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Discussion Starter #1
Oh No! Not another mysterious sound diagnoses! Upon reflection, it is incredible how much time mechanics spend diagnosing sounds, and how good one can get at it.

So I come to this community a bit sheepishly, knowing how hard it is to do this sort of thing.

I'm now experiencing a rubbing, soft grinding sound on my V. It is a rotational sound, only happening when the bike is moving, and it does seem to correlate with the speed of the bike.

1. First thought was brake rubbing, but I've carefully used both brakes and neither front or back seems to have any impact on the sound.
2. The brake calipers are not scored in any way.
3. There is nothing clearly wedged anywhere, no sticks, nothing.
4. The sound is the sound of something like a wire brush rubbing a brake disc. A Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.


My only theories now are that it has something to do with a bearing front or back, or something with a disc caliper that is somehow not affected by using the brakes.

Any known V issues here? Any ideas? Any hints at diagnosis? I'm going to put her on the stand tonight and see if running her in gear tells me anything (all precautions taken). :confused:
 

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I would say bearing, but I would suggest putting it on a stand as you said and then spin each wheel and figure out if its front or back. Taking the calipers off is a pretty quick job too, and that will tell you if the sound is coming from there or the bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are the calipers indeed quick and easy? I've done them countless times on cars, but not yet on my V. That would let me check to see the pads are OK, that the pistons are moving in and out alright, and such. If I can get the sound while spinning the wheels by hand, then I might be able to distinguish bearing from brake related by removing the calipers and listening.
 

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Yep, 2 bolts and they slide right off. Just DON'T pull the lever or it'll pop the piston right out and make a BIG mess! Don't ask how I know OK? :eek:

Likely way off base but you did check the chain right? Mine makes noise when it needs lubed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Time. I have no reason to think it is the chain because I'm very good at chain maintenance. I clean and lube it every week or about 150 miles, and it is properly tensioned. I'd be surprised if it was that, but I can't utterly rule it out.

The sound certainly happens even when I am drifting along in neutral, but the chain moves on bikes then too. It just doesn't have that kind of sound.
 

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Here are my two cents...

1. The brake pads will rub very slightly on the discs. From what I understand they are designed that way and It's common. That may be what's going on. One way to find out is lift the bike off the ground a bit and spin the tires. It could be front or rear or both. Typically you wouldn't hear it when you're riding. It's not very loud.

2. Probably more likely, it's the chain rubbing on the chain guide. If there is too much slack in the chain, it'll rub along the chain guide. The chain guide is the black plastic thing attached to the top of the swing arm (at least it is on my 2011). EDIT: Just noticed that you addressed the chain as I was typing this post. I might suggest double checking it again, just to be super sure it's not the chain.)

3. Personally, I'd be surprised if it's the wheel bearings, but you never know, and I'm no expert.

Start with the simplest and work your way from there.

I'd start by properly checking your chain slack. First you need to have the rear wheel up off the ground and rotate the rear tire until you find the point where the chain is tightest. Measure the slack there. Note that to measure the slack, you need to have the bike on the side stand. Kind of a PITA to go back and forth when checking and adjusting a chain. It could be possible that it's much tighter in one place than it is in another. You may need to replace your chain if that's the case. I think the owner's manual has instructions for checking slack. You can also track down the service manual online for free with a little internet searching.

After that I would check to see if it's the brake pads are rubbing. A note of caution, the bolts that hold the calipers on to the front forks are a major PITA to get off. They are either torqued down hard and/or have some kind of thread locking agent on them. It also looks like the heads of the bolt are designed kind of poorly. By that I mean they have some rounded edges. I don't know why. It's a pain and I recommend having quality tools for the job. I totally stripped the heads on at least one of my bolts and spent a bit of time futzing with it with some vice grips to finally get it off.

If you get the service manual it tells you how to check the wheel bearings for play. It's probably easier to check the wheel bearings for play than it is to get the front brake calipers off. If there is play, then replace the wheel bearings.

Another possibility might be that there is something stuck to your tire. I realized I had picked up a nail in my rear tire when I heard it hitting up against the rear hugger.

I hope this will help get to the bottom of this. Do keep us posted.
 

