A warning to people about HD and warranty work

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by davidzapr, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. davidzapr

    davidzapr New Member

    Hi everyone. This post is probably the only one I will make here, please feel free to e-mail me at the address I provided during registration. I did read the FAQ's so I think I am in compliance with your forum's rules before I post, but I do apologize if the post ruffles any feathers, or has to be edited, etc. I had to sell my one year old 2007 883 sportster because HD refused to fix it to the point that it ran reasonably correctly, and to their own internal memo's of oil usage: the bike used one quart of oil per 622mi of riding, and smoked so much after sitting for 2-3 days that my local cops said either fix it or they would ticket me. This applies to the HD factory conversion to 1200 spec with the HD factory conversion kit. This was SUPPOSED to keep the bike under warranty, and it did, but HD could/would not fix it. I was worried about the valves getting so much carbon on them that they would burn up from not closing completely. Here is my letter to HD after I had to sell the bike:

    To: Harley Davidson Customer Service From: David xxxxx
    3700 W. Juneau Avenue PMB xxx
    Milwaukee, WI 53208 Deming, NM 88030
    414-343-4056 575-xxx-xxxx

    To whom it may concern,
    I am writing this letter in reference to 2007 883 Sportster VIN: 1HD4CN2137K423311 which is in your database for problems related to a factory conversion to 1200 spec. I want to tell your company about the complete lack of concern for the problem that this bike has had since it's conversion in late March. As your records show, I brought this bike into Barnett HD in Las Cruces New Mexico in late March of 2008 for a factory 883 to 1200 conversion using the HD complete conversion kit(the bike already had SE SP mufflers on it). The bike was done in around 4 days and I picked it up a week later. Upon first starting it at the dealership, it poured smoke, and I thought it was just the lube from assembly, so I went on my way for a trip to Roswell NM a few hours away. After being on the road for an hour or so, I saw lots of oil coming from the rear head onto the outside of the rear pipe and the oil tank. As I was near Roswell, I went into the HD dealer there. They thought it was a pinched rocker cover gasket, and I paid them to replace it, as I thought this was just a little problem. I went to my hotel in Roswell, and the bike was not operated for 2 days. When I started it 2 days later, it poured smoke(white, choking smoke), and the rear rocker cover again was leaking a lot of oil, so I rode it to the HD dealer where the work was done(Las Cruces) and even thought it was a Sunday, they replaced the rear rocker cover gasket, test rode it, and saw it leaking again. This started the hell with this conversion. That bike stayed at that dealer for 2 months, got a new set of chrome rocker covers(which DID fix the rocker cover leak for good) and a new rear head which was supposed to fix the smoke issue. It did not, after sitting for 3 days it again poured smoke when started, and the dealer picked up the bike to fix it, and it came back a week later. I was instructed to ride it and let it break in, and then see if the problem had gone away. At this time I started a log(copies included) to make sure what was going on with the oil issue. The first check of how much oil it used(as an 883 it NEVER used any oil), showed 767mi per quart, and as this was just a prelim measurement I decided to change the oil for new HD regular(not Syn3) oil, new filter, ride the bike after changing to get all the bubbles out, then put the oil level at the middle of the oil dip stick(I put a hash mark on it) so that it was not over full and blowing oil out the breathers. I ALWAYS measured the oil in my driveway after the bike was fully warm, ALWAYS put in a little oil, rode a few miles, etc. until it was back at the hash mark again...very consistent measuring, and I used a graduated beaker to measure the oil going in. The bike NEVER leaked oil, and I constantly checked for any leaks. Also, after sitting for a few days, it still smoked a lot, and had bursts of smoke at around 3500rpm. All this after the bike was gone for over 2 months, was in the shop 3 times including the initial conversion, and I had called your company to see what could be done. I next contacted Barnett HD in Las Cruces NM on 8-22-2008, and said I was going to drop it off on 9-27-2008 for a month while I was on vacation for them to finally fix the smoke issue and fix the bike to factory spec(less than 1 quart of oil usage per 1,000mi riding). I also