How To Remove & Install Front Wheel – Harley Davidson Softail
How To Remove & Install Front Wheel – Harley Davidson Softail


Hey this is another video by Pet Rock. And
today I’m working on my ’06 Harley Night Train. It’s an FXSTBI and today I’m going to be removing
the front wheel in order to replace it. It’s a pretty simple job. The service manual actually
makes it sound a lot harder then it really is. For example it has you remove the front
brake caliper. On this bike at least you don’t have to. There may be other models where you
do. If the caliper goes inside the rim. But in this case you don’t. One thing you do have
to do is you have to put the bike up on a lift. Whenever you put a bike up on a lift
you want to put, you want to make sure that you put tie down straps around it. I have
seen too many stories on line and videos of people who have lifted their bikes up and
then all of a sudden have it fall down and have no idea how that could have possibly
happened. Because I guess they don’t have gravity where they live. Anyway, so you want
to make sure that your bike is properly secured, especially when you are going to be changing
it’s center of gravity when you are changing the front wheel. So this wheel only actually
has eight thousand miles on it, but if you look closely you can see a nice big bulge
that’s formed right here and another one right in here. Maybe you can see it from this angle.
See it right there. And there are a few others on the tire. So if you look at the bulge you
can see I can actually squeeze it with my finger. That’s not good. This is a bad sign.
It means that the tire, the outer shell is actually separating from its inner carcass
and that’s a blow out waiting to happen. This is why they say you should inspect your tires
when you go out for a ride. As you can see I lean pretty deep in my turns. There is literally
an eighth of an inch of chicken strip there. So I ride pretty hard, but I also ride every
day. So I need to keep this bike up and running. So before you even pick up a wrench you want
to pick up some painters tape and a Sharpie. And right on it ‘L’ and ‘R’. Now the reason
for this is you need to, need to mark the spacers right there and right there. And mark
them and make sure that you don’t mix them up. They are not the same size. There really
aren’t any distinguishing marks on them to find out which one is which. So in order to
remember I always put a little bit of tape with a right and a left on it in order for
me to tell. So right and left is always in relation to you sitting on the bike. So this
side is right. And this side is left. Now if your bike is as dirty as mine the tape
may not stick that well so you might want to wipe it down with some brake cleaner or
something like that first before putting the tape down. So then you take a three quarter
socket and a breaker bar because this nut is on pretty tight if you use the proper torque
spec and you loosen it. You can remove it all the way. It has a spring lock washer and
a regular washer. Set those aside. Next you take a half inch socket and loosen these two
nuts. You don’t want to remove them. This plate here and these nuts obviously is what
is holding the axle on on this side. So you just want to loosen it a little bit in order
to free up the axle. These shouldn’t have too much torque on them. They should be fairly
simple to get loose. If you don’t drop your wrench. Next you want to place a floor jack
underneath the tire. You don’t want to lift it a lot. You just want to relieve the pressure
off the axle so you can remove the axle easier. That’s it. Almost nothing. You don’t want
to lift the bike up too much otherwise you could knock it off it’s jack. Next you want
to take a metal rod or a Phillips head screw driver and stick it in the hole right here
and then rotate it slightly so you can get a better grip on it. Then you just take that
rod and pull. Now as you saw both of the spacers just rolled off onto the ground so that’s
another reason why you want to mark them so you know which one side came off where. Now
you just lower the jack and roll the tire out of the way. So while you have the axle
off you should also clean and inspect it. If the person who installed it last installed
it correctly there will be anti-seize or some kind of a lubricant on here that you should
wipe off. In the areas where the bearings are on the rim you want to look for excessive
wear marks. So in my case it’s right about here and right about here for my axle. If
you have excessive wear marks where you can actually feel peeks and valleys of the wear
with your fingernail then your axle is garbage. You need to replace it. What that means is
your bearings at some point got stuck and decided to spin against the axle rather then
spin amongst the bearings inside, inside the bearing, wheel bearing and wore into the axle.
So in addition to having your axle be garbage you should also look into replacing your wheel
