Primary Noise 2010 Road King

Question I’m a Premium member and just came back from a long ride of 1400 miles. Nearing the end of the ride I started hearing primary noise rattling from my 2010 HD Road King. The next day after arriving home I drained the fluid and found not only the metal paste on the magnetic drain plug but several metal shards about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. I commenced changing the oil but have not ridden it since. I have another ride to the Adirondacks in two weeks so need to get it checked. A new starter clutch & clutch assembly, primary seals, bearings and gaskets were installed last year and I’ve ridden about 12,000 miles on that. No other problems or noises and I’ve always run Amsoil 20W/50. I have 60,000 mile on her. What are some likely things to look for? Dan S



Answer Top breathing engines breath, or vent, through the top breather bol Dan, being that someone has already been inside your drive compartment, it could be a few things. The metal paste is normal wear. Usually from the charging system. Once you pull your outer primary cover, it will probably be obvious. If you did not notice any performance problems on your last ride, it could be as simple as a bolt that has come loose. Let’s hope it’s something silly like that. Please give us an update.



Update: As an update to the “Primary Noise” posts; I was told that a failing compensator damaged the rotor, clutch and starter clutch and all had to be replaced along with the associated gaskets and fresh fluid. I can attest that in riding the bike the 35 miles home the difference in sound and, seemingly, performance are remarkable. Strong, crisp and responsive… just how I remembered her :). Now I’ll be confident as I head to the Adirondacks for some mountain R&R. Dan S


Newsletter and fellow Hogger Feedback:
If this okay, just add a little Technical info to this query, unfortunately this may be a little more sinister than it appears. Here’s for why, I don’t now if you know that the ‘Twin Cam’ motor has an inerrant manufacturing problem with crankshaft run out.The in depth technical reasons I won’t further here.
I have seen on several motors the outcome of this as described, with shards of material being removed from the inner primary cover behind the clutch. This is due to crankshaft run out causing the clutch to oscillate with the described outcome. This also causes primary chain wear the outcome being the rollers break up. There’s always one doom and gloom merchant is’ent there !!!!!!!!
I had cause to remove my Primary cover on my 07 Softail, during this I put a DTI on the crank and measured the run out, I have 4 thou, now to me as a retired Mechanical Engineer, and an engine builder, that’s way out of tolerance, and scrap, I’m going S&S but that’s another story. Now you know why Harley does not gear drive there cams?????? But that’s maybe for another time……..
If it’s okay I would suggest that when the Primary cover is removed on this motor that the crankshaft run out is checked, just in case. Hopefully this motor as not got the above problem.
Thanks, Keith

Our Feedback:
Thank you for the great feedback. Yes, when we did the cam chain tensioner videos we show the measurement and why many will not be able to go to S&S gear drive.


Related Videos:
Harley Compensator Upgrade

Rear Belt Removal

Cam Chain Tensioner Class
Discussion
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33 Responses to “Primary Noise 2010 Road King”
    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Thank you for your comment. We do have free videos on the website that you may view. If you wish to have full access to the Premium content on the website, you may join as a Premium Member. The annual Premium Membership is $49.99 and the monthly membership is $6.99. If you have any further questions, please contact customer service at 1-855-231-0653.

      Reply
  1. Johnny
    Johnny

    I have a 2012 Electra Glide Limited . Has 20,000 on it.Did a 2400 mile ride and now have a noise coming from the primary.Still runs good but I can hear the noise when running through RPMs .Please help.

    Reply
  2. TheMaddYooper
    TheMaddYooper

    Automatic primary chain tensioners, in my opinion are not a good idea. They cause excessive wear on bearings, seals, sprockets and chains. Again in my opinion.
    I would recommend the Baker manual adjuster.

    Reply
  3. 2inthewind
    2inthewind

    I have an 2010 Ultra doing the same thing. Dealership told me they have replaced a lot of compensating sprockets for that year, mechanic didn’t say why though. Has there been any similar problems with the new bikes? A dyi will cost me around $400.

