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Harley Davidson Wheel Bearings Problems & Solutions 2021

Most of the bikers neglect the Harley Davidson Wheel Bearings Problems. The neglection of wheel bearings can lead to serious bike crashes.

A wheel bearing is one of the most crucial parts of a motorcycle. It is basically a set of ball bearings that connect the wheel and the axle.

It ensures smooth spinning of the wheels. When the wheel bearing is not working well or it is failing, the biker can end up with devastated bike parts or serious accidents.

For a biker, it is essential to maintain and take care of the bike to prevent crashes and bike damage. Let’s find out how you can keep the wheel bearings in good shape.

How to Know if Your Wheel Bearing is Bad?

Sometimes wheel bearings don’t show symptoms when they are going bad. However, there are a few symptoms that can help you detect wheel bearing failure.

Let’s have a look at them:

Vibration through handle barsThe first symptom of wheel bearing failure is vibration through handle bars. While riding the bike, the biker may experience vibration.
The vibration may intensify with time. Whenever vibration is felt through the handle bars, the wheel bearings must be checked.
Clicking sound during ridesAlong with the vibration, the rider may experience a clicking sound during the ride.

Initially, you may think that it is a rock or any other hard thing stuck to the wheel but actually the wheel bearings are going bad.
The clicking sound may start with a few clicks at first and then it grows louder and the number of clicks heard may increase.
Resistance in spinningOnce the Harley Davidson is not in motion, try spinning the wheel.
If there is some resistance in the movement then you will know that the wheel bearings are going bad.
Slight resistance is not very abnormal, but if you feel that the wheel is not spinning smoothly then there is certainly some issue with the wheel bearing.
Wheel moves on the shaftLast symptom of the wheel bearing going bad is that the wheel moves on the shaft. Once you push the wheel, it moves.
In ideal situation, it should not move but if it moves then the wheel bearing is not in a good condition.

Common Harley Davidson Wheel Bearings Problems

There are a number of common Harley Davidson Wheel Bearing Problems but we have listed some of them for you all.

01. Faulty Installation

One of the most common Harley Davidson Wheel Bearing problems that is faced by bikers is faulty installation.

If tools such as wrench or ratchet are not carefully used during installation, they can end up damaging the interior or the exterior of the wheel bearings.

This leads to pre-mature damage or failure of the wheel bearings.

Also, another common mistake that some people make is that they use old nuts, seals or even grease. Usage of old items can cause damage and failure of the wheel bearings.

Solution:

To prevent this problem, the bikers or professionals must be careful during installation.

They should carefully use the tools and instead of using old items, they should use fresh ones to avoid failure of the wheels.

02. Poor Road Quality and Lack of Maintenance

Some bikers go off roading, they expose their bikes to mud, rocks, and even water at times.

This is all fun and games at first but if the bikers are not maintaining their bike, then they are causing long term impact damage to their bikes. Pollution also causes damage in the long run.

Solution:

After off-roading or after exposure to tough terrains or environment, the bikers should put in extra effort in the maintenance of the bikes.

They should regularly clean and grease the bikes to ensure a longer life-span of the wheel bearings.

03. Low quality wheel bearing

During replacement, some bikers or even professionals end up using low quality wheel bearing.

They do this to save but in reality, in the long-term, they will end up spending much more.

Solution:

Instead of using low-quality wheel bearings that lead to pre-mature failure, the professionals or bikers should opt for high-grade wheel-bearings so that they last longer.

04. Modifications

Some people like to modify their bikes, modification of the wheels can lead to pressure on the wheels. Eventually, they lead to damage.

Solution:

Modification of Harley Davidson wheels should be avoided to prevent long-term damage.

What to Do When Bearing is Bad?

When you have figured out that the wheel bearings have gone bad, you certainly have to get them replaced. For the wheel bearing replacement, you have two options:

  1. You can take the Harley Davidson to a professional mechanic and get them replaced.
  2. You can follow replacement steps and replace the bearings on your own.

Following are the steps that you need to follow for step-by-step wheel bearings replacement of Harley Davidson:

Before getting started, make sure that you have all the materials needed for the replacement.

Materials Needed:

  1. Wheel bearing installer
  2. Grease
  3. Ratchet
  4. Towel
  5. Filer
  6. Wrench

Step 1: Removal of the Wheel

First of all, you need to remove the wheel. First, ensure the safety of the rim by putting a towel on the surface that you will be working on.

Then, take a ratchet and remove the axle nut which is found on the left of the fork. Remove all the nuts and keep them safe on a side.

Next, remove the axle bracket and then remove the axle as well. Make sure that you keep the spacers safe on a side. Remove the wheel and place it on a safe yet padded surface.

Step 2: Removal of bearings from the wheel

With the help of the wheel bearing puller or installer tool, the removal of the bearings has become quite easy.

All you need to do is to insert the bearing tool into the axle and then tighten the nut. This will eventually expand it, allowing you to easily pull out the bearings from the wheel.

With the help of the tool, you will be able to pull out the spacer and then from the other side, you can get the wheel bearing. Make sure that everything is safely put on a side for later use.

Step 3: Installation of the new wheel bearings

The tricky part in this whole process is the removal of the bad bearings. Installation of the new wheel bearings is much easier.

First, make sure that the area for installation is clean and free of any dirt or any unwanted material. Use a file to remove anything if needed.

Now, you will have the reconfigure the installer to install the new bearings.

You can now install the new bearings but don’t forget to put the spacer. Install the spacer and then install the bearing on the other side.  

Step 4: Put the wheel back on

Once you have successfully replaced the wheel bearings, you can go ahead and put the wheel back on.

Make sure that you carefully put all the nuts in place and the spacers should also be in place as well.

After getting done with the rear wheel, you will follow the same steps for the back wheel as well.

FAQ’s of Harley Wheel Bearing Problems

How long does a wheel bearing last?

Ideally, a wheel bearing has the potential to last for a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.

However, if the biker doesn’t maintain the bike, then it can lead to failure. Hence, it is best to check the wheel bearings after every 50,000 miles.

How much does the wheel bearing replacement cost?

A wheel bearing replacement can cost about $400-$500 if you get it done professionally.

But you can replace the wheel bearings by following step by step instructions at home as well.

How long does it take to replace the wheel bearings?

Typically, it doesn’t take very long to replace wheel bearings.

It may take a couple hours and you should be done with the whole replacement process. Hence, 1-2 hours are usually needed for the replacement.

What are the risks of riding a bike with wheel bearing failure?

Riding a bike whose wheel bearings have failed is extremely dangerous. It can cause damage to the parts of the bikes and can even lead to serious crashes.

People have lost their lives while riding bikes with failed wheel bearings.

Whenever, you experience a clicking sound while riding a bike or if you experience vibration on the handles, you must check the bike for wheel bearing failure.

Verdict

Wheel bearings are responsible for allowing the smooth spinning of the wheels on the axle. A wheel bearing failure leads to fatal accidents.

Hence, it is extremely important for the bikers to check on the wheel bearings every three months.

Also, whenever a clicking sound or abnormal vibration is experienced, the bikers should check the bike for damaged wheel bearings.

They should also ensure regular maintenance of the wheel bearings.

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