View Full Version : 4 speed tranny rebuild question

06-07-2011, 12:19 PM
Hey everybody,
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions and answers to my questions on building my 4 speed tranny. This is a first for me. My goal is to get this bike completed with enough break in miles to make Wauseon this year. I expect I'll have more questions later, but for now I have two. I need to press the speedometer gear onto the countershaft cluster. I don't have a press so I plan to freeze the cluster, heat the speedometer gear & tap in place with a piece of pipe or something. The shoulder on the countershaft is wider than the gear. Do I simply center it? I'm thinking since its a helical gear & the speedo drive interfaces at an angle that it finds its happy place? I can't find any info on this. Also, Palmer says to stake it in place. I'm interpreting that as center punching a few spots into each side of the countershaft shoulder keeping the gear from sliding sideways? That makes sense, but I would think the shoulder on the countershaft would be hardened. Thanks in advance, Bob

Robert Luland
06-07-2011, 02:04 PM
Bob, be careful with that gear. I've had originals that I pressed off and when I went to install them on the new Andrews cluster, I was able to put them on by hand. Robbie pointed out to me that they are staked at the factory. You got to look hard to see the marks. I also had an aftermarket gear that was also loose. Well I solve the problem permanently (See picture). I tack welded the little sucker on. used four little C clamps to hold and center it. I wiped some nozzle dip anti welding spatter compound on the cluster gears so nothing would stick. You have to use the clamps or the first tack you do will cool and shrink pulling the gear. Once ya start move quick. The clamps also center the gear on its perch. Hope this helps, Bob L

06-07-2011, 02:12 PM
Centering the gear is the best you can do. Remember that the shaft has end play so if not centered the end play will exaggerate the position on way or the other, so centered is best. And you don't stake the cluster gear, but rather the spiral drive gear. The cluster should have a slight bevel on either side and the stakes will keep the drive gar centered on it.
And it presses on easily so no big deal, no need for a press. Be sure to check that it is running squarely though as it can be installed cocked and will eat gears in that case.
Good luck

06-07-2011, 04:53 PM
Thank you guys,
I haven't tried to put the speedo gear on yet. Now I'm anxious to get home from work & see if its as loose as you say.
If so, I'll tack weld it like you showed. If its a decent fit as it should be, I'll stake the gear as Robbie pointed out. I'm grateful
for the info. It's all new Andrews gears so I felt like I needed to get a new speedo gear too. I don't know who made it, but I had
to grind some thin metal off the "lead ins".

Robert Luland
06-07-2011, 05:08 PM
I also had to grind off the same thing.

06-10-2011, 09:01 AM
Bob & Robbie,
You guys have been a great help, thanks.
I was able to slide the speedo gear onto the cold cluster by hand. I noticed light between the two surfaces, so the speedo gear must not have been ground well.
I tried to center punch ( stake) the gear, but it was too hard. I couldn't make a mark, so I'm going to follow Bob's advice & tack weld it today. I don't have anti spatter so I'll grease it & wrap it in heavy duty foil. Maybe I can figure out how to post a pic later.
I mentioned I might have more questions.....just when I thought I could bang this out in a weekend, parts ordered don't fit. I bought a repro throwout bearing & rod & they don't even fit together. Where's a good source for these quality parts? I currently have an early bearing, rod & two finger set up. The ordered repro is later style with just the single step on the rod end. How does this work on the two finger when it doesn't fit between the fingers? I'm replacing my old early type because the rod is wore out. Thanks, Bob

T. Cotten
06-10-2011, 08:15 PM

I urge you to put the cluster gear between centers, so you can use a dial indicator to read the sideways runout of the worm gear, before attempting to secure it.
It can be trued with gentle taps of a mallet and dowel, but take great care not to strike near the ends of the teeth.

It shall be quite fortunate if it stays true after welding, and let us hope the gear retains its hardness in those spots as well.

