Harley Overheating

QuestionHello, hope all is well with you. I have a simple two part question for you. What is the normal operating temperature (engine) on a 2007 road king classic with a 96 cubic inch motor.. and what kind of temperature readings should I expect to get on the head pipe between jug and O2 sensors?

I have a super tuner, big sucker, rush ceramic pipes and rush mufflers with 2.25″ baffles. I get about 324-340 degrees F on jugs right beside the spark plugs, and anything from 560-700 degrees F on the head pipes. Is my Harley overheating? Any info would be great..


Answer Hi Bill, Standing at idle for how long?

324-340 not bad and if you are driving down the road it would be cooler.

The trouble happens in traffic or any long periods of the bike running and standing still.

Passenger comfort, hot legs, from the rear cylinder and exhaust are usually the issue.

You can install an oil cooler to help the m/c run cooler and a cylinder cooling fan to also help cool when standing still.

QuestionMy last ride was in December, NYC Veterans Day Parade. We left from Staten Island it was 44 degrees, got to city traffic was dead stopped temp was near 70 now. Trying to get to the parade line up took 1 hour doing 5 mph, my bike idle went lower and I had to keep throttling up to keep it from staling. Well it did stale 2x, and was running the same until we got to destination. parked and waited for us to enter and lead the parade. It ran ok, not great. But going home doing 55-60mph it ran perfect. Any answers what would cause this, this wasn’t the first time it happened, seems to be over heating, I use synthetic Amsoil. My bike is a 2006 Road King with 20,000 miles.

Answer You bike was over heating. Parades are torture on an air cooled engine. Not only is there no air blowing across your motor; but your air intake lacks fresh air as it sucks in the exhaust of the bikes in front of you. If you plan on more rides like this, we strongly suggest that you add a fan to your ride.

Check out this assembly from Love Jugs. It’s an excellent kit. Looks great. Works great. Top quality and an AMERICAN company. They were a pleasure for us, at FMH to work with.

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Few videos with more info:

Cool-Master Video
Cool-Master Install
Love Jugs Stop Harley Overheating
JIMS USA ForceFlow Engine Cooling Fan
UltraCool Oil Coolers

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61 Responses to “Harley Overheating”
  1. Len

    I have the 103CI in my Heritage. Even at cruising speeds the rocker boxes are as hot as my exhaust heat shields. Way hotter than my old big twin EVO. Compared to my sons 883 his bike feels just warm. I’m hoping the Gods at Harley who created these motors have engineered them to take these higher temps. Not to say Harley hasn’t made design blunders in the past. Though now considering CAD design, better material and better engineers I’m just keeping faith in the creators that these engines are fine

    • Dennis Santopietro
      Dennis Santopietro

      Hi Len, Thank you for all your comments on the site. HD is asking more from the same TC 88 design and that is causing the heat issue. Finally they added a wet head to some touring models and oil coolers on most touring models. There are aftermarket oil coolers and cylinder cooling fans, that we review on Fix My Hog, to help bring the standing and running temp down on any model.

      • TheMaddYooper


        I do believe you are correct. The early TC88 is a solid power train. It seems as though It’s modifications have been troublesome. Heat being it’s major enemy. I have always wondered why, when I ordered my 01 ultra, If I wanted a 103 it would have come with heads without compression releases. A year later they had the releases. I have a friend who also ordered an 01 ultra too, he got the 103, and has had no issues in 60,000 miles.
        I think HD needs to look at the v twin with fresh eyes. There are large displacement v twins,like the 139 Orca, that are based on the evo that are interesting. The DrysDale godzilla v twinn is another design that would be more appropriate for the street I think.

    • Mike

      You got to be kidding me right buying extra stuff to have a comfortable ride after spending halrey $

      I’m running into same deal right leg is burning me and wife on a 2015 SGS I am not going to spend a dime on heat shields etc.. paid over 20k for the bike and were miserable 2 days into bringing it home. Yes 103 runs hotter but this is ridiculous

      • Steve Jolly
        Steve Jolly

        Have got a 110 road king cvo.right leg after 10 minutes is burning of back cylinder been told its normal by harley shops the only harley I no that over heat at rear why and its air cooled hmmmm it’s 2013 model

      • Steve Jolly
        Steve Jolly

        Hi Mike just read your blog about over heating cylinder on your bike I have a 2013 cvo 110 road king 10 minutes into riding right leg is burning the same problem you have rear pot getting to hot factory mechanic said it’s normal ha rubbish should have kept evo take care Steve

    • Dennis Santopietro
      Dennis Santopietro

      Oil Temp 225-240 seems to be the norm. This all depends on where you ride and riding style as Bob mentions in the videos. As we all know, oil coolers work to cool the oil and a cylinder fan works to cool the engine. So engine temp sitting in traffic can be 400-500 degrees and we want to bring that down to cool the oil.

  2. joe hinostro
    joe hinostro

    I had a oil cooler installed by the dealer when I bought my bike and it was a piece of crap. Everytime you change your oil filter you ended up with a small leak it even happened when I had the dealer change my oil. I like to service my own bike and with out it no worries.

