Archive for the ‘The Original True-Track’ Category

HD service bulletin M-1246 to help new frame decel wobble

The M1246 bulliten refers to the adjustment of the steering head bearings. Harley issued a service bulletin (M-1246)
Purpose A revised procedure has been identified for adjusting steering head bearings on 2009 Touring model motorcycles. Please note this change is unique to 2009 models only and does not affect earlier model year vehicles. Required Dealer Action Inform service staff of this revised procedure and follow this method when servicing these motorcycles. Replace section 1.21 STEERING HEAD BEARINGS. Place the included pages into all 2009 Touring Models Service Manuals (Part No. 99483-09) that are in use in dealer service departments as well as unsold inventory.
1. See Figure 1-37. Turn handlebar to the right fork stop to access grease fitting at the left side of the steering head. 2. Inject Special Purpose Grease, Part No. 99857-97 until it exits from the top and bottom of the steering head. 1. Raise the motorcycle so the front and rear wheels are lifted the same distance from the floor. 2. Verify that motorcycle is in stock configuration. Remove all non-factory accessories, since they can influence front end swing momentum (and lead to improper adjustment). 3. See Figure 1-38. Turn the front wheel to the left fork stop and then let go. The wheel should swing from side to side, finally stopping in the swing specified in the table shown below. If it stops in the lesser number swing, it should be at or after the straight-forward position. 4. If the clutch cable or main harness appears to be influencing swing momentum, proceed as follows and repeat the previous step: a. Clutch cable: Disconnect clutch cable from hand lever. Release cable from P-clamp, remove from inner fairing, or release from cable clip on instrument nacelle depending on model. See 2.25 CLUTCH CABLE. b. Main harness: Remove the rivet and P-clamp to release main harness from steering head. Secure P-clamp with a new rivet when procedure is complete. NOTE A steering head that is too tight can interfere with the vehicle’s ability to absorb a weave. A steering head that is too loose can interfere with the vehicle’s ability to absorb a wobble. 5. To correct a swing pattern, see 1.21 STEERING HEAD BEARINGS, Adjustment. 1. Disassemble motorcycle as follows: a. FLHR/C: Remove headlamp nacelle. See 2.47 HEADLAMP NACELLE: FLHR/C. b. FLHX, FLHT/C/U: Remove outer fairing and radio or storage box as equipped. See 2.37 UPPER FAIRING AND WINDSHIELD: FLHX, FLHT/C/U and 7.33 ADVANCED AUDIO SYSTEM respectively. c. FLTR: Remove instrument bezel. See 2.42 INSTRUMENT BEZEL: FLTR. 2. See Figure 1-39. Loosen pinch bolts (3) on lower fork bracket.
3. Loosen the fork stem nut (1). 4. See Figure 1-40. Fashion a bearing adjuster tool using a drill rod 1/4 in. (6.4 mm) in diameter and 16 in. (406.4 mm) long. NOTES ● See Figure 1-39. Turning the bearing adjuster nut (2) as little as one notch will make a noticeable difference in the swing pattern. ● Tap forks with a rubber hammer while turning adjuster nut to prevent forks from binding in lower bracket bores. 5. Turn bearing adjuster nut (2) as follows: a. To decrease the number of swings, rotate nut clockwise. b. To increase the number of swings, rotate nut counterclockwise. NOTE Original equipment fork stem nut has a blue dye coating. If a replacement nut is being installed, the replacement nut will not have the blue coating. 6. Tighten stem nut to 70-80 ft-lbs (94.9-108.4 Nm). NOTE Torque of the stem nut will affect the swing pattern. 7. Recheck the swing pattern and adjust as necessary. 8. Tighten pinch bolts to 53-57 ft-lbs (71.9-77.3 Nm). 9. Verify that the fork stem nut is tightened to 70-80 ft-lbs (94.9-108.4 Nm). 10. Recheck the swing pattern and adjust if necessary. 11. Assemble motorcycle as follows: a. FLHR/C: Install headlamp nacelle. See 2.47 HEADLAMP NACELLE: FLHR/C. b. FLHX, FLHT/C/U: Install radio or storage box (as equipped) and outer fairing. See 2.37 UPPER FAIRING AND WINDSHIELD: FLHX, FLHT/C/U and 7.33 ADVANCED AUDIO SYSTEM respectively. c. FLTR: Install instrument bezel. See 2.42 INSTRUMENT BEZEL: FLTR. 12. Install any accessories that were removed during the checking procedure.


Don’t forget to inspect your rubber isolators!

Rubber mount failure is common but often an oversight during inspection and service. On the 93-2008 Touring Model three are in place, a front motor mount and two rear isolators located in the swingarm. These are what keep us vibration isolated. A failed front motor mount as seen below, (though not often as extreme as these photos) will create added vibration as the motor is now sitting metal to metal. A failed motor mount will also increase instability.

The 2009 & later touring model frame changes include a system now mounted in 4 rubber isolators – the swingarm contains two as they have prior but are now 4 ring isolators as opposed to the three ring pre 09 and two front 4 ring isolators exist. Theses two front isolators are what hold the alignment. Trike owners we have seen these isolators wear/fail in as little as 9-12 thousand miles. Be sure to inspect on a regular basis.



