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Harley Compensator

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Tech Talk' started by JohnnyBiker, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. JohnnyBiker

    JohnnyBiker Well-Known Member

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    Could you be more specific about your credentials regarding this matter? Are you on Harley Tech Talk?
  2. FLHTbiker

    FLHTbiker Moderator Staff Member

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    I to was thinking the same thing?
  3. RichardK

    RichardK Member

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    Yes I have considerable posts on this topic on Harley Tech Talk and a number of other forums. No I am not in any way associated with Harley other than a fellow enthusiast with a love and passion for Harley's. In fact we made several attempts were to sit down with Harley but they declined. After experiencing 4 failure on my 2009 Ultra then 3 more failure on my 2010 TriGlide the effort was on to fix the problem. You see I ride a lot. Not just to work and back. Cross country, for example last summer my wife and I rode the trike to Alaska and back for the second time. I have to have a bike I can depend on. The first trip to Alaska was in 2009. We purchased the 09 Ultra for the Alaska trip but with the comp starting to show signs of problems as we began the return leg that was when it all started for me. We could not find a dealer with a comp in fact every dealer we could find had bikes lined up waiting for comps and they were back ordered for weeks. We needed to get home and were 5,000 miles form it. In fact I am amazed we actually got home before it completely disintegrated I could not believe what I saw when the dealer called me to come have a look. Now add 6 more failure over less than a 2 year period with the dealers having no answers and I was on the hunt for a fix. During the journey I have come to know two outstanding guys Ron and Steve. Not sure how far I can go on naming things and not be in violation of the forum rules. I have been privileged to come to know a number of highly talented knowledgeable and experienced professionals in machining, casting , mechanical engineering and automotive mechanical design. For sure I am just a guy with some hands on ability and determined to fix my bike. The next thing I knew everyone was wanting to have me make something for them, all for the same reasons I wanted it fixed.
    So for what it is worth you all, Once we figured out how to fix it I personally have run about 75k miles from my last comp issue and no problems any more. We have had to make some adjustments to our design due to Harley making all the dimensional changes and incorporating a dumbed down version of our oil intake and pump on their 2014 version. (That mess is a whole other conversation)One important thing to mention is the roller bearing thrust they are now using, guys that is not a good application for this bearing. We have corrected that with a specially designed composite thrust washer and it really helps in quietening the noises. Like I said before I could write volumes on all this but this is long enough for now.
    RichardK
    Shinny Side Up All
  4. JohnnyBiker

    JohnnyBiker Well-Known Member

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    If I am not mistaken, Ron, who you refer to is from Canada. Steve is from Texas at GMR Performance. Am I right? So basically you are speaking of the Compensaver?
  5. RichardK

    RichardK Member

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    Correct
    RichardK
  6. Roadster guy

    Roadster guy Well-Known Member

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    Imagine how much typing could have been saved with one word...."Compensaver".
    RichardK, you sound like a major shareholder in it's future.
    Is there a YouTube link to see how it works for those like me who are not up on how this works?
  7. JohnnyBiker

    JohnnyBiker Well-Known Member

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    Yes. You can also go to gmr performance. Com. Steve has a great write up about it.
  8. Roadster guy

    Roadster guy Well-Known Member

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    I'll check it out next breaktime.
  9. JohnnyBiker

    JohnnyBiker Well-Known Member

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    The Compensaver looks to be a a great product and does seem to address some of the issues of the compensator issues but not all of them. My basic understanding is that there is one main issue that the Compensaver can't fix. That issue is that the crank on the 200 7 models and up still use small splines as the pre2007 models use larger splines cranks. There is also a lot of debate about the spring pack of the newer compensator's.

    Baker Transmission is about to release or just recently released their own compensator for the twin cam. Again, from my basic understanding of Bakers design and discussion about it, they basically married the old style (1999-2007) with the new style compensator design (2007-present).

    Basically, and again from my basic understanding, the Compensaver is just a band aid. It is something that you have to add extra to your bike without correcting the real problem which is Harley's design in the opinion of GMR Performance and others. Does it work? I have no idea, but from reading other forums, people really like it.
  10. RichardK

    RichardK Member

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    The GMR product does address the failure issues. Lack of lubrication is where it all started. That is fixed with the oiler kit. The current use of the roller thrust is a bad idea. The assemble rocks back and forth but rollers are designed to roll in a constant direction. The as cast working surfaces create a wobble in the sprocket creating isolating Uneven pressure to the rollers not good application. The kit addresses that with a high quality specifically designed composite thrust. As for the splines the SE and now stock comps have a fine spline shaft extension and sliding can. Much tougher than the prior course spline design. However both will deteriorate when starved of lube. Again corrected with the oiler kit. As for the Baker effort only time will tell. Go to their site and look over their design. Note the offset if the sprocket bore and chain. Not a good thing and any engineer will verify that. I have attempted to get and explanation on how the sprocket is supported at the chain but no one at Baker will respond to me on it. Go figure. Much more to be debated but they need to get in service and we will see. I have been on the pre-order list for a while and am excited to run some miles on it. The information I have received indicates Harley tried a similar design and it was abandoned. The market is huge and I would really like to see a successful option to the OEM. We need choices. The fact is most owners will stay with OEM if can be made reliable. Over 2 years of the oiler kit in service it has proven itself as a reliable fix. Way more than a band aid.
    There is a ton of info on how all this actually works but it is important to realize it takes more torque to run this drive train and it starts with the comp sprocket being larger. I would like to see the ratios of the 06 and back but those days are gone and we have what we have.
    Ride safe all
    RichardK
  11. Roadster guy

