For many, tasks involved with maintaining a Harley-Davidson are difficult. Yet jobs such as changing leaky gaskets and removing wheels are not only rewarding for the motorcycle enthusiast, but also financially beneficial. Doing it yourself will keep more money in your pocket and teach you something about your motorcycle, as well. Getting the correct tools for the job, preparing your work space and having a thorough understanding of the task at hand are all essential for having a successful work experience removing your own rear wheel.
The Right Tools for the Job
By having what you need to remove the tire, the job is already half done. A good mechanic's tool set is a must and does not have to be expensive. A full set of SAE wrenches, screwdrivers and allen wrenches are basic components. You should also have a good torque wrench. Harley includes torque values in its service manuals for all fasteners for a good reason, so make sure to adhere closely to them.
This brings up the manual, itself. Your local Harley-Davidson dealer can supply you with the appropriate factory service manual for your particular make and model, so order yours before proceeding. Finally, a hydraulic lift will be of invaluable assistance to your efforts. They can cost under $100 and are available online. More expensive professional-grade lifts are available, but are unnecessary for the casual mechanic.
Getting Ready to Wrench
Working in a cluttered workspace is not only inefficient, but dangerous. Start by removing clutter and any trip/fall hazards from the immediate work area. Place tools within easy reach. Finally, jack up your Harley onto a suitable lift. Make sure that you secure the bike so that it cannot shift or fall.
Remove the Rear Wheel
With the rear wheel off the ground, remove the cotter pin and axle nut. Carefully tap out the axle, ensuring not to damage the bearing seals. Place the axle in a clean, dry place to protect it from contamination. The Kevlar belt drive will impede further progress, so it must be moved out of the way. Allow the wheel to move forward toward the front of the bike. This should loosen the belt enough to slip it off the pulley and move it to the side. Be careful to watch the position of the bike during this procedure to ensure the it does not move or shift. After this, drop the tire towards the rear and slide it underneath the fender.
- Motorcycle Repair
- "Softail Service Manual;" Harley-Davidson; 1997
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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