MiscRes: Factory Recalls

Factory Recalls

This is a complete Factory Safety Defect Recalls (regarding Sportsters) from 1967-1979 of the MoCo's Motorcycle Safety Defect Recall Campaign. More will be added when found.

  • Some recalls cover more than one model and / or year.
  • Some recalls were covered in a letter and some thru a Service Bulletin.
  • Beginning on February 5, 1990, HD provided a toll free number that the dealers could call to check a motorcycle's safety recall history (1974 and up). If at any time you are not sure that a recall has been per­formed on your motorcycle, you can call your local Harley Davidson dealer for a quick check of their recall records.
    Remember that a recall never expires and should be performed on a recalled vehicle regardless of its age or mileage. 1) 2)

Safety Defect Code 001

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1967 XLCH0012-24-1967553Spark Plug Cable GuideBegiining # up to 3989
Beginning with engine number 67XLCH3989, the MoCo installed a spark plug cable guide (plate) - (31630-67) on all XLCH models on the carburetor manifold lower mounting stud to comply with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Because of a possibility that the magneto cable could move out of the correct position and interfere with the operation of the throttle cable, the spark plug wires were ran thru insulated holes in this plate to keep them from coming in conflict with the throttle lever cable. The MoCo directed the dealers to retrofit, free of charge to the customer, this metal plate (triangular in shape with holes at all three corners) to all 1967 XLCHs previously sold below engine number 3989 at a labor reimbursed cost of $0.80 per motorcycle.

Safety Defect Code 007

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1970 XL/XLCH0071-9-1970LetterIncorrect Wheel Rims

Safety Defect Code 010

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1971 XLH/XLCH0101-18-1971LetterRear Tire (Goodyear)All

Safety Defect Code 012

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1971 XLH/XLCH0124-30-1971624Rear Wheel Hub
Some 1971 Sportsters produced between February 2 and February 26, were assembled with defective rear wheel hubs with incomplete brazed joints causing the tack welds to break. This allowed the spoke flange to move on the hub and loosen the spokes. All affected rear wheels were to be replaced as a recall in compliance with the National Motor Vehicle Safety laws. Dealers were reimbursed $4.00 for labor for swapping out each complete rear wheel minus the sprocket

Safety Defect Code 015

Year ModelRecall # Recall Date TSB # Subject Sportster VIN Range
1972 XLH/XLCH0154-27-1972636Rear Fork Bearing Adjustment(3A/4A) 18748H2-33040H2
A number of 1972 Sportsters were produced from November 1, 1971 to March 29, 1972 without the (3 position) stake operation performed on the rear left side fork bearing lock nut on the Swingarm. This safety defect prompted a recall of the affected bikes with the dealer being required to remove the rear fork for inspection and stake any of them that were done previously at a rate of $7 reimbursed labor and handling.

Safety Defect Code 017

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1972 XLH/XLCH0178-14-1972638Rear Fork Bearing Adjustment(3A/4A) 39624H2-50531H2
A number of 1972 Super Glide and Sportster models were produced with the front wheel bearing lock ring (11035) installed backwards which can result in the front wheel to be loose or the bearing (9009) to lock up. The retaining ring is flat on one side and beveled on the other.

Safety Defect Code 020

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1973 XL/XLCH0205-15-1973650Tail Lamp Wiring(XL/XLCH) 45311H3 - 46787H3
(XL/XLCH) 60000H3 - 60130H3
Initial production of '73 models XL, XLCH-1000 were made without a retaining clip to hold the wires to the fender near the tail light bulb socket which allowed the wires to loop outward into the tire well. To keep from instancing a traffic hazard due to possible wires rubbing into tires and short circuiting the tail light, a safety defect bulletin was issued for dealerships to fix this issue by installing the proper retaining clips.

