Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problems: What To Do

Engine upgrades and customizations are a popular way to improve the performance, fuel efficiency, and sound of your Harley Davidson. But it is important to know the pros and cons of engine modifications before you do anything drastic to your motorcycle.

However, With a displacement of 96 cubic inches, the Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine can produce a significant amount of torque. This engine is found in Harley-Davidson street bikes. The engine is also used in Harley-Davidson touring bikes and Harley-Davidson cruisers.

Due to its durability, it has become quite popular among harley enthusiasts and Harley-Davidson engine repair shops. We will explore all Harley-Davidson 96 cubic inch engine problems and their solutions so that you can troubleshoot your Harley-Davidson engine and get back on the road as soon as possible.

Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problems

About Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine

The 96 Cubic-Inch V-Twin Engine Is The Heart Of The Harley-Davidson Sportster. The 96 Cubic-inch engine features a belt drive and overhead camshafts for smooth operation. It also utilizes multi-port fuel injection for optimal performance.

This engine can produce between 8 and 10 horsepower, making it ideal for smaller bikes or those looking to upgrade their current model. The 96 cubic-inch engine has proven to be a reliable power plant with minimal problems. Many owners praise its durability and ease of maintenance, making it a popular choice for those looking to add some oomph to their ride.

7 Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problems & Solution

7 Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problems & Solution

Several problems can be encountered when operating a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a 96 cubic-inch engine. Since this is a relatively large engine, it may require more maintenance than other models.

If you need help with the current condition of your bike and are looking for solutions to the problem, consider consulting an expert. The expert can help you diagnose the problem and provide appropriate recommendations to maintain your bike running well. Here are 7 of the common problems and their possible solutions:

1.Cam Chain Tensioner Recall

Cam chain tensioners are devices that help keep your camshaft in check. They work by applying tension to the chain when rotating, which helps prevent it from becoming too loose or too tight. If a cam chain tensioner is damaged, it can cause several issues, including faster wear on the camshaft and increased fuel consumption. You can repair a damaged cam chain tensioner by replacing the unit’s seals, gaskets, and o-rings.

However, you found this design could have been better, with plastic shoes that can wear out easily, leading to metal-to-metal contact and engine failure. To address oil-scavenging problems, Harley-Davidson incorporated a dual scavenge system into the engine, restricting the diameter of the inlet to solve the problem counterintuitively.

In addition to improved cam chain tensioner design, Harley-Davidson also developed an improved cam chain assembly that improves oil flow and service life.

2.Oil Pump

Oil Pump

The Harley 96 cubic inch engine has issues with the oil pump getting jammed. To combat this, Harley-Davidson introduced a dual scavenge system in the engine to increase oil scavenging and improve the system’s longevity. In addition to this, the Twin Cam 88B engine variant was designed to address visual styling issues.

To improve the longevity of the oil system, replacing the cam chest with a hydraulic oil pressure kit can help ensure that the system can continue to work efficiently over time. Upgrading to a higher-quality oil and a fan-assisted oil cooler can help eliminate future cam issues. Maintaining and regularly servicing your Harley-Davidson motorcycle’s engine ensures its reliability and performance over time.


Many people consider the Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine to be one of the company’s best. Despite its impressive performance and capabilities, it has experienced some issues related to the cam chain tensioner and worn cam-plate bearings.

The cam chain tensioner is a small cylinder located in the engine that controls the camshaft movement. It works by always applying a pre-determined amount of pressure to the camshaft, regardless of engine RPM. However, with age and wear, this cylinder can lose its ability to apply enough force to the camshaft, resulting in excessive engine wear and operational problems.

The bearings on Harley Davidson motorcycles can be problematic due to the engine’s vibrations. Over time, these vibrations can cause the bearings to fail prematurely. The best way to address this problem is to inspect the bearings and replace them regularly as needed.

In addition, using the correct grade of bearing for the bike is important, as using the wrong grade can lead to further problems down the road. Regular maintenance and inspection will help ensure the bearings last as long as possible.

4.Ignition System Problems

Ignition System Problems

Issues with the ignition system of the Harley Davidson 96-cubic-inch engine have been reported, such as issues with using a single coil in the Evo engine and deploying double coils in the Twin Cam 88 engine. You also knew the Twin Cam 88 to have a weak chain drive system.

Dealers advise their customers to watch out for cam-support bearing issues with the TC-88 engine. However, mechanical tension arms in cam chests were left unchanged, resulting in poor cylinder filling and reduced performance. Hence, customers must be careful when purchasing or servicing this motorcycle model and ensure everything is up to date and working properly.

5.Cylinder Head Problems

Cylinder Head Problems

The Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch engine has suffered from cam chain tensioner, oil pump, and cylinder head problems. The cam system in the H-D engine typically consists of cams located on the camshafts and cam lobes that move inside the cylinder heads when the engine is operating. Camshafts have various lengths and diameters, allowing for different exhaust and intake requirements of a specific engine design.