had them re-gear the primary drive to 1200 spec(it already had a 30 tooth countershaft sprocket). When I called the dealer on 10-24-2008 at 0910hrs I was told the almost incredible news: 1. The bike was ready, 2. there was no problem, and 3. I was to ride it and have THEM add oil to show there was nothing wrong with it(they did not believe me as to the oil issue, even though they had my mileage book, nice people). I arrived at 0900hrs 10-25-2008 to pick-up and ride the bike home(I live 55mi away), started it in their parking lot outside the service bay, and it poured white smoke. So I shut it off, went inside, brought out the service manager for that day, and started it again to 'prove' to him that it does indeed pour smoke. His comment?? 'That's obviously where the oil is going, from the front cylinder'. The bike had sat for a few weeks before I started it. I left the bike, called your company to discuss what was going on here(total time the bike had been gone in the last 71/2 months: 3 months 21/2 weeks!). I was called back by YOUR people, who said that the dealer had it well in hand. I was called by the dealer on 11-14-2008 and told that they had 'torn down the rear cylinder, and re-aligned the oil control ring'. He also stated that in riding it around 50mi total, a few miles every day, it did not smoke and that the smoke I saw was the enrichment from the FI when the bike was cold. Well...as I observed and told your company(I called you guys again on 11-14-2008 to say that the bike really needed to go back to the factory to be looked at, or SOMEWHERE to be fixed, a really nice lady said that I could take it somewhere, but that YOU would not be helping me...really nice for a bike under warranty), riding it everyday does not produce much smoke...letting it SIT for a few days produces lots. The oil control ring being the problem is pure rubbish! If the bike is smoking after sitting for 3 days or so, and smoking a lot, then the oil HAS to be dripping down into the chamber – I.E. from leaking seals, or guides, or somewhere ABOVE the chamber....last I looked, oil cannot travel UP against gravity through this oil control ring, flood the chamber, and produce smoke. I picked the bike up as it was now up to 'factory' spec per Las Cruces HD, rode it to Barnett El Paso HD, and sold it to the dealer there(owned by the same company) for the rousing sum of $4000. The bike smoked when revved around 3500rpm as it always had, and when the sales manager rode the bike around to the service bay, he goosed it in the lower gears, and guess what? A BIG puff of white smoke from this 'in spec' bike. This bike spend FOUR months out of the eight since it's conversion in YOUR dealers service bay. You did NOTHING to help with this, they did NOTHING to fix it, and I assume if you answer this letter you will blame the whole thing on me. By the way, I did check the New Mexico lemon laws, and because the bike was 'Modified'(the 1200 conversion) I had no remedy under the law. Allowed your company to weasel out of fixing the issue. Nice. Well this is what I am going to do: I am sending this letter via FedEx so you can't say you never got it, I will wait 2 weeks for a letter from you(good luck with that...unless it's a 'you should of...etc. letter), then I am going to post this letter everywhere on the internet that I can, blogs, etc. My friend all ride, three of them are getting new bikes this Christmas, NONE of them are buying HD because of this. And since I am out of a bike, I am not riding anymore, and I hope to tell everyone who will listen about this. So it looks like we both lose. And I wanted to spend my money with an AMERICAN company. Sincerely,

    David J. Crist

    Like I said, this is not a good story. HD did call me the day the letter arrived to them, and left a message. I called them back the next day and the lady I talked to said the same thing that had been said from the beginning: They would not do anything, they were not obligated to do anything. I told her to write down in her computer to not call me again. This company will not help with any warranty work, period. And two of the dealerships mentioned(note: Roswell-champion-did try, but I live almost 300 miles away from them) did not want to help either. I could not in all consience sell the bike privately, so when the dealer said it met 'in spec', they got it. In spec means not working properly to them. And I did ask HD in Wisconsisn to have the bike shipped back to them to be looked at, or to replace the kit that was not working properly, or to have one of their people come down to look at the bike...all were turned down. That is my story, YMMV, but be aware that HD will NOT help you even with warranty work.

