Noises coming from my Softail rear end...

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by FerrousBueller, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. FerrousBueller

    FerrousBueller Junior Member

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    Specs:
    2009 Softail Custom
    3400 or so miles
    New Drive belt at 2700 miles

    Symptom:
    Mild Growling/Howling from back end,
    20 to 25 MPH
    Clutch in or out.

    Stuff I've checked:
    Rear Tire pressure
    Transmission Fluid level
    Belt Tension ( adjusted to factory specs )
    Belt Condition
    Rear Brake (both on brake or off)

    I really don't know if this noise was there before

    What's Next?
     
  2. HarryB737

    HarryB737 Junior Member

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    Sounds like a wheel bearing... I'm very surprised at you having to replace the drive belt that soon. Was that something the dealer was doing to try to eliminate the noise or did it break? Also if the original belt tension was too tight it may have put too much stress on the wheel bearings causing premature failure... good luck.
     
  3. JBC2565

    JBC2565 Junior Member

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    I was thinking same thing on drive belt. Should get 30-50,000 out of them. Was belt replaced under warranty?
     
  4. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

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    This all came out in another thread... ALL is good about the New Belt.. He Just bought the bike and first thing out of town,the belt broke... HD stood behind it so all went UNUSUALLY well. Good Day Off he had. Haha

    I think we can go on to the other things that may be the problem..

    Good calling on the wheel bearing.. That very well Might be it..

    If Ferrous Bueller felt like taking it to the shop that Fixed the belt ??? That May be the place to check..

    Some times Tightening rear axle too much can damage a bearing..?????

    Me,,,, I would Loosen it a bit and see if the noise is gone(belt)

    signed....BUBBIE
     
  5. FerrousBueller

    FerrousBueller Junior Member

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    Bubbie,

    You're doing a good job keeping up..Well done!

    Wheel bearing is high on my list of things to check also. Is there a method for me to check while wheel is still on? Haven't looked in shop manual or here on forum yet.

    After I checked the simple stuff I checked belt tension with proper gauge. With rear wheel off the ground it measured 15/16", I thought for certain that would be the problem...Nope!

    The rear wheel alignment was off also. I corrected both the tension and alignment. I was also extra careful to torque the axle correctly.

    Taking bike back to shop that did belt for me may be a bit impractical. I'm in Santa Clara, shop is in Sacramento. I would be a little nervous making that trip on questionable bearings.

    I'll dig around for bearing check methods...

    Thank You all for your input!

    Cheers!
     
  6. BUBBIE

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

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    My thinking on the bearing is the feel in the rim/tire for a rough spot.. when off the ground turning the tire forward and back,, Looseness?....

    I know when OFF you can use your finger and turning for Smoooooothness trying to make it show up... IF any rough feeling or tightness in either one, I'd Replace them both..

    signed....BUBBIE

    HMmmmmmm New Bikes.....
     
  7. Rhys

    Rhys Active Member

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    You guys are probly right on the wheel bearing, that being said once had the tire/rim alighnment ever so slightly off and the belt was slighty rubbing the inside of the pully making a noise at 20-30 mph. could possibly be the belt not tracking correctly.
     
  8. Rhowle

    Rhowle Member

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    With your wheel mounted you wont be able to feel any play in your bearings. I would check all the obvious first, wheel alignment, belt alignment, belt guard and so on. Have you felt any, even the slightest wobble in the rear end? If so, change the bearings. They are cheap and easily changed using simple tools listed within other posts here. I had the rear bearing go bad on my Heritage at highway speeds but thakns to my friend upstairs it didn't totaly cave in until I got off the highway and into a nearby driveway. If in doubt, change the bearings.
     
  9. FerrousBueller

    FerrousBueller Junior Member

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    Rhowle,

    Stuff I've checked:
    Rear Tire pressure
    Transmission Fluid level
    Belt Tension
    Belt Condition
    Rear Brake (both on brake or off)

    I corrected belt tension and wheel alignment. Belt was very loose, alignment was off 1/8"+. No change in sound.

    I haven't noticed any wobble.

    This is my first Harley, so, I may not have noticed this sound before, it is very mild.

    Work schedule and weather predictions prevent me from riding now.

    I have a new plan...

    I would like to compare noises I'm hearing with other bikes. The S/O has a Fat Boy, and I think I can talk my local dealer into riding a bike or two in the parking lot.

    My hope is that what I'm hearing is simply the meshing of the belt and rear pulley.

    If that is the case the solution may be louder pipes.

    I liked the story of your bearings giving way and the SAFE ending.

    Cheers!
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Yes you can check the bearings on the bike, it will not be easy to do but jack it up in neutral, turn the wheel forward and put your hand on the shock spring, if the bearings are bad you will feel the vibration in the spring:s