Safety Defect Code 021

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1973 XLH/XLCH0216-27-1973651Front Fork Lower Bracket(3A or 4A) 42100H3-50000H3
*A number of 1973 XL, XLCH and FX motorcycles were assembled with defective lower fork bracket forgings from 10-31-1972 to 3-25-1973.
*Quench cracks have occurred in a critical area of some bracket forgings during heat treatment that was performed the supplier. Some cracks, being very small, were not detected by visual inspection and were installed in motorcycles. Depending upon the location and severity of the cracking, this defect could result in bracket failure and front suspension collapse, and may cause an accident with possible personal injury.
*It has been determined that the possibility of the defect only occurs on bracket forgings identified with the raised letter “E” before the part number (located between the fork stem and the tube holes on the bracket) which had to be replaced.
*Fork stem and assembly brackets (Sportster - 45703-71) were shipped to the dealer for replacement. Dealers were reimbursed $8.50 labor for each bracket replaced.

Safety Defect Code 022

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1973 XLH/XLCH0228-23-1973654Rear Brake Operating Lever(3A) 61306H3-65501H3
(4A) 61503H3-65563H3

Safety Defect Code 023

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1973 XL/XLCH0232-11-1974656Frame Reinforcement and Tail Lamp Wiring(3A/4A) 40000H3-50772H3
(3A/4A) 60000H3-71568H3
* All 1973 XL and XLCH frames will require corrective modification to prevent possible breakage at the welded junction of the frame tubes, rear fender and rear shock support bracket.
* Some cases of frame breakage, poor handling and possible loss of control prompted HD to issue a safety defect notification on all 1973 XL and XLCH frames. All affected vehicles required welded (shielded metal arc welding process and welding rod AWS class E-7018, E-7016 or E-7014 as listed in order of preference) reinforcing braces to be installed to prevent possible breakage at the welded junction of the frame tubes and the rear fender and shock absorber bracket.
* With this gremlin plus an earlier safety defect bulletin regarding tail light wiring within the same VINs (HD Service Bulletin #650 - Safety Defect Code 020 - dated May 15, 1973), it was decided upon to repair both at the same time. The rear fender support attaching bolts will be relocated to raise the fender rear end and provide more clearance between the tire and taillight wires to prevent a possible short circuit caused by the tire rubbing through the wire insulation under abnormal rear end loading of the motorcycle.
* A group of 28 motorcycles (with reinforced frames) were sent to the U.S. Army that required the fender relocation performed.VINs: (3A) 71058H3-71086H3
* Dealers were reimbursed $2.00 for parts and an additional $10.50 for labor on each motorcycle serviced (including inspection of the existing frame at the junction of the tubes and the frame bracket for cracks or breaks and repairing as necessary including finished paint). The reinforcement braces were to be painted (except for the ends) and allowed to dry before welding them in.
* A kit (47420-74) was supplied by the MoCo to facilitate the work including:
Part #Qty.Item
47087-742Brace (for welding to each side of the frame
59660-732Adapter Plate w / welded nut (for relocating the fender support bolt
59798-521Fender pad
67021Washer (to space out the oil tank if required)
100132Oil hose clamp (if required)
100141Oil hose clamp (if required)
100061Strap fastener (if required)
68204-741Tail lamp wire (green)
68203-741Stop lamp wire ( red)
68202-741Rubber boot (for lamp socket}
72039-713Pin terminal (for tail and stop lamp wires)

Safety Defect Code 029

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1975 XL/XLCH
and others
02911-7-1975695Wheel Spokes(3A) 24439H5-48750H5
(4A) 24439H5-4A48750H5
* The MoCo experienced an increase in wheel spoke breakage on front and rear (FL & FLH models) and rear only (FX, FXE, XL & XLCH models), 16“ & 18” only.
* This recall was issued after several attempts by the MoCo to get the dealers to inspect the spokes upon normal servicing of motorcycles and owner alerts in the owner's manuals. Although, these referred to bulletins dealt mostly with Sprint models. 3)
* A 5% failure rate was predicted. As a precautionary measure, HD issued a safety defect for all affected motorcycles.
* The remedy was to notify all customers to bring in their bikes to the dealership for testing. The dealer was to tap all spokes to check for proper tension, tighten nipples as needed to produce a uniform metallic sound when tapped.
* Theoretically, if more than three broken spokes were noticed, other spokes may have been subjected to higher than normal stresses. In a protective measure, any broken spokes while tightening required the whole set to be replaced
* If no damage was found, the dealer had to tighten and true the spokes (which didn't require pulling them off the bike). Dealers were reimbursed 0.4 hours labor for each wheel that required spoke tightening and truing and 2.5 hours labor for each wheel that was re-spoked.
* Spoke checks were recommended at initial 500 & 1000 mile intervals and then every 5000 miles afterwards.

