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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Transmission oil dye

I am looking at a 2015 used RGS with only 2K miles on it. The bike is at a dealer and was previously owned by a rich guy with lots of toys. The 1K service as well as some accessory work was all done at a dealer, he paid to have slip-ons, grips and highway pegs installed. The bike has oil dye in the transmission, very light blue/green tint and glows under an ultraviolet light. The service tech said "the factory was putting dye in new bikes periodically to check for leaks". Sounds like BS to me. Has anyone heard of the factory randomly using dye to check for tranny leaks? I have an ultraviolet flashlight and may go back next week and pull the derby to see if there is any transfer to the primary or any external leaks. Thanks in advance!

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 10:23 AM
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I think that transmission oil migration started with the M8. 2015 has the twin cam.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by VinnyM View Post
I am looking at a 2015 used RGS with only 2K miles on it. The bike is at a dealer and was previously owned by a rich guy with lots of toys. The 1K service as well as some accessory work was all done at a dealer, he paid to have slip-ons, grips and highway pegs installed. There are no repair tickets from Harley on it. The bike has oil dye in the transmission, very light blue/green tint and glows under an ultraviolet light. The service tech said "the factory was putting dye in new bikes periodically to check for leaks". Sounds like BS to me. Has anyone heard of the factory randomly using dye to check for tranny leaks? I have an ultraviolet flashlight and may go back next week and pull the derby to see if there is any transfer to the primary or any external leaks. Thanks in advance!
Have not heard of this but then I donít pay any attention to Harley and itís practices. The transmission canít transfer to the primary. If it leaks it will be externally. It may have had a tranny leak that the dealer had a hard time finding. Though Iím not sure how that would be possible. It can only leak from a small number of places.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 11:16 AM
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Have not heard of this but then I donít pay any attention to Harley and itís practices. The transmission canít transfer to the primary. If it leaks it will be externally. It may have had a tranny leak that the dealer had a hard time finding. Though Iím not sure how that would be possible. It can only leak from a small number of places.

Not true, there are numerous cases of transfer from trans to inner primary. The problem with that, its hard to figure "how" it can happen.
While it first showed up on the M8's on the dyno, there have been a few TC doing the same thing.
There maybe more, but most people just dump the oil in a pan, and refill. There are reports of pulling the derby cover and oil pouring out and a check of the trans dipstick showing way low or not on the stick
It seems to be at high revs there is a vacuum in the primary causing the trans fluid to travel along the push rod.........Yeah I know, its hard to wrap your head around that.

I know I keep a closer eye on the trans fluid now
If your interested, go to HTT for more info from some Harley techs, shop owners and even owners of dealerships
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 11:31 AM
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It's pretty much impossible for the trans fluid to leak into the primary. I would say that with 2K on the bike there shouldn't be any leaks and I see no reason for you to shy away from this bike. You can always buy the extended warranty if it makes you more comfortable.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 12:18 PM
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It's pretty much impossible for the trans fluid to leak into the primary. I would say that with 2K on the bike there shouldn't be any leaks and I see no reason for you to shy away from this bike. You can always buy the extended warranty if it makes you more comfortable.
Apparently HD doesn't think it is impossible.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Not true, there are numerous cases of transfer from trans to inner primary. The problem with that, its hard to figure "how" it can happen.
While it first showed up on the M8's on the dyno, there have been a few TC doing the same thing.
There maybe more, but most people just dump the oil in a pan, and refill. There are reports of pulling the derby cover and oil pouring out and a check of the trans dipstick showing way low or not on the stick
It seems to be at high revs there is a vacuum in the primary causing the trans fluid to travel along the push rod.........Yeah I know, its hard to wrap your head around that.

I know I keep a closer eye on the trans fluid now
If your interested, go to HTT for more info from some Harley techs, shop owners and even owners of dealerships
Yeah there are a small number of 15-16 twin cams that have had tranny fluid transfer happening, hydraulic clutch models, I think there is a fix for those years but they are still working on the M8 transfer issue. Really long thread about it over on hd forums.

The original owner used the dealer for everything including mounting highway pegs and installing a pair of V&H slips but there is no record of the dye at all. A little unusual, if there was a problem it would have been under warranty and the dealer would have a record of it. Anyway there may not even be a problem, just wondering why there would be dye in there......thanks.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Apparently HD doesn't think it is impossible.
Thanks for posting that up, I have been looking for it!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce00 View Post
Not true, there are numerous cases of transfer from trans to inner primary. The problem with that, its hard to figure "how" it can happen.
While it first showed up on the M8's on the dyno, there have been a few TC doing the same thing.
There maybe more, but most people just dump the oil in a pan, and refill. There are reports of pulling the derby cover and oil pouring out and a check of the trans dipstick showing way low or not on the stick
It seems to be at high revs there is a vacuum in the primary causing the trans fluid to travel along the push rod.........Yeah I know, its hard to wrap your head around that.

I know I keep a closer eye on the trans fluid now
If your interested, go to HTT for more info from some Harley techs, shop owners and even owners of dealerships
Thanks Bruce, I stand corrected. This must be a hydraulic clutch issue. I was thinking of my own bike again and youíre correct, Iím not able to wrap my head around how it could migrate into the primary along that shaft. Thanks for the education. 👍🏻😁
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 03:11 PM
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2015 had no migration issues. However from the dawn of time Harley and every engine /transmission manufacture has had a porous case from time to time. Often a small leak is noticed and no one find it. The lube builds up in cavities in the cases not meant to have lube. In time it leaks out. Highly like they may have suspected a porous case and used that as a step in figuring it out.
Unlikely any deal made that story up . Good bet more internet Myth.
My 2016 had a porous case, Dealer figure it out right away and it had the cases replaced never an issue again with it.


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