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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another rider on the Aussie forum has done the Stage 3 kit in his Chief and he mentions an upgraded cam chain tensioner, which has been installed in his engine.

tensioners.jpg

The upgraded tensioner is considerably stouter than the one originally used in models up to 2016 (and maybe 2017). The plunger would obviously be more sure to retain it's position when the back of the cam chain tries it's best to pull itself straight under hard acceleration. And it's only $49.59 US. Cheap, easy to install insurance against any risk of the cam chain going slack (however unlikely that may be).
BUT when I looked it up on-line, I found that the original tensioner #3022627 has indeed been superseded by #3023323. Still, curiosity made me lookup the parts for 2018 & 2019 models and they have a different tensioner part #3023459. What's up with that? What's mechanically different in the later edition Thunder Strokes that requires a different tensioner? Or is the late model part a better upgrade still? The price is the same for either. I want the best I can get for my Stage 3 Roadmaster. Hmmmmm....
 

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They may have just decided to put the "upgraded" cam chain tensioner in new motors going forward on the premise that the owner will someday want the 116 kit.
 

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@speedjunkie

I wonder if the newer cam tensioner would make a difference on those 111s that get really noisy after installing the 585s? Dean
 

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I thought I read that the new one has more teeth per inch to allow for finer adjustments as the chain wears.
 

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Perhaps, it is just a part change # because they changed vendors. I believe that is how they do it at Indian...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@speedjunkie

I wonder if the newer cam tensioner would make a difference on those 111s that get really noisy after installing the 585s? Dean
Give the man a See-Gar! I KNEW that the issue regarding various reasons for noisy engines was gonna come up.

For what it's worth, looking at the photos and having handled, removed and reinstalled the original enough, I doubt that the old & new versions have different numbers of teeth-per-inch, because the original was already finely toothed. But I could be wrong.

I also doubt that it'll have any effect on noise production in normal operation in an engine that isn't being PUSHED HARD AT THE MOMENT. All this thing does is take-up slack in the cam chain. Once it has done that, it locks in place. Eventually, if the cam chain and it's gears wear enough to develop new slack, the tensioner will step in another tooth and lock in place.

Apparently the OEM has determined that the original may not always be up to the task of maintaining a tight cam chain under heavy loads, so they've designed a tougher cam chain tensioner with a stouter casting and plunger. Maybe the spring that pushes the pawl against the plunger-rack is stiffer too.

But we have to wonder, did some of the originals fail catastrophically, as in cracked castings? were plungers slammed to the opposite stop? when the high load condition eased, did the tensioner re-extend to it's previous position or was it exhausted and unable to do so? how often did the original tensioners fail anyway? It couldn't be very common or... (a) We'd be reading posts from riders who's engines suffered significant failure or suddenly got noisy (b) the OEM would issue a recall, rather than deal with bad press and pissed of owners.

Personally, I don't expect that we're going to get answers to all (any?) of the above questions. I'm OK with swapping out an easy part to get to, in the interest of "insurance". Just under $50 plus the price of a gasket is cheap insurance, even though I suspect doing nothing would be likely fine as well.

BUT I want to know what is the difference between the cam chain tensioner replacement for the early TS111s and the one for the later models?
 

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Indian upgraded the cam tensioner on their own. WOW I’m really impressed Harley would never do that even when they know there’s a problem. But they will sell you the fix ! Lmao speaking from much experience
 

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Give the man a See-Gar! I KNEW that the issue regarding various reasons for noisy engines was gonna come up.

For what it's worth, looking at the photos and having handled, removed and reinstalled the original enough, I doubt that the old & new versions have different numbers of teeth-per-inch, because the original was already finely toothed. But I could be wrong.

I also doubt that it'll have any effect on noise production in normal operation in an engine that isn't being PUSHED HARD AT THE MOMENT. All this thing does is take-up slack in the cam chain. Once it has done that, it locks in place. Eventually, if the cam chain and it's gears wear enough to develop new slack, the tensioner will step in another tooth and lock in place.

Apparently the OEM has determined that the original may not always be up to the task of maintaining a tight cam chain under heavy loads, so they've designed a tougher cam chain tensioner with a stouter casting and plunger. Maybe the spring that pushes the pawl against the plunger-rack is stiffer too.

But we have to wonder, did some of the originals fail catastrophically, as in cracked castings? were plungers slammed to the opposite stop? when the high load condition eased, did the tensioner re-extend to it's previous position or was it exhausted and unable to do so? how often did the original tensioners fail anyway? It couldn't be very common or... (a) We'd be reading posts from riders who's engines suffered significant failure or suddenly got noisy (b) the OEM would issue a recall, rather than deal with bad press and pissed of owners.

