Twin Cam Chain Tensioners
As you can see in the two pictures. One is a 2002 FLHRI with 43,000 miles on it and the other is a 2003 FLHRI with 26,000 miles. Both very similar with respect to wear however, they are 17000 miles apart. Many customers have brought in articles from the internet that indicate that the cam chain tensioners are no good after 14,000 miles. This is not correct. We have changed many many Cam Chain Tensioners and have found that the wear is dependent on a lot of different things.
Most Harley-Davidson dealerships are suggesting that you inspect your Cam Chain Tensioners at around 30,000 miles,however, that is not to say we are seeing problems with them that soon.
There are many variables that relate to the wear patterns. Fluids, maintenance, tension on the springs, and rider habits such as goosing the throttle are all variables. You know your motorcycle and how you ride.
Some customers have done their own evaluation on their cam chain tensioners and not noticed any wear at all. It is important to point out that both the primary and secondary cam chain tensioner needs to be evaluated. It is usually the inner cam chain tensioner that wears the most. This is generally because the secondary or inner cam tensioner picks up more slack. There tends to be less movement on the primary or front cam tensioner.
As stated above, we like to check the cam chain tensioners anywhere around 30,000 miles, but will do a check if the customers requests before then. If the cam chain tensioners do go, you are at risk of replacing several items within the engine, including the cam plate itself and possibly the oil pump (possibility of spreading metal pieces into the crank and into the oil pump).
We suggest you visit Boyd Cycles and discuss the issue.