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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 07x. I have the fron end "clunk" when i get n the brakes hard. I am reading that it is in the stearing head . Can some one tell me the steps to tighten up myselh? I have a lift and tools. No dealer for me EVEN UNDER WARRANTEE.

Premium Member
10,816 Posts
See below - I copied it and used it! Good luck, Joe

News from the original Capital of the "United States of America" and the place where those words were first penned - proving you can get a rudimentary history education if you take the time to read the Historical Markers along the road...
Da Mystery of Da Clunk (sort of like Colonel Klink) Shamefully Exposed in all its Naked Glory
or some such rubbish...

This is a two-fold problem and the first part is One Word: plastics, eh, I mean: Races.

Ya mean like Daytona? No, not those races.
These are the mating surfaces for the bearings which transfer the load between the bearings and the surface they support.

When Laugerman's mechanic, Fredy (one 'd', possibly from S.A.) worked on the bike, they compared it to an R with 5000 miles that didn't have Da Clunk. So they stripped off the front end (Fredy kept calling it the suspension) and started from scratch with the neck itself which in this case is a good thing.

In measuring the neck, they discovered that my races were not fully seated in the frame. Dave Laugerman explained that this may be because the factory doesn't use a ton of pressure to fit the races and if there is too much paint, or the hole isn't exactly round, or it isn't machined right, then the races won't fully seat in the neck.

The Races not being properly seated is the First Cause of Mein Clunk.

So Fredy (one 'd') stripped out the paint and tapped the races into position and miked (yeah, I know Microsoft doesn't think this is a legitimate word but it's what happens when you measure it with a micrometer, mark it with a grease pencil and cut it with an axe) the whole thing until they were fully seated.

Now this problem makes sense on a couple (or three or four, or more -Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!) of levels.
1. When they cured the problem the first time and it reappeared, it is apparent now that as went over my super-smooth[sic] Pennsylvania roads, the bottom race would gradually get pounded in when I hit my bumps into the fit it was supposed to have had in the first place.
2. This would allow for some space to develop between the bearings and the top race as the weight of the bike on the front end would mate the bottom bearings with its race which was just pounded in a few microns.
3. So the front end would develop a wobble because the top bearing was no longer properly mated with its race (sexy things those bearings and races) and you could feel the shift in the front end standing still when you applied the brake and pumped the front end.
4. Also, the now slack front end would free fall a few microns after hitting another bump only to slam the bottom triple tree bearing home into its race at the bottom when the front tire made contact again which is why we thought it might be a rebound problem; they're happening so fast, one can be confused for another.
5. This would also explain why torquing down the top nut to 15-20 pounds over would "solve" the problem: you'd be forcing the races together but would be over-stressing the threads to do so.
6. Re-torquing the top nut after you set the pre-load means you're just compensating for the slack that has developed between the races and the bearings - eventually, it will cease to be a problem as you approach the original design specifications.
But we're not out of the woods yet.

Now it gets difficult, and I'm not sure I can explain it all having never worked on a V-Rod and still not having the Service Manual to know all the procedures and nomenclature.

The Second Part of Da Clunk has to do not with the Pre-Load Bearing, but a false reading on the pre-load bearing induced by the Top Triple Tree not being properly seated upon the forks.

When you do the pre-load bearing you are "seating" the bearings in their races. To do this, you have to loosen the bottom triple tree clamp nuts so the forks will ride in the groove.

However, the forks may not be properly seated in the top triple tree which Fredy (one 'd') said were not machined in a square line to the surface and because they're cut on an angle, and the fork tubes show evidence of rough machining by still having the grooves which describe their circumference means when you think they're "in" it is an assumption on your part.

So Fredy (one 'd' - I can't get over this) said after you "set" the pre-load bearing and fall away (I'm not sure what this procedure is which exposes my colossal ignorance on the matter but then again I slept in a Holiday Inn sometime in my airline carrier so as a pilot, I'll carry on even though I have no idea what I'm talking about - which means I could be a journalist some day!)

- you have to reset the top triple tree by loosening its clamp nuts on either side and seating the fork tubes up into the top triple tree.

According to Fredy (one 'd' again) you then have to fit the pre-load bearing a second time and this measurement will be right, unlike the first.

Now that that's done, the top nut can be tightened.

He test drove it a bit, but I know a REALLY GOOD road to try it out: Blue Ball Road. This is the road from Hell. Your balls will be black and blue and you'll wish they were only blue afterward. I mean, I couldn't get out of second gear on my Softail when I first found this poor excuse for a cow path meandering through southern York county, proving yet again that Pennsylvania was the most corrupt state in the mid-twentieth century because Governor Pinchot's wife "owned" an asphalt company, but not a stone company so they laid asphalt right on top of dirt which is why Pennsylvania has so many ripple bumps and pot-holes: There's no base to the roadway.

Anyway, that's what I have to report.
• Thanks to Alan in Illinois (Laugermans just said Chicago) who called and let then know a whole bunch of people were seeing how Laugerman's, the MoCo cities' star dealership dealt with their newest addition: I was no longer a "problem child" today.
• Max is right, the people here make this the best forum around.
• Thanks to Laugerman's for taking the time to look the problem anew and finding an original take on what many have experienced and attempted to be solved by many here, and -
• Thanks to Fredy (one 'd') who took the time to explain this all twice to the old jet-jockey on another blowtorch.

Mark T.

18,951 Posts
Theres a new part being released to fix this problem, I wish I had a part # for you. They told us about this fix at KC factory. Maybe someone that was there will chime in and have the PT# for you

Think Warm & Sunny
156 Posts
New Stem..

If I remember correctly, the HD guys have redesigned the threaded fork stem and are now making it of steel intead of aluminum. (They had one on display) However, they still have several of the aluminum ones in stock which will be hipped until gone. Once gone, the steel units will be normal stock. Don't really know how one would tell when one could be assured of getting a steel one.

Also, testing my memory, we were told that a new nut/washer combo was being designed to help with the problem on the aluminum stem. Perhaps some of the guys might better explain this.

It occurrs to me that this aluminum part is a design defect which has the potential for causing serious handling problems. Seems as though HD would replace these units with the steel ones under warrant to avoid liability issues.

Hopefully, someone with a better understanding of this aluminum vs steels situation will chime in with better info.

I have the clunk on rough roads, however, if I'm rolling the bike out of the garage and grab the front brake to stop it, I get the same clunk.

Most frustrating....

3,488 Posts
this is a crappy problem, i am a mechanic and hated to have the dealership fix it, but they did, it was $27 at harley of salt lake, and they used the blue loctite.....3 months later, the clunk is back, am i understanding it correctly as the forks "folding underneath" the bike on heavy deceleration?
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