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Normal vibration level in Vrod Engine

15623 Views 70 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  sxrxrnr
I just purchased a new 03 Vrod. Have owned a 03 Heritage for past couple of years.

As noted in another thread, I am having a stalling problem that I hope will go away once I have emptied my first tank of fuel and fill with new fuel.

However another issue that I am uncertain how to deal with is the perceived vibration level of this bike verses that of the Heritage. At any engine speed, whether not moving or cruising I feel a quite noticeable vibration thruout the bike and particularily in the hand grips. If cruising say at 50 mph it is as though an automobile has out of balance wheels or driveshaft. If I disengage the clutch all is well and smooth.

I took bike to the shop where I purchased and had 2 different mechanics and one salesman sit on the bike and run to 3000 rpm. Vibration was quite noticeable but they all agree that it is normal. In the Heritage there is some at idle, but at any engine speed is goes completely away and is smooth.

My question is, is this normal? Perhaps the Heritage is so smooth because of the internal balance shaft, which the Vrod does not have.

Max, in another thread suggested that engine should be smooth and if mine is not, that perhaps my plugs could be somewhat fouled. I guess my real problem is that I do not know what is normal and I am being too critical, but again it is a very severe vibration thru my hands via the grips. I suspect that I need to mount another Vrod to see how it feels.

Thanks to all for any help :vrod:
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The most intense vibrations occur between 3 and 4 thousand rpm in any gear. Perhaps some would say that this range of rpm in 5th gear is lugging a vrod, but there is no lugging going on in 1st or 2nd gear at these rpm's. This is a pounding vibration that I am experiencing,(somewhat akin to what you would feel in an automobile with a out of balance driveshaft--not merely front wheels) not lugging/bucking. Again perhaps this a feature of the Vrod, but I do not believe that Porsche or HD would foist such a feature on their customers and call it normal. My Heritage Softail is like 6 cylinder Honda compared to the Vrod in smoothness and of course it too is a V twin.

I would be interested to hear from any Vrod owners who report smoothness thru their grips, seats and pegs and those who report a strong vibration. I would like to hear HD Vrod engineering tell us what is normal and what is not but so far unable to get any info at all on this from HD Customer Service. If they could prove to me that this is a feature of this engine I would not be pleased but I would have no further complaint and would live with it.

Seems that we could put this problem to bed if they would supply this information. Perhaps it will take a Lemon Law claim to gain their attention to offer up this info.

My personal opinion is that it is related to the exhaust mounting(as pointed out by previous parties who have posted to this thread) system and as a second choice the motor mount design.

Silicon Valley Ca.
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On some '03's the swing arm bolt did not have enough threads, they could not get the proper tention on the swing arm bearings (the new bolt is on all '04's). This also serves as one of the motor mounts, I like you did not have the vibration until I had several miles on the bike (don't remember the number). It was not until the local HD factory service rep provided input to the dealer that the problem was resolved. This person will also ride your bike and let you know their thoughts on normal vibration levels.


Do ya'll have a lemon law in Cali? In ours, if you have to fix the same problem under warranty like 3 times, I think they have to replace the vehicle....or something along that line. Man, you have far more patience than I, that's for sure! Your dealer should have already been on top of this months ago.

CTV's advice sounds like a good spot to invetigate? Also, maybe you can call the different dealers in your area and look for and actual V-Rod tech? Most of the techs around are more comfortable with the TC's, Evo's...ect.

Good luck bro!

Picked up bike today from dealer. Earlier post I noted that HD Customer Service had given me a reference number and told me to give to my dealer so that dealer could call HD tech's for assistance on vibration problem. This turned into quite a tale that I will recap here..

1. Dropped bike off Tuesday at 9:30 AM. Gave them a 2 page document on what to check and also included reference number.

2. Arrived back home at 10:15 and immediately phone rang and it was dealer's service dept. Was asked by them if bike had done 1000 mile serivce(bike now has 1500 miles). I said yes. They axed by whom. I said by me. They said that they had found 2 things that were not correct. I axed what. Was told tire pressure and main drive belt tension. I told them that tire pressure should be right on(of course I had just ridden 15 miles to their site and tires were now warm(specs call for cold tires) and of course we all know how inaccurate tire gauges can be. They then said belt was too tight. I said I had checked during my service and it was right on at 6mm deflection at 10 pounds pressure(since service I had replace stock chain guards with HD chrome one's--these do not have deflection measurement slot as do stock ones). So they said that they question the validity of my service. I told them to do whatever they felt was lacking(I knew I had skipped no steps but to please them and get on with the warranty service, I told them to perform whatever they were unhappy with and I would pay the expense).