Considering the quality of Andrews products over the years, I wouldn't hesitate attempting to run a knurl upon the gear flange. It may well be soft enough to provide enough grip (with a Loctite for good measure) that welding can be avoided.


06-11-2011, 08:04 AM
Thanks Cotten,
I appreciate the help. This kind of precision is what I expect & why I posed the question in the first place. Unfortunately,
I don't have access to a lathe. I've been around complete shops for the last 30 years, but since the economy has gone in the toilet
I'm left with what's in my basement, not much. So, I'm kind of a shade tree mechanic of late, making do with what I can using mostly
hand tools & ingenuity. Probably much like the guys back in the 30's & 40's working in the barn. I do have a small Mig welder, so Bob's suggestion
appealed to me. I understand the need to just tack weld, enough to keep it in place & no more. You raised some doubt, but I guess I just talked
myself back into it because I don't know what else to do.
Also, following up on my throwout bearing rant. I went back to Palmer's book & reread. I guess the repop is the later type. I just don't understand
the fit between the bearing & rod. The rod has a bevel to the reduced diameter end causing the bearing to not seat flat against it, making it wobble.
Damn, I wish I had a lathe. -Bob

06-11-2011, 07:28 PM
Cotton Bob & Robbie,
Well, I had everything set up ready to weld & I decided to call my brother in FLA to see if he had any recommendations since he's a welder.
He felt that the welds would crack due to the hardness of the gear & countershaft. He has a nice shop with all the necessary stuff including
a big lathe, so I'm sending it down to him. He's also the guy who got me started on two wheels, so he knows what to do. He said he might
knurl the ID of the gear instead of the countershaft.
I had hoped to take care of this myself & quickly. Getting enough breakin miles on her before Wauseon is looking doubtful.

08-05-2011, 05:32 PM
Hello again everybody,
I thought I owed the forum an update. My brother tried to knurl, but the metal was too hard. He ended up "tack" tig welding the speedo gear on. It looks just like Bob's cluster. I've talked to a few people & this seems uncommon to have a bad interference fit. There seems to be two camps on this, those that think it shouldn't be a problem & those that look nervous.
I have another problem that I hope someone can help with.
Fourth gear won't free spin when the sprocket nut is tightened. (no, the dog is not engaged) The mainshaft assembly spins freely, but fourth gear is locked tight onto the shaft. When the nut & sprocket are removed, fourth gear spins freely, independant of the mainshaft. The concave side of the sprocket is against the case but not touching. The only part of the sprocket making contact is at the spacer, as it should be. Everything seems right & I was more than careful. I've studied the service manual, Palmers book & I even have a tranny blueprint. I used a .070" thrust washer on fourth that gave me an end play of .007". Palmers book states an assembly procedure that puts the sprocket on after complete assembly. That doesn't seem like it would make a difference.
I sure would appreciate any of your wisdom. I'd like to break in the bike this Fall. Thanks, Bob

Robert Luland
08-05-2011, 06:41 PM
Bob I'm jealous, Who are you to have all the fun. First off, did you change the main gear (or as you call it fourth gear)? If it's the later one without the indentation in the face it will do exactly the problem your having. The part has to be 35065-38. Unfortunately I just used the last early main gear I had in the shop, so no picture. Buy yourself a parts book to go along with Bruce's scriptures. As far as the speedo ring goes. Don't sweat it. There is a reason the Harley engineers chose to make the mating gear fiber instead of steel. So it could self destruct without doing any damage. I never caught the other posts or I would have told you to forget the Knurling thing and saved ya a lot of time. Bob L

Robert Luland
08-05-2011, 06:47 PM
Bob your killing me. The good in me wouldn't let me rest. I just went out to the swap meet bins. The one on the left is early and the one on the right later. Bob L