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BTW for my 2nd gen the fronts caliper bolt get tightened to 25 ft-pd and the rear are to the same tightness. I use a little Blue Loctite and check after a couple of rides.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again for help. Looking around about removing my rear wheel I see there are some spacers between the swingarms and the wheel. They are evidently supposed to be greased, which makes sense from what I can see in the pictures. If that grease wore out, then those spacers may rub and make the sound I am hearing, which would not be the bearings, but related.

What about that?
 

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I don't think the spacers really need grease as they don't turn. If you look they get clamped between the swing arm/fork and the inner race of the bearing. But a little grease will help keep them from rusting into place. I use Anti Seize in the axles to keep them from locking into place.
 

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I noticed I have a similar sound. As a matter a fact dead on based on your discription. I found that the noise ceased to exsist after rolling the bike backwards then forwards. But never the less the noise still comes around while coasting at low speeds.
 

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I had exactly the same issue as you when I adjusted my chain.
After tightening the rear axel nut to Factry Spec Torque, the next day while riding all I could hear a grrrr grrr grrr sound over the engine noise while coasting... After work I raised the rear wheel and spun it and there was a very faint sound... so I undid the rear axel nut and this time I torqued it, then undid it and torqued it again then undid it and torqued it again. Each time I re-torqued the nut it was in a different angular position. The noise was gone when free spinning it by hand, and was gone on the test ride.

Originally I only tightened the axel nut once to spec and that was it. I think this cause some alignment issues with bearing, spacers and axel etc
maybe it was too tight somewhere between 2 parts than other side.

So I suggest try undoing the rear axel nut and torque it up, then repeat 3 times to seat the bearing, spacers and axel etc.
I have used this method since and the noise has not returned.
 

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So in thery, if in fact the brakes were rubbing enough to cause a noticable sound, after some time, the said pads that were rubbing would wear down correct? Thus eleminating the sound?
 

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So in thery, if in fact the brakes were rubbing enough to cause a noticable sound, after some time, the said pads that were rubbing would wear down correct? Thus eleminating the sound?
Each time you apply the brake they are pushed back harder onto the rotor and than when you release the brake they are just touching. Thus always rubbing against the rotor lightly even as they wear down over time.
 

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Check if your chain tension varies significantly as you rotate rear wheel. i had to replace mine at 2,600 miles.

Remove your brake calipers and pads to clean them thoroughly. It's well due for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great suggestions folks, much appreciated. I'm especially interested in the people saying they have had the same problem related to the torque of their nuts. I had just adjusted my chain tension and so will check that.

My plan is to remove my wheel for the first time this weekend, check and clean everything, and reassemble. My pads are of uncertain history since I bought the bike with 8,000 on it, but I am inclined to replace them just for the sake of resetting the clock. And the chain is the same. It is within range of adjustment, meaning there is still a lot of room to tighten it, but a reset there might not be bad either.

Anyway, you've given me some good places to look and I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Problem solved?

It seems I have solved the problem. I took the rear wheel off for the first time and now see how it goes together. The spacers were dirty and dry, but otherwise fine. The bearing on the chain side seemed to have a bit of roughness in it when turned by finger but that then went away with more turns.

So I cleaned all the seals and regreased everything with my favorite Super Lube and put her back together. On my bike, it is hard to get the torque to the specified 80. It seems one alignment of the marks is about 75, and to get to 80 I need to turn it several more ticks and it is stuck between alignments for the cotter pin. So I have left it at 75 rather than put it at 85.

When I had the wheel off I was able to check the chain and every link seemed to bend and move easily. No tight or sticking links.

In any case, I got on her and rode around and the grrrrr grrrr sound seems to have gone away. I can still hear the chain sound on the guide, but that is unavoidable and it sounds normal.

The brake pads and rotors all looked fine.

I checked alignment using both the tape measure to pivot points and string methods and by both systems everything seems true.

So thanks again for tips.
 

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...On my bike, it is hard to get the torque to the specified 80. It seems one alignment of the marks is about 75, and to get to 80 I need to turn it several more ticks and it is stuck between alignments for the cotter pin. So I have left it at 75 rather than put it at 85..../QUOTE]

Suggest next time you see the same 'problem', loosen the nut, then turn the axle SLIGHTLY so the hole will align w/ your "castle-nut". Might have to do it a couple of times....
 
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