Harley Davidson 5 Speed Transmission Problems With Troubleshooting Explained

You’re cruising down the open road on your Harley Davidson. Also, you’re enjoying the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. You take a corner too fast and suddenly hear a loud grinding noise.

You pull over to the side of the road and realize that your Harley Davidson 5-speed transmission is in trouble. This is a common sight for the Harley Davidson motorcycle transmission system. Hence, we will discuss the Harley Davidson 5 speed transmission problems today. We’ll show you how to fix them yourself, too. So you can get back on the open road as soon as possible. Thus, without further delay, let’s get started.

Harley Davidson 5 Speed Transmission Problems

Harley Davidson 5 Speed Transmission Problems And Solutions

Harley Davidson 5 Speed Transmission Problems And Solutions 

Harley Davidson uses one of the best transmission systems for their motorbikes. Yet, the mechanical and electrical system isn’t free from different flaws. The most common Harley Davidson 5 speed transmission problems are issues over time with the clutch slipping, not-so-smooth acceleration, and gear shifting issues.

You will also see leaks in the transmission oil tank, reducing efficiency. When you go on a long ride, checking these problems for the transmission speed functions is essential. So, let’s see their details and fixes.

Clutch Slipping Issues

Clutch Slipping Issues

Often, the clutch of the Harley Davidson transmission will slip. Thus, it fails to engage with the engine control unit. It results in toughness in riding the motorcycle. You will see it particularly more evident in riding up hills. The problem again appears acute in cities where you must stop and go through heavy traffic.

Hence, you will often experience challenges in driving the motorcycle. Also, the slipping gears will lower your riding safety. You should, thus, fix the gears ASAP.

Tips On Fixing The Clutch

If your clutch is slipping, it might be because of the damaged clutch plates. Thus, it would be best if you replaced the clutch plates.

  • You can check this by removing the primary chain cover of the clutch.
  • If the clutch plates look wet and greasy, they must be replaced.
  • Sometimes, the plates become too dry. Then, you should add some lubricant.
  • Alternatively, you can use motor oil.

Problems With Gear Shifting

Problems With Gear Shifting

Like the clutch, the gear of the Harley Davidson transmission also causes different problems. The gear may get jammed. As it happens, you will have difficulty shifting it. You need more physical power upgrades to shift the loose linkage drum gears. Also, jammed gears may fail at any time. Moreover, it will start grinding as there will be blocks inside. Some of the most common issue with the transmission gear are:

  • Difficulty shifting gears,
  • Grinding gears, and
  • Popping out of gear

Finally, worn-out gears may pop out from their place. If it fails during motorcycle rides, it can cause severe accidents. You must be careful that the gears are functioning properly. Problems With Gear Shifting – Weak Spring, Stronger Spring. Problems With Gear Shifting Belt, Softail, and Special Tool.

Tips On Fixing The Problematic Gear

There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot these issues. It helps you get your bike back up and running smoothly. First, ensure that your transmission is properly lubricated. If not, this can cause all sorts of problems with shifting. You should lubricate the transmission of your Harley Davidson motorcycles for every 40000 to 50000 miles.

Adjust the cable that connects the transmission to the throttle. Often, the cable gets loose due to overuse and ill-maintenance. As you tighten the cable, it may help you to get into gear more easily.

Unusual Acceleration Issues

Riders choose Harley Davidson motorcycles for their performance and beast-like power. Ideally, it should accelerate smoothly. However, due to a poor transmission system, it may start to vibrate and jerk too frequently during acceleration. Also, you may experience hesitation to accelerate the motorcycle. As it happens, you must follow our troubleshooting suggestions.

Leaky Transmission Oil Problems

Leaky Transmission Oil Problems

The Harley Davidson 5 transmission system needs proper lubrication to work correctly. So, when the oil starts leaking, it is undoubtedly a big problem. When you notice excessive leaks, there are some things you can do at home. It helps you address the problem.

First, check your Harley transmission oil plug. It should be tight and undamaged. If the plug is loose, try tightening it. When the oil plug is wholly damaged, replace it. It is a cheap fix for less than $5 to $7. Next, check the gasket and make sure it’s not cracked or worn. You need to replace the damaged gasket.

