When I took Blue I into Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) back in September 2015 for a new rear tire my tech, Bryan (great guy and great tech) noticed the two bolts that connect the exhaust system’s crossover pipe hangar to the transmission case had gone missing. He replaced them and told me after the fact.
Fast forward to yesterday, Debbie and I were out on Blue II — remembering that Blue I was done-in by a motorist back in Oct ’15 a mere month after that new tire was installed — and when we pulled into a Texaco to gas-up a terrible chirping sound suddenly started to come from somewhere near the middle of the bike. Now, chances are it started the night before when I did a 250 round trip to Macon, Georgia, between 10:30pm and 1:30am but with the stereo and wind noise I never heard anything.
Anyway, it seemed to come and go on our afternoon ride. Debbie thought it was coming from the back of the bike while I thought it may have been coming from the primary / lower end of the engine. When we headed off to grab lunch today the bike started off quiet but the chirping returned with a vengeance after about 10 minutes / 5 miles. When we got to lunch I set about to tighten all of the exhaust system heat shields since those can make a racket if they come loose but that didn’t solve it either. After we returned home I removed the saddle bags and took it for another test ride, hoping that without the bags I’d be able to hear it more clearly and if it was a vibration, put pressure on the suspect part to see if it would stop, again suspecting the exhaust system but having forgotten about those two bolts. During the test ride I was able to put my left foot on the left exhaust can and get the chirping to stop: that was a good thing.
Once I was back at home I put Blue II up on the lift, pulled the heat shields, loosened the left slip-on and then moved under the bike to check on the hardware that connects the crossover pipe to the transmission case via a hanger bracket. Son of a gun if those bolts hadn’t come loose. I snapped the following photo after I’d loosened both bolts and removed the left-hand bolt from the upper part of the bracket to apply Loctite before reinstalling it.
I have to say, I remained amazing at how Harley only spec’d two relatively small diameter hex head bolts to attach the exhaust system to the engine and have to assume these frequently come loose and/or work their way out of the bike. Just glad it was nothing more serious.