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The New Touring Reverse Drive System Tech Tip

Photos and text by Master Rogue

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Click on this image for a direct path to Baker Drivetrain.
Click on this image for a direct path to Baker Drivetrain.

After facing a couple of awkward incidents where I was forced to scramble off my 2009 Harley FLHTC quick and push it backwards to escape soft ground situations I started thinking about the new Baker Reverse Gear. I live in Florida, and patches of slippery sand surround me. Usually reverse systems are used on three wheelers and sidecar rigs but are becoming popular on two wheelers especially on the heavier models.

What happens if you don't have a Baker Reverse system?
What happens if you don't have a Baker Reverse system?

The Baker crew designed a reverse system specifically for a stock touring H-D 6-speed models. It was developed to work with the stock foot shifter, so I wasn't forced to reach around hot exhaust pipes to grab a separate lever. It's also impossible to lock the bike in first and reverse. A spring-loaded toggle switch engages a solenoid as you push down on the shifter preventing mishaps. After I back up, I simply stop the motorcycle, pull in the clutch, and shift into first gear.

The kit comes with detailed instruction, but a Factory Service Manual is also handy, as there are references in the instructions to the factory manual. Besides, having a manual is written In the Code of the West. Even though I have worked on a lot of Harley transmissions, I made sure I read the entire BAKER instructions before I started the job.

Basic hand tools, sockets, Allen wrenches, snap ring pliers will be used, as well as drivetrain tools such as 1- 1/6, 1- 3/16 and 1- 3/8, 6-point ½-inch drive sockets. Primary Inner Race Service Kit, Split Bearing Puller, and Torque Wrenches are also required.

You will also need access to a 20-ton hydraulic press, red and blue thread locker, anti seize, and replacement fluids and other general shop supplies and cleaners.

I dug through the Baker box just to be sure everything was included and was immediately impressed with the quality. I have dealt with BAKER enough to expect this, but I had to mention it.

I will skip over the saddlebag removal procedure, including the seat and side covers. I removed the main fuse and then the battery ground cable as a safety measure.

I grabbed two drain pans. First, I drained the primary fluid and removed the outer primary cover. Even though it was drained, there will still be some oil in the cover.
While I was waiting for the oil to drain, I started removing the exhaust and the 02 sensors.

When removing the engine sprocket, chain and clutch, I use an official JIMS locking bar between the gear surfaces. Do Not Use just anything to jam between the gears and chain. The complete clutch basket comes off without taking it apart.

When removing the inner primary be sure to cover the splines on the transmission main shaft to avoid damaging the seal.

Remove the bearing race from the mainshaft with the proper tool as you cannot remove the gear set out of the case with out doing so.

I drained the transmission while I removed the dipstick and top cover. Pull the shifter pawl off the drum and place it on the top cover-mounting surface.

Remove the transmission side cover and detach it from the clutch cable. With the motorcycle in gear and the rear brake applied, loosen both nuts from the countershaft and mainshaft. DO NOT USE AN IMPACT GUN. I used a ½-inch drive breaker bar and a piece of pipe extension. Unbolt the transmission door from the case and pull the gearset. I used a rubber mallet to Lightly tap on the mainshaft from the primary side to free it from the dowels. Do Not Hit The Main Shaft Hard!

You do Not need to remove the drive pulley or 6th gear.
With the gearset sitting on the workbench follow the instructions in the Factory Service Manual to remove the gears, washers, lock rings, and securing segments.

That's 6th gear still in place. It doesn't need to be removed.
That's 6th gear still in place. It doesn't need to be removed.

PAY ATTENTION to how everything comes apart as some parts are directional. Lay them in the order they come apart and even go so far as to use a plastic wire tie or other object to keep them in line.

Using a hydraulic press remove both shafts from the trap door. Using the Split Bearing Press Tool press the 5th gear off the countershaft and then on to the new BAKER countershaft. Make sure everything is lined up correctly.

Reassemble the gears on the countershaft; be sure they are well oiled and in the proper direction. Take care that the locking segments are fully in position and press the shaft into the new cover being sure to only press on the inner race of the bearing.
The new Baker Countershaft set up for reverse gearing. Make sure all components are replace in proper order, or you'll be in trouble.
The new Baker Countershaft set up for reverse gearing. Make sure all components are replace in proper order, or you'll be in trouble.

Once fully in the cover install the mainshaft.
The gear set back in place, ready to be slipped into the case.
The gear set back in place, ready to be slipped into the case.