Safety Defect Code 030

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1976 XL/XLCH0305-28-1976702Rear Brake Shoes(3A/4A) 31727H6-50376H6
* Rear brake shoes could separate from the brake shoe due to a bonding adhesive issue.
* All rear shoes were to be suspect of failure and had to be replaced.
* A Service Letter went out to dealers on May 11, 1977 regarding this same issue adding FL & FLH models.
* The drum brake lining and rivet set (44432-54A) has linings which tend to crack during the riveting process because of the brittle nature of the lining material. For satisfactory assembly, these linings must first be bonded and then riveted to the brake shoe by the factory.
* For this reason, these linings were no longer sold separately. Use riveted and bonded brake shoe and lining set (44401-49B) instead.

Safety Defect Code 032

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1975 XL/XLCH
1977 XLT
0323-22-1977709Front Brake Caliper Bolt(3A/4A) 10000H5-51760H5
(3A/4A) 10000H6-55388H6
(3A/4A) 10000H7-26346H7
(2G) 19844H7-25346H7

Safety Defect Code 033

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1977 XL0338-26-1977M-716Showa Rear Shocks(3A) 51694H7-51717H7
(3A) 51739 H7-51799H7
(3A) 51820H7-51834H7
* A quantity of 100 electric start XL-1000 motorcycles were produced from June 24-June 28, 1977 having the new Showa rear shock absorbers assembled with incorrect (cupped washers) on the mounting studs instead of flat washers.
* Also, 493 of the new design Showa shock absorbers were shipped to dealers as spare parts from June 29-July 28, 1977, some of which had been assembled on customers motorcycles using incorrect washers.
* In a Mailgram dated July 29, 1977, affected dealers were notified to take corrective action immediately.
* Installation of incorrect cupped washers prevents either the upper or lower shock (eyes) from pivoting freely when the suspension system moves, which causes stress on the shock (eye) and failure at low mileage.
* Failure of upper or lower mounting (eye) of both shocks will cause the suspension to collapse and lock the wheel with a possible loss of control. Failure of the upper or lower mounting (eye) on only one shock will not cause suspension collapse, but can affect handling with a possible loss of control.
* Affected parts stock that were assembled with incorrect cupped washers which did not have the correct flat washers included are identified with the name “Showa” stamped on the unit and utilize a 5 position spring tension adjuster.

Safety Defect Code 036

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1979 XLH0364-11-1978709Rear Brake Control Linkage(3A) 10001H9-12067H9
* A total of 568 early 1979 XLH-1000 models were produced and shipped with inadequate rear brake linkage parts from February 15, 1978 to March 22, 1978.
* Dealers were notified by mailgram (ML-85) on March 23, 1978 that the affected motorcycles must not be sold or used until the issue was corrected.
* The issue involved distortion of the brake linkage inner pivot arm at the pivot shaft hole when heavy force was applied to the brake pedal. The distortion of the square hole in the pivot arm and mating square on the pivot shaft increased the brake linkage free play, resulting in excessive pedal travel and a lowered pedal position (with the lower pedal position increasing the operator's ability to effectively apply the rear brake).
* This condition (due to linkage distortion) can occur gradually.
* After March 21, 1978, the new correct parts were used in production.
* Dealers were reimbursed for 0.6 hours for each motorcycle serviced.
A special kit was issued for replacement parts containing:
42357-79Inner pivot ArmReplaces 42365-79
42359-79Pivot shaftReplaces 42366-79
70415/16“ Lock-washerReplaces 7036, 1/4” Lock-washer
70575/16“x1/2” Hex acorn nutReplaces 7737W, 1/4“x7/16”Hex acorn nut
* The new inner pivot arm has a reinforced (thicker) section.
* The new pivot shaft has a longer square section to accommodate the thicker pivot arm and it only fit one way. The square shaft end with rounded corners fits the new inner pivot arm only.
* The outer acorn nut and lock-washer size has been increased from 1/4“ to 5/16”.
* As a means of identifying the new parts, the outer acorn nut which attaches the outer pivot arm to the pivot shaft now has a 1/2“ hex head instead of the older 7/16” hex head.