Personally, I don't expect that we're going to get answers to all (any?) of the above questions. I'm OK with swapping out an easy part to get to, in the interest of "insurance". Just under $50 plus the price of a gasket is cheap insurance, even though I suspect doing nothing would be likely fine as well.

BUT I want to know what is the difference between the cam chain tensioner replacement for the early TS111s and the one for the later models?
I do know that some of the "cam noise" that was present on the 2014s were resolved by the replacement of the tensioner. The big difference is the noise was present at all RPMs not like the clankers that were only once the engine was warm and at certain engine loads and RPMs. On the 2015s the intake cam profile was slightly changed to keep some of that noise down. Since I know of bikes that were quiet before doing the 585s and quite noisy after the install it makes you think about the tensioner. Finer serrations and a stiffer retention spring might make a difference with a high ramp profile cam. Just a thought. Dean
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do know that some of the "cam noise" that was present on the 2014s were resolved by the replacement of the tensioner.
Thanks for that Dean. But were the 2014 models quieted down with the same tensioner that was the original part in the 2016/2017 models, or were they fixed recently enough that they were fixed with the upgraded part or late model (2018/2019) part?
 

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Thanks for that Dean. But were the 2014 models quieted down with the same tensioner that was the original part in the 2016/2017 models, or were they fixed recently enough that they were fixed with the upgraded part or late model (2018/2019) part?
I would say most likely the 2016/17 but I do not know for sure. Dean
 

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Vender changes on parts will change the part number.it doesn't nessessarly mean an up grade,quite the opposite usually.an engineer's job is to figure out how to save money in the manufacturing process.often that means trimming costs on parts.
 

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Vender changes on parts will change the part number.it doesn't nessessarly mean an up grade,quite the opposite usually.an engineer's job is to figure out how to save money in the manufacturing process.often that means trimming costs on parts.
True, but I see nothing in the changes in the tensioner that would suggest something to simplify manufacturing or save costs. My money is still on some sort of improvement. Dean
 

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But we have to wonder, did some of the originals fail catastrophically, as in cracked castings? were plungers slammed to the opposite stop? when the high load condition eased, did the tensioner re-extend to it's previous position or was it exhausted and unable to do so? how often did the original tensioners fail anyway?
I have heard of the black screwed in spring keeper/cap (for lack of a better description) on the back of the tensioner failed on several bikes.
 

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On the HD forums they were moaning about their M8 tensioners locking up - something about not moving for a while then becoming totally solid incapable of moving. (not enough free play in the tensioner to move from one tooth to the next then becoming locked, or something like that)
It was not an expensive replacement to do.

It's funny in a way - part of me thinks:

"Au $38000 bike... get the effing thing RIGHT"

Another part of me thinks:

"Damn, SO many things that need to be pretty close in tolerance yet free enough to work.... then built to a lowest quote price from manufacturers... by a penny pinching company... no wonder it buggers over sometimes"
 

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Asked my dealer to call the mothership and ask for confirmation & any further info. Here's the response.

Added On: 2/13/2019 11:13 AM by

Part Numbers : (1) 3022493 ASM-TENSIONER
Customer was doing some research and discovered the cam tensioners for the thunder strokes have been redesigned a few times over the last few years. Can you please explain to me why and what the differences are? Also, which production is in the bike listed and which version is the best so I can let him know. Thanks
Added On: 2/13/2019 1:13 PM by
The one in this bike was used from 14-17. This tensioner supersedes to the new tensioner number. Some of the 14-17 bikes the tensioner was prone to retracting and sticking so you would start to get cam chain noise.
Added On: 2/13/2019 2:39 PM by
So what's the most up to date part number? And I assume I can put the upgraded version in this customers bike

Added On: 2/13/2019 3:12 PM by
3022493 is the newest part.
Yes it can be installed in this bike.




Mike
 

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Thanks Craig! He's talking about the plastic flipper, not the mechanical adjuster!



Mike
My bad! I show that is the same number for all models and had not realized that it changed.

Cam Tensioner 3022627 (2016) now 3023323
Cam Tensioner 3023459 (2019)
Cam Chain 3222215 (2019) (2014 through 2019)
(Plastic) Tensioner: 3022493 (2014 through 2019)
Cam chain Guide: 3022494 (2014 through 2019)
 
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