Harley-Davidson is recalling FXDL Low Riders from model years 2014.5 (yes, half model years exist) to 2016 because of potentially damaged ignition switches. The recall affects 8,060 motorcycles in the U.S. produced between Jan. 6, 2014 and April 7, 2016.
According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, engine vibrations may damage the internal electronics of the ignition switch. In some cases, this may cause engines to suddenly shut off while riding, increasing the risk of a crash. One of the signs of a potential problem is a slight hesitation when accelerating through the 4500-5500 rpm range.
Harley-Davidson first identified a problem on Feb. 24, 2016 when an ignition switch issue was observed during reliability testing of an upcoming new model (the documentation doesn’t spill the beans on what that is, unfortunately). The unnamed future model uses the same ignition components as some models currently in production, so Harley-Davidson began an analysis on the motorcycles that could potentially be affected. The investigation found 70 warranty claims and two customer complaints that could be related to the ignition switch problem.
Over the next two months, Harley-Davidson investigated the cause of the problem, working with the part supplier, interviewing customers who were affected and examining failed parts from dealers.
On May 2, Harley-Davidson identified the problem and began recall procedures. To date, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue.
Harley-Davidson dealers will replace the faulty ignition switches with a new component. The new switch design has a snap ring that should minimize axial movement of the switch’s internal components. The new switch also has ribs to limit movement and protect its printed circuit board from damage.