A bike came in with shifting troubles, so in I went. It is a "dreamsickle", as I call them (huge aftermarket/catalog wide tire bike). Just getting to the trans was a pain because of the large oil tank and bees nest of electrical tape and butt connectors stuffed in it. Once in I pulled the speedo sensor (which is a magnet) from the trans, I found this- metal shavings. Some of the shavings were the size of grains of rice.
Obviously this means something went through the meat grinder, but its rare because there is no real way for shit to get inside a Harley style tranny (other than unscrewing the fill cap and putting something in). My friend Alex from NY and I pulled the gears out and found a bunch of chipped teeth, and all bearings were either loose in the case or full of metal shavings. The shift forks may have been the source of the metal debris, as one of them had been worn down to a nub riding up against a gear.
The only markings the trans has on it is "6 speed", and a sticker that says "made in Korea"- not a good sign. I did not give him the option of a rebuild, because finding parts for this would be difficult, and would add up to more than a new one costs. Despite being a Baker dealer, the customer says he will supply another one of the same trans to save money! This one was toast after only a few hundred miles, and luckily it didn't lock up on the guy when he was jammin' down the freeway next to a grey hound bus.
The moral seemed obvious to me- cheap-ass overseas chopper parts suck. It doesn't surprise me that most people are oblivious to what country they are supporting when making purchases, but you would think they would care about death or serious injury to themselves!
Dont get me wrong, Asians are responsible for some of the most amazing machinery and technology on earth, but not when it comes to cheap, American marketed Harley products.
I think part of the problem may lie in the fact that a lot of companies are american owned and promote themselves in a very patriotic fashion, yet manufacture overseas. They will even say things in their adds like "american products", or "designed in USA", and they are not necessarily lying. Their stuff is just made overseas. Just do a little background check on something if your not sure where it came from. I don't know of any American 6 speed transmissions for under $3000, so if you paid less for yours new you are sitting on a bomb, one that will go off the second you try to pass that cement truck on I-95. Did I mention I was a Baker dealer?