Noisy Sportster

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by Terrytlaw, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Terrytlaw

    Terrytlaw New Member

    1996 Sportster 1200 Custom, just hit 30,000 miles.
    First time ever heard 'pingy' noise from underneath primary cover, or so it seemed.
    Noise was not steady or constant, rather intermittent, ie, every 2 seconds or so it appeared,
    sort of as if it was (no pun intended) 'cycling' along with the engine as the engine is running.
    One dealer said loose primary, tightened it; result: noise even worse, seems louder, even more
    'defined' and easier to hear.
    Dealer then said: piston flap; wants $1500. to fix.
    Second dealer said: sounds like piston; $95/hour to disassemble, diagnose, then take it from there.
    Third dealer: said primary chain not properly tightened by first dealer, tightened it anew, but noise the same.
    Third dealer said then said: alternator, as it rotates around round thing that looks like a sprocket, can get
    noisy/pingy as teeth on inside of sprocket wear. He said no problem to continue riding, even till Springtime
    if I want!, then bring in for repair.
    Anybody have any experience with this? Any thoughts?
    This is very frustrating, yet apparently a very common experience with us Harley riders getting very
    different opinions from 'dealers'. Just don't know who to believe, never mind who to fix the darn thing.
    Honda Shadow anyone? Only kidding!!!
    Thanx for input.
    Safe riding everyone.
  2. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    Primary chain OK?
    Piston slap is common in a long stroke engine but fixable for your time and parts
    Go here for your parts
  3. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    Pull primary cover and have a look. 1st thing I would do is secure bike on jack and get off ground start by spinning wheels listening for wheel bearings. Is speedo run by cable at front wheel????? While off ground start bike and put in gear and listen for noise. If uncomfortable running bike on jack, find a hill you can coast down with engine not running trans in neutral clutch out and see what happens. The biggest thing with noise is properly diagnosing and pinpointing instead of just throwing parts at bike and then finding it to be something simple.......
    Jack Klarich likes this.
  4. herb King

    herb King Member

    I had a strange noise that came up o my Sporty recently that sounded like it was coming from my primary side. But I just could not imagine what would make that kind of noise on that side. I decided to pull the right side trans. sprocket cover and check things there just because it was easier and cleaner to pull. What I found was a lose drive sprocket. Tightened it to specs and no more noise. I have now found out this is pretty common on the later sportster. Its worth a look.
  5. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I think it is time to remove and inspect inside the primary cover get a service manual and do it yourself as you can go through a lot of money with dealer charges

  6. TomH65

    TomH65 Active Member

    Did this problem get sorted out?
    I ask because I had the same problem last year. (When replacing the primary cover, make sure that the rubber seal is in place, otherwise your transmission fluid seeps out).
    It turned out that for some reason, I had to fit a rear brake master cylinder repair kit to solve a braking problem. After that was fixed, the 'pinging' noise stopped on mine.
    I can't fathom why this stopped it, but changing the transmission fluid and checking the primary chain didn't.
  7. flusher

    flusher Active Member

  8. glbsportster

    glbsportster Member

    It seems most air cooled engines are noisy. HD engines seem to be the most noisy. If you put on a will be surprised at all the engine noise you hear. Many guys say (and mechanics too) that the sportster is the noisiest of the HD engines. Not saying you shouldn't be checking things out.....especially new noises.....but my 1200C is noisy and has been all along. It is irritating, but I live with it.