Post-Production Service Repair Guidelines

For service intervals, routine maintenance and repair, you may refer to the original OEM Factory Riders Handbook and Factory Service Manual. This Post-Production Service Repair Guideline is supplemental information that is subject to change. The information provided below is not intended to identify everything that should or should not be serviced on your motorcycle. It is simply a guideline, and riders and service shops have their preferences.

For the model year 1999-2000 Excelsior-Henderson Super X, for limited occasional and hobby use, generally they can be ridden if in a factory-new prepped condition, and service items as needed from normal wear and tear, taking into account the age of the motorcycle. Any factors such as frequent use, extended riding, hot weather riding, passenger riding, mileage for its age, safety, reliability, etc… an owner should review the list below and discuss with your service manager the Service Repairs.

Some of these Post-Production Service Repair Guidelines will provide enhanced safety and some are for reliability purposes. Service Repairs may be done in increments as needed, or in one Service Repair.

With well over 10 million combined miles logged on the Super X, the issues, facts, folklore, etc…are pretty well known. Keep in mind that not all motorcycles are going to exhibit the exact same characteristics of the next one, much like an automobile or any other electrical or mechanical equipment. There are many factors, from the original casting and machining of the part, the stacking of tolerances, heat treatment, usage, rider characteristics, etc…that it is difficult to precisely compare. However, in light of all this, there are some Post-Production Service Repair Guidelines on the Super X that are available, otherwise consider it as another routine mechanical product, that will need routine maintenance. Some owners like to perform some of the Service Repairs on their own, and there are authorized Excelsior-Henderson Repair Shops that specialize in these service items.


Here are some of the Post-Production Service Repairs you will want to consider addressing:

*** Transmission ***

The transmission has probably generated the most discussions, without a confirmed OEM resolution when the factory ceased production.  There have been very few reported transmission lockups, causing the gearbox and subsequently the rear wheel to lockup. 

The Super X transmission was sourced from an OEM transmission manufacturer and is well proven in motorcycle applications.  In all the factory testing, there were no failures.  Some owners have ridden over 25,000 miles before deciding to make service repairs to the transmission as specified here. The factory engineers were validating varying solutions when the factory ceased production, and there was not adequate testing at that time to conclusively prove out the engineering analysis.
 
HOWEVER, SUBSEQUENT TO PRODUCTION, there are known Post-Production Service Repairs that will address concerns regarding the transmission. During factory production some oil clearances were excessive on the gears and shafts, accelerating wear and forcing off the c-clip retainer. Also, it is believed the bearing material and bearing design were not suitable for the motorcycle and x-twin engine configuration. The solution is to remove the cassette, and install the properly bushed gears (proper oil clearances) and spiral wound clips. It is recommended to utilize the same transmission cassette housing as it is a machined-matched part with the engine casings. While the Post-Production Service Repair is being conducted on your Super X transmission, there are generally a few other items addressed, such as the oil pickup tube, the scavenge pump bushing, engine breather hose routing, clutch slave cylinder orings, etc..
 
The engine and transmission utilize the same oil lubricant, so one must be diligent on the frequent changing of oil and the proper viscosity and oil type (recommended 20-50w fully synthetic after engine breakin). 

 

*** Rear Wheel Bearings & Hub ***

The factory final belt drive tension specifications were set too tight along with possible longitudinal engine vibration causing undue stress to the powertrain, including the front motor mounts and the rear wheel hub--increasing the likelihood of early bearing failure and/or hub wear and motor mount wear.  If you ever checked your belt tension without a rider astride versus with a rider, you will note the belt tightens with the motorcycle suspension travel.  Therefore, you will want to set your belt looser than the factory specifications, and ensure the alignment is proper in the center of the sprockets to minimize the "squeaky belt" sound.  Most bikes will have no issue if the belt is adjusted properly. Generally, you will hear an unusual rear wheel noise which indicates their is a problem, or you can address this as a preventative measure. The recommended Post-Production Service Repair includes new rear wheel bearings along with the hub being machined oversized or sleeved. Some solutions are to machine a larger bore and install double-roller taper bearings on the driven side. All of these methods will work, and discuss with your Service Manager which method they use.

