How to Tighten the Front Axle on a Harleyby TJ Hinton
All current-model Harley motorcycles utilize a front axle system that compresses a series of spacers against the bearing races within the hub. The axle is allowed to slip through the fork sliders during the torquing process, to avoid binding the sliders and to allow the clamp load to bear evenly on the spacers.
Ensure that the fork slider cap bolts -- or the axle pinch screw if you're working on a Sportster -- are loose enough to allow the axle to slide.
Stick a screwdriver or steel rod through the hole in the right end of the axle to prevent the axle from turning. Torque the axle nut to 60 to 65 foot-pounds, using a foot-pound torque wrench and socket.
If you're working on a Softail model, torque the slider cap nuts to 11 to 15 foot-pounds, and ensure that the gaps at the front and the rear of the sliders are equal. On a Dyna, torque the rear fastener to 10 to 14 foot-pounds, then torque the front fasteners to 10 to 14 foot-pounds. On an FLT, push the right slider against the spacer and hold it, then torque the axle holder nuts to 132 to 180 inch-pounds. On a Sportster XL, torque the axle pinch screw to 21 to 27 foot-pounds, using a foot-pound torque wrench and Allen driver. On a Sportster XR, torque the pinch bolt to 41-48 foot-pounds.
- Harley recommends applying Loctite Anti-Seize to the axle, bearing bores and the bore of the inner sleeve during the front wheel installation.
- If you replaced the front bearings or changed any of the spacers, check the runout with a magnetic-base dial indicator when you reinstall the front wheel.
Things You'll Need
- Screwdriver or steel rod
- Torque wrench
- Socket set
- Allen driver set
TJ Hinton trained as an auto mechanic at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and then later graduated from MMI as a certified motorcycle mechanic . He's also worked for 20+ years in home construction, remodeling and repair. His articles appear on InternetAutoGuide.com and TopSpeed.com.