Changing cams is about more than just picking a grind.Make no mistake; that’s definitely step one, and whether it’s a mild performance bump on the wish list, stump-pulling torque, or top-end horsepower all that’s available with the right choice. This time it’s about all the other stuff following that grind choice, and there’s plenty to consider.A gear drive eliminates that worry, but there are considerations here, too, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.
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“Changing cams in a Twin Cam Harley is an involved process,” Jason Hanson of Speed’s Performance explains, and he should know; over the years these guys have done hundreds, probably thousands of those swaps.
“But choosing cams is just the start of the job,” he says.
“Done correctly, the list of upgrades can stretch out pretty far beyond just those cams.” Yes, it can drive up the initial buy-in, but with the engine already apart now’s the time to do it once and do it right.
The first thing to consider, Jason says, or the second actually after the cams themselves, is the manner of drive. An OE Twin Cam engine, as the name implies, uses a pair of chains with some pretty hefty tensioners, and it’s those tensioners that can cause headaches down the road.
In place to maintain cam-timing integrity as the chains stretch, those tensioners are spring-loaded on the earlier models and hydraulically operated on the 2007 and later engines.