Thursday, April 2, 2009

Petunia's Prognosis

The verdict is in and Petunia had a secondary cam tensioner grenade in her belly. The whining must have been the metal remnants rubbing against the chain. The primaries are worn through and there is a hole/slot on one end.

I am going to go with the S&S gear drive kit because it isn't very much more expensive than stock parts and should last a lot longer. The kit will also have adjustable push rods. John has convinced to to change out my Power Commander for a Techlusion Electronic Jet Kit. This unit connects after the factory ECU, rather than before, and is adjusted with a screwdriver and eliminates the need to go to a dyno to get optimal performance. Since he has been doing this for twenty some years I am willing to give it a try for the price of the unit.

As I was talking to him about this repair, on Tuesday, I asked about installing the Baker DD6. Without hesitation he said, "NO! I don't install other people's parts. I have to be honest, I make money on parts and I'm not willing to change that policy."

Not a real problem as I had talked to Big D about the job. He told me he wasn't a for profit mechanic and didn't charge, but I could pay what I thought the job was worth. The problem was the special tools needed. Everything in Harleyland requires a special tool. So, I went about finding the cost of the special tools needed to install a Baker DD6. Big D said if I bought special tools I could subtract their cost from the price I thought the job was worth because he could use the tools later.

Here is what I found.

This is a pulley lock nut tool and costs $140

This is a door puller. Cost $95

A main shaft bearing inner race puller. $174

A main drive gear and bearing removal tool. $189

A shifter gauge. $90

That is a total of $688 plus shipping for a set of one use tools. Plus I would have to factor in Big D's time. When I went back to see John this afternoon it seemed he had a change of heart. Since I approved the work and ordered the parts for the cam job, half of the work of installing the DD6 would already be done. So, he said he would install the Baker unit for a lot less that I could buy the tools for.

To have everything done at once was to good to pass up. It is just easier to have it all done at one time and be done with it. When I talked to Big D he pointed out it would also be warrantied if the shop did it. So, I will be taking him the DD6 kit and when Petunia is done she will be all the way done at once.

But, the real problem from my perspective is this little blip on my radar is going to take about 65% of my summer ride budget. I would prefer to stimulate the economy from the seat of Petunia and not from the couch in my living room.


  1. Mr. AHD: All things considered this isn't that bad of news. Did he tell you what camshaft he was going to use? You don't want a high horse power cams, you want one that makes lots of low end torque because of the heavy bike plus the hack. A Andrews G26 grind would be my recommendation for your set up. You are 88" motor still aren't you? If you are 95" Then I would go with either the Andrews G31 or the S&S 510 cams. The right cams can work great or make it a real pig.

    I know how he feels about installing owners parts, I don't like to do it either. I will make an exception for a potential new customer if they seem to be worth working for. The fact you OKed the other work without any trouble helped you get this other job done.

    Now I'm not going to doubt a man about his work. But the Power Commander is a fine piece of hardware and I have to wonder why he recommends the change. I read up on it and to be honest I don't see the advantage other then you don't need a PC to adjust it. I'd bet you a dollar to donuts that you can find a Map for your bikes engine set up at Power Commanders web site. I will admit though it is cheap enough. And if this is what it took to get him to install your DD6 then it is worth the price.


  2. Thanks for the input on this Fasthair. He also recommended and ordered the S&S 510 cams for the still 88" motor. That fits for me as I'm not looking for a race type bike.

    The reason for the Teclusion kit is not needing to have the bike put on a dyno to make it perform. I have had the Power Commander on her for almost two years and played with maps a couple of dozen times. There are many maps available, but none of them have ever been my exact configuration. When he has Petunia put back together and ready to pick up he claims it will run perfect without needing to ever see a dyno again.

    He also said when he first saw the Techlusion it was on a customer's bike that didn't run very well. He didn't understand how the unit worked, called and just happened to get the owner on the phone, and after learning how to adjust it called back and ordered four units and put one of those on his bike, replacing a Power Commander. Salesmanship? Possibly, but I agree with you if that is what it takes to have the DD6 installed I'll be ahead. I can always reinstall the Power Commander if I don't like the set up.

    Thanks again Fasthair.

  3. This is an excellent point to why I don't do my own work, besides the fact that I don't have the mechanical knowledge. You do need a lot of very specialized tools that cost big bucks. If you've been building a toolbox over many years, that's one thing. To have to go out and set it all up at once...yikes! I'm gonna get me a bike lift so I can clean the bike without crawling on my garage floor, and so I can do my own fluid changes. Since my bike is so new, knock on wood it won't need more than that for a long time.

    Sorry about your ride budget, that sort of sucks, but you really had no other choice.

  4. Ouch that's a lot of ching for one time use tools to be a do it yourselfer on this job! This one also hurt your riding budget which sucked. Sorry to hear bout that. At least you'll be back on the road soon. Good luck!

  5. Joker; I agree and when my maintenance contract runs out I will start doing my own fluid services. The other stuff I will be looking to John or a place like him.

    I am mechanical, but paying close to $700 for tools to use once is insane. Better to pay someone who does it for a living.

    Mr. M; Thanks for the comment. Looking at the good in it the bike will be upgraded to where Harley should put it from the factory. However, if it came with gear drive cams they would loose a ton of money on repairs. I find it surprising that people would replace the cam chain tensioners with the same parts, but John assured me they do all the time.

  6. I had not looked up the price of those tools before telling you to buy them.
    Good thing I didn't...the brown stain on my office chair would have been hard to explain.
    I'm glad you found a shop to handle this for you.
    I usually won't work on bikes this new....For many reasons tools for each model/years etc...
    Much to Ann's chagrin I am not a for profit shop.
    I prefer getting a brother up and running the priorty.
    I also prefer the bucks down creativity that we sometimes have to do to get one up and running..
    Newer bikes don't really have that option.
    BTW Rascal has just informed me that he's a official rep for Baker Trannys [I had no Idea]
    And says according to the warranty have to give him another ride when it's done so he can report back to the factory.

  7. Big D; Of course the 'Factory Rep' will get a ride. How could that be denied after the excitement and dancing he did at the conclusion of the last ride.

    By the way, I appreciate you taking the time to look at Petunia and offering to work on her. I'm sure you could have and would have done a great job on it. But, you better be careful because Ann might be enrolling you in MMI to train on the newer bikes and making you a for profit garage after all.

    Thanks again Big D.