Harley-Davidson is Recalling All 2012 and certain 2013 V-Rods

27 10 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 25, 2012 – (Motor Sports Newswire) -

Vehicle Make / Model:   Model Year(s):
     H-D / VRSCDX   2012-2013
Manufacturer: HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY Report Receipt Date: OCT 18, 2012
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12V503000 NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: EQUIPMENT
Potential Number of Units Affected: 2,798
 Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) is recalling all model year 2012 and certain model year 2013 VRSCDX motorcycles manufactured from June 14, 2011, through August 1, 2012. The license plate bracket assembly’s mounting screws may loosen and the assembly may separate from the rear fender. This condition may lead to contact with the rear tire which could cause the license plate bracket to rotate, possibly damaging the rear brake line.
 If the license plate bracket contact with the rear brake line remains undetected, it may affect rear brake performance, increasing the risk of a crash, which could lead to injury or death of the rider.
 Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and repair any affected motorcycles free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on, or about, November 5, 2012. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson at 1-414-343-4056.
 This is Harley-Davidson recall 0148. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to


The Importance of Tire Pressure

Here’s what the Metzeler’s website says regarding tire pressure for their

Tire Pressure

Always inflate tires to the correct pressure as indicated in
the owner’s manual. However Metzeler North America has found the air pressure
suggestions listed below will improve mileage and customer satisfaction
especially if a emphasis is placed on running the air pressure towards the
maximum as stated on the sidewall. Check cold tire pressures frequently. Correct
tire pressure is crucial for safe handling. Over inflation may impair ride
comfort and reduce the contact patch between the tire and driving surface of the
tires. Insufficient air pressure will result in poor handling and cause a
tendency for the motorcycle to “wander”. In addition, improper and insufficient
tire will cause accelerated tire wear,
increased fuel consumption, less control and the possibilities for tire failure
to due an overload/under inflated operating situation.

Recommended Minimum Tire
Pressures (PSI)


Alpha ME880 (MH, MT, MU tires) Solo / 2 Up / Light2 Up /
Heavy – Front 36 / 40 / 40 – Rear 38 / 40 /40

ME880 Solo / 2 Up / Light2 Up / Heavy – Front 38-40 /
40-42 / 40-42 – Rear 44-46 / 46-48/ 48-50

For bikes with the following rear tire sizes: 170/80-15,
180/70-15, 150/80-16, 160/80-16, 180/60R16, 180/70R16, 200/60R16, 240/50R16,
140/80-17, 160/70-17 D spec, 170/60R17, 210/50R17, 150/70-18, 180/55ZR18,
200/50R18, 210/40R18, 260/40R18, 280/35R18, 300/35R18, 260/35R21.


A quote from Bert Baker of Baker Drivetrain

We believe many share Berts sentiment so we decided to post what we feel needs to be reitterated often-

“Lost sight of the American dream? Our forefathers gave birth to the industrial revolution, achieved global manufacturing dominance, and fought 5+ wars last century to propagate the American dream and keep it alive. Does the phrase “Buy American” sound corny to you? If it does then hop on your bicycle and head down to the dollar store or mega retailer to buy some more Chinese shit to further undermine the American manufacturing machine. If “Buy American” means something to you, then please don’t piss away the beautiful gift our forefathers gave us. Buy American and spread the word. OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT!”

Bert Baker
BAKER Drivetrain


HD Touring model low mileage wobble

Wobbles in HD Touring models at low mileage can be attributed to:
Is the bike lowered?
    1. Loose front motor mount bolts.
    2. Front end fall away too loose (should be half of factory spec)
    3. Check spoke wheels (if applicable)
    4. Check demension from top of valve cover edge (rear cylinder) to seat tube. It should not be more than .550. If it is, then to much weight is on the front wheel. Check angle of motor with an incolometer (Home Depot, tool dept.) Should not be more than 1 1/2 degrees (1 degree 30 minutes)
    5. Check alignment of rear wheel, then rear wheel to front.
    6. Dunlops wobble the least.
    7. Swing arm pivots on HD Touring bikes are not anchored. This is the main source for wobbles. Go to >        


“Wobble” article part 2

“I have a pretty good idea that your tech has an undesirable characteristic of looking for the easy way out! This is not something you have to live with.” “First things first: is the air pressure in the tires correct? This sounds too simple, but is often overlooked. Are the spokes tight and the wheels true? Usually loose spokes will be felt in turns, but a pothole or high driveway apron can whack a rim even if you didn’t think you hit it that hard. How many miles are on the tires? A cupped or damaged front tire can contribute to this type of wobble. If all of the mentioned is accounted for, you probably have a slightly loose steering head bearing. Your tech may have checked it and concluded it was within spec, but experience has shown me to go to the tight side of specification. Tightening the stem bolt another half to full flat will usually eliminate the wobble you described. Be careful though,because if you go too tight, you can introduce a weave at highway speeds.”
We hope you enjoyed this food for thought!


“Wobble” article

Recently in AIM a customer wrote in and explained he’d been experiencing a wobble in the steering when holding onto the bars lightly.It happened when slowing down or coasting to a stop at approx. 38-42 mph. He took the bike in for servie and the Harley tech tightened and reset the preload on the steering bearing and greased it heavily. The customer noted “this seems to help somewhat, but the wobble gets worse as I put more miles on the bike”. When the customer returned with the same complaint the Harley service tech took the bike for a long ride and verified the complaint. Then the tech told the customer nothiing is wrong and it’s just an undesirable characteristic of that bike and the customer will have to live with it. The tech also mentioned it could be caused by the Tour Pak on the back of the bike. The customer removed the Tour Pak and got the same results. If this sounds familiar, Chris M – the “AIM expert” commented: see next posting!


True-Track TIPS

Tip! Don’t forget to inspect the front motor mount for wear every 5 or 10,000 miles and the rear isolators every 20 and 40,000 miles.