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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who's having issues with grinding hot starts with HD 96ci touring models?

Sounds like the primary drive grinding coffee during start up when engine is hot..

I've read into some of the forums on the starter compensation/sprocket components with mixed reviews.

What is the better fix?, factory SE or aftermarket parts?
 

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Sounds like the same problem I was having on my bike, but mine is a 103 ci. Sounded like Godzilla was trying to come out of the primary at times when trying to start. All that metal sound made me grit my teeth and close my eyes.
Starter drive was going out and replaced it with a All Balls starter. Fixed the problem.
 

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just put $1100 into my bike this fall. new SE comp and SE manual chain adjuster and transmission bearings.
auto chain adjuster ratcheted up to tight and took out trans bearing and comp was showing wear signs so I replaced it while it was all apart. I purchased all my parts online and had a reliable mechanic do the install.
 

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As above. Comp sprocket welds breaking, inner primary bearings breaking up, etc.
What year RK do you have ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Its an 09 road king classic. Guess I will have to tear it down and inspect everything. It almost sounds like the starter is not engaging, but im suspecting its the compensator as the noise is more towards the front of the primary.

Only does it occasionally when the engine is hot on start up, Sounds like the damn thing wants to fly apart!
 

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Try this: drive your bike in a parking lot, pull the clutch in and hit the kill switch then coast to a stop. That will unload the drive train and you'll get a better indication of where the noise is coming from.
 

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Its an 09 road king classic. Guess I will have to tear it down and inspect everything. It almost sounds like the starter is not engaging, but im suspecting its the compensator as the noise is more towards the front of the primary.

Only does it occasionally when the engine is hot on start up, Sounds like the damn thing wants to fly apart!

Mine did that but only on cold starts, sounded like it was going to grind itself apart on starts. It was a starter clutch. 03 RK CVO 103.
 

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It is not your starter or ring gear!
The problem is the engine compensator sprocket!
The stock compensator sprocket is junk in the 96 ci engine and should be replaced with the SE version of the compensator sprocket.
HD has been having problems with the compensator on the 07 and later models and the SE version is OEM in the trikes since 2010 and touring models since 2011.
HD SE compensator was having oiling problems which caused premature failure and HD just came out with a new version of the compensator in 2014 and this version is suppose to oil itself better.
On my 08 I had the same problem and HD replaced the starter at 8,000 miles, the problem returned around 3,000 miles later and I put the SE compensator in the bike.
Since then I had to replace the SE compensator again but I am still using the same starter that was put in at 8,000 miles and it works fine and the bike has over 80,000 miles on it. My bike has a 103 stage II with no compression releases.

I also put in the Hayden primary chain tensioner and it works great too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@ MK, Are their any custom Compensators that you have heard of other than using the HD/SE?

Is the Hayden a self tensioner or manual adjust?
 

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Hayden is an auto tensioner.
 

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96 ci seemed to be the limit for the old style compensators. A few worked well for many miles but most were inadequate from the factory or became too weak in just a few miles. If you had been living with the loud bang or crack noise when you hit the starter button, that noise was the compensator running out of movement and hitting the stop hard. That would "reflect" back and over time would destroy the starter clutch (sprag clutch in the starter drive.)
The sprag clutch is a metal to metal arrangement and when it slips, it is a high frequency chatter. That creates that terrible "grinding" noise you hear. Changing the starter drive will be a short term fix and the weak compensator will destroy the new one pretty quickly. It is best to go with a new comp and starter drive at the same time though sometimes the new comp will allow the old starter drive to work well enough for a bit longer.

Companies are working on after market non-Harley compensators but it is taking a long time and lots of testing is revealing that it is a difficult problem to develop a reliable replacement. While being neither an engineer nor a professional mechanic, I have a concern that a solid sprocket will subject the rest of the drive line to continual vibration and shock loads which over time will find the next weakest part in the system.

