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NHTSA Launches Investigation into Harley Davidson Brake Defect

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Santa Clara,CA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will launch an investigation into reports that some Harley-Davidson Inc (HD) motorcycles have defective brakes.

According to media reports, NHTSA has received 43 complaints, three reports of crashes and two concerning of injuries. Reports indicate that the anti-lock braking systems (ABS) module corrodes and fails as a result of the brake fluid absorbing moisture, from the surrounding environment, resulting in sudden brake failure without warning.

The agency said that its investigation will involve 430,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles of model years 2008-2011, with ABS.

According to the NHSTA site, “Commonly, only one braking channel (front or rear) is reportedly affected although one report alleging simultaneous loss of both (resulting in a low speed crash into a garage door) has been received. Harley Davidson has a two year brake fluid replacement interval which owners are either unaware of or ignore.

The "old" fluid, which is hygroscopic, becomes contaminated by moisture and allegedly corrodes the ABS actuator valves. The valves then fail to cycle and the affected brake calipers are no longer actuated when riders apply the brake(s). While it may be true that the complainants failed to adhere to Harley Davidson's 2 year brake fluid service interval requirement, the consequent sudden and complete loss of brake(s), without warning, is a concern.”



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Reader Comments

Posted by

on
a 2008 ultra classic, bought it used no warranty 10000 miles on it . had it 4 months the abs light came on, brakes were working fine other than a warped front rotor.2018 i got a notification about brake fluid replacement recall. i set up an appointment , when i got there i told the service manager about the abs light . he told me he couldn't do the fluid change because of the abs light, he gave me an estimate of $800+ to fix it 500 module 200 labor the rest was fluid and orings. if the fluid caused the abs to go out , i feel it should be covered also.

Posted by

on
2011 Streetglide. The wife and I were going on an evening cruise and first time we try to stop, rear brake was stiff. Heard about this “recall” on the brake fluid. Took it in and they did the flush, still no rear brake. Tech said it was the rear caliper. Hard to believe but ok. Paid 365 dollars for new caliper and install. Abs still does not work. Now their saying $750+ For module and install. I’m hoping Harley steps in and does something about this. I figured they’d rather pay for a new module than have a lawsuit over an injury or death.

Posted by

on
I have a 2013 FLHTK with the same problem, but, I have been flushing the systenm every 18 to 20 months, I hope a Recall is issued soon.

Posted by

on
I have a 2012 Harley Ultra Classic FLHTCU,. The front brake lever locks up solid and cannot use front brake. Luckily, the rear brake has not locked up yet, but I suspect it will also soon. I am afraid to ride my bike with the possibility of no brakes. The dealer told me the ABS module costs 450.00 plus install labor, roughly 600.00. I have read all the horror stories and I am not inclined to have it fixed because the same problem can happen again because the will be installing the same ABS part. Please help, I want to keep my bike legal and safe, and I can't sell it with ABS failures.

Posted by

on
I have a 2008 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic flhtcu and my front hand brake does not work it is froze solid the Harley-Davidson dealer wants to charge me $1,000 for parts and labor to replace this ABS module

Posted by

on
my front is locked up on and off now any idea if there is a recall in the near future. this should have been voluntary from harley, thanks guys this is a safety issue for your loyal patrons get on board with this one or im out.

Posted by

on
2008 Ultra Classic-Was taking my every 2 year ride, this year to New Mexico from MS. Received recall letter and stopped by H/D dealer in Jackson, MS and was told they couldn't do recall because they had had an event the day before and (Fri) and had to "put the store back together" so I left. Ride went well. Back home and went for ride no front brake!! Handle rock hard!!! Parked the bike called H/D in Meridian was told HCU bad!! Should I not have had brakes, albeit, without ABS if bad module????? How can you lose a part this important and not have regular non-ABS brakes????

Posted by

on
2009 FLHX. Front lever froze solid...ABS module failed. Dealer quote (without tow) 1100.00 + Contacted HD Motor Company and went through several people. Stated not covered under recall or warranty, but after providing me a service ticket number, told me to have my Dealer call them. Dealer then told me it would be warrantied and I only had to pay 100.00 for shop supplies. I was adamant when I spoke with the Motor Company that their info states that I should've had normal braking if the ABS failed; don't know if that helped.

Posted by

on
what about the swing are braking?

Posted by

on
I have 2009 Ultra classic my ABS felled , luckily at a low speed on my street home from work. had it happened on the highway i would be dead. The hand brake became hard as a rock . The bike would not stop. put the bike in neutral and coasted. Called Harley in Leesburg Fl. where the bike was bought , I was the second owner. No one ever told me to replace brake fluid. To replace ABS module was around $600.00

Posted by

on
I have a vrscdx 2009 and my front brake leaver got stiff like a rock and could not use my front brake. Thank god I was at low speed and was able to stop with my rear brake. My front ads line is seized. Bad hydraulic module on ABS system.

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