Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Problems [Fixed]

Spread the love

Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Problems

If you are considering buying Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, you should know about the problems of this bike. Because as with other bikes, this also has some drawbacks and recalls.

Today in this guide article, I will explain the problems of the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, so go through it till the end with me. 

Let’s dive into it!

Harley Davidson ultra classic problems

These are the common problems of the Harley Davidson Ultra classic.

Ultra classic cam tensioner issue 

The Ultra Classic stands out as an iconic model among Harley’s lineup. However, like any vehicle, it has its share of issues.

One problem that has caught the attention of many enthusiasts is the Ultra Classic cam tensioner issue. 

Understanding the Ultra Classic Cam Tensioner Issue

The cam tensioner in the Ultra Classic serves an essential role to ensure the smooth operation of the engine’s camshaft. The camshaft, in turn, plays a significant role in controlling the intake and exhaust valves of the engine.

Over time, some Ultra Classic owners have reported premature wear and failure of the cam tensioners. 

The common signs of the cam tensioner failure:

Engine Noise: 

One of the early signs of a failing cam tensioner is unusual engine noise. It can be a ticking or knocking sound, especially during startup or low RPMs.

Performance Decline: 

A faulty cam tensioner can lead to a drop in engine performance. You might experience reduced power, poor throttle response, and decreased fuel efficiency.

Potential Engine Damage: 

In worst-case scenarios, if the cam tensioner fails, it can lead to significant engine damage. Bits of the tensioner can break off and circulate through the engine, leading to catastrophic failures.

If you’ve been experiencing any of these signs, it’s essential to consult with a motorcycle specialist or visit a Harley-Davidson dealer for an assessment.

It’s important to note that Harley Davidson has improved cam tensioner design in newer models. If you own an older Ultra Classic, you should know about this issue and consider potential solutions.

5th gear whining noise 

A discernible whining noise from the gear is typically not part of its standard operating noise. Many enthusiasts and mechanics have discussed the 5th gear whining noise in the Ultra Classic. 

The noise is usually noticed when the motorcycle cruises in 5th gear, and it often gets louder with acceleration.

Why Does This Happen?

Gear Wear: 

Gears are not immune to wear and tear. Over time, the teeth of the gears can wear down, leading to improper meshing. 

When this happens, a whining noise can result from the gears not aligning correctly.

Lubrication Issues: 

The lubrication inside the transmission is crucial in ensuring smooth gear shifts and reducing noise. 

If inadequate lubrication, it could lead to increased friction, which might be the culprit behind the whining noise.


Worn-out or damaged bearings can produce a distinct whining noise. The bearings associated with the 5th gear could be a potential problem when discussing the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic.

Transmission Misalignment:

Sometimes, the transmission components may need to be adequately aligned due to manufacturing defects or after some repair work. 

This misalignment can also result in a whining noise when in 5th gear.

Potential Solutions:

Regular Maintenance: 

Ensuring regular maintenance checks, especially for the transmission fluid, can help in identifying potential lubrication issues. 

If the transmission fluid is dirty or inadequate, a simple change might solve the problem.

Inspection of Gears and Bearings: 

Having a professional inspect the gears and bearings is crucial. If there’s significant wear, replacing them before more severe problems arise is often better.

Professional Diagnosis: 

Sometimes, the root of the problem may not be easily identifiable. Getting a professional diagnosis is the best course of action in such cases.

The hot engine in slow traffic 

Most motorcycle engines, including the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, are air-cooled. The cooling mechanism depends mainly on air passing over the engine to dissipate heat. 

This air-cooling system works efficiently when cruising at highway speeds due to the constant airflow.

However, the problem arises when the bike is moving slowly or idling in traffic. Under these circumstances, the air flowing over the engine is significantly reduced. 

The hot exhaust pipes and the heat radiating off the pavement compound the issue. This leads to the engine getting more desirable than it ideally should.

Issues which can hot engine do

Overheating can lead to reduced engine efficiency, wear and tear of components, and in extreme cases, can even cause engine failure. 

It can also become uncomfortable for the rider, as the excessive heat can become unbearable, especially during hot days.

There are ways riders have tried to mitigate this problem. These include installing auxiliary fans, using synthetic oils to better handle high temperatures, and even changing riding habits such as avoiding heavy traffic or not letting the bike idle for long periods.

General oil leaks 

One of the most commonly reported issues among riders and enthusiasts is general oil leaks. 

Oil leaks can be a biker’s worst nightmare, leading to reduced performance, potential safety hazards, and even cosmetic issues. 

