Harley-Davidson Recalls 65k Softail Bikes Over Rear Shock Absorber Fastener That May Break

Recently published on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, recall number 23V-591 involves no fewer than 65,224 examples of the Softail. Motorcycles produced for the 2018 through 2023 model years feature a fastener that may fracture, allowing the rear shock absorber adjuster to contact the rear tire.
Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 8 photos
Photo: Harley-Davidson / edited
Harley-Davidson Heritage ClassicHarley-Davidson Heritage ClassicHarley-Davidson Heritage ClassicHarley-Davidson Heritage ClassicHarley-Davidson Low Rider SHarley-Davidson Low Rider STHarley-Davidson Low Rider ST
This, in turn, increases the risk of a crash due to a loss of pressure. Internally referred to as part number 942 or 10200673, said fastener is prone to fracture due to fatigue. The Milwaukee-based manufacturer doesn't explain why the suspect fastener breaks this easily.

The Technical Subcommittee within Harley-Davidson was informed of a service request alleging contact between the rear shock adjuster and rear tire on June 1. The matter was escalated to the Field Action Committee on July 25, which required additional test information to decide whether a safety recall for these motorbikes is necessary or not.

Come August 15, the Executive Decision Authority gave the go-ahead for said recall. Harley-Davidson is aware of 33 reports and claims alleging contact between the adjuster and tire. Four of them alleged air loss, and one of those four also included a property damage claim. Thankfully for everyone, Harley-Davidson isn't aware of injuries related to the issue.

Dealers nationwide will be informed no later than September 1 to replace the fastener with a slightly larger unit (5/16" or 7.95 millimeters in the metric system). Softail motorcycles produced after August 7 are equipped with the revised fastener. According to documents filed with the NHTSA, affected bikes were produced between June 28, 2017 and August 7, 2023.

Affected nameplates include the Softail Deluxe FLDE, Heritage Classic FLHC, Heritage Classic 114 FLHCS, Low Rider S FXLRS, Low Rider ST FXLRST, and Low Rider El Diablo FXRST. These motorcycles were manufactured for the 2018 through 2023 model years. Owner notifications will be sent via first-class mail in the period between September 8 and September 15.

Regarding the aforementioned codes, F stands for Big Twin overhead-valve engine, L for wide front tire and Hydra-Glide forks, X for narrow tire and Sport forks, D for Dyna Frame, H for Highway Frame, and T for Touring Frame. For the 2023 model year, the affected motorcycles are equipped with the Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin in 114- or 117-cube flavors. The Softail Standard, by comparison, boasts 107.

The Milwaukee-Eight lineup was introduced in 2016 with a single camshaft setup rather than the twin cams of the… uhm, Twin Cam. Be that as it may, the single biggest change from the preceding engine family comes in the form of four-valve cylinder heads. Torquier and more efficient than the Twin Cam, the Milwaukee-Eight develops 86 ponies and 106 pound-feet (make that 144 Nm) in the Softail Standard. The larger engine of the Low Rider S and Low Rider ST is rated at 105 ponies and 124 pound-feet (168 Nm).
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 Download: Harley-Davidson Softail Rear Shock Absorber Fastener Recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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