Author Topic: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes  (Read 792 times)

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Offline JW113

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#!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« on: August 14, 2019, 07:32:33 PM »
OK me brethern, I need some advice.

The original rocker boxes on this '92 softail of mine were totally blistered chrome, looked like hell. So I bought some (what looked good in the ad) used ones from ebay. And now, especially the front one, leaks like a sumbuvabitch. (can I say that?) I've replaced the gaskets three time now, last time just this past weekend. And still, leaking. My conclusion is that these fricken rocker boxes are bad, warped, came from some unethical unclean filthy basterd's bike who sold them on ebay, and now.. here we are.

So my question to all'a y'alls: Are any of the aftermarket rocker boxes worth a crap? Or do they all come warped from the Taiwanese factory they were made in, and are bound to leak as well? As in, Drag Spec, Bikers Choice, etc. Worth it? Not? Does anybody make stuff worth paying for? Please advise!

 :banghead:

Muchas gracias,
JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline turboprop

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 07:40:19 PM »
Is your question specific to softail rocker boxes, I was not aware the EVO softails had model specific rocker boxes. 
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Offline rageglide

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 08:20:01 PM »
Over tightening the tops sqoushes the d-rings out of position.   Pretty sure there is not a single year that's vulnerable outside of hamfisting.  Maybe a billet top can handle a bit more, but I'm sure it force the d-ring to move/

IMO replace with OEM gaskets (not jamessucksshit) and go easy AF with the torque... as in little to none. 



Offline JW113

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2019, 08:38:40 PM »
EVO sotfails are not specific. Any Evo rocker box is likely to have similar issues.

Bob: your response is certainly valid. Over-torque can be the source of this issue. Just not sure what to do at this point. Try yet another set of gaskets and try not to over-torqued them (not that you can get a torque wrench in there), or assume the boxes are no good and start fresh? I would love to have a set of virgin rocker boxes and try to start anew, but is that really the solution? I just don't trust this 25+ year old crap.  Is there a new production rocker box that's worth a try?

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline koko3052

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 08:57:40 PM »
How about trying to touch them up on a flat plate, a sheet of fine emery cloth & some cooking oil? I do that to heads every time they are removed.

Offline BUGLET

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 05:25:29 AM »
  Are they OEM boxes or aftermarket, if aftermarket some they take thicker gaskets as the original won't seal right.

Offline SixShooter14

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 06:02:24 AM »
How about trying to touch them up on a flat plate, a sheet of fine emery cloth & some cooking oil? I do that to heads every time they are removed.
I'd go with this. I bet they just aren't as flat as they oughta be.
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Online Ohio HD

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 06:48:16 AM »
ahhh, pry open that wallet and buy some OEM covers. Only $281.97 for one set (one head).       :smilep:

17528-92 ROCKER COVER, OUTER (CHROME)  $87.99

17529-92 SPACER, ROCKER COVERS (CHROME)  $70.49

17530-92 ROCKER COVER, INNER (CHROME)  $123.49


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Offline wfolarry

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2019, 06:56:07 AM »
I put S&S 2 piece covers on mine. never leaked again.

Offline turboprop

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2019, 11:58:41 AM »
EVO sotfails are not specific. Any Evo rocker box is likely to have similar issues.


Not sure why you titled the thread softail rocker boxes. I was hoping to learn about some unique softail parts.

Not all evo rocker boxes are the same. The early ones used cork seals between the various layers. The later ones used rubber seals. Components between the two types can physically be interchanged but will not seal. Same with the seals, rubber seals cannot be used in covers designed for cork.

Lapping them will only work on the bottom sides as the upper side has channels for the seals.

Alignment can also be an issue as the middle layer sort of floats and is really only held in position by the clamping force between the base and top covers. With the tolerance in the mounting holes, it is possible to have the top, middle and base layers in just the right position that the seals are barely touching their mating surfaces. Some assemblers will use tapered alignment pins in a couple of the holes to center the top piece, etc.

I have billet and cast EVO rocker boxes from S&S. They each have their good and bad points. The billet ones are a major pain in the ass to work on. Especially with a tall engine in a little FXR frame. The top bolts on the rear left side are the worse. On the positive side, their internal supports are two pieces which makes getting everything in and out easy as everything can go in one piece at a time. The cast S&S boxes are a bit easier as the top bolts are accessible from the outer edge vs being in the middle of the cover. Their internal supports are similar to the TC design and a little harder to get in and out of the rear cylinder.
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Offline cheech

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2019, 02:56:51 PM »
Get your originals replated?  :scratch:

Offline rageglide

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 09:18:53 PM »
JW you have a set of bare covers, you could have em chromed... but I would think there's a good chance that might not work out so good.  Probably better off polishing them on your buffer.

As far as the interchange comments go, grab an evo engine out of any chassis from 1984+ and the f'er will bolt right up in any chassis.  Period.

Remove .050-070" off the heads and it makes rear rocker box easier to remove on a softail.

I put updated H-D rubber gaskets in my '86 with zero issues. It had cork/rubber gaskets when I swapped em out.  IMO the trick and key to leak free rocker box is zero oil on the gasket.  Wash em with brake clean when you could buy the chit, otherwise remove ALL oil and you're going to be ok.  Any oil on the rubbers cause them to move around.

Offline Ironheadmike

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2019, 08:02:37 AM »
ahhh, pry open that wallet and buy some OEM covers. Only $281.97 for one set (one head).       :smilep:

17528-92 ROCKER COVER, OUTER (CHROME)  $87.99

17529-92 SPACER, ROCKER COVERS (CHROME)  $70.49

17530-92 ROCKER COVER, INNER (CHROME)  $123.49
Can you still get them from HD ?

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2019, 08:00:50 PM »
Well, the pricing comes from HD online, so I'd say yes.


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Offline JW113

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Re: #!$%&* Softail rocker boxes
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2019, 08:46:31 PM »
Yes, absolutely, Softail rocker box gaskets are different from all the other Evo rocker box gaskets. Softails are poser bikes, all show and no go. Therefore, the gaskets used in Softails are color coordinated to the bike's paint scheme. Blue bikes get blue gaskets, red bikes get red gaskets, and so on. And not just the rocker boxes, but ALL the gaskets used in the engine and transmission. It's a style thing. Why else ride a Softail if not because it's stylish?

And here I thought this was common knowledge.

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber