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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, trying to get some insight here. I've got a '77 FLH that I bought last May and rode a good bit last year, without issue. When it started snowing here in Ohio, I put it in the garage and began a few simple maintenance items. I pulled the front fender to get a sense for a few ideas and just put it back on today and went for a quick 10 mile ride. I noticed a low speed wobble; I'm guessing around 25 MPH or so (specifically if I was just cruising around town one handed), but if I just stuck it out, it went away. I'm running Dunlop 16" MT90's front and rear; checked the air pressure, it's good. Haven't messed with the spokes at all since I got the bike, but they seem good. The fender was reinstalled correctly; doesn't seem like there's much clearance between the tire, but it's not rubbing at all. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any advice or input...
 

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Did you have the front wheel off to pull the fender??
Did you double check that the axle was installed correctly? Preloading the bearings.
RP
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did not have the front wheel off to pull the fender. I checked the axle and everything seems good. The only thing I've messed with since I put it in the garage for the winter has been the tins. I just tried riding it without the front fender and the wobble is still there.
 

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I did not have the front wheel off to pull the fender. I checked the axle and everything seems good. The only thing I've messed with since I put it in the garage for the winter has been the tins. I just tried riding it without the front fender and the wobble is still there.
Well the bad news is that the last FLH that I rode that wobbled [shook it's head] was because the rim was bent...
Look 'er over very carefully.
Can you get the front wheel off the ground and spin it to see if it "looks" OK?
RP
 

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when you get it up in the air, figure out a way to fix a pointer near the rim and then spin the rim. you can roughly gauge the run out/wobble that way.

It may be neck bearings, does braking affect the wobble at all?
 

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Swingarm bearings, maybe?
 

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Did it sit on concrete all winter? May have an out of round tire or possible flat spot??? I know my grandpa used to park his truck on carpet to keep from getting flat spots in the tire over the winter months. Said concrete does something too them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Evo - I did that, rim and tire appear to be 'true'.

Busted - It's the front tire, not the rear.

Luck - Yeah, it sat on concrete in the garage, but I was pretty diligent about rotating the tires and moving it around so it didn't develop flat spots. I need new tires anyways, so we'll see.

As I was delving into this issue, I did notice that one of the studs on the right fork is stripped out from the fork itself; so I basically only had one stud holding the C-Clamp part of the front axle together. I'm not sure if this was the issue, but hopefully the hole can be tapped and fixed; otherwise I'll have to get new fork legs.
 

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How lightly are you holding the bars with that one hand? FLs are notorious for low speed wobble. Mine happens around 30-35 mph, but goes away above that. It happens if I'm lightly holding the bars, but easily stops if I grab them more firmly. Putting a new front tire on every season would probably stop it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Zarathustra - That sounds like what happened with me...as soon as it started to wobble while I was riding one handed and I grabbed it with both hands, it seemed to stop; I still noticed it to some extent even with both hands on the bars too...might just be a matter of holding on a little tighter, idk.
 

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If you do a little more searching or asking, you'll find this is common. It could be something more serious, but it sounds like the common FL head shake. A new front tire takes care of it until you get a few miles on that tire - and I mean a few. The one summer I ran a 21" on the front the wobble disappeared, but came back as soon as I put the 16" back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Zarathustra - Yeah, I've been looking around and have heard some talk of it here and there, just seems kinda weird to have developed all of a sudden like that. I was planning on putting a 21" Speedmaster on in the coming weeks anyways, so I'll see where things go from there. Just gotta figure out if it's an issue with my bike or an FL issue; either way, I can deal with it if it's just something that comes with the territory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I guess I've been lucky. I've never had a Shovel or a Pan for that matter have a wobble at all. Are you people making sure your rear wheel and front wheel are running straight/true to each other?

Or do you even know to check that?
Hadn't thought of that, Tattoo; I'll be sure to check that as well. Thanks for the idea...
 

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To defend bustedlifter's point, sometimes worn or misadjusted swingarm bearings will give a wobble that, for all the world, feels like it's coming from the front wheel.

Run your hand over the tire. if the surface is wavy and uneven to the touch, then the tire is worn from having been run underinflated, or with too much download from a fairing.

If it wobbles without the fender, but doesn't with the fender tying the two sliders together, you may have worn slider bushings.

Get the wheels off the ground and tap each spoke with a wrench. You'll hear if one doesn't "dink" the same as the rest.

But definitely fix the axle clamp on the slider.

just some thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To defend bustedlifter's point, sometimes worn or misadjusted swingarm bearings will give a wobble that, for all the world, feels like it's coming from the front wheel.

Run your hand over the tire. if the surface is wavy and uneven to the touch, then the tire is worn from having been run underinflated, or with too much download from a fairing.

If it wobbles without the fender, but doesn't with the fender tying the two sliders together, you may have worn slider bushings.

Get the wheels off the ground and tap each spoke with a wrench. You'll hear if one doesn't "dink" the same as the rest.

But definitely fix the axle clamp on the slider.

just some thoughts.
Thanks for the info and direction, M.O. I did the spoke test today and they all sound the same. And the wobble is present both with and without the fender, so I hope the slider bushings aren't an issue...guess I'll have a look to make sure; same with the swingarm. I just check the tires and both are smooth all the way around, no waves.
 

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I've had a few FLs all of them would shake around 30mph really notice it if you coast down with no hands. Try adjusting air pressure in your tires best for me has been 40 rear 30 front I'm a big guy so if your not you will need to go lower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've had a few FLs all of them would shake around 30mph really notice it if you coast down with no hands. Try adjusting air pressure in your tires best for me has been 40 rear 30 front I'm a big guy so if your not you will need to go lower.
Thanks for the insight Joe
 

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Check your head bearings, then do a fall-away check.
 
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