Safety Defect Code 037

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
and others
0377-31-1978M-736Front Brake(3A) 17392H9-17737H9
(4A) 17404H9-17621H9
* A number of 1978-1979 FLH, FLH-80, FX, FXE, FXS and 1979 XLH, XLCH models were produced and shipped with an improperly machined front brake master cylinders during from June 7, to June 14, 1978.
* Within the front brake master cylinders, the plunger piston bore diameter was honed up to .015“ over the maximum limit. The oversized bore resulted in a reduced interference fit between the piston seals and the cylinder bore which could allow hydraulic fluid to leak, causing eventual fluid depletion and ineffective braking.
* Normally, during operation, there would be a prior warning of insufficient brake fluid in the system indicated by fluid leakage around the master cylinder and an increase in the hand lever free movement before braking. However, if this condition were to be left unchecked or ignored, complete loss of the front brake would eventually occur with the increase of fluid loss.
* Dealers were to replace the defective master cylinders at a reimbursed rate of 0.6 hours before selling any more of the affected models and owners were contacted to bring in their bikes for replacement front master cylinders (43306-78 on XLH/XLCH/FX/FXE/FXS).

Safety Defect Code 039

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1979 XLH
and others
0395-1-1979M-747Front Brake Master Cylinder(3A) 56358H9-57166H9
* A quantity of 370 motorcycles with model designations FLH-1200, FLH-80, FXE- 1200, FXEF-1200, FXEF-80, FXS-1200, FXS-80 and XLH-1000 were produced and shipped from 3/22/79 - 3/30/79 with a possible defect in the front brake master cylinder.
* Some of the affected motorcycles may have brake fluid leakage through a tear or crack in the metal between the master cylinder outlet and the fluid reservoir. This internal leakage could prevent adequate buildup of hydraulic pressure to the front brake caliper when the handlever is operated.
* This internal leakage could prevent adequate buildup of hydraulic pressure to the front brake caliper when the lever is operated.
* Depending upon the amount of fluid transfer through the damaged section, leakage may affect normal braking pressure in the front brake system and not come on gradually.
* Dealers were reimbursed 0.6 hours for each motorcycle serviced to cover labor, fluid and processing related to installing the correct front brake master cylinder assembly.

Safety Defect Code 040

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1977-1978 XLCR0406-12-1979M-749Rear Brake Master CylinderAll
The pushrods in the rear master cylinder had insufficient contact area with the plastic piston in the master cylinder. The issue was that, during hard braking, the pushrod could penetrate the plastic piston resulting in a sudden loss of brake fluid and a possible accident.
* The dealer was to install a new m/c repair kit (93269) along with a larger m/c pushrod (42312-80) in all affected models at a reimbursed rate of 0.7 hours covering labor, fluid and processing.
* The repair kit (93269) consisted of the master cylinder repair kit (42374-77) and the larger master cylinder push rod (42312-80) which replaced the offending pushrod (42312-77).

