How To Check Harley Compensator?[Everything Explained]

Is your Harley motorcycle making awful clanking sounds whenever you hit the starter?

If yes, then most probably the problem is in your motorcycle’s compensator. But to find out the exact issues, you need to check and test your compensator. After a proper inspection, you need either repair or replace your compensator.

Therefore, to guide you in the right direction, I will demonstrate how to check Harley compensator and repair or replace it.

Now, let’s learn how to check Harley compensator:

First, you need to observe certain symptoms to check your Harley compensator issues. Such as; making excessive noises when you hit the starter after fueling or having trouble shifting into first or neutral gear. Those are the most common sign that your compensator needs further inspection to figure out how much repairing is needed. 

How To Tell If Harley Compensator Is Bad?

A bad or worn compensator happens when the spring pack behind your compensator sprocket hub gets weak, and a series of concentric rings push each other against the compensator hub. Which cushions the impact of the pistons firing crankshaft and consequently through the primary chain into your transmission like a shock absorber for the engine pulses.

And as a result, the hub starts to rattle around and spin back and forth, which ultimately causes that Harley compensator noises I was talking about earlier. Especially when your bike is hot as if you just filled up the fuel and started the bike. That noise primarily indicates Harley compensator failures, and to get rid of that noisy compensator, you need to inspect it further.   

How To Test/Check Harley Compensator?

Well, here I would like to explain how you can easily test or inspect your Harley Davidson compensator for possible issues and do the repairing-

Step 1:

First, you need to let your vehicle cool off before starting the inspection. Then look over, and you will find a primary chaincase drain plug on the bottom under the clutch cover. Now use an Allen socket along with a socket wrench and remove that chaincase drag pug. Then, let the primary chaincase fluid drain into a pan.

Step 2:

Now that you have pulled out the drain plug so inspect its magnetic end for bits of metal. Similarly, dredge the fluid of the drained primary chaincase with a magnetic probe. Now examine that probe for bits of metal.

Step 3:

Now, with the help of your Allen or Torx socket and socket wrench remove clutch cover screws, clutch cover, oval inspection cover, and gasket. Also, discard both gaskets (the primary chaincase cover and the primary chaincase tower).

Step 4:

After removing and discarding now, inspect the compensating sprocket, the chain, the clutch, and the chain tensioner for visible defects.

Step 5:

Now pick a heat gun and heat the compensating sprocket nut to loosen it up. Use a hex socket and breaker bar to release the compensating sprocket nut.

Gradually, release the spacer, sprocket cover, sliding cam, and the compensating sprocket. Now, you need to clean and examine all those components for corrosion. If required, do the replacements or repairs.

Step 6:

Before you start the reassembling task, examine the shaft extension for damage. Also, clean the threads on the sprocket nut and engine sprocket shaft both with Loctite 7649 cleaner or primer.

Step 7:

After finishing the threads clean-up, apply the locker to the threads. Now, apply engine oil to the underside of the sprocket nut.

If required, now start replacing the sprocket, sprocket cover, sliding cam, and spacer. To tighten the sprocket nut, use 75ft pounds of torque with a torque wrench and a hex socket.

Step 8:

Now, start installing a new primary chaincase cover gasket, two new tower gaskets, and a new primary chaincase cover. Also, replace your previous inspection cover and inspection cover gasket with new ones.

Step 9:

Now tighten all the screws to reset the primary cover and other parts securely. You can also take help from your given servicing manual for exact sequence maintenance.

Step 10:

After that, use Teflon paste for coating the threads of the primary drain plug and also replace it. Now, pour the primary chaincase lubricant into the primary chaincase until that touches the clutch bottom. Finish up your task by replacing the clutch cover with a new one

What Does The Compensator Do On A Harley?     

The Harley compensator intends to smoothen out the rough pulses created by your motorcycle’s engine. That your engine produces under certain load situations and the compensator prevents them from transmitting through the drivetrain.

Technically, a compensator absorbs some energy and later releases them after a power stroke. Then the engine coasts through the exhaust and intake stroke with relatively less resistance from either process. That’s how your Harley compensator works on your Harley bike.

How To Replace Harley Compensator?

Follow the below-mentioned instructions thoroughly-

Step 1: Dis-assembling Your Compensator:

First, carefully remove the left footboard and heel shifter of your motorcycle. Then gradually remove the oil drain plug and primary cover. Now you can observe some wear marks at the compensator are visible.

Then remove the clutch hub snap ring with a 19-66mm sized plier, and if you still have a hard time removing it just disassemble the whole clutch plate. Note that the clutch hub main shaft has a 30 mm hex head. So, use a primary drive locking tool for the full operation.

Lastly, you need to unscrew the compensator using a TX70 bit and take out the drive components as a single unit.

Step 2: Replacing Your Compensator:

When dissembling all parts is done, move for the replacing task. Remember, all new parts of Harley come with the SE compensator kit. So, replace all the drive components with the new ones and put them back on again.

Now take few drops of red Loctite (262) and put on the clutch hub snap ring. And put it back on and torque everything to spec. Then, put the snap ring and release plate back in their places. Next, you need to assemble the chain tensioner and the areas before putting back a new gasket.

After securing the new gasket properly, assemble back the primary housing and fill the primary with HD Syn3 oil. Now your Harley compensator replacement is done, and do testing to ensure that everything is set accurately.

How Does A Harley Compensator Eliminator Work?

The Compensator Eliminator eliminates noises and the slipping forward tendency of your bike. It improves the starting and starter life of your Harley motorcycle. Harley Compensator Eliminator also reduces spinning weight by 4.8 lbs.

Why Do You Need Harley Compensator Upgrade?

The reasons why you need a Harley compensator upgrade are-

  • A bad compensator is risky to ride safely on the road and makes awful noises when starting the bike.
  • A worn-out compensator can kick back when you start up on your bike.
  • It causes excessive vibration, and if that transfers to the drivetrains, it can create a lot of wear and tears on your bike.

My Recommended Top 5 Best Harley Compensator:

Ranked Serials  Products Name
#1HardDrive 15-061 Complete Compensator Sprocket Assembly
#2Twin Power Compensating Sprocket and Cover Kit for Harley Davidson 1994-2006 So
#3HardDrive 15-091 Complete Compensator Sprocket Assembly
#4HardDrive 15-031 Complete Compensator Sprocket Assembly
#5HardDrive 15-051 Complete Compensator Sprocket Assembly


I hope by now you already understood how to check Harley compensator and deal with the repairing or replacing task of a worn compensator.  So, let me know if you have any further queries.