Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam – Years to Avoid?

After long research, Harley Davidson introduced their popular and superior Twin Cam engines in 1998. Surely, we can’t doubt its quality and performance. It is one of the best motorcycle engines ever built.

However, over the past two decades, the engine has undergone major and minor changes. As a result, Harley Twin Cam integrated motorcycles have received mixed feedback. While some Twin Cam engines performed brilliantly, a few have had a dreadful experience. So, you must know Harley Twin Cam years to avoid if you plan to get one. Also, you may be keen to know the best year for the Harley Twin Cam engine.

Thus, we will discuss the frequently heard problems of Twin Cam engines. We will also mention the best and worst years of Harley Davidson Twin Cam engines. It will help you quickly know which Harley Davidson motorcycle to buy and which to avoid. 

Best And Worst Years for Harley Twin Cam

Harley Twin Cam Problems:

Harley Twin Cam Problems

The Twin Cam engine from Harley Davidson is one of the finest motorcycle engines built ever. It has transformed the motorcycle industry completely. Also, it helped Harley to establish its supremacy once again in the motorcycle market. 

Nonetheless, the engine had undergone a few major and minor overhauls during its 1998 to 2017 period. Following the continuous adjustments of the engine, it has shown a few problems. 


Problems In The Cam Chain System:

Problems In The Cam Chain System

One of the Twin Cam engine’s most prominent problems is its cam engine system. People often criticized Harley Davidson for the poor design of the cam engine system. The cam chain had plastic shoes. 

As a result, the cam chain shoes started wearing out sooner than you would expect. The plastic shoes would come in contact with each other frequently. It caused friction. Hence, the rubber shoes wore out faster. 

Later, Harley replaced the plastic shoes of the cam chain system with the hydraulic tensioning system. Although initially, people appreciated it, later, people found that it had the same problem. Henceforth, the later models with the hydraulic tensioning system continued with the issue. The cam chain would wear out sooner, even after the system’s redesign. 

The longevity problem of the cam system of Harley Twin Cam still exists. 

Horrible Failure Of The Engine:

Many Twin Cam engine users experienced untimely and horrible failure of the engine. Usually, the engines would last easily from 50000 miles to 150000 miles. Unfortunately, Twin Cam engines needed plastic or rubber shoe replacement in less than 40000 miles. 

Additionally, some Twin Cam engines failed almost newly within 15000 miles of riding distance. It became a concerning issue for the riders. Later, Harley addressed the problem and went through a few minor tweaks to the Twin Cam engine. Thus, they solved the engine failing problem of the Twin Cam largely.

Harley Twin Cam Years To Avoid:

Harley Twin Cam Years To Avoid

Of course, Harley has offered some of the most iconic and popular motorcycles ever built. Yet, it had seen a few problems with many of its models. Following it, a few Harley Davidson motorcycles with the Twin Cam engine have problems. 

2001 Harley Davidson Sportster:

The Sportster model had seen many technical issues, including the gearbox problems for the Twin Cam engines. As we have mentioned, the biggest problem for the 2001 Sportster was the longevity of the tensioner cam chain system. 

It wore out rather too fast. Thus, owners must frequently replace the chain cam system’s rubber shoes. It developed massive rage among the owners. 

2004 Harley Davidson Dyna:

Harley used the same Twin Cam engine for their 2004 Dyna model. As a result, it also faced the problem of the cam chain system due to poor design. It didn’t have any rubber-mounting either. So, riders faced bumps, shocks, and impacts. It resulted in a poorer riding experience. 

Many riders said that the engine would stall only after a few minutes of rides. They swapped the battery and plugs of their motorcycles. Yet, they failed to resolve the problem. Henceforth, the 2004 Dyna model became an unpopular choice. 

2014 Harley Electra Glide:

You may not believe it, but the Electra Glide is the worst Harley Davidson motorcycle ever built. In fact, many experts marked the Electra Glide a completely useless motorcycle. The problem was not only with the Twin Cam engine. A few problems of it included:

  • Disengagement
  • Clutch failure
  • Faulty master cylinder

These problems, along with the Twin Cam engine issues, were so prominent that Harley Davidson recalled the model five times. It made the model the worst ever. 

Street 500 And 700 From 2016 to 2019:

Street 500 And 700 From 2016 to 2019

Harley Davidson announced their Street series in 2013. They used the modified V-Twin 88A engine for it. Yet, the models from 2016 to 2019 have seen a few major problems. Hence, Harley recalled the motorbikes a few times. 

