Transmission Problems

Question
My bike goes into first fine, and then when shifting to higher gears it sometimes takes two or more tries to get it into gear. Any thoughts? Service was done a couple of months ago. I had a shifter spring break ($1.98) and they had to tear into the transmission to replace it. While there, they changed the fluid and the mechanic said everything looked great. I had new tires put on at the same time. I have never adjusted the clutch. Never needed to…

 

Answer Gerald,   How many miles on the motorcycle?  The clutch needs to be adjusted at 5k intervals.  How do you know it doesn’t need it ?  What year is this m/c?  When that shifter pawl spring was replaced did they set the pawl spring spacing in third gear when transmission was re-installed see service manual (most likely the issue at hand).

Wrench Safe, FMH
Discussion
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38 Responses to “Transmission Problems”
  1. Terry
    Terry

    My wife has an 08 Dyna low rider with a factory 6 speed. The transmission shifts up perfectly but at times when shifting down from 6th it doesn’t like to go into first gear. This doesn’t happen all the time but often enough that it is a concern. I am changing the transmission fluid to a full synthetic and am going to set the clutch cable again(was checked last fall). Any ideas as to a possible cause?

    Reply
  2. Brian Hall
    Brian Hall

    my 87 Harley solftail does not want to go into 5th gear all the time it does sometime but mostly don’t

    Reply
  3. DAVID
    DAVID

    MY 2000 ULTRA TRIKE WONT GO INTO REVERSE. IT ACTS LIKE THE SHIFTER IS STUCK. WHAT CAN I DO

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello David,

      Not sure what kit is on your m/c, but you will have to do some disassembly in order to diagnose.
      If it seems like the sifter is stuck, suggest starting there.
      https://www.fixmyhog.com/post/videos-harley/

      Thanks,
      Mark FMH Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.

      http://go.fixmyhog.com/C8453

      Reply
  4. John Anderson
    John Anderson

    I have a 2016 Harley Trike. It won’t back up . I have reset the circuit breaker but it still doesn’t work. Any heads up on what may be wrong. The light is illuminated in the dash board . Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Your reverse assembly has its own Reverse Control Module (RCM).
      Suggest looking for possible stored diagnostic trouble codes 1st.
      A code can help steer you in the right direction. If you can pick up the Manual or Trike electrical Supplement manual for your year, it will be very helpful.
      When reverse is enabled, the ECM sends
      5 volts to the RCM through the (TN) wire. The RCM activates the reverse control solenoid. The control solenoid
      activates the reverse motor solenoid causing the reverse motor to engage and the vehicle to back up. Reverse is
      disabled for any of the following conditions:
      Reverse switch on LHCM is released.
      • Transmission is shifted into gear.
      • Engine is stopped.

      https://www.fixmyhog.com/post/videos-harley/
      https://www.fixmyhog.com/video/under-the-harley-davidson-trike-007612/
      -Mark

      Reply
  5. samuel
    samuel

    Hi Bob ,
    I have a 1989 FLHTCU , the bike shifts fine and runs smooth going up in the gears. When trying to downshift the bike doesn’t want to go into gears unless to give the bike a slight rev. Well I took my bike to a Certified Harley Tech , he said there was some issue with a shifting lever or shifting something with the transmission. Anyway he has the transmission out waiting on parts, does this sound like a major problem with the gear box ?? He doesn’t communicate much very smart guy Awesome mechanic.Just trying to figure out what in the world he is talking about , maybe shifting forks IDK. Can you help with this question.
    Sam

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Sounds like he is replacing your shift pawl assembly. The spring on the assembly can break, or sometimes the weld on the shaft breaks.
      This is a labor intensive job.
      The exhaust has to be removed, along with your entire primary drive and complete transmission gear set.
      It is important to replace all bearings, seals, bushings, and gaskets related to the primary & transmission along the way. Service your way in, and service your way back out.
      https://www.fixmyhog.com/video/jims-transmission-fat-5-overview-006481/
      -Mark

      Reply
  6. Justin
    Justin

    I have a 2000FXDS I have had the Transmission fixed 3x’s in 2 years and it still leaks when parked. I’ve had all the upgrades Harley Davidson offers and it will be fine for about 3000 miles and then it’ll start leaking again. It only leaks when parked.

    Reply
  7. Steve
    Steve

    What transmission lubricant do you feel is best for the touring bike with the new Milwaukee engine?

    Reply
  8. Clint
    Clint

    I really enjoy this site and the videos. I’m starting class at MMI at the end of July and can’t say how excited I am to start this schooling. Your videos and the Q/A are just making me want to start this endeavor sooner. Thank you very much for the knowledge you have given in this site.

    Reply
    • Robert
      Robert

      Hey Clint, good luck with school. It is a lot of fun. Which location are you going to be attending? I graduated from the Orlando Florida location back in 2001. If you haven’t already and have the extra time, may I suggest taking all of the courses available for Harley. The engine rebuilding and performance course was very enjoyable and educational. Early model course was also fun.

