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B-Rad, BFMC 104
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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a service bulletin realated to the clunk fix of shimming the stem??
My dealer just keeps telling "it's supposed to do that when you hit bumps"*TIBS*

Looking for some proof.

Thanks
Brad
 

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No it should not do that. I am new here so I am not familiar with all the people but I assume you ride a WG by your username. If the clunking is coming from the trees/steering head, the stem nut is out of spec. This is common on new bikes. It is also common for dealers to have their heads up their asses. I haven’t heard of this problem with dynas, but it is very common with soft tails. I haven’t been around a WG for a while, do they still use the jam nut to tighten up the stem? If so, you can buy a jam nut wrench and tighten it yourself. DO NOT LET IT GO without fixing it.
 

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B-Rad, BFMC 104
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537 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes it's a 05 DWG, the info I'm looking for is related to the shimming of the stem. Read several posts from others having the same issue, and thier dealer shimmed the shaft, fixing the problem. I just need something to take to the dealer to help get him motivated.
 

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Premium Member
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That "clunk" will eventually hammer sh!t outta the neck bearings and races. If you have the tools, mechanical ability and a svc. man., fix it yourself. You'll get to know your ride a little better and be ensured it's done right. It'll put you one step closer to being one with your machine!
 

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The msn link that bigmac has above is the fix. Tighten your stem nut to 90-100 lb-ft and check fall-away. It applies to FXST and FXDWG.
 

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I had it happen on my '05 FXDL so add that model to the list above,

Keep after the dealer - they should tighten this up and fix the problem. I had to tell them to check and tighten mine after having the bike in 3 times for stability and clunking issues in the front end. Once they tightened it up I felt like I took home a new bike.
 

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Follow the manual. You'll need a 1 1/2" socket and a torque wrench. I had to pull my risers off to get the socket and adapter from 3/4 to 1/2 drive but it got rid of the "clunk".
 

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This link may help you out .. http://www.kenandjudy.us/Harley Pictures/WideGlideClunk/index.htm

The WG issue is a tolerence issye rather than a retorquing like other models.

Here's some input on the other front ends...
This is a subject that a great number of people have been experiencing lately. HD has upped the torque specs for the later models from 35 FT/LBS to 100 FT/LBS. It may not be posted correctly in your owners manual. I chose to retorque my softail to 70 FT/LBS to see if it would stop the clunk and it worked just fine. No more clunk. You will hear the clunk when you go over bumps or if you apply the front brakes firmly and release them once or twice quickly. It gets worse as the steering head nut needs retorquing.The following proceedure applies to the softail models FXSTD/FXST/FXSTB and not the dyna family or the FLSTC/FLSTF. The FLSTC/FLSTF use the fall away method for bearing preload that is explained in the manual.

If you look in the center of the tripple tree where the steering head is (where it pivots), there's a chrome smoothe cover there, you grab it with your hand and unscrew it (counter clock wise), there's the nut, you bend down the lock tab so you can turn the nut ( I use a small hammer and a flat tip punch) and then torque the nut to 70 FT/LBS , This requires a 1 1/2" socket to do. You then bend the tab back up to lock the nut you just torqued ,screw the cover on with a drop of blue locktite on the thread and ride it. Just make sure that the little finger that seats in the hole from this lock tab is still in the hole ( at the 6 oclock position) and not bent, if it is you must remove the nut completely to straighten or replace the lock tab It's only a piece of tin. If you do remove the nut, don't worry as nothing is going to fall off.

You might want to check the fall away in the front end which is covered in the factory manual to make sure that the stem nut beneath the top tree is not too tight or too loose. The retorquing only tightens up the clamping force on the top tree and is not the preload for the steering head bearing which is the serrated nut below the top tree.
 

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B-Rad, BFMC 104
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537 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That's EXACTLY what I've been looking for.... ~!Awesome!
My service manual arrives next week, and I'll be doing this procedure..

