Author Topic: Loose shift arm...advice please.  (Read 680 times)

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Offline Maddo Snr

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Loose shift arm...advice please.
« on: December 04, 2017, 04:00:53 PM »
The shift arm that comes off the gearbox on my twin cam is loose on the splines of the selector shaft. Unlike the M8, the whole primary side has to be removed to fix it.  :banghead:

The shift arm is metal-bound and cannot be tightened.

My question before I order another OEM shift arm is... Is this a known-problem part that I can replace with a better aftermarket product?

I notice the M8s have a completely redesigned shift arm fitted (which can be removed independently of the primary)

Advice please guys?

Offline Harley_Cruiser Rocker Lockers

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 04:21:43 PM »
Baker sells one that is highly recommended but I have never used one.
http://www.bakercustominc.com/store/Front%20Trans%20Levers%20for%20Harley%20Davidson-c-10.html
I put on a better lever but they are not cheap it is two part stainless steel and clamps down on the shaft instead of just squeezing it. You can install it by not taking off the primary but it is a pain to do.
You have to cut off the old lever with a Dremel.
https://betterlever.com/
Like I said they are not cheap, at $225
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Offline smoserx1

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 04:26:02 PM »
Fairly common issue, here is one alternative:
https://www.amazon.com/BAKER-3375-85SA-Truss-Style-Shift/dp/B00JSSZBGS
I have managed to keep a stock one by using a hex bolt that allows more torque when installing.  Yep, primary has to go.  There is a "better lever" that claims you can change it out without primary removal.  Maybe someone will elaborate on this,

Offline Hossamania

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 04:28:10 PM »
I had luck with mine by replacing the bolt with a new stock one, but put some anti sieze under the head of the bolt so it could be tightened, or rather over tightened. Most do this using a hex head bolt so they can get more torque on it with a socket wrench instead of just an Allen.
The Better Lever or Baker unit are good units if this technique does not work.
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Offline FSG

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 05:00:16 PM »
Yes a common problem, either throw $$$$ at it or replace the Screw with a Bolt and Washer.

Item #2   P/N 856A    SCREW    5/16-24 X 1 socket head (Grade 8)



Here's a pic of smoserx1 lever, note the Hex Head,  when I'm in that far I open up the slot to a taper.




a stock lever will set you back roughly US$22


Offline Tynker

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 05:40:25 PM »
It will be fixed, if you replace the allen bolt, with a grade 8, 1" long 5/16"  hex head bolt, and a flat washer, greased on both sides. Torque it down with a 3/8" socket and ratchet, and it will never come loose again. The new bolt will allow the arm to be pinched much tighter, than the old allen one.
Earl "Tynker" Riviere

Offline Maddo Snr

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 05:54:45 PM »
Thanks for the replies all, the OEM Allen head screw was tight enough to have stretched the OEM shift arm enough for it to become metal-bound, so I can't see that the fastener is the issue. Bike has only done 15,000 highway miles.

Given that the MoCo made a new arm for the M8 bikes AND made the part removable, I guess they knew the thing was a problem. At over $300 landed here, the 'betterlever' is a bit expensive. I'll mod the new OEM part as FSG suggested and Loctite it in place.

Thanks folks.

Offline Hossamania

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2017, 06:00:42 PM »
What happens is that the bolt cuts into the metal and binds, so it seems that the lever is bound, but using lube on the head and washer of a new bolt will allow it to be tightened just that much tighter.
It's worth a try, if it works, great. If not, you lose a dollar for a new bolt.
Happiness does not buy money.

Offline chopper

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2017, 06:02:50 PM »
It will be fixed, if you replace the allen bolt, with a grade 8, 1" long 5/16"  hex head bolt, and a flat washer, greased on both sides. Torque it down with a 3/8" socket and ratchet, and it will never come loose again. The new bolt will allow the arm to be pinched much tighter, than the old allen one.

Thats exactly what I did about 40,000 ago
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Offline Maddo Snr

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2017, 07:01:54 PM »
What happens is that the bolt cuts into the metal and binds, so it seems that the lever is bound, but using lube on the head and washer of a new bolt will allow it to be tightened just that much tighter.
It's worth a try, if it works, great. If not, you lose a dollar for a new bolt.

