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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings
The transmission in my 2010 FLTRX started growling at me in gears 1-5, and then got (eerily) quiet again in 6th ... And the oil came out looking like chromed pudding. I'd heard these things have a tendency to fail in the 35,000 mile range...but I was hoping the previous owner had already gone through that part for me. However current indications imply otherwise...

On a brighter note, another member here just so happened to have a complete (2012) replacement tranny that they needed rid of, so we able to help each other out. Which brings me to the question. Should I replace the - apparently (quite) common failure point - offending bearings in the new tranny before I put it in? ...and if so with what?

It's an ultra low mileage tranny in perfect condition, but if the main shaft bearings are really that prone to fail ...(current indications being what they is)... Since I'll have it out and in my hands before putting it in ... would it behoove me to give it a better fighting chance of a long(er) life to give it a different bearing?

Thank you,

Stoic Joker
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Their easy enough to change, I'd go for it .Just rebuilt my 2010 6 speed because of said bearing.
Understood ... I wasn't worried about the level of difficulty. I was just looking for options on where to get what bearings. The dealer will have the stock bearings ($200), but are they new and improved enough to not -(be from China)- suck? Then there is the highly recommended Jim's bearing (/rebuild) kit ($460). I was just hoping someone knew of something between those two options that would be better than stock, yet less than a bundle.

e.g. I want it to be right, but I ain't exactly had time to budget for this action ... Ya know?
 

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Just guessing but maybe the Jims kit would be the better option, you know the old saying "you get what you paid for". I would just look at the trans fluid in the trans you acquired and see what it looks like, the bearings may be good in that trans. My 08 has the original bearings and over a 100,000 miles on it with no problems but I used 75w140 full synthetic gear lube in the trans since the bike was new.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just guessing but maybe the Jims kit would be the better option, you know the old saying "you get what you paid for".
Yes, but there's another one about not being able to get blood out of a turnip ... Which is to say this little surprise didn't come with time to budget for it. So the money just ain't there for it. I'd love to go that route, but... Turnip.

I would just look at the trans fluid in the trans you acquired and see what it looks like, the bearings may be good in that trans.
No case to drain, just a gear set with shafts in a trapdoor. From what I've been hearing, and according to the HD parts guy that was looking up the service history for the input shaft bearings ... They weren't worth a shit from the factory. So I'm a tad nervous about tossing in a second set of the same thing that just went kablooey.

I ordered a complete set of - hopefully updated - bearings from the dealer ... So I should be good for another (at least) 30,000 miles. I'm just not incredibly warm and fuzzy about how far (and if...) I'll make it past 50k with another set of HD bearings.

Hence the attempt at finding a mid-range third option.

My 08 has the original bearings and over a 100,000 miles on it with no problems but I used 75w140 full synthetic gear lube in the trans since the bike was new.
I don't know about the previous owner, but I'd been running the HD Synth oil in mine, and it was always just fine...right up until it wasn't. It went from clear as a spring day to chromed pudding somewhere on the run.
 

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What bearing failed?

If it's the main drive gear bearing, which was poorly engineered, Baker has a fix for that. Replace that double row ball bearing with a Timken set.

If its the needle bearings, then something else is up. Same for the trapdoor bearings. Generally that,s contamination from milled parts or lack of lube.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What bearing failed?

If it's the main drive gear bearing, which was poorly engineered, Baker has a fix for that. Replace that double row ball bearing with a Timken set.
Holy Crap, $600.00 for one bearing?!? ...:surprise:... That's not in the budget.

If its the needle bearings, then something else is up. Same for the trapdoor bearings. Generally that,s contamination from milled parts or lack of lube.
Given that it growls in 1-5, and quiets in 6th, I'm assuming the main drive gear to input shaft needle bearing have taken a shit ... I haven't had time to tear it down yet - That's for tonight. But from the dealers reaction, and a look up of the part's service history, the needle bearings in question were also quite fail prone back in the 9-12 year range (mine is a 10).