Today(Thursday July 1, 2004) I picked up the bike and was presented with a bill for 293.00. I questioned this of course and was told that they had performed a full service(their 1000 mile charge is 350.00----yes I know) minus a credit for oil and filter change(I guess they believed me on this). So then some minor fireworks began.

3. They then suggested that the tight belt was the cause of my vibration and suggested that I ride the bike to see if the vibration had been improved. I did this, I returned and told them that possibly it was better but I was uncertain. They said they had also done the "fuel flange" recall. I told them that I had axed my selling dealer on this and been assured several times that it had been done(bike had also gone thru an intense stalling problem some time back that was finally resolved with the proper ecm(02a) download for 30 tooth SE exhaust.. They responded that HD corporate records did not indicate that this had been done, so they did it again anyway.

4. So as we debated whether I should have to pay this 293.00(they said had to do entire service because they felt if tire pressure was off and belt was tight, what else had I screwed up on that could have led to a "vibration" problem. They finally brought the technician in(he had as I found from him worked on HD's since 1955 and had spent 2 weeks at HD's Vrod school) to discuss with me. He said that belt was too tight, I said how could I have measured differently. I suggested that perhaps he had checked hot(again I had just ridden 15 miles). He said belt does not change hot or cold. Then he axed if I had someone sitting on the bike when I measured it myself. I said no as I did not know that this was a requrement. He said that it was. Based upon this input from him, I felt that I had screwed up and perhaps belt was too tight(however this would not explain how it got out of the factory that way or thru my selling dealer's setup) and finally we agreed that I would pay a fee of 250.00(a 15 percent discount). I was skeptical and dubious but paid and left on good terms as I thought at least with a new fuel flange, another check of ecm(02a) and several items on my list to check such as binding exhaust, bad coils, spark plug gap, fuel pressure, motor mounts, etc etc that perhaps my vibration would be gone or at least I would know that these bikes are supposed to vibrate and that my remaining stalling problem would be gone. Bike of course stalled on the way home one time........... Incidently I never did find if the dealer techs called HD techs to discuss the so called reference number given to me by HD Customer Service.

5. So now I go home, grab my Vrod service manual, check belt tension section. Manual says on page 1-28 of 2003 manual "Check rear belt tension with motorcycle COLD, standing upright, transmission in NEUTRAL and NO rider on motorcycle". Now this is not what I was told my Vrod tech. He said that temp made no difference on how loose or tight belt was and that must have rider on the bike.

Questions that I have are: Which is correct the manual or the tech? Did I just pay 250.00 to get baffled with BS? Do dealers normally do this just to teach us all a lesson not to do your own maintenance and take food off their tables? What was suggested to me is that by having done my own maintenance that HD warranty coverage was hit or miss.

I would like to post this as a new thread for all to read and comment on. Is there a method that I can do it without re-keying it all. Which would be the best section?

Sorry for War and Peace. Please excuse any typos.

On our way to Hollister tomorrow.

Silicon Valley, Ca
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Called HD Customer Service. Spoke to Michelle. She spoke to Vrod Tech. HD Vrod manual says adjust drive belt with NO rider aboard. HD Vrod Owners manual says adjust with rider. HD Vrod tech says must be adjusted COLD, WITHOUT rider and that Owners manual is incorrect.

My dealer was incorrect. Based upon their incorrect assesement I was persauded by them to pay them to redo the 1000 mile service that I had already completed myself. As it now stands I was correct when I told them that I had checked belt tension without a rider. They were incorrect when they said must be checked with a rider aboard. Wonder how many incorrectly adjusted Vrod belts are running around out there?

Trust but Verify!

Silicon Valley
Many thanks to those that posted and kept this thread alive. As you can tell by the date, my bars,pegs, and seat have started vibrating. Thought it might be clutch or mufflers. I E-Moded my pipes and as they burn in and get louder I think from your post that is my answer. :ride: Thanks AL, MJW, and the rest. AL
mjw930 said:

Don't let a few wayward comments keep you from posting whenever and whatever you want to about the V-Rod. Remember, if they don't want to read it then no one is forcing them too.

BTW, here's what the manual says about troubleshooting vibration issues. I bet none of the dealers asked about the problem checked any of these things :(

Oh, don't forget to notice item number 8 :rolleyes:
Every post you make, I respect you more mate.