    Roadster guy Well-Known Member

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    But if it redirects oil flow,as it appears to be doing, does it delay oil flow to another part of the oiling system? A crankcase can only hold so much, and if you channel it somewhere else what part is now not lubricated as well as it should be?
    Or am I being too simplistic in my reasoning?
  12. RichardK

    RichardK Member

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    Many hours of observing and studying the flow patterns in the primary were devoted. Nothing is taken from any working areas. What is actually going on inside your primary is not what you would think in many ways. The chain pulls oil to the rear then over the clutch. Some oil is lost to the back of the case and just churns around back there. A substantial flow is pulled over the top of the clutch however once the chain separates from the clutch sprocket it is thrown to the bottom of the case. What is surprising is that the majority of the falling oil falls short of the comp sprocket. So the reality is very little oil ever makes it to the comp. Now add the webbing that all but seals the front and on top of that this comp design is closer to the cover than older styles and you have a oil starved comp. This means the newest OEM design is still short on lubrication. With the oiler a generous constant flow of oil is introduced into the comp lubeing everything and this produces substantial splash to the front of the comp to much better feed the OEM intake. Nothing in the case is shorted only made better.
    RichardK
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  13. hotroadking

    hotroadking Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I seriously doubt the stock comp setup is as poorly designed as
    outlined here, nor that it's any more starved of oil than any previously
    factory comp sprocket.

    In all the bikes I"ve had apart i've never seen the front area of the primary
    dry, not once, HD knows what is necessary to keep that area lubricated, my guess is people are not filling the primary to the proper level, which I think was increased by HD in 09 from a qt.

    Not saying the "compensaver" is a bad product, but I don't see Harley's
    on the side of the road all over the country, and we don't see service departments
    backed up with broken compensator repairs.
  14. FLHTbiker

    FLHTbiker Moderator Staff Member

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    Maddog just had his SE 2011 Ultra comp replaced. Making noise and replaced it with the new version under his extended warranty.
    Went out to dinner last night with a couple we know and his 09 had a bad noise coming from that area. He pulled the primary cover off and then pulled the Comp and stator off. Comp was bad looked like it was not getting enough oil and stator was going. He replaced it with the new updated Harley Comp and new Stator. He put the newer Harley oiler system in but first he went down to the HD dealer to talk to them about glueing it in and they said its a special glue and very expensive. The amount that he would have to buy was enough to do several bikes. They said bring in the piece and they would glue it in for him.
    He also replaced the bearing with a new one, why not sense it was already apart. He also replaced the stator as like I said it was going out. Plus the bike had 70,000 miles on it.
    Rode it and said its never been that quiet before.
  15. hotroadking

    hotroadking Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I"m sure there is some issue, or you wouldn't see people responding with
    aftermarket parts for this, it's not a "performance" or "bling" part.

    However I wonder how many are really having oil starvation issues,

    My 09 had 40K, my 11 has 40K so far no problems.
  16. FLHTbiker

    FLHTbiker Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking for people who ride a lot that it's becoming a possible issue. For those who don't put many miles on in a year it's probably null. I had an issue with my SE 2012 while under warranty and it had right at 30,000 on it. I know the comp and the flywheel were replaced. They wouldn't tell me it was a lack of oil problem but to me why would they have to replace the comp then. It had to be a lack of oiling.
    If I had to replace one not under warranty I would go with the best kit available.
  17. RichardK

    RichardK Member

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    I did not mean to indicate the comp area ran dry of oil. If course some does get in there. It is far to little volume to do much good. The thing that keeps what does get to the area from the working contact surfaces is a thing called centrifugal force. That ejects oil from the assemble very rapidly. That us why a liberal and continuous flow is a requirement. As oil is flowed into the comp the spinning spokes breakers the oil up and pushes it into everything. A lot of R&D to get that right. That along with Harley's intake to supply the sprocket bore and thrust area and you are good to go. As for the comment on the OEM comp being any good. Yes it is a very good design and protects the crank and smooths the ride as designed. Harley is looking at the bottom line more than quality. In the manufacture process the spokes and cam could be match machined and the assembly balanced. You have 10 + pounds of mostly as cast steel spinning on the crank. That is less than $50 each unit they refuse to spend. Why Harley abandoned the old style unit is a whole other conversation. But the ratio changes in the primary forced these compensator changes. That along with a weaker crank needing cushioning. If there was a better way to cushion things Polaris would have it in the new Indians. Their comp is a function clone of the Harley except gear driven.So good design just needs machining balancing and lots of oil and good to go. Machining after hardening not cost effective. I have one machined and balanced and it is the smoothest and quietest unit I have experienced.
    Guys we have deal what we have and can be reliable.
    RichardK
  18. hotroadking

    hotroadking Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I still don't see reports of 10's of thousands of HD bikes
    being DOA at dealers brought in on trailers, or stuck from
    bad compensators, some, maybe, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts
    that the majority of those with problems were not filled (primary)
    with sufficent oil to bathe the parts as needed.

    Doesn't the book call for 1 1/4 qt of oil vs the old 1 qt?

    I'm betting there are wrenches out there that underfill
    the primary (home changers too) and didn't fill it properly
    that cause problems..
  19. FLHTbiker

    FLHTbiker Moderator Staff Member

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    I beg your pardon, I know for a fact mine and Maddogs primaries were at the proper level.
  20. hotroadking

    hotroadking Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah but youse guy ride uphill a lot pushing the oil back down toward the clutch


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