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Thread: Sportster knocking noise

  1. #1
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    Question Sportster knocking noise

    Hi all,
    My 2000 XL1200S has developed a hollow knocking noise from the top end i.e. not a sharp knock, more doink than dink.
    When the bike is cold I can hear only the usual XL valve train noises.
    After about 5 miles or so the engine has developed a knock at about 2300 rpm that goes as the revs rise.
    The noise appears to be coming from the rear exhaust area and has that half engine speed feel about it.
    There is no exhaust smoke or oil leaks and I can't find anything loose.

    I was hoping it might be something loose like the oil tank or battery tray or something else that I haven't found or maybe a knackered tappet
    The worrier in me says big end but there is no apparent loss of power or increased vibes so I'm sceptical about that.

    This sounds very similar :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1JFWhPPZI

    Has anyone had a similar noise suddenly appear ?
    All help and advice appreciated.

    Stu
    Last edited by Stig57; 24-11-2020 at 04:25 PM.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    A worn big end is more of a heavy metallic knock. I'd replace the lifters with a quality aftermarket set. Avoid the 18539-99C lifters from HD ...

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Thanks, Alex.
    Do you know of any decent ones ?
    I looked up a couple and Jims are Rolls Royce prices whilst S&S are competitive. However I've read somewhere to avoid S&S because the quality has dropped of the edge.
    What's the problem with the OEM ones ?

    ..... just looked on your website so they'd be the decent ones and not daft prices either :-)
    Last edited by Stig57; 25-11-2020 at 03:49 PM.

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig57 View Post
    However I've read somewhere to avoid S&S because the quality has dropped of the edge
    Hylift Johnson used to supply S & S with their lifters. I wouldn't be surprised if they now source them 'offshore' which I think is the term the Americans use - much like lots of their other parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig57 View Post
    What's the problem with the OEM ones?
    The original 18539-99A lifters were supplied to HD by Hylift Johnson between 1999 and 2001 and were very good lifters. The MoCo then went to Delphi as a supplier and the number changed to 18539-99B and these were also very good lifters . Then sometime in 2010 ( nobody seems to know when exactly) the lifter part number changed to 18539-99C which are an inferior quality lifter from Mexico. Numerous reports of lifter failures then started appearing - the hardening commonly comes away from the roller, needle rollers breaking etc. There are lots of horror stories around if you Google 'Harley C lifters'. These lifters still come as stock in the M8 engined bikes ...

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  5. #5
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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    The S&S website does state that their lifters for a 2000 Sporty are made in the USA.

    I can vouch for the shit cheap nature of the stock -99C on newer bikes. Two of them failed in my M8 after 12,000 miles.

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Try giving the exhausts a good kicking, in a technical way of course. Anything broken loose in there can cause all sorts of odd noises.

    Ron.

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Depending on the Pipes you have fitted, check that the Baffles haven't broken loose.
    The Screamin Eagles on my Wife's 2004 XL1200R developed such a noise and that's what it turned out to be.....
    Reality is a Matter of Perception...

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Checked the exhaust and it's all OK.
    I bought some lifters off Alex at Fastlane (super quick delivery and a pleasure to talk to) so I'll be pulling things apart over the next couple of weeks.
    Plan A is to just check the rocker boxes, pushrods and cam surfaces and if they are OK leave the heads and barrels alone.
    Plan B is a full top end rebuild.
    Plan C is to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels and buy a spare bike off ebay.

    I'll update this when I've got some progress.

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig57 View Post
    Plan C is to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels and buy a spare bike off ebay.

    Suggest you buy the bike, THEN drink the JD.

    By far the less expensive option.
    Much less involved.....

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    Re: Sportster knocking noise

    Quote Originally Posted by kevscrivener View Post
    Suggest you buy the bike, THEN drink the JD.

    By far the less expensive option.
    That may be the sensible option but it removes that feeling of dread in the morning when you look at your email with a vague feeling of 'I'm sure I did something daft last night'.
    Over the years I have bought, amongst lesser things, a Fender Bass VI and a Guzzi California in this manner. SWMBO is not always best pleased but did prefer the Guzzi seat to that on my previous Sportster.

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