Harley Davidson Compensator Replacement Cost

Unreliability is an issue that rarely plagues Harley Davidson motorcycles. But small problems do arise from time to time as the bikes age, and the miles rack up. One part that is often the culprit is the compensator, and it isn’t a cheap replacement part.

You should expect to pay between $250 and $500, depending on the model year of your Harley. Fortunately, the replacement job takes 0.9 hours, which translates to just under an hour of work.

In total, you would pay somewhere between $350 and $900. However, it should be kept in mind that the per hour labor rate differs between states, so the final price will ultimately depend on that.

Compensator and Related Parts

The compensator is one piece of the puzzle, meaning other parts go along with it to make the entire system work. Sometimes, they can malfunction with the compensator, and that is when dealerships slap you with a hefty repair bill.

They might ask you to get a new rotor and/or the stator along with the compensator. That’s something you don’t always expect, so keep in mind that the price can fluctuate depending on the wear and tear on your bike.

Also, it’s better to replace all three parts at one time, so the next time there isn’t a need to open up your bike to replace only one of them.

What is a Compensator?

The compensator is a small part (a unique spring) designed to take abuse. That is actually its job – to absorb the violent torque coming from the engine and transfer it further to the transmission.

Generally, it’s a vibration damper or buffer found in twin-cam Harley engines to reduce the pressure on the clutch and transmission. Without a compensator, the untamed torque could damage the chain, the clutch pack, or the transmission. So, it is a vital part without which you can’t ride. Hence, it’s an expensive price tag.

Can You Perform a DIY Repair Job?

As is true, with any repair, the question “Can you DIY it or not?” has the same answer. It all depends on your motivation, your mechanic skills, and the availability of the right tools.

A compensator replacement job can take less than an hour if you are well-versed with the procedure. However, even if you are a novice at this kind of work, you can get by with a few hours of hard work. If you get stuck anywhere in between, check YouTube – your best friend in such situations.

But do not open up anything before completely understanding the procedure. One wrong move and you could mess up the clutch pack, break the wire, or do something else which would cost more to repair.

So, we would recommend observing a professional do the work first. Once you have seen and learnt the entire procedure first-hand, you can attempt it yourself.

Indy or a Dealership

Naturally, we wouldn’t recommend you go to a Harley Davidson. You should keep this option as your last resort because these guys charge a lot for small repairs. Meanwhile, an indy shop would do the same for a fraction of the money.

But if you have money in the bank and don’t want any hassles, go straight to a Harley Davidson official dealership. Also, the dealership should be your first choice if you have a service warranty. That way you could save a lot more money.


1 How long does a Harley Compensator last?
A Harley Davidson compensator is built to last 10,000 to 15,000 miles. However, depending on your riding habits those numbers could increase or decrease.

If you are gentle with acceleration, you could get more than 15,000 miles out of the compensator.

2 What Does a Compensator Do on a Harley?
A compensator does the job of a vibration dampener, absorbing just enough power coming from the crankshaft to not damage any small parts.
3 How do I remove my Harley compensator sprocket?
Quite a lot of work goes into removing the compensator sprocket.

First, drain the primary drive oil, followed by removing the outer primary cover. Next, you will need to heat the compensator sprocket bolt to loosen it in its place. After that, get a drive locker to allow no movement in the area, while you are working.

Once all that is done, you need a breaker bar with a T-70 Torx bit to undo the bolt and the rest of the compensator assembly.

4 How do you know the compensator is bad?
You would hear a clang at every startup, have trouble going through the first two gears, or you could experience a graining sound near the front of the primary.

However, you can’t say for sure unless you remove the primary cover and check for yourself.

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