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  #1  
Old 8th January 2019
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Default Rocker Arm Shaft Fit In Rocker Cover

I've been working on an article in the Sportsterpedia on rocker box / rocker arm servicing.

I have to change my rocker arm bushings anyway.
So, I thought I'd mic everything as I go along.

edit: Checking the rocker arm bore size is a normal service procedure as outlined in the FSM.

I'm getting strange numbers so I thought I'd see if I could get some better understanding of the figures from you guys.

To remove the rocker arms shafts, I had to tap the them out since they wouldn't drop out on their own.


I then inserted the shaft back in to see what was binding.
I could line the shaft up and insert this end pretty easy.


However this is as far as I could get the shaft into the other (clamp) end before it would need to be tapped home.
With one end chamfered, I'd assume that end would go in first.
But it won't go in the opposite end and come down without tapping it all the way.


So I mic'd the shaft ends and the their respective rocker arm bores as in the FSM.


And these are the numbers. My caliper is only good to .001" so I had to eyeball between hash marks for the fourth decimal point.
(that should be all that is required here anyway I'd think on a used box)

I have .001" clearance on the chamfered end.
But it's very tight on the other end of the bore.
The shaft dim is the same on both ends.
All measurements were taken top to bottom as installed.


And here are the specs.

Shaft fit in rocker cover (loose)

New Install .0007” - .0022“ (.018 mm - .056 mm)
Wear Limits .0035” (.089 mm)

Here is the loaded rocker box.
The notch on the shaft is up top (right side - installed) in this pic. The install bolt runs thru the notch.



The FSM shows pics of taking the measurements on both shaft and bore from the right side.
I'd think the specs given should apply to both (L and R) sides of the shaft and rocker bores.

I've read where rubbermount rocker shafts may slide out of the rocker box on their own after the bolts come out and it's handled.
So I was also wondering why this one on my 98 won't.

This one had to be tapped out and basically a press fit to get them back in that one side.
You can see by my dims that the shaft slides in fine from the valve side of the rocker box.
It appears to be a tapered bore on the notched shaft side from the dims.
But it could just be wear I guess?

My question:
Is the right side fit suppose to be that tight or should I go ahead and ream the rocker bores on that end.

Both shaft bores are similar this way.

I'm wondering if this is a mistake in wording or pictures from the MoCo for one.
(since mistakes are bound in the FSMs)
It probably wouldn't bother me if all sides were about the same way.
I'm also wondering if this fit was intentional from the factory on the notched side of the box.
Too loose and it will simply rock more in the bore, but then there are the specs.
I plan on installing rocker lockers also though.

Any ideas how it got this way?
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Last edited by Hippysmack; 11th January 2019 at 04:42..
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  #2  
Old 8th January 2019
Four Speed Four Speed is offline
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Default

Quote:
Any ideas how it got this way?
Is your rocker box plated? Could that have migrated into the bore?

I admire your thoroughness but lets face it, it wouldn't be the first time that HD had wide manufacturing tolerances. Take the the four-speed shifter mechanism for instance..........
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Old 8th January 2019
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Maybe the factory's way of stopping the rocker shaft "tick"?
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Old 8th January 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Speed View Post
Is your rocker box plated? Could that have migrated into the bore?
lets face it, it wouldn't be the first time that HD had wide manufacturing tolerances.
It is plated.
And it is OEM.
So, nobody else has had this issue?
The FSM says to remove the rocker arm shaft using a hammer and a soft metal punch.
So it sounds like they knew that it would be a tight fit.
The pic even shows removing the shaft from the right side.
(backing it out from the chamfered side thru the right side actually)

But, if you look at the specs, it shouldn't bind up.
I'd imagine a .0007" originally clearance bore might (due to heat and stress) but not 20 years later.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harley506d View Post
Maybe the factory's way of stopping the rocker shaft "tick"?
That was my original thought.
But then I got to wondering if the slack on one side and none on the other would be a bad thing.

I test fitted the bushing reamer and it is close but slides into one side with ease and stops about the same place the shaft did.
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  #5  
Old 8th January 2019
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I would think the shafts should be tight in the housings, they less movement the better.
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Wouldn't the reamer be for the rocker bearings when replacing? The shaft having a slip fit on one side aides assembly.
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I would think it should be tight also.
But the MoCo was OK with the fit being out up to .0035".
So that may only be a noise issue until it gets to there?

I noticed the 04 FSM also mentions to tap the shaft out.
The reamer is made to fit to the correct clearance for the bushings.
But, it's a reamer just like any other and can be used the same.

I'd imagine the bores on the rocker box were also reamed at the factory.
Possibly with a reamer like this.

I've been concerned about the overall geometry.
One of my valve stems on the stock heads got cut down to a 45 degree angle by the rocker pad.

I've got new heads and valves, new (used) rocker arms and the original boxes.

So I figured I'd do as much as I could now for longevity.

I guess the real question is will it do any more harm as it is opposed to reaming it to closer match the other side?

Last edited by Hippysmack; 8th January 2019 at 19:20..
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Old 8th January 2019
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How about warming the box, and chilling the shaft?
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Old 8th January 2019
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That would be one way of removing and installing the shaft.
When I replaced the rocker arms before, I just tapped them home the way I could.
But, my gut tells me to square up the elevation of the shaft to keep down wear on the valve stem.
Presently, the pushrods pick up one side farther than the valves pick up the other side of the shaft.
It's only a thousandth or so. It may not be anything to worry about.
But I'd feel better anyway.

So I think I am going to go ahead and ream the box bores and see what happens.
The rocker lockers will keep down axial movement of the shaft.

I've still got plenty of clearance left afterwards towards service limit.
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Where the headbolts are torqued down may have put a slight twist on the shaft bores, over time. I would think that tapping them in or out would be normal as you don't want this shaft sliding around and binding up against the headbolts.
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