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98 fatboy engine noise.

My 98 fatboy starts & runs fine for the first 10 min. after it heats up it makes a whining noise that seems to come from engine, but stops when bike is stopped & in neutral. also seems to be running hot!

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  • brad groffen Aug 25, 2008

    could this be caused by oil overfill or oil screen plugged?

  • brad groffen Aug 26, 2008

    tks, I'll let you know how it worked out.

  • brad groffen Sep 02, 2008

    tks for the help guys.I checked the screen & it was fine. I drained some of the oil (motor) and that seemed to do the trick! must have overfilled it my last change.(a lot) ever heard of this happening before ? & if so, why?



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1)Check for a change in your primary drive area? 2) Oil levels, drive chain tensioner loose? 3)Pehaps the oil pump itself is worn.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011

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I had the same problem on my 98 fatboy...I had the rear tire changed because of wear and the belt was tightened and when I got the bike back the whinning was gone

Posted on Sep 25, 2008


No noise when cool but wines after warm up, only while rolling and not wining stopped and in neutral. transmission is the first i would check. if it was the cam, it would make noise when the engine is running and i do not think it to be the primary since it spins when the engine is running. i would definitely drain and flush the transmission and check for metal. a bike this old will have some flashing but not an excessive amount. harley transmissions are not the best and they will usually wine or clunk but that doesn't mean it is bad. i would say that you are getting a little wear such as spacer shims which will allow more play and wine. do not run engine oil in the transmission, run mobil one gear oil or the harley transmission oil. engine oil does not have extreme pressure additives. if you hear a wine with a little rattle with it, better start checking the bearings. oil screen plugged???? i have been running hd since the sixties with over 150k miles on some with no overhauls and never had a oil screen plug up. if you do proper maintenance this should never happen.

Posted on Aug 30, 2008

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Harley's do run hot, anywhere from 220 to 240 normally, and a little hotter this time of year. I suggest running a straight weight oil, and a little heavier weight in the summer. I use Valvoline VR-1 30 weight most of the year, and 50 or 60 weight in the hot summer, and I use Lucas 20w50 primary/trans for the primary and tranny. I don't bother with the extremely high prices of the HD oils. For the whining noise, you need to determine which side of the engine it's coming from. Whining will almost always be in the bottom end. There's nothing in the top end that should whine, and if there is whining from the top, it's usually an air leak around the carb. Start by checking the fluid levels in the tranny, and primary. These are the two most common areas to pick up a whining noise. If it's coming from the left, it's going to be in the primary, and usually this is caused by low fluid levels. From the right, it's going to be either the tranny, low fluid, or the oil pump. The oil pump is a gear type system. If you're running a light weight oil, say a 10w40 or HD 20w50, when the engine heats up and the oil thins, it can cause the oil pump gears to whine a bit, especially in the summer heat. So, check the fluid levels, if they check good, then change the oil, since the summer is coming to an end, go with a straight 30 weight. This should clear up the whining noise. If it doesn't, get back to me with the exact location the noise is coming from, and we'll go to the next level of diagnosing the whine, but I believe that this will cure it.

Posted on Aug 22, 2008

  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Aug 25, 2008

    It doubtful that overfill would cause it, the engine will generally purge the overfill. The oil screen being plugged or partially plugged could cause it. The oil screen that is on the right side of the bike, under the screw, appears to be in the cases, but it's actually in the oil pump. If this screen is clogged up it decreases the flow of oil through the pump,and could cause the gears to whine a bit. I clean mine every oil change.

  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Sep 02, 2008

    Never heard of it!! I overfill mine a bit every time, and never had a whine. The only thing I can think of, is that the overfilling has created a little more back pressure than usual, and is creating a little extra pressure on something (probably the oil pump gears) You might check the blowby assembly on the heads. If the tubes are gunked up, or the hoses have collapsed, it could be partially plugging the blow by assembly and not letting the back pressure escape properly. Just take it off and clean it with carb cleaner, and replace any rubber hoses. I'm running a

    Super E on my bike, have T'ed off the blow by, and run it out the bottom of the bike, instead of through the air filter. I change out the rubber hoses every other season to keep from getting a collapse due to dry-rot.


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