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Old 06-03-2019, 07:46 AM   #1
jonathankahana1
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Newbie 2003 Vrod owner - seeking assistance on stalling

Hi Forum:

I just purchased a 2003 VROD. The bike appeared to be in perfect condition and the former owner had nothing but great things to say about it. Since the bike was 16 years old I brought it to an HD specialist for a full service, hydraulic flush and replace, plugs, new Metzler tires, etc. The bike was originally purchased in 03 and was traded in in 07 with 17k miles. the guy i bought it from had it 12 plus years and put another 7500 miles on it. This bike does not have a scratch on it and seemed to be very well cared for. Both owners were very experienced riders.

I am finding that the bike is stalling on occasion typically on downshifting and sometimes right after starting the bike and giving it gas. I've had the bike just a few weeks and yesterday had to have it towed as it stalled a bunch of times and i felt unsafe riding it. I noticed the clutch lever that was just flushed went limp for a while then came back eventually. Anyone have any advice here? the HD specialist ran diagnostics during my service and nothing came up. I am now nervous to ride the motorcycle. Are there any sensors in the clutch set up that may be faulty telling the bike to stall? The issue seems to have gotten WORSE since the hydraulic clutch was flushed and refilled with fresh fluid.

Thank you so much. I want to get out there again and ride!

I noticed a bunch of posts from 2003-2005 regarding a downshifting/stalling issue, does anyone know if they pinpointed a cause? I would imagine if this bike went 16 years without the issue, it might be something different from those problems.

From the forum it seems any of the following could be the issue:

• Oxygen sensor or other sensor at issue
• Clutch sensor, air in clutch system (why would clutch go limp?)
• Idle air tubing or sensor
• Exhaust map to aftermarket exhaust (Rinehart Racing Pipes)
• Fuel flange
• IAC – no idea what this is but was mentioned on forum many times
• Electronic issue with speed sensor cables
• EFI tuning update
• Loose battery
• Coil wire issue?

Last edited by jonathankahana1; 06-03-2019 at 07:54 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #2
stever975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathankahana1 View Post
Hi Forum:

I just purchased a 2003 VROD. The bike appeared to be in perfect condition and the former owner had nothing but great things to say about it. Since the bike was 16 years old I brought it to an HD specialist for a full service, hydraulic flush and replace, plugs, new Metzler tires, etc. The bike was originally purchased in 03 and was traded in in 07 with 17k miles. the guy i bought it from had it 12 plus years and put another 7500 miles on it. This bike does not have a scratch on it and seemed to be very well cared for. Both owners were very experienced riders.

I am finding that the bike is stalling on occasion typically on downshifting and sometimes right after starting the bike and giving it gas. I've had the bike just a few weeks and yesterday had to have it towed as it stalled a bunch of times and i felt unsafe riding it. I noticed the clutch lever that was just flushed went limp for a while then came back eventually. Anyone have any advice here? the HD specialist ran diagnostics during my service and nothing came up. I am now nervous to ride the motorcycle. Are there any sensors in the clutch set up that may be faulty telling the bike to stall? The issue seems to have gotten WORSE since the hydraulic clutch was flushed and refilled with fresh fluid.

Thank you so much. I want to get out there again and ride!

I noticed a bunch of posts from 2003-2005 regarding a downshifting/stalling issue, does anyone know if they pinpointed a cause? I would imagine if this bike went 16 years without the issue, it might be something different from those problems.

