When Bad Things Happen to Good Bikes

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Check Engine Light

After buying a brand-new Harley as a gift, one H-D Forums member finds himself in a frustrating situation.

When you buy a brand new vehicle of any sort, you do so with a few assumptions. The biggest, of course, being that something brand new should give you so many years of trouble-free service. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Whether it be a recall, TSB, or some other sort of problem, even new bikes aren’t immune to issues. Just take H-D Forums member Thamer Williams and his new Harley, for example.

“Just purchased a 2017 Ultra Classic. 35 miles from the dealer and the check engine light comes on. I called the dealer. They walked me through clearing the code. The code was PO131. Continued on home, stopped for fuel, still no code. Started it up drove one mile, the check engine light comes back on. I take it back to the dealer the next day and leave it. They clear the code and test ride it. No code, and they say it’s fixed, come and get it.

I take delivery and drive one mile from the dealer when the light comes back on. Right back I go. I have left it at the dealer with instructions that I don’t want it back. Either fix the problem or give me a new bike. Today is January 3 and no courtesy call from the dealer on what’s going on. I purchased the bike on the 30th of December. Christmas present to me. Not real happy with this dealer. They said just run it, I’m sure it will be OK. I’m waiting till Friday to give them a chance to fix it and call me.”

Check Engine Light

Talk about a Christmas gone bad. And as GriffinDenim13FLHX points out, this particular code isn’t something you want to ignore, as the dealer insinuated.

“P0131 Front Oxygen Sensor Low/Engine Lean. That’s not good. Just run it they say? Really?
Start to document everything and every time you deal with this dealer. Well I would anyway. 
Hope it all works out for you.”

Magnut1 suggests the OP take matters into their own hands.

“I would swap the O2 sensors. If you get the same code, it might be an engine problem. If you get a #2 sensor code, then it’s probably a bad sensor.”

But as jammerx points out, the code could signal any number of problems, not just a sensor.

“What causes the P0131 code?
P0131 can be caused by a variety of issues:

Failed oxygen sensor
Damaged or unplugged wiring
Open or short
Improperly reading coolant temp sensor
Failed heater circuit for oxygen sensor
Most commonly the sensor has simply failed due to age and wear”

Check Engine Light

Many, including Ron750, suggest that the OP try taking his bike to another dealer.

“You’re usually going get better service at your dealer. If you feel they are incompetent, how close is the next dealer?”

As of this writing, the OP hasn’t checked back in with any sort of resolution. Leading some to speculate as to what might’ve happened!

“The OP must have sold his bike and carried on as he’s not let us know how things turned out for him,” says SWMB.

“Most likely in prison for stabbing a tech at the dealership,” adds No U Glider.

We’re curious to know how (or if) the check engine light issue was amicably resolved ourselves. Or whether or not the OP is simply a troll trying to stir up trouble! Either way, head over here and stay tuned as this saga unfolds!



Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

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