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Old 11-12-2012, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Continue the fight or "new" bike?

I have been trying to figure out if I might benefit from selling my beloved '88 Evo Springer and investing in a a newer bike, both monetarily as well as with quality ride time. I am an OTR truck driver and am only home 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. It has been a 7 year battle trying to keep the bike running but I can only manage about 2 weekends and it is down for 2 months while I fix it, or I take it to an indy and pay out the nose for labor. If I go for all the tricks for reducing the vibes and bringing down highway RPMs, hoping the work will keep it from shaking itself apart, I will be easily dropping another $3-$5K in the bike. Adding that to what I'd (hopefully) get from selling the Springer, I can walk out with a "new" bike still paid in full.
I have been eyeing either the '07 Wide Glide or the '06 V-Rod Night Rod, both with under 10K mi.
Now for the $64,000 question! Do these newer bikes handle sitting for a month or 2 at a time between rides better than the Evo? I need something that I can jump on and go, as well as something that I can TRUST to get me wherever and back. My poor Springer just can't seem to cut it. I have thought about an newer Evo Wide Glide but I worry i am just getting someone elses problem. Heck the asking prices aren't that far from the 10 year newer bikes.
Looking forward to some insight. Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 FXSTS View Post
Now for the $64,000 question! Do these newer bikes handle sitting for a month or 2 at a time between rides better than the Evo? I
Should not be a problem with a battery tender.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Road King Cole is reading this now saying WTF is this?
The newer bikes do not have any different issues\maintenance requirements with sitting for periods of time.

The problem with yours is the excessive vibration? Is this a "new issue" Do you know what is wrong with it? Maybe it is just bad gas and you need stabilizers\sea foam?

The newer softails are better balanced and vibrate less, but without knowing what is wrong with yours, don't think anyone can answer your question.

We can help with advise about maintenance tips etc...

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies so far. More info I can do. I just tend to get long winded.
This is not a new issue. My biggest problems are electrical, such as my posative cable fusing and shorting to the battery terminal, and 2 broken negative cables at the battery terminal. Also had a circuit breaker "half trip". That was fun to figure out. The vibrating is moving my carb settings, even after a light dab of loc-tite. I don't know what rpms I'm running at any given speed and 5th is the easiest give the example for, but it feels the same though all gears. The vibrtions get noticable about 62 mph and just get obnoxious from there. Above 80-85 mph can get down right scary. Pull in the clutch and the vibes stop completly so it isn't tire/wheel balance. From what I've read over the last 7 years it seems fairly normal. Not sure how much the vibes play a part in my problems but I theorise it is at least a factor none the less.
I also can't keep the primary from leaking even after completly replacing inner and outter and a reseal after that, so I am researching the closed belt primary.
For the fuel idea, I usually run through the tank and top off before I head back on the road. I'm confident that isn't a contributing factor.
I think the never ending fight is getting to me. Thanks again, y'all.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As far as your $64k question, yes, these newer bikes can handle sitting for a few months without issue. A good battery tender is really all it takes. Your old bike is a carb and those bikes don't like to sit for long periods as well. A good fuel stablizer helps but it's still not going to start as easily as something that's fuel injected. Sounds to me like it's time for "out with the old and in with the new."
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Fuel stabilizer and float charger work great, but the new bikes have sealed batteries that cut down maintenance. Rubber mount engines cut down vibes. Come to think of it, Yeah, buy a new bike!
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've always had the mindset that not only mileage but time wears things out. Car, boat, plane and bike components will deteriorate over time. Seals and belts will dry out, motor mounts and suspension will get compressed, tires will crack over time regardless of mileage. With that in mind, a bike, and the parts that make that bike up, that is 20 years younger will be less prone to failure than an older bike. If it were me, I'd sell the 25 year old bike and get a later model.

PS. If I was going to choose between the Wide Glide or V-Rod, I'd go for the Wide Glide and that's just based on the kind of riding I like to do.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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tough call, it would be nice if you had the time to wrench and keep
your springer running (i got a soft spot for evos) but that's an old
bike that needs attention and road time like monkeyboy said.

given your job obligations/ride time i'd say roll the springer and upgrade.
my efi starts/runs great and has been trouble free for years, she don't
lope tho..that would be the sh#t.

04 fxdwg
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I rode a 1988 Springer (#255 of 1340) for 10 years and 90,000+ miles. Great bike and I couldn't have been happier with it. It is a rigid mount engine so you're gonna get some vibes but shouldn't be excessive.

Vibes are probably an indication the engine needs work. How many miles on the bike?

Simple enough to fix the wiring problems. Even rewiring the whole bike with a new harness is fairly easy compared to the newer ones. And not really that expensive.

When you replaced the inner and outer primaries, did you lay each mating surface on an absolutely flat surface (like a sheet of glass) and check them out??? What kind of primary gasket are you using? Have you tried the new black ones that are nitrile rubber with a thin sheet of aluminum in the middle?? Best gasket Harley has ever used.

If it were me and considering no more than you ride right now, I'd try to straighten out what you've got.

I've got a good friend that has a 1986 Softail Custom. He had Harley do the remanufactured engine on it at about 120,000 miles and the bike runs and performs great. And no leaks at all.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you haven't ridden a Twincam Softail with the counterbalanced B engine you owe it to yourself to take a test ride.
They are light years smoother,you won't be having it shake apart and you'll thank yourself for having one when you get off the road and want to ride. (I've driven OTR and you can have it lol)
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree a newer model softail is the way to go.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have been riding a Softail since `89, over 140,000 miles.

Yeah, it vibrates some, but maybe you have more than normal vibration going on there.

Make sure the engine, transmission and primary are in proper alignment, and the primary chain is correctly tensioned.