Safety Defect Code 041

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
* 1979 XLH/XLCH
and others
0416-29-1979M-751Rear Brake Pedal Stop Bolt JamnutSee below
A total of 635 XLH and XLS models were produced and shipped between March 30 and April 19, 1979 with a possible defect in that the assembly of the brake pedal stop bolt jam­nut may not have been securely tightened at the time of assembly.
* This could allow the bolt to unscrew from the pedal shaft arm & the bolt head to contact the lower inside edge of the sprocket cover, possibly locking or hindering the rear brakes. Each dealer was reimbursed 0.2 hours for each motorcycle serviced to cover costs for labor and pro­cessing.
Suspect engine VINs were:
(3A) 53871(3A) 57901-57928(3A) 58103-58144(3A) 58406-58413(3A) 58528-58540(3A) 58541-58621(3A) 58664(3A) 58667-58707
(3A) 58746-58789(3A) 58905-58937(3A) 59068-59087(3A) 59155-59204(3A) 59339-59378(3A) 59412-59429(3A) 59530-59560
(3A) 59663-59670(3A) 59856-59870(3A) 59987-59046(3A) 60083-60103(3A) 60379-60410(3A) 60623-60661(3A) 60913-60935
(4E) 58285-58292(4)E 58665-58666
* The brake pedal stop bolt is located underneath the right side of the engine just below the rear.
* Always check the jam nut for tightness and check the brake linkage for proper adjustment as follows:
* Work the rear brake pedal by hand to determine free play (movement before the plunger contacts the piston in the master cylinder).
* Free play of the plunger should be app. 1/16” (to be sure the rear brake pressure is relieved when the brake pedal is released.
* To adjust the free play, loosen the jam nut and turn the stop bolt inward (clock­ wise) to decrease or outward (counterclockwise) to increase the free play. When 1/16“ free play is obtained, tighten the jam nut against the shaft lever while holding the stop bolt in position.

Safety Defect Code 043

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
* 1979
RearBrake Pedal
Return of unused parts from dealer stock
(3A/4A/4E) 10000H9-67593H9
The offending brake pedal (42410-75A).
* Correct part (42410-75A) must have a date code (as in 7-17A) in addition to the part number.

Safety Defect Code 044

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
and others
Rear Brake Master Cylinder Piston

Return of unused parts from dealer stock
Addendum, adding parts order kit (42415-79)
(3A/4E) 10000H9-66731H9
(4A) 11456H9-25366H9
* A number of 1979 FLH, XL and XLS models were assembled and shipped with master cylinder pistons made from an incorrect material as received from HD's supplier.
* 1979 XLCH, FXE, FXEF and FXS models were added to the list in March of 1980.
* The offending repair kit is (42374-77). The piston in this kit has no identifiable markings.
* This material may allow water absorption to a greater degree than the correct material specified by the MoCo. Also the plastic piston, made of this incorrect material, could have stuck in the m/c piston bore (possibly causing the rear wheel to drag or skid). Affected Sportster models were and . Dealers were to install a new master cylinder piston kit (93279) reimbursed at 0.7 hours for labor, fluid and processing on affected models.
* The correct kit must have a marked plastic piston (identified on the O-ring groove end with a blue or black dye on the surface).
* A parts order addendum was issued on June 10, 1980 adding a quantity of app. 306 master cylinder assemblies (42415-79) used for parts order on 1979 XL models, were shipped from the warehouse prior to May 1, 1980 that contained pistons made from an incorrect material as received from the supplier. This incorrect material, as outlined in Bulletin (754A), may allow water absorption to a greater degree than the material specified by Harley Davidson.

Safety Defect Code 056

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1982 XL
0565-7-1982M-854Rear Brake Caliper

Safety Defect Code 058

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
1984 XL0565-2-1984M-890Alternator StatorMounting

Safety Defect Code 0108

Year ModelRecall #Recall DateTSB #SubjectSportster VIN Range
2002 XL1200C01082003M-1136Mirror KitAll 2002 XL1200Cs
For Any XL1200C assembled/shipped from the Kansas City, Missouri plant equipped long stemmed mirrors (left 91902-88A and right 91904-88A). Certain 2002 model year 1200 Custom Sportster motorcycles have a condition whereby the left side mirror stem may fracture. This may allow the mirror to fall, possibly without warning, and present an unreasonable risk of accident, injury or death. In the interest of motor vehicle safety and customer satisfaction, HD elected to initiate a voluntary recall to replace both mirrors on all affected motorcycles with current production parts. See TSB M-1136 for dealer action required to perform the recall service.

Click Here to go to the TSB page in the Sportsterpedia.
Scroll down to bulletin M-1136, click on the “Y” in the chart to download the service bulletin.

Mirror Kit 94190:

4) 5)

6) 7)


HD Service Bulletin #M-807 dated November 21, 1980
HD Service Letter ML-312 dated February 3, 1990
HD Service Letter dated August 21, 1975
4) , 5) , 6) , 7)
photo courtesy of Ebay seller,1rosesofwood, Link to Ebay Store
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