The Inside

She looks naked

I’ve been riding since 1978 and I’ve owned 3 bikes. While many of you have owned as many bikes on any given day, I may aspire to that but I can only do what the bank account says I can do. The peculiar thing about my 3 bikes in 40 years, I’ve never been inside them……

…..until now.

I don’t claim to be a wrench, never have, never will. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to do things, I’m not afraid to get in there and see what I can do. But most times, I’d rather not and leave it to the pros. When possible. In this particular case, financially, it’s not possible. So I decided to take on the replacement of the cam chain tensioners myself. While a daunting task, I put aside my inhibitions and forged ahead.

Rods exposed
Box covers off

In all honesty, I humbly admit, if not for YouTube, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. I wouldn’t even attempt it. But thanks to being able to SEE it being done, I know what to do…… kinda sorta like maybe I think. What that means is, watching someone on YouTube, a professional on Fix My Hog, perform the work that I need to do is almost misleading. He’s a pro, he has all the tools, has done this a gazillion times and has other brainy mechanic types within feet who also know what to do. Bottom line is, they make it look simple.

As an example, I’ve never removed a tank before, so I watched three YouTube videos on how to do it. Each of these guys had the tank off in less than 15 minutes. It took me over an hour. The simple task of draining the fuel was a task in itself and that was freaking messy. To further my point, if I really need to, the guys on Fix My Hog and some YouTube videos make it look really freaking easy and a relatively short term project. I’ve had many people say to me “You should be able to have this done in an afternoon and running”. Oh? Oh really? You think so? Uh, no. Absolutely not. By my estimation, I expect to spend at least two full weekends working on this.

What?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! I can here the screaming now. Easy there.

Of all of my personal traits, habits, processes and things that make me ME. The one that I can honestly say benefits me and pisses everyone off is my impressive and superior patience. Watch grass grow or metal rust? Sure, no problem? So, I knew to begin with that I would employ this superpower and in the same manner I approach my riding, I’m in no hurry and I’ll meet you there. I can’t “F” this up, there is no grey area when doing this. Patience.

Open heart surgery

So yes, I plan on going very, very slowly. This is a process and like any process you might be unfamiliar with, patience and anti-speed is your friend. Laugh all you want, I’m being methodical and insanely organized.

I started working on it last week with the procedure of taking parts off the bike but because of the cold, I didn’t get very far. But yesterday, with the heaters going and the temperature in the 50’s, inside the Ted Shed, I began the really arduous task of really pulling it apart as you have seen in the photos. I started at 10:30 in the morning and by 6 p.m. I had it down to this next photo. The Cam Support Plate. The part that holds the little bastards that started this whole thing: The Cam Chain Tensioners.

Cam Support Plate

This is where the whole operation came to a grinding halt. In order to replace the inner cam chain tensioner, I have to remove the cams on the reverse of the plate in the photo. These cams are pressed into the bearings, specifically, the one on the right. The one on the left will actually come out on its own, but not with the cam chain on it, which is attached to the one on the right, which needs to be pressed out. Guess who doesn’t have a press?

This guy.

So, since my local dealer is closed for the day, this part of the job is not going to happen. So I’m at a standstill until I can get this done. Now I know there are kits to do this that involves a hammer and other implements of destruction. I don’t want to spend any money on anything that involves a hammer in conjunction with my motorcycle engine. Something about those two things together just don’t sound right. and I refuse to get involved in that.

Outter (top) and Inner (bottom) Cam Chain Tensioners. Very close to the grenade point.

Now that the disassembly is done, nearly anyway, the only remaining task is putting it all back together. But putting it back together, correctly. This, while seemingly easy enough, has me on pins and needles. There is a lot I have to do correctly and properly or the whole thing will mushroom cloud. At which point the Ted Shed will be reduced to the Ted Rubble.

There’s “O” rings to change, gaskets to change, gears to line-up, timing to get right and bolts to torque down. Once that is all done, the only thing left to do comes down to the fearful point of pushing the start button on my handlebars. Like I said earlier, two full weekends, maybe three if I’m really scared.

In 1999, two days before Christmas, our house burned down, most of it anyway. Through the next 11 months, my brother in-law was my contractor hired to rebuild our home. The tearing down of the structure was done by hand, so that the unburned part could be integrated into the new parts. He had a very interesting thing to say about the process.

“Demolition is easy, very easy. You can’t ruin whatever is being demolished. Rebuilding is the hard part. If you screw up the build it gets expensive”.

I reminded him of that a few weeks later when I told him he had to move a critical window 4″ to the right. He was not happy.

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