The V-Twin engine had a throttling problem. Also, owners experienced problems with dragging brakes. It caused inconsistency in riding. On top of it, owners faced corrosion around the gearbox, engine, and tensioner system. Henceforth, the Street series wasn’t welcomed wholeheartedly. It was one of the worst-selling models of Harley Davidson. 

2005 Harley Softail Deluxe:

Although it was a deluxe edition of the Harley Davidson Softail series, it had one of the worst twin-cam engines. Therefore, it easily finds its place in the Harley Twin Cam years list to avoid. Ultracool referred that the motorcycle has cheaper components. 

The engine has cheaper plastic shoes in the chain cam engine. So, it would wear out sooner due to the friction of the rubber shoes. The repairing cost turned out to be huge, making the Softail Deluxe model in 2005 an unpopular choice. 

2005 FXSTB Night Train:

The motorcycle came with an all-black addition and attractive naming. Experts trolled the whose name and design are the only good things about it. And it’s true. It uses a V-Twin engine which you want to avoid. 

The engine was not reliable at all. Plus, the motorcycle had seen an oil leakage problem. It resulted in fire breakouts several times. Following the continuous complaints, Harley Davidson recalled the model in 2007. 

Best Year Harley Twin Cam Engine 

The above discussion may show that the Twin Cam engine is the worst. But, in reality, the engine performed miraculously well most times. It has a few popular models too. 

Harley-Davidson 2009 FXDF Dyna Fat Bob:

Harley-Davidson 2009 FXDF Dyna Fat Bob

If you look for a Harley to invest worthy, the Fat Bob is surely the go-to option. Its Twin Cam 96 engine performs superbly. Furthermore, the motorcycle is incredibly powerful. Most people will also love its basic design. No doubt why it has become one of the best Harley Davidson Twin Cams ever built. Its low-ride saddle also improved riding comfort.

Harley 2006 FXSTS Springer Softail:

While the 2005 Softail Deluxe was a disaster for Harley, they made a complete turn-around in 2006. The Springer Softail in 2006 featured a completely redesigned Twin Cam engine. The manufacturer focused on counterbalancing the engine and boosting its power. 

It was a great leap. Previously riders complained about the Twin Cam engines being underpowered. Its increased power and balanced design offered better comfort and riding smoothness. Also, the shoe design of the cam chain lasted more than the rubber ones. 

Harley 2008 FXSTC Softail Custom:

Following the redesigned Twin Cam Engine, Harley’s 2008 Softail Custom was a massive success. Its air-cooled 1584cc engine performed brilliantly. Also, it is one of the most powerful Harley engines ever built. 

Also, its efficiency and cooling capacity make it a perfect choice for long rides. On top of it, 200MM rear tire and cruiser-style handlebar gave it the perfect classic look. 

2009 FXSTB Night Train:

2009 FXSTB Night Train

The 2005 FXSTB Night Train was one of the worst Harley Twin Cam engines built ever. The company addressed the engine problem to redesign it in the later models. Following it, the 2009 model became one of the best-selling Twin Cam models. 

It uses a 1584cc engine. It is durable. Moreover, its comfortable seating arrangement, rebellious look, and classic appearance make it a great choice among youngsters. Top Speed marked the 2009 Night Train a perfect deal for youngsters. Its six-speed transmission systems performed equally well in street riding and cruising. 


Harley Davidson’s Twin Cam engine is one of the finest, most efficient, and power motorcycle engines built ever. Nonetheless, the engine has gone through a few problems in different models. We have mentioned the top Harley Twin Cam years to avoid that faced longevity issues. The rubber shoes used in the cam chain mechanism wore out soon. It resulted in longevity problems and engine failure. 

3 thoughts on “Best And Worst Years For Harley Twin Cam – Years to Avoid?”

  1. You call it years to avoid of the twin cam and don’t give years to avoid. Do you see the problem with the article?
    If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

    • Sir please check carefully, I already mention some years to avoid twin cam engine. 2001, 2004, 2005 Harley Softail Deluxe, 2014 Harley Electra Glide, 2005 FXSTB Night Train those are already mention in my post.
      Thanks ric

  2. The description in the beginning of this article is totally inaccurate.
    1) The cam chain itself does not have shoes .
    2) The shoes were never made of rubber , but a hardened plastic.
    3)The shoes on the cam chain tensioners DO NOT come in contact with each other as one is on one side of the cam plate and the other on the opposite side , with the cam chain running between the two
    4) the initial chain design itself is what caused accelerated wear of the cam shoes . The chain typically had a ridge on the outer edge from manufacturing that would groove the shoes .Also additionally the spring on the tensioner having too much tension against the chain.


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