O2 Sensor Failures On Harley-Davidson Bikes

Nightrider occasionally receives some inside information on what is happening inside Harley-Davidson. We cannot divulge our source of information, so there is no way it can be be verified. But we have always found our 'source' to be quite reliable. The latest information has to do with the number of O2 sensors failures being reported by MOCO.

H-D O2 Sensor Failures Per 100,000 units
Year Total Failures % Failures Touring Bike Failures  Total Bikes Manufactured
2006 266 .266%    349,196 bikes
Only Dyna's had O2 sensors
2007 467 .467% 286  241,539 bikes with
approx 2,300 failed sensors
2008 572 .572% 269  206,309 bikes with
approx 2,400 failed sensors


Industry average for O2 sensor failures in the automotive industry is under .40%.

If these "Failures" actually represent an true component failure on the part of the O2 sensor, this would be an incomprensible number. It would represent an complete breakdown in Harley's manufacturing and Quality Assurance process. Since the O2 sensors are most likely manufactured by Bosch, it would also represent a departure from the normal high standards of this company.

There is also a high probabililty that increasing percentages of ethanol in gasoline is contributing to increased failure rates of the O2 sensors. Ethanol is highly corrosive and can damage the O2 sensors. This helps explain some of the increased failures since 2006.

I actually have a strong speculation that the most significant portion of these 'failures' represent Dealers swapping parts as in general troubleshooting procedures. Since most Dealerships have not developed strong diagnostic procedures. In their haste to fix things, they simply swap parts and hope a bike gets better. My best guess is that the 2006 numbers actually represent more realistic 'true' failure rates.

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