Harley Shift Linkage

Q: Here’s a couple questions for your guys:

1. How much slack should be in the Harley shift linkage? The transmission shift pawl allen bolt is tight, but has a lot of free play!

2. When are you coming out with the removing and replacing a transmission? Dave F

A: Dave, the shift arm should be locked tight to the shift shaft. Sometimes the pinch bolt on the shifter arm may feel tight but if you can get a good bite on it with a good 1/4″ allen and a long handle ratchet, you may be able to snug it up another 1/2 a turn. If that does not work out, the shift arm is too worn and will need to be replaced. We are currently posting videos in the Harley Transmission Project Class. Thanks for your question.

Related Videos:

Forward Control Install

Harley Transmission Project Class
Discussion
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36 Responses to “Harley Shift Linkage”
  1. Steve

    I have 2011 Superglide. I installed forward controls about one year ago. Now I have leak from the primary case were its’s pluged from the former mid control shifting location. I removed the plug and reapplied loctite. I let it set for 48 hours before starting the engine. It Still Leaks. What should I do to stop the leak ?

    Reply
  2. michael

    I don’t know where to ask this question please help? I have a older 1986 fxstc,where can I find instructions on how to replace forks in my tranny??

    Reply
  3. Justpassingas

    If its the shifter arm coming off the transmission more then likely the arm is worn and needs replacing….I’ve replaced 2 arms on my baggers over the years and YES I checked the allen bolt and both times it was tight…Unfortunately the inner primary has to be removed….After the second one I while it was apart I replaced the cheap allen bolt with a longer bolt,washers and locked nut with nylon on the theads….t

    Reply
  4. Don Jorgenson

    Back the allen screw off, get some lube on it, then tighten it. it should squeeze the arm enough to eliminate the slop.

    Reply
  5. Mark

    Yup I have a pretty loose shift rod too. And I recently pulled the inner primary off and replaced the aft shift arm which by the way was shot. So, I still have huge play in it. I am wondering and hoping that I can do that shift pawl adjustment and lose the slack. It makes me crazy and harder to shift I am sure.

    Reply
  6. michael

    hi,i have a 1986 fxstc,how to replace clutch cable.its not like newer,it comes in top of tranny on left side

    Reply
    • Dennis Santopietro

      Hi Michael, you should be able to disconnect the clutch cable at the transmission.

      Reply
  7. Dave

    I had the same problem. I took a tap of the same pitch and ran it through the threads a couple of times. Taking it easy and going in a little and then out to clear the metals. I then could tighten the allen perfectly. It does work loose so in the reinstall I used the removable medium lock tite

    Reply
  8. lee bowser

    I have replaced the pop metal shift arm 2 times then I got after market steel one have had no more problems HD told me would need to replace shaft the pop metal can not hurt the steel shaft

    Reply
  9. Ken

    Hope every is well with all of you… I’m having trouble with my bike shifting into the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gear. Goes into 1st and 2nd. However, when in 1st, the toe shift is so low I can barely get my foot underneath it. I have torn the bike down to the top cover and peeked inside.The pawl arm reaches to 3rd gear, but it stops cold.. no play. It seems as though something is out of sync. Any help would be well appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
  10. Ty

    I need to remove the midshift lever, and plug the primary. Is there a video for that?

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Ty. Thank you for your comment. Depending one what you ride, check out the Rear Belt R&R Videos, the Transmission Class Videos and the clutch upgrade videos for Sportsters.

      Reply
  11. Stuart

    Shifting from 1st to 2nd gets stuck in “N” need to clutch again to get past this. What do I need to do
    Greener then Lettuce at this but have learned so much from the videos. Stu

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Stuart. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the year and model of your motorcycle?

      Reply
  12. Holly

    Shift shaft is loose. hard shifting from 1st to 2 nd. i saw the video on tightening if with an allen wrench but need to know if that can be done without removing the primary case.

    Reply
  13. Gary

    Shifter Chatter – 2008 FLHTCU – 48,022 miles
    When idling, the heal/toe shifter puts out a lot of chatter. I can rest my boot heal against the shifter and the chattering sound stops. I’ve been slowly going through the site looking for something similar but haven’t found any answers yet. Insight please. Thanks – Gary in Hawaii

    Reply
  14. Jerry Kubik

    I have issues on my 2000 Dyna with the shift arm falling off. The bolt that should sit into the groove on the shift shaft is engineered by HD to be below the machined groove so is totally ineffectual. Has any company or machinist ever remedied this issue. I looked at a brand new shift arm today at Harley Davidson in Oakland and it is made exactly the same way. Not very well engineered. JK

    Reply
  15. paul r. terrazas

    REPLACED FRONT GEAR SHIFT LEVER, AND SHIFTER SHAFT LEVER GEAR, WENT TO TRY OUT NEW PARTS AND CANNOT GET, INTO FIRST GEAR, AND GET GRINDING GEAR NOISE WHEN I GO PAST NEUTRAL INTO 2ND GEAR.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Paul. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your motorcycle?

      Reply
  16. Orlando

    I want to remove the heel shifter on my 2012 ultra lim. What do I need to have before I start?

    Reply
  17. Rick

    I have a jockey shift on my 2015 freewheeler and I would like to install a set of mother jug fans but I have a clearance issue is there any way to offset the shift linkage so I can move my shifter away from the head to gain the little bit of clearance I need

    Reply
  18. John Moore

    Hi Guy’s,

    When do you think you will be able to start posting out your products to the U.K.?

    Reply
  19. Tretall

    How do you adjust shocks on a soft tail. Mine is too low and will bottom out on a hard bump.

    Reply
  20. Travis Oxford

    I have a 2005 Electra Glide. First Harley, first time seeing this problem. The splines on my shifter pawl are stripped due to excessive wear from the shift arm. How hard of a job is it to replace the pawl inside the transmission?

    Reply