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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Brought my 1996 Road King Classic in for new tires today, and for them to check smoke coming from my pipes when riding, and 'clouds' of smoke coming under hard acceleration. Things went downhill from there. First they informed me that 3 of my spokes were broke on my rear tire. And gave me a couple options from replacing the rim, to redoing the 3 broken spokes (and they hope no more will break) and relacing the entire rim (cost prohibitive).

Ok, so I am looking at around $450 for the tires and installation and such, and probably another 300+ for a new rim. Then we began to discuss the smoke coming from the pipes. My friends said there is a stream of smoke coming when I ride, and a puff when I accelerate hard. They described it as a brown smoke. The dealer looked at the pipes and said they don't think its excessive gas, but oil. My friends also indicated there was a oil smell coming from the bike. So they told me I am looking at 1200-1700 or so for upper engine work on the bike. So now I am looking at $2500+ on the bike.

I'm not sure if its reasonable to spend this kind of money on this bike. Its a 1996, in very clean condition though, and about 18500 miles. The dealer said its not unusual for an EVO to have these problems at that many miles. So now I am thinking does it make more sense to buy a new bike and do the minimal repairs to get the rim repaired and just sell the bike to someone perhaps more mechanically enclined who can do some of the work themselves. I bought the bike a year ago from a guy who barely rode it for the past 3 years, and previously I don't know how it was driven. I have only put about 2000 miles on the bike since purchasing it last year.

So what do you guys think? I think the dealer may be leading me a bit down the new bike road, although I do see their point in that putting a lot of money into a bike like this may not be the best thing to do either. I do have a trip planned to Sturgis this year so a reliable bike is important, and I am planning on upgrading to a full bagger in 2 years (At least that was the plan.) Any opinions here would be appreciated, as well as other suggestions on what to do.
 

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Here's my opinion on it....

$2500 is WAY WAY cheaper then a new bike.

If they fix the engine (Rings, Valves) then you have a good running bike - the rims arent the most expensive thing, and the engine is the biggest wear item you will have, next to a transmission, which is about 2k if you go with a 6 speed.

However, I think its bullshit to say its common for this to happen after 18000 miles. I've got 20000 on my 96 EVO, and I plan on doing an upper end job this winter coming up, which should be more like 35000miles. Its not because of it smoking, its because I want to do it.

What I would do if I were you is fix the bike, ride it for two years, then sell it and get a new bagger. You will have more money in the long run.
 

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sounds like they are blowing smoke up .... never mind ... back to the bike. 18,500 miles is nothing for an EVO. Not knowing what is wrong makes it difficult to say but I would ask around and find a indy shop with a good rep and get there opinion. As for the spokes, you should be able to find someone to relace the rear wheel with nice polished stainless spoke for around $300, including the spokes.

Top end work on your bike is nothing, if it even needs it. First thing I would do is check the compression. Assuming it is good, look for a loose valve seal.

For what they quoted you, you can get a new rebuilt motor from the factory in like new conditions. It is a re manufacturing program they offer.

Only trade up if you want too.

My -2$en#e-
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Excuse my silly question, but what is an indy shop? The dealer did mention they could do an entire swapout with Harley, but it would cost in the range of $3k installed.. does this seem reasonable?
 

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No, I think its unreasonable to switch out an engine with so little miles.

Indy shop is an independent shop in your town that works on harleys. Go to the dealer, look for a trade magainze for the area, they will advertie there.

Compression test can give a great indication to what is wrong, something as simple as a valve seal can cause this.

Just to give you an idea - I can buy fully assembled ready to bolt on heads new for $600 from a dealer for your bike, thats half of the work right there. Then you have the jugs (the things with fins) and pistons inside with rings.

Thats about it. You can fix that engine for alot less then they are quoting, but even $2500 is less then one years payments on a bike you would trade up in two years. If you want the bagger now, well, thats a different story.
 

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Crimson said:
Excuse my silly question, but what is an indy shop? The dealer did mention they could do an entire swapout with Harley, but it would cost in the range of $3k installed.. does this seem reasonable?
An Indy shop is an independant shop i.e. no affiliation with HD.
 

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Big Boyz Cycles is an Indy Shop. An independant professional that is not bound by the big MOCO. MOCO = Motor Company as in HD. Harley Davidson as in the supplier of the engine your dealer wants you to replace or sell you that new bike! Listen to Springer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The dealer was laying it on pretty thick downplaying the EVO and this year of HD. Which I agree with somewhat.. 1996 was the last year before they changed the frame, so I can't get things like seats from Harley. They also indicated the fuel injectors from this year is problematic.. and there are basically no engine mods available which work with this year, not sure how true that is although I guess I heard the chips don't work on these bike.
 

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It is first model EFI (96 second year). If it works, I'd run it ... if it breaks, an S&S "E" carb is an easy install and a CV is a cheaper install. I'm not trying to convince you to keep it but it isn't as bad as they have made it out to be.
 