Using the Baker tool to install 5th onto the new shaft.
Using the Baker tool to install 5th onto the new shaft.

Install the door into the transmission case with the gasket in place using the 5/16 socket head cap screws. This will line up the shafts with the main drive gear and countershaft bearing. With the transmission in gear and making sure the countershaft bearing retainer plate is removed, tighten the supplied nut to 45-55 ft/lbs using “Red” thread lock.

Repeat the procedure on the mainshaft. Install the countershaft retaining plate and torque the 1/4-20x5/8 button head screws to 110 in-lbs using “red” thread locker.

Remove the gearset and put it back on the bench to install the shift system.

Following the instructions in the BAKER manual, install the detent lever and shifting drum. Using the special socket provided. Torque the drum nut to 25 ft/lbs using “Red” thread lock. Install the shifting forks and rods.

You are now ready to install the gearset with the gasket in place for the final time. Use the BAKER bolt tightening sequence, and torque the bolts to 220 in/lbs using “Blue” thread locker.

With the bearing door in place put the shifter pawl on the shifter drum. It is time to check that the transmission shifts into all the gears. Raise the rear wheel using a frame jack or other suitable device. Spin the rear wheel as you go through the shift pattern. You can rotate the mainshaft slightly to make it go into each gear if it does not ratchet all the way. You should have the normal 6-speed shift pattern, plus one more down from first.

It will appear as neutral at this time because the reverse gears are not installed yet. If everything is working correctly you, can re-install the top cover and torque the bolts to 110 in/lbs using “Blue” thread lock. Do Not install the right rear bolt at this time. It will be handled when you run the reverse solenoid wiring.

Following the instructions from BAKER install the parts for the reverse to the transmission door being sure to lubricate all elements with transmission fluid and follow torque specifications.

There are two versions of Baker Reverse side covers offered, Hydraulic and Mechanical. I have the mechanical version that uses the stock clutch cable. Screw the clutch cable into the new cover using a new O-ring; I like using a little liquid Teflon on the threads as well.

Baker suggests silver anti-seize and either will work and helps the threads of the cable from sticking to the aluminum in the cover. Make sure the cable has been adjusted to its longest length and attach it to the ball ramp. Make sure the clutch actuator rod, thrust washer on the idler gear and gasket are in place and install the cover. Make Sure The Solenoid Plunger Rod Is Pulled Out Of The Way while doing this. With the cover laying flat against the entire gasket surface install the ¼-20 SHCS supplied with the kit. Follow the torque sequence and using “Blue’ thread lock tighten to 110 in/lbs.

Put the washer and spring on the reverse plunger and install plunger into solenoid tightening it by hand until the o-ring is fully compressed. Do Not Over Tighten or use pliers, as you will not be able to remove it in the future with out damaging it.

Using the wire clamp secure the solenoid wire to the top of the transmission cover again using “blue” thread lock on the final bolt and tightening to 110 in/lbs.

Fill the transmission with SPECTRO Platinum 6-Speed Full Synthetic Transmission Lubricant.

Next, I installed the race on the mainshaft using JIMS tool 2140. I then put JIMS tool 2256-2 over the splines on the mainshaft to protect the inner primary seal. I also used a new engine to primary gasket when I put it together, and I torqued the bolts to 27-ft/lbs following the sequence in the service manual.

I installed the starter and then the engine sprocket, primary chain and clutch basket as an assembly. Using the bar to lock between sprocket teeth I used “Red” thread lock and torqued the clutch hub nut to 80-ft/lbs

NOTE: Nut has Left Hand Threads. I torqued the compensating sprocket to 140-ft/lbs with “red” thread lock.

Using a small tool, I made to keep the automatic chain tensioner in the lowest position I installed it using “Blue” thread lock and torqued it to 18-ft/lbs. I removed my homemade, Rogue tool - Note the shop manual says a plastic wire tie works but frankly that leaves a lot to be desired.

I double checked the clutch pushrod placement, added the release plate and retaining ring, and made my clutch adjustment at the clutch. I then adjusted the cable out to give between 1/16 – 1/8 clearance at the housing.

I used a new gasket and installed the outer cover following the sequence in the shop manual and torqued the bolts to 108 and then 120-in/lbs.

Since the Primary had no oil in it, I added 45 ounces of Spectro Heavy Duty Primary Chaincase Oil. That is slightly more than used when just changing oil as not all of it drains out when just removing the drain plug.

