Features Maintenance Common Problems With Harley-Davidson Motorcycles (Part 2)

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Common Problems With Harley-Davidson Motorcycles (Part 2) Hot

Harley-Davidson recalled more than 35,000 motorcycles in 2007 because of a problem with the exhuast system that put riders at risk for burns.



We began with Part 1 of this topic discussing some of the most significant Harley-Davidson problems over the past decade. Since there have been numerous other problems with Harleys, we’ll continue this story with a few other problems that have surfaced in recent years. Let’s take a look at a few additional problems that Harley owners have faced over the past decade.

Electrical System

Various 2007 models were found to have a potential problem in the electrical system. The positive battery cable could have came into contact with a weld bead on the oil tank. This could have caused an electrical short and eventually resulted in an oil leak or a fire.

In May of 2007, Harley-Davidson recalled over 52,000 bikes in response to this finding. These included the following:

  • FLSTC 2007
  • FLSTF 2007
  • FLSTN 2007
  • FLSTSC 2007
  • FXST 2007
  • FXSTB 2007
  • FXSTC 2007
  • FXSTD 2007
  • FXSTSSE 2007
  • SOFTAIL 2007

To fix this problem, Harley dealers installed a battery caddy to protect the cable and ensure proper cable routing.

Exhaust System

Select 2006 and 2007 Harley models faced a seemingly minor but dangerous problem. The pant legs of riders were susceptible to contact with the exhaust pipe. As a result, the pant legs could have charred or burned and injured the rider.

In response to this finding, Harley recalled over 35,000 bikes in July of 2007. These included the following:

  • XL1200L 2006-2007
  • XL1200N 2007
  • XL1200R 2006-2007
  • XL50 2007
  • XL883 2007
  • XL883L 2007
  • XL883R 2007

To rectify this problem, Harley simply installed a new exhaust shield on the affected models. This provided additional coverage to the exhaust pipe, which increased safety for riders.

Service Brakes

Several 2008 and 2009 models faced a problem with the acorn stud at the brake reaction link. The stud had the potential to fall out during use. As a result, the front brake and fender assembly would have no longer been retained, leading to a potential crash.

In response to this finding, Harley recalled over 11,000 motorcycles in May of 2009. These included the following:

  • FLSTSB 2009-2009
  • FXSTSSE2 2009-2009
  • FXSTSSE3 2009-2009

Harley dealt with this problem by replacing the acorn stud. It also added a retaining clip to each affected bike.

Fuel Filter

Numerous 2008 Harley models were affected by a fuel filter issue. They were subject to a cracking of the fuel filter shell, which could have lead to a loss of fuel pressure. The potential results included a failed start, diminished performance or even an engine-stall.

As a result of this problem, Harley recalled over 47,000 motorcycles. These included the following:

  • FLHP 2008
  • FLHPE 2008
  • FLHR 2008
  • FLHRC 2008
  • FLHRSE4 2008
  • FLHT 2008
  • FLHTC 2008
  • FLHTCU 2008
  • FLHTCUSE3 2008
  • FLHTP 2008
  • FLHX 2008
  • FLTR 2008

To remedy this situation, Harley replaced the affected fuel filter shells free of charge.


Part 1 and 2 of this set have discussed some of the most significant problems with Harley bikes over the past decade. There have been plenty of others involving less motorcycles and/or minor issues, as well. However, despite it’s problems, Harley is still going strong as both a company and a cultural icon.

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+1 # malcolm hardwick 2012-12-26 11:58
re/. my fxstc. had to replace primary chain at 25000 mls. due to lots of worn links and very noisy [still have old chain for proof]this must have been a faulty chain, bike has been well serviced. last 20,000mls running on fully synthetic oil and nearly all of this millage touring europe. dockgate 20 where i bought bike closed, riders of bristol no help at all. after promising to ring me back [twice] still waiting 18 months later. harley europe no help, said its out of warranty and shut case, i said this is a manufacturing fault not a warranty issue.have all old letters to/from harley. bike now at 31000 and running well. love bike great for touring or riding round town, just annoyed at harley attitude
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+2 # Rob M 2013-03-16 03:04
These problems are of no concern to anyone wanting to purchase a Harley.
The quality issues are the ones that cost the owner money. The built in dealer revenue generators.
Issues like stator failures, cam shoe failures, clutch failures, and many other problems that are designed to fail.
These built in design failures are what keep there dealer network healthy and very wealthy.
It's the cost of ownership that has potential buyers Leary of the quality of the product.

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+2 # Edward pourner 2013-10-02 14:37
I own a 07 1200c sportster the oil pump locked up pn my bike and caused a lot of damage to my engine I always made sure my bike had oil in the crank case dose anyone know if there is a recall for this problem
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