08-05-2011, 08:15 PM
Man I don't want to kill ya! You are a good guy & I owe you more than one cold drink. You've helped me out a lot.
I've got the early main gear. Someone on "the other forum" brought up the same point, so I double checked.
It's definitely the early gear & the Andrews box even confirmed it.
I've got all new stock Andrews gears, mainshaft, etc. & even some NOS HD parts. I've got a parts book too.
I studied this & I can't imagine what went wrong. Someone else said that they once had a main gear that had
the bushing too far in, that it had to extend out a little on the clutch side. I don't understand that, you would think it would be in a bind
all the time then. Mine is fine free spinning on the mainshaft without the sprocket & nut tightened. With the sprocket & nut tightened
the main (4th) gear is locked solid on the mainshaft, but the mainshaft still spins.
What fibre gear are you talking about? Thanks, Bob

Robert Luland
08-05-2011, 08:34 PM
Bob, I’ve seen the bushing thing before. On the inside it will be a splined out. Andrews inserts theirs with a die and find hard to believe that’s the case. The sprocket also has an indent. Do you have it the right side around. The revere must face the tranny case.

08-05-2011, 10:00 PM
Do you have the spacer behind the sprocket? Is the race Properly installed?

08-06-2011, 09:22 AM
Since the mainshaft and fourth gear assembly spins freely when the sprocket nut is tight, it must be that the gear is binding to the mainshaft when it is squared up to the race with the spacer. Never seen it before but maybe the the bore is crooked in the gear or bushing. That would explain why the gear would spin easily on the shaft before assembly, but bind when squared in the case. Another possibility, is the bearing and bearing housing on the other end of the main shaft fully seated. If it isn't in squarely that could cause a bind as well. Given that your main drive gear endplay in the race is on the tight side and I assume you fit the bearings to the gear and race on the snug side, it wouldn't take much to put you in a bind.

08-06-2011, 11:29 AM
The part has to be 35065-38.

Actually, either the 35065-65 or 35065-65B main drive gears will also work. The recess (indentation) did not get dropped until the caged main drive gear bearing was introduced in early-1977. The gear in your photo without the recess is either 35067-77 or 35067-84.

08-07-2011, 06:41 PM
Hi everybody, I don't know how many times I'll need to rewrite this. I keep hitting "reply to thread" & I lose my writing & have a fresh page.
I'll answer your questions, the sprocket recess is against the case side, only making contact with the spacer. The spacer & bearing are assembled correctly. I've studied this. The kicker side bearing & housing is seated firmly against the case. But, I didn't have the retaining plate screwed on, I can't imagine that would make a difference considering how it needs to be pressed on. I agree with you Kyle, the main gear is contacting the mainshaft splines with side pressure from the clutch side bearing area. All the parts are new & good quality. I'm beginning to think the problem might be the NOS bearing race on the clutch side. Has anyone had a problem with this? I know its built on the tight side, I might change the thrust washer from the .070" to the .065". I'm going to need to order new circle clips, the one I have is shot from putting the mainshaft in & out 3 times. Thanks, Bob

08-07-2011, 06:47 PM
You mention the retainer is not screwed down on the mainshaft, ball race. Do you know for certain that the ball bearing is fully seated on the mainshaft and the nut is tight? If not it could allow the splines to contact the inner bushing in the main drive gear. It would not take much to contact.

08-07-2011, 07:59 PM
You mention the retainer is not screwed down on the mainshaft, ball race. Do you know for certain that the ball bearing is fully seated on the mainshaft and the nut is tight? If not it could allow the splines to contact the inner bushing in the main drive gear. It would not take much to contact.