Thanks man, that's going in the favorites.. :thanks:

Brad
 

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TCSTD, You gots the answer and pictures too...:beer4u:

{Brass shim stock is available at auto parts stores}
 

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I too feel a clunk sometimes when I break hard. It is infrequent, but there. I checked the fall away per the manual and it looks okay. I will check the top nut now. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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I'm not sure that tightening the stem nut (1 1/2 inch nut) to 90 lbs-ft is the right answer. I've read the links regarding this fix and have heard others state that this fix is in a MoCo service bulletin, although I've searched this site and never found any such bulletin:
http://www.harleyhog.co.uk/M_bulletins.htm

I've got an '05 Nightrain softail and occasionally have the clunk when braking hard. Its a sound you can feel as well as hear. I've read about torquing the stem nut to 90 lbs-ft and was about to do this until I started reading in the factory manual. First, the appropriate manual pages are located in three areas: The setting of the fork bearings (fall away method) is in the Maintenance section, while the front fork info and the stearing head are covered as individual topics in the chassis section. Reading all these, it appears that the bearing preload or fall-away is set first with the fork stem nut NOT torqued. Then, after all is within specs, the fork stem nut is torqued to 35 to 45 lbs ft I believe. You do not then recheck the fall away. This implies that the company has factored in the stem nut torque into the final adjustment and is important to understand. Tightening the fork stem nut WILL increase the preload on the bearings and appears to be part of the engineering. To torque to 90 lbs ft will only increase the preload and if you readjust the steering stem adjuster nut to compensate, then your fallaway will be too small and the compensation with the 90 lbs ft stem nut will not bring you to the appropriate final preload. Remember, my theory is based on the fact that the fallaway is set without the stem nut being tight, as the manual says. Then, the manual listed torque will bring it to the proper final preload. The fallaway when the stem nut is torqued is greater than the 1-2 inches required before the stem nut is torqued and this final fallaway is not listed in the shop manual.

Here is what I think is happening and how to make sure you are properly adjusting the fork stem adjusting nut. The lower yoke and fork stem are functionally one piece. It is attached to the frame through the steering head and held in place there with the fork preload adjusting nut, itself held in place with the large 1 1/2 inch fork stem nut. The other mounting points are at the pinch bolts on the forks. Here is where I believe there may be a problem. When the fork stem adjusting nut is tightened or loosened when setting the preload, the lower yoke must be free to slide up and down not only in the steering stem but over the fork tubes as well. If the lower yoke is stuck to the fork legs and doesn't move as the preload nut is adjusted, the lower yoke will be set up with a load imposed on it that isn't correct. The manual addresses this by stating that the fork yoke and tubes may have to be hit with a dead blow hammer to free the forks from the yoke.

Here is what I did:

I marked the fork tube with a marker right under the fork yoke on both fork tubes. Then I removed the stem nut and washer as well al the pinch bolts (the forks won't fall out as they are positively held by the upper fork yoke). With the front tire lifted off the ground, I loose the bearing preload nut with a c-wrench about 1/2 a turn or so. This should allow the lower yoke to slide down toward the floor but when I checked the lines a made on the fork tube, the tubes were stuck in the yoke. So, I rapped on the lower yoke and fork tubes with a rubber hammer and this loosed the yoke from the tubes and the yoke slid down, covering the marks I'd made. I then lowered the front of the bike intill the forks compressed some and tightened the preload adjusting nut fully tight. Then, I rapped the lower yoke and fork tubes with the rubber mallet and the lines I'd made reappeared as the yoke slid up further into the steering head. I raised the front end again to lift the tire off the ground and loosened the the adjusting nut a small amount, rapped the fork and tubes with the rubber mallet and adjusted the fallaway into specs. Then I replaced the pinch bolts and torqued them per specs. The fall away was rechecked and was still in specs. Then I replaced the stem nut and washer and torqued it to 45 lb ft. The fallaway was significantly greater than it was prior to torquing the stem nut. I'm guessing this is normal.
I tested the bike using a lot of aggressive front braking and no clunk was heard or felt. I think I would go through the front end as I mentioned first before I'd run the torque up to 90 lbs ft. Of course, if a service bulleting proves me wrong, then I apologize in advance.

