rattle after synthetic oil change

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by rockinreel, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. rockinreel

    rockinreel Member

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    I've developed that "known" engine rattle noise on my 2000 softail (carbureted), but I didn't notice it until I switched to synthetic oil during the last servicing. Anyone else experience this? The stage 3 upgrade thread says Harley's rattle after they get hot because of the rods and lifters getting hot and expanding. Is synthetic oil increasing the internal temp? What's going on?

    While riding, the rhythmic rattling noise is about as loud as the exhaust at 55 mph.
     
  2. Cowchip500

    Cowchip500 Account Removed

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    Synthetic oil shouldn't make any difference in your clearances (assuming you're running the same weight oil). Make sure you're running a good oil like Royal Purple or Amsoil. Stay away from "Harley oil", it's (edit). If you've checked to make sure nothing is loose, and you can hear a rattle at 55, you need louder pipes :s

    Please read this...
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    A Friendly Reminder - Harley Davidson Community
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2009
  3. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Full synthetics will do a better job of cleaning up the inside of the engine. But they typically help the engine run COOLER than Dino oils.

    I would investigate where the sound is coming from. Particularly ensure that the noise is not coming from the primary (worry there is that the compensator nut is backing off) or from the right side low down at the nose cone (worry here is that the tensioner(s) are shot). If you have eliminated any problems there, and nothing is loose on the outside of the engine/bike, is this sound coming from the top end like a valve train noise?

    Find it and fix it. Don't assume it is just "normal" because you changed oil.

    TQ
     
  4. rockinreel

    rockinreel Member

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    The noise has gotten worse. A Buddy of mine check outside temp of each cylinder with a heat sensor gun and one cylinder is 170 and the other was 210. He held a piece of paper towel at the end of each exhaust and said the paper was being sucked back inside the exhaust periodically. ...which he thinks, without turning any wrenches, a valve is shot on that cylinder. Nothing to do now, but park it and get it fixed. Assuming a new valve is needed, I wonder what that will cost.

    With only 18K on the bike, unless the previous owner cause it, I can't fathom why I'm having valve issues.
     
  5. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    If you do have valve problems (like a broken spring or something), it should be a racket all the time especially if the piston is hammerin the valve. Try a compression test. If there is a big difference in the readings, then the low one is suspect.

    If you have to do a top end, that is a pretty good size job. Get the factory service manual for your model and year.

    You will have to strip off all the stuff covering up the engine (air cleaner, pipes, cow bell, gas tank, etc.) so you can get at it. Need to pull the valve covers which is a challenge only because it is hard to get tools on the fasteners! Once off, you can look at the springs and see what you see. Jack the back of the bike off the ground and pull the plugs. Put the bike in 4th or 5th gear and rotate the engine with the rear tire so you can see what is happening in the top end. This is only so you know.

    Pull the rocker boxes and heads. Take the heads to the Dealership for benchwork valve jobs. If they won't do walk in, find an Indy that will. You might find an auto machine shop that has experience doing Harley heads. Carefully pull the jugs and take them somewhere to have them honed. As you pull the jugs, make sure the pistons don't flop around and get damages. Stuff the holes with some old towels, or tape off with duct tape. Knock the wrist pins out and take the pistons to someone with a bead blaster to knock the carbon off. If you can't find someone that does this, clean it up carefully with a scraper and wire brush. Replace the rings.

    Rebuild the carburetor including the accelerator pump.

    Reassemble everything using NEW gaskets, o-rings and seals. Fire it up and back it out!!

    TQ
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Cowchip500

    Cowchip500 Account Removed

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    This time of year, there's usually swap-meets where you could pick up replacement parts. I'm going to one in a couple weeks & I'm looking for a spare set of heads. I'll rebuild them, mill off .0040 (should bump me up to 10:1), grind the ports and throw them on the bike in a couple hours.
    If you're running the stock cam, this is a great time to put in something better. I just installed the Andrews EV27 cam and I LOVE it.
    Before you tear it down, I'd make sure I knew what's making the noise. Compression test, run a bore light in the plug holes & see if there's any contact marks, put your ear on a screwdriver & listen to it run & see if you can pin-point the source.
    I had a "primary rattle" that turned out to be nothing more than the lose belt cover that would occasionally touch the belt.
     
  7. rockinreel

    rockinreel Member

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    Thanks cowtip and TQ. One of my trusty mechanics and also a fishing bud said his first take on it was a loose rocker. Thinks I just need a valve adjustment. Nothing is tapping so I hope he's right. He and I are going to tear it down. Got the comment on a compression test, bore light, and the screw driver trick to pinpoint the problem. Thanks, I'll do that first.

    It is a good time to upgrade the cam, EV27 aye! Sounds good.

    The noise sounds like an electric ice cream churner, or like rocks in a rolling coffee can, really hard to describe.

    What else should I upgrade while I'm in there. I'll read the Stage upgrades after this post.
     
  8. Fossil

    Fossil Active Member

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    Sounds like you are on the right track. Just the same synthetics do make the engine a little louder. The synthetic is a superior lubricant but is is noiser than peroleum based oils like Harley's 360 HD. Both types of oils use the same amount of additives. The EPA controls what goes into motor oil so changing the oil on schedule is important. Fossil
     
  9. billst

    billst Member

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    just a thought. when you mention it sounds like stones in a coffee can, did you pull the cover on the primary and check the chain and adjuster? mine sounded exactly like that and it turns out the chain had stretched to the point that the auto adjuster wouldn't keep it tight enough. the chain would slap against the cover
     
  10. rockinreel

    rockinreel Member

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    I figured out my problem. Bad ball bearings on the front of my cams. Luckily I pulled the cam before damage was done. I have the year bike that Harley used low quality ball bearings on the front side of the cams (1999, my bike is listed as 2000, but engine was made in 1999). Harley later, 2000, installed roller bearings in the front cam/cam plates to fix the problem. I walked in a motor cycle shop with my cams still in the cam plate and the mechanic said, "I've fix 500 of these!. You have to be the last one with those bearing!"

    If I had known to search for 1999 cam bearing problem instead of year 2000, I would have solved this mystery long time ago. So, I ordered the 26N Andrews cam kit that includes the gear driven cam sprockets. No chain tensioners or chains anymore.

    The thread that helped me was by glider, thanks glider!

    I can't post the link to gliders thread, but search for cam bearing problem