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Posts Tagged ‘NHTSA’

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 3.41.17 PMI’ve never been ask this question, but I was curious how you know if you’re under Federal investigation?

In Harley-Davidson’s case it might have been a knock on the door of the Milwaukee HQ.

As it turns out, the U.S. government is investigating complaints from Harley-Davidson owners who say their motorcycle brakes failed without warning.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states the investigation covers 430,000 motorcycles with model years from 2008 through 2011 and the investigation stems from motorcycles with an anti-lock braking system.

A common motorcycle maintenance task is to replace the hydraulic fluid in the brake system.  Check your service manual, but for many Harley-Davidson models it’s recommended to change the D.O.T. 4 fluid and flush the brake system every two years.

Did you know brake fluid can collect condensation over time from the outside air?  Brake fluid collects water in a similar fashion as your McDonald’s soda cup has water droplets on the outside. Hydraulic fluid will over time absorb water which causes the fluid to boil when the brakes are applied and will reduce effectiveness of the system.  A spongy brake feel might be a combination of contaminated brake fluid or air in the system. Either way, changing the brake fluid is often recommended.

41300152_obBut, I’ve digressed.  Motorcyclists have reported that the brakes on the hand lever and foot pedal did not work, causing one driver to crash into a garage door.

Government regulators said they’ve received 43 complaints, three reports of crashes and two reports of injuries.  The NHTSA said it is possible that some riders who experienced brake failure did not change the motorcycle’s brake fluid every two years as recommended by Harley-Davidson Inc.  The old fluid may corrode valves in the anti-lock braking system, but even if riders did not change the fluid, the sudden brake failure “is a concern.”This is not a motorcycle product safety recall as of yet.

Harley-Davidson stated it was aware of the Federal investigation and that it was cooperating with regulators.

Photos courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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FLS SoftailQuality control issues in 2014 seem to bedevil Harley-Davidson.

The latest examples are the recalls of 4,688 model year 2014-2015 FLS Softail motorcycles manufactured March 25, 2013, to October 2, 2014 for a lamp-outage detection issues and 1,560 of its 2015 Tri-Glide Ultra Classic FLHTCUTG motorcycles due to rear-brake master cylinder issues.

The Softail motorcycles may have been manufactured without lamp-outage detection for the front turn signals and a rider may not be aware that a front turn signal is not working. And without working front turn signals, there is an increased risk of a crash.  Harley-Davidson is notifying owners, and dealers will correct the body control module software, free of charge. The recall began in December 2014.  The Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0618 or NHTSA campaign number: 14V725000.

Tri-GlideOn the 3-wheel, certain Tri-Glide Ultra Classic motorcycles manufactured from July 14, 2014, through Oct. 15, 2015, could have rear master cylinder assembled with an incorrect piston.  Harley says this piston may not provide the proper support and may allow a tear in the primary cup. If the primary cup develops a tear it will decrease the brake performance and might increase the risk of a vehicle crash.  Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear master cylinder, free of charge. The recall began December 16, 2014. The Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0162.  Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464 or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov.

While Harley-Davidsons recalls this year pale in comparison to the massive 300,000 bike recall issued back in 2011, but that was simply a rear brake light problem.

Most of the 2014 Harley-Davidson recalls seem to be centered around rushed product development and/or shoddy workmanship.  That same workmanship issue which has dogged the automakers.  And speaking of, these are the same automakers which just 4-years ago Mr. Keith E. Wandell (Harley-Davidson CEO and President) stated; “Look in a mirror – Harley was already so far down that same (GM) path it wasn’t even funny.”   Basically warning Harley-Davidson employees that it was turning into a GM… and the credibility issue that becomes being associated!

Prior to the above recalls we’ve seen the motor company recall more than 105,000 model 2014 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles because of a problem with the anti-lock braking system that caused the front wheels to lock up without warning. In August, it recalled over 4,500 bikes for a faulty ignition switch.  It’s also recalling about 1,400 of its 500 and 750 Street bikes from the 2015 model year for a possible fuel tank leak.  I’ve captured the 2014 recalls HERE.

Is Harley-Davidson re-testing the customers reputation of shoddy workmanship (and raising the ghost of Harley’s past)?  It would do well to get a tighter grip on these issues and instill the pride of craftsmanship that should be the motorcycle maker’s hallmark.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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SB-Recall-14V537000Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 105,000 motorcycles from the 2014 model year because their clutches may fail, causing stopped bikes to creep forward and potentially crash.  The motor company said it will rebuild clutch master cylinders for motorcycles impacted by the recall.