bearings. So in my case the axle is nice and smooth. There is no wear marks. These pieces
right here are machined in from the factory. Probably to balance the shaft. So in my case
the axle looks perfectly fine. Its a good idea to put the parts back onto the axle the
way they came off in the order they came off so you don’t forget. Unless you have a tire
shop in your garage it’s going to be a little while before you put this thing back on so
you don’t want to forget where everything went so you put the right spacer on and then
you put the left spacer on then you put the washer then you put the spring washer and
then you put the nut. Then set it aside and go get your tire changed. While it’s in this
state you want to make sure you don’t touch the front brake. Otherwise you will compress
the caliper and it will make it harder to get the tire back on when you are done. So
through the magic of video editing I have a new tire on my rim. So before installing
it one thing you want to do is you want to check your rotor. Roll the tire a couple times
to make sure there is no excessive run out on the rotor. If your rotor is warped it will
cause some pulsation in the brake when you are trying to apply the brakes or like cause
the bike to jitter like that as you are trying to brake as well. Additionally you want to
check your wheel bearings and rotate them like that and make sure that it’s nice and
fluid. There is no noise and that there is no lateral movement. If there is then you
have bad bearings and you should replace them. So before installing the tire you need to
apply a little bit of anti-seize to the axle shaft. This is for a couple reasons. One is
to help prevent the axle shaft seizing to the bearings or the tube between the bearings
when you are going down the road. You want those to be completely fluid. Additionally
it also helps for installation so the axle slides in easier and also for removal later
on when the axle slides out. So you just take it apart and then you take a little dab of
anti-seize and stick it on there. About that much. you don’t need a whole lot. You want
to anti-seize to cover from this point to this point. You don’t want it out here. Definitely
don’t want it on the threads and you don’t want it out here. The area here and the area
here is what goes through the fork sliders. The area in here is what goes into the rim.
So you take the anti-seize and you just spread it out. A little bit of this stuff goes a
long way. And that’s it. Now you just wipe your finger off and set the axle aside for
installation. You roll your rim with it’s new tire in between the forks. Roll the jack
underneath it like that. Slide it into place. You don’t actually have to use the jack. You
can just muscle it up yourself if you choose. I just find using the jack a lot easier so
you don’t have to sit there and fiddle with it while you are trying to get the axle through
the hole here, through a spacer, through the wheel, through the other spacer and through
the other side. Having the wheel up on a jack just makes it so much easier. Slide the rotor
in between the brake pads. Raise up the wheel so it’s in line. Now you take your axle and
your right spacer and put it through the hole through the other side. Then stick the spacer,
the left spacer on the other side. Push the axle through
like that. Now you can remove the jack. And
you take the solid washer, put it through. The spring washer. Put it through. And then
put the nut on finger tight. Make sure not to cross thread this because if you cross
thread it then you are probably going to have to replace the axle shaft. And because it’s
a Harley they are not cheap. Next you’ll tighten up the axle nut. So you take a thick Phillips
screw driver. Stick it through the hole in the side of the axle. And then you take your
torque wrench and torque it down to between fifty and fifty five ft/lbs. I usually half
that so I set it to fifty two and a half. So next you move over to the right side and
you want to snug these nuts up evenly. The key is to get them on even. And then you torque
them down with a half inch socket between eleven and fifteen ft/lbs. You still want
to do it evenly. So next you want to spin the tire a couple times and look for any,
any oil or grease or even the lube that the tire shop used to install the tire and you
want to remove it. So you just take a rag or paper towel with some brake cleaner on
it and you just wipe off any areas that look suspect. So next you want to apply the brakes,
spin the tire and apply the brakes a couple times to re-seat the brake pads against the
rotor. And you are pretty much done. So I hope this video helped you out If you have
any questions comments or concerns please leave them in the comments section below.
If you liked this video please click the thumbs up button. If you want to see more videos
like it please subscribe.