 

*** Air Cleaner/Throttle Body Bracket ***

The air cleaner and throttle body are primarily supported by a bracket between the motor and air cleaner/throttle assembly.  Due--in part--to an early factory installation procedure, vibrations while operating the motorcycle may cause the factory installed bracket to crack, allowing the assembly to be unsupported except where the throttle body is bolted to the heads--which can cause the intake manifold seals to leak creating a lean mixture for the engine.

An early factory installation procedure had pre-stressed the bracket incorrectly, and the procedure was later changed in real-time on the assembly line. In addition, several field service revisions are available. One method is to relieve the pre-stress on the factory installation by loosening the two throttle body bracket bolts (not the bolts connected to the heads), and you may need to loosen the nuts where the intake manifold and heads meet; then retightening the throttle body bracket bolts, and then retighten the intake manifold nuts--this relieves the pre-stress and will greatly reduce the likelihood of a bracket failure. In the event of bracket failure, another solution is to install a stronger/heavy duty bracket, which some owners have modified for their own use. The OEM bracket would have been improved on the next models. 
 
Probably the best long term option which will permanently solve the bracket failure and will also give you more usable horsepower, is to install the Post-Production (non-EPA) aluminum air cleaner assembly which has an aluminum backplate that replaces the throttle body bracket, and includes a free-flow air filter. This is an excellent option as it retains the stock factory look with the chrome air cleaner cover and provides more power.

 

*** Oil & Lubrication & Cooling ***

COOLING: Inherent in the factory design of an air-cooled engine is how to manage the heat generated. While in the design stage of the engine the company considered a water-cooled engine, however opted to stay with the traditional air/oil-cooled engines that dominated the American motorcycle market at the time. There was some design debate on whether or not to initially include an oil-cooler, and it would be fair to state a factory installed oil-cooler should have been standard equipment (Founder comment). If you do not have an oil-cooler installed, and you use your motorcycle in warm or hot climate, it is recommended as the motor is primarily cooled by passing air on the outside, and by the oil galleries on the inside of the motor. There is a factory retro kit and also aftermarket coolers available.

OIL TYPE: The same oil also provides the lubrication for the engine and the transmission, hence it may have the ability to breakdown either from heat, combustion, and sheer friction. Correctly timed oil changes are recommended, and most riders opt for 2000-3000 miles between changes. There are aftermarket oil filters that cross reference. For many of the reasons stated above, the improved characteristics of synthetic oil are also recommended for use, provided it is done so after breaking in the engine (2000-4000 miles). The company recommends a fully synthetic 20-50w oil, designed for motorcycles. Imperative to purchase the motorcycle type oil for the needed clutch additives.

OIL CHECK PROCEDURE: This is an interesting one and is necessary due to the internal oil galleries, pockets, and combined engine/transmission. You will want to check the oil ONLY after standing the bike vertical (not on kickstand) and running a warm engine at approx. 2500-3000 RPM for 15-30 seconds MAX, then shut off engine while motorcycle is vertical. This allows all the pickup tubes and galleries to find their correct natural level. Set the motorcycle on the side stand and check the oil level. Generally it is recommended to have the oil level in the middle of the dipstick settings, and no higher than the half-way mark! Any fuller will cause an over-fill condition which may cause an oil-puke situation from the breather.

OIL IN THE AIR CLEANER/OIL PICKUP TUBE: Generally, this is caused in part by the inherent design of the motor and mostly by over-filling the motor with oil. See Oil Type and Oil Check Procedure above, and ensure you do not fill oil to the full mark on the dipstick. Consider the half-way mark to be full.  Another cause is warming up the engine for a prolonged time-period while on the side stand, which can cause some oil cavities/tubes to not function properly, giving rise to oil potentially getting in the airbox when subsequently riding. There is a factory recommended service of installing an aftermarket oil pickup tube inside the primary cover which will help to improve consistent oil flow while reducing the chance of oil getting in the airbox.  These pickup tubes are readily available. When inspecting the transmission, it is a good opportunity to then install this oil pickup tube. This is recommended. Some field service repairs also include re-routing the breather line away from the air cleaner assembly, however this is not mandatory unless you continue to have oil-level issues.