However, over time, hardened steel camshafts can wear out. Suppose there are problems with the cam chain tensioner, oil pump, or cylinder head in a Harley-Davidson 96″ motorcycle engine. In that case, there could be loud and unpleasant thrashing sounds coming from the engine whenever it is running.

Additionally, worn-out cam lobes can lead to a rough-running engine that makes a rattling or whining sound. If you notice any of these symptoms in your motorcycle’s engine, be sure to have it checked immediately by a trusted mechanic.

6.Cylinder Block Problems

A few issues can occur with the cylinder block on a Harley Davidson. One of the main concerns is wear and tear. A worn cylinder block can cause an increase in friction and damage to internal components, such as valves, spark plugs, and pistons.

This results in reduced performance and increased fuel consumption. Another problem that can occur with cylinder blocks is cracking. Cracks form due to thermal expansion or contraction of the metal, which can lead to leakage of oil or coolant into the combustion chamber.

Finally, some cylinders have been known to experience failures due to manufacturing defects or improper assembly during production. These issues can be tricky to track down because they may only be apparent with close inspection by a technician. If you notice any of these issues on your engine, bring it in for a thorough inspection so no further damage occurs.

7.Carburetor Problems

A few common problems can occur with carburetors on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including clogged jets, stuck pilot jets, and excessive idle. You may need to remove and clean the carburetor to fix these issues. If the issue persists, contact a mechanic for help.

If your Harley-David has an excessively rich or lean fuel mixture, check the pilot jet for debris or other obstructions. Use a cleaning solution or wire brush to clean the jet if necessary. Also, adjust the fuel mixture screws on the throttle body to fine-tune the engine’s fueling characteristics. If your Harley runs rough or is losing power when accelerating, check the air filter for cracks and replace it if necessary.

Maintenance Tips On Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engines

Maintenance Tips On Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engines

Harley Davidson engines are some of the most popular worldwide, and for a good reason. They are powerful, versatile, and easy to work on. However, like all engines, they require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly.

Here are a few maintenance tips for Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engines: Regularly check the oil level and filter. Engine oil is essential for preventing engine damage; a clogged filter can cause serious problems. Check the air filter and clean it as necessary. Air pollution can cause engine damage, so keeping the air filter clean is important.

Check the belts and replace them as needed. Belts play an essential role in ensuring the engine operates properly, so it is important to replace them regularly. Inspect the spark plugs and replace them as necessary. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel in the engine, so it is important to keep them clean and to function properly.


Harley Davidson’s 96 cubic inch engine is one of the company’s most popular engines, and for a good reason. It provides great power and performance with excellent fuel economy. However, due to its popularity, this engine occasionally needs help. So, the problems mentioned above can be easily avoided by regular engine care and a systematic maintenance program. Most of these issues are easily solvable and will take little time to fix.

You can get your Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine running like new again in no time at all. With our provided information on some of the most common Harley Davidson 96 cubic-inch engine problems and solutions to fix them. Following these simple steps, you can restore your motorcycle’s engine to its former glory and enjoy smooth rides again.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How Much Horsepower Does A 96 Cubic Inch Harley Motor Have?

Ans: The 96 cubic inch Harley motor has an estimated 88-95 hp horsepower. The engine has a bore of 3.75 inches and a stroke of 4.00 inches. The Twin Cam 95 engine displaces 94.6 cubic inches, while the Twin Cam 96 engine displaces 96.7 cubic inches.

2.Which Harley Motor Is The Most Reliable?

Ans: The Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine is popular for many Harley owners, but significant design flaws can cause reliability issues. The main problem with the engine is its cam chain system, which uses plastic shoes prone to wear and tear. Additionally, the hydraulic tensioning system implemented by Harley Davidson is a possible solution to this problem, but it is a short-term fix.

3.What Should I Do If I Experience A Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problem?

Ans: If you experience a motorcycle engine problem, check Harley forums for general public reviews to understand the issue. This will help you understand other riders’ problems and how to troubleshoot and repair them on your motorcycle.

4.What Are The Possible Solutions To A Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine Problem?

Ans: Here are some possible solutions to a Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine problem:

  • You can fix the engine oil pump issue with a compensator eliminator.
  • You can prevent oil leakage by checking for oil fretting in the engine.
  • You may require professional help to solve engine problems such as cold starting below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, transmission vents, and piston oilers.

5.What Are The Benefits Of Using A Harley Davidson 96 Cubic Inch Engine?

Ans: A Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch twin-cam engine offers several benefits, making it a popular choice among motorcycle enthusiasts. The engine has improved combustion and efficiency compared to its predecessor, the Evolution engine. This means you’ll get better fuel economy and performance from your motorcycle.

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