How I solved my noisey valve train on my '92 Fatboy 1340 EVO engine.

 

I have been chasing this problem for several months, and it was getting so my bike wasn't fun to ride anymore, as the engine noise seemed louder than my exhaust, especially when I have the windshield on, it tends to amplify all the sounds coming from the engine.

With about 40,000 km on it, I decided to change my inner cam bearing to a Torrington. From what I've been reading on the Harley forums, this seemed like a prudent thing to do. While I had the cam out, I decided to switch to an Andrews EV27 cam as well. The lifters still looked like new, so I decided not to change them at the time.

When I first slid up the pushrod tubes, I discovered that the previous owner had changed the pushrods to adjustables. They were Rivera Taperlites. I contacted the previous owner and asked him why he had installed adjustable pushrods when he never had the cam chest open, and he told me that his mechanic did that when he fixed an oil leak at the lifter blocks. OK cool, this will make it easier for me to change the cam.

My valve train was quite noisey all along, with a metallic clacking sound coming from the rocker boxes, and pushrod tubes.

When I removed the pushrods, I noticed the front exhaust pushrod had been really hitting the inside of the pushrod tube.

 

Looked like it was hitting the bottom part of the top tube so I cut off 1/2 inch off the bottom of the top tubes and reamed out the bottom of the top tubes with a round file.

I made sure to wash out the tubes and blow them out as well as pulling a rag through to make sure there was no filings left inside.

I put it all back together again thinking that now I have my problem solved. Well think again. It was still noisey with a metallic clacking sound. So I figured maybe its the lifters after all, so I bought a set of HD stock "B" lifters and installed them.

After riding around for about 50 miles, (enough to make sure the lifters were pumped up), it was still noisey.

I tried tightening up the pushrods by giving them another turn on the adjusters...... still noisey. I then figured maybe these pushrods were still hitting the tubes at the bottom tube where the tube gets narrower. These Rivera Taperlites are guite fat at the bottom end, so I bought a set of Screaming Eagle pushrods, They are a bit skinnier at the bottom than the Rivera's, but they don't taper off at the top, so they are a bit fatter than the Riveras at the top end.

Anyways, I installed the SE pushrods and adjusted them.... still noisey. I'm starting to get really PO'd now.

 

By the way, some paper clips straightened out with hooks on the end and elastic bands do a nice job of holding up the tubes when adjusting your pushrods.

I also put a mark on the pushrods with a white paint marking pen so I can actually count the turns rather than getting confused trying to count the flats.

The noise now seemed to be the loudest from the rocker boxes, so I figured I might as well go all the way to the top. I took off my seat & tank, and removed the rocker boxes. I still had the pushrods in place when I took off the rocker boxes, & took a look inside.

I could see that the pushrods were now hitting at the top of the pushrod tubes. It seemed like the Rivera Taperlites were only hitting at the bottom, and the SE pushrods were only hitting at the top, because they were skinnier at the bottom, but fatter at the top than the Riveras.
The top pushrod holes don't seem to line up very good with the pushrods. You would think that after over 100 years Harley might have got that sorted out, but I guess if you use the stock pushrods you shouldn't have a problem.
Here is a photo of a couple of my pushrod tubes and an SE pushrod with the marks on it where it was making contact. Now wtf do I do?

Well, I had nothing to lose at this point, so I reamed out the top of the top tubes. I used a 5/8" drill bit in my 1/2" drill. I clamped the drill in my vise and started it. I wrapped the tube with a rag and held it up to the spinning drill bit and reamed out the inside of the tube about 1/2" deep. The tube would catch on the drill bit a few times, and I had to stop the drll to get it off and then do it again. If you don't have a drill with a 5/8" bit, a round file will do the job as well. Its real easy to file as its just soft aluminum.

In this photo, tube on the left has been reamed and tube on the right is still stock.

After reaming out the top of the tubes, this is how much clearance I gained in the top holes.

The edges become sharp now, so to avoid damaging the top O-ring when re-installing them, I put the top O-ring on the tube first and then pushed the tube up with a screwdriver on the flange of the tube to seat it in the hole.

I did this to all 4 tubes.

 

I now put the whole thing back together and adjusted the pushrods again and voila... NO CLACKING NOISE!!! Whoo Hoooo!!! I'm a happy camper.

You can still hear normal valve train noise as with any pushrod type engine, but the metallic clacking is gone. That was so annoying, I always had to ride with earplugs because it drove me nuts and my ears would be ringing after a short ride.

The EV27 cam is definately a little noisier than the stock cam, probably due to the steeper ramps, but it works great.

I can still hear the cam gear whine, but that is a normal sound, and it still not as loud as my Sportser was. I don't mind engine noises if they are "normal" noises, but if they are abnormal noises, its very frustrating. (NOTE: I have since pressed my old cam gear onto the new cam and the whining noise is gone as well)

I make no claims that this will work on your engine, but it worked on mine, and It is a very easy and in-expensive thing to try.

This can be done without removing the rocker boxes from the engine, but you just won't be able to see the hole from the top to see how the alignment with the pushrod is, but if your pushrod is hitting the top of the tube, you should be able to see a mark on the pushrod when you remove it.

I have gotten a lot of useful info from reading the forums, so I thought if I could contribute back my own fix, it may help someone or possibly save them a lot of time and money in engine teardowns.

 

If anyone has any questions or anything to add to this, you can email me. ivan@capitalhosting.ca