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  1. #1
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    Default BDL on FXR (starter ring gear issue)

    I'm currently in the process of putting together a 1986 FXR and I ran into a starting issue earlier today, this is the first time I'm working on a Harley and my resource of knowledge has ran out. Filtering through the interwebs got me stumped, hoping somebody here can help me out!

    I just finished wiring the bike earlier today, and was hoping to start it. When I press the start button, the solenoid engages the starter and the starter engages the starter ring gear on the clutch basket but the starter ring gear is spinning freely and not turning the pulley over.

    Here is the video hopefully this explains what I wrote above better.



    And this is the picture of the bike.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thank you all in advanced for any help!

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    I don't know but, it sounds like you need to replace the starter ring gear:


    In The Shop: Starter Ring Gear Replacement from: Fix My Hog
    Here is a common repair that is frequent in every Harley Davidson service department. Starter ring gear replacement.
    ...Another reason a starter ring gear will fail prematurely is when a failing starter clutch is not addressed. If you hear a “zing-zing” type of sound at start up, you have a bad starter clutch...
    ...There are a options when it comes to this repair. If the repair is to be addressed with OEM parts, a new clutch basket assembly will need to be purchased from HD...
    ...Another option is to purchase an aftermarket repair kit/assembly. Rivera Primo and Compufire sell excellent kits for this repair. The kits include the small starter shaft gear and the large starter ring gear...

    See more here:
    https://www.fixmyhog.com/post/in-the...r-replacement/

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    EDIT, now that I'm awake.

    Gear isn't attached to the basket.
    It's spinning freely. That's not cool. Pull basket and find out how it's supposed to be attached. Don't keep spinning the ring gear as it may loosen the fit on the basket.

    Should be bolt holes through ring gear and basket but I can't see shit because the video is from above.

    Take pics directly facing the clutch and much closer.
    Last edited by farmall; 03-26-2018 at 9:01 AM.

  4. #4

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    Am I the only one that sees that the starter ring doesn't seem to be attached to the clutch basket? The ring is spinning and the basket isn't. Those should be attached to each other. Maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johny2toes View Post
    Am I the only one that sees that the starter ring doesn't seem to be attached to the clutch basket? The ring is spinning and the basket isn't. Those should be attached to each other. Maybe?
    Read what I posted, now highlighted. We both see it.

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    So after reasearching a little bit more last night, the ring gear doesnt have any mounting holes on the clutch basket, im assuming it is pressed on the basket (if anybody can chime in).

    With that said, i know they sell replacement ring gear, but I have no idea how to press it on the basket and I also feel like the same problem could occur in the future. Does anybody have experience in replacing their ring gear and pressing it on the basket?

    Any help is appreciated!

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    If the gear is pressed on that design sucks. No bolts means a press fit, and press fits on such a light aluminum pulley aren't the smartest fucking idea as we see here. The spinning ring gear will have loosened the fit further by wearing the softer aluminum it rubs against.

    You need to remove the clutch basket, tap the ring gear off with a brass hammer or brass bar or something softer than steel, and inspect the joining surfaces. There's no in-place fix.


    Post clear pics of both ring gear and basket surfaces and parts after you remove the pulley. You MIGHT be able to use Loctite 620 to stick it back on but if it ever falls off it will play grenade in your primary. We need to see if there's enough room on the flange of the pulley to drill for several small diameter high strength countersunk (on the inboard side) bolts. You might be able to attach those with all-metal locknuts for a sound repair better than that cheesedick stock design. If there's no room for bolts, plenty of similar parts (like sprockets on old rear drum brakes) worked fine when riveted(with correctly done steel rivets) in place. (That's a job for someone who knows how to install rivets, and any holes for those rivets should be drilled accurately using a quality drill press or milling machine.) Rivets should be countersunk on the belt side because if they stand proud of the surface they'll hit the belt.

    You could take the parts to a local machine shop for evaluation. They deal with fits all the time. I don't know what NYC shop rates are like nowadays but figure flat rate at about two hours minimum. I'd Loctite the ring gear in addition to bolting/riveting.

    That BDL design is fucking stupid and there's no excuse for not positively retaining the ring gear. The only conceivable reason to press one on is to avoid machining the holes and installing the hardware to do it right. Any machinist who saw that crap would be disgusted.


    My FXR chain primary went over 100K miles and is still in good shape. (I swapped to a spline shaft bagger box.) I see zero advantage in an enclosed belt for this application and I wouldn't run an enclosed belt on my FXRs if it was free with free installation and a blow job. If that belt pops on the road (it happens) you'd be left with your dick in your hand and no spare unless you bought one in advance.

    Belt drives are "popular because they are popular" in many cases. They fix some problems but not on an FXR primary. I would go back to a stock primary drive but use the aftermarket clutch hub with steel towers because the stock aluminum center hub for those years is aluminum and prone to failure, which is probably why your bike now has a belt drive.