81 thoughts on “How To Remove & Install Front Wheel – Harley Davidson Softail”

  1. Mike H says:

    If I don't have antiseize, can I use grease.

  2. Speedy Speed says:

    Great video I have picked up your system pick up the wrench drop it on the floor. LOL Any chance of getting a video on changing the fork oil on your train?

  3. RobertPaulDoran says:

    "I guess they don't have gravity where they live…."

    That is hilarious.
    Yes, the world is populated with people like this. Bad news worse: They drive cars and they can breed.

  4. RobertPaulDoran says:

    What kind of tire is that? Did they warranty the tire for defects due to the bulges?

  5. Allison Aragon says:

    Seen other videos with good info but got scared when they ended without giving torque specs! Thanks for doing a thorough and easy to understand tutorial.

  6. Eshu says:

    Great video man. Thanks for not blocking what you are doing with your hands. Can't tell you how many people make that mistake. As they're explaining they don't realize their big ass hands are in the way, and viewers cant see what is going on.

  7. Thomas Diviak says:

    i have a question i installed my new tire and it feels like the bike is sliding like it has no tracion or im on loose gravel cant figure this one out the bike doesnt feel like it did before the tire was changed??

  8. Greg Brosius says:

    Great video.
    One question: The spacers on my '04 Softail Standard have "notches" pressed into them. Is there a specific orientation to these spacers as far as notches against the bearing or notches away from the bearing. The manual is very vague about this.
    Thanks.

  9. ELVIS ROSE says:

    ugly bike

  10. Edinson Latorre says:

    Great video… Gracias

  11. Andrew says:

    Just wanted to say, fantastic videos! I've watched all the videos of the work you've documented on your bike while I teach myself how to do it; to date, its all been a huge success. Thanks very much for taking the time out to document these activities, it means a lot to people like me, I just wish there were more!

  12. MyView 10.75.69 says:

    Good Video, i will now be able to do this for my bike later today 🙂

  13. L M III says:

    perfect instruction. I appreciated the fast fwd'ing. I'm building a chopper and am only changing the frame to a rigid. I'm keeping the original parts. I would love to see a really good Sportster Engine removal that doesn't involve breaking down the motor from the trans. I've seen guys use a hoist. What would be your suggestion?

  14. steve rohaley says:

    I just came here for the axle nut torque spec. good video

  15. JOHNNY BEABAD says:

    I have a 2004 Deuce and the ends of the forks are different there is no hole in the axel end. advise ?

  16. siccmad3 says:

    straight foward no time wasted

  17. Randall Stilson says:

    Your straight forward how to videos are just the best. This information is exactly what makes Utube so good. Keep up the fabulous work!!! Thanks again.

  18. roogermoore1 says:

    Great video. will look for your other videos. keep em coming! thanks.

  19. Kristoffer Bates says:

    Great video! Thanks for posting it. I just took my front tire off and I do not have a spring washer. I also looked in the manual and did not see one listed for parts on the front wheel. I have a 2007 night train and was curious if it is different for my year? Thanks for any help!

  20. robert mccully says:

    Except he did pinch bolts wrong. Put 7/16 drill bit thru hole, then pull fork out until it touches drill bit, then tighten.. This is to center the disk pads. I have watched a lot of this videos and they all do it different. Read your service manual to see if i am right,, (for my 2003 road king) Perhaps others years and bikes are different? When tightening clamp bolts watch out, Harley uses inch pounds. not foot pounds,, My service manual says 132 to 180 inch pounds. Divide that by 12 for foot pounds. So if you pick 140 inch pounds that is 140/12= 11.66 foot pounds. Yea i broke off my stud the first time, not catching inch pounds. If you did break of stud you can hopefully unscrew with a pipe wrench.. I did … Again watch out!! Harley switches from inch to foot pounds in there torque tables.. Rule of thump– if the bolt or screw is thin,,,, it is probably inch pounds. Good Riding!

  21. Steve Sobczak says:

    What a great video. Thanks for the tips.

  22. gene Pohlemann says:

    good job brother, helpful for sure, look forward to more tips and videos

  23. Gerald Keller says:

    Thanks – great informative video!!!!!

  24. jim Bones says:

    Yeah straight forward as everyone said,thanks heaps I appreciate it.

  25. Russell Hudson says:

    Great video and explanation. Like the way you stay on topic without much BS. Thanks

  26. ALEXTHEKID__13 says:

    sweet man

  27. lead farmer says:

    Very helpful and straight forward. thank you for making videos like this. it helps a lot of people out!

  28. Jared Kulawik says:

    Great videos!! Right to the point and very straight forward, thank you! You're helping a lot of people!! Do you have/know of this same type of video except on a Springer front end? (2008 crossbones) Thank you.