    Reply
    • Darren
      Darren

      Same bike and year just had mine replaced. Total difference in performance they to told me this is common in this bike. It was getting bad but warranty was running out so they said it was a good idea to do it now because Harley would cover it. Thank god for warranties. 50 bucks?

      Reply
  4. EMBRY
    EMBRY

    I have a 2011 ultra limited with 95000 miles on it it has been through 5 comp gears , no metal nothing loose this last comp
    gear seems to b better it is the new screaming eagle upgrade cost about $299.00 seems to be the best yet

    Reply
  5. Michael
    Michael

    I recently purchased my 1st Harley a 2007 Electra Glide standard with the 96ci engine. From what I understand I do not have to worry about the cam tensioner issue as much as the primary chain tensioner putting too much tension on the chain. I am trying to read and learn as much as I can about my new bike so I do not miss or over look an issue like the one mentioned above. I know there is a HOW TO video about the chain drive, but what about a troubleshooting video of what to listen for or other signs that there might be a problem. Also at what milage should I pull the primary case cover to inspect the chain, and cam cover to inspect the tensioner? Sorry for the long reply (I hope I replied to the right area for this?)

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Michael. Would suggest not looking or listening for problems. Enjoy that bike. If something changes, you’ll know. Concern yourself with proper maintenance. That’s all. You shouldn’t need to worry about your primary drive chain tensioner until around the time you need to replace your clutch. If you are in the drive before then, inspect at that time.

      Reply
      • Michael
        Michael

        I totally agree with what you are saying, i do not want to be that ONE to LOOK for something to be wrong. (IF IT IS NOT BROKE DON’T FIX IT) words I live by. At the same time I don’t want to over look something that needs to be looked at.
        I am sure this is like anything else I have owned and or worked on over the years, I will get to know how it runs and if something doesn’t seem right it probably isn’t.
        thanks for the info

        Reply
  6. DAN
    DAN

    I also have a loud banging sound on start up on my 07 heritage that has 40 K. On second try the bike starts normal. I was thinking it was the starter but the more I read I believe it may be the compensator. Do you have a video on replacing the 07 Heritage comp.?

    Reply
  7. Gerard
    Gerard

    Hi I have a 2007 cvo road king with 32000 miles and when I removed primary cover I noticed 1 tooth cracked off the inside sprocket of the clutch side also a tooth cracked off the ring gear and there seems to be a slight tear on the inner cover inside ring gear,is this the life time of the primary chain sprockets ? They look as if there well wore,have I a bigger problem or why is this? Thanks

    Reply
  8. Kerry
    Kerry

    2008 FXDL I had to change my compensator it would make a clunk when I started it and sometimes kick the starter out, I checked with Harley Davidson and it seems they had a lot of problems with the compensators on the 96 Cubic inch up motors. The fix is to put a screaming eagle compensator in them, All the newer bikes come with this part installed, Seems the compensator on the twin cam 88 couldn’t handle the power of the twin cam 96 and up. I couldn’t find anything on here about this problem and how to fix it, so I had to look somewhere else.

    Reply
    • Kerry
      Kerry

      When I changed to a screaming eagle compensator it starts without any kick back at all, and it fixed the thumping in 6th gear at low RPM’s best money I ever spent.