The company knows of 19 low-speed tip-over crashes tied to the problem, with three minor injuries reported. Bikes named in that recall include the Electra Glide Ultra Classic and the CVO Road King.

The NHTSA recall details follow:

NHTSA Campaign #: 14V537000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 105,746
Vehicle Make | Model | Model Year(s)

  • H-D FLHRSE 2014
  • H-D FLHTCU 2014
  • H-D FLHTCUTC 2014
  • H-D FLHTCUTG 2014
  • H-D FLHTK 2014
  • H-D FLHTKSE 2014
  • H-D FLHTKSHRINE 2014
  • H-D FLHTP 2014
  • H-D FLHX 2014
  • H-D FLHXS 2014
  • H-D FLHXSHRINE 2014
  • H-D FLSTNSE 2014
  • H-D FXSBSE 2014

SUMMARY:
Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) is recalling certain model year 2014 Electra Glide Ultra Classic (FLHTCU), Ultra Limited (FLHTK), Police Electra Glide (FLHTP), Street Glide Special (FLHXS), Street Glide (FLHX), Tri Glide Ultra (FLHTCUTG), CVO Limited (FLHTKSE), CVO Road King (FLHRSE), CVO Breakout (FXSBSE), Electra Glide Ultra Classic Twin Cooled (FLHTCUTC), Ultra Limited Shrine (FLHTK SHRINE), Street Glide Shrine (FLHX SHRINE), and CVO Softail Deluxe (FLSTNSE). In the affected motorcycles, a component in the clutch master cylinder may fail, reducing the pressure available to keep the clutch disengaged.

CONSEQUENCE:
If the clutch does not remain disengaged, the motorcycle may creep forward while the rider intends to be stopped, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:
Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will rebuild the affected clutch master cylinders, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in September 2014. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0159 and 0160.

In addition the motor company is also recalling 1,384 motorcycles made earlier this year to test for possible fuel tank leaks.  The recall is on model year 2015 XG500 and XG750 motorcycles manufactured June 11, 2014, to August 14, 2014.  Dealers will test fuel tanks subject to that recall and replace them for free if any leak from under their caps. No injuries, accidents or fires have been tied to that problem.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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MC (right) at Laughlin River Run 2014 with Shark Week III Crew

MC (center) at Laughlin River Run 2014 with members from the Shark Week III Crew

According to this recently published survey, Utah has the second best drivers in the country.  Using statistics primarily from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the compiled results scored every state on the quality of their drivers.

It is apparent to me that whoever conducted that study has never driven in St. George, Utah and they never talked to MC.

Who is MC?

Just a motorcycle enthusiast, from Oregon, who on July 31, 2013 was part of a multi-state group riding through the area attending the Shark Week III motorcycle rally. He had split from the group early that morning and was heading home to attend a friends wedding ceremony.  It was around 7:30 a.m., as he traveled northbound on Bluff Street through the Red Cliffs Parkway intersection.  While doing so, there was a left turn yellow light and he was initially cut off by a southbound car making a left turn toward Red Hills Parkway. The  first car missed MC before he was hit in the side by a second car also making a left turn on a yellow/red light.  (Note: This intersection is now under construction and will have a flyover to help prevent accidents!)

Bluff Street will now pass over Red Hills Parkway

Bluff Street will now pass over Red Hills Parkway

Although MC was wearing full protective gear, he had head trauma and the impact left MC with significant injuries to his left leg.  It’s St. George county protocol for trauma patients to be flown directly to University Medical Center in Las Vegas as a matter of course, but MC’s blood loss was so severe due to multiple open fractures, the onsite EMT decision was made to fly him to Dixie Regional Medical Center.  You can read the local newspaper report HERE.  Previous blog posts related to this incident is HERE.

The Sheriff who was on the accident scene (MC was lucid enough to give his cell phone to the officer and had him call) called us and we arrived at the accident within 15 minutes and prior to the life flight landing on scene.  Perhaps an ambulance ride directly to Dixie Regional Medical Center should have occurred, but I won’t second guess or revisit the sequence of events.  In fact, Dixie Regional Medical Center created a recovery video testimonial HERE.

There is an old biker adage that many of you have heard before.  “There are those who have been down and those who are going down.”  It’s often described almost as a self-fulfilling prophecy—a mental process whereby an individual subconsciously creates the belief in the inevitability of that event.  The point is, I don’t buy into it and don’t think of accidents as a right of passage to be a motorcycle enthusiast.  I’ve certainly dumped a dirt bike more times than I care to admit, but I never viewed it as inevitable or part of the hobby—I just made some poor choices.

MC

MC at Bryce Canyon, Utah – 2013

Like many things in life there are inherent dangers with motorcycling.  Risk is part of the package.  An accident can have all sorts of negative repercussions.  And any accident that involves someone you know or is a good riding buddy only amplifies the situation.   From a psychological perspective it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the entire riding group to weigh the risks and rewards of riding and question why do it.  But, I’ve digressed.

The EMT’s put MC on life flight and we helped clear the wreckage from the Red Cliffs Parkway intersection.  The underinsured driver was cited for failure to yield to oncoming traffic and attempting to beat a red light while not paying attention to the rest of the traffic in an intersection.  The male driver was in his girlfriend’s well-used Honda.  Clearly the vehicle driver penalties in the state of Utah are not proportional to the suffering inflicted onto MC.

MC was in St. George’s Dixie Regional Medical Center for exactly 12 weeks and underwent 12 surgeries before being transported home to Oregon.  In Oregon there were more doctors, more surgeries, more physical therapy and mountains of medical forms.

Five months after the crash, MC reached the point where a fixator was removed from his foot.  And a few months later, May 2014, he underwent his 15th surgery—”de-bulking”—to remove the surplus transplanted muscle tissue from around his ankle.  There’s been a lot written on his path to recovery HERE (warning – graphic images).  The scope of this life-changing accident has been very challenging, but through it all MC remained mostly positive with the help of friends and family. There was also significant outreach from the motorcycle riding community especially the Shark Week III crew who deserves a big shout-out!

Today, a year later,  MC is mobile and self-sufficient.  For the most part, life is returning to a more normal pattern.  Those of us who know him, know that the year has been one of the hardest in MC’s life.  The medical decisions, the money worries and trying to smile every day and be grateful didn’t come easy.  It’s unclear if MC’s best motorcycle riding days are yet to come or if the risk-reward ratio tipped somewhere along the line.  Only he can answer that question.  In reality, it is possible for a motorcyclist to never go down. Ask around. You’ll be surprised how many motorcyclists have never actually been in an accident. Oh sure, they’ve had scary moments, war stories even. But, most have never been down in any kind of a serious way.

The dog days of summer are upon us, and I believe all MC really needs to think about is how much body hair does a guy have to remove from your face before golfing.

This blog post is to mark the 1-year anniversary and to provide a quick shout-out to all the folks who for the last 12 months provided prayers and positive vibes.  You’ve been awesome and we’re all grateful that MC is doing so well!

Photo’s taken by author and courtesy of MC.  Road map courtesy of UDOT.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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14-Touring-RecallHarley-Davidson is recalling 66,421 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles from the 2014 model year because their front wheels can lock up without warning.

The motor company says the front brake line can get pinched between the fuel tank and the frame which could cause front brake fluid pressure to increase, increasing the risk that the front wheel could lock up while riding. Motorcycles with anti-lock brakes built between July 1, 2013, and May 7, 2014, are included in the recall.

NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V-319

Components:
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Potential Number of Units Affected: 66,421

Problem Description:
Harley-Davidson Motor Company is recalling certain model year 2014 ABS-equipped Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles, models FLHTK, FLHTKSE, FLHTKSHRINE, FLHTCU, FLHTCUTC, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHXSHRINE, FLHR, FLHRC, FLHP, and FLHRSE, manufactured July 1, 2013, through May 7, 2014. The affected motorcycles may have been assembled with the front brake line positioned so that it can be pinched between the fuel tank and frame causing the front brake fluid pressure to increase.

Consequence:
A pinched brake line will increase the front brake fluid pressure, possibly resulting in a front wheel lock-up, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy:
Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the motorcycles for brake line damage and replace the damaged lines as necessary. Dealers will also install one or two cable straps to properly prevent the line from being pinched in the future, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2014. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464.

The chronology of events leading up to the recall:  Harley began an investigation on September 11, 2013 after it was “advised of a pinched brake line under the rear fuel tank mounting bracket of a police motorcycle being set up for service.”

On October 8, 2013, H-D determined that “six warranty claims/consumer contacts” were potentially linked to the brake line issue. Among those six incidents were “one crash with no injuries.”

Within a week corrective action was taken on the final assembly line at the York facility, as on October 14 a cable strap was added to retain the brake lines from being pinched under the aforementioned fuel tank mounting bracket. H-D reports it then closed its investigation on November 11, 2013.

However, the investigation was reopened on May 7, 2014 when the York Final Vehicle Audit “reported a Touring bike with a brake line pinched in a different location, between the fuel tank and the frame several inches forward of the rear fuel tank mounting bracket.”

Harley-Davidson added another cable strap to the production process addressing the issue at the new suspect location. The company subsequently reanalyzed its warranty data on May 12, reporting “a cumulative total of 39 warranty claims potentially related to this issue, four of which reported crashes (with one reported minor injury).” On May 20, it determined another “customer complaint involving a reported crash with minor injuries” was related to the front brake line issue.

In total the company knows of five crashes and two minor injuries related to the defect.

Photo courtesy of H-D and NHTSA.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Car-TextingI’m talking about texting and distracted driving.

Based on my daily commute observations, many drivers must believe that everyone else is the problem, when actually you – YES YOU – including the dude in the beat up White Toyota who nearly went into the ditch on Sunset Highway this morning while trying to text, is in fact—the problem!

We’ve all seen the tell-tale signs of texting.  Straddling or weaving between lanes and/or driving well below the speed limit or looking down at your lap as if that isn’t obvious.

It’s unlikely that Mr. White Toyota knows that May, is designated as national Motorcycle Awareness Month, (Gov. Kitzhaber’s memo HERE).  The initiative, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, encourages drivers to watch for motorcycles and understand that motorcycle riders have the same rights and privileges as operators of other vehicles.

The slogans are everywhere, on billboards and bumper stickers, badges and T-shirts: “Watch out for motorcycles.” “Look twice, save a life.” “Share the road.”

But, not all motorists notice the warnings and clearly the White Toyota dude believes that his one little text is more important than say… driving safe and can’t hurt that much.

It’s interesting to me that Expedia.com, released the results of the 2014 Road Rage Report, conducted on Expedia’s behalf by Northstar. Americans identify the behaviors that are likeliest to elicit road rage, from texting to swerving to speeding and beyond.  Drum roll… and the winner is…  People who text while driving incur the most anger. 69% of Americans rate “The Texter” as the most aggravating driving behavior.

We know the warmer temperatures rolling across the Northwest this month means the roads are filling up with motorcycle riders.

So, take the “distracted” out of driving and avoid becoming one of “the 69%” who report having been “flipped off” by a fellow motorist!

Photo courtesy of the WWW.

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2nd Guessing Music Selection

2nd Guessing Music Selection

After years of Project RUSHMORE research including thousands of hours of development with skilled mechanics and engineers driving from location to location, Harley-Davidson today acknowledged that the BOOM!™audio infotainment software has been affected by a virus.

The virus manifests itself as “ghosting” problems.  Riders state that the infotainment system is second guessing their music selection, even after making the music choice.  Some riders have reported that the infotainment will randomly reset and the LCD displays a Laffing “Devil’s Fork” logo in place of the H-D corporate logo.

devils-forkThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to order up a recall because the motor company has not fully been successful in detailing all the issues and there was no consistent pattern of crashes tied to the virus effect.

This raises red flags at the company and in cooperation with Russian and Ukrainian scientists, Harley-Davidson Audio engineers have recently re-located to the basement of the Design Lab to review prototype parts, drawings, pre-production models and other original materials to gain more insight into the virus.

Once available, H-D Riders can go to the software download center and grab the file on a USB memory stick. Then insert it in your Boom!™ Box Infotainment System’s USB port and follow the onscreen instructions to update your system.  The new application will be called Harley-Davidson Nose, and as the name implies it knows everything about you, the motorcycle and the infotainment system.

In addition, as a customer bonus for the trouble of sitting in your garage and working on motorcycle software updates, the motor company will provide the H-D Levity App (HDLA) which spices up “even the most boring of work days” by letting you send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, and write more mind-blowing presentations.

Happy April Fool’s day!

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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