Used Road King - Any years to avoid?

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by SeaBass67, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. SeaBass67

    SeaBass67 Member

    So the search is on. Engine/ Frame/ Electrical wise, are there any model years that were more problematic than others? I heard good things about the twin cam 88 motor which i believe is MY 1998-2002(?) but besides that, anybody experience any frame cracking or electrical gremlins?
    Thanks to all.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member


    1999 was the first TWIN CAM
    ALL 1999 TWIN-CAMS and all the 2000's(mine) BUILT BEFORE DEC 15 1999 (find BUILD DATE on neck info...) had a BIG problem that harley WOULD fix for FREE but only when it BLEW UP or when cam bearing went bad. FREE yet today, regardless of owners (present owner of bike forever)but had to have the NOISE or blow-up...

    Problem today: there are still a lot of bikes of those years (built date on bike frame) out there that have NOT had a problem YET or NOT been repaired by the owner before coming apart.... BE CAREFUL

    MY 2000 fxds was a problem child and I DID ALL the repairs on my dime.....
    all bearings in cams,feuling oil pump n lifters,delkron cam plate,SSgear drive 570 cams. solved that problem... also went with flowed heads manly springs n valves. big bore 95" and more...

    PUT 117000 miles on that bike with 3 different engine builds

    also BAD were the chain tensioners that gave up early, or no telling WHEN they would chip or break, going into oil pump and damage....

    IN MY OPINION the oil pumps were ALSO UNDER engineered (too narrow of gears, low volume on return portion of pump) ALSO had to be align PERFECTLY or would not function properly allowing too much oil in sump area (crank) causing FOAMING thru-out the engine....HENCE oil out the air cleaner and onto bike (mild to extreme)

    IF you find a low mile 1999 and 2000 bike for the right price. THE sure fix is there.. NEW style cam BEARINGS (ALL) cam support plate, better chain, different type of tensioner along with a good replacement oil pump ,,, can be had as a KIT from harley. this improvement came on 06 dyna's and ALL 07's and up, with a 96 cu. in. motor and a 6 speed tranny.....

    there is another model year told to stay away from?????? some one will chime in here and let you know.... HOPE this HELPED


  3. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

    I would say the best year was the 2002. Had the better efi and still had the good left side crank bearing plus the had all the original issues fixed.
  4. Delmar

    Delmar Active Member

    I have a 2001 ex-Police bike purchased at 32K miles. The cam chain tensioners were recently replaced by the PD so I’m good to go for a while. Whatever bike you pick ask if the tensioners were replaced.

    All the bikes in your year range are five-speeds. However consider the 1999-2001 bikes had the old-style MM injection and had higher gearing. 2002 was the Delphi injection and they went to lower gearing for relaxed highway cruising. I ride backroads so am fine with my 2001, but if you typically cruise the interstate look for a 2002 or newer.

    If you are looking for a cheap bike (assumed you are or would be buying something newer) look for Police auctions. I bought my Road King for $6350 and with the touring conversion still have under $7K invested in the bike.
  5. Wanna-be

    Wanna-be Banned

    EFI on my '99 FLHRCI has always been difficult. My cam bearing went 1 month before my extended service contract was up. Dealer said I may have shavings in the motor bottom, but service contract didn't allow them to go any further than the cam case. Changed oil a few times after than, and (after 10K miles) no problems.

    I bought mine new off the showroom floor with big bore and stage 1 kits installed by dealer. Also installed were aftermarket slip ons. Sounded great but real herky jerky at low speeds. When I brought it back to the dealer they told me to take off the slip ons. Still jerky. Suggested aftermarket ignition module. Better, but (EDIT).

    Last year I had a friend install SE 230 cams. I took it to the dealer for dyno-tuning. $1800 later, I have no cold idle. The cam comes out, as usual, when I turn on the ignition - but ( I guess) not far enough. You have to hold the trottle open to start the thing. Service tech didn't have a clue. Said it would be impossible to figure out without replacing a number of $$ parts, and it wasn't worth my money. Once again - (EDIT)!! He said the 99 EFI was a complicated design, replaced in 00 i.e. he didn't know how to work on it.
    Since 20K miles there has been a clicking sound coming from the primary area. I pretty familiar what a primary chain sounds like. Plus, I've had the cover off a couple times, adjusted it out and in spec - no difference. 3 dealers told me the noise is 'normal'. Right. I've read the self help section and heard the same thing from others. I have adjustable push rods and replaced all lifters with stock 'B' style. No difference. I know the noise is not normal, but have gone 20K since I first heard it. I guess I have to wait until the thing blows up.
    I suppose a knowledgable deal would help, but (from my experience) 1999 should be avoided either way.

    Please read and understand the info in this link...
    A Friendly Reminder - Harley Davidson Community
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2009
  6. ooheritage

    ooheritage Active Member

    so Bubbie, do these problems affect the 2000 heritage as well?, or are these two bikes to different?
  7. rkrdr2

    rkrdr2 Active Member

    '02 and newer as stated above

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member


    If the 2000 heritage BUILD DATE was AFTER dec. 15 1999 .. LIKE exam. jan 01,2000.... It is a good one, the second 1/2 of 2000 model year had the FIX installed on the cam bearing problem...

    ALL BIKES- twin-cam engines(regardless of model) built 1999 model year including the first 1/2 of 2000 model year, build date (dec. 15,1999) had the "potential" problem with the cam bearing coming apart..

    "POTENTIAL" meaning many bikes held together not showing signs of a problem. BUT I never trust; hence I replaced mine while making a hot-rod out of it..

  9. SeaBass67

    SeaBass67 Member

    Thanks for the heads up guys!!:p