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Old 04-07-2012, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Name that noise!

Why is it that every Twin Cam I've ridden with quiet exhaust and a windshield I hear a lot of valve train tapping type noise? Has anyone ever found out what causes this noise? I hear it as I accelerate at higher RPM's.(4,000 RPM up) Not at cruise. Loud exhaust covers the noise.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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simple most bikes have over head cams in them now days, harleys do not.
Back when most bikes had lifters and push rods they all had valve train noise
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muleskinner View Post
Why is it that every Twin Cam I've ridden with quiet exhaust and a windshield I hear a lot of valve train tapping type noise? Has anyone ever found out what causes this noise? I hear it as I accelerate at higher RPM's.(4,000 RPM up) Not at cruise. Loud exhaust covers the noise.
First off, the windshield from the riders side is concave and will focus and magnify the sound because of its dish shape, especially the higher frequencies.

Secondly, it's an antique pushrod engine. Tell ya what, go find an older pushrod V8 engine car or truck, take the hood off, stradle the engine and have somebody drive you around and come back and tell us how quiet that was.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
First off, the windshield from the riders side is concave and will focus and magnify the sound because of its dish shape, especially the higher frequencies.

Secondly, it's an antique pushrod engine. Tell ya what, go find an older pushrod V8 engine car or truck, take the hood off, stradle the engine and have somebody drive you around and come back and tell us how quiet that was.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
First off, the windshield from the riders side is concave and will focus and magnify the sound because of its dish shape, especially the higher frequencies.

Secondly, it's an antique pushrod engine. Tell ya what, go find an older pushrod V8 engine car or truck, take the hood off, stradle the engine and have somebody drive you around and come back and tell us how quiet that was.
I was a tune-up, electrical, air conditioning tech with Ford dealerships for over twenty years in my other life. I've had my head under 1000's of hoods with running push rod engines. They were not noisy like this at any RPM unless they were a solid lifter engine.

The hydraulic lifter push rod engine is a "zero valve lash" engine. Solid lifters will make the noise you refer to, but not a hydraulic lifter engine. The Harley VTwin is a zero valve lash, hydraulic, roller lifter engine. It should not make any valve train noise at any RPM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muleskinner View Post
Why is it that every Twin Cam I've ridden with quiet exhaust and a windshield I hear a lot of valve train tapping type noise? Has anyone ever found out what causes this noise? I hear it as I accelerate at higher RPM's.(4,000 RPM up) Not at cruise. Loud exhaust covers the noise.
I dont recall my lifters making noise with stock set-up...I added woods cams...and ..well...tick tick tick.......But not too bad... You may want to check your oil pressure at high rpm's...
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I dont recall my lifters making noise with stock set-up...I added woods cams...and ..well...tick tick tick.......But not too bad... You may want to check your oil pressure at high rpm's...
Yep. Your on the right track! That's the first thing I would check. I ran 110" CVO Ultra mufflers on my 07 SG and my wife runs them on her 05 RK with a full size windshield. Most riders run loud mufflers on Harleys and would not be able to hear this noise.

I heard the same noise on both my Street Glide and my wifes' Road King when accelerating to around 4,500 RPM. Neither made the noise under that RPM, or at idle. Both with stock cams and with Andrews cams. Sounds like a "Ticking" valve with too much valve lash. But that can't be possible, as the T/C engine has zero clearance, hydraulic roller lifters. That's why I can't figure it out!

It might be cam lobe to lifter contact noise, or cam chain noise being transmitted up the hollow push rod tubes. Noise will travel and a hollow push rod tube could transfer noise to the rocker box area where I hear the noise real easy.

Last edited by muleskinner; 04-07-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I was a tune-up, electrical, air conditioning tech with Ford dealerships for over twenty years in my other life. I've had my head under 1000's of hoods with running push rod engines. They were not noisy like this at any RPM unless they were a solid lifter engine.

The hydraulic lifter push rod engine is a "zero valve lash" engine. Solid lifters will make the noise you refer to, but not a hydraulic lifter engine. The Harley VTwin is a zero valve lash, hydraulic, roller lifter engine. It should not make any valve train noise at any RPM.
I used to work on building and repairing pushrod engines too and my experience is different. The ones I worked on were usually high performance and some did have hydraulic lifters. Have you ever taken the valve covers off a small block Chevy and started it??? The racket is unbelieveable!

With all due respect, your last statement that they should not make any valve train noise at any rpm is just plain BS!
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I used to work on building and repairing pushrod engines too and my experience is different. The ones I worked on were usually high performance and some did have hydraulic lifters. Have you ever taken the valve covers off a small block Chevy and started it??? The racket is unbelieveable!

With all due respect, your last statement that they should not make any valve train noise at any rpm is just plain BS!
Yes I've adjusted lot's of valves on hydraulic lifter small block Chevy's with the rocker covers off and the engine running. They make a lot of noise with the rocker covers off, but not with the covers on. If they did, Chevy would have had a lot of customer complaints regarding the noise. Hydraulic lifters are quiet. Solids are not.

The noise the twin cam makes could be coming from the cam chest and being transfered through the push rods, or the push rod tubes. The push rod tubes are thin metal and would transfer noise also. Let's be real here. The Harley twin cam engine is not the most quiet engine I have heard. The metrics have that down.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One thing to think about is the Harley doesn't have the water jacket to dampen the sound of the combustion chamber. The valves hitting the seat makes some noise.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes I've adjusted lot's of valves on hydraulic lifter small block Chevy's with the rocker covers off and the engine running. They make a lot of noise with the rocker covers off, but not with the covers on. If they did, Chevy would have had a lot of customer complaints regarding the noise. Hydraulic lifters are quiet. Solids are not.

The noise the twin cam makes could be coming from the cam chest and being transfered through the push rods, or the push rod tubes. The push rod tubes are thin metal and would transfer noise also. Let's be real here. The Harley twin cam engine is not the most quiet engine I have heard. The metrics have that down.
hydraulics are quieter than solids but still not quiet.

metrics are OHC, usually shim & bucket motors... different animal, can't compare them.

I think your expectation for quietness from the traditional v-twin design is unrealistic. Just sayin'.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have a close friend who managed a "metric" shop and I could go on and on about how their v-twin engines failed and how the repair/replacement cost was more than the metric bike was even worth....! Just saying!!!! -Tutt
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have a close friend who managed a "metric" shop and I could go on and on about how their v-twin engines failed and how the repair/replacement cost was more than the metric bike was even worth....! Just saying!!!! -Tutt


HUH? Where did that come from?
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Just sayin the metric bikes, the noise they make, and their valve trains are not so reliable as you think they are. You were the one who said the "metric bikes have it down", not me. They are not so reliable either.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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One thing to think about is the Harley doesn't have the water jacket to dampen the sound of the combustion chamber. The valves hitting the seat makes some noise.
I think you just hit the nail on the head! That and the four thin wall, hollow metal external push rod tubes traveling from the cam chest to the heads. I bet a lot of cam chest and top end noise is emitted through the tubes! With all of that sitting right under you, engine noise is inevitable. With loud exhaust, or no windshield, you would never hear the noise.
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