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Thread: Swing arm play

  1. #1
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    Swing arm play

    Could some one please advise on the amount of rear swing arm play, if any, that is normal for 1200 custom 2013. Recently the bike has felt very unsteady taking bends on uneven surfaces. I've jacked it up today and there is noticeable play in the swing arm. I measured around 0.5mm with a dial gauge held between the rear wheel bolt and the exhaust. (the nearest bit I could reference it to). Checked the pivot bolts and they are tight.
    Can't find much info' on this in manuals or the web so would appreciate advice.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gettin'onabit's Avatar
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    I can't use your reference as a guide to know if correct or not, but if it is any help at all, the disc runout should not exceed 0.2mm and the cast wheel runout should not exceed 1.02mm. Tyre lateral runout / cast and spoke wheel tyre bead runout seems to be between 0.75mm and 2.0mm; but that infers either the spoke wheel needs truing or the tyre bead is at fault.

    Based upon the disc and the cast wheel runout dimensions, I would have thought 0.5mm is possibly OK - the bearings in the swingarm are ball type rather than taper rollers, so I wouldn't expect much play in a pair of those on a shaft. Obviously no adjustment.

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    are swing arms not shimmed to have no play and any play is down to bearing wear? I'm quite possibly very wrong..

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    Senior Member Gettin'onabit's Avatar
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    I have studied two parts manuals and can't find any reference to shims, so they don't appear to be like Ducatis. However- one parts manual states 'adjuster Japan' for left and right.....I wonder if that means like 80's Guzzis with taper rollers and adjustable pinions.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gettin'onabit View Post
    I have studied two parts manuals and can't find any reference to shims, so they don't appear to be like Ducatis. However- one parts manual states 'adjuster Japan' for left and right.....I wonder if that means like 80's Guzzis with taper rollers and adjustable pinions.
    From what i can see in my manuals, older sportsters had taper bearings but mine are roller bearings with no adjustment. i've ordered some new bearings as, as johnnythefox says, I think the play is down to bearing wear, despite the bike only having done 7000 miles.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bluenose-1956's Avatar
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    Since 1982 there have been three different swing arm bearings on Sportster models.

    47082-81. 1982 - 1999.
    48367-98. 2000 - 2003
    9209 (with snap ring). 2004 - present.

    s-l1600 (72).jpg
    Last edited by bluenose-1956; 10-21-2018 at 01:39 AM.

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    I like this forum, lots of good shit gets shared, at the end of the day we all got our head in the wind....

  9. #8
    Senior Member Gettin'onabit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluenose-1956 View Post
    Since 1982 there have been three different swing arm bearings on Sportster models.

    47082-81. 1982 - 1999.
    48367-98. 2000 - 2003
    9209 (with snap ring). 2004 - present.
    Aren't they all caged ball bearing type rather than taper rollers, Dave?

    Mind you, thinking about it, I doubt that the OP's 0.5mm deflection at the end of the swingarm would have much effect on handling - I'm wondering if it is more to do with the tyre or wheel.

  10. #9
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    I was surprised it only measured 0.5 mm as it feels to be more.
    I'll report back once I've fitted the bearings.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Gettin'onabit's Avatar
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    Is the play of 0.5mm the result of the whole swingarm moving side to side on the spindle (as though it needs shimming) or is it that the rearmost end of the swingarm forks can be flexed (if you know what I mean)??

    I would also have your wheel checked for runout - don't know if you have cast or spoked, but if the latter, you could try pinging the spokes in turn and listen for any change in tone.

    Also, what type of tyre is fitted? - some are best suited to Harley wheels.

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