Monday, December 1, 2014

What's Wrong With Harley Davidson?!!!!

I love my Harley Road King, and I've loved all the Harleys I've had over the years.  But what's up with Harley producing bikes of inferior quality?  Seriously. 

For the last 3 weekends I've worked on my Road King.  First it was to replace the inner primary seal and then it was to fix a leak from the transmission.  In the first case, I guess it's not too uncommon for this repair to be needed.  But with only 42,000 miles on the bike I need to replace the primary seal?!  Harley wanted a thousand bucks for the job!  I did it for about a hundred bucks, the price of the parts.

I'm not an experienced mechanic, so I gained great benefit from subscribing to where there are many videos available that virtually walk you through many common repairs.  It was invaluable in for me in repairing the primary seal.  And though the journey through the Service Manual can be quite convoluted, it was spot on for the repairs.

Then I had to deal with a leak from the transmission.  I wasn't quite sure where it was coming from so I used a ultra violet tracer dye to find the leak.  To my surprise and disappointment it turned out that the leak was coming from the side access door of the transmission.  The reason?  Two bolts that connect the exhaust system to the transmission housing and hold the housing tight against a gasket were missing!  The only explanation I could come up with is that when I bought my bike I had Harley install and aftermarket exhaust system, and in their installation failed to install the two missing bolts.  Those bolts had to have been removed by Harley to take off the stock exhaust.  So the technician either didn't bother replacing the bolts, or, they weren't installed right and fell out over time.  I just find the later hard to believe. 

Unfortunately, if you peruse the internet you will find countless stories of similar issues with Harley's quality and with Harley Techs not doing a good job.  Flawed automatic primary chain tensioners, flawed cam chain tensioners, and flawed technicians.  I could recite numerous incidents of flawed repairs by Harley techs that my friends have experienced, but I think I've made the point.  

Harley's brand stands for America, but with the endless issues about bad design, bad repair, and flawed technical ability, Harley will erode its brand value and customers will eventually find their way to other competitors' bikes.   Victory and Indian are pushing hard. 

I'm not sure what mechanical issue I'll encounter next with my Harley, but it seems inevitable that I will run into yet another flawed design or repair.  Bad Harley, bad...