Hi Robbie,
I know that the bearing housing is tight in & against the case & the nut is tight with a tab bent against the nut. This is the kicker side. I just didn't tighten down the retainer plate against the ball bearing & housing. I've been following a few "how to's" to assemble this because its my first time. The progression doesn't show attaching the retainer plate at that point. But, maybe I should give it a try. I haven't had it in because I've been taking the mainshaft assembly in & out. Thanks, Bob

08-08-2011, 08:31 AM
Hello All,
I've also been on the Caimag forum trying to find help & a comment was made that I thought I would ask about here.
Here's the quote:
-"You finally found the source of the problem if you change hardened race and that you put new loose needle bearings inside that same race without line lapping ,then you have a problem, misalignment or rollers not fit to the race ( rollers size and out of round race or both),if you go that route you need to line lap the race to make sure the bearing in the kicker side and the hardened race line up perfectly,and then measure carefully and order the rollers you need to achieve perfect tolerance,if you did not do that you will have the problem you have" -

Is this always done when building a tranny with all new stock components, or just when there seems to be a problem like I have? I don't quite understand the need to "fit" the bearings when your buying all new & stock sizes. Why would it be different than buying a sealed bearing? I'm not combining any used parts in with new & my tranny case is great with no repairs.
I believe the comment was made by a very knowledgable person who was great to help me, I just don't understand.
Thanks, Bob

T. Cotten
08-08-2011, 09:53 AM

Often a gear does fit into a new race with fresh standard rollers, without line-honing or line-lapping.
Usually worms in the can would be if the previous race had shrank and spun, or any metal was shaved upon installation of the race, or weld repairs around it (such as the bottom stud hole), then the race bore will not be round or straight.

So frankly, I think Kyle suggested the most likely culprit: Your new Andrews gear should be closely inspected, particularly for width parameters, and compared to OEM. Although I have not handled any Andrews products in recent years, I remember many problems in the past. One that stands out was a mainshaft where one end was not concentric to the other, and would throw the box out of gear on a hard shift!

If the gear needs to be moved further outboard, then a thinner thrustwasher is the obvious way to do it. The resulting endplay can be taken up by lathe-cutting a shallow step into the spacer on the other side, allowing the gear to insert slightly, but retaining the hardened face for the rollers.


08-08-2011, 12:28 PM
There was no problem with the earlier race, other than being worn. When I installed it, I heated the case to 300 degrees & froze the race, it went in smoothly. The case has not been repaired & it gave me no problem earlier.
Maybe you & Kyle are right about the Andrews gear. Its hard for me to imagine, it looks like fine quality.
Thanks for your help, I appreciate it. Bob

08-08-2011, 01:19 PM
A point has been made that "back in the day" it was common to lap the races. Do you think that since I'm using NOS races that it was kinda expected & that they might not be true? Has anyone had a problem with that? Still troubleshooting.......Thanks, Bob

08-08-2011, 01:24 PM
Bob, I f you stuck a new race in and didn't line lap I suspect the problem lies there. If the new race is fully seated in the case, the id is probably not concentric to the od and or shoulder. New races are not designed to be installed without line lapping and I occassionaly find that I need to lap to O/S bearings just to clean up the "shadows" that show from that same problem of things being out just a bit. I mistakenly assumed you were working with the original race. The gear would turn in the new race even if the fit was tight, but the gear bushing to mainshaft clearance is usually at around a .001, so if the gear was cocked just a bit the bushing would grab the shaft. The gear race od is 1.629 on a new gear, with standard bearings at .125 and .001 for clearance, the race id should be 1.880 and true.

08-08-2011, 01:29 PM
Andrews products are very high quality, I use their cams and trans gears almost exclusively and haven't had any trouble since I got a batch of BT 4spd countershafts that somehow escaped the heat treating process. That got a little messy.

08-08-2011, 04:07 PM
Thanks Kyle,
I'll look for someone close by that can do it. Hopefuly they can just do the line lapping & leave the rest to me. I've been wanting to rebuild this tranny for the learning experience & boy I've been learning.
Thanks for your help. -Bob

08-08-2011, 05:19 PM
jims has pre-fit races

08-08-2011, 05:30 PM
It may be Pre-Fit....until you PRESS it into a hole and it changes in size.

T. Cotten
08-10-2011, 09:04 PM
I have found JIMS products to cover the entire spectrum of quality as well: From the admirable, to the disastrous.


