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The first and easiest thing to check is the primary chain tension. In the middle of the top run, you should have 3/8" to 1/2" up and down play with the engine cold. Check this through the small hole in the top of the outer primary cover. Adjust with the adjuster screw on the underside of the cover. Also look on the inside of the outer cover to see if the sprocket shaft nut has come loose and is rubbing the cover. It could also be a magnet in the rotor on your alternator has come loose. To check that, you'll have to pull the primary chain, engine sprocket, and clutch assembly off to get the rotor off. The mainshaft nut that holds the clutch on had left handed threads.
Thanks for the inquiry!
From your information I can't tell if this is a off-road bike or a street bike. With the extended swing arm I'm suspecting off-road. In either case it's very much same issues. You have two issues and we will deal with them separately.
Chain catching sound:
In low gear when you have maximum torque applied to your rear sprocket & wheel many times the primary sprocket (smallest one under the engine side cover) will slip and actually jump teeth. You indicated this is the third season, so it's seen a lot of wear. It would also explain that when you adjust/ tighten the chain tensioner the noise is gone as the front sprocket is not slipping in the chain. If this happens a couple of times the front sprocket is ruined. Pull the front sprocket cover and inspect the teeth. The teeth will be smooth and ground away if this has occurred. Most off-road riders go through 1 - 2 sprocket and chain sets per season with the abrasion form the sand and mud if they are serious about their riding. Replace front sprocket or both sprockets & chain.
Other possibilities are that you have lost your chain guide or the plastic wear plates inside the chain guide are gone and the chain is banging against the metallic sides or your swing arm making the chain jumping sound you have described. Replace the guide or wear plates to solve this.
Whooping sound on front of bike while coasting:
This familiar sound appears to be related to your front wheel. The best way to test this is to set your bike on a bench, crate, or test stand so the front wheel/tire is off the floor/ground and spin the wheel. Your rim may be bent allowing the tire to rub against the fork tubes or front fender making the whooping sound. The engine noise drown's it out under power but noise is audible when coasting with the clutch in and engine idling. The simple fix is a spoke tightening and adjustment to properly true the wheel. You will hear if its a bearing or something else being rubbed against by a wooble or something out of round (run out) causing the whooping sound.
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It sounds as though the chain is too tight. Check to see when it is "freewheeled" if the chain gets tighter. Generally this will happen because the chain ring (front sprocket) was not perfectly aligned with the "spider" (thing it bolts to). You can loosen the chain a little and see if this helps. Be careful because you don't want it so loose the it comes off while riding. What I usually do is adjust the tension of the chain with the sprocket in the tight spot. Kind of tight but without the "grinding" feeling. Good luck.
The primary chain is supposed to have 5/8 to 7/8 inch up and down play in the top run of the chain with the engine cold. I think it's 1/2 to 5/8 inch hot but I've never set the tension on a hot primary chain.
But, if you say you heard a crunching noise, then the engine started running rough and popping out the exhaust, I'd suspect something to do with the ignition timing. The ignition timing is controlled by the pulses from the crank position sensor on the right flywheel.
If I were you, I'd pull the primary cover, take the compensator sprocket, primary chain, and clutch assembly off, pull the rotor and the stator of the alternator. Then pull the sprocket shaft seal out and take a look at the Timken bearing. While you've got everything off, take the plugs out and turn the engine over and feel for any roughness. It may be time for an engine overhaul. I've only seen Timken bearings fail in one Shovelhead engine but they do fail. Hopefully, you'll find something much simplier and less expensive than this wrong.
Your bike needs to have the derailers adjuster. If It was bought at a bike shop, take it back and have them adjust it. If it was bought at Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers, or any other chain store, don't waste your time going back, they don't support what they sell. Find a local bike shop and have them do the adjustments AND have them show you how to do it your self. Yes, it will cost money to do this. You could go online to shimano's web site and find the directions on adjusting the derailers, but if you do that and make the problem worse, you will find yourself at the bike shop having them take care of it. I would start at the bike shop, they may offer a free class on bike maintenance as well.
First thing to do is not to ride the bike until the problem is fixed. A loose chain could lock up the drive sprocket and break the transmission case. If you are on the street at the time it locks up you are likely to be hurt or killed. In the image below note that there are two nuts on each adjuster. The inner nut adjusts the chain and the outer nut is to lock down the inner nut. Also note the "pins" on the two tensioners ( #7 ). Be sure to tighten up the axle bolt after setting the chain tension. If the threads on the tensioners are messed up you will need new tensioners.
