Harley Davidson Troubleshooting Guideby Elyse Gibbons
Harley-Davidson is an American motorcycle manufacturer founded in Wisconsin in 1903. Although Harley-Davidson's are known for being well-engineered, like any machine they can still occasionally have mechanical problems. It is recommended that a certified mechanic conduct any extensive machinery work on the motorcycle for safety reasons. However, any Harley rider can pursue a brief troubleshooting and repair session at home with ease.
Check the fluids in the upper portion of the front forks and the shocks. They must be topped off and fully-sealed. An oil leak can cause loss of control, reduce contact patch integrity, and force tires to bounce on rough pavement.
Adjust the carburetor to lessen a rough idle or to eliminate sputtering when starting. To do so, turn the carburetor screw with a wrench until you get a desired fuel flow to run the motor smoothly.
Test the battery to ensure maximum power. An auto supply store will usually test the battery for free. Batteries generally fail in three ways: not charging; not holding the charge; or not releasing a charge under load. The headlights won't work with one of the first two problems. If the battery isn't releasing the charge, the headlights can still work but the engine won't turn over. Replace the battery if needed.
Inspect the bike for any visible damage. Harley-Davidson recalled many 2008 models for cracks in the fuel filter shell, and they recalled several 2009 and 2010 models to reinforce the front fuel tank mounts. A crack in this area can result in a loss of fuel pressure, which causes frequent stalls and loss of performance.
Ensure that air pressure is at an appropriate level. Allow the bike to remain stationary few hours, then test again. Low air pressure can indicate a leak in the air tubing extending from each shock, or fork tube, to the Schrader valve. Be sure to also inspect the tubing for kinks, cracks or leaks. Replace any tubing, or fittings, that are damaged.
Things You'll Need
- Oil (optional)
- Replacement parts (optional)
- Battery (optional)
Elyse Gibbons started writing in 2006 as a contributing reporter for the "Press-Republican." In 2009 she became an interim managing editor for CNHI Publications, then returned to editorial writing in 2010 as a senior reporter for the "Malone Telegram." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Plattsburgh State University.