Back to inspection, have you put your mainshaft between centers and inspected for any bend?
If indeed it is only a matter of interference with the splines, this may not be the culprit, but any stone unturned hides something ready to bite you.

And Folks,
Lapping is not the only way to fit a mainrace for rollers.
Just the most tedious.
You folks don't really think the Factory did it that way, do you?

And addressing the main drive gear itself,
A fresh-out-of-the-box part would hopefully be too tight to install, with final fitting expected.
Used mainshafts inevitably have some wear. This means the portion outboard from the load-bearing surface will be larger than the worn portion. Any overlap of the new bushing within the gear with the un-worn portion should be suspect to a possible bind.

(Whenever a gear with a fresh bushing is to be fitted to a shaft, it should be torqued firmly to a sprocket and spacer, to replicate final installation. The stress of the nut upon the sprocket and spacer splays the bushing clearance outward. A 'pre-fit' bushing', or one fitted without torquing, will be that much looser when installed.


08-11-2011, 12:33 PM
I have a recommended shop willing to Line Lap the Race. Its close enough to drop it off,
I just have to find the time during the week.
Thanks again for all the help & info.

08-26-2011, 08:11 AM
any updates

09-06-2011, 01:12 PM
Hello Tomcat1,
Ya, but I was hoping to wait until I had good news. I'm still having the same problem after Line Lapping the bearing race.
The Main Gear still won't free spin on the mainshaft when the sprocket nut is tightened down. The mainshaft assembly
spins, but fourth gear won't spin. I've studied this hard & I thought the Line Lapping would solve the problem. The only thing
I can figure is the Andrews Main Gear is faulty. I ordered another one to see. If that's not it, I dunno.
I'll definitely post any results.
I see you have a 47 EL, that's what I'm building. This tranny is the last puzzle piece.

09-11-2011, 07:16 PM
Have you tried another gear yet? I've done a number of these trannys and have had this problem only once. If I understend the issue when the main drive gear, spacer, sprocket & nut are assembled you are running out of end play. My guess is a slightly thinner thrust washer will put it to bed. The factory didn't offer different size thrust washers but the aftermarket does. If you tighten the sprocket nut in steps while checking you should see your end play shrinking till it binds. Good luck.

09-13-2011, 12:32 PM
No, that's not the problem. I have .007" end play & I'm using a thicker .070" thrust washer. The main drive gear will spin with end play. Everything is new high quality & assembled correctly. The gear will also spin independantly on the Mainshaft until I tighten the sprocket nut. Then the Main Gear is locked onto the shaft, only spinning with the shaft. The first thing I did was find a reputable machine shop to have the bearing race Line Lapped. That didn't solve the problem. So, after scratching my head I bought another Andrews Main Gear to see if that was a faulty gear. That didn't solve the problem. Today, I'm taking it back to the machine shop to take a little more out. I honestly don't know if that will do it either. It looked like they had done a fine job the first time. The problem has to be the gear race binding on the Mainshaft due to misalignment of the bearings The mainshaft assembly spins nicely with end play.
If anyone has any thoughts or solutions, I'd appreciate hearing them. Thanks, Bob

Jerry Wieland
09-13-2011, 05:46 PM
You can guess all day and not come up with the problem. Assemble it with machinists bluing applied in the critical places and then see where the scuffing is and you will have found your problem. Without seeing it in person that is as best as I can do.


09-13-2011, 10:14 PM
Sorry for my misunderstanding! When you had the shop line lap the race did the conition improve ANY? You state everything is new. Does that inclued the mainshaft? Before I took any more out of the case race, I'd want the mainshaft diameter checked ( diameter, roundness, taper ) along with the bushing. Is there any side to side movement with the gear, spacer, & sprocket tightened, WITHOUT the mainshaft installed? All new parts with std rollers correctly fitted will have a slight movement. When you spin the tightened assembly WITHOUT the mainshaft installed does it "walk" in or out when rotated in a given direction. I love a puzzle!

