02 Road King Light Load Vibration & Rattle/Grating Noise

Discussion in 'Transmission' started by Vincenthdfan, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Vincenthdfan

    Vincenthdfan Member

    Hello all,

    I'm new to the site but not to my Road King. I've had her since 2003 and put 65,000 miles on her.

    I do all my own maintenance and am a retired Aircraft Mechanic of 30 years. I replaced the heads & re-ringed her last summer along with replacing the cam chain tensioner shoes for the second time.

    Rode out to Sturgis and back again last summer for the 75th after the new shoes & top end job...everything went flawlessly.

    Put her away pretty much all winter and got her out the other day went for a ride and felt a new vibe I've never noticed before.

    Along with new vibe is a grating, rattling noise which in my mechanical mind sounds like a bearing rattling and crunching.

    It happens at a light almost floating 1/8th throttle load....3rd gear, 4th gear, 5th...doesn't matter.

    If I put heavier throttle to it the vibe settles and the noise goes away.

    Roll off the throttle, floating along and vibe returns with associated grating rattling noise.

    Its very, very hard to keep the noise/vibe steady as it rolls in and out of it every time the throttle or load on drive train changes.

    I've pulled outer primary off, inspected compensator & checked torque, re-adjusted primary chain, re-checked belt tension, etc... no change.

    Right now I took outer and inner primary off, took compensator, chain & clutch off.

    Was hoping I'd find a smoking gun somewhere but thus far I haven't.

    Stator magnets are all good, no scrapes, inner primary bearing isn't galled...it is slightly worn looking on inner race meaning not shiny chrome surface anymore. Bearings aren't pitted looking.

    I will say, I've had an oil leak for many thousands of miles that I believe to have been coming from the inner primary bearing seal...always leaves a wet spot after a long rides about the size of a quarter or a little bigger but stops. Only outside of pulley and belt has wetness at any given time.

    The bike always shifts flawlessly.

    It seems I used to remember hearing a little clutch noise when idling in neutral that would stop or at least lessen when pulling clutch lever in....I don't seem to be hearing that anymore though?

    I am truly puzzled but obviously very concerned as well...I cant just take the ride it and see what breaks approach, its not in my DNA make up to do so after 30 years of working on aircraft!!

    When this vibration & noise occurs I can feel the crunching noise in my floorboards.

    This bike has never, ever done anything like this before...we have many, many happy and flawless miles together and I've got to get her feeling better soon!

    I noticed another thread on here that sort of describes the same symptoms so I've attached the thread here:

    Thank you for any and all advice and please feel free to hit me up for any questions you can think of.

  2. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    Very good descriptions Vincent. My 1st thought is that some foreign object has gotten between the engine/exhaust and the frame. I had similar vibrations when the bungee hooks of a gel pad got between the rear valve cover and frame. Remember the engine and exhaust are isolated from the frame.
    Welcome to the forum.
  3. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    I would change the inner primary bearing and race as long as you have it apart,pay attention how the snap ring is orientated so as to sling the oil into the bearing,any from the factory were not right, the MOCO has redesigned the snap ring also Look here
  4. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    Feeling the vibration on the floor boards would concern me. Have you given the crank and bearings any thought?
  5. tourbox

    tourbox Senior Member

    There is an inner race for the primary bearing on the tranny main shaft. It is past the splines for the clutch hub but in front of the rear belt pulley nut. Look at it for pitting/wear and make sure it hasn't walked back to far. There should be .100-.200 in. clearance between the back side of the race and the 5th. gear, it has the pulley nut(left handed threads) on it. When it walks back it can cause the small seal between the 5th. gear & main shaft to leak. Gaul-ding and pitting on that race on cause noise also. You have a lot of miles not to have the inner race not walk back. Do you have a manual? Also look at the splines inside the clutch hub, they have a habit of breaking out in small pieces.
    Bodeen likes this.
  6. Vincenthdfan

    Vincenthdfan Member

    The inner bearing race hasn't walked at all actually, there's still a decent gap behind it and the quad seal doesn't look bad either.

    While the finish on the inner race isn't shiny chrome finish anymore, it isn't pitted either, nor are the bearings themselves....either way, I fully intend to replace the inner bearing. I was considering the Baker sealed bearing for high torque applications so that I don't need to worry about installing a new inner bearing race (they're one piece). Do these have a decent reputation?

    I'll have a closer look inside at the clutch splines, they looked fine at first glance, but I didn't look for little pieces missing.

    I do indeed have the factory manual and use it religiously.

    I too was wondering if maybe my crank and crank bearings could be an issue, but I'm hoping that isn't the case obviously....she ran great all the way out to Sturgis and back, well over 3,500 miles before sitting most of the winter?

    The vibe is a rhythmic feeling vibe, like when a vehicles driveshaft u-joint is out of phase, but it only does it at light load and I can throttle it away by increasing or decreasing throttle....it almost feels like primary chain whip or shudder (but it's adjusted correctly).

    When I maintain the rhythmic vibe for any length of time, that's when I get that crunchy, grinding sound and can feel that in the floor boards and my butt...
  7. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    Baker has been around for a very long time and have a very good reputation.
    Timken also makes a quality bearing.
  8. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    The leak you describe is a classic symptom of an inner primary seal leak; drips after a ride, stops when about quarter size. While the leak may be coincidental to the vibe, replace the IPB race, bearing and seal to stop the leak. It would make sense for the bearing to be bad which has resulted in causing the seal to leak, so replacement of the IPB race, bearing and seal may also stop the vibration. Another classic symptom of an IPB going bad is that any associated noise goes away when the clutch is engaged. I typically replace everything behind the IPB once inside; 5th gear/main shaft seal, quad seal and spacer, shift shaft seal, jack shaft seal as well as the little sealing washer that seals the jackshaft bolt.

    There have been mixed reviews on the Baker one piece unit. When replacing the IPB race, the S&S tapered race is the way to go; it cannot walk in. JMHO.

    There are a couple of other things to check while inside. The clutch hub bearing and the main shaft stability. The main drive gear has two needle bearings inside that stabilize the main shaft and, while not a common occurrence, the outer bearing can walk in toward the inner bearing allowing too much play in the main shaft. However, this usually results in a leak of trans fluid. Wouldn't hurt to put a dial indicator on the main shaft and check side play; should be about .001"................;)
  9. Vincenthdfan

    Vincenthdfan Member

    I will do this next...I've got all the tools to do a good side play check.

    As far as the clutch hub bearing...what sort of inspection is tell tale on that?
  10. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    Clutch hub bearing will be noisy when in gear and clutch pulled in, sitting at a stand still. IPB will be noisy in gear, driving down the road or in neutral with clutch out. It will be quiet while in gear with clutch pulled in at a stand still.