From the forum it seems any of the following could be the issue:

• Oxygen sensor or other sensor at issue
• Clutch sensor, air in clutch system (why would clutch go limp?)
• Idle air tubing or sensor
• Exhaust map to aftermarket exhaust (Rinehart Racing Pipes)
• Fuel flange
• IAC – no idea what this is but was mentioned on forum many times
• Electronic issue with speed sensor cables
• EFI tuning update
• Loose battery
• Coil wire issue?
Concerning your bulleted comments:
  • The 2003 VRSC doesn't have O2 sensors
  • The 2003 VRSC doesn't have a clutch sensor
  • I'm not sure what an "idle air tubing" is but the VRSC fuel injection system uses an idle air bypass port controlled by the IAC (idle air control) "motor". This IAC is connected to the ECM (electronic control module) and engine idle speed is adjusted to a programmed value when ever the engine is running if the TPS (throttle position sensor) is indicating a closed throttle and the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) is indicating the bike isn't moving.
  • You definitely need some sort of fuel map adjustment if you have an aftermarket exhaust like "Rinehart Racing Pipes".
  • Fuel flange leaks can mess with the fuel pressure and can be checked with a fuel pressure gauge.
  • IAC was discussed above.
  • Yes, a bad VSS or bad VSS wiring could cause idle issues.
  • EFI tuning was discussed above regarding the aftermarket exhaust.
  • I assume you mean loose battery connections and yes, this or the ground connections on the front and rear cylinder heads should be checked.
  • Plug top coil connects to the spark plug with a spring inside the boot. the low voltage coil connections aren't likely to cause this type of problem, but bad coils have been known to.

You say you went to an HD specialist. That doesn't mean much when your bike is a VRSC model. Most HD specialist don't know how the V-Rod works. You could also have leak(s) in the throttle body boots that will mess with the idle air. You say this HD specialist ran diagnostics. This can also be done using the IM (instrument module) and the trip meter reset switch as explained in this post. Remember to clear the codes after reading and noting what you see.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:02 AM   #3
jonathankahana1
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Thank you so much for the reply Steve!. The HD specialist I brought it too is a VROD rider as well. I am new to Harley Davidson and am not sure of all my repair facility options. I guess i should just tow it back to him and have him look at all these things as i feel unsafe riding it, would you agree? What's interesting is the clutch lever went limp for a while then pressured back up somehow. This is right after the clutch was bled and refilled.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:52 AM   #4
stever975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathankahana1 View Post
Thank you so much for the reply Steve!. The HD specialist I brought it too is a VROD rider as well. I am new to Harley Davidson and am not sure of all my repair facility options. I guess i should just tow it back to him and have him look at all these things as i feel unsafe riding it, would you agree? What's interesting is the clutch lever went limp for a while then pressured back up somehow. This is right after the clutch was bled and refilled.
Concerning towing and having these things checked, yes, that might be the best if you're not comfortable doing this yourself (i.e., don't have the tools, time, skills). Concerning the clutch, the only thing I can guess is that there's air in the system and bleeding is necessary.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:19 AM   #5
jonathankahana1
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Input from conversation with HD service specialist

Hi Steve,

I talked to HD and there are no recalls on my VIN.
I described what was going on and it seems he thinks there are numerous reasons a 16 year old bike can do this, but considering the issue got worse or at least more apparent after hydraulic bleed, its probably in that system, he encouraged me (the HD dealer was in Utah) to bring the bike in and have them recheck the bleed and also the master and slave clutch cylinders. Depending on what the clutch system is "thinking" this could cause the stalling at standstill and while downshifting. Does this make sense to you?

J
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:52 AM   #6
stever975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathankahana1 View Post
Hi Steve,

I talked to HD and there are no recalls on my VIN.
I described what was going on and it seems he thinks there are numerous reasons a 16 year old bike can do this, but considering the issue got worse or at least more apparent after hydraulic bleed, its probably in that system, he encouraged me (the HD dealer was in Utah) to bring the bike in and have them recheck the bleed and also the master and slave clutch cylinders. Depending on what the clutch system is "thinking" this could cause the stalling at standstill and while downshifting. Does this make sense to you?