The current Harley compensator kit is aimed at '11 and newer bikes needing new compensators. They came from the factory with an earlier version of the SE comp and have a rotor compatible with the bellville springs used since '11. The pre-11 machines had a coil spring in a retainer can welded to the rotor and that arrangement makes the old rotor incompatible with the new compensator. You will need to buy the newer style rotor along with the new comp because the newer style rotor is no longer included in the kit. The total in parts will be around $500, a bit less if you find a discount outlet, a bit more if pay full retail. The latest comp has its problems also. I have no idea how much is due to a still weak design, how much to poor manufacturing, or how much to the lube selected by the owners of the machines. You will find a drastic and satisfying improvement over your current comp and with a little luck the replacement will be the last one you'll need to buy. I have had an AllBalls starter drive in use for 55,000 miles and 5 years and it has been flawless so far. Good luck however you go.

Woops, add in another $110+ for the starter drive.
 

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IMO, stay away from comp replacement sprockets. The comp sprocket is designed to absorb driveline shock. The TC engines have pressed together crank shafts and have been prone to scissoring from drive line shock on engines with increased power.
Engine builders generally weld the flywheels to the crankpins to avoid scissoring on high HP big torque builds.
 

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IMO, stay away from comp replacement sprockets. The comp sprocket is designed to absorb driveline shock. The TC engines have pressed together crank shafts and have been prone to scissoring from drive line shock on engines with increased power.
Engine builders generally weld the flywheels to the crankpins to avoid scissoring on high HP big torque builds.
You provide the precise reason he needs to replace his old one. When it bottoms out, whether from the starter or from an enthusiastic launch or gear shift, a heavy shock is delivered to the crank shaft. The replacement compensator would return the shock absorption properties to those the engineers thought were needed and correct, both for the crank shaft and rider comfort. If you mean replacing the comp with a hard mount sprocket, I agree that is a bad option.
 

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That is what I meant, stick with the comp style sprocket not the hard mount. Hard mount is for racing applications.
 

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BDL make a compensator but the people I know that tried the BDL were not have much luck with them.
The stock cranks scissor mostly from big HP/torque builds and in a stock or mild build bikes they may scissor from hard engine braking. (downshifting @ high RPMs)
 

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Have the Evolution sprocket on mine, been on for about 10000 mi now with no issues yet and love it. If issues arise then that's my excuse to build and weld the crank up.
 

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Would someone please explain their thinking to me. :dunno

You have a rubber mounted rear sprocket .
A drive belt.
A rear primary drive sprocket.
A chain drive.
And a front primary drive sprocket.

Has anyone really looked at how the "compensator" is put together ?

Two pieces with lobes that bang together in both directions in slots, under spring pressure. And this is going to soften the "impacts" that the drive train encounters ??? Really now ??? :what?
 

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I am not certain what your question is, I replaced my stock compensator with the SE type and had all of the pieces in my hands. The sprocket is driven by the cam piece, the sprocket is not directly attached to the crank shaft. The cam piece is splined to the crank shaft but is free to move in and out on those splines. The springs push the cam firmly against the sprocket spokes. The engine tries to speed up with each power stroke after ignition and puts sudden force on the cam. The cam applies this force to the sprocket which is not free to speed up with the engine so some of the force is absorbed by the springs as the cam rotates away from the valley toward the peak. As the force from the power stroke dissipates, the engine force on the cam decreases and the cam moves back toward the valley position and the springs release the stored energy into the sprocket smoothing the power transfer. As the engine goes into the compression stroke, it tries to slow down, now the cam displaces in the other direction as the bikes inertia tries to "push" the engine. The springs absorb some of that force. When combustion happens again, the whole process begins again. Without the compensator, both the power pulse and the compression deceleration would be directly transferred to the drive line and into the frame. This would cause a constant, harsh buzzing vibration you would feel all the while the engine is running. Taking a trip would be like sitting on a power mower engine hour after hour with all of that vibration going into you and the frame. I don't know how clear this is, hope it helps.
 
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