Noisy Tappet

Question I have a 02 Road King and it seems to have a noisy tappet, sounds like when you were adjusting the lifters on a old Chevy, a clacking sound. The Harley dealer says some make more noise than others, doesn’t sound normal to me, it is louder at higher rpms when I am riding at 55 and higher mph it seems to get louder, no noise at idle or when it is under a load. The noise seems to be coming from under the gas tank and it is very hard to pinpoint. I was thinking to try adjustable pushrods and maybe new tappets, I know you can cut the old pushrods out, how big a job is it to do the tappets and should new lifter blocks be used? The bike has 33,000 miles on it and I use amsoil 29/50 and amsoil filter every 3,000 miles. Can you make some suggestions.

Jim D.

Via Email

Answer Some motors are louder than others
Every single motor has a R.P.M. where the valve train is at it’s loudest point. This is usually at 60 to 75 miles an hour depending on model
Models with windshields and wind screens especially will have concerns because every single noise will be amplified dramatically off of the inside of the windshield.
Take the windshield off and then listen for level of noise

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10 Responses to “Noisy Tappet”
  1. dirk

    Had the same problem. went to adjustable pushrods and adjusted like your chevy, noise is gone. . piece of cake to do also

  2. James

    My 2015 Road King is making the same noise I have had the dealer look at it and I’m told the same thing all bikes are noisy. I think I’ll change to adjustable pushrods

  3. Kevin

    I have the same noise I’ve changed my push rods to to justable ones and change the hydraulic lifters but not the blocks and it still makes the same noise I’m now considering that the noises coming from the big aimed

  4. Brian

    I’m ready to bring my Harley back !
    2016 Road Glide. My first American motorcycle. Was told it was a acceptable amount of noise. Being a Automotive machinist I know better. I saw rocker lockers online. Without taking this 3500 mile engine apart it sure seems to be a possibility. Synthetic oil did not cure it either The dealer gets it back in 2 weeks for another try

    • the_beaver60

      17183 Ticket Brian, I just installed rocker lockers and will let you know if they help reduce noise in a couple weeks. I recall there was some ticking going on so maybe this was the problem.

      BTW can anyone explain why adjustable push-rods can reduce noise? I had my engine apart as it totally wore out the top end in 35,000 km (wear limit of 0.003″ reached AND scoring in line with all valves when I thought my air filter was relatively clean yet it sounds like dirt getting past high flow oil-less HD SE air filter). Point being that I should have installed adjustable pushrods while I was at it but too late now. Well not quite but I don’t have time to research brand to get AND have it shipped. I’m at the point of re-installing the stock ones right now as I’m typing. One set is already installed.

      Another question is if you have a PowerCommander do you need to do a dyno run to get it to run right or only to maximize power and torque?

      Can you just enter mods done (I have 255 cams, 103 kit, SE touring slip ons, and SE dry type high flow air filter, and SE flash for those things) and it chooses a map? Or get Autotune?

      • Customer Service
        Customer Service

        Dear Brian,

        Thank you for your patience. In regards to your question-

        Should have installed adjustable pushrods with performance cam upgrade. S&S quickies, Andrew’s, or Jim’s are all excellent but there are more good choices out there.
        You will not need the use of a Dynometer for tuning. Only if you choose to find tune your map.

        I hope this helps!


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  5. Curt Whittaker
    Curt Whittaker

    I have a 2004 twin can pulled it down to replace breadbasket and now it has load tapet nose it didn’t befor

  6. joseph

    Do you have any experience with “rocker locker” kit regarding noisy rocker box? Thanks for help.