EGC Shift Linkage Keeps Falling Apart

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by Rod Stewart, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart Active Member

    Well my old nemesis is back and it happened again today.

    My '04 Classic shift linkage keeps falling apart where the vertical lever attaches to the splined shaft at the foot shift peg shaft.
    You are riding along having a great time, then you go to shift down, and boom, nothing there. The shift pegs are flopped over in the wrong place doing nothing.

    The stupid shift linkage system on these bikes is definitley their Achilles heal.
    Why the (edit) can`t the MoCo come up with something that does not fall apart everytime you turn around.
    This problem is worse than the broken ball joint issue on the shifter rod (which I have also had), as you can't tie wrap or duct tape it back together. All you can do is limp along leaning down and jamming the shift rod back and forth by hand to shift gears. I am sure this is really great for the transmission, because of course you can't use the clutch while shifting.

    This happened the first time within about 3 months of brand new, on the way to Sturgis. I have had it back to the dealer twice, and all they can do is put the lever arm back on the splined shaft and tighten it up. It has happened at least 5 or 6 times. It seems you just can`t get the lever tight enough on the splines to prevent it from vibrating. After a while the vibration causes it to loosen and fall off, usually at a very inconvenient time.

    Anyone any ideas.
    I am at a loss. All I can think of doing is ordering a new splined shaft and shift lever to see if they will fit together tighter and not fall apart.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2008
  2. gs34

    gs34 Junior Member

    Those parts can't be that expensive. I think I would have replaced them before this. Also, The Heim Joints to put on your stock shift rod can be bought for about 5 bucks apeice.
    Never had a problem with the linkage coming apart from the splined shaft. Don't believe that is a common problem like the ball & socket trans linkage is.
    Also. I think if it was me, and I knew I had a problem in that area, I would move to fix it at the earliest the very least, I would check it and retighten as necessary every time I rode the bike, until I had the problem resolved.
    Guess what I'm saying is's an 04, things wear....fix it!
  3. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator


    Sounds like the female side splines are probably pretty rounded off. Here is what I would suggest:

    • Remove the shift bar linkage from the forward shift lever
    • Loosen the clamp on the forward shift lever
    • Pull the shaft and foot shifter(s) out
    • Loosen the clamp on the foot shifter(s) and remove from the shaft
    • Examine the splines on both ends of the shaft
    • If these are nice and sharp keep shaft, otherwise replace
    • Look at the inside splines of the foot shifter(s)
    • Replace if the splines are rounded off
    • Look at the splines inside the shift lever
    • Replace if the splines are rounded off

    When you put it all back together, the clamps need to be fairly tight. Also, I suggest you lube the shaft lightly with an anti-seize lubricant.

    Good luck.

  4. Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart Active Member

    Thanks for the input guys.
    Today I fixed the problem for good; I HOPE!

    I went to the dealer and got a new splined shaft and the vertical shift lever. Amazingly they had them in stock.
    Replaced the whole works and greased the shaft with marine grease (which was handy at the time). Tightened her up as tight as I dared. Those small Allen head cap screws are grade 8 and can take an amazing amount of torque.
    My whole cost was about 90 bucks total. Pretty cheap for Harley parts.

    So we will see in the next little while if she holds together.
    Good thing these bikes don't vibrate much!

  5. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Use any blue locktite on the bolts?:D
  6. Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart Active Member

    I didn't use anything on the bolts Glider, but I thought of Loctite.
    I may take it apart and Loctite it just for good measure.

  7. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Good move.:s
  8. Spike

    Spike Member

    My Ultra had the same thing happen three times. I used medium strength loctite on the threads of the cap screw, tightened it down very snug and I've had no more problems. I do check it occassionally though...
  9. Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart Active Member

    Glad to hear I am not the only one to have this weird problem.
    I finally (I think) fixed mine by replacing all the affected parts, as you see above.
    Only got a few kms since, but so far, so good.
    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. 08FLHX

    08FLHX Member

    I've had the same problem with my 2008 Street Glide. First at around 5,000 miles, and then again yesterday I found it while I was washing the bike. 17,000 miles.

    The first time it happened I snugged it up, thinking it was normal for things to loosen up a bit after their use, and break-in. As a mechanic, I knew better than to do this. Yesterday, I found it was loose again, I removed both shift levers, removed the heim joints and greased it.

    This time when I re-installed and tightened it, the bolts had 242 Loctite (Blue) on them. I do not like things falling off my machine. I rely on it to commute, and I usually get pretty bent when things fall off like the kickstand on my 2002 Sporty.

    Bottom line, if it vibrates (which everything does) -- use loctite. I use #242 for almost everything. For others, a light retaining loctite works wonders.