Go to the site below where you can see a parts diagram for your specific bike. You will select the actual brand, year, model, etc., once you go to the site. Part numbers and prices are also shown. You can order parts from this site. In the event no price is shown on a particular part and/or the notation "Not Available" is in the description, the part is not in stock. www.babbittsonline.com/pages/parts/viewbybrandand/parts.aspx
If the bike has knobby type (bumpy tread) they do make noise.Just be sure they have the correct air pressure in them.
Try to support the bike so you can manually spin the wheels like if the bike had a center stand.Feel while turning, to see if the wheels feel to tight or loose.And try to feel any play in the wheels. Or hear any stange noise.
While your are at it go ahead a drain the oil and change it with a good quality oil. The bike should have come with a book to tell you what type oil it wants.Dont be afraid to change the oil more than it is suppost to be.They dont hold that much oil and the shifting of the gears will generate alot of break in metal dust that needs to come out of the engine.
To say if you made a mistake in buying the bike remains to be seen because their is no history of the Chinese bikes in this country.
If I could ride the bike I could give you a better opinion.
Another thing you could do is, while riding the bike with it makeing the sound,pull in the clutch and put it in neutral.Is the feeling gone?
This can help to be sure the noise is not engine generated.
Your rear sprocket is worn. As your put the pressure on the pedals the chain is riding over the teeth and makes a crunching sound. The teeth could appear slightly hooked. You will probably find this does not happen in a different gear. You need to replace both the cassette (rear sprocket assembly) and the chain together because the chain wears to match the sprocket and if you just replace one you will still get the slipping. The front chain ring also wears but at a much slower than the rear so check it as well.
Also check the rear derailleur that it is tensioning the chain correctly and not damaged or if the bike is a single speed the rear wheel is positioned to give the correct chain tension.
Does the noise sound like a whining noise or goes up and down in tone when you reve the bike in nutral? If it does the primarly drive chain needs to be adjusted. Under the bike you will see a bolt with a slot on the end of it and a nut around the bolt. This is the bolt for the chain tightner or nylon adjuster. On the same side of the bike you will see a small cover about couple of inches long with two screws in it holding the cover on. This is the primary drive chain inspection hole. You need to remove the cover and with a good flash light you will see a chain. Make sure the bike is shut off, keys removed and properly secured so it wont move. I recommend a small screwdriver to stick in there to see if you can move the chain up and down. If you can move the chain up and down more than 3/8 of inch it needs to be adjusted by turning the slotted screw clock wise a quarter of a turn. Check the chain after you made the quarter turn for starters and see if the drive chain tighten up. It should have tighten up. Keep turning the screw the same way until the primary drive chain has about 3/8 slack in it. Once again do not tighten the chain so you cant move it. The chain has to have some slack in it or it will or you will damage other components. You may also want to call the harly davidson dealer and give them the model of your bike and they should tell you the adjustment range. I run mine at 3/8 and have no problems. Also have you ever changed the transmission fluid? That would not hurt as well after you have done the above. Before you do the above chain adjustment, you will need to run the bike for a few minutes to operating temparature before the adjustment to allow for expansion.
Once you have made the adjustment, you will haft to place a screw driver in the slotted end of the bolt and use a good oepn end metric wrecnh to tighten the nut. Becareful not to over tighten the nut or it will casue stripping of the threads. Then replcae the chain cover and make sure the gasket looks ok before assemblying it. Its a good idea to pick up this gasket for a few bucks as you have about a 50/50 chance it will leak a little if you use the old one. Someone always asks me how tight do I tighten the bolts or screws. I simply say to them try and remember what it felt like when you had to loosen them. apply the same force to tighten them.
I noticed a repetetive whirring coming from somewhere near the front sprocket- Or at least I'm pretty sure that's where it's coming from.
It's not quite a grinding but it sounds like some sort of contact problem. I jacked up the bike, and the rear wheel spins freely in neutral except for a small area which seems to need just a *little* more force to spin around. Not sure if it's from the rear wheel or from whatever might be wrong up towards the front.
The noise has an accompanying gritty feel, which rather reminds me of a bent rotor rubbing lightly at a certain point once per cycle on the brake pad. No amount of variation of pressure or speed in braking seems to affect the problem.
There's no obvious performance issues, and I only hear it when I've got the clutch pulled in (probably because it's not loud enough to hear over the exhaust, not because it isn't happening).
I ran the bike downhill in neutral and it still makes this noise.
I lubed and adjusted the chain a day or so ago, and the adjustment notches are at the same point on each side. I had also ridden over a set of train rails cut deeply into the road, but I doubt that had much impact on anything.
Any ideas?,Sounds like your chain may not have stretched evenly. You also may have it adjusted too tightly. You should always adjust the chain so that you have the specified slack at its tightest point.
Do you know how many miles/KMs are on on this chain/sprocket set?,,,