Make sure the engine mount bolts are torqued properly (don`t forget the top ones).

Vibrations at 80-85? Seriously, this bike was never made to ride at those speeds; a high performance bike it is not…it should be scary at 80-85….and it sure as hell will vibrate…

Your bike should be able to sit all winter long without a battery tender, and if it can`t there is a problem that needs to be addressed, either a bad battery, or electrical problem causing the battery to run down.

When you leave the bike for any length of time, make sure the tanks are full, with some fuel stabilizer in the fuel. Run the bike with the petcock turned off until it quits.

Your primary leak may actually be a transmission leak, fill the primary with automatic transmission fluid (any type is fine), and in a few days you will know for sure where the leak is coming from.

Make sure the primary and transmission are not overfilled, the service manual for this year bike gives incorrect level for the primary, it should only be filled until the lube is up to the outside diameter of the clutch assembly (bike straight up).

The transmission takes 16 ounces.

Keep the bike; with the money you save, buy a good table lift and spend some time to get the bike in good mechanical and electrical condition, there is absolutely no reason for an `88 Softail to be any less dependable than a brand new bike.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the ideas and input. I know I ultimatly have the decision, but it helps to get a 3rd party perspective since I am attached to my bike. I will add I am not concerned about the vibes for any other reason than longevity of the bike. They don't bother me physicaly.
I think adding to these will be the best way to cover these points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ED Y
I rode a 1988 Springer (#255 of 1340) for 10 years and 90,000+ miles. Great bike and I couldn't have been happier with it. It is a rigid mount engine so you're gonna get some vibes but shouldn't be excessive.
Mine is #629 out of Birmingham, Al. Since the severity of vibes realy comes down to perception, it is hard to tell from one person to the next what might be excesive.

Vibes are probably an indication the engine needs work. How many miles on the bike?
Only about 23,000 mi.

Simple enough to fix the wiring problems. Even rewiring the whole bike with a new harness is fairly easy compared to the newer ones. And not really that expensive.

When you replaced the inner and outer primaries, did you lay each mating surface on an absolutely flat surface (like a sheet of glass) and check them out??? What kind of primary gasket are you using? Have you tried the new black ones that are nitrile rubber with a thin sheet of aluminum in the middle?? Best gasket Harley has ever used.
Sadly I'm not sure what gaskets were used since I had an indy do the work due to time and knowledge constraints.

If it were me and considering no more than you ride right now, I'd try to straighten out what you've got.

I've got a good friend that has a 1986 Softail Custom. He had Harley do the remanufactured engine on it at about 120,000 miles and the bike runs and performs great. And no leaks at all.
$2500 Could be the difference in price after selling the Springer for a newer bike. I've been told, though it may not be true, that I had to have a MoCo dealer do the work and that just isn't going to happen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan89FLSTC View Post
I have been riding a Softail since `89, over 140,000 miles.

Yeah, it vibrates some, but maybe you have more than normal vibration going on there.

Make sure the engine, transmission and primary are in proper alignment, and the primary chain is correctly tensioned.
Supposedly this has already been done I had an indy do the primary due to time and knowledge constraints. I brought all this up to them to make sure they were in proper alignment.

Make sure the engine mount bolts are torqued properly (don`t forget the top ones).
I have done this myself.

Vibrations at 80-85? Seriously, this bike was never made to ride at those speeds; a high performance bike it is not…
I understand this, but was simply used as illustration for what might be normal. it should be scary at 80-85….and it sure as hell will vibrate…

Your bike should be able to sit all winter long without a battery tender, and if it can`t there is a problem that needs to be addressed, either a bad battery, or electrical problem causing the battery to run down.
Not a problem for my bike.

When you leave the bike for any length of time, make sure the tanks are full, with some fuel stabilizer in the fuel. Run the bike with the petcock turned off until it quits.
This is where I get curious. Just what is consitered a length of time? I don't winterize my bike since I can ride year round. My fuel is generaly not more than 2 months old unless a major breakdown has occured.

Your primary leak may actually be a transmission leak, fill the primary with automatic transmission fluid (any type is fine), and in a few days you will know for sure where the leak is coming from.
I have done exactly this. It stays red.

Make sure the primary and transmission are not overfilled, the service manual for this year bike gives incorrect level for the primary, it should only be filled until the lube is up to the outside diameter of the clutch assembly (bike straight up).
Now THIS is a curious thing. I, of course, have the bible for the bike and I have always added per the manual. If the manual is wrong than I am constantly overfilling. This would be the cause of my leaking!

The transmission takes 16 ounces.

Keep the bike; with the money you save, buy a good table lift and spend some time to get the bike in good mechanical and electrical condition, there is absolutely no reason for an `88 Softail to be any less dependable than a brand new bike.
There may not be money saved. I am not looking at new just newer. I don't have room for a table but I do have a small bike jack. I have spent lots of time on the bike but this is exactly where the problem lies. I don't have the time required for ride 1 weekend and wrench the next. The Evos (or at least mine)are inherently this way. So I ask, are the newer bikes as well?

Last edited by 88 FXSTS; 11-15-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
I don't have the time required for ride 1 weekend and wrench the next. The Evos (or at least mine)are inherently this way. So I ask, are the newer bikes as well?
Evo`s are not inherently that way.

If the primary continues to leak when it is filled to the correct level, I suggest that you replace the inner primary seal, and the inner primary bearing race. And while you have the inner primary cover off, check that the front pulley nut is tight.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Vrods are the most vibration free Harley made!
Not good for long trips though but solid as a rock. I just traded in an 06 with 31000 miles on it only because I wanted a more comfortable ride(switchback).
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