4 Common Harley 131 Problems [With Easy Fixes]

The 131 engine by Harley is one of the most fabulous engines of its type. It is one of the most durable and impressive engines by Harley, designed to withstand all kinds of troubles and challenges without compromising on any feel and performance.

However, it still does not make a foolproof thing since several common and untouched Harley 131 problems exist.

In this article, we will cover all major and minor problems in Harley 131 in this guide.

So, let’s take a look at it.

Harley 131 Problems

The most common and frustrating problems in the Harley 131 include starting issues, catastrophic failure, shutdown issues, failed sensors, TPS problems, overheating, faulty thermostats, worn-out spark plugs, oil leaks, clutch slipping, worn-out belts, suspension issues, wear and tear in the brakes, failed and noisy rear brake master cylinder.


1. Starting and Shut Down Issues

The most significant failure of any engine including the Harley 131 is having trouble starting it or suddenly cutting off.

These things make things worse for the riders as they now cannot move their bikes until or unless they come up with a solution to fix it right next to a busy road.

Out of several, the Harley 131 has issues like hard to start, issues with its throttle and throttle position sensor also known as TPS, accidentally or suddenly getting your engine into the limp mode which causes significant power loss and failure, faulty sensors, and spark plugs going bad.

Let’s discuss them each one by one so you can have a solution in mind next time you fix your Harley 131 right at the moment by using the right tools.

If it’s a hard-to-start engine, there could be many reasons from a bad starter, compression problem, or low fuel pressure.

In any case, the engine never starts and until you fix them all, it won’t. Most commonly, a faulty starter is the culprit and you can replace that thing in your motorcycle so it can start now.

The bad sensors might pass the wrong signal to ECU and it also won’t let it start.

Also, if the spark plugs are gone, the engine still won’t start until you replace them. The failure of the throttle position center due to issues with the throttle can lead to throttle response issues.

This mostly can happen due to clogged fuel injectors, spark plugs, or carbs. As a result, the TPS fails since its job is to monitor the air intake of an engine until you reset it to start your engine.

2. Overheating and Cooling Problems

Another significant, dangerous, and frustrating problem with Harley 131 is overheating issues and failure to provide appropriate cooling for the effective performance of the overall engine and motorcycle.

Overheating is an issue, which needs to be fixed immediately and right away. Because it can lead to several other issues and lead to more failures and risks to an engine.

The 131 runs hotter due to a large motor and it produces more power which means more and more heat. The excessive throw of heat from the radiator that further goes and hurts the leg of the rider makes their rides pretty uncomfortable.

The consistently rising engine temperature with no room for exit, a faulty thermostat, and a partially blocked exhaust system of the engine due to carbon, mud, and dust prevent the cooling and contribute more to the overheating of the 131 engine.

If the thermostat fails, you will see a significant temperature rise especially if the engine is idling or you are at a traffic signal.

Now a thermostat can fall due to a variety of reasons, but prominently the leakage of coolant. Other symptoms might include a bad fuel average and you might hear noises from the engine.

The overheating also occurs on 131 due to worn-out seals and gaskets. These seals act as a firewall to stop heat from the engine from getting out and burning your legs.

Overheating can also make your engine cut off and it will take a couple of minutes to let it cool and even an hour or more to start it again.

You need to stop wear and tear by replacing worn-out seals and gaskets. Otherwise, it will continue to raise the engine temperature and make overheating even worse.

Make sure you have the proper coolant and maintain its minimum level so it can keep cooling the engine.

Make sure to clean the radiator fins as they can be clogged and prevent the fresh air from passing out from it.

3. Oil and Fuel Leaks with Transmission Issues

Other minor but considerable issues in Harley 131 are topped by fuel and oil leaks as they all sometimes lead to transmission failures.

The Harley 131 is built durably and nicely especially the transmission department is impressive here. However, it is not foolproof.

The oil and fuel leaks raise an issue because Harley uses rubber hoses and they all can deteriorate over time. This leads to their failure and leakage, as a result, things go bad in this engine.

If the fuel hoses continue to leak, the fuel level in the tank and fuel pump will continue to get low leading to poor throttle response and compromised power at low fuel levels.

The draining oil can be due to leakage in the reservoir. However, the fix for that is simple as you only have to replace that reservoir.

You can also avoid any leakage in the future by installing the stainless steel hoses in this engine as it never deteriorates and never leaks. 

Coming to the transmission issues, there is not a whole list of failures but a slipping clutch is more of a concern in this motorcycle.

A slipping clutch on this motorcycle is due to wear and tear of the clutch plate which loses power over time and affects the entire transmission.

To solve the clutch slipping issue, you can try disengaging the traction control if you are using it at that moment. But, if there’s any significant vibration that you can feel, there’s not much of a fix and you will need to replace the clutch, sadly.

Other transmission problems include stuck gears, clutch failing to engage, and worn-out transmission belts.

To fix stuck gear issues, you need to slowly release the clutch and move your motorcycle a little bit until you stop hearing any grunting noise out of its gears.

Do not release the clutch all of a sudden, or else the teeth of the gears might break.

And, if the clutch fails to engage, the clutch springs are broken and they are unable to maintain the engagement of clutch plates with pressure plates. Just replace these springs and you are good to go once again.

Same for its transmission belts, just replace them and put oil as well.

4. Brakes and Suspension Problems

Last but not least, the motorcycles with Harley 131 engines commonly used have poor brakes as well as many suspension issues on them.

As for the suspension problems, it is not much of an issue since it’s not directly related to the engine but the chassis of a motorcycle. 

Other than suspension issues, the brakes are much of a concern since there are several issues with its brake pads mostly happening due to wear and tear in its braking department.

The failure of the master cylinder due to low levels in the oil or fluid reservoir also makes a reason. Noise from the rear brake is the first symptom of brake inefficiency.

And, at this moment, you can control this problem and prevent the whole world from falling apart.

Later, you would have to replace many of its components including the master cylinder and brake pads. Brake pads are cheaper but the master cylinder is not.


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