    This (random example, not mine) style primary setup fits: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1989-HARLEY...-/142722187969

    This style aftermarket hub with steel hub center and towers replaces the stock turd. https://www.amazon.com/Twin-Power-Da.../dp/B00GJ857QY


    BTW never try to start the motorcycle with the outer primary cover removed.
    The outer primary supports the starter jackshaft in proper relation to the ring gear. You need at least the cover screw on each side of the starter pinion for support when testing.
    Last edited by farmall; 03-26-2018 at 8:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by japes003 View Post
    So after reasearching a little bit more last night, the ring gear doesnt have any mounting holes on the clutch basket, im assuming it is pressed on the basket (if anybody can chime in).

    With that said, i know they sell replacement ring gear, but I have no idea how to press it on the basket and I also feel like the same problem could occur in the future. Does anybody have experience in replacing their ring gear and pressing it on the basket?

    Any help is appreciated!
    It looks like the info from the site of the link I provided is not applicable to your machine, (BDL is a press fit ring gear),but may be helpful to others,so here is the rest of it;
    See more here:
    https://www.fixmyhog.com/post/in-the...r-replacement/

    Here is the rest of the info from that site:

    Here is a common repair that is frequent in every Harley Davidson service department. Starter ring gear replacement.

    This is the large gear that is on the outer edge of the clutch basket. When the start button is depressed, the starter shaft shoots out and spins while engaging with this large ring gear. This action turns the primary drive which turns the crank shaft of the motor allowing the motor to cycle & start.

    Under normal operating conditions, a starter ring gear will last for many years or thousands of start ups. However, it is very common for riders to install cheap, weaker batteries or utilize a quality battery beyond its life time. When a weaker battery is used, it puts a lot of strain on the starting system of a Harley. This not only diminishes the life of the starter and the starter clutch, but it also allows for poor starter shaft to ring gear engagement. This poor engagement eventually wears away the surface area on the teeth of the gears. Teeth can even break off of the gears.

    Another reason a starter ring gear will fail prematurely is when a failing starter clutch is not addressed. If you hear a “zing-zing” type of sound at start up, you have a bad starter clutch. Again, this condition makes for a poor engagement with the starter ring gear.

    If you hear a grinding sound when trying to start your Harley, you will need to remove your outer primary cover and inspect your starter ring gear. There are a options when it comes to this repair. If the repair is to be addressed with OEM parts, a new clutch basket assembly will need to be purchased from HD. The ring gear is not sold separately. In fact, it is held onto the aluminum basket with large, bold, rivets.

    Another option is to purchase an aftermarket repair kit/assembly. Rivera Primo and Compufire sell excellent kits for this repair. The kits include the small starter shaft gear and the large starter ring gear.

    The factory rivets are drilled and punched out. Then, the holes are drilled a little bit larger for the new retaining hardware. The new ring gear can then be bolted, securely onto the OEM Harley clutch basket. The kits typically have gears with less teeth (larger teeth allowing for more surface contact) for an even better, more definitive engagement over stock.
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 03-27-2018 at 6:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    From BDL pdf; Ring Gear install

    1. To remove old ring gears: Use a cutoff wheel and cut ring gear over one of the inner diameter arches "rivet reliefs" to a point as close as you can to and without damaging the clutch basket. Then, use a sharp chisel and hammer and. "pop" the old ring ...
    beltdrives.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Ring-Gear-Installation-Instructions.pdf

    Belt Drives Ltd.
    Ring Gear Installation Instructions
    Ring gears are a Heat & Shrink fit

    2. To install new ring gear:
    You will need to heat
    ring gear in an oven to a temperature of 450 degrees for approximately 30
    minutes.
    An experienced mechanic may also use a torch with a rose bud tip or
    a hand held torch with map gas
    and heat entire ring gear in a circular motion
    to heat and expand the ring gear for installation...
    5. Let ring gear air cool for 30 minutes
    .
    This will give the ring gear time to
    shrink back down onto the
    basket for a .010-.013 shrink fit.

    Best bet is just to get a new basket that has a bolt-on ring gear, to avoid machining costs and future problems and to prevent spinning of a loose shrink-fit gear.

    Rivera Primo Slim Line Belt Drive Clutch Basket
    Manufacturer Part Number 2020-0200
    J&P Part: 213-692 Closeout
    $185.99
    https://www.jpcycles.com/product/213...-clutch-basket
    Call 'em at 1-800-318-4823
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 03-27-2018 at 11:16 PM. Reason: spellin'; HAS a bolt-on,damn h on keyboard got me again

  10. #10
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    Best bet is just to get a new basket that as a bolt-on ring gear to avoid machining costs and future problems.
    This, since a spinning ring gear wears the basket metal so a replacement ring gear of the same dimensions will do no good at all.

    Of course it's still an enclosed belt drive and if you invest that much a spare belt is a very good idea since they will not get cheaper. They are a shitty idea in the first place. You aren't likely to see 100K miles out of a belt and they usually fail without warning.

    Someone who wanted to run kick only with a taper shaft transmission could use the old one. I don't know if that part crosses to Shovels but Evo five speeds with kicker kits could use a belt drive without a ring gear.

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