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Discussion Starter #1
I am posting this because there has been much discussion/bul$hite regarding Harley’s and their flawed ways and many of you think that it’s only a matter of time that a Harley inevitably breaks down while some of us have never had an issue and know of plenty of Harley’s that run 100K without issue (although some of you still won’t believe us). I writing this to give you an honest story and it’s outcome.


Yep, that’s right, you read here first with full disclosure. My wife’s 2013 Harley Davidson Softail Heritage died with complete engine failure after only 3K miles.


The Situation – One beautiful Sunday morning we were headed out on a group ride with 11 bikes. I was the RC of the second pack and wifey was riding tail-gunner for me. We were about 40 miles from home and had come up to a stop light and I turned back to check on the pack when wife gives me the sad face, points at her bike and give me the thumbs down. I immediately signal the pack to pull into the gas station and as I pulled out my ear plugs, she pulls up next to me and it’s painfully obvious that we have a serious problem with the bike. With the engine running, you could hear a very loud clanking sound, like the sound of an old Chevy about to throw a rod. It’s clear that we cannot continue on the ride but what to do about getting home AND the bike to the dealership? We determined that the bike was under full warranty and that she was under no real danger of the engine exploding so let’s ride it on home. The ride home was easy and after a couple of days I ride into the dealership.


The Dealership and Moco Warranty – When I pull it into the dealership the Service Tech (Becca) came out to get our information and when she fired up the bike the look of dismay was a little amusing. She said she had never heard anything like that before. (She was very young so I wondered how many opportunities she’s had in her short time as a certified HD mechanic). Anyway, she assured us the bike was under full warranty and she would take care of us but to give them a day to look it over. After about a day she called my wife and told us the problem was a cracked cylinder wall and cylinder head and even sent us pictures. The bike was running very hot and the pistons were clanking against metal. If we kept running it the pistons would have eventually busted and the engine would stop running. In other words, complete engine failure. She said HD warranty would handle everything and in a nutshell, wifey is getting a new engine. She claims that the mechanics in the back along with HD warranty were completely dumbfounded as they had never seen anything like this before, it’s unheard of.

My inclination is to be suspicious of these statements because you never know if they’re covering their butt’s trying to cover up a bigger problem but I have no grounds NOT to believe them. Could this be the dreaded lifer problem? I dunno – could be. But think about it, NO bike manufacturer wants complete engine failure at 3K miles. She said the only problem was that it would take 20 days to get the engine to the dealership and another day to install. This wasn’t an issue as Thanksgiving weekend was upon us and we were going to have bad weather in the forecast so if it had to happen, this was the time of the year for it to happen.


Celebration Day – fast-forward 2 weeks and my wife gets a call on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and bike is ready, IMPRESSIVE! And a little…..suspicious? When we picked it up, Becca tells us that they actually overnighted the engine via Southwest Airlines which means they really put a priority on this one. So instead of the 21 quoted days it was only 11 days to fix. I rode it and it rides great, very smooth with no shake, like before. Yep – no dreaded Harley shake (look it up, there’s a reason for this).


Conclusion – No bike or other product should have complete failure within the first year of use but I guess it can happen. And if it had to happen then this is the time of the year for it. The new engine comes with a full warranty and we paid “0” out of pocket (as expected). I’m really happy for the outcome and couldn’t be happier with the experience we received from Becca and the Moco, kudos for them standing behind their product!


In Reality – Moco has a brand to protect and if I were to guess, this failure could only be described just short of catastrophic with catastrophic meaning “resulting in death”. They needed to be responsive and I can’t help but think we are not the only ones to experience this but then again, we’ll probably never know. They shipped the engine back to Moco where they will study it to find if they have a possible recall issue. My guess is that this issue occurred during assembly or it was a bad run of the original casting but certainly not a design flaw but I could be wrong.


The bottom line is that Moco fixed the issue in a timely fashion and this issue is the only problem we’ve ever had with our Harley’s (albeit a major problem). AND, we have never been left stranded on the side of the road so I will continue to knock on wood!

So there you have it a happy ending!


Here are a couple of pics:





 

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Sucks, but it happens. Good to hear you were taken care of.

One of my first Hondas was a CRX (car for you people that don't know). First car I bought new.... Three months after I bought the car, in January, I was rolling down I-70 when the engine shot a rod through the bottom of the block.... BOOM. Something about an internal oil passage being blocked or something.