You can also tighten the mounting bolts of the tank. It should help reduce vibrations that cause oil leakage. Over time, different parts of the transmission system may become loose. Tightening them helps stop oil leakage and vibration. Leaky Transmission Oil Problems Adjuster Service Haynes Service.

Grinding Noise Issues With Gears

This is usually due to worn gear or an issue with the transmission. First, you’ll want to check the selector forks. Damaged or worn forks can cause issues with the gears. It stops the gears from engaging correctly. Hence, it’s best to replace them as soon as possible. If you continue riding with the loose fork, it might develop further damage. At this point, your entire transmission system will require changes.

Next, inspect the gear synchronizers and shift forks for wear and tear. Worn-out shift forks and synchronizers can cause a grinding noise when shifting gears. In this case, you must replace them to keep the Harley transmission working correctly and safely.

Finally, if all else fails and there is still a gear grinding noise even after inspection and repairs have been made, there’s likely an issue with the transmission itself.

How To Tell When It’s The Transmission

How To Tell When It's The Transmission

If you’re experiencing issues with your Harley Davidson’s transmission, a few signs can help you determine if it’s the cause of the problem. One common indicator is difficulty shifting gears or gears slipping while riding. If you notice grinding or clunking noises when shifting, this could also signal transmission trouble.

Additionally, if you experience a loss of power or acceleration, it may be due to a malfunctioning transmission. It’s important to address these issues promptly, as continued use with a faulty transmission can lead to further damage.

Consulting with professional, inexperienced mechanics specializing in Harley-Davidson motorcycles can help diagnose and resolve any transmission problems you may be facing. To Tell When It’s The Transmission: Signs of bad shifter bearings and a faulty detent mechanism.

How To Maintain The Harley 103 Engine?

How To Maintain The Harley 103 Engine

Maintaining the Harley 103 engine is crucial for keeping your motorcycle running smoothly. By following these maintenance tips, you can help extend the life of your Harley 103 engine and enjoy a smooth ride for years to come. Here are some key tips to help you maintain your Harley 103 engine:

  • Regularly change the engine oil and filter to ensure proper lubrication 
  • Regularly check and adjust the dry drive belt tension to avoid excessive wear and potential damage.
  • Inspect and clean the air filter regularly to ensure proper airflow and prevent contaminants.
  • Keep an eye on the cooling system to prevent overheating
  • Check and tighten all bolts and fasteners periodically 
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for tune-ups
  • Pay attention to any unusual noises, vibrations, or changes in performance


Dealing with Harley Davidson 5 speed transmission problems can be frustrating for any Harley Davidson owner. However, it’s important to remember that solutions are available to address these issues. Whether you’re experiencing issues with shifting gears, clutch slipping, or any other transmission-related problem, it’s crucial to consult a professional specializing in Harley Davidson repairs.

They will be able to diagnose the issue and provide the necessary solutions to get your bike back on the road in optimal condition. Don’t let transmission problems hold you back from enjoying your Harley Davidson to the fullest. Seek expert assistance and get back to cruising with confidence. 


How Do I Test My Transmission?

To test your transmission, start by checking the fluid level and condition. Low or dirty fluid can indicate problems. Next, take your vehicle for a test drive and pay attention to any unusual noises, vibrations, or delays in shifting gears.

How Do I Reset My Transmission?

To reset your transmission, you can try disconnecting the battery for a few minutes and then reconnecting it. This can sometimes help clear any stored error codes and reset the transmission control module.

What Sensors Can Cause Transmission Problems?

The sensors that can cause transmission problems include the transmission fluid temperature sensor, the vehicle speed sensor, the throttle position sensor, and the transmission control module.

How Many Years Does Transmission Fluid Last?

Transmission fluid typically lasts 30,000 to 60,000 miles or approximately 3 to 5 years, depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.

What Happens If Transmission Fluid Is Overfilled?

If transmission fluid is overfilled, it can cause several issues. The excess fluid can create excessive pressure within the transmission, leading to fluid leaks, seal damage, and potential damage to internal components.

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