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Inner Primary Gasket Replacement

This page will detail with text and images the main tasks involved in removing the inner and out primary covers on the 1982 FXRS.  The main goal being to replace a gasket between the lefthand engine crankcase and the inner primary.  Some of the pictures are not too great, so bear with me.

First, get the bike up on the bike lift as shown, with these lifts is really simple.  Push the lift under the bike and then use your foot to operate the bottle jack.  The lift comes with a set of springs to raise the handle on the bottle jack when you take your foot off the handle. BikeOnLift.jpg (18775 bytes)
Now, here is what the outer primary bolts on the front of the engine looked like!  Whoops, they are not there.  Went for a 100 mile ride and thought the engine was shaking a bit more than usual.  I have a solution for this problem a bit further down the page!  FrontBoltsMissing.jpg (14585 bytes)
Now, drain the oil from the primary case using the drain plug located in the lower rear of the primary cover.  With mine, the drain plug was jammed in so tight I could not get it out, so I had to cold chisel it out after cutting a notch in it with a Dremmel tool.  Shown to the left is the original mangled plug and the new replacement plug fresh from the shop. PrimaryOilDrainPlugs.jpg (5206 bytes)
Remove the left foot rest and the gear shift lever.  Then remove all the primary cover screws, lift off the primary cover to reveal the inner workings of the primary.  Note on this picture the M1 Chain Tensioner.  This is a great product, so if you are messing around inside the primary, replace the factory tensioner with this one. PrimaryExposed.jpg (16816 bytes)
Now, compress the clutch springs, using a couple of washers and the clutch adjustment locknut.  Note the aluminum releasing disk and the blue clutch springs (by Barnett).  Once the springs are compressed, the nuts on the clutch studs can be removed, allowing the removal of the pressure plate, compressed springs and the releasing disk. RemoveClutch.jpg (12987 bytes)
Now, observe the dark markings on the kevlar friction plates (by Barnett again), this indicates that the plates are not evenly sitting on the steel clutch plates, or that the clutch springs had not been correctly tensioned the last time I had the clutch apart.  I suspect the latter as I checked for warped steel disks last time.  I made a note to be especially carefull about adjusting the tension. ClutchPlates.jpg (14632 bytes)
Once the clutch plates are removed, remove the chain tensioner by removing the retaining bolt.  On factory original models, there will be an oiler pipe, disconnect this where it is attached to the inner primary.  Note that mine does not have this.  When I installed the M1 Chain Tensioner, it was not fitted with an oiler.   So, I closed off the oil lines and made the primary self contained, which means I must add primary oil to my service list.  I dont mind this as I would rather not have my dirty old primary oil running around inside my engine!

Anyway, next, brace the engine sprocket and the clutch sprocket.  There are a couple of methods of doing this, I use a socket extension bar and a socket, other people use a piece of 1 inch pipe cut to the right length and with the ends flattened down.  Note where it is braced on each sprocket, this is important as if you brace it incorrectly, you will NEVER get the compensator nut off.

Brace.jpg (16881 bytes)
Now remove the compensator nut.  You can see that my tools include a sophisticated piece of pipe, to provide an extension to my socket bar.  This is needed as the amount of torque applied to this nut is pretty huge, after all, it has to handle 70+ horsepower being applied directly to it.

At this point you can remove the starter solenoid and the starter motor (no pictures supplied).  Depending on your exhuast system, you may need to remove the rear exhaust pipe as well.

