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Harley Wobble Elimination

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Snag_one

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#1
Been a while since I posted ... so I thought I'd post descriptions and photos of my solution for those dreaded touring Harley high speed wobbles . My solution has 2 components , a third heim link that bolts to the crossmember under the tranny and a modified exhaust mount that bolts to the trans end cap , plus a pair of bushings to replace the cleve blocks . The heim link was fabbed from ebay end pieces and a machined center section , the bushings are made of 4140 and ampco 45 aluminum bronze . The bushings are a direct drop-in replacement for the cleve blocks and use all the original small parts . The difference in handling is astounding , the young SportyBike riders can't believe that an old man on a FatBike can stick with them in the curves ... though they definitely leave me way behind on the straightaways . The bike these are installed in is a 1990 ElectraGlide Ultra Classic , most definitely a GeezerGlide !

parts 001 (Small).jpg unit installed 001 (Small).jpg unit installed 004 (Small).jpg unit installed 008 (Small).jpg Swingarm bushing v2 (Small).jpg
 

Rbeckett

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#2
Another place to loook for the head shake/wobble is in your front fork length adjustment. I moved mine up 8 MM in the triple clamp and it helped a ton when I stuffed it into high speed corners especially after hard braking. The front just wanted to dance before it set into the curve and track around. The fork height adjustment and adjustment of the oil levels made all the diffeence in the world. Made the front end more stable and much more predictable while stabilizing the feeling into and powering out of corners. Hope this helps and welcome to the group. Your gonna love it here with us. Hope to see you around the site often.
Bob
 

bonneblktrk

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#3
I'm dumb about Harleys what are you refering to in crossmember and exhaust mount. I have put a steering damper on my motorcycle and it helped to firm up the feel.
Thanks
 

smallfly

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#4
here's a real ez fix or sumpin to check when your harley -as mine- did begins to ''wooble '' at 93 miles per hour. i looked and looked as others did---could not find the problem. had others ride the bike--still could not find the problem. took the bike to harley dealer--installed new rear tire and rebalanced front tire---same problem! well i just gave -up. you can't sell the bike and i did not ride it for 5--months. then finally a close friend who has owned many harley's took a close look at the front tire which has a ''directional arrow'' to show the correct rotation. sure enough the tire had been installed ''backwards''. i replaced the tire -which had been riden 6000 miles and from then on , the handlebars no-longer attempt to ''bang'' the gas tank. smoooooth as silk at hi--speeds as always. re steve in mont.
 

Snag_one

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#5
Another place to loook for the head shake/wobble is in your front fork length adjustment. I moved mine up 8 MM in the triple clamp and it helped a ton when I stuffed it into high speed corners especially after hard braking. The front just wanted to dance before it set into the curve and track around. The fork height adjustment and adjustment of the oil levels made all the diffeence in the world. Made the front end more stable and much more predictable while stabilizing the feeling into and powering out of corners. Hope this helps and welcome to the group. Your gonna love it here with us. Hope to see you around the site often.
Bob

There's no way to adjust fork length on this model . They are attached at the top with a bolt that's drilled to supply air to the front suspension . Not that mine still holds air ... with over 100k on the bike the bushings are <apparently> worn enough to distort the seals and let the air (and some of the oil...) escape . I've had it apart twice now trying to fix this , and for now I just ride with the air at ambient . It's a LOT of work to tear it down , got a batwing fairing , radio , and a ton of wiring to fiddle with . BTW , been a member here for a while now , I just don't visit very often .

Snag
 

Snag_one

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#6
I'm dumb about Harleys what are you refering to in crossmember and exhaust mount. I have put a steering damper on my motorcycle and it helped to firm up the feel.
Thanks
There's a frame crossmember under the transmission , and a bracket that supports the right side exhaust pipe that is bolted to the right side end cap of the trans . This is a rubber mounted engine/transmission/swingarm bike , and Harley's design can allow the rear end of the trans to move in relation to the frame under hard cornering . When the tranny moves , so does the swingarm ... it's called rear-steer and it can get really hairy in sweepers at high speeds . Under certain load/speed conditions it can also cause what we refer to as a "tank slapper" , as the handlebars oscillate wildly lock-to-lock . The new touring bikes have addressed this situation with spherical bearings and a stiffer fram and swingarm .

