Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner Recall – What You Need To Know

If you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle, take note of the cam tensioner recall. The cam tensioners are devices that adjust the camshafts in the engine.

They can become defective, causing the engine to overheat and potentially fail. Harley Davidson recalls all cam tensioners because they may need to meet the manufacturer’s specifications. If your bike is affected by the recall, you must take it in for repair. In addition, you should be aware of the risks associated with the cam tensioners. If your bike has a cam tensioner problem, it may overheat and fail.

We will discuss the Harley Davidson cam tensioner recall and what you must do to ensure your bike is safe. We will also provide tips on inspecting and maintaining your motorcycle’s cam tensioner in case you experience any problems.

What Is A Cam Tensioner?

What Is A Cam Tensioner

A Harley Davidson cam tensioner is a component on a Harley Davidson motorcycle that prevents the chain from coming off the sprocket. The cam tensioner uses a set of cams to adjust the tension on the chain. Which helps keep it from slipping off the sprocket and becoming damaged or unusable.

The cam tensioner, or the original tensioner, is crucial in properly timing and preventing Tensioner Failure. Equipped with a roller bearing, this wear item ensures optimal performance and minimizes excessive wear on the engine’s components.

Its high-quality material guarantees longevity and reliability. A damaged or faulty cam tensioner can cause several issues for a Harley Davidson owner, including reduced fuel efficiency and an increased risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Signs And Symptoms Of Cam Tensioner Issues

If you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of cam tensioner issues. Issues can be caused by worn tensioner pads or improper hydraulic tensioners. It’s important to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage to the engine’s cam chain and gears.

Cam tensioner problems can also result in decreased performance and power loss. If left unchecked, the worn gears and shaft can cause the cam chain to jump or skip teeth, leading to potential engine failure.

It’s crucial to have the cam tensioner inspected and replaced if necessary, opting for gear drive cams if applicable. Don’t ignore the warning signs; get your vehicle checked by a professional to ensure optimal performance and avoid costly repairs down the road. 10 common signs of cam tensioner issues include:

  • Excessive engine noise
  • Engine misfires
  • Poor performance
  • Difficulty starting
  • Engine overheating
  • Oil leaks
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Vibrations
  • Engine stalling
  • Ticking or rattling noise from the engine

Why Does Harley Davidson Recall Its Cam Tensioners?

Why Does Harley Davidson Recall Its Cam Tensioners

Harley Davidson has issued a recall on its cam tensioners due to potential defects that could cause engine damage or failure. The cam tensioners are responsible for controlling the timing of the engine’s valves. If they fail, it can lead to serious issues such as engine misfires, loss of power, or even complete engine failure. The specific reasons why Harley Davidson recalls its cam tensioners include:

  • Safety concerns
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Brand Reputation
  • Compliance with regulations
  • Customer support

To address these issues, Harley Davidson has implemented a recall program to replace faulty or potentially defective cam tensioners. Owners of affected motorcycles are encouraged to contact their local dealerships for more information and to schedule an appointment for the necessary repairs. Owners must take prompt action to ensure their safety and prevent further damage to their motorcycles.

Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner Recall – How To Fix It

Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner Recall – How To Fix It

The Harley Davidson cam tensioner recall is a component of the timing chain assembly that ensures proper and even tension on the camshaft. When this component fails, it can lead to serious engine damage, including valves, pistons, and cylinder head damage.

The failure can also be caused by neglect or improper maintenance. To prevent the potential issue, it is recommended that you schedule a comprehensive inspection of your timing chain and other components at regular intervals. If you notice any Harley Davidson Cam tensioner issues, you should have it replaced immediately. Follow these steps to replace your Harley Davidson Cam tensioner:

  • First, remove all bolts and nuts holding the timing chain cover in place. Next, remove the two bolts securing the upper timing chain sprocket to the timing case.
  • Using a special tool known as a timing chain tool, remove and set aside the camshaft sprocket.
  • Remove the two bolts securing the camshaft sprocket to the timing case using a special tool called a timing chain puller.
  • Once you remove all bolts, carefully lift the engine’s cover to reveal the location of new camshaft sprockets and chains needed for installation.
  • Install new chains into their respective locations with new sprockets attached securely.
  • Slide the old chain off of the sprocket under it before installing the new chain on the sprocket with the new sprocket attached firmly.
  • Place fresh oil in the crankcase as needed for proper lubrication of cylinders and connecting rods before reassembling the cover over the engine.
  • Replace all bolts and nuts as necessary before replacing the cover over the engine.

The Impact Of Cam Tensioner Issues On Performance And Safety

Cam tensioner issues can significantly impact the performance and safety of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The cam tensioner is responsible for maintaining the proper tension of the cam chains, which play a crucial role in controlling the timing of the engine’s valves.

If the tensioner becomes worn or fails, it can lead to excessive chain slack, potentially causing misfires, loss of power, or even engine damage. We recommend replacing the faulty cam tensioner with an updated hydraulic cam chain tensioner to fix this issue. Additionally, inspecting and replacing damaged gaskets during the repair process is important to ensure proper sealing and prevent oil leaks.

How Do Harley Davidson Cam Tensioners Work?

How Do Harley Davidson Cam Tensioners Work

Harley Davidson cam tensioners are an important component of the twin cam motor. They work by maintaining the proper tension on the cam chain, which is crucial for the engine’s performance and longevity.

The cam tensioners are located inside the cam cover and can be accessed by following the instructions provided in the service manual for your specific Harley Davidson model. If you suspect an issue with your cam outer tensioner, it is recommended that you consult the service manual or seek professional assistance for proper diagnosis and repair.

Other Risks With The Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner

Other Risks With The Harley Davidson Cam Tensioner

There are several risks associated with the Harley Davidson cam chain tensioner problem. One of the main risks is that it can become damaged, which can cause the cam chain to slip and lead to a failure in the drive system. If this happens, it can lead to serious damage and even loss of life.

Wear and tear can also contribute to the cam chain tensioner issue. This can cause additional friction and make the cam chain slip more frequently, leading to a failure in the drive system. It is important to address these concerns promptly to avoid potential issues such as metal shavings in the transmissions and decreased oil pressure.

Another risk is that the cam tensioner may need to adjust properly. Suppose someone needs to adjust it properly. It could cause excessive friction or damage to the drive chain or other parts of the motorcycle engine. One important aspect of maintaining your Harley Davidson is regularly checking the engine oil level and inspecting the cam chain tensioner.

By staying vigilant with these cam chain tensioner inspections, you can prevent cam chain tensioner failures or issues with the cam chain tensioner, ensuring a smooth and reliable ride. A properly adjusted cam tensioner will result in proper tension on the belt, preventing damage to parts.


The Harley Davidson cam tensioner recall is an issue that affects a large number of motorcycles. The recall is due to the risk of the cam tensioner failing and causing the motorcycle to lose power, possibly leading to an accident. If you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle, you must take action and find out if your bike is affected by the recall.

If so, you must find out how to fix the cam tensioner problem and avoid risks. We have discussed the issue in detail and provided helpful tips to avoid potential complications. Following our advice, you can rest assured that you and your motorcycle will be safe during this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Years Did Harley Have Cam Tensioner Problems?

Harley-Davidson had cam tensioner problems primarily in the 1999-2006 model years. These issues were associated with abnormal and excessive noise, often caused by faulty cam chain tensioners.

How Do I Know If My Cam Tensioner Is Bad?

A bad cam tensioner can cause excessive noise, engine performance issues, and timing chain problems. If you have a high-flow oil pump, it is important to ensure the cam tensioner functions properly to avoid potential damage or complications.

Can You Drive With A Bad Tensioner?

Driving with a bad tensioner can be risky, especially for a Road King. A bad tensioner can cause the drive belt to slip or break, resulting in loss of power steering, electrical failure, and engine overheating. It is best to have the tensioner replaced as soon as possible.

What Causes A Timing Chain Tensioner To Go Bad?

The most common cause of a timing chain tensioner going bad is wear and tear over time. The tensioner may become worn or damaged, leading to a loss of tension on the timing chain, resulting in poor engine performance and potential damage.

Can The Tensioner Cause A Loss Of Power?

Yes, the tensioner in a vehicle’s engine can cause a loss of power if it is not functioning properly. The tensioner is responsible for keeping the engine’s belts tight, and if it becomes worn or damaged, it can result in belt slippage and a decrease in power output.

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