transmission problem question

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doc308
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transmission problem question

#1

Post by doc308 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:12 am

OK--I just finished my '48 pan project and took her out for a ride for the first time. I shifted through all 4 gears with no problem, until I got to a stoplight. Then , it shifted fine through 3 gears and I couldn't get her into 4 th gear. After the next stop, I lost 3rd gear. Then, there was no 2nd gear! So, after about a 6 mile drive, the tranny is now locked into first gear. I can't even put it into neutral.

Some background: this is an original 1950 , 4-speed transmission, which I converted to a foot-shift set-up. I purchased a new, still-in the box, Harley ratchet top for it and it was installed by a Harley dealer. After installation, I could shift it through the gears with no problem. However, since actually driving the bike, this is what happened. So, before I remove the tranny, any ideas about what might be going on?



OckMock
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Re: transmission problem question

#2

Post by OckMock » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:13 am

We might need some more info to fully help you out...for instance:

Is it a belt or chain primary? Is the belt or chain tension too tight? Did your tranny shift alignment for any reason? Did you check mounting bolts, considering you just had it installed?

Have you checked the clutch? Is it dragging for any reason? Are the clutch springs properly adjusted?

Have you checked your shifter linkage to the tranny? Do you have a mousetrap or mousetrap eliminator clutch cable setup? Is it adjusted properly?

I would do a few quick things first...

1) See if you can upshift through the gears as well as down shift with motor off. If so, then check the tension on your belt or chain. If the belt or chain is too tight, it can cause difficult shifting, as I just experienced. Additionally, check your clutch to see if there is any drag on the clutch by pulling in the lever with one hand and spinning the clutch hub with the other. If adjusted properly, it should spin relatively freely without excessive drag.

2) Check all your linkages from the foot shift to the shifter drum as well as your clutch cable to the clutch arm. Its possible something could have loosened there.

Get back to us with more info on what you checked and what doesn't check-out. This may help diagnose your problem a bit better.

doc308
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Re: transmission problem question

#3

Post by doc308 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:33 am

OK--here we go---I'm running a primary chain and a mousetrap set-up. This is defintely not a clutch issue. The clutch was operating fine and the springs were all adjusted according to the book. The test you mentioned was performed when I installed the clutch and it was operating fine. Also, there was no grabbing or slippage once on the road.

When I tried to shift, there was just nothing there--no cick, no grind, no nothing. It felt as though you were trying to shift into fifth gear on a four speed tranny. The hell of it now is that I can't even shift to neutral--it's basically stuck in first gear. Before driving the bike, I could easily shift through the gears by just rocking the bike back and forhth when not running. The wierd thing was that the gears sort of just dropped out , beginning with the the highest gear--ie, no fourth, no third, and then, no second as I drove on. It went through all four gears one time and then after downshifting, would not upshift to the higher gears again

When the Harley dealer installed the ratchet lid, he said that the innards of the tranny were worn, but not outrageous and he didn't see any obvious defects.

I just removed the primary cover nd re: chain tension, I did note that the upper row seemed tighter than the lower row of links. However, the tranny bolts are all tight. Note that this all occurred w/i the first 8 miles of driving the bike. It's the first time this bike has ever had afoot shift set-up.

panz4ever
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Re: transmission problem question

#4

Post by panz4ever » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:05 am

Quick thoughts...tank shift used a ball n spring set up to set the shifter cam into each gear; footshift used something similar, spring plus an elongated cam piece, if that makes sense. Any possibility the retainer holding it in place has backed off so that as you shifted down you lost everything but first which is the last gear you shifted into?

Another thought would be that the shifter shaft has somehow disengaged from the shifter gear.

Another is that components that go with the shifter adaptor plate were not properly installed.

At any rate think you need to pull it to do a closer inspection since you have seemingly ruled out most of the more common things.

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Re: transmission problem question

#5

Post by Kuda » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:45 pm

doc308 wrote:OK--I just finished my '48 pan project and took her out for a ride for the first time. I shifted through all 4 gears with no problem, until I got to a stoplight. Then , it shifted fine through 3 gears and I couldn't get her into 4 th gear. After the next stop, I lost 3rd gear. Then, there was no 2nd gear! So, after about a 6 mile drive, the tranny is now locked into first gear. I can't even put it into neutral.