Snag
 

hdtech

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#8
Always start with the basics. All touring bikes have a self centering front end. The steering head bearings should lubed then check the fall away. All touring prior to 2014 2-3 swings. Any more than 3 swings is loose bearings. I always adjust to loose 2 swings to compensate for weight of bike and bearings re-seating. Road glides 13 and older 1/2 to 1 swing. They changed the fall away specs in 2013 for road glides due to frequent steering head adjustment issues. If fall away adjustment does not correct wobble issues it's then time to inspect other related parts. Engine mounts vehicle alignment etc.
 

savarin

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#9
another point is if there is a touch of wear in the headstock bearings ie. dimpled races, it doesnt take much befor the the balls or whatever hunt over the high spots.
Considering the stress the headstock bearings are subjected to it may be worth a look here.
caveat - I know nothing about Harleys built after 1945
 

hdtech

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#10
Warning alcohol will intensify this affect. I wish I could say that to some of my customers Lmao
 

hdtech

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#11
I am not sure exact year could be 1957 is what sticks in my mind. Harley started using the same exact steering head bearings and steering stems in all models. Up until 2013. 2014 everything changes some better some changes not. Races are replaceable and all models have tapered Timken roller bearings. Races and bearings come packed together and replcement bearings and races is standard procedure when replacing them. Resolving wobbles and weaves are typically pretty straight forward. There are those bikes at times not so easy
 

That Guy

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#12
Let's not forget rider input. If a bike wobbles in a straight line, that's one thing. But if it wobbles when cornering at speed, that implies other issues.

One of the first things we were taught in road racing school is to be relaxed on the bike. I tight grip on the handle bars will often induce a wobble while leaning and cornering the bike. The bike steps a little out of line and we compensate, although a tiny bit too late, so our action becomes steering input rather than compensation. As the effect grows, we unknowingly induce our own wobble and very often, all we need to do is relax our grip on the bars to let the bike settle out.

After that, there are damping rates, fork oil viscosity and spring rates to consider, if you really want to get into it.
 

Fabrickator

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#13
Always start with the basics. All touring bikes have a self centering front end. The steering head bearings should lubed then check the fall away. All touring prior to 2014 2-3 swings. Any more than 3 swings is loose bearings. I always adjust to loose 2 swings to compensate for weight of bike and bearings re-seating. Road glides 13 and older 1/2 to 1 swing. They changed the fall away specs in 2013 for road glides due to frequent steering head adjustment issues. If fall away adjustment does not correct wobble issues it's then time to inspect other related parts. Engine mounts vehicle alignment etc.
I'm a factory trained Harley mechanic (granted it was in 1980) but after building and working on 100s of Harleys for public and Police Dept's, this is the proper approach.
 

Bill Rosselot

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#14
3 years ago I just about went down on my 2005 FLHT from a severe wobble which is was more like a flat tire, but when I got it stopped and I checked it out and found nothing I could see, so I limped it home and started tearing into it. I found that front motor mount broke, swingarm bushings junk. But before I found all of that I thought I had a bent frame so being an engineer I took the whole thing apart and reverse engineered the fame geometry took me all winter. Put everything back together and found a guy in Long Beach, CA at Glide Pro and bought new swingarm bushings and motor mount and swingarm pivot shaft went from 5/8" Stock to 3/4". Then I set the fall away and I've developed a way to align motorcycles just like they do your car. I spent a couple of months machining the brackets and hardware, but aligned mine and not wobble or vibrations or anything even on grooved roads. This picture is the prototype version. I've done over 80 bikes in the last 2 years and 10 of them are Police bikes and also 5 Harley mechanics and everyone tells me that their bikes handle better than they did when they were brand new. Most of the bikes I've done I have not changed the bushings, or motor mounts, but I did on mine because of the bigger motor 107 cubic inch I put in before the wobbling to much torque wore them out premature. So if you know of someone that needs this done in OHIO let me know.
Bill
s 20150508_214615.jpg
 

ogberi

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#15
Just saw this thread. I have a '97 dyna wide glide, and have experienced the high speed rear wiggle.. I like the op's mod, and think that's a darn nice project for this winter.
 

Jake Knorr

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#16
One other up-grade H-D made back in 2000 was going to a 1-inch axle front and rear, from the usual 3/4-axle.

Also at the same time they (H-D) went to ball bearings in the wheels, the reason being when their bikes were being washed using a pressure washer the water would get by the wheel hub seals washing the grease out of the Timken bearings. This caused bearing failure making the motorcycle fall down.

Jake
 
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