  29. Sound Mind says:

    i have copper anti sieze, is that ok?

  30. - MrRIchBiker says:

    Hey PR, what crackin?  its Rich with the slver 2005 fatboy.  hope you and the family are good!    I just realined my front tire, I also LEFT THE CALIPER ON!Every thing bolted up fine, but my brake pads  bolts(5/16) loosed up, so I tightened them.I do not have a torque wrench, so I just gave the main axle nut 1 turn and 1/2, to send it home.And the pad bolt a good 1/2 turn!!- The wheel spun nice.   Is it normal for those brake pad bolts to loosen??? or should they be loos?

  31. Paul Bahre says:

    On my Fatboy I had to undo the break caliper from the forks because it's inset. Then I wheeled over a small tool cart and without taking the caliper off the hose I put it on the cart and I loosened the screws on the master cylinder and I took out the pins and then I used the old pads and a large screw driver to drive back the pistons to flush. Then I put new pads in and kept then separated using a couple wedges of wood. Then I changed the tire on the wheel and when I put it all together I had new break pads. Also I notate on the inside of my solid fatboy wheel I wipe off the previous date of tire change and put in today's date. The last front tire was replaced in 2011. And I think I did the breaks at that time too. I tend to replace the rear wheel every other year and the front one usually lasts for about as long as three or so rear wheels and brakes. I just put in a new tire on the rear wheel a few months ago. Point is, I usually do the breaks when I change the tire, because I have a Fat Boy and the Breaks are inset so since the wheel is off so are the calipers and you might as well do both at the same time.

  32. Paul Bahre says:

    On my Fatboy I had to undo the break caliper from the forks because it's inset. Then I wheeled over a small tool cart and without taking the caliper off the hose I put it on the cart and I loosened the screws on the master cylinder and I took out the pins and then I used the old pads and a large screw driver to drive back the pistons to flush. Then I put new pads in and kept then separated using a couple wedges of wood. Then I changed the tire on the wheel and when I put it all together I had new break pads. Also I notate on the inside of my solid fatboy wheel I wipe off the previous date of tire change and put in today's date. The last front tire was replaced in 2011. And I think I did the breaks at that time too. I tend to replace the rear wheel every other year and the front one usually lasts for about as long as three or so rear wheels and brakes. I just put in a new tire on the rear wheel a few months ago. Point is, I usually do the breaks when I change the tire, because I have a Fat Boy and the Breaks are inset so since the wheel is off so are the calipers and you might as well do both at the same time.

  33. Paul Bahre says:

    On my Fatboy I had to undo the break caliper from the forks because it's inset. Then I wheeled over a small tool cart and without taking the caliper off the hose I put it on the cart and I loosened the screws on the master cylinder and I took out the pins and then I used the old pads and a large screw driver to drive back the pistons to flush. Then I put new pads in and kept then separated using a couple wedges of wood. Then I changed the tire on the wheel and when I put it all together I had new break pads. Also I notate on the inside of my solid fatboy wheel I wipe off the previous date of tire change and put in today's date. The last front tire was replaced in 2011. And I think I did the breaks at that time too. I tend to replace the rear wheel every other year and the front one usually lasts for about as long as three or so rear wheels and brakes. I just put in a new tire on the rear wheel a few months ago. Point is, I usually do the breaks when I change the tire, because I have a Fat Boy and the Breaks are inset so since the wheel is off so are the calipers and you might as well do both at the same time.

  34. Paul Bahre says:

    On my Fatboy I had to undo the break caliper from the forks because it's inset. Then I wheeled over a small tool cart and without taking the caliper off the hose I put it on the cart and I loosened the screws on the master cylinder and I took out the pins and then I used the old pads and a large screw driver to drive back the pistons to flush. Then I put new pads in and kept then separated using a couple wedges of wood. Then I changed the tire on the wheel and when I put it all together I had new break pads. Also I notate on the inside of my solid fatboy wheel I wipe off the previous date of tire change and put in today's date. The last front tire was replaced in 2011. And I think I did the breaks at that time too. I tend to replace the rear wheel every other year and the front one usually lasts for about as long as three or so rear wheels and brakes. I just put in a new tire on the rear wheel a few months ago. Point is, I usually do the breaks when I change the tire, because I have a Fat Boy and the Breaks are inset so since the wheel is off so are the calipers and you might as well do both at the same time.

