Blue Goes Out of Warranty & Spends Some Time on the Dyno…

(720x960)113470848WARRANTY EXPIRES:

Like a good marriage, on the one hand it seems like it was just yesterday that we posed with Blue for our new owner picture at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta. On the other hand, when I think of all the rides, trips, friendships and memories we’ve made since bring Blue home, it’s hard to believe it’s only been 2 years.  I wrote a first year recap back in November of 2014 and 2015 was every bit as ambitious as 2014 in terms of trips. However, warranty issues and mods were just about zilch: routine maintenance was all that Blue required.  That’s the good news.

During those 2 years we logged just about 16,250 miles on Blue and I now have to ask, what does the future hold in terms of potential engine, drive train and electrical systems issues?  I’ve read the horror stories on the Internet but, then again, it’s the Internet. People who feel like they’ve been wronged by their dealer or the MoCo seem to flock to the Internet discussion forums while folks who are otherwise happy with their Harley-Davidson’s, dealers and the MoCo don’t which creates a very distorted view of things at times. No doubt, there are clearly systemic issues that have haunted owners over the years and you can see that over time most of them get addressed.  The 2013 CVO 110″ motors do seem to have some “fixes” to things like lifters that have helped them out.  However, I still hear from the mechanics at H-D that I may want to consider having them replaced at 20k mile intervals.  Yeah, well… Maybe.  Again, we put 16,250 miles on Blue in two years while we were still working full-time, while I was putting 8,000 miles on my other two motorcycles, 6,000 miles on the tandem & single bicycles and still managed to put 15,000 miles on the truck.  If we retire, I can only expect the mileage on Blue to increase each year, not decrease.

Anyway, Blue’s 2-year warranty expired on August 7th on that same second anniversary of ownership and that’s a double-edge sword to be sure.

On the one hand, I’ve had very few warranty issues with Blue:

  • iPod controller went bad & was replaced
  • Cruise Control’s brake switch went bad
  • Rear tire cupped pre-maturely & was replaced
  • Primary was set too tight and adjusted

On the other, some of the things that purportedly can and sometimes do go bad on the big Harley’s — compensators, lifters, valves and the like — are big-ticket items to repair.  So, the question becomes, do you buy down the financial risk by purchasing an Extended Service Plan / Warranty or do you bank that money and hope you’ll break even over the 5-year life / $2,600 cost of the ESP?  My trusted service adviser says it’s money well spent that will all come back to you IF you actually ride your Harley; for garage queens, it’s a waste.   So, that’s the next decision I’ll need to make here in the not too distant future. Speaking of which….


As mentioned in my blog entry back on July 28th, we stopped in at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) and talked with Brian and David M. about putting Blue on the Dyno to see if a pro tune might not help with reducing engine heat and also improve the engine’s performance.  While I originally thought the Fullsac map was the nuts — and perhaps it was — after 16,000 miles the engine was popping and just didn’t feel like it had as much torque as it should.  Before doing something drastic like putting in a set of aftermarket cams, I figured $400 for the dyno run might be money well spent.

FB_IMG_1439582694392The appointment with David M. at HDA and the dyno was on Friday morning, so I stopped by my friend David F’s house and picked up his trailer on Thursday at lunch, went home and picked up Blue and dropped her off at HDA. Sadly, HDA is about 20 miles out-of-the-way for anywhere we normally go so it’s not a place where Debbie can easily meet me for the drop-off / pick-up.

In addition to the pro tune, I also asked them if they could re-calibrate the speedo while they had the TTS fired-up, as it was reading about 8% off (e.g., showing 70 mph when only traveling 65 mph).

20150814_134759I got the call that Blue was ready from HDA around 2:00pm Friday while I was out on an afternoon off-road ride on my mountain bike. I stopped along the trail to grab a selfie with one of the two no-longer working Playskool Triceratops animatronics toy that someone put out on the trail and saw that the voice mail had come in.  I immediately cut my ride short, went home to clean up and grab the trailer and got my butt down to HDA so that I wouldn’t end up getting stuck in Friday afternoon traffic coming home.

I ran into David M. while I was walking into the service center and he gave me the bottom line: 96 hp and 110 ft lbs of torque and also confirmed that the speedo was successfully re-calibrated.  When I asked about the baseline run he said that after taking the bike for a test ride he felt that it was so far off that he decided to re-load a fresh factory map and start from there.  Therefore, while I don’t have a baseline map to compare the final tune / performance again, I can say without hesitation that the bike truly is running must better and definitely has a lot more grunt at the low-end; that’s a good thing. It also seemed to be running a little cooler, but that’s relative: when the rear head pipe is throwing off 420°F, 380°F would be a big improvement but would still feel pretty hot.

Here’s a snapshot of Blue’s final dyno run on her 110 cu in Screaming Eagle engine: Max HP was 96.21 and Max Torque was 110.82 in lbs.
DSCN1296 (1)For comparison purposes, below is a snapshot of the final run on the Black Dyna Wide Glide’s 96 cu in motor from back in 2011:  Max HP was 72.7 and Max Torque was 86.18 ft lbs.  


I make the mistake of riding Blue onto the trailer with just a little too much gusto and heard a pretty solid “klunk” as the front end of the frame crossed the top edge of the trailer’s ramp.  I inspected the underside of the bike and didn’t see any obvious nicks in the paint or anything else that looked like it may have made contact with the trailer.

However, once I arrived at home and went to unload Blue from the trailer I discovered that the jiffy stand didn’t want to snap back against the frame. Instead, it kind of stalled out about 4″ short and just dangled there.  After closer inspection I realized that the noise I’d heard was the jiffy stand’s spring smacking the trailer and getting stretched out in the process.  The jiffy stand still worked well enough to get the bike unloaded and back in the wheel chock, but I’d have to make another trip to HDA to pick up a new $6.50 spring.

I ended up buying two springs so that I’d have a spare in my trailer tie-down box “just in case” I ever nailed the spring again in the future, as others I spoke with all confirmed they’ve done the same thing.  Changing out the spring took all of 30 second using a pair of channel locks.

DSCN1291 DSCN1290

So, that was my added excitement for the day.  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of a Harley-Davidson dealership with something in my hand for only $11.00, never mind two things!


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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