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Front end Shake.

Softail Models

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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 11:09 PM     #1
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Exclamation Front end Shake.

I was riding yesterday and let go of the handle bars for a second. The Front end started shaking bad. I can't feel anything when holding the bars , but soon as I let go of them the front end start shaking. Any ideas on what could be causing this and fixes. has anyone else had this problem. Thanks for you help.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 11:30 PM     #2
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Re: Front end Shake.

If same as my exp you need a new front tire.

Fish.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 12:47 AM     #3
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Angry Re: Front end Shake.

I too have front-end shake (a back and forth wobble in the handlebars not a balance vibration) on my 2009 Softail Deluxe at around 27 to 40 mph. It started after installing new tires front and rear. I went with the same stock Dunlop HD wide white walls since I had 13,000 miles on the originals and they had performed great.

Tires were bubble balanced initially before installing on the bike. First Harley dealer said it was likely loose neck bearings and torqued them. The nut did take nearly a full turn. He checked spokes and tire pressure and both were okay. The shake did improve somewhat but was subtly still present.

2,000 miles on tires now and shake is getting worse. Second Harley dealer checked neck bearings and said they were okay. The tech said the tire pressure was a little low and inflated to 40 psi front and rear. The back and forth wobble was still present and he said the tread had slight uneven wear due to low pressure. I couldn't feel uneven wear he was describing. I questioned his pressure requirement and the manual calls for 36 psi front and 40 psi rear.

I jacked the bike and upon spinning the wheel detected a slight off-center variant in the center-line of the tread on the front. The Harley tech said that is normal in most new tires. I also detected a slight wobble (out of true) in the white wall; rim appears true. Personally I believe it could be my problem but they won't accept it until I "wear the tread even" again. Meanwhile I live with the wobble. I've a couple of articles on this and some say it is just a characteristic with some bikes. Mine didn't have the problem until I put the new tires on it.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:10 AM     #4
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Re: Front end Shake.

Front end wobble can be caused by many things...basically when you take your hands off the bar, the natural dampening you impart on the oscillation is gone so any induced oscillations if not damped by the friction of the cables and wire routing, worn tire tread pattern (it imparts friction losses when contacting the road) as well as preload of the steering bearings/fall away adjustment will all contribute to those necessary losses. The key here is to check the air pressure and tread wear condition of the front (and rear tires). Did you add some recent service/accessories...that would change weight distribution or on the front fork/handle bar loading?

Rockysky, you bought up the new tires...it may be something simple like the wrong tread pattern for "your bike" or when the servicer installed, they got the alignment or balance a little "out of wack". Do have the dealer re-check their work and double check fall away and steering preload and cable routing just to be sure.
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Last edited by NEWHD74FAN; Sep 20th, 2010 at 02:28 AM.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 03:04 AM     #5
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Re: Front end Shake.

As said above, especially check the alignment issue to make sure that both front and rear tires are headed the same way!!

TQ
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 08:38 PM     #6
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Re: Front end Shake.

Thanks NEWHD74FAN & TQuentin1. The fall away is good on my bike. The last tech didn't test with torque wrench but did feel for play.

TQ makes a good point about front to rear alignment but I don't have a good way to check that. As you know the rear wheel alignment setup on these Softails must be measured since they don't have the cam configuration like many other models do. I guess it's back to the dealer. Thanks guys!
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 08:42 PM     #7
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Re: Front end Shake.

This may sound odd. Make sure tires are mounted with the rotation arrows facing proper direction.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 09:16 PM     #8
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Re: Front end Shake.

The tires on the bike a good and have been on it still I brought it. Treads and wear look good. I haven't checked the neck bearing yet and (don't) know if it's loose or not. I will be taking my bike to the dealer the 27 of Sept. to have the starting problem checked out and will have them check out the front end wobble.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 11:37 AM     #9
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Re: Front end Shake.

Quote: Originally Posted by iceman48 View Post
The tires on the bike a good and have been on it still I brought it. Treads and wear look good. I haven't checked the neck bearing yet and (don't) know if it's loose or not. I will be taking my bike to the dealer the 27 of Sept. to have the starting problem checked out and will have them check out the front end wobble.
I had the problem like yours. I took the front wheel off, took it to the my tire shop and they let the air out and broke it loose and re-aligned the tire(moved) and RE -balanced it ... The problem was gone....

signed....BUBBIE
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 12:42 PM     #10
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Re: Front end Shake.

Quote: Originally Posted by BUBBIE View Post
I had the problem like yours. I took the front wheel off, took it to the my tire shop and they let the air out and broke it loose and re-aligned the tire(moved) and RE -balanced it ... The problem was gone....

signed....BUBBIE
That is called indexing and we are seeing this problem a lot in the tire shops
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