Oh, and now I am vibration hypersensitive! I feel a buzz, light but noticeable, in my feet. I think it is probably me being a hyperchondriac, but I will "test ride" Garry's bike at the dealership if he will let me to compare it.

I have the same sensation with all my vehicles....my truck, my bike, the wifey's Buick...ect. What I think it is, we just get used to the natural rythms and such...we kind of subconcsiously "tune" into our vehicles....especially ones we are in a lot. I have a moderate long commute to work, and therefore I am on or in my vehicles quite a bit. Feeling the vibrations is not a bad thing! On my old Sportster, I had found loose motor mounts amongst a TON of other loose parts, nuts, and bolts as they happened because of this.

Okay, enough rambling on my part as I will sum up what I am trying to say. The vibrations are the bike talking to you and you have to listen to what she is saying to you. I seem to remember posts about a front axle coming loose and some found it by the difference in vibrations from the road...ect. That type stuff.

This is one of the reasons I made up an isolation setup for the top triple clamp/handlebar. I have carpal tunnel and any prolonged vibration puts my hand to sleep. I have a throttle rocker and it helps alot but doing the urethane bushings made alot of difference. I can tell you with my Buell running the dual's, freeing up the exhaust mounts and re-tightening them helps alot. As far as the belt goes, I run mine alot more loose then factory spec. with no issues at all. The one thing I noticed is the belt on these runs very close to the frame and one could almost grind .050 off the exhaust side wheel spacer and add a shim to the pulley side (it shows up with a 200 install) bringing the wheel more to the pulley side.
Since this thread has been dragged out of the attic again, I thought I'd bring up a real source of vibration, one that you actually can do something about.

Most bike tires are balanced when they are installed on the wheels. Unfortunately, as the tire wears, it can cause the wheel to go out of balance again; and sometimes well before the tire reaches the end of its useful life.

If you have three or four thousand miles on your tires, and sense a buzzing or slight pulsation at speed - you might consider having at least your front wheel rebalanced. It will considerably add to the life of the tire, and will in many cases reduce the vibration. Most bike shops will spin-balance a tire for less than $30 - a fraction of what a new tire costs.
I am one of the original posters of these vibration/stalling threads. I have gone thru a lot with a couple of HD dealers and HD customer service, so far to no success. Vibration is most intense between 3 and 4 thousand rpm and seems much less above and below these numbers. If you disengage clutch, bike is totally smooth which should rule out wheel/tire and probably belt problems. You all can check my posts on this topic under my handle for further info on what I have done to seek a solution.

The latest news is that I called HD customer service(I really do hate to call it that) and told them that my latest dealer had not even followed up on the reference number that they had HD had given to me to give to my dealer to have them call HD for assistance. I then said that bike had been in numerous times for stalling and vibration problems to no success. I said that I was about to invoke my rights under California's Lemon Law(even though I would hate to give up a silver/black 03 bike). I then a few days later get a call from one of my local dealers where the bike had been several times. They have axed that I bring it in again and this time they will follow up on ALL suggestions that I had given them for possible problem/solutions(gathered from this Forum and the HD manuals) and would put on a dyno(as I had requested several times) and would call HD on the TWO "reference numbers" given to me my HD customer service.

I do not know if this dealer was responding from pressure from HD or was responding to the 2 page single spaced letter that I had written to them following my previous visit in July, where among other things I told them that the belt tension was to be checked with NO rider on the bike(as per service manual and HD customer service V-rod tech) instead of rider on the bike(as per owner's manual) and also gave them the business for not even calling HD on the reference number.

Appointment is set for next Wed. For the past few weeks I have been riding my Heritage as the Vrod I feel is unsafe because of stalling issues and the vibration is just plain annoying and I sense is not adding to the long term reliability of the bike in general.

I say for now that this has all been a an experience that HD should be ashamed of and I suspect that many owners with less mechanical experience then myself(been racing and showing automobiles for some 45 years) long ago just gave up, or accept stalling and vibrations as normal, or do not have a clue that something is unusual. Shame on HD, Porsche and HD dealers.

Silicon Valley Ca

1956 Chrysler 300 B, Number 1 condition
1971 Corvette 450 HP small block/Doug Nash 5 sp
03 Heritage..Silver/Black CNC 95 engine
03 V-Rod Silver/Black
1998 Yellow Labrador Retriever named Obi
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