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  #1  
Old 3rd June 2006
SoftailStevo SoftailStevo is offline
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Default Primary nut loose for 4th time in 5000 miles

It's been a nightmare with this Firebolt to keep the primary drive sprocket tight. When I picked the bike up new in September of '05, it had just over 100 miles on it and made an incredible amount of noise from the primary side. I asked many Sportster and Buell owners if that was common since it was my first Sportster style engine that I've owned. (I was only familiar with Evo Big Twins and most Japanese bikes). Anyway, there were a lot of people saying that it was common for the Buell to have excessive driveline noise but they never actually got to hear my bike. I couldn't take it anymore and decided to adjust the chain, (without a service manual), to a more tolerable level of thrashing. That lasted about 50 more miles until the noise came back so I ran it in a little more to shut it up. Soon after that the outer primary case was broken due to a spill I took so I got a CRASH course on the inner workings of the Sportster driveline. The first thing I noticed was the nut holding the drive sprocket spun off by hand! After all the broken pieces were replaced, I cleaned the threads on the nut and crankshaft and applied a dab of red Loctite. I went 2000-3000 miles without too much noise issues and then it started again. Same thing, the nut was backing off. Each time I'd put more and more Loctite on the threads but the last time I also used a center punch in three spots on the nut near the threads to help hold it on. It just came loose again within 100 miles of that last surgery. This time I took the rotor off to inspect the splines on it and the crankshaft and noticed the crank's splines seem to be worn, (or smaller), than the splines on the rotor/sprocket. The rotor looks like hardened steel but wouldn't the crankshaft also be??? My main point or question in this novel is should there be any lash in the splines like there is or should it be relatively close to the splined connection that I have on my 99 Softail's compensator sprocket?
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  #2  
Old 3rd June 2006
RedRider RedRider is offline
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First off, welcome to the forum.

The compensator sprocket nut issue has been an occasional problem on '04 & up bikes, including mine....

I believe there are several existing threads currently on our forum about this problem. Try a forum search for details, but IIRC, H-D changed the torque spec on the nut to a higher value (~250 ft/lbs?) to keep them tight. Also, red Loctite is used in this application from what I remember.

There is a member here who's compensator nut was loose for an extended time, and caused irreparable damage to the crankpin. The bike was under warranty, the dealer yanked the engine, split the cases, and installed a new flywheel/crankpin assembly to repair the damage.

Try checking out the earlier threads on this problem, and if you don't find your answer, update this thread for more details.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 3rd June 2006
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ted ted is offline
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I'm not familiar with the 5 speed setup. But, Zippers sells an aluminum plate that bolts on the engine sprocket that holds the nut from turning on 4 speeds. Beats the hell out of wasting locktite on oily parts.
Ted
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  #4  
Old 3rd June 2006
SoftailStevo SoftailStevo is offline
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Thanks for the quick response and information you shared. I remember posting on 3 message boards from different sites back in Oct. 2005 that still do not have any replies. The bike is definately still under warranty but I'm such a skeptic that I hate taking any of my vehicles back for work. Now if only the Stealership will be as helpful as you and this forum, maybe I'll get some satisfaction and start being able to trust people again.
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  #5  
Old 3rd June 2006
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chrishajer chrishajer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftailStevo
My main point or question in this novel is should there be any lash in the splines like there is or should it be relatively close to the splined connection that I have on my 99 Softail's compensator sprocket?
There should be no lash there, and that is likely the source of recurring problems with losing torque on the nut. The damage to the splines might be from the first time the sprocket nut came loose. When the nut is loose, the splines are asked to carry all the load, and they can't, so they get worn.

You would need to make a good inspection of the parts and see what's actually worn: the sprocket or the spline on the crankshaft. (sounds like you already did that and it was the crank.) If it's the crankshaft, it's going to be a good time to install some goodies from Nallin, because the cases are coming apart to replace the crank.


The tech tip that updated the torque spec and procedure was TT 211, September 16, 2005:

Quote:
TT 211 ľ September 16, 2005
Sportster and Buell XB Model Flywheel Sprocket Shaft Nut Torque Update
The flywheel sprocket shaft nut torque for 2004 & later Sportsters and 2003 & later Buell XB models has been changed. The torque has been increased from 190-210 to 240-260 ft lbs. Remember to clean the threads and generously apply LOCTITE Threadlocker 262 (red) onto the threads of engine sprocket shaft and use the SPROCKET LOCKING LINK (Part No. HD-46283 or HD-38362) as shown in the picture below.
How did you torque it (how did you keep the sprocket from turning) the first time you went in and found it loose, and how tight did you make it?

--Chris
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  #6  
Old 4th June 2006
SoftailStevo SoftailStevo is offline
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How did you torque it (how did you keep the sprocket from turning) the first time you went in and found it loose, and how tight did you make it?

I used the meanest high torque 1" drive Impact Wrench I could find!!!! Not really... I use the nylon block that I made for my other Harley primary and always use a torque wrench when tightening compensator nuts. I'd hate to see what chunks of magnets from the rotor would do inside the primary cover. I torqued it to 200 ft. lbs each time so far too but I really appreciate the extra information all of you fine folks are sharing with me. I'm definately taking it back to the dealer on Monday since I'll be leaving for vacation on Wednesday and won't be able to ride for 2 weeks anyway. Thanks to all of you again! Stevo
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  #7  
Old 23rd June 2006
semjpm semjpm is offline
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Does anyone have a description on what the audible symptom is when the compensator nut is loose? I heard it described and "another muffler" but that isn't very informative for me. Does the noise increase or change with RPM and does it increase vibration?

Thanks in advance,

SEMJPM
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  #8  
Old 9th July 2006
SoftailStevo SoftailStevo is offline
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The best way I can describe what I heard every time it was loose is loud clunking noises mainly at idle. It was not too awful when the engine has a slight load on it like running down the highway but as soon as you pull in the clutch it would rattle violently. Another tell-tale sign is when you turn the bike off. The compensator makes 2-4 really loud knocks as the engine stops.

Just a note to others who helped me with this post, I took it back to Gateway to the West HD/Buell and they covered everything under warranty. I have a new crank, compensator, and nut and have put another 2000 miles since the fix with no problems at all. They even did the oil and filter change with no cost to me. The front exhaust strap had been missing for awhile too, (since I removed it after it broke), and they replaced it without asking for the old piece. I'm really pleased with my first experience with a motorcycle dealership in 21 years of riding! (Even though I've only bought 2 new bikes in my life LOL).
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