RemoveCompensatorNut.jpg (22265 bytes)
At this point, you can remove the clutch hub nut and then remove the primary chain, compensator & front sprocket and the clutch hub.  If you still have the factory chain oiler, remove the oil lines from the rear of the primary, plug up the oil lines with some rag or something else to stop oil dripping from them.  Note the green line, the right hand end of which points to the brass plug I used to seal the incomming oil line when I removed the factory oiler and chain tensioner. PrimaryWithNoChain.jpg (16545 bytes)
Now, remove the bolts retaining the inner primary, there are four on the side facing you, and two on the gearbox side, on the lower left side, one of these has a grounding strap attached.  Remove the inner primary, this can be difficult if you have used any sort of sealing compound in the past, just tap it off with a soft faced mallet. InnerRemoved.jpg (21672 bytes)
OK, this is where I screwed up.  I got so into it I forgot to take pictures of me installing the inner primary back on, including the gasket itself, the gasket compound etc.  Damn.  But, it was pretty easy.  Just make sure that you clean the whole area very carefully, firstly with some sort of solvent, then with rubbing alcohol.  This includes ALL bolt holes.  If you have a tap set, tap out the holes to remove any loose material, then clean again.  This helps the Loctite bond.

This picture shows the inner primary installed, but not yet bolted up tight.   The top green line shows where I installed a small brass fitting to allow pressure developed during riding to vent.  Late model bikes have this sort of setup, although it is somewhat different.  You can also more clearly see the brass plug I used to close off the oil line.

PrimaryVent.jpg (12640 bytes)
Once everything is in place, you can install all of the inner primary bolts.  The two inner rear bolts have lock tabs installed, use safety wire to retain these once they have been torqued (use Loctite!). 

The front bolts on the inner primary have holes drilled through them, but no locking tabs, wire these to each other once they are torqed.

This picture shows how I am going to prevent the outside bolts shaking loose again.   I bought two more drilled bolts and used safety wire to hold them in place.   Not factory spec, but it works.

PrimarySafetyWire.jpg (18227 bytes)
Next, install the key on the gearcase drive shaft.  I used to have all sorts of problems installing clutch hubs on keyed shafts until a friend said "Use retaining compound knucklehead!".  So, now I use Loctite 640 to hold the key in place while I slide the hub on, works great! ClutchHubKey.jpg (16087 bytes)
With the clutch hub, install the clutch hub nut with the locking tab, ALWAYS use a new locking tab as there may be a weakness on an old one and ALWAYS ALWAYS use a seizing prevention compound on both the locking tab and the hub nut, otherwise you may never get it off again and the hub nut binds in the locking tab, either tearing the retention tab off or bending it so it cannot be used. 

It can be used for all sorts of things, it prevents rust on axle shafts etc, its expensive, but worth it.

The one shown is Never-Seez brand. 

SeizePreventer.jpg (18247 bytes)
Once the clutch hub is back in place, reinstall the starter motor, the solenoid and exhaust if removed.  If you disconnected the battery, reconnect it.   Test to ensure that your electric start works now, its better than having to pull the primary cover off because you screwed something up!

Reinstall the chain and the compensator assembly.  Brace the sprockets in the exactly opposite manner as when you were removing the compensator nut.  Tighten the nut up REAL tight.  I dont have a torque wrench large enough to measure the torque required, so I just give it heaps!

BraceInstall.jpg (26021 bytes)
Once you get to this point, just install the clutch plates, adjust the tension according to the manual (if you need this, contact me and I can post the instructions on a seperate page).  Install the primary cover & gasket, install foot peg and gear lever.

In my case, I have to fill the primary with about a quart of primary chain oil, if you still have the factory oil system you dont have to worry about it.

 

Results

Well I have been for about three outings on the bike, so far the inner seal is working.   BUT, my method of venting the primary case needs to be adjusted, the clutch hub throws a lot of oil around and the fitting I used does not have any splash cover, so primary oil that is running down the inside of the pirmary seeps out the vent line.   I will worry about this another time.

 

Harley Fix It will should not be construed as advice on how to fix/repair/service your Harley.  Its sole purpose is to show how I do it! I am in no way a professional and this is not professional advice. Harley Davidson is a registered trademark of the Harley Davidson Mortorcycle Company which has no affiliation with this page.  Damn attorneys!

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