09-14-2011, 12:40 PM
Your right. I decided the thing to do is take it back to the machine shop to have him look at it again. He thinks he knows where he went wrong & won't charge me to Line Lap again.
Everything was replaced with Andrews products or NOS. The case itself is in great condition, I ran it earlier. The Andrews Main gear spins freely on the Andrews Mainshaft. The Main Gear spins well in the case with .007" endplay & slight movement. The Main Gear also spins while on the Mainshaft in the case, but when the sprocket nut is tightened it is put in a bind & won't spin. It did not improve at all with the other Main Gear purchase or the Line Lap. The Main Gear I just bought was from a second lot #. I ruled that out as the possible problem. The only thing that it could be is alignment. I appreciate the honesty of the machinist who did the Line Lapping, he said it was the only time he didn't use the locking ring to pull the Bearing Housing tight against the case while lapping. He thinks thats the problem & is giving it another try. That's hard for me to understand, the wall of the case is pretty thick & should align when the Bearing Housing shoulder is seated.
I understand that it doesn't take much to misalign, but....damn that can't be much. When the gear is in a bind it is absolutely solid to the shaft.
I'm dropping off my Bearing Plate after work today for him to use, we'll see how it goes.
Thanks for the interest. It is a puzzle alright. -Bob

09-16-2011, 12:20 PM
Apparently the problem was in the Andrews Main gear, actually both of them. The gears even have different batch #'s.
The bushing extends slightly past the steel, at that point the bronze has a slightly smaller ID. After running a 1" reamer through
the Main Drive Gear bushing, it shaved a small amount only at that location. After it was installed, no problem.
Now all I need is some time to assemble. Thanks for all the help. -Bob

09-24-2011, 07:59 AM
Congratulations! Thanks for sharing all the trials & tribulations of putting the puzzle together. Never would have thought two different gear from two lots would have the same problem. Just think how many other bad gears are out there waiting to mess with one of us. Again, great thread everyone!

09-28-2011, 12:40 PM
Andrews makes great product. The reaming took out very little. Maybe it wouldn't have been
a problem in someone elses tranny. If anyone has a similar problem, this thread might give them
something to consider. Also, the Andrews Mainshaft is slightly larger in diameter. I hope this helps
someone in the future trying to figure a tranny out for the first time, like me. I learned a lot.

10-26-2011, 12:18 PM
I finally completed the bike, now I'm in the breakin process. The tranny & clutch are working fine. Setting the carb has been my latest dilema.
Its running too rich & fouling plugs. I've only got 9 miles on it, grinning the whole way.
Thanks for all your help. Bob

06-07-2013, 10:56 PM
I just ran into the same issue but maybe a different reason for the lock up with the spkt. torqued. I remembered following this thread and kept looking back to find it.
I pulled down a 58 fl trans to replace an elect. start mainshaft with the correct one. It had been rebuilt and stored un-used long enough for the bearing grease to turn to a hard yellow wax like substance. Since I had to drive the needle rollers out with a small drift I assumed that was why it was hard to turn over. Cleaned and assembled with the correct shaft and gaskets & seals. All was great till I put on the sprocket.
Pulled it back down and started measuring. The 4th. gear bearing surface is .010" shorter than another that I had under the bench. It had a .0585" spacer on the gear and the gear looks to be from an oriental source. I'll slip an old oem gear in and lock the nut down first on Monday and see if that frees it up.

06-12-2013, 08:34 PM
Well the .010" more end play helped but wasn't the problem. Turns out the race is cocked in the case enough to make the kicker side of the main shaft about .018" off center. The under side of the left main area on the case has been welded and looks to go all the way to the hole for the race. I haven't pressed out the race to see but I bet they filed or used a sanding drum to do their machine work. I'm not going to touch it until the owner see's what I've found.