Lube was there, and the tranny's never been opened since it left the factory to the best of my knowledge (no history under the SN).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: After doing the tear-down, and getting eyes on the internals. It was the double roller main bearing that failed and not the needle bearings on the input shaft. So why the hell it got quiet in 6th is a complete mystery to me ... but apparently - since everything else looks/feels clean and smooth - I now have a complete spare transmission.

Shit... :smile:
 

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Glad you got it fixed! It never hurts to have spare parts either.
 

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Update: After doing the tear-down, and getting eyes on the internals. It was the double roller main bearing that failed and not the needle bearings on the input shaft. So why the hell it got quiet in 6th is a complete mystery to me ... but apparently - since everything else looks/feels clean and smooth - I now have a complete spare transmission.

Shit... :smile:
When in 6th, the bearing has gear load as the main gear tries to move outward. That was prolly enough to quiet it down.

That bearing is the most common failure in the cruise drives.

What lube was in the trans? Early on some MoCo dealers tried to blame it on Shockproof gear oil. But many indies are saying it's a Syn3 issue. Personally, I think it bearing from the lowest bidder.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When in 6th, the bearing has gear load as the main gear tries to move outward. That was prolly enough to quiet it down.
I'm willing to entertain any theory at this point... But being the main output gear...isn't it always under load? My initial - retrospectively errant - theory was predicated on the fact that the final drive ratio is 1:1. So at that point the - falsely accused - needle bearings would not be moving.

To that end I spent as much of the trip home in the always quiet 6th gear as possible. And while riding 2-up in 6th from as low as 35mph, up to occasional bursts of 85+ it never made the slightest hint of any noise. While all of the gears below were growling out through the primary.

Acoustical phenomenon perhaps? *Shrug* ...Damn peculiar it are.

That bearing is the most common failure in the cruise drives.

What lube was in the trans? Early on some MoCo dealers tried to blame it on Shockproof gear oil. But many indies are saying it's a Syn3 issue.
Well... After being asailed with a plethora of horror stories right after buying the bike, and in spite of my historical tendency to run a heavy 85w-140 dino oil in the tranny. I had been running the dealer recommended HD Syn oil ... Which apparently did not have the desired effect..

So in the future, I'll be going back to (old habits) a dino 140w because AutoZone is cheaper and closer than the damn dealer.

Personally, I think it bearing from the lowest bidder.
Amen to that one brother...


On a side note: The manual states that that bearing (via the drive pulley nut) needs to be torqued down to 100ft/lbs, backed off a full turn, and then torqued down to 35ft/lbs. WTF is that all about, and how critical (if at all) is that procedure? Because I'm not entirely sure I can pull it off in the garage with the tooling I have available ... And I really don't want to have to trailer it to the dealer just to get the damn thing seated "properly". Is there a known viable alternative?
 

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Tightening that nut is a 4 step process

100 pounds foot
Backed off
35 pounds foot
Then tighten an additional 35-40 degrees

No idea why they do it like that. Prolly so they can blame repeat bearing failures on the wrench.

Red lock tight is mandatory, and do get all of the old thread locker of the threads or you might have an issue with it binding.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Tightening that nut is a 4 step process

100 pounds foot
Backed off
35 pounds foot
Then tighten an additional 35-40 degrees

No idea why they do it like that. Prolly so they can blame repeat bearing failures on the wrench.

Red lock tight is mandatory, and do get all of the old thread locker of the threads or you might have an issue with it binding.
I thought about this one for quite a bit before committing myself to a specific way of doing it...as I was just a bit gun shy about if/how it would effect the problem child bearing. But the answer (for me...) was in the manual for my 1981, 5 speed, rubber-glide Shovel, which has/requires the exact same - rather bizarre - procedure with the only exception being a starting torque of 60ft/lbs instead of 100ft/lbs. So...

