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Author Topic: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley  (Read 3509 times)

Offline jrobinson

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Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« on: January 14, 2012, 11:00:09 PM »
Over the past couple months I've noticed a noise coming from the engine on my Harley. It's a 1999 Electra Glide Classic Twin Cam 88 CI. The bike is showing 114K, I've put 40K on it in a little over 3 years.

I planned to rebuild the engine over the winter months. I bought a sport bike to ride while mine was down. I've researched the problem and found the timing chains have issues wearing the tensioner.  Maybe I can change out the chain and tensioners and save a little time and money.

So with the weather being fairly nice today, I decided to try to get the bike in the garage. A little hill climb is required.


On the operating table


Closeup of the Cam Cover


Shields removed from header


Running board and header removed for better access


I removed the 10 hex head bolts and the cover came off. I expected the chain tensioner to be worn, I didn't expect it to fall apart.



Where the tensioner lever and shoe should be.


Note the slack in the chain without the tensioner.



Now I have to pull the cams and cam plate to see about the chain and tensioner on the back side.

I've read about an upgrade kit that replaces the stock spring tensioners with hydraulic ones. The same style that is used on the 2007 and up engines.

More to come...

Offline dredman

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 11:22:42 PM »
is the engine giving you problems besides the cam chain, or did you just figure it was time?

I want to put over 100K on a bike  :(

good stuff  :-*

Offline ironslede68

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2012, 11:31:00 PM »
while you've got it down that far go ahead and check the cam bearings as well. unless you've already changed them that is.

also the best fix for the chain tentioners is to get rid of them altogether. there is a kit out there that converts it over to gear drive instead of chain, no more problem.

have a good time with your wrench time johnny, i always did.  :-*
Slede's YouTube Channel

full throttle, it either solves the problem or ends the suspense

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Offline jrobinson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2012, 11:32:44 PM »
When I first heard the noise I thought it was deeper than the chains. Research on the internet pointed to the chains, so I'm starting there. The engine is running fine. Lawnmower reported I was running triple digits when we went to Stockton. So I'm good with the running of the engine for now.

Offline ironslede68

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2012, 11:36:50 PM »
the 99's and 00's where notorious for cam bearing failure, if you got to 100k then you either got one of the very few with good bearings or you or somebody else already changed them. if they do go out and you keep riding it, you will be buying new cams as well as bearings because it will hammer them.


and the gear drive kit is in the neiboor hood of 2g's.
Slede's YouTube Channel

full throttle, it either solves the problem or ends the suspense

 A warrior may choose pacifism. Others are condemned to it.

Offline jrobinson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 11:40:53 PM »
Josh, I'm gonna check all that. I like the idea of the gear drive, but I'm reading that is there's too much end play in the crank that will cause problems. You have any experience with that?

I'll at least upgrade to the hyd tensioners.

Offline ironslede68

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 11:46:38 PM »
first i heard of the end play problem, that may be why harley refused to use the fix they recomend  ^-^
Slede's YouTube Channel

full throttle, it either solves the problem or ends the suspense

 A warrior may choose pacifism. Others are condemned to it.

Offline Bamaeagle

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2012, 12:35:55 AM »
Boy I like to watch a good wrench project.....

Nice pics.......Looking forward to see more.... :-*
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Offline springer

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 01:02:02 AM »
 Gear drive cams,546G, S+S brand, kit came with bearings, gasket, kit list price now is $750.00 in J+P, did mine @ 3k on the motor along with head work, (by Jerry Branch, ported, polished, )  swaped the carb for a S+S super E, Crane Fire Ball controllor. For a little over 2k $. Did it myself. Have over 100K on my Springer now.

 J+P has the S+S 95inch hot set up kit, new hi-flow heads, new pistons, new cyclinders, rings, pushrods, 585 gear drive cams, new tappets, gaskets for $2780.00. 
 Have your cylinders bored to 95inch, your heads reworked by Branch, and you could save enough to add a new oil pump and cam plate plus carb for around the same price.
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Offline SlowRoad

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 06:08:15 AM »
Man, it's a wonder that cam chain didn't jump time on you with that much slack!! Glad you found it before that happened.
"The thing I like most about BR is you never meet strangers just new friends."      Smiley

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Offline jrobinson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 09:42:49 AM »
Thanks for the info Springer. That will help a lot.

Has anyone had any dealings with Wood Performance in Cropwell, Al? I know Andrews grinds their cams, but would like to buy in state if possible.

Offline kylepeterson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 09:52:41 AM »
Thanks for the info Springer. That will help a lot.

Has anyone had any dealings with Wood Performance in Cropwell, Al? I know Andrews grinds their cams, but would like to buy in state if possible.

curiosity...

given the engine didn't grenade in the first 114,000 miles, even with a droopy timing chain:

check endplay with dial indicator
check lubricatoin (it must be good eh?)
install new chain guides
make note in service book to change guides every 40-50k
ride ?

aparently the bike isn't losing compression or having other working issues given you aren't complaining about power loss. it's always fun to find a problem, fix it cheaply and ride some more.

nice pics !
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Offline ironslede68

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 10:22:21 PM »
you had a chance to do anything this week johnny? the suspence is killing me  :)
Slede's YouTube Channel

full throttle, it either solves the problem or ends the suspense

 A warrior may choose pacifism. Others are condemned to it.

Offline jrobinson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 10:33:38 PM »
nothing yet. I'll probably get back on this on Saturday.  It's killing me too. 

I called Woods Performance today, but Bobby was at lunch. I didn't get a chance to call back.

Offline jrobinson

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Re: Timing Chain Noise on Twin Cam Harley
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 07:58:03 PM »
More teardown on the Harley.

Air cleaner assembly removed to expose the pushrod tubes.


Next I removed the clips at the top of the tubes.


With the top clips removed, the tube can be raised to access the pushrod near the lifter.


Bolt cutters are used to cut the old pushrods. These will be replaced with adjustable ones. You can pull the rocker boxes and reuse the old ones, but this is easier.


Pushrods and tubes removed


Since I plan to replace the lifters, I pulled the lifter blocks. Removed the rod that keeps the lifters from turning.


Pulled the lifters, removed the timing chain gears, removed 6 bolts and the cam support plate


More chain tensioner parts.


Inside the cam chest.


The back side of the cam plate, the cams and worn chain tensioner.



Business end of the tensioner. Not much left.


While I'm here, I'm going to check the runout on the pinion shaft. If this is more than .002 then gear drive system is out. A short video of checking the runout.

http://youtu.be/UVHN89XL3XA
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 08:02:48 PM by jrobinson »