For the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, the reasons behind these leaks can be:

Ageing Gaskets: 

Over time, gaskets can degrade and lose their ability to maintain a tight seal. It is especially true if a bike has been ridden hard or has high mileage.

Overfilled Oil Tank: 

While it may seem counterintuitive, overfilling your oil tank can cause leaks. As the oil expands with heat, it can spill out from various places if there’s too much of it.

Faulty Oil Lines:

Cracked or deteriorating oil lines can be a significant cause of leaks. Regularly inspecting and replacing them can prevent this issue.

Loose Bolts or Components: 

Over time, vibrations from the road and engine can cause bolts or components to loosen, potentially leading to oil leaks.

Preventing and Addressing Oil Leaks

To ensure that your Harley Davidson Ultra Classic remains in prime condition, consider implementing the following measures:

Regular Maintenance: 

Make it a routine to inspect all the critical components of your bike. It not only helps in identifying potential oil leaks but also any other pressing issues.

Gasket Replacement: 

If you notice that the gaskets are worn out, replace them immediately. This relatively inexpensive fix can save you from significant troubles down the line.

Monitor Oil Levels: 

Always ensure that you’re putting in the right amount of oil. An overfilled tank can be just as detrimental as an underfilled one.

Invest in Quality Parts: 

Always opt for high-quality parts when replacing any component, even if they might be a tad more expensive. They tend to last longer and perform better.

ABS braking system problem 

The ABS or Anti-lock Braking System prevents the wheels from locking up during sudden brakes.

They allow the rider to maintain steering control. It’s especially beneficial during slippery conditions. 

But some Ultra Classic owners have reported issues with this system, including:

Sensor Failures: 

A common problem faced by some riders is the malfunction of ABS sensors. These sensors detect wheel speed, and if they malfunction, the ABS system won’t get accurate data, leading to potential braking issues.

Brake Fluid Issues: 

The ABS module requires periodic flushing and replacement of brake fluid. Neglecting this can lead to the fluid becoming contaminated, which can affect the performance of the ABS.

ABS Light Malfunction:

Some riders have mentioned that the ABS warning light either doesn’t illuminate when there’s a problem or stays on even while the system functions correctly.

ABS Pump Failures: 

Though rare, there have been instances where the ABS pump itself failed. It can lead to a complete loss of the ABS functionality.


What is the hardest Harley Davidson to ride?

The difficulty of riding a Harley Davidson, or any motorcycle, often depends on the rider’s experience and comfort level. 

In general terms, larger and heavier bikes can pose more challenges for new riders. Among the Harley Davidson lineup are the CVO models.

The CVO Street Glide or CVO Road Glide is some of the heaviest and most powerful, making them potentially harder to maneuver, especially at low speeds.

With their low-slung design and weight, the Softail models can be challenging for some to handle.

Riders must choose a bike that matches their skill level and practice in a controlled environment before hitting the open road.

What makes a Harley Davidson Ultra Limited low?

The Harley Davidson Ultra Limited Low caters to users who prefer a lower seat height and easier ground reach. 

It achieves this through a lowered front and rear suspension, a reduced-width primary cover, and a seat that positions riders closer to the ground. 

These modifications make it easier for shorter riders to plant their feet flat on the ground, enhancing comfort and confidence during stops.

What is the difference between a Harley Davidson Electra Glide and Ultra Classic?

The Harley Davidson Electra Glide and Ultra Classic are both touring motorcycles, but they differ in terms of features and amenities:


The Electra Glide is a foundational touring model in Harley’s lineup.


The Ultra Classic, often considered an upgraded version of the Electra Glide, typically comes with more features, such as enhanced audio systems, heated hand grips, saddlebag liners, and more.


The Ultra Classic generally offers a more advanced infotainment system.


The Ultra Classic often comes with a Tour-Pak, providing additional storage, which differs from basic Electra Glide models.


Compared to the standard Electra Glide, the Ultra Classic usually has additional comfort features, like passenger amenities.

Wrapping Up 

The Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, famous for its comfort and features, has its issues.

Owners have occasionally reported concerns about the infotainment system, vibrations, and certain mechanical quirks. 

As with any vehicle, regular maintenance is crucial to preempt potential problems. It’s essential to balance these critiques with the bike’s performance legacy.

Despite these occasional problems, the Ultra Classic remains a significant player in the touring motorcycle scene.

You may also love to read this!

Honda ST1100 Problems

Harley Pan America Problems

Harley Davidson Problems

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top