With that as a point of reference, I just put the damn thing on the same way I've always done it for the past 30 years ...(clean threads, loctite, spin down with an impact, done)... And we'll see what happens.
 

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I thought about this one for quite a bit before committing myself to a specific way of doing it...as I was just a bit gun shy about if/how it would effect the problem child bearing. But the answer (for me...) was in the manual for my 1981, 5 speed, rubber-glide Shovel, which has/requires the exact same - rather bizarre - procedure with the only exception being a starting torque of 60ft/lbs instead of 100ft/lbs. So...

With that as a point of reference, I just put the damn thing on the same way I've always done it for the past 30 years ...(clean threads, loctite, spin down with an impact, done)... And we'll see what happens.

The angle tq of the 35-40 degrees will take the final tq up to close to 200 ft lbs or so anyway and with the lockplate in the proper position there is no need for loctight. The lockplate when installed should be where the screws are all the way to the side of the slotted holes so that if the nut does try to back off it will not be able to move. There is a similar tq sequence (- the angle tq) for the compensator and it seems to work just fine.
 

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Output Shaft Main Bearing

I ride old bikes. This comes with a few risks.
1) The best buys out there are low mileage garage queens like the FLTRX I bought.
2) Sitting unused is hell on any lubricated part. Because they are only lubricated when occasionally ridden.
3) After changing all fluids on a 5000 mile bike and riding 6000 miles, she ate a bearing.
4) Yes, the 10000 mile maintenance was done, she ate a bearing with nice clean synthetic oil.

No complaints, it's part of the deal. Part of the savings of buying a 20k bike for 10k is a maintenance budget.

The Motor Company occasionally buys Chinese and slips it into their product line.
The said bearing is likely OK it its Chinese application, but in the high torque and vibratory environment of clunky shifting Harley transmissions - she goes all Shanghai on you at an inopportune time.

I don't mind putting aftermarket Baker or Jim's parts in, but one might think the Motor Company would stock a higher class bearing - since they know the failure rate.
 

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When in 6th, the bearing has gear load as the main gear tries to move outward. That was prolly enough to quiet it down.

That bearing is the most common failure in the cruise drives.

What lube was in the trans? Early on some MoCo dealers tried to blame it on Shockproof gear oil. But many indies are saying it's a Syn3 issue. Personally, I think it bearing from the lowest bidder.
I'll let you know, been running Redline heavy shockproof since new. 44 K and going strong.
 

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I thought about this one for quite a bit before committing myself to a specific way of doing it...as I was just a bit gun shy about if/how it would effect the problem child bearing. But the answer (for me...) was in the manual for my 1981, 5 speed, rubber-glide Shovel, which has/requires the exact same - rather bizarre - procedure with the only exception being a starting torque of 60ft/lbs instead of 100ft/lbs. So...

With that as a point of reference, I just put the damn thing on the same way I've always done it for the past 30 years ...(clean threads, loctite, spin down with an impact, done)... And we'll see what happens.
The angle tq of the 35-40 degrees will take the final tq up to close to 200 ft lbs or so anyway and with the lockplate in the proper position there is no need for loctight. The lockplate when installed should be where the screws are all the way to the side of the slotted holes so that if the nut does try to back off it will not be able to move. There is a similar tq sequence (- the angle tq) for the compensator and it seems to work just fine.
The reason for turning it a specific number of degrees rotation is to insure that the amount of torque applied is accurate. By turning it some amount of degrees, you eliminate some of the torque inaccuracy that comes from friction and binding.
 

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Post Mortem Main Shaft Bearing

Welp, it sure looked like lubrication failure - but the amount of time this bike slept in a garage is also a factor.
When I bought it < 5500 miles over 8 years.
The obvious wow growl in neutral told me the transmission wasn't happy. Driving in any gear thrusted the shaft enough to quiet the noise. The teardown showed a scored Main Shaft and bad Bearing.
Bought new parts, cleaned everything up and reassembled. Shifts like a new one.
 

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