I raised the gas tank and routed the solenoid wire along the wiring harness and installed the reverse toggle switch to the inner fairing on the right side of the motorcycle. Pay Attention when re-assembling outer fairing as torque level is Very Important so as not to spin the threaded insert.

Due to the longer than stock BAKER Reverse cover, I was not able to re-install the original exhaust system. This gave me the opportunity to use a D&D Performance 2-into-1 Fat Cat system for a '07-'08 FLH, part number 502-31LQ. It was not made specifically for this installation but with a few adjustments it did fit, works well and also gives more performance.

I started by removing the heat shields then replaced the stock exhaust gaskets with Harley gasket part number 17048-98-SUB. This allowed me to place the exhaust deeper into the port at the head. I used a piece of folded cardboard as a spacer between the exhaust and the transmission cover. I pulled the exhaust as far away from the frame as I could and tightened the flange nuts so the pipe was snug but could still move slightly. I added the rest of the exhaust system and positioned it so that the muffler would clear the rear wheel axle nut. I used the bracket that came with the exhaust. It mounts to the transmission, and I elongated the hole where it joined to the exhaust pipe. I did this, because I had moved the exhaust away from its intended position. I could have also used a spacer in-between the bracket and transmission to accomplish this.

With everything in place and lined up the system was tightened a little at a time to retain alignment. I did talk to Aaron Whitney at D&D and informed him of my research. D&D will look into possible changes to make this a bolt-on, and/or they will supply Baker Reverse installation information.
Modified floorboard bracket.
Modified floorboard bracket.

Since I did move the whole system to the right I had to modify the floorboard rear-mounting bracket to clear the pipe. Once this was done, I re-installed the heat shields. All in all, it was a pretty easy install with minor modifications to a system that was not designed for this application.

D&D said this exhaust system would require resetting the ECM.
This shows the lead from the Zipper's Thunder Max ECM to Rogue's computer.
This shows the lead from the Zipper's Thunder Max ECM to Rogue's computer.

I use a Zippers “Thunder Max” and it was just a matter of hooking up the laptop to the motorcycle and telling it what changes were made. I then rode the motorcycle while the system re-tuned itself. No more Dyno Time every time I make a change.

The master's ride. He's over 70 and still rides like a madman.
The master's ride. He's over 70 and still rides like a madman.

I test rode the motorcycle to make sure it went into all 6 gears. I came to a complete stop with the clutch pulled in and still in first gear I held the reverse toggle switch Up while I pushed down on the gearshift lever. As I let out on the clutch and gave it a little throttle, the motorcycle backed up. I realized I needed to be careful doing this, as I did not want to back up too quickly.

We sent this little thing to Rogue's garage to have her headlight adjusted 20 years ago. Haven't seen her since...
We sent this little thing to Rogue's garage to have her headlight adjusted 20 years ago. Haven't seen her since...

When I was ready to go forward again, I stopped and shifted up into first gear. Just to make sure that I was in 1st and still not in reverse, I tried pushing down on the lever slightly and it would not go past the stock stop showing me the safety lever was doing its job. It didn't allow me to accidentally shift into reverse.
More information is available from BAKER


Baker Drivetrain
WWW.BAKERDRIVETRAIN.COM or 1-877-640-2004 Toll Free

D&D Exhaust Sales 817-834-8961 or Tech Support 817-834-0996


Zipper's Thunder Max Sales 1-400-579-2828 or Tech Support 1-410-579-2828


JIMS Performance – Tools
Tool Free Order Line 877-482-6913


Spectro Oils of America--

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Reader Comments

Great piece, Rogue

I hope I can get this installed on “Dirty Girty” some time soon. Thanks for explaining it in plain English how to install the Baker Reverse attachment.
Keep up the great work.

Danny Seybold
Indianapolis, Indiana
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Editor Response You made Rogue's day.
I had my H-D dealer install the reverse gear into my 2021 Road Glide Limited.
I had my knee replaced and don’t have the strength to back up bike on the littlest incline.

Tried it and works great. This is going to make my riding much safer.

Tom Stock
Willingboro, NJ
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Editor Response Terrific. We like to hear reports of this nature. I will try to share with Bert and the crew.
Great article, very easy to follow and understand.Because I don't own the tools required to do the job, I'll have to let Rogue install mine when I get one.

PalmBay , FL
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Editor Response Good choice, or check with Baker for a trained dealer near you.

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