Nice Sunday for a ride

Easter Sunday here was a beautiful day!  Clear skies and the temperature very quickly was up in the middle 60’s with a promise of reaching near 70 degrees in the afternoon.  We’ve had some really changeable weather in the ATL area this year.  Winter seems to be hanging on as long as it can.  One day it is 70 degrees, the next it is a high of 40 and raining, or even snow flurries!

So I was particularly delighted that Easter Sunday was nice, because I wanted to get out and do some riding.   Seems like it had been a least a month since we had a good Sunday ride.  Upon returning from church, we quickly changed clothes and headed to the garage to jacket up and ride out on the ’08 Electra Glide.  Started up, mounted up, garage door down, ready to roll.  As I went to put the bike in gear, something felt funny as I put my toe on the shifter to chunk the bike into first gear.  (Anyone even slightly familiar with a Harley knows that they “chunk” into first gear.)  I looked down, and the shift lever was obviously loose.   Very loose.   Too loose.

Now, this is not exactly what I had planned.  With the crazy weather we have been suffering through, I was ready for a ride!  But it looked like my riding time was going to be cut short by some repairs.  It seems that will all the improvements that Harley has made over the years, they still make some of the same mistakes.  On every Electra Glide I have had, I have had this problem.  The shift levers will not tighten down against the shaft and after some period of time they get loose.  Back on my ’96, my first Electra Glide, I ran into this problem and came up with a simple fix for it, cut an additional slot in the back of the shift lever so that the small 1/4 inch bold can pinch the lever down against the splined shaft.  I wasn’t really planning on doing this on a nice sunny day when I should be out riding.  I guess if I was smart, I would have brought the bike home from the dealer and fixed this rather than waiting for the shifter levers to work loose.

Maybe I would be lucky and the bolt was just loose.  I opened the garage door and made a bee line for the toolbox.  A few minutes later I knew that this wasn’t my lucky day, the bolts were tight.  Time to put the fix on  the shift levers.  I pulled the bike back into the garage, pealed off my gloves and jacket and started taking the shift levers off.

The modification is rather simple, just cut an additional slot into the back side of the shift lever.  Remove the shift lever and cut a slot in the back side of the spline hole with a  band saw.

Shifter Modification

Modified shift lever

The shift lever is about 3/4 of an inch thick and without the additional slot cut there is no way the little 1/4 inch bold can pull the spline end of the lever closed to adequately tighten it down around the shaft.  So after about a half an hour of wrenching the bike was back together, the shift levers all tight, and we’re ready to ride.

You would think that after all these years, the Motor Company would catch on, wouldn’t you?

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