Some background: this is an original 1950 , 4-speed transmission, which I converted to a foot-shift set-up. I purchased a new, still-in the box, Harley ratchet top for it and it was installed by a Harley dealer. After installation, I could shift it through the gears with no problem. However, since actually driving the bike, this is what happened. So, before I remove the tranny, any ideas about what might be going on?
Before you pull the tranny, pull the ratchet cover off and check your springs. Sounds like you might have busted a spring in the ratchet mechanism...

-Kuda
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Re: transmission problem question

#6

Post by Bigincher » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:14 pm

doc308 wrote:I purchased a new, still-in the box, Harley ratchet top for it and it was installed by a Harley dealer.
Where on Earth did you find a Harley dealer that has a mechanic (no, sorry-- "technician") that knows how to work on that kind of stuff?? I think your problems start there.....

doc308
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Re: transmission problem question

#7

Post by doc308 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:38 pm

I've removed the primary drive from the bike , exposing the ratchet drum. Before I take the cover off, is there anthing that I should be aware of--such as springs or bearing flying out all over the place, etc? Or, does everything remain intact as I take the cover off? I'venever done this before and I just don't want any surprizes. Aside from broken springs , are there other signs of failure for me to look for.

Right now, the ratchet moves all the way fwd and backward, but there is no shifting mechanism occurring. An old Harley mechanic friend of mine feels like the problem is definitely in the ratchet mechanism.

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Re: transmission problem question

#8

Post by OckMock » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:08 pm

Definitely get yourself a Clymer's Panhead manual so that you can understand what you are attempting to do...as well as what Im trying to explain below:

1) there is a dust cover over the shift drum. You'll want to remove the three screws that holds the shifter bracket and the dust cover on. Nothing will fly out at you at all.

2) if you are removing the whole ratchet top/cover, simply unscrew all of the screws that hold the cover on. You may have to tap lightly with a mallet from the side of the cover to remove it from the tranny case. keep in mind it is sitting on the tranny case with 2 guide dowels. Again, nothing will fly up or out at you when removing the ratchet top/cover.

I would have to agree with the guys that posted above...Id be looking at the ratchet springs AND the shift cam follower/spring. You'll see a big hex nut on the side of your ratchet top cover...in it is where the shift cam follower resides. If you open that nut you will see a spring, a small ball bearing and a cam follower. The follower rides on a cam machined into the shift drum. With the ratchet top/cover removed, you can "shift" the drum through all of the "gears" (or lobes) on the cam. You'll see and HEAR the "click" as the follower drops into its appropriate groove on the cam. Eye-ball it and see if its working BEFORE you remove the hex nut to remove the spring, ball bearing and cam follower. If it is, I would move on to looking at the shift pawls, springs and carrier.

Also, with ratchet top removed, you can now look into the tranny and see if the shift forks, dawgs and "top hats" are in good shape.

Let us know what you find or dont find. But do yourself a favor and get a manual...it really is a tremendous help and gets you prepared to do what you need to do instead of trial and error.

doc308
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Re: transmission problem question

#9

Post by doc308 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:42 pm

Thanks, Ock---I have a manual. However, I know that sometimes it will leave out a detail or not address a quirk. I like to hear from guys who have done the job to straight scoop . Thanks for all of the detail provided!

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Re: transmission problem question

#10

Post by Bosheff » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:11 am

The screw that is used to hold the adjustment of the shifter adapter plate to the ratchet lid itself has probably worked itself loose, therefore causing the lose of proper adjustment. This is what times the whole setup so you can get all yer gears. It was probably loose when the lid was installed , because being a new assembly there was no reason to disassemble it. Look in the H-D service manual in the tranny section. It will show the proper sequence for this adjustment....bosheff

doc308
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Re: transmission problem question

#11

Post by doc308 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:56 pm

Bosheff--which screw is that--where is it located?

Last night, I removed the drum cover and pawl carrier. One of the pawls was jammed. I took the pawls out ( they looked good and had fresh grease on them) , cleaned them, applied fresh grease and reinstalled them so that they moved freely as they should. When I tried to shift, there was still no action. I removed the pawl carrier and the same one was jammed again. I again took it off and reassembled it--no go. Still stuck in first gear . The drum shifter mechanism moves freely back and forth , but no shifting occurs.

