The Seasoned Wrench


Harley Clutch Hub Bearing Symptoms: Revealed and Fixed

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A common issue faced by Harley riders is the wear and tear of the clutch hub bearing. This critical component of your bike can create a multitude of problems if not maintained properly. In this in-depth guide, we will uncover the notorious Harley clutch hub bearing symptoms, discuss how it functions, and walk you through the steps for a successful Harley transmission noise fix. So let’s get to it!

So, How Does A Clutch Hub Bearing Work?

Here's an example of a clutch hub bearing that is used in Harley Davidson transmissions.
You’re telling me this little guy is the topic of our discussion here?

The clutch hub bearing is a crucial component in the operation of your motorcycle. This bearing is designed to reduce friction between the clutch hub and the clutch shell, allowing them to rotate at different speeds when the clutch is disengaged. In simple terms, it ensures that the power from your engine can be smoothly transferred to your bike’s wheels.

How Does It Wear Out Over Time?

Like any mechanical component, the clutch hub bearing is subject to wear and tear. Over time, the constant pressure and friction can lead to the deterioration of the bearing. Factors such as inadequate lubrication, extreme riding conditions, and poor maintenance can accelerate this process.

Related: Harley Davidson Clutch Replacement Cost: Complete Overview

What Are The Usual Harley Clutch Hub Bearing Symptoms?

Amongst the symptoms we’ll cover below, here’s a video for you to get a good idea of what the (usual) symptoms sound like.

Constant Growling or Grumbling

One of the earliest signs of a failing clutch hub bearing is a constant growling or grumbling noise emanating from the primary cover area. This noise is most noticeable when the engine is idling or operating at low RPMs.

Clunking Noises

Clunking noises are another common symptom of a faulty clutch hub bearing. This sound is typically heard when the clutch is engaged or disengaged, indicating a possible issue with the bearing or the clutch assembly.

Transmission Pops out Of Gear

If your Harley’s transmission unexpectedly pops out of gear while riding, it could be due to a worn-out clutch hub bearing. This symptom should not be ignored as it could lead to more serious transmission problems.

Grinding Noise in the Primary

Lastly, a distinct grinding noise from the primary is a tell-tale sign of a failing clutch hub bearing. This noise is caused by the excess friction between the clutch hub and the clutch shell due to the worn-out bearing.

Related: Harley Goes Into Gear But Won’t Move? Help Is Here!

Equipment You’ll Need To Diagnose and Repair The Issue

Before you embark on the journey of fixing your Harley’s transmission noise, it’s essential to gather the right tools. These include a set of wrenches, a torque wrench, a primary cover gasket, a new clutch hub bearing, and clutch hub nut. Additionally, you will need a service manual for your specific Harley model.

Harley Transmission Noise Fix Procedure (Step-By-Step)

While on an Electra Glide, this video details the procedure for replacing a Clutch Hub Bearing. It should generally apply to most models.

Step 1: Disassemble the Primary Cover

Remove the primary cover to gain access to the clutch assembly. Be sure to drain the primary fluid before removing the cover. Remember to check the primary chain tensioner and adjust if necessary.

Step 2: Inspect the Clutch Hub Bearing

Inspect the clutch hub bearing for any signs of wear and tear. Look for any discoloration, scoring, or pitting on the bearing. If the bearing is worn out, it needs to be replaced.

Step 3: Replace the Clutch Hub Bearing

If the clutch hub bearing is damaged, replace it with a new one. Ensure that the new bearing is properly seated and secured with the clutch hub nut.

Step 4: Reassemble the Primary Cover

Once the new bearing is installed, reassemble the primary cover. Make sure to use a new gasket to prevent any leaks.

Step 5: Test Ride

After everything is reassembled, take your Harley for a test ride. Listen carefully for any unusual noises. If the transmission noise is gone, you have successfully fixed the issue.

How Long Does The New Bearing Last? (On Average)

Here's an example of a worn clutch hub bearing in a Harley Davidson's clutch assembly.
Since most clutch hubs use a sealed bearing, you can’t see the damage internally; however, in this case you can see that the outer rings of the bearing are discolored. This often happens if the transmission is run without fluid over a period of time.

The longevity of a new clutch hub bearing can vary based on several factors. These include riding conditions, maintenance habits, and the quality of the bearing. However, with proper care and maintenance, a new clutch hub bearing should last for several thousand miles.

Wrapping Up

Being aware of the symptoms of a failing clutch hub bearing and knowing how to fix it can save you from potential headaches down the road. Remember, regular maintenance is the key to keep your Harley running smoothly. Happy riding!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common symptoms of a failing Harley clutch hub bearing?

Common symptoms include unusual noises like grinding or squealing when the clutch is engaged, a feeling of roughness or vibrations through the clutch lever, difficulty in shifting gears, and a noticeable decrease in ride smoothness.

How can I tell if my Harley’s clutch hub bearing needs replacement?

If you experience a persistent whirring noise, excessive free play in the clutch lever, or your motorcycle stalls when shifting gears, it might be time to inspect and possibly replace the clutch hub bearing.

Can a bad clutch hub bearing affect the performance of my Harley?

Yes, a worn-out clutch hub bearing can lead to poor clutch engagement and disengagement, resulting in sluggish performance, increased fuel consumption, and potential damage to the transmission.

What causes the clutch hub bearing in a Harley to fail?

The clutch hub bearing can fail due to lack of lubrication, overloading, normal wear and tear over time, or riding habits that put excessive stress on the clutch mechanism.

How often should the clutch hub bearing be inspected on a Harley?

It’s recommended to inspect the clutch hub bearing during regular maintenance intervals, or immediately if any of the symptoms mentioned are observed.

What is the process for diagnosing a faulty clutch hub bearing on a Harley?

Diagnosis typically involves a physical inspection for any play or roughness in the bearing, listening for abnormal noises, and checking for proper clutch operation. A mechanic may also perform a road test.

Can I replace the clutch hub bearing on my Harley myself?

If you have mechanical experience and the right tools, you may be able to replace the clutch hub bearing yourself. However, it’s a complex task that often requires special tools and precise adjustments, so it’s usually recommended to seek professional help.