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In my opinion the bike shouldn't need anything with such low miles. I see lots of Evos in excess of 60k not needing a rebuild. This doesn't mean that you don't have a bad one (I've seen a few of those too). I would guess that considering you did not mention any fouling of the spark plugs (?), the smoke seen by your riding buddies may not be cause for a re-build. If however, you feel the engine may need something, I would suggest a .005" overbore using the H-D pistons, proper valve job with new seals of course, a top end gasket set and run it. If the engine is sound, you should get another 50k with it.
I would go in asking for what you want. If you leave it up to the shop (sometimes, some shops) will see it as an invitation to take advantage of you. Ask around in your area to find a shop (dealer or indy) that can make the kind of suggestions that people make here. Folks on this site and others like it aren't concerned about making money off of ya, and place the importance (usually) on proper information to help others in making (hopefully) educated decisions. Good shops will give the same advice, you'll know it when you hear it. It is also getting a bit harder to find the shops that treat you fair and can perform properly the type of work we're talking about.

As far as the rear wheel is concerned, launches off the line is hard on a laced wheel. Factory recommends inspecting the spokes at service intervals, if this was done the loose spokes should have been tightened at that time. A bike that gets used in a sane manner and serviced properly would not have the broken spokes.

-2$en#e-
 

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You bike is a dangerous piece of crap. It needs too many repairs to bother with. I'll take it off your hands for about 5k tops, maybe not that much.
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Just messing with you. Go to a good shop and get it fixed. I'd say you can fix it all for waaay under 2500 bucks.
 

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Last year I went cross country with bike in upper 20ks. I don't think 18k is alot. Though it hasn't been rode much. With trucks sometimes gaskets and seals get dry. Maybe thats an old wives tale.

Look at the cost to replace. Do you got extras? It will take alot for me to get anew bike. Just cause of the extra I got.

IMO if you fix then you got that much better of bike. I am not diagnosing. But if you do go in top end, then you got fresh top end.

As for tires, again IMO get a solid tire. The are pricey. But a nice tire will make the bike stand out. Plus they have tire repair kits, for on the road, for tubless tire. Never used one but it gives me warm fuzzy having it.

We can't tell you how to spend your money, unless you want to send me your bank statements, credit card, wifes mood........
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Appreciate the opinions guys.. I just needed some rational thought.. believe me, I would love to drop 25k on a new bike, and I can certainly afford it.. but its just not the right thing to do right now I don't think. My bike runs fine, the smoke is probably more of an annoyance to those behind me than anything else, but then again I don't want it to blow up on me on the way to sturgis either. I guess I just need to find someone who will pull it apart for me and give me the no bullshit answer as to what I should do. Anyone got any recommedations for someone in the Wisconsin area?

Also, what would be a 'reasonable' cost to do the appropriate testing to determine if I need new rings, seals, etc.. I wouldn't be against spending $200 to have someone spend a couple hours poking around inside to give me peace of mind.
 

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Look to ebay for a take off wheel they are out there. Mileage is not a concern if you like the bike keep it and do the repairs. I agree, get and independent bike shop to look at engine. Used bikes are worthless to dealers with 60 new bikes in stock, one with problems they will really screw you. The add on's for a new bike will cost far more than fixing your current bike.-2$en#e-
 

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Does it use oil? Have you had to add oil every 1k miles between oil changes?
If not, it may just be running rich. Does it have a Power commander installed on it?
Look for the indy shop and see if they have any take off wheels. May be cheaper than new spokes and a rim.
I have friends with 60K on an EVO motor with very little oil usage so I do not think that at 18k it should be an issue.
And have the indy shop do the 20k mile service on the bike. Sounds like it needs a good going over before you head out on the road.
Sorry, but to bring it up to road ready specs, it may also need cables lubed, brake fluid changed and brakes bleed, wheel bearings greased, steering head serviced, front wheel trued, new air filter or air filter cleaned, front fork oil changed and a few other minor inspections to ensure it will get you to Sturgis and back trouble free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks.. I've done a lot of the basic stuff already, lubed cables.. changed primary, trany, and oil.. replaced air filter.. But yeah the engine may need a little love.
 

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"The dealer said its not unusual for an EVO to have these problems at that many miles."

The dealer is high. I have 90k on my 84 FXR with no smoke, etc. 22k on my 89 FLHT.

Shop around at various shops to get the Valves, seals, guides and heads redone. Bore the Jugs .10 over and install new slugs and rings and ride it.


Replace the 3 spokes and have the wheel trued, no more than 60 bucks.
 

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fxrflh said:
"The dealer said its not unusual for an EVO to have these problems at that many miles."

The dealer is high. I have 90k on my 84 FXR with no smoke, etc. 22k on my 89 FLHT.

Shop around at various shops to get the Valves, seals, guides and heads redone. Bore the Jugs .10 over and install new slugs and rings and ride it.


Replace the 3 spokes and have the wheel trued, no more than 60 bucks.
Wow...interesting...I had both an '84 FXR and an '89 FLHT :corn:

I agree the dealer is blowing smoke up his arse,I had the top end done on my '84 at 103,000 miles and I rode it in to have it done.
Had 40K on my '89 when I traded it in on my y2k twinkeglide ;)

I have to wonder if it's had the oil overfilled,I've seen that cause bad smoke'n before.
 
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