I'm wondering if the stuck pawl was the result of me removing or reinstalling the carrier --ie is the pawl moving because it's rubbing against the shift mechanism/lobe? I tried to install the carrier with the spring holder very loose so as to keep the pawls as low as possible so as to not touch the mechanism when installing. After installed, I tightened the spring holder screw down. But, still no action

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Re: transmission problem question

#12

Post by Kuda » Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:25 pm

doc308 wrote:Bosheff--which screw is that--where is it located?

Last night, I removed the drum cover and pawl carrier. One of the pawls was jammed. I took the pawls out ( they looked good and had fresh grease on them) , cleaned them, applied fresh grease and reinstalled them so that they moved freely as they should. When I tried to shift, there was still no action. I removed the pawl carrier and the same one was jammed again. I again took it off and reassembled it--no go. Still stuck in first gear . The drum shifter mechanism moves freely back and forth , but no shifting occurs.

I'm wondering if the stuck pawl was the result of me removing or reinstalling the carrier --ie is the pawl moving because it's rubbing against the shift mechanism/lobe? I tried to install the carrier with the spring holder very loose so as to keep the pawls as low as possible so as to not touch the mechanism when installing. After installed, I tightened the spring holder screw down. But, still no action
How sharp are the ends of the pawls? If they're rounded off, they won't engage the shifter correctly. Also, the pawls shouldn't stick in the bores if greased properly and have no burrs/nicks in the alignment channel. Make sure the channel (the little groove that the alignment pins run in) is clean and straight and make sure the alignment pins are correctly installed (not hard to knock 'em sideways or too far in so they'll catch on the pawl). If all that checks out, make sure the actual shifter drum will rotate freely and change the gears. If the drum is stuck on the cam, you'll get no shifting done...

-Kuda
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Re: transmission problem question

#13

Post by PanPal » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:16 pm

I think Kuda has you pointed in the right direction. myself, I am curious if this is an NOS OE rachet lid, or what Harley sells us from the aftermarket vendors. If I were to ask any local harley shop for a part for my bike, they pull out the V-twin book or some other aftermarket vendors book to order parts. Are the pins for your pawls about 1/16" diameter roll pins? Can you swivel them in the bore when the pin is in the groove on the pawl? The pawls really need to move freely in and out of the bore and be sharp to engage properly.
Bosheff--which screw is that--where is it located?
With your pawl carrier removed there is one screw just above the shaft that is holding the plate to the lid casting. The hole in the plate is slotted to time the rachet assembly.

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Re: transmission problem question

#14

Post by Brrrap » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:27 pm

Doc, The Information that is shared here is usually spot-on by good people wanting to help. What you described happened "Exactly" to me also earlier this year. I downshifted to third,then it wouldn't go back to fourth. I slowed down more and downshifted to second,then tried to return to third. No go! So, down to first we went and that was where it stayed. No neutral ,,nothing. Locked in first. Called for my wife and truck. Once i got it home,and did some research, it came out to be an easy fix for me as it turned out to be a shifter pawl that was hung up in its barrel. I did the "Check that the Pawl has a very clean, sharp edge,not worn" bit and then proceeded to clean out the chamber it sits in. After a very good cleaning and re-assembly the tranny was back to full functions. Hearing you say that there was a pawl hanging up, I chuckled and said "Yep,Been there done that" Hope you get the satisfaction of beating this problem yourself too. It feels good! As i have said before: Thanks Everyone!

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Re: transmission problem question

#15

Post by doc308 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:53 am

PanPal--believe it or not, this ratchet lid was leftover piece from the 1970'5/80's which was in a pile of old parts at a Harley dealer near me. It is the original, brand-new, still -in the original plastic and box, ratchet lid from the Harley factory. I've put no more than 10 miles on it since it was installed.

Brrapp--thanks for sharing your experience. it sure does sound exactly like my situation. I'll be getting at it again tomorrow night and will report back on the progress.

Thanks, all, for the great advice--this forum is the greatest!

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