Adjust Harley Shocks
Harley-Davidson motorcycles use three different types of shocks. Touring models use air shocks to deliver a smooth ride that is easily adjustable for changing passenger and cargo weight. FX and XL models use the traditional spring-over shocks that are adjusted with an external spring preload ring. Softail models use shocks with internal springs, and the ride is adjusted by changing the preload with an external adjuster. The shocks should be set soft enough to deliver a smooth ride yet stiff enough that the rear wheel does not bottom out in the fender.
1. Raise the bike with the lift so that the rear wheel is off the ground. Remove the saddlebags from their supports on the frame. Locate the shock air valve on the left side of the bike near the fender and remove the cap.
2. Install the no-loss air pump onto the shock valve stem. Record the pressure that registers on the gauge.
3. Adjust the pressure until it is between 10 and 35 pounds. Operate the pump to increase the pressure or bleed off pressure with the release valve located on the pump.
4. Remove the pump and replace the air valve cap. Reinstall the saddlebags.
External Spring Shocks
5. Raise the bike with the bike lift so that the rear wheel is off the ground. Remove the saddlebags.
6. Engage the spanner wrench with the notches in the spring adjuster ring at the bottom of the shock. Turn the ring clockwise to soften the ride and counterclockwise to stiffen it. Adjust each side evenly to maintain balanced support at the rear end.
7. Reinstall the saddlebags.
Softail Shock Adjustment
8. Raise the bike with the bike lift so that the rear wheel is off the ground. Locate the shock adjuster plate on the rear end of the shocks.
9. Turn the adjuster lock nut counterclockwise two or three turns with a wrench. Engage the spanner wrench with the notches in the adjuster plate. Turn the plate, in full turn increments, clockwise to soften the ride and counterclockwise to stiffen it.
10. Tighten the lock nuts firmly onto the adjuster plate.