STATOR BOLT OIL RESTRICTOR ORIFICE/OIL PUMP SPRING: There are some shops and individuals that make modifications that are not universally supported. One of these is alterations to the oil pump spring. The other is removing the oil restrictor (or drilling it oversize) in the stator bolt. This is not a factory recommendation, however like many service items, can be done without noticeable effect. The stated purpose of removing this restrictor is to provide more oil to the stator to help cool it hoping to minimize early failure from heat. One of the primary purposes of this restrictor is to allow the oil pump to build oil pressure for the engine, transmission, rod bearings, overhead valve train, etc...which becomes more important with higher engine temperatures and engine wear from use. Either way, your motorcycle will run fine, and is an owner's choice to feed more oil to an alternator or the engine. There are replacement alternators readily available now too.

 

*** Hydraulic Clutch Seal ***

This is a relatively minor issue but can be troublesome if not monitored. A different type of "O" ring seal material should have been specified, and the factory installed seal can allow leaks over time. Post-Production Service Repairs are primarily to install the correct "O" ring seals, and then bleed the system. This Service Repair is also recommended when the primary cover is removed for service on the transmission cassette or installing the oil pickup tube.

 

*** Engine (ECM) Fuel Mapping - Super X Tune ***

It is generally known the factory settings may have been slightly lean and not completely mapped for optimum riding purposes, and were necessarily restrictive to ensure EPA compliance. During the OEM production time period, the company was under constraints with the fuel injection mapping and was in development of revised tunes that were never completed, therefore the production oriented motorcycle tunes were never fully optimized. Subsequently, post-production a new non-production era tune was developed through resources with the factory OEM tune modules and revised with the resources of external software and technical engineering support. We now offer the most optimized engine tune that is the best operating fuel injection mapping for your motorcycle. It provides a richer fuel mixture and enhanced mapping, significantly reducing engine exhaust temperatures and improving engine performance (power). This is an EXCLUSIVE proprietary post-production tune that is only available for installation from the EH Service Shop in Minnesota and the Atlantic EH service shop in Virginia (also available on the Dave Lockhart bikes). We do not recommend any other tune other than this proprietary tune, and it is not available from any other sources.

 

*** Electric Fuel Pump Tube ***

Some Service Repairs are becoming more common due to the age of the motorcycles. One of these items, is the newer style fuels can be more corrosive and the electric fuel pump tube located inside the fuel tank can develop cracks due to age. This is frequently happening, and causing erratic running, poor fuel pressure, etc... This can be repaired by removing the fuel tank and fuel pump and replacing the hose.

 

*** Ready to Ride ***

The items mentioned above are the primary Post-Production Service Repair Guidelines most commonly recognized on the Super X motorcycles. Keep in mind that the motorcycle can be ridden without making all these Post-Production Service Repairs, especially if you have limited use and low mileage. For additional safety, reliability, and extended use, the above Service Repairs are available and recommended. As any mechanical or electrical product, the motorcycle will need routine maintenance and repairs from use, or non-use, and the factory OEM Service Manuals and Riders Handbook are the primary guidelines for the proper service and repair of your motorcycle, and are available as downloads from our website. The information provided on this page is supplemental to the OEM documents and are Post-Production, so for the most part do not have customary OEM engineering and validation, however they are field-tested by repair shops, owners and riders.

We give a big Super X thank you to the many owners, riders, service shops, and former Road Crew that have contributed their knowledge toward these Post-Production Service Repair Guidelines. Special thanks go to Marty and Jamie Jones of Atlantic EH, Jim McCarthy for all his engineering analysis which is over most of our heads, Dave Lockhart for his late night head scratching, and Tim Marsteiner for his work on the Super X tune. Never let it rest.

Often times when Dan Hanlon was asked during the design phase of the Super X, "how long do you want the bikes to last," he would answer, "one-hundred years!"

Well, we're on our way!

Excelsior-Henderson Dealer Tech

This video was created for the Excelsior-Henderson dealer network on the new model year 2000 lineup, along with some technical tips and ongoing product changes. Conducted by the lead Dealer Technical Manager, Dave "Doc" Danielson. circa 1999.



Thank you for helping to keep these bikes on the road...and for our children and grandchildren to also someday enjoy...




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