J
I don't see how an improperly bled clutch would result in the engine stalling you describe. A clutch that's not bled properly may not release and this could make shifting from neutral to first gear difficult (or impossible). However, the engine should still run fine if in neutral when at stand still or while moving in gear. The clutch system has no sensors that can communicate to any other component on the bike. Your stalling problem is most likely one of the other things mentioned before:
  • Bad fuel map
  • Air leaks in intake
  • Dirty or damaged IAC system (should throw a DTC e.g., P0505)
  • Ignition coil(s) problems. These should throw codes at high RPMs and high engine load (open throttle) e.g., P1353, P1356, P1357, and/or P1358
  • VSS problems (should throw a DTC e.g., P0501 or P0502)
  • Fuel pressure problems
  • bad battery connections or ground points on cylinder head
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:18 AM   #7
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Thanks, I listed all this stuff out and provided to the mechanic. He did say an issue with the internals like the master or slave cylinder could cause stalling on downshift and making shifting difficult and finding neutral difficult. He'll hopefully get to the root of the problem. I will keep you posted and thanks!
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:39 PM   #8
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Put it in neutral, start it and see if it stalls, no clutch involved, should be a good clue!



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Old 06-05-2019, 06:50 AM   #9
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stalls occasionally in neutral.

Hi All,

So i brought the bike back to the mechanic and the battery was dead and couldn't start the bike. He is thinking the problem is the charging system (may need new battery and check terminals etc.) and there is an issue with the seals/pistons in the clutch lever. I think he's gonna check the clutch internals as well.

would a weak battery cause stalling downshift and sometimes in neutral but mostly on downshifting?
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathankahana1 View Post
Hi All,

So i brought the bike back to the mechanic and the battery was dead and couldn't start the bike. He is thinking the problem is the charging system (may need new battery and check terminals etc.) and there is an issue with the seals/pistons in the clutch lever. I think he's gonna check the clutch internals as well.

would a weak battery cause stalling downshift and sometimes in neutral but mostly on downshifting?
It shouldn't. The voltage regulator will limit the alternator load on the engine. If the battery is really low and your sitting at idle, the alternator won't have enough current output to recharge the battery. If the system voltage drops below 12 volts and doesn't rise as the engine speed goes above 2000 RPM, a P0562 DTC will be set but the engine shouldn't stall.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:30 AM   #11
jonathankahana1
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Dang

I was hoping the fact that the battery died and the clutch went limp would point the mechanic to the underlying problem but i guess i'm hearing neither would cause in motion stalling. Well i left the mechanic with ALL the great tips i got on this site and am hopefully he will check all of them and i'll be out there riding soon. If not i have had my eye on a 2008 Kawasaki Concours to add to the collection while i repair the vrod!

Last edited by jonathankahana1; 06-05-2019 at 08:34 AM. Reason: more info.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:28 AM   #12
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mechanic update

The update from the mechanic is that the clutch master cyl needs to be rebuilt and re bored as well as a new battery (battery is 3 years old). Then hydraulic fluid in clutch system will be drained and refilled again. I hope this is it. He checked about 10 other things and all was perfect. UPDATE: so the bike no longer stalls! It seems the clutch master cylinder was failing AND since the bike was not used regularly the last few years there were some fuel contaminants in the system. We put fresh gas in there and treated it with seafoam. It seems to have worked itself out and the bike runs great now. Also made sure the gas cap was tightened all the way, it wasn't!

J
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:02 PM   #13
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This post couldn't have been more timely. My experience is eerily similar to yours. I also bought a 2003 about a month ago and had new tires put on and had a local mechanic, (although not a H-D specialist) perform a 20k service. I just did a 500+ mile trip this past weekend to reposition the bike from where I live to where I work and had no problems. However, I am on day 2 of commuting 15 minutes to work and have had the bike stall on me the same way you described although without the clutch going limp. The last time was as I was downshifting coming off the freeway. Fortunately, I was able to pull the clutch and restart it while coasting.

Glad to hear you seem to have the issue resolved. I will share this post with a mechanic if it continues. If you don't mind me asking, what did the clutch master cylinder rebuild and fluid replacement cost you. Looking to understand what to expect if I have to do the same

Thanks.
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