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1946 Chief 1st gear grinding

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  • 1946 Chief 1st gear grinding

    Hi,
    I've got about 5K miles on a rebuilt engine and transmission that was done on 2017. The bike sat for about a year. Now when I'm riding there is a terrible grinding noise when I put it into 1st gear. It happens when shifting from neutral into 1st from a stop and it takes quite a lot of force to get it into gear Once in motion the bike shifts up and down the gears smoothly with no unusual grinding. I've made sure the idle is not too high and I've reset the worm lever to the recommended position without and success. I've also tried adjusting the clutch lever.
    Any recommendations or suggestion to help with this problem?
    Thank you!

  • #2
    Aaron, guessing this is a change from how things worked before taking the year off, right? Did you change anything during the layoff, like I'm thinking gearbox/primary oil type? Because one possibility is that the clutch plates are sticking? And, do your primary and gearbox share oil?
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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    • #3
      Full retard to lower rpm as low as possible,correct oil in primary as mentioned,and a slight forward rocking motion as you engage first should be able to reduce the grinding to a slight crunch or click,assuming no mechanical issues.
      Tom

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      • #4
        Hi,
        Thanks for the help. This is different from when parked. It was parked with oil in the primary and gearbox. Just before riding I drained and changed the oil with the same type I have been using(Valvoline VR1 50 Racing Oil). The primary and gearbox do share the same oil. I have not tried to retard the timing. I did try the rocking motion but it still grinds when putting into 1st gear.

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        • #5
          How old is your clutch? Sounds to me like plates hanging up as one possible explanation, maybe change out the oil again and see if it has the look of rust or disintegrated friction material. Properly adjusted the pressure plate should be pulling away when the heel pad is an inch or so off the floorboard.
          Last edited by pisten-bully; 08-07-2021, 03:28 PM.
          Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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          • #6
            50 weight is too heavy if you have stock clutch discs as Indian calls for 30 weight. Some oils can cause one or more discs to stick not allowing full disengagement.

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            • #7
              Time alone is enough to make discs sticky, Folks!

              Tempus fugit...

              Just expect it, cut-to-the-chase and scrub them; P4gas is still a cheap solvent.

              ....Cotten
              Last edited by T. Cotten; 08-11-2021, 06:19 PM.
              AMCA #776
              Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

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              • #8
                Hi,
                Thanks for all the helpful advice. I can give the 30 weight oil a try before I get into the clutch itself. However, during the course of this clutch issue I discovered that I also have an intake manifold leak! Just my luck. Frustrating, but it's a good I found out that problem too. I have one of Cotten's leak testers, so it looks like I have some work ahead of me before the 46 is back on the road.
                I really do appreciate all the input. It's been a tremendous help!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by agreeneone View Post
                  Hi,
                  I have not tried to retard the timing. I did try the rocking motion but it still grinds when putting into 1st gear.
                  All above is good advice. Do not use 50wt. Definitely ALWAYS want to retard timing to get the idle down before going into first. With timing retarded your idle should be just above the point where it will stall. If its not, retune/adjust to get it there. With everything right its still going to give a solid split second "clonk" sound going in but there shouldn't be grinding. You probably know this but push the shifter with a quick motion and don't try to ease it in.
                  I've been running the Peek intake seals with no issues other than a little snug of the gland nuts about once a year.
                  Jason Z
                  AMCA #21594
                  Near Pittsburgh PA (Farm Country)
                  Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

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                  • #10
                    I went to the King Clutch on my '40 Chief and that ended the gear grinding on my bike, however all of the advice above about RPM, and deliberate shifting still applies. Without too much of a detour I'd like to bring up the controversial topic of plugging the trans to primary ports. I'm bringing this up because I'm building a '41`Sport Scout and like the idea of using Harley wet clutch fluid in the primary. Curious to hear from more knowledgeable Indian riders, or if I should start a new thread on this topic.
                    Eric Smith
                    AMCA #886

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                    • #11
                      My preference for the common trans and primary was HD Sportrans fluid which is now labeled "Forumla+" primary and trans lubricant.
                      This is the same for my TC so I always have it.
                      BTW ,I believe you also need to seal the main shaft to clutch basket,although the cross contamination would probably be minimal if even noticeable when changing fluids
                      Does the scout have a fill provision on the trans?

                      Tom

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                      • #12
                        Howdy Eric,

                        The first time I disassembled the drivetrain on a Chief decades ago concluded the best chance of achieving clean clutch release was to enable the use of the thinnest viscosity lubricant as possible. But, as long as the trans was to share this lubricant with gears not designed for constant mesh, ie, teeth abutment causing far more sheer that lubricant would have to lean farther toward the hypoid end of the scale. Mine and others I have built are all sealed, Harley Sportster (or ATF with Qua’s) in the primary and Mobil 1 75-90 Synth in the trans. Don’t know how adamant you are about stock appearance but you’ll obviously need to drill the trans top and tap it for a fill cap unless you don’t want to remove the entire top for an oil change (not insurmountable, I did that for 10 or so years before drilling the top on my very original 346)


                        Cheerio,
                        Peter
                        #6510
                        1950 Vincent - A Red Rapide Experience

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                        • #13
                          I'm in a steep learning curve on the SS. I just discovered there is no filler for the transmission itself, and obviously was designed to share trans/primary fluid. I like your idea, Peter and I think maintenance would be more important than originality; so a fill and drain plug will be installed and isolation of the trans, and primary will be done. Thanks for all your knowledgeable contributions, Peter. Very much appreciated.
                          Eric Smith
                          AMCA #886

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                          • #14
                            Eric, I can only add from my experience with one Indian at +50k miles and shared oil. It works and isn't a problem, I'm using 30wt non-detergent with a Kiwi clutch. Can I grind the gears? Yes. Do I grind the gears? Sometimes. I've got magnetic drain plugs and see very little metal, and this winter I opened the gearbox and the teeth aren't all worn down. I've got my idle set very low, low enough that I feel like I'm hearing each cylinder fire (doubtful) and ever so often the motor stops all by itself at a stop sign if I'm daydreaming...even fully advanced

                            I wonder how you check oil level in a gearcase that's separated from the primary?
                            Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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                            • #15
                              And therein lies the great Indian trans/primary, oil preference controversy As I said, I am happily back into the Indian groove but I'm still trying to learn. I hope this thread goes viral because there is so much knowledge, and experience out there on Indians.
                              Eric Smith
                              AMCA #886

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