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Ok, this is probably normal, I have heard other shaft drive bikes make this noise, I just want to make sure before I put all the plastic back. I have the rear end all back together, everything coated in moly paste, tire balanced, 80/90 gear oil in the final drive, shocks back on, pretty much everything but the rear caliper. All the splines were in great shape, the bearings felt fine by hand, and made no noise when I spun the wheel on the axle about 100 times while balancing it. After getting it all back together, I started it up on the centerstand and put it in first. I an hearing a rattling sound from the rear end when the wheel turns in gear. It sounds like a drum brake hub with a few rocks in it. I figure it is just noise from the lash in the drive system. With the engine off, and in neutral, it sounds fine when you spin the wheel by hand. I never paid any attention to it before I took it apart, so I have nothing to compare it to.

Does this sound like a normal noise? About the only other thing I could do would be to replace the wheel bearings, and I'm pretty sure they are fine. I have not ridden the bike yet.
 

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Does the noise change if you apply a load such as the brake , just a little?
 

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I don't have the rear brake installed at the moment. Have some work to do on it first.
 

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Ok, I took everything apart and put it back, checked it all out, everything is assembled properly, and well lubed, and everything is tight. There was no noise when the engine was run in gear with the rear wheel off, and there was no noise when the rear wheel was spun by hand while it was installed. Bearings felt fine when turning them by hand, no roughness at all. Everything was assembled and tightened in the proper order. It still makes a noise when run in gear on the centerstand with the wheel installed, but I am convinced that it is just drive line lash. The idle speed of the engine has to vary a tiny bit, which could cause a back and forth motion in the drive line. The U joint checks out fine. If there is a problem in the final drive, there is nothing I can do about it. So I am calling it good, and moving on with the project.
 

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JerryH, Did you install the wheel and tighten the axle nut before you tightened the 4 bolts holding the final drive on the swingarm? If not the alignment can be off a few thousands of an inch and cause a miniscule 'wiggle' betwen the wheel and driven flange which can cause a noise every revolution of the tire. My 1200A did that.
Bobby
 

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Yep Jerry what Bobby said..you probably already know that but if you put the rear end on after taking it off then everything has to be tightened first before tightening those 4 bolts on the drive line up. I think we discussed that when you were here.
 

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Yep, I tightened the 4 final drive nuts AFTER torquing the axle. Second time I had it off and put it back, I double checked everything. Bearings were silky smooth. The noise it makes is not a single noise that it makes every revolution of the wheel, it is a light "rattle" that it makes the entire time the wheel is turning under engine power, on the centerstand. When turning it in neutral, with the engine off, it is perfectly smooth and quiet. it turns so smooth and easy you wouldn't even know the final drive, driveshaft, U joint, and part of the transmission were connected to it. You can turn it back and forth, and not hear or feel anything. I really don't think there is a problem, but I won't know for sure until I get it back together enough that I can ride it. I don't want to waste a lot of time and work looking for a problem that most likely doesn't exist. Thanks for your replies, I appreciate your advice. Jerry.
 

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This sounds a bit like a noise I had coming from an '84 I worked on. Did you look good at the pinion joint (the gear that the drive shaft goes into in the final drive)? The noise on the '84 was coming from those splines being worn out on that pinion joint, and only under load. Check out those splines if you didn't get a good look at them. They should be square topped on both the drive shaft and inside that pinion joint.

John
 

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I looked at all the splines with a magnifying glass. They were perfect. I could not find and sign of wear at all on any of them, including where the wheel goes. I was very happy about that, but a bit puzzled as well, considering the overall condition this bike was in. It did not look like it had been maintained very well. When I get it back together (should hopefully have it ready to ride in about 2 weeks) I will find out if it makes a noise while being ridden. If it does, then obviously something is wrong. I'm just hoping it doesn't. Don't know if I can handle another major issue with this bike, first the fuel injection fiasco, then the rear wheel. Yes there are a number of smaller things wrong with it, may of which can be fixed while it is being ridden, or be put off until I get a chance to ride it a bit.
 

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Glad to hear the splines are all OK. Well here's hoping all is well. Let us know how it goes when you get it all back together.

John
 

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Is there any chance the dust shield that covers the gap between the wheel and the final drive might be bent or close to touching the final housing? One possibility would be if there is just a little bit of play in the pinion gear to ring gear. If there's some slop there it could be that the pinion is pushing the ring gear laterally away from itself under power but when hand spun there wouldn't be any torque on the pinion to cause any take up of any possible runout.
 

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I have to say my 1200 rattles a bit on the main stand in neutral, probably just like yours. It always done that and I just put it down to the typical early 1200 noisy drive. I think they sorted that in the last 1987 models, but earlier ones are just a bit noisier.
 

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Again thanks for all the replies. If it is in the gearcase, there really isn't anything I can do. I rode it before I tore it apart for inspection, cleaning, and lubrication, and that was with a loose bearing on the right side. I now have a good rear wheel with what I believe to be good bearings. Anyway, I already have the trunk and both bags back on, and have moved on to some other issues. Just hoping everything back there is ok. Yes the dust shield is securely locked in place, and the bolt installed.

My shaft drive Vulcan 750 makes a lot of noise when run in gear on the centerstand at idle, but it is a v-twin, with uneven firing pulses, and a very erratic idle, so the drive is constantly being loaded and unloaded. I think this is what is happing with the Goldwing, just on a smaller scale, since it's engine is a lot smoother.
 
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