  2. STEVE07

    STEVE07 Well-Known Member Staff Member Super Moderators

    I'm sorry about the way things happened for you.I myself have (so far) never had a problem with HD warranty. Even when I went in for an exhaust problem,it wouldn't stay tight at the top flange they fixed that right away.I didn't want the helicoil but it seems fine now. At the time they noticed that my bag lock wasn't working and ordered a new one.washed the bike and sent me on my way.no charge. I would like to hear other members warranty experiences good and bad and try to keep the bad ones without (EDIT) I do have add ome thing I did have a problem with my inner fairing fading,took it to one dealer and they told me I had parked it the wrong way in the sun! Took it to Kitchener HD and they agreed to look after it.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  3. glider

    glider Veteran Member


    This story is not the first time I have heard about an unfortunate experience with a Harley and the lack of cooperation from the dealers.
    Your problem is not with the MOCO but with the dealer that did the original conversion. For any engine to use that much oil there has to be a problem from the conversion that was done.
    I would contact them if I still had the bike (which you don't) and get the state attorney general involved to get a replacement for your bike. You may contact the AG in any case to see if they can help. I have done it with absolutely perfect results.
    They get away with entirely too much of this type of deal IMO.
  4. Bud White

    Bud White Well-Known Member Retired Moderators

    All i can say is thats to bad sounds like some of the car dealers i have dealt with
  5. Black shadow

    Black shadow Member

    I agree with Glider, they will try every trick in the book to skate around thier legal responsebilty. The fact is that, it is the obligation of HD and espiecally the dealer who did the work. You where to easy on them. Its a shame we have to go to such lengths to make them do what they should be doing with a smile.
  6. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    You can get more bad experiences than good, just because the bad ones want to let everyone know....

    The good experiences people have are not posted...

    The old saying about a bad experience will get more attention than a good one is true...

    So here's goes mine.. Well not mine, but a friends...

    This guy had purchased a new bike from a dealer on Florida's Space Coast every 2 years for the last 15+ years. This last one, a 2007 RKC, had a continuing intermittant no start, shuts off while driving issue...

    The dealer looked at it many times replacing different electric/fuel system components. It still did it. They would turn the bike around quickly so it was not in the shop very long. Many times stating they could duplicate the problem. My friend asked that the bike be replaced because of how many times it was in the shop and that they did not fix it. The dealer said "No Way!"

    He tried the Floirda Lemon Law, but it was never in the shop long enough to qualify...

    He sold it to some unsuspecting guy. I told him to disclosure the problems to the guy who bought it. But I'm sure he didn't...

    He now rides a BMW 1200LT.

    It just a shame. But it happens all the time. It seems that some dealers are more interested in the sale. And not the service after the sale.
  7. WHM1

    WHM1 Junior Member

    Sorry is not the answer you want to hear... I have owned several Harleys and presently have two 2007 models. My dealer has always been very helpful and I feel would make it right if Harley refused to do so. My bikes get a lot of mileage( over 20,000 ) on the 07's. I would report to your state attorney general the dealer who performed this service and have them to handle it for you. Most reputable dealers would like to keep a clean record and reputation.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member



    WOULD it be possible to LOOK back and find my 2006 sport 1200 problem with 4 stators??????
    maybe POST it up on this thread as a comparison of the GOOD HD DID ***
    BUT they didn't have too!!!!!

  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    You can go back through your posts by clicking on your name and select "find more posts by **"

    This is that post.

    12,000 miles no problems.. Now problems - Harley Davidson Community
  10. eleft36

    eleft36 Junior Member


    I had a problem with engine oil migrating to the primary case, I called H-D of Danbury explained the problem. They picked the bike up within two hours, did the repair including a complete service and even detailed the bike, I had the bike back in two days, NO charge.
    It just makes no sense not to give good service.

    Harley's aren't exactly cereal box prizes.