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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chandler, Arizona
You do not need to have the engine in any special position. Just make sure YOU DO NOT TURN IT WITH THE TENSIONERS REMOVED. I wouldn't even move it in neutral. if it were to slip into gear it could cause the chains to come off the sprockets since they are not under tension. Yes the dimple in the chain guide is normal. I would not even consider using anything but the TOC tensioners. They are cheaper than the stock tensioners. I had to remove the coolant reservoir to install the rear one, but it fit right back the way it was without any spacers. The way I did mine was to remove the reservoir tank and let it hang, then remove the seat, remove the old tensioners, screw the lock nut up close to the head on the new TOC tensioners, and screw both tensioners in. You should be able to tell when they are fairly tight. Then back them out about one turn. Leave the locknuts alone for now. Start the engine, and get down on your knees on the left side of the bike. In this position you can reach and turn both tensioners at the same time (that was the reason for removing the seat)with the engine at idle, turn the tensioners in and out slightly on both sides. It may take several times, but you will get used to the feel and sound. You will be able to get both of them set to just the point where the rattling stops. Hold them in this position and tighten the locknuts. Start the engine. If you hear any rattling, do it over again. If not but everything back together and go ride it. If it feels normal, everything should be ok. I installed the TOC tensioners on my '02 at around 25,000 miles, the engine failed around 108,000 miles. It never did rattle again after installing the TOC tensioners though. It did fail due to an upper rear cam chain breaking, but I suspect I may have done some damage in the beginning by not knowing what that rattling was and not fixing it soon enough.
Depending on how much you ride, there is another option, but it's not cheap. You can replace worn out tensioners with new oem ones. Expect them to last 10-12,000 miles before they need to be replaced again. The oem tensioners are a defective design, and the cam chain hammering against the plunger wears out the threads on the plunger and in the aluminum tensioner body. They will no longer hold an adjustment. It has nothing to do with springs, which simply help the plunger to advance. The DO NOT hold it in place.
I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.
1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
2004 Honda Rebel 250
1979 Vespa P200E
2002 Vulcan 750 parts bike
1994 Yamaha XT225 parts bike