Are there serious problems with twin-cam engines?

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by ZoneIII, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    I'm 65 and thinking of getting back in the saddle after nearly 40 years. Back in the late 60s, I rode solo all over North America for over one year, non-stop, never knowing where I would be each night. It was the adventure of a lifetime. With the kids all grown and having children of their own, I'm thinking of getting a bike again.

    I went to a local HD dealer with the idea (after doing some online browsing) of possibly buying a softail - probably a Fat Boy or Softail Deluxe although I have since learned that the latter is really best suited for shorter riders. I'm 6'. I was surprised to learn that I would have to pay for and keep any original parts that I replaced with optional parts. According to the salesman, I would have to pay for and keep a couple thousand dollars worth of parts that I had no use for and didn't want. Apparently, that's HD's policy but I don't like it. (But that's not the issue for me.)

    Anyway, with that in mind, I realized that the CVO Softail had everything I wanted and more (I don't want a windshield but that's no problem) so I could avoid the problem mentioned above if I bought the CVO Softail although it's pricey!

    I had read some discussions online about problems with the HD twin-cam engines so, before making a decision, I decided to so some more checking. That's when I came across this article which is pretty disturbing.

    I see that I am not allowed to post a link because I'm new here so please do a Google search for (cut & paste)

    "Before you buy a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle - engine defects - you need to read this article!"

    Some of you (maybe most) have probably seen it. It's long! My HD salesman has seen it but, of course he denies what the article says and I can't blame him for that. (I see there is a similar article below this one when doing a Google search. I'm going to read that after I post this.)

    I've always done all my own work on every vehicle and machine I own and I will until I simply can't anymore. I'm healthy so that will probably be many more years. That and the fact that I was an engineer makes how something is designed and built important to me. That article was a eye-opener, to put it mildly. If only 1/10th of what the author says is true, I will have serious reservations about buying a Harley - and believe me, I want to buy a Harley!

    I did a little browsing on the author's website to see any signs that would tell me about his credibility. I did find some stuff that gives him less credibility in my book. For example, he calls the NRA a bunch of thieves and says nobody should join the NRA because he didn't receive his magazines when he joined! :19: Being an Endowment Life Member of the NRA, I knew what he was saying wasn't true. However, he goes into pretty fine detail about what he says are very serious issues with HD twin cam engines. I would like to find out what people here know about this.

    I definitely don't want to start a food fight and I hope I don't get emotional replies without facts. I know how HD owners are loyal to their brand and I was one myself so I know how it is. What I would like is for some facts and opinions minus the loyalty stuff. I want to know what, if anything, there is to his claims of very serious issues with the HD twin-cam engines from those who know and, hopefully, have owned a twin cam for a long time before I spend a bundle on a new HD.

    So what's the real story?
  2. Dan.1977P

    Dan.1977P Active Member

    You're buying something designed and built by man; It's going to have flaws. Too many folks ride these bikes every day without an issue for you to worry. I believe that most of the issues with Harleys are the owners getting in above their heads and trying to do work they really shouldn't be doing and then blaming Harley or some aftermarket part maker for burning up their engine because they installed the product wrong.
    If you're that worried and can afford to buy a brand new CVO, buy the extended warranty and all you have to worry about is not having your bike when it's getting fixed IF something goes terribly wrong.
  3. hog up

    hog up Member

    early twin cam engines(up to 2006) had issues with cam chain tensioners. some broke, some didn't. one of my bikes is a 2002 softail with 50,000 miles on it and tensioners look good so far. from 2007 to present there are no problems with the twin cam engines that I am aware of. buy it, ride it and enjoy it! hog up
  4. rollingstone7

    rollingstone7 Member

    I went almost 10 years without a bike and regretted selling my last one everytime I saw any bike on the road while in my cage. So, I recently picked up my 01 Heritage from a friend that just got a RK. This bike has 72K on it and has been religiously serviced regularly, and clean. So far, it's a sweet ride.
    So, now I guess my question to you is, why not pick up a nice used bike instead? There are many sweet deals out there where the bike is a few years old and was hardly ridden at all. Low mileage. Then, there are unmolested nice stock bikes that have enough miles on 'em that most bugs, (if any), have been worked out for you already. I think if you look around, you'll probably find something already set up just how you like it, or close, for a really good price. Just a suggestion! Good luck on your hunt. Let us know what you end up with.
  5. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Buy what you like. Buy the extended warranty. Ride it like you stole it. My .02:s
  6. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    If that article were true, millions of riders would have NEVER bought the Twin Cam bikes JMO
  7. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    I too don't put a lot of stock in the article. Twin cams have been on the market for quite some time now and I haven't seen or heard of any out of the ordinary issues with then. Twin cams are no different then any other man made product, most are very dependable but you get a lemon every once in a while. Like stated by others, get the extended warranty and ride with a smile on your face.

    I'd also shop around at other dealerships, not all are created equal.
  8. Jennmarr

    Jennmarr Junior Member

    I skimmed the article. While much of what he says is technically true, he overstates the extent of the issues considerably. For example, one of his issues is "high theft rate". How is that a design flaw? Another of his issues is the fact that Harley uses three different oil cavities. According to the author, this is unnecessarily confusing for the owner and makes it expensive to change the oil. Really?? Me thinks this is an author in search of an audience. For what it is worth, I am riding a 2007 Ultra with 145,000 miles on it. I rebuilt the motor at 125,000 because I got tired of waiting for it to wear out and I needed to justify my desire for more cubic inches. I do not think you will regret buying one

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    SPOILED HERE........

    I'd stick with the Non Calif Models and ONLY BUY the 09 for the Changes made there in That year... MANY good ones...

    If going touring style...the 09 Frame/Better on the Touring bikes, larger rear tire ALL are good things for me on my 09 King... (no cats) :D

  10. stray dog

    stray dog Junior Member

    I agree with all the posts above but think Jennmarr nailed it. That guy had some bad luck and over embellishes.
    He may even be a used sportster salesman :lolrolling

    Check out a RK :D :D No..seriously :s