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Old 06-27-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
softaildave49
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Default Strange Problem with HD Heritage Softail Custom

I have a 2005 HD Heritage Softail Custom. It has a twin cam 88 with a big bore kit making it 95 cubic inches. It also has Vance & Hines short shot exhaust and a high flow air filter kit on it. It has 15,000 miles on it right now, and I have had it since it had 0.
I have a problem no one at HD can fix, and it has been a problem since it was brand new and has left me stranded many times over the past 6 years. Here are the symptoms:
The engine must be at full operating temperature. Also, it seems to quit running when the ambient temperature is over 95 degrees. The engine will begin popping and backfiring, it acts like an engine out of time. This lasts only a few seconds before it shuts down completely. Then, if it starts at all, it dies if you try to put any power to it. At that point, it will not run again until the engine has cooled stone cold, usually over night. Once cold, the engine will fire right up and run like a top until this phenomenon repeats itself. It could run 100 or several thousand miles before it happens again. Last time, it went 340 miles then shut down. Fired up the next day and ran around 400 miles, no break down.
Here is what HD has done to try to fix this issue:
Replaced injectors twice
Replaced coil
Rebuilt entire top end (That's why it has the big bore kit)
Replaced all fuses and relays
The problem is HD has never been able to diagnose the issue because it never does this when they have it. By the time I get it to the shop, it is running like a top and everything checks out on their diagnostics.
The engine runs strong in between the breakdowns, but the unpredictability of the bike takes the fun out of riding it. I am always anticipating the next breakdown.
If anyone has experienced this, or has a fix, I would appreciate some advice.
Thanks
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
The_AirHawk
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Quote:
Replaced injectors twice
Replaced coil
Rebuilt entire top end (That's why it has the big bore kit)
Replaced all fuses and relays
None of those are items I would have replaced, were I trying to fix this problem. They just threw parts at it, hoping you might go-away. Were I you, I would humour them and find another Dealer to work on it. Hopefully, one with competent mechanics.

As it is EFI, I would suspect a crank or cam sensor, before any of the above parts. I'm not familiar with the TwinCam EFI system, so I can't really help you above and beyond that suggestion. I lean toward the Cam sensor, as I've fixed 4 different automobiles that gave those exact symptoms, and it was the cam sensor on each ('98 Intrepid, '04 Sebring Convertible, '03 Impala, '92 Town Car).

Teh Editz:

I mis-remembered: the Town Car was Crank Sensor, not Cam. Similar symptoms though.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
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I'm not sure if this will be relevant with your model year because my Ultra Classic was a 2003 with a similar problem.

H-D had a recall on the main fuse. This would cause my bike to stutter and die at very inopportune times (like on the 405 in LA traffic!).

The problem persisted even after the recall replacement and the dealer couldn't figure it out so I called HQ in Milwaukee. I had a nice chat with the rep there and he diagnosed my problem over the phone. He subsequently called my local dealer and told them what to do. This tripped out my dealer! They thought I had friends in high places.

Basically, they told them to replace not only the breaker but the connectors to the breaker on both ends. Apparently the connectors would get corroded then heat-soak and trip the breaker. It was very random in nature as you described.

Ran like a dream after that in all temps.

I have no idea if this is your issue but it's worth a look since you've replaced everything else.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
softaildave49
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Thanks guys for the suggestions. I'll check out the breakers and cam sensor and see what that does. Thanks again.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
None of those are items I would have replaced, were I trying to fix this problem.
Me neither, except maybe the coil.

Being fuel injected, there has to be a "computer board" somewhere that runs things. It has lots of components on it and only ONE needs to open up when hot to cause a problem.

They likely didn't want to replace the controller (computer) because that's expensive. But then, doing a "top end" was probably more expensive so I second the vote for just being stupid.

They make "canned cold" to spray on components to rapid cool them and find heat problems like this. Cost: about $10. Time involved: maybe 30 minutes.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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Sounds like the throttle position sensor to me. A flakey one fits your symptoms.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Easy Rider 2 View Post
Me neither, except maybe the coil.

<sznipzetz>

They make "canned cold" to spray on components to rapid cool them and find heat problems like this. Cost: about $10. Time involved: maybe 30 minutes.
Quite simple and easy to rule-out, on a Harley. The stuff you're referring-to is "canned air" - get it at Mal~Wart or Office Despot, like $3. (invert the can to get the refrigerating-effect of the liquid inside the can)
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:33 AM   #8
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The stuff you're referring-to is "canned air" - get it at Mal~Wart or Office Despot, like $3. (invert the can to get the refrigerating-effect of the liquid inside the can)
While that works, it isn't really very cold.

It's not what I was referring to.

They used to have canned freon that was REALLY cold and you didn't have to invert the can. I assume there still is such a thing, probably with CO2 instead or freon, but I haven't had any for YEARS.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Easy Rider 2 View Post
While that works, it isn't really very cold.

It's not what I was referring to.

They used to have canned freon that was REALLY cold and you didn't have to invert the can. I assume there still is such a thing, probably with CO2 instead or freon, but I haven't had any for YEARS.
Dolphins cry when you use those cans.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
None of those are items I would have replaced, were I trying to fix this problem. They just threw parts at it, hoping you might go-away. Were I you, I would humour them and find another Dealer to work on it. Hopefully, one with competent mechanics.
Ya think? Replace the entire top end? WTF? I'd find a competent mechanic. Doesn't look like this HD dealer has one.
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