Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner Recall! Whether The Issue Is Ever Solved

Harley Davidson had cam tensioner with problem the pre-2006 Dyna and 1999-2006 HD twin cam motors but there is no recall for it. In these model years, the cam tensioner shoes are prone to failure because of their massive design flaws.

So, what Harley Davidson does to fix the issue and whether the issue has been ever totally solved? That’s the burning question of the discussion. So, what to wait for more? Let’s begin.

What Year Did Harley Davidson Had Cam Tensioners Issue?

The cam chain tensioner automatically maintains the correct and necessary tension of the timing chain that rotates the camshaft and crankshaft in automotive engines. 

Although it is an important component, the cam chain tensioner failure appears as a herculean matter in older Harley Davidson models. 

In these models, the system uses plastic shoes which are prone to fail. The issue is so concerning that Harley Davidson decided to recall the cam chain tensioner in some models. 

Following it, Harley Davidson had problems with the pre-2006 Dyna’s and 1999-2006 HD twin cam motors with spring-loaded cam chain followers.

Why Did Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner Fail? 

The Cam Tensioner
The Cam Tensioner

Once again, Harley Davidson recalled the cam tensioner as it is vulnerable to failure, compromising the bikers’ road safety. 

Actually, it was designed poorly in the first place. As stated, the cam chain system uses plastic shoes loaded on the chain follower. 

What actually happens, when these plastic shoes rub with each other they wear out due the friction. In extreme cases, the cam chain tensioner failure can lead to fatal and dangerous engine failures. 

It is because when the plastic shoe wears out, the plastic shreds into the rotary gear of the oil pump blocking its flow of oil to the engine. 

The main problem is that the failure occurs at different mileage. Moreover, you will not hear anything about what is going on. It means it is impossible to predict when the failure may occur. 

So of course the riders will not be able to take any precautions resulting in a potential compromise of road safety. 

Concerning it, Harley Davidson recalls the listed HD models of the following year 1999 to 2006. 

So, if you have an affected Harley Davidson model with the cam tensioner issue, our opinion is to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Read Also: 6 Best High Performance Clutch For Harley Davidson

In Which Year Does Harley Davidson Fix The Cam Tensioner Issue?

As you see the cam tensioner failure issue was common in the older models of Harley Davidson. 

That being said, the issue appeared as a massive problem for the owners than the gas consumption or any other parts failure. You know, twin cam discussion forums were so full of discussion asking for a solution. 

So, the Harley Davidson comes with a solution that was introduced in the 2007 model. 

In all the models of the following 2007, the cam chain tensioner system is replaced by the hydraulic actuated tensioner as a part of the recall. 

The action of Harley Davidson aims not to compromise the bikers’ safety because of the cam tensioner problem. Indeed, it has resolved the issue in most aspects!

Read Also: What Is Harley Davidson Stage 1: Everything You Need To Know

Does A Hydraulic Cam Chain Tensioner Upgrade Fix the Problem?

 Hydraulic Cam Chain Tensioner

At this point, you may be wondering whether the cam tensioner issue is really fixed after replacing it with the hydraulic tensioning system. Well, actually it is not! 

Of course, the hydraulic tensioner upgrade is much better than the problematic cam tensioner, and we also recommend going for it. 

But you should not be totally relaxed as you have to get the shoes inspected from time to time.

The chain has to face friction leading to wear down over time and you have to replace it in about 50,000 miles or 80,000 miles. 

So, is there no actual fix for the failing problem? Actually, there is, and it is to convert the chain into a gear drive. 

Although the gear drive is expensive and noisy, you can save time and money in the long run with it.

Read Also: Who Makes Harley Davidson Batteries? (Leader in Quality)

How To Fix The Cam Tensioner Issue On The Affected Harley Davidson Models?

With that being said, the cam tensioner problem is not something that you should bear too long. 

If you are owning an HD with a cam tensioner issue, there are certain things you can do to fix the problem. Then let us see what you can do. 

Fix 1- Change The Entire Cam Chain Tensioner System

The first recommended fix for you concerning the cam tensioner problem is to get rid of the whole affected cam tensioner system. 

You can do so by switching the system entirely to the gear-driven cams in the listed years. 

You can find many companies that sell aftermarket kits for replacing the cam tensioner system in them. 

The kit will cost you around $750 without labor. It is the best bet, as you will have an upgraded cam tensioner in your Harley Davidson, which in turn will give you more performance.

Fix 2- Upgrade The Cam Chain Tensioner System 

Now let’s come to the second option. Upgrade the cam tensioning system of your affected HD. 

Harley Davidson also sells cam tensioner upgrade/fix kits to resolve the issue. The fixing kit itself will be around $499 without any labor cost. 

But you should keep in mind that you will not get upgraded cams through this kit. 

The fix or upgrade kit comes with just a high-flow oil pump and a hydraulic cam chain tensioner. 

Again, we suggest, you should not go for this fix kit as it will not resolve the problem totally and you will be stuck with it. 

Still, it all depends on your budget of course.

Read Also: What Is Harley Davidson Engine Number & Where To Find It?

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have some more queries about the cam tensioner matter of the Harley Davidson. Do not worry! Here we will cover the most asked information for you. 

Does Harley Davidson Have Any Recalls For Recent Or Late Models?

Yeah, Harley Davidson has current recalls that affect more than 238,000 Harley Davidson bikes between 2017 and 2018 models. The problem is with the secondary clutch actuator, which is deteriorating or has had sealing issues from the beginning. Due to this, the bikes are having performance issues.

What Is The Harley Davidson Cam Chain Tensioner Replacement Cost?

For replacing the Harley Davidson cam chain tensioner, the spare parts itself will cost you about $400 to $800. As for the labor cost it depends on the mechanic or the area. It will be around $400 to $600. So the total cost will be $800 to $1400.

How Long Do Harley Davidson Cam Chain Tensioners Last?

The cam chain tensioners of Harley Davidson can last about 80,000 to 120,000 miles. But this duration of the cam chain tensioner all depends on the proper maintenance and care. You can have premature tensioner failure due to a lack of maintenance. 

What If I Want To Buy A Recalled Harley Davidson? 

As in our opinion, you better not go buying an affected or recalled Harley Davidson model. It is because you need to upgrade or convert the cam tensioner system to fix the inherent tensioner problem. Moreover, it can also cause sudden engine damage. 

Final Word 

All right, you have got all points aboutthe Harley Davidson cam tensioner recall. We hope so! Having a hydraulic cam chain tensioner upgrade in the listed HD years can work just fine in most cases. 

Upgrading the cam tensioning system with the gear-driven cam is the thing you can do all to fix the problem altogether. Although it is expensive, still it is much better than the cam issue.

Read Also: Understanding Harley Davidson Instrument Panel Lights

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