      Reply
  9. Gerard
    Gerard

    Hi I have a 2007 cvo road King with 36000 thousand miles,think I amend you about my primary back in January well I’ve only got my parts now I have this new upgrade compensator + new clutch and starter clutch and pinion but when I took off inner primary cover I seem to have a good play on main drive shaft is this normal because there didn’t seem to be any play before I took off clutch?im talking about play up and down or sideways not in and out ? Also I’m a premium member but I can’t seem to find any cvo video ? Thanks. Regard Gerard

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Sounds like you may have a bad transmission main (drive gear) bearing.
      The movement you are describing sounds to be out of spec.
      We do not have a 6 speed rebuild video @ this time, but you will need to remove your transmission gear set in order to replace the bearing. You will also need a specialty tool to remove & replace the bearing.
      We would strongly suggest picking up a factory service manual if you have not already.
      If you have any questions as you move forward please forward them to us.
      We will do our best to help. (ZD: 3527)

      Reply
  10. Richard
    Richard

    Hi,
    I seem to be seeing more and more of this issue at my workshop.. Compensator changes are more and more the cause of having to get into the primary.. .. but what really puzzles me is more than often i am finding (deep at times) scruff marks just behind the clutch basket in exactly the size of the starter ring mostly on the side in between the comp and clutch basket clearly indicating that the clutch basket has been put through excess pull towards the compensating sprocket causing the basket to rub against the primary..On closer inspection you will most likely find that the splines on the clutch hub are sheared but only at the very edge nearest to the inner side closest to the inner primary bearing which might be of support to the idea that flex on the main shaft is the result but not the cause here ..the inner primary support bearing and race are also very commonly severely damaged.. What i am not to sure of is what really is the root cause.. Would run-out on the crankshaft cause so much wobble to the clutch basket, enough to the effect that the approx 3/16 clearance between inner primary housing and clutch to be insufficient?.I am not debating here just tying to get to the root..

    Reply
  11. Henry mcguire
    Henry mcguire

    I replaced my clutch 2yrs ago and I put in a Barnett, clucth seems to work fine , no slip. But every once in awhile when engaging at stop light I get a nice like a squeak sound or might even call it a squeal. My bike is a 97 road king. Thanks for any advice where to look.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi, Henry. Have to start with the easy stuff and continue from there. Check Condition of belt & pulleys. Verify that there is no side to side movement on the front pulley. If clutch lever feels rough; check your throw out bearing under your transmission side cover. Check primary chain condition & adjustment. Remove outer primary cover to look for anything unusual-debris, or rub marks. Worse case senario; you may have a failing bearing. Check-Inner primary bearing and race Throw out bearing, Transmission door bearings, Main drive gear bearing. https://www.fixmyhog.com/videos/harley-transmission-project/

      Reply
  12. Mohamed Wagdy
    Mohamed Wagdy

    I still dont understand why I’ll not be able to go to S&S gear drive on my 2005 FLSTFI TC?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi, Mohamed. There is no reason why you can’t. It is only important that your pinion shaft run out is measured before moving forward with the installation. Per S&S directions-If the run out is over .003″, you will have to address your bottom end a little further. If the run out is out of spec and is not addressed, the gears will wine or growl. Also there will be excessive stress on the pinion shaft and bearings. Overall, not a good scene. Especially on a motor that is built to perform. https://www.fixmyhog.com/video-index/

      Reply
  13. MICHAEL
    MICHAEL

    Ticket 16653 I keep hearing about PRIMARY NOISE, what do I listen for? I have a 2007 Electra Glide Standard, it it getting close to 40k on it, I know what maintenance I need to be doing and checking. I am not sure what to listen for if it was showing any unusual signs of being worn.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Michael,

      We would suggest not listening for anything. No reason to be looking for a problem. If an issue develops, you will know about it.
      Otherwise, as far as your drive goes, a thourough inspection should be performed the next time the outer primary cover is removed for a clutch, belt, bearing, or seals.
      https://www.fixmyhog.com/video/how-to-search-fix-my-hog-008641/

      Mark
      Fix My Hog Video Membership

      Reply
  14. Kucklehead
    Kucklehead

    Didnt know that i could measure the runout through primary, though its through the cam side only, good to know.

    Reply
  15. Jack
    Jack

    My 96 Fatboy is seems to be making a chirping noise, that sounds like it’s coming from the primary and only under power. Quite when I back of on the throttle?

    Reply