Shift lever slip

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Shift lever slip

Postby Emerica1975 » Fri May 27, 2022 9:06 am

I have a 1956 st. The problem I’m having right now is that it doesn’t seem possible to get the shifter lever tight enough to keep it from slipping when shifting through the gears. I’m pretty sure I’m using the correct lever (smooth). Anyone have any tips? Thanks
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby Mutt » Fri May 27, 2022 9:35 am

remove lever, remove pinch bolt, put lever in vice right at the pinch slot. crank down on vice. It will close up the slot and the hole
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby 250_Sprint » Fri May 27, 2022 10:48 am

What is meant by ‘smooth’?
I thought all foot levers had teeth on the inside diameter which would mesh with the teeth on the outside diameter of the shaft.
My experience is limited to a ‘48 engine in a ‘51 frame.
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby Backyard Bob » Fri May 27, 2022 10:53 am

It's my understanding H-D changed over (not sure what year) to the smooth shaft due to transmission damage that would happen if the bike fell over during riding and the lever caught on something.
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby Emerica1975 » Fri May 27, 2022 11:00 am

Thanks Mutt for the quick reply and the good advice. I’ll give it a go when I get home.

Smooth lever and shaft are just that I guess. There are no grooves on the lever where it mate to the shaft coming out of the engine. And I guess the shaft is smooth too.
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby pumpguy » Fri May 27, 2022 11:31 am

Harley's Hummer series of small motorcycles are the only bikes I've ever seen that don't have a splined foot shift shaft with mating splines in the lever.

These bikes just use a plain round shifter shaft with plain bored lever that simply clamps to the shaft.
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby bcr751 » Fri May 27, 2022 12:01 pm

I have the same issue with my 55ST engine. I'll stand by to see what the result of Emerica1975's test is.

Doug
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby Mutt » Fri May 27, 2022 8:15 pm

all 125 and 165 , 1948 thru 1954 had splined shifter shafts and splined levers. Thank the Davidson brothers for all their "cost saving bottom line " practices. In 1955, to save money by less work needing to be done, the Factory changed to the smooth shaft/smooth bore lever. Also, 1955 went to the transmission shafts that had only 2 sets of splines (instead of 3 like the earlier transmissions) . 55 thru 66 models are notorious for popping out of gear because of this "cost savings".
The best motor was the 1953 165, Everything was replaceable, buying only the one part ya needed. If the Factory would have started making the racing gears in 53, the close 2nd and extra close 3rd, would have been the very best transmission for the entire series .
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby Backyard Bob » Fri May 27, 2022 8:31 pm

Yeah, the transmission... the 'missing third gear' from the trans makes '4th gear possible for higher highway speeds. It makes going up hills a chore in second and I have to wave people by (I'm rural). Yes, I know these were made for kids (and I still feel like one when riding one) but a 4 speed trans would have been nice.
I ran into a 'racing trans' many years ago and sold it to a guy who'd been dogging me for years... Stan Waite. When I showed it to him he almost went to his knees in front of me. I sold it to him for next to nothing (at the time) and did so because his search had lasted years. I'd experienced the same searches and people had been kind to me along the way. In the world of antique motorcycles there are a few of us that have realized it's not always about the money.
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Re: Shift lever slip

Postby MAGA » Fri May 27, 2022 8:58 pm

Could you Drill the shift lever and the shaft and put a thin bolt through it? That would lock it anyway. Or you could spot weld it. Both options are not optimal but hey, we won't have any Gas soon anyway! .. A third thought is using some kind of rough shim, something that would grip the shaft and the lever. Just thinking out loud. I'm an old school biker and have fixed my bike with barbed wire fence, inner tube, bailing wire, you name it, while going Across the United States on an old Panhead many times in my younger days.
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