Luckily, the dealer stepped up and covered what the warranty did not. Brand new engine. Not a penny out of my pocket.... Just some time and some stress.

It happens... The important thing is that the dealer, warranty company, and manufacturer step up and make things right for the consumer.




FYI, Fun little car - I've owned three of them over the years. Lol.
 

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Let me tell you a little secret. I've been a professional wrench turner sense 1964, and I can tell you over those years I have worked on every kind of engine from 18 liter diesels to 1 1/2 hp Briggs and across the board new only means new, not perfect. HD has come a long way to bring their image up and they have some mighty fine workmanship, but they mass produce a lot of engines on any given day and from the looks of the pics it was just a simple case of metal failure. It happens. Glad to hear there are still some stand up dealerships out there to stand behind you.
Good for you, keep on riding. And enjoy the journey.
 

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Glad everything turned out well. I agree with you, no company wants their product to fail like that and in such a short amount of time. I imagine that if it was common for them to have to replace their engines within the first 3000 miles they probably wouldn't be business very long. Full disclosure, one of my riding buddies has a Road Glide and an Electra Glide trike. He has only had them in the shop for routine maintenance. No mechanical failures so far with about 20k miles on both.

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I don't think that your wife should ever trust that Harley Heritage again and being the caring person that I am, I will even trade her a totally dependable Honda Shadow Aero. Hell, I'd even truck the Shadow to Texas for her. LOL. Harley makes a really nice bike and if i could have any bike of my choice, which i can't, it would be a new Hertiage.
 

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Things are made by people
Things are made with materials
People screw up
materials fail.. no matter the make model or thing
 

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I would be interested in what they find, If I had to guess I would say that in production someone forgot to drill an oilway, or left one full of swarf, if so 3,000 miles without oil is a pretty sure way to destroy an engine..I can't help wondering, during that 3,000 miles what is the longest run the bike has done.

John.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Glad it worked out and quickly. Mind sharing which DFW dealer you worked through?


We trudge on.
Sure, that would be HD of North Texas in Carrollton at I35 and Sandy Lake Rd.

They've always done me right I continue to recommend them as a dealer!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would be interested in what they find, If I had to guess I would say that in production someone forgot to drill an oilway, or left one full of swarf, if so 3,000 miles without oil is a pretty sure way to destroy an engine..I can't help wondering, during that 3,000 miles what is the longest run the bike has done.

John.
I'm with ya, I'm curious too.

The longest this bike has done (at least with my wife because we bought this used with 1007 miles on it) was 2 trips to Mena, Ak. from Dallas for a total of 600 miles round trip per trip.

The first thing I checked was the oil reservoir and it had oil.
 

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One of my riding buddies bought a new 2013 Ultra Limited last spring. His engine lasted all of 2500 miles. HD did replace it under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Seems they may know about it already, hence no questions asked super speedy repair.
My gut is telling me that you're right.

One of my riding buddies bought a new 2013 Ultra Limited last spring. His engine lasted all of 2500 miles. HD did replace it under warranty.
I had heard where someone had heard that there was an issue with some of the 2013 engines. I typically discount these because if you don't encounter the issue then it's not an issue.
I'm convincing myself that there was a bad manufacturing run or a bad assembly of the motor at the production plants that affected a number 2013 engines.
 

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The good news is you get to break a new engine in all over again! I hope they cover the 1k service since you have to do it twice on the same bike.
 

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One of my riding buddies bought a new 2013 Ultra Limited last spring. His engine lasted all of 2500 miles. HD did replace it under warranty.
Don't tell me this. I have a 2013 limited. Though I'm at 4,500 miles. I suppose I'm good either way. I have the 5 year warranty.
 

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Friend of mine bought a new R1200GS "waterhead" BMW and had a leaking water pump within a few hundred miles. Stuff happens.
 

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Good that it worked that way for ya, I worked for a division of GM and for years drove the various models for 35k miles and turned them in, usually going through 3 to 4 cars a year, I had one loose the transmission in less than a 1000 miles,,never saw the car again, but things like that happen to all manufacturers.
 

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Good to here its all sorted and minus the Harley shake.. I rode a few new Harley's a couple of weeks ago and I struggled to get my head around how new bikes could vary so much from bike to bike with the amount of vibrations, some worse on accelerating some decelerating some shake some fine vibe..... They are what they are just I thought they would not be so different to ride to each other....even variants of the same model ?
 
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