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Lifter noise?

Engine, Fuel and Exhaust

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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 08:21 PM     #1
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Lifter noise?

Fixed! See my last post for details, if interested.

This is kinda complicated. Yesterday I was riding thru a parking lot when the passenger of a van stepped out almost in front of me. I stopped, and just as I started up again, his buddy stepped out directly in front of me from the driver's side. I was going maybe a half mph, but I hit the front brake to keep from hitting him, and the bike went over on the right side.

A couple of guys saw me fall, and helped me get the bike up again. At that point, I tried to start it (03 FLTR), and it kicked right over and then died almost instantly. As if the kill switch had been pushed. I repeated this exercise several times: start, run half a sec., and die. Each time the oil pressure guage showed over 30.
Also, the check engine light was staying on.

After about 5 or 6 minutes of not doing anything with the bike (I was arguing with the guy who walked in front of me, I tried to start it again, and this time the engine check light went off, and the bike started right up.

I rode home, and then went on a few errands, with the bike running fine, except that the engine light came on after starting, and then went off again. I learned that this was an "historic code"
and that eventually it would self cancel or I could take it in to have the code cancelled.

The other thing that happened, and I don't think I'm imagining it, is that there is MUCH more of what sounds like hydrolic lifter noise for the first couple of minutes of running. The Harley manual says that there will be some lifter noise, as the oil circulates, but it seems to be very much noisier than before I dropped it.

I can't imagine what damage I could have done by laying the bike over; it just lay down. There was virtually no forward movement at all. And no damage to plastics. Could this be related to the start/stop business? Or is it all in my head? I haven't had the bike very long, so I haven't been attuned to all it's noises and such.

I've spent the past few hours pouring over this site, like a good noob, but other than finding out about the historic code light, I haven't seen anything similar. Any thoughts would be helpful, and my apologies in advance for such a long post.

Added: The wife just listened to it, and she agrees that the clatter is much louder. But it does go away within 2-4 minutes.
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Last edited by ProF; Mar 19th, 2008 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Added info.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 10:16 PM     #2
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Re: Lifter noise?

The start /stop that you experienced was a feature of the bike that shuts off the ignition if the bike lays over a certain amount of degrees (bank angle sensor). I believe it is about 45* and it shuts off the ignition. When you restarted it and it stalled, you should have first stood the bike upright, recycled the Ignition switch to OFF then back on again , then start it. It's a safety so that if a bike goes down that it doesn't keep running because it was probably in gear at the time it went down and that can cause some injury to anyone close by including yourself.

As far as the noise when you first start it. I don't see any reason for added engine noise if there was no contact with any part of the engine. Just keep check on the oil level to make sure everything is OK.

The historic light when you start will take care of itself after 50 start/run cycles of at least 30 seconds each. No need to give the dealer the cash to reset it. The light was caused by the activation of the bank angle sensor and is nothing to be concerned about.

PS...Good job looking for the answer
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 02:12 AM     #3
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Re: Lifter noise?

Thanks, Glider, for the informative reply. This is my first computerized bike, so I have zero experience with codes and engine lights and the like.

The engine noise sounds like lifters, and maybe it's just coincidence that one is going bad at the same time I lay the bike down. I just don't believe in coincidence.

There is plenty of oil, and oil pressure. The sound disappears in a minute or so, and the bike runs fine. I guess if it gets worse, I'll take it in and get the lifters replaced.

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 05:58 AM     #4
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Re: Lifter noise?

Here's something to try. Pick up some Marvel Mystery oil at an auto parts store and add about 3 ounces to the engine oil after removing that much oil from the engine first so you don't overfill it. It's a high detergent additive that I have used many times and it works well to remove any sludge or free up sticky lifters. It's worth a try and it can stay in there until the next oil change .
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 10:41 PM     #5
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Re: Lifter noise? Update

An update....the bike is fixed! Turns out, I'm embarrassed to say, the problem was NOT lifters, but a major exhaust leak.

The rear exhaust pipe had come away from the barrel due to both flange nuts being missing. The falling over of the bike probably caused the pipe to actually separate even though the nuts could have been missing for some time. The chattering noise disappeared because the computer was adjusting the mixture to compensate.

My mechanic asked me if I'd never heard it backfire. I said that on my fxrs, the bolts would work loose every couple of thousand miles, and when I heard popping, I'd tighten everything back up. But the guy I bought this bike from said that it always backfired and popped a bit, and that he had been told it was normal for these bikes. So I just assumed the popping I heard upon downshifting and throttle release was supposed to be there!

So, instead of needing new lifters, all I needed was two nuts and a dish of crow to eat.

Thanks for all the help...the info on the safety shutdown was great. It's not in either the owner's manual or the shop manual.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 10:49 PM     #6
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Re: Lifter noise? Update

Quote: Originally Posted by ProF View Post
An update....the bike is fixed! Turns out, I'm embarrassed to say, the problem was NOT lifters, but a major exhaust leak.

The rear exhaust pipe had come away from the barrel due to both flange nuts being missing. The falling over of the bike probably caused the pipe to actually separate even though the nuts could have been missing for some time. The chattering noise disappeared because the computer was adjusting the mixture to compensate.

My mechanic asked me if I'd never heard it backfire. I said that on my fxrs, the bolts would work loose every couple of thousand miles, and when I heard popping, I'd tighten everything back up. But the guy I bought this bike from said that it always backfired and popped a bit, and that he had been told it was normal for these bikes. So I just assumed the popping I heard upon downshifting and throttle release was supposed to be there!

So, instead of needing new lifters, all I needed was two nuts and a dish of crow to eat.

Thanks for all the help...the info on the safety shutdown was great. It's not in either the owner's manual or the shop manual.
Well at least a dish of crow is cheaper then new lifters.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 11:33 PM     #7
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Re: Lifter noise? Update

Quote: Originally Posted by Davidw2415 View Post
Well at least a dish of crow is cheaper then new lifters.
Mmmmph, mmmmph....

Sorry, hard to talk with my mouth full!
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 07:31 AM     #8
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Re: Lifter noise?

Glad it turned out to me minimal problems.
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