Frank
 

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IronButt
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6,364 Posts
Tq the stem nut with out loosing the lower clamp is not a fix all you are doing is flexing the upper and lower trees together. You may have to tap the lower tree with a soft face mallet to get it to release from fork leg. You will see when you loosen it it will move a bit, this is part of the problem in the first. Once loose then tighten the upper nut to the 90, retighten the lower clamp.
 

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I have also had this problem with my 02 FXDWG. It was corrected twice by dealers in different locations while I was traveling, the 3rd time I did it myself following the service manual. Personally, I believe that any HD eventually is going to need to have some adjustment made to the steering neck bearings. If I recall correctly, the preload is set so that with the front end raised, the forks will fall slowly to one side or the other, when moved off center.
 

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toddlerp said:
I too feel a clunk sometimes when I break hard. It is infrequent, but there. I checked the fall away per the manual and it looks okay. I will check the top nut now. Thanks for the heads up.

Here's the fix for softails...

This is a subject that a great number of people have been experiencing lately. HD has upped the torque specs for the later models from 35 FT/LBS to 100 FT/LBS. It may not be posted correctly in your owners manual. I chose to retorque my softail to 70 FT/LBS to see if it would stop the clunk and it worked just fine. No more clunk. You will hear the clunk when you go over bumps or if you apply the front brakes firmly and release them once or twice quickly. It gets worse as the steering head nut needs retorquing.The following proceedure applies to the softail models FXSTD/FXST/FXSTB and not the dyna family or the FLSTC/FLSTF. The FLSTC/FLSTF use the fall away method for bearing preload that is explained in the manual.


If you look in the center of the tripple tree where the steering head is (where it pivots), there's a chrome smoothe cover there, you grab it with your hand and unscrew it (counter clock wise), there's the nut, you bend down the lock tab so you can turn the nut ( I use a small hammer and a flat tip punch) and then torque the nut to 70 FT/LBS , This requires a 1 1/2" socket to do some bikes and a 3/4 on others. You then bend the tab back up to lock the nut you just torqued ,screw the cover on with a drop of blue locktite on the thread and ride it. Just make sure that the little finger that seats in the hole from this lock tab is still in the hole ( at the 6 oclock position) and not bent, if it is you must remove the nut completely to straighten or replace the lock tab It's only a piece of tin. If you do remove the nut, don't worry as nothing is going to fall off. The locking washer is for the FXSTD/FXST/FXSTB and just the washer for FLSTC/FLSTF

You might want to check the fall away in the front end which is covered in the factory manual to make sure that the stem nut beneath the top tree is not too tight or too loose. The retorquing only tightens up the clamping force on the top tree and is not the preload for the steering head bearing which is the serrated nut below the top tree.

The manual also states...
"Overtightening stem bolt will cause the bearings to wear excessively leading to the need for premature bearing replacement" Warning:"Properly adjust fork stem bearings. Improper adjustments affect stability and handling, which could result in death or serious injury".
 

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I have a 04 FXDWG and had the same clunk you have until the service department at HD told me that there was a service bulletin to torque it to 100 ftlbs. I did that and it went right away. Just be careful removing the chrome cap that covers it. It screws off, I wasn’t patient with mine and ended up tearing it off and had to pay $20 for a new one.
 

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HDWRENCH said:
Tq the stem nut with out loosing the lower clamp is not a fix all you are doing is flexing the upper and lower trees together. You may have to tap the lower tree with a soft face mallet to get it to release from fork leg. You will see when you loosen it it will move a bit, this is part of the problem in the first. Once loose then tighten the upper nut to the 90, retighten the lower clamp.
Exactly! I'm glad someone said it.
 
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