Most Common Harley Davidson Switchback Problems & Solution

Harley Davidson Switchback is known for its smaller and lightweight profile with an economical riding facility. Also, riders admire this bike for its easy approachability and ability to ride comfortably through the city streets and occasional touring. 

However, if you plan to get a new or old Switchback, you need to be conscious about the bike. Many owners have faced Harley Davidson Switchback problems regarding its vibration. Owners of this classic saddlebag motorbike have complained that the bike often vibrates at 2800RPM. 

Since the vibration is too much to handle, the saddlebag seat and rearview mirror often tend to get loose. It happens as the fastener and stem of the seat, and the mirror becomes loose. Thus, you need to fix the vibration problem of the Switchback to enjoy a better and smoother riding experience. 

You can get rid of the excessive vibration of the bike by replacing its original exhaust setup with an aftermarket exhaust. Many owners have said that replacing the original exhaust system of their Harley Switchback has solved the vibration problem. 

Harley Davidson Switchback Problems

Harley Davidson Switchback Problems:  Excessive Vibration 

Harley Davidson Switchback Problems -  Excessive Vibration 


Harley Switchback may vibrate even at 2800RPM when it gets a bit older. It is way more than the average vibration rate of any motorcycle for human beings to feel comfortable. Thus, the increased vibration of the Switchback causes a few problems for the riders and even for the motorcycles. 

  1. Increased vibration makes your riding extremely uncomfortable 
  2. Excessive vibration loosens the fastener of the saddlebag seat 
  3. The stem holding the rearview mirror also becomes loose and may fall apart 
  4. Increased vibration on the motorcycle means you will feel more bumps on the roads 
  5. It reduces the actual performance of the Switchback 

Thus, you will need to identify why the motorcycle vibrates so much. Then, you need to fix the problem ASAP to enjoy safer and smoother rides. 

Why Harley Switchback Vibrates Too Much?

Why Harley Switchback Vibrates Too Much

The Switchback is a Dyna model from Harley Davidson. It features the classic two into 1 exhaust system. The exhaust system will dissipate the heat and directs it away from the motorcycle. Also, the exhaust will ensure that the bike delivers its iconic performance. Last but not least, the 2 into 1 exhaust also provides the classic Harley Davidson signature deep-ramble sound. 

Thus, the Switchback comes with a deep rumbling sound. Unfortunately, that same exhaust system is also responsible for the extreme vibration of the motorcycle. The exhaust system seems to be over-powered with a smaller diameter. 

Since it has a smaller diameter and opening, the exhaust fails to dissipate and remove the smoke from the motorcycle engine. Also, it gets blocked too often. Thus, the clogged exhaust fan will start blocking the noise, resulting in increased vibration.  What’s more, the exhaust has problems with the factory mount setup. Many riders have complained that the exhaust system has gone through a completely improper mounting, so it vibrates. 

As the vibration increases, it affects the entire motorcycle system. Firstly, the fastener of the saddlebag seat starts getting loose. If you don’t fix the fastener soon, the seat will start moving, and you will lose riding comfort. 

In the worst-case scenario, the motorbike will vibrate so fast that it will reach 2500RPM to 3500RPM. When it happens, the stem holding the rearview mirror will start getting loose and tear apart soon. Thus, you will need to replace the rearview mirror. 

Since you have seen that the vibration problem of your Harley Switchback happens due to the original exhaust system, you can easily fix it. All you need to do is replace the original exhaust with an aftermarket one. 

How To Fix Harley Davidson Switchback Problem For Exhaust 

How To Fix Harley Davidson Switchback Problem For Exhaust 

Thankfully, fixing the exhaust system and vibration problem of the Harley Switchback is quite easy. You can easily replace the exhaust system. Thus, you need to remove the older exhaust and replace it. 

Before we head to the fixing, let’s look at the aftermarket 2 into 1 exhaust that you can choose to replace the older one. You may look at a different Harley Davidson Dyna Switchback Twin Slash Duals Exhaust Vance and Hines 16853 2012 Up as an aftermarket exhaust system. 

The replacement systems include the following steps. 

  1. Locate the slip-on muffler and loosen its bolts. When you look at the slip-on muffler, you will find ½ inches socket bolt beside the muffler. 
  2. Use a socket wrench to remove the ½ inches bolt. When you remove the bolt, you should find a slotted hole inside the bolt’s place. 
  3. Now, look at the back of the Harley Switchback exhaust and the bolt holding it. Loosen it, but don’t remove the bolt entirely. 
  4. Now, pull back the muffler of your Switchback and continue it till you see that the center mounting bolt of the exhaust aligns centrally. 
  5. Once you have pulled back the new slip-on 2 into 1 exhaust muffler, you need to fix it. For this, tighten the clamp of the Switchback muffler. 
  6. Now, on the center mount bolt, apply some blue Loctite. Now, tighten the mounting bolt until it screws halfway. Now, stop the tightening of the mounting bolt. 
  7. Now, find the stud of the rear mount and apply the blue Loctite on it. You will also need to tighten the bolt of the stud halfway. 
  8. After that, you have to tighten the bolt of the rear mount. However, turn on your bike before tightening the bolt. Once you have tightened the bolt, turn off the Switchback. 
  9. Then, it would help if you tightened the center mount bolt. You should continue tightening the bolt until you see the bolt back off half a turn. 
  10. Finally, you will need to wait so that the Loctite cures fully. It may take a few hours. So, we suggest you keep the Harley Switchback in idle mode for a few hours. If you start riding the motorcycle immediately, it might not help the Loctite to cure. 

This way, you may easily replace the original exhaust of your Switchback Harley with the new one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What Kind Of Harley Is A Switchback?

Ans: The Switchback is a special edition of Harley Dyna models. You can load the bike and go on a long tour. Also, it is easy to strip down the Switchback model easily to ride through the city streets. 

2.Is A Harley Switchback A Touring Bike?

Ans: Yes, you may take the Switchback version of Harley Dyna as a touring bike option. Its low seat helps you with an upright seating position and lets you handle the motorbike easily. 

3.Does A 2012 Harley Switchback Have Abs?

Ans: The original Switchback doesn’t come with the ABS (Antilock Braking System). However, you can upgrade the bike to ABS optionally. You will need to pay additionally for this upgrade. 

4 thoughts on “Most Common Harley Davidson Switchback Problems & Solution”

    • When the saddlebag of your Softail becomes loose, you can tighten it with water and newspaper. You need to soak the leather saddlebag in water so it softens. It makes the leather malleable. So, you can reshape it to its original shape.

      Then, fill up the bag with newspaper. It will help the bag regain its shape. Finally, set it for 24 hours to help the leather set down properly. You can use a hammer to tap the leather and mend it to its actual form.

      For a plastic saddlebag, you can fix the cracks with glues and adhesives.

  1. I bought my switchback new when the model first came out. It was my 13th H-D over the course of 30 years.
    As any Harley owner knows they vibrate some. How much depends on where the fastener is and how often you check them. A couple of words of advice. After a break-in period of about 1000 miles, CHECK EVERYTHINNG!
    Torque any found loose after applying Lock-tite. Let it cure for 24 hours and problem usually goes away.
    1. Carry a tool kit.
    2. Check your bike often. If you feel or hear something strange, find it and tighten it using fresh Lock-tite.
    The EVO and Twin are very good engines and are rebuildable as well. Stupid Hurts. Don’t be that guy.


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