      Reply
  9. Robert
    Robert

    My 07 FLHTC, I have a hard time finding neutral. I’ve used several different lube oils, same problem. Bike has about 45k miles. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  10. Don
    Don

    I was reading your response to Samual. Wondering if the work to replace spring is the same on a 99′ Fatboy? I have an issue with both up and down shifting. But not consistent. Sometimes shifts OK other I need to push harder and repeatedly. would that be centering or spring issue?

    Reply
  11. Robert
    Robert

    I have an 07 FLHTC with 45k miles. I have a really hard time finding neutral. I’ve tried several different lubricants including HDs, any suggestions? Thanks, Van

    Reply
  12. Jared
    Jared

    Question????? Bike shifts fine no weird noises but when I’m in 4 or 5 gear when I pull the throttle back rpms go up but my bike fills as if I’m pulling the clutch in a little in other word it takes longer than usual for me to get to the desired speed only happpens at about 2500 rpms going to Harley tomorrow to find out what’s wrong what do y’all honk it isn’t.

    Reply
    • Steve
      Steve

      Had same issue on 08 CVO Ultra. Hydro clutch. Dot 4 oil eats up rubber hose from reservoir to slave unit and it collapses reducing back pressure from slave to reservoir this clutch doesn’t engage fully. Change hose and perform checks of slave and push rod. Change brake fluid as recommended.

      Reply
  13. Lalo
    Lalo

    Hello there. My 2016 iron 883 only goest into 1st and Neutral but nothing more, has 6100 miles on it, i don’t know what can it be. please an answer

    Reply
  14. Kevin J Morris
    Kevin J Morris

    Uncle has a 2012 HD Trike with 3000 miles on it. It won’t shift into gear. Every click it acts like its in neutral. He’s not into internet or social media. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  15. Doug
    Doug

    96 Dyna wide : while shifting into 4th acted like I mixed the gear tried again nothing.tried other gears nothing clutch still works.belt good. One other thing noticed starter spins but won’t engage, but when bike is in gear it will engage an move bike.

    Reply
  16. ryan
    ryan

    rebuilt my tranny on 2000 heritage softtail it wont shift into 5 gear every thing else good

    Reply
  17. Dale
    Dale

    My 2004 RK Custom has 42,000 mi I have kept oil & filter w/ synthetic every 3-4K mi since new my tranny has had Harley syn 20-50 till about 28k mi. Then G5 75-90w gear oil. The tranny has always shifted smooth & better & Smoother since the 75/90w. Recently I have noticed when cold when I first take of I faintly hear a squeak seems from right side around tranny. Pull clutch in it
    goes away. This all goes away in about
    1-2 miles. If your not paying attention
    you may not even notice. Boy I notice
    though & havnt torn into it yet. Seems
    like it may be where the cable attaches
    to tranny as it’s turns the throw out ramp plate. I did replace this inner ramp years ago to soften clutch lever. I’ve never had trouble with clutch , tranny bike runs great shifts like butter slides into neutral very easy at idle. Thanks Amy suggestions to lead me on this squeak is appreciated

    Reply
  18. Matt
    Matt

    Hi Guys,
    THE BIKE: “2018 Fat Boy FLFB 107”. Bought it 6-months ago from local HD Dealership with 2600 miles and added another 1500 miles since then.
    THE PROBLEM: From neutral, then shifting into first; it SLAMS into gear and SLAMS again shifting into second. Have owned HD’s since 1968 and this not the typical solid thud shift, iconic to Harley’s. It sounds like a sledgehammer on steel with a slamming jolt that feels like the gearbox is shredding or I’m doing significant damage when I shift. The HD Dealership Mech says; “Don’t worry…all Harley’s with low mileage, shift that way. It’ll quiet down after a few thousand miles.”
    I love the bike, but I need sound advice and sage wisdom to decide if I should: Not worry about it; specifically, tell them the diagnostics I want to be performed or take legal action:
    Q: Are they correct; that it will quiet down after a few thousand miles?
    Q: Are there adjustments, repairs or diagnostics I can request they perform?
    Thank you in advance for any and all comments and opinions. Matt – St. Louis, MO

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Matt,

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hours of Premium video content.

      If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the special offer: https://go.fixmyhog.com/C21783

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      Julia
      Fix My Hog Video Membership

           

      Reply
  19. Thomas M Smyczek
    Thomas M Smyczek

    My 2000 FLSTC doesn’t want to go into 1st gear. Clutch or shifter pawl adjustment the problem?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Thomas,

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. I see your membership expired some time ago. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hours of Premium video content.

      If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the special offer: https://www.fixmyhog.com/?add-to-cart-multi=1&products=52313&skipcart=1&coupon=asr12
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      Sincerely,

      Julia
      Fix My Hog Video Membership

      Reply
  20. Ed Loeffler
    Ed Loeffler

    I have a 1993, FLHTCU, 6-speed trans., and have a terrible time getting my bike to downshift and go into neutral. I use the HD synthetic oil in the engine, primary and transmission. I have had the bike serviced at an HD dealer, but can never seem to have the problem go away. Possible solution??????

    Reply