  35. Leebee Leebee says:

    Lovn your idot proof way of describing the process! Keep up the good work! Thankyou

  36. Taylor Dorman says:

    I mixed up my spacers on my sporty. Any tips??

  37. KawBoyJim says:

    Obviously, marking the spacers is a great idea. But, if for some reason your tape fell off, or the writing (L or R) got smudged, it would be great to know the physical difference between the right and left spacers. For example, the LEFT (or clutch side) spacer is wider than the RIGHT side.

  38. mario leite says:

    Thanks Pet Rock's Garage keep the videos coming.

  39. Michael Nelson says:

    A little tip. Instead of marking spacers R & L, all you have to do is put a label on one of them… say, L. Automagically, the other one is R. 😉

  40. Michael Nelson says:

    Another very well done video, thanks.

  41. The :CueCat says:

    THANKYOU! Shouted from the top of a mountain. My front tire has been leaking air and the shop tried telling me it was going to take 6 DAYS to fix my tire leak. Yea right😫 and i got a bridge for sale. I am a mechanic but for cars and had no idea what to take off first. So this a huge step forward to doing my own service and saving some idiot a 6 day ride on my bike

  42. Utah Bones says:

    Your videos are the best! Thank you.

  43. Brody says:

    Great video. Just seen the tire that was on the bike. There is bike tire changing places out towards Sturgis all over. Funny story. So they had a pile of old used tires of every brand like most places would. But the owner said you wanna see something..??? He had a pile that was 2 times the size of the other pile of JUST METZLER tires. I was like wtf??? He said…yeah I wouldnt buy those.

  44. Todd tschritt says:

    Thanks man!

  45. Dr435 says:

    Thank you very, very much for your vid.
    You were extremely helpful in your explanation and descriptions….
    I used your process to remove the wheel from my 06 Deluxe- and using the front jack as you suggested, made lining up on re assembly completely painless. I didn't need to remove my guard either.

    You're star..

  46. William Owens says:

    This is so well thought out, explained and demonstrated clearly! It makes me feel like I actually can do it! Thanks!

  47. Dar Khasdaei says:

    great video but go ahead and keep buying those shitty Ass ugly Ass tires

  48. Ninja ZX-12R says:

    I would wash that thing for you if you were close. Drives me crazy to see a dirty cycle, lol.

  49. Sean L says:

    Damn, that tire has definitely seen better days .
    You make pretty good videos man 👍 subscribed

  50. Richard Morley says:

    Love watching and learning new at this so it's great. Put my Harley in the shop 145 dollars for them to change a fusle 5 minutes job never again so learning from people thanks nz

  51. Dominic's Bricks says:

    I only lift my bike high enough to get the tire off the ground and use my toe as a jack to get the axle in or out. Same concept, just different method.

  52. The Greatest Motherfucker Ever says:

    Left and right???? You can’t just mark the right one and remember the unmarked one is left?

  53. The Greatest Motherfucker Ever says:

    You were 100% correct on one thing. The fact that “since it’s Harley it’s not cheap” damn do they over charge for their shit or what?

  54. Doug Ford says:

    Great video. My local shop wanted to charge me $300 for a tire with mounting and balancing. I out to the gargae to take the fron tire off. Thank you!!

  55. Ivan BMC says:

    how a video should be no nonsense. thanks mate.

  56. Lee Pullen says:

    Thank you so much. This is my first Harley and I had no clue. You helped me out. great Video.

  57. Blacksmith 76 says:

    Very in depth and well done,Thank You for sharing the knowlesge.

  58. Midnyx says:

    Very good use of vocabulary. Thanks for the knowledge bud

  59. Vice Grip says:

    Excellent demonstration! Thanks man!

  60. Kevin Jolly says:

    How about telling people about the rotation requirements of the tires…………………..

  61. Kevin Jolly says:

    After looking closer at your new tire. YOU have installed it on the rim backwards. And your old tire as well. That is why your tire came apart………………..

  62. Kevin Jolly says:

    I just looked up these tires of yours. There is no such thing as having a reverse tire tread on these Metzeler ME888 tires. I recommend you call the manufacture. BECAUSE you are wrong, and putting your life at rask and any passenger you may have. Good luck to you. Fix it before it does you *N PS. I did call the manufacture….!!!!!

