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
Charles P
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
what about the swing are braking?

Posted by
Larry Dawson
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
George Giakoumakis
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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