Grease Your Splines!
Coast Riders Chapter Newsletter
The writer wishes to remain anonymous.
……….I take my bike apart every winter, clean everything, change all the fluids and re-assemble it ready for the next riding season. I have even found new motorcycles with dry splines. People I have mentioned this to say things like, “Oh yeah, but every time I get a new tire, they grease the splines.” Maybe so, but do they take off the contaminated grease? How often do you buy tires?
……….Probably the most neglected area on any shaft drive motorcycle is the drive spline on the rear wheel, yet if it fails, you don’t move. Maintenance of these splines is really very simple. If you can take the rear wheel off your bike, you can grease the drive splines. Most manuals say you should do this every 50,000 to 80,000 km (30,000 to 50,000 mi.), but I do mine as part of my yearly maintenance.
……….Here are the required steps. Make sure you have the bike properly supported before you start. I also recommend disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery, prior to touching any part of the wiring.
1) Remove the tool kit first by undoing the two 10mm nuts and one 10mm bolt from inside the box.
2) Disconnect the wiring harness. Don’t worry, everything is color coded and as long as you match the colors, you can’t go wrong. If you’re not sure, tag each wire with masking tape.
3) Remove the two Philips screws at the base of the fender, then the two 10mm bolts and finally the two 12mm bolts. Caution, when you take the 12mm bolts out, make sure you hold the fender up. Once they are out, you can lower the fender and slip it out the rear of the bike.
4) Next, undo the rear brake rod by turning the wing nut counter clockwise. With the wing nut off, press the rear brake pedal down until the rod clears the brake arm. Be careful not to lose the spring on the brake rod. Now remove the round thingy with the hole in it, from the brake arm and put it and the wing nut back on the rod so you don’t lose it and the spring won’t come off.
5) Remove the cotter key from the bolt on the brake torque arm and then undo the 12mm nut. Pull the arm off an put the nut and the cotter key back on the bolt so you don’t lose them.
6) Now comes the heavy stuff. Remove the cotter key from the axle shaft, then remove the 12mm nut from the axle. It’s probably pretty tight. It should be torqued at 75 ft lbs. The other end of the axle is held in place with a 10mm pinch bolt though the swing arm. Loosen this bolt; it is not necessary to remove it.
7) Now you’re ready to remove the axle. Place a piece of wood under the wheel to take the weight. Tap on the threaded end of the axle with a rubber mallet or a piece of wood; then grasp the other end and pull the axle out (it may be a little tight, but it will come). On some models, there will be a spacer on the axle between the brake backing plate and the swing arm. On others, there is a shoulder on the axle bolt and a washer against the backing plate. Don’t lose them!
8) The wheel can now be pulled towards the swing arm to disengage the drive splines, then removed to the rear. Be careful not to snag the brake rod or the arm. If you didn’t take the fender off, you will have to tilt the wheel to one side to get it out.
9) Pull the brake backing plate out of the wheel and set it aside. On the opposite side of the wheel, you will see the object of this little exercise, the splines. The opposing set is in the final drive unit. The splines should have nice square shoulders, with little or no signs of wear. If they are worn badly, you may have to have them replaced, and that can get expensive. A little maintenance now can save a lot of money latter.
10) Clean all the old grease off with solvent and the wife’s tooth brush, (never add new grease to old, contaminated grease), and examine the splines for wear. On the wheel splines, there may be an “O” ring. Remove the ring and check it for wear. Replace it, if necessary. Apply a good quality molybdenum disulphide grease to both sets of splines. Don’t put too much grease on, you don’t want it spraying all over the place.
11) While you have the wheel off, check the rear brake shoes and apply a SMALL amount of grease to the pivot points.
12) Now would be a good time to clean all the road crud off the swing arm and the wheel side of the mufflers. A little wax won’t do any harm and may make it easier to clean next time.
13) Now you’re ready to replace everything in the reverse order. Use a torque wrench and NEW cotter pins.
14) Make sure the splines engage properly. Put the bike in gear and turn and push the wheel at the same time. Don’t force it. Just keep trying until you feel the splines engage and slide together.
15) Put the axle bolt in with the spacers in place, but DO NOT TIGHTEN it until you have the brake torque arm and the brake rod hooked up.
16) Tighten the axle to 75 ft. lbs. and insert a NEW cotter pin.
17) Tighten the pinch bolt to 11 ft. lbs. Rotate the wheel to make sure nothing is binding and check the rear brake adjustment.
18) Replace the fender, hook up the wiring, reconnect the negative terminal on the battery, and check all lights and you’re done.
Greasing Splines Submitted by Anonymous