Bes And Worst Year Harley Fatboy With Common Problems

Harley Davidson – the prominent manufacturer has produced various motorbikes to satisfy versatile riders. Fatboy is one popular series of those bikes that was first introduced in 1990.

Mostly, people know this machine for its fat, wide tires, and muscular look. You get a classic and powerful riding experience by taking it on the street.  Today’s topic will discuss the best year Harley Fatboy models and the worst ones.

If you plan to buy the Fatboy motorcycle, continue reading. It will help you quickly decide which Fatboy model to avoid and which to buy. We will also show the common problems of Harley Davidson Fatboy models in different years with quick solutions. 

Year Harley Fatboy With Common Problems

An Overview Of The Fatboy Series

An Overview Of The Fatboy Series

The earliest models had 1340cc Evolution engines (1990-99). Later, Harley added Twin Cam engines (1450-1690 cc) in 2000-17, models. Milwaukee Eight engines (1746-1868 cc) were used in 2018-20 models. So, consider it an evolving but powerful beast that gradually upgraded to win over the roads. 

Over the years, the Fatboy has become a popular choice among Harley enthusiasts. It is recognized as an iconic motorcycle in the cruiser category. Still, there are unfortunate things you may not expect. In this blog, I will discuss the best and worst years of Harley Fatboy with common problems. 

Best Year Harley Fatboy (And Worst)

Best Year Harley Fatboy (And Worst)

Let me start with good things. There are some extraordinaire Fatboy model years that you will love. 

Best Model Years

Hence the good story starts with the 1990 model of HD Fat Boy. Its temping features brought a vibe of something great among the riders on its arrival. As time goes, riders worldwide started loving this two-wheeler. Day by day, the manufacturer focused on developing new models to cope up with the needs of the customers while maintaining the standards. 

The next best years for Harley Davidson Fatboy are 2002-05. The Twin Cam engines produced more power to get riders a new authentic riding experience. These bikes became so popular that customers didn’t let them stay at the store for more than 1-2 weeks. 

Another best model year is the 2019 Fatboy. It gives the rider high mileage without any compromise. Then, the latest 2022 model has become a people’s choice for its low, muscular, powerful appearance. Riders have already talked about its robust chrome disc wheels, wide tires, and its square, attractive headlight.

Worst Model Years

Worst Model Years

The 2007 model got fat tires which also helped to gain some popularity of Fatboy. Still, people consider it as the worst year, especially for its 96CI motor and offset front end. Also, its transmission caused a disruptive whining sensation when you put it in 5th gear for its straight-cut gears. Even you might face clutch rattling, which is not acceptable. 

The suspension system of the 2018 model year of HD Fat Boy needed to be better. A few riders faced a jerking sensation regardless of how smoothly they rode it on the road at any speed. Hence, the bigger tires were the reason to have this issue. 

Even the 2018 model had a recall from Harley for its defective clutch actuator. It was initiated due to the fluid leakage from the secondary clutch actuator cylinder. As a result, the cylinder loses the power to generate sufficient lift to extricate the clutch.

Fatboy Problems Of Several Model Years

Fatboy Problems Of Several Model Years

Now, I explain the problems of the Fatboy model years of 2007, 2006, 2003, and 1999. These give you overall knowledge about this bike. 

2007 Harley Davidson Fatboy Problems

In 2007 Fatboy, the major issue was with the tires. Some riders on HDForums discussed the matter in these ways:

Rear tire wears out fast, average 4-6k on most in here.” (Username: OCT1949)

Someone added a few more issues on the same thread:

“They made the rear fender too short compared to prior years. The 07 front tire is not centered, spaced offset, corrected in 08…” (KumaRide)

As you see, these are both design problems. You may need to change the tires with a better aftermarket one. It will help you quickly find better traction and support. Also, aftermarket tires for Harley 2007 Fatboy will have a prolonged lifespan.

2006 Harley Davidson Fatboy Problems

The brake light fails to work in 2006 Fat Boy when the rider tries to use the hand or foot brake. A rider on HDForums explained his problem in this way:

“My 2006 Fat Boy Brake Light does not work when you use the hand or foot brake.” He replaced the bulb, yet the brake light didn’t work well when using the brakes.   Another rider named Tyler Johnson wrote on Fixya, “I disconnected the battery, and now after I put the new battery in, my signals flash left and right when I hit the start button, and I get no ignition at all.”

The problem with ignition may be linked to spark plugs. Thus, you should remove the spark plug and see its condition. Often cleaning the residue from the spark plug with help you get proper ignition to start the Fatboy motorcycle. 

The community user also reported that his bike had an issue with the alarm. Its alarm didn’t tend to disarm. Also, there was an ignition problem which was also reported by another rider (on Harley-DavidsonForums):

“When the ignition is turned on…. left signal comes on, and when the left turn signal button is pushed will not go off. The only way I can get it off is to push the right-hand signal button. After the left turn signal stops blinking, it will not work anymore.”

This problem with the alarm and signal light is due to erratic wiring. Therefore, you should check the wiring of the motorcycle. If the signal light wire is loose, you should fix it. Plus, check for the ECM and ensure it works properly. If you have older Fatboy motorbikes, the ECM system may malfunction. At this moment, you should service or maintain it. Plus, replacing the ECM will cost you roughly $100. 

2003 Harley Davidson Fatboy Problems

2003 models of Fatboy had some problems with a carburetor. That’s why a rider talked about it: “It starts right up; I let it warm up, then when I put it in gear and start to ride, it sputters and won’t accelerate…” (Source: Harley-DavidsonForums)

This issue happens for several reasons, like clogged carb, an intake leak, or a clogged pilot jet. Keeping these things clean might solve the problem. You can use a commercial WD-40 cleaner to remove residual development from the carburetor, intake tubes, and pilot jet. Also, regular cleaning of these parts will increase the mileage of your Harley 2003 Fatboy. 

Another problem was reported the bike wouldn’t start. Someone on Hdtimeline pointed this problem in this way, “My 03 Fatboy won’t start all the time. When it does, it runs strong and will start every time for that day come back the next won’t start …”

However, the solution to this issue was the replacement of the spark plugs. You need to purchase a new spark plug and replace the older one. It won’t cost you more than $20 and is easy too. You will hardly need more than 30 minutes to complete the spark plug replacement task. 

1999 Harley Davidson Fatboy Problems

1999 Fatboy had problems like hot starting, which many riders found irritating. Here is an example from a thread on HDForums:

“After about ten minutes into this ride, it started breaking up like it needed fuel.” A similar issue was discussed in another thread on “After about a mile or 2 of riding, the bike begins to spit and pop and bogs down. sometimes it feels like it’s running on 1 cylinder, or it ran out of gas…”

This problem had a connection with an ignition issue. Thus, ignition system replacement was needed to solve the problem. You should contact the dealer to find the right OEM or aftermarket ignition system for the Harley Fatoboy series.

Premium Store serves you a quality ignition kit for Harley Fatboy and Electra. You can try it out with your motorcycle to see if the problem perishes. Often, this replacement boosts fuel economy. Also, you will enjoy better smoothness in running the motorcycle.  

Final Words

Harley Davidson Fatboy is indeed a magical motorcycle that has developed over time. Some great models have been released over the years and some not-so-great ones. Some common problems riders have reported include issues with the tires, brakes, carburetor, and ignition system. 

However, with proper maintenance and regular servicing, these issues can be avoided, and riders can enjoy the power and classic look of the Harley Davidson Fatboy. I hope you enjoyed reading the blog on the best and worst years of Harley Fatboy with common problems. 

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