  63. R D says:

    I think I'll change the tire on my Sportster now.Thanks!

  64. JAC says:

    This is the best video I've seen on instruction to remove the front tire. It covered all the important points and also gave some helpful tips and advice. The one thing I would add is to clean off the old grease on the spacers and on on the forks where the spacers. But I'm just nit picking, this was an excellent video.Well done and thank you!

  65. michael steiner says:

    Ok so the video doesn’t actually start until about one minute 53 seconds. He does a lot of taking about his tire before that. Otherwise very informative video. Thanks

  66. Joseph Ludwig says:

    Can I use WD40 in the stead of Anti Seize?

  67. carsandbasketball says:

    Thanks man, awesome video. Not too much bla bla like in some of the other videos, where you think you have to be a rocket scientist to do any kind of repair on your Harley.

  68. HellHound says:

    Hell Yeah Man, Helped me out of a jam and not paying a shop 269 bucks, thanks for the video

  69. Since73 says:

    great vid enjoy watching em, as I do my own work too, noticed you like the metzlers, and you put alot of miles on them, you seem to get good wear?, just curious as I just replaced my tires again on my 04 deuce, a 21 and 17, and always stuck with the dunlops, and seems all I do is change tires. so essentially whats your overall thoughts on the metzlers?, thanks

  70. Jerry Boy says:

    You rock

  71. Mike says:

    Thanks for a great video! You've taken this procedure and made it so simple along with some good tips along the way, that it would give anyone the confidence to get it done. There are a lot out there and it's by far the best I've seen. Got me to sub. Lkg forward to more of your channel.👍

  72. Michael Nathan says:

    Thanks again, im about to replace my wheel and needed to see this.

  73. Michael Nathan says:

    And i do appreciate your kind of humor lol

  74. BrewCityRider says:

    Thanks for the down and dirty info. I'm getting ready to do this job on my EVO Softail, which is more involved because of the Timken bearing service and the setting of the end play that goes along with this job. I found it interesting that you never removed the caliper – I have never seen it done that way.

  75. Bjorn Andersen says:

    Thanks for a great video, unfortunately I forgot to mark my spacers with left and right and they fell down and got mixed up so no I don't know witch spacer is left or right. The short spacer is 1,26 inch and the long is 1,34 inch. Can you tell me who is right and who is left? I have a 1999 Night Train. 1340 Evo. I have identical front-wheel and front fork as your Harley.

  76. Steel Horse says:

    Great “how-to”. Thanks. Not sure why, but I was expecting to see a speedometer cable detachment. I guess I need to go out and see where that connects. Thanks again, Pet Rock’s Garage!

  77. PAPATOUT131313 says:

    its normal my 2 spacer is not same size

  78. Giovanni Joseph says:

    Nobody does this for a CVO!

    They have chrome nut covers, no one wants to scratch, learning to take them off. There are chrome spacers that look even, but might not be – making your tape L/R suggestion solid. I have duel fron disk breaks, which could change things…

    I've done numerous things, on this FXSTDSE2 CVO blind due to few videos or wrong year. It is all usually very simple to figure out, if we are shown first. I have ruined some things, and replaced due to the stupidity of it all. Why don't they make note for CVOs, in the official factory service manual?

    I guess it's all about money! But, that is why us smartish ones like go do it ourselves!

    I had an easier time with my BMW motorcycles… you'd think they would out smart you like that more often then they do! LOL

    Thanks for what you have done!

  79. Christopher Corona says:

    I'm good with a wrench but have been kind of nervous about messing with my front wheel. Not anymore, thanks for the video and torque specs

  80. gary rossington2 says:

    Do the left/right spacers have an orientation as well, meaning do they have to be installed in the same direction as removed? When they fall out you'll not know which direction they were instslled. TY

  81. Rob low says:

    Great videos.. I'm currently in the process of replacing my front tire on my 06 fxsti.. would you happen to know the width of the rim strip needed for the 21 inch rim.. I assume your running a mh90 21 tire… thx

  82. Vortex Sophia says:

    Thank you for making a cleanly explained video on the procedure for HD wheels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *