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Posts Tagged ‘Twin Cam’

Brace

News about Harley-Davidson during the month of August has been a bit of a wild ride.

There was the consent decree and $15M settlement with the EPA. Then the announcement that Harley expanded the list of bikes on recall that may have been built with defective hydraulic clutch systems.  Then the biggest engine-product launch for the company since 1988, when the Twin Cam made its debut.

And now today, the day before the Milwaukee Rally kicks off, Harley-Davidson announced that approximately 200 employees will face layoffs starting in October as the company adjusts motorcycle production due to slower sales.

According to various news reports including Rick Barrett, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the union stated many of the layoffs will take place at Harley’s assembly plant in York, Pa., and some will occur at the engine plant in Menomonee Falls, where the company employs approximately 1,000 people, as well as in Tomahawk.

Given that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendance was down roughly 40% from a year ago (some of which was expected), suggest that some riders are busy doing other things than throttling down rural America’s roads to a rally which makes the launch of its Milwaukee-Eight engine motorcycles key to amp up any new motorcycle sales.

Photo courtesy of Sturgill Simpson Video.

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Twin Cam 96

Twin Cam 96

UPDATED: April 24, 2017Added a tab “Engine History” on the blog home page with updated V-Twin engine history including the Milwaukee Eight.

A little over a year ago I wrote about the history of the Harley-Davidson engines.  It’s one of the articles that gets a lot of attention/views from across the blogosphere so I thought it might be appropriate to update the post with some newer information.

The Twin Cam 96 was released for the 2007 model year in August 2006. Although the engine was the successor to the Evolution engine (“Evo”), they share a number of characteristics with nearly all previous HD engines. Both engines are a V-twin configuration at 45 degrees, are air-cooled, and control valve timing with push-rods. The crankshafts have a single pin with a tongue and fork arrangement for the connection rods. These are sandwiched between a pair of flywheels.  The HD Twin Cam 96B engine was released at the same time and is currently used on all softail models.  The TC96 is approximately 1584cc. The motor company has released Screamin’ Eagle models named TC103, a 103-cubic-inch (1,688cc) which is used in the 2009 Tri-Glide Ultra Classic (Trike) and the TC110, a 110-cubic-inch (1,803cc) in the 2009 CVO models (Fat Bob; Softail Springer; Road Glide; Ultra Classic Electra Glide).  The TC110 comes in an upgrade kit for the TC96.

It’s been speculated that the Motor Co. moved to the Twin Cam not because the Evo had reached its power limits as a design, but because HD could not prevent other manufacturers from making clones of the design. With the Twin Cam, HD was able to preempt cloning via the U.S. Patent Office, thereby making it a lot more difficult and expensive for the aftermarket vendors to compete with the Motor Co. in the development and sale of upgrades or complete motors.

In order to comply with the increasingly-stricter EPA standards, all TC96 equipped Harleys come from the factory tuned very lean, which in turn creates a great deal of heat.  All ‘07 and later Big Twins are equipped with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and 02 sensors for closed-loop operation, allowing an extremely lean tune to be safely, and consistently achieved. This has been a topic of much discussion in the Harley world, as many have commented that the excessive heat makes the TC96 too uncomfortable to ride in stop and go traffic, or in the heat of the summer. There are also concerns about heat’s impact on the longevity of the engine. To help combat this many owners re-tune their engines, run synthetic oil or add an oil cooler; and HD developed a “Parade” mode in which one cylinder shuts down on the Twin Cam to prevent damage to the engine.

Sources: Answers; Harley-Davidson; Wikikpedia; Shop Manuals

Photo courtesy AnimatedPiston.

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