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Noisy Tappets

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Old 05-19-2013, 07:22 AM
Phill.t14 Phill.t14 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Leeds, UK.
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Question Noisy Tappets

Hi, Can anyone tell me why my tappets on a my Road King 103 cube, 2012 model seems to have noisy tappets?
My bro has a Electra Glide 96 cube, and his engine is lovely and quiet.
I have only done 2500 miles.
My dealer has not given me a satisfactory answer,(they are all like that?)
Will a heaver oil quieten them or could they be a problem?
Cheers Phill.T
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:22 AM
electricstart electricstart is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,667

Mine are pretty noisy too, I run mobil 1 20 w 50 synthetic and still noisy. I was told Harley switched lifters ( tappets) in 103s. Dealer told me same thing its normal. I was hoping when put new Vance and Hines on will hear exhaust instead. If and when I do cams I will go with new lifters.
2009 Fatboy
2013 Street Glide
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:23 AM
05RKCRider 05RKCRider is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Randleman, NC
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Different engines. If you do not like your dealer find an indy that is knowledgeable & have them check it to ease your mind. What ever you do, DO NOT try to cover up the noise by going to heavier oil, additives, etc. My gear drive Woods cams & SE lifters sound like they are coming through the gas tank but it's all good & it runs great.
05 RK Classic, SE 95" cyls., forged 10.1:1 pistons & lifters, Mega-Flo SS2.11 heads, stock TB, Woods TW6HG cams, S&S gear drive & reed valve, Feuling HP oil pump, PC III/usb, Forcewinder AC, Rinehart true duals, Barnett HD clutch pack & spring. True Track, W8less metal matrix floating rotors & HHI six piston calipers, JRI rear shocks. Brightass led brake light, Custom Dynamic led turn signals, HD led aux. lamps & TL phase 7 led headlight. 97.6 HP and 106.2 TQ.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:48 AM
jus2anoyu jus2anoyu is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,090

I think your bike was built with the 'c' lifters, if so, they are sure to fail. If they do, the results will be nothing short of catastrophic. Your dealer will likely want you to wait until your engine grenades, as warranty isn't supposed to fix 'noisy' parts, only 'failed' parts. If you wish to circumvent your warranty, try locating a set of 'b' lifters or go aftermarket with gaterman or s&s. Woods cams are the exception to this, no amount of expense will make them quiet. They work well but the ramps are steep = more noise. You can find a lot of pictures and stories on the Web about failed 'c' lifters. Typically, the bearings in the roller come out and then the roller starts skating on the cam lobe. This scenario typically requires a complete teardown and many many parts. Good luck....
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:00 AM
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aclass aclass is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns
Posts: 614

Most, if not all the dealers are likely to tell you it's normal. If you have the extended warranty, I'd ride it! If not, I'd put S&S lifters in.

Lots of folk have lost lifters due to the rollers locking up, especially in the 110.

Good luck
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:04 AM
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glock221 glock221 is offline
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Kris Maxwell

I don't like what I am reading. I have a 2013 103 in my SG. I thought it was pretty noisy, and it seems to be getting noisier. (Maybe it is in my head). I probably have the C lifters also. Is there a way to know for sure besided a teardown, or do all of the new 103's have them?
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:04 AM
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RussH RussH is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Florida
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My 2010 Ultra has a lifter noise also. Most noticeable at the 2000 rpm range. Seems to be ok so far and ive also been told its normal. I guess if it blows up it will give me a reason to put better cams and lifters in. Best part about a Harley is the simplicity of it.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:08 AM
jus2anoyu jus2anoyu is offline
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I think they started using the Mexican made 'c' lifters in 2012. If you have excessive noise, you should replace the lifters if nothing else. 'b' lifters are getting scarce. I have almost 2 complete sets saved up. Gatermans are equally good and reasonably priced.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:30 AM
EdwardK EdwardK is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 773

Something else to consider. When I had my indy put cams in my 2013, he told me he's finding the push rods too long. It takes all the adjustment out of the lifters. I'm remembering off the top of my head so the numbers may be wrong but I think he said my push rods were 20 thou too long and that the lifters only have 30 thou of adjustment. That reduced mine to only 10. Instead of adjustables, he takes the time to open the rocker box and use the stock rods and he modified them to the correct length. This guy is extremely meticulous and would have recommended changing the lifters while he was in there if he thouhgt they wouldn't last.

Hopefully someone here is more knowledgable on that then me and can confirm or deny what I just said.
2008 Road King Classic, Pewter Pearl, Rinehart True Duals, SERT, SE Air Filter
2013 Limited, Black/Grey, SE pipes w/custom baffles and decatted head pipe, S&S 510 cams, custom direct to ecm tune, Arlen Ness Big Sucker
Traded in 2005 Nightrain, Vivid Black, V&H Big Radius, K&N Air Filter 45,000 miles for the RKC
Traded in 2011 Ultra Classic, Black/Blue, Rinehart 2 into 1, 103 with 255 cams, SERT, SE Air Filter 18,000 miles for the Limited ( long story )
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:02 AM
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Tired Tired is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Snohomish
Posts: 306

Some interesting opinions and comments above. In any case, the "C" lifter quality and longevity is pretty suspect. I swapped mine out at 8K mi. and the plating was flaking off the rollers and they felt pretty rough. Installed Gaterman 1023's, adjustable pushrods, and Andrews 48 cams.

Most lifters for this application have .200" of pre-load adjustment travel available. The generally accepted practice, and what the stock design does, is set them too .100" depth, or the middle of the travel envelope. A lot of builders go deeper than that for more pre-load on the valve train, and so do I. Mine are set at .140" depth, and the valve train is much quieter than it was stock.
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