Question about 2000 Harley Davidson FLHT Electra Glide Standard

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I have a Shovelhead with a new 93" S&S and a 4

I have a Shovelhead with a new 93" S&S and a 4 to 6 speed conversion kit from Rivera Primo with at 1.4kW Monster starter. The starter shaft keps braking. 2 times in 1000 miles. Is it a general problem. Can i get another starter and shaft that fits my bike. Thanks in advance. Black Denmark.

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I don't know of anyone that makes a special starter shaft and it souldn't be breaking like that. You may have one of two possible problems.

Check the support for outer end of the starter shaft. The original outer primary has a bearing in it that supports the far end to keep it from flexing when it turns the engine over. Your belt drive should should have a starter shaft support that bolts to the inner primary to support the starter shaft on the outside end. Check it for alignment and make sure it's firmly attached.

The other problem could what I call "kick back". This occurs when the engine fires on the first upstroke of the piston and it actually turns the engine backwards against the starter. Shovelheads with the stock ignition were notorious for this if the initial timing was a set just a little too high. You didn't mention what type of ignition you have. Some electronic ignitions have a selector switch that you can choose between "electric start" and "kick start". The "electric start" position delays the spark from occurring until the engine has turned over three times. This gets those heavy flywheels turning and the engine will not kick back when it fires for the first time.

Also, if you're problem is with the over running clutch or "Bendix" as some people call it, make sure you are using a very high quality unit. I've seen lots of the Chinese made units fail prematurely.

I hope this helps.

Good Luck

Posted on May 20, 2011

  • sort158 May 20, 2011

    Thanks Steve. Its a new engine 93 inch S&S Shovalhead complete 2008 model. With carb and ignition. About alignment. Shuld one use spacer or what?
    Thanks in advance. Black Denmark.

  • wd4ity
    wd4ity May 20, 2011

    If you're talking about that bronze washer that goes on the end of the starter shaft, these are on there to control the depth that the starter gear is pushed by the solenoid. In other words, when the starter gear is all the way out and engaged with the ring gear on the outer clutch drum, these washers position the starter so that it is in perfect alignment with the ring gear. If there aren't enough washers on it, the starter will be hanging to the outside of the ring gear. Too many washers, the starter won't be engaged deep enough into the ring gear. That's the only spacer on that end.

    Now, there are spacers on the starter shaft itself. Basicallly there are two spacers that I know of. One for 1969 and earlier starters and one for 1970 and later. This is because Harley changed their transmission mainshaft in 1970 and made it a quarter inch longer. The starter shafts are different as well. There's a pre '70 shaft and a post 70 shaft. The 1970 and later shaft is longer and slides into the support bearing farther on the outer end.

    Now, as for the ignition, it's probably S&S's ignition system. The thing is, what is the starting timing set at? Take the spark plugs out of the heads (put a set of test plugs in the wires to prevent damage to the ignition unit) , take the timing plug out and connect a timing light to the front plug, Press the start button and watch for the TDC mark in the timing holes. Is the timing BEFORE TDC or AFTER TDC. It should not be any higher than 5° BEFORE TDC, the mark should be just out of sight to the rear of the hole. If the initial timing is too fast, it will cause the engine to try to kick back. When it does this, it makes a terrible noise. Sounds like it's tearing the starter gear slam out of the bike. It can break starter shafts as well.

    Try this but I'd suggest disconnecting the battery. You don't want to lose a finger or two. With the engine off, reach in and see if you can turn the starter shaft. It will be difficult to turn because you'll be turning the starter motor as well. If you take the starter motor off, leaving the large gear in starter housing, the starter shaft should turn easily with no binding. This will tell you if the outer end support for the starter drive shaft is properly aligned. On the original outer primary cover, there were small holes for two dowel pins. These pins are what aligned the outer primary properly to the starter shaft. Without the pins, the clearance in the bolt holes of the outer primary would allow for an alignment problem on the starter shaft.

    Good Luck


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