Now I get you Hoss! The flat washer will straighten the gap in the arm and tighten the inner circle, even if the outer edge is metal bound. Gotcha. Will give it try!

Offline Hossamania

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2017, 07:14:38 PM »
Definitely worth a shot. Mine has held for about 40,000 miles or more, like Chopper's has.
Good luck! Let us know how it works out.
Happiness does not buy money.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2017, 09:53:38 PM »
Also 2007 and up touring models I know for certain that you can take that arm of quite easily without taking the primary apart.
2006 and earlier need to come apart or cut it out.

Offline Maddo Snr

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2017, 12:11:59 AM »
Also 2007 and up touring models I know for certain that you can take that arm of quite easily without taking the primary apart.
2006 and earlier need to come apart or cut it out.

Spot on Scotty. On your advice I persevered with it and got it off.
Angled the slot as per FSGs advice and all good.

Thanks boys.  :beer:

Offline CarlosGGodfrog

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2017, 07:37:04 AM »
On finding the splines loose, what about squirting some Blue Locktite on the splines and then tightening the arm down ? It might fill in the looseness and slidify into a short time fix.

Online fbn ent

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2017, 08:00:39 AM »
I have used green. Works but a bitch to get back apart...
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Offline Paniolo

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2017, 08:05:49 AM »
I had mine done about a year ago. I was thinking about that two piece one, but that cost was almost as much as it was to have a shop pull the primary and do it correctly. Now I check for tightness with every oil change.
Life can only be lived in the present moment.

Offline Maddo Snr

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2017, 03:40:43 PM »
On finding the splines loose, what about squirting some Blue Locktite on the splines and then tightening the arm down ? It might fill in the looseness and slidify into a short time fix.

Exactly what I did Carlos. Should be fine now, that trick holds FMX shifters on when boys are using them to hold a whole bike upside-down. Never had one shift once the splines are Loctited.

Although...twin cam A motors shake like a jello right there.  :nix:

Offline 1workinman

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2017, 03:17:44 AM »
Baker sells one that is highly recommended but I have never used one.
http://www.bakercustominc.com/store/Front%20Trans%20Levers%20for%20Harley%20Davidson-c-10.html
I put on a better lever but they are not cheap it is two part stainless steel and clamps down on the shaft instead of just squeezing it. You can install it by not taking off the primary but it is a pain to do.
You have to cut off the old lever with a Dremel.
https://betterlever.com/
Like I said they are not cheap, at $225
  Think that is what I put on mine or something similar it was SS and very well made

Offline les

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2017, 02:39:46 PM »
I had luck with mine by replacing the bolt with a new stock one, but put some anti sieze under the head of the bolt so it could be tightened, or rather over tightened. Most do this using a hex head bolt so they can get more torque on it with a socket wrench instead of just an Allen.
The Better Lever or Baker unit are good units if this technique does not work.

Agreed with putting some lube under the bolt head.  When it's dry, it binds and you can't get it as tight as you should.  Note that, if you carry tools in your saddle bag, you can always do an infield repair because there is always an infinite supply of grease that's handy...picking some out from the bottom of your fork neck with a small screwdriver.

I always also apply some blue loctite to the threads.  The infield repair can include stopping at AutoZone to get a tube of blue along with the grease under the bolt head from picking some out from the bottom of the front fork neck.

Done this infield fix many times, and is much better to take a few minutes to do it rather than letting those splines strip out and then causing really bad trouble.

Offline lickidysplit

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2017, 04:02:57 PM »
It is best to address them at your next oil change or whatever because they are going to fail. Everytime I have seen them fail on the road was not at the most idea times. The last one I worked on was on the side of the road in a rain north of Sturgis this year on a friends bike . It was stripped so bad we barely got it to bite.

Offline Skin

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2017, 03:52:54 AM »
I make it a point to check the lever at every service. I've got over a 100k on my '05 with the original lever. Harley says nothing about it.

Offline Hossamania

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2017, 04:58:59 AM »
I'm also still running my original arm with over 100,000 miles, just overtightening the original bolt with lube at about 30,000 miles or so. It will have to come apart some year, as it's been leaking pretty good for almost 10 years.
It's on my list.
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Offline a_disalvo

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Re: Loose shift arm...advice please.
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2017, 08:34:41 AM »
What would happen if you filed off some of the rib on the inner primary so you could get the lever out?Frank