/ Elizabethtown Kentucky. This is just one of the things on the to do list. Gotta get my 23‘‘ and raked trees on first. Of course that means I have to decide which trees Im gonna order.
 

Bill

I used to own some shit!
Messages
7,115
Location
Omaha NE
Thanks for the info. As far as help goes Im in Korea for a couple more months then I will be in Louisville/ Elizabethtown Kentucky. This is just one of the things on the to do list. Gotta get my 23‘‘ and raked trees on first. Of course that means I have to decide which trees Im gonna order.

Pickard has a group buy going on.
 

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