  3. Simon

    I bought one of those digital dip sticks and always interesting to look down when idling and check oil temp hmmm this page is food for thought especially in central queensland

  4. Buzzy Landry
    Buzzy Landry

    I want to wrap my pipes and catalytic converter with a wrap to control the heat getting to my legs. Will that work on a 2013 streetglide. I did put vance and hines slip on mufflers and that is the only modification that has been done to the exhaust system. I had a yamaha roadstar with v&h pipes and I did that to them with great heat reduction but did not have O2 meter. Thanks

  5. David Boullion
    David Boullion

    I have a 2010 ultra limited 110″ pushing 130hp/128torque. Although its a beast in power. It used to go into the single cylinder mode anytime I got in slow or stalled traffic situations. I watched your video on the Love Jugs cooling fans system & purchased one. You really endorse awesome products. Since I have installed the Love Jugs my bike has never again entered that parade mode or whatever they call it. Excellent solution in my book. I also installed a Jag 10 row fan assisted oil cooler and that very pricey Screaming Eagle extra capacity oil pan. If you’re concerned about keeping it cooler. Those love jugs are a great investment. They are easy to install. Superior quality. Look really cool and they work

    Hope this helps. David

  6. Len

    My Heritage with the 103 reads about the same. Harley said thats about right for the twin cam engine. These motors run hot.I was told the same thing when I visited the Harley plant in York, PA

  7. Michael

    We have a 08 Ultra Classic with a 96CI, with 51k+ on it the only mods are Rinheart exhaust. The issue is after a weekend trip from Oklahoma to Louisiana and back I noticed that the muffler for the front cylinder was turning a golden color. I checked the plugs no issues, started the engine, the front cylinder warmed up and the exhaust coming out of the pipe got hot. The rear cylinder exhaust gases were cool enough to hold your hand behind the opening.

    • Joe

      Hi Michael,

      Remember that your catalytic converter is on that side and both cylinders blow into it. A majority of the “increased heat” goes out the right exhaust. The higher temp is changing the color of the chrome. You will usually find this on bikes that go on extended highway trips of 200 to 500 miles a day. Don’t try to polish out the color. It can be done with an awful lot of work but damages the chrome finish severely.

    • david stevenson
      david stevenson

      Hey Michael, I was thinking about what you said. That was a good question? I think the reason it stays cooler to start with is the way the pipe wraps around that cold engine.So the engine is cooling down the pipe for a short while,when the engine temperature finally catches up.then the rear exhaust will begin to heat up.

  8. William

    I have a 2003FLHTI at 97K I had the engine rebuilt. Changed 88ci jugs to 95ci jugs direct cam drive 510 lift cams 2 into on high output Vance and Hines exhaust. Thundermax unit for air/fuel . fan assist oil cooler. Now comes the fun. I’ll have the bike die on me. engine dies out, all lights out and the bike will have to sit 5=10 minutes before I get power back to start her back up.

    • Les

      Sounds like a thermal circuit breaker.. Is your main circuit breaker in a bad locating and getting heat besides the current heat? Its probably a 40A, change it to a 50A or better yet replace it with a traditional circuit breaker for 12v. You could also change it to a fuse. Either way your problem will be over.

  9. Ernie

    my 2011 FLHX 96″ motor is running really hot. Granted I live in South Florida, where it’s in high 90’s everyday. I installed MagnaFlow ProDuals headers w/ 4″ cans w/2.5″ baffles, stage 1 A/C, and DynoJet Power Vision tuned to my components. Eng temp shows 250*deg F cruising on street 50mph. What is correct op temperature? And what would be the highest safe temp? What would be shut it down temp? Thanks. It would be nice if the MoCo would tell us.

  10. chad lizana
    chad lizana

    2016 wideglide cranks fine revs up fine but when i take off to ride it starts popping and almost seems like its running out of fuel a shop told me i wasnt getting enough fuel pressure i put new filters in the tank new lines pressure regulator new orings still doing the same its also misfiring and leaning out on my rear cylinder somebody please help

  11. Donald J Perry
    Donald J Perry

    I have the cool master luv jugs on my 2006 road king no more worry’s about over heating. They look and work great.

  12. Michael Crabtree
    Michael Crabtree

    I have a 2012 Tri Glide with the 103. Last night I got into heavy traffic, Light to light in Panama City, She dropped the back jug at every light, The last light she quits running and won’t restart. You think I’ve melted he down? I’m going to retry starting in the morning after a good cool down and keep my fingers crossed and pray.

  13. James sudduth
    James sudduth

    I have a 75 iron head bobber which is a four speed and bought a motor off a 95 soft tail it’s a 5spd any way I want to stay with a chain drive but the Trans mission main shaft sizes are different is there an insert or something of that nature to where I can stay with my chain

  14. Mit Street
    Mit Street

    I have found that keeping the oil full will help cool your machine down. Also Amsoil 20-50 does help to run cooler and lastly a reusable mesh oil filter runs cooler as well. Just a few ideas !!. Flush your engine also and keep all galleries open and clear. Also install an oil cooler…..all adds up to help cool your engine Cooler running will help to improve the performance and preserve the engine……alpine air is what we all need.

  15. Luis Gomez
    Luis Gomez

    Is not related to this subject but my FXSTC-96 has the odometer burned and I can not find the replacement part P/N 67027-96. Could you recommend another speedometer? A friend suggested P/N 67027-96 C if I can find it

  16. Jerry H
    Jerry H

    I installed Love Jugs on my 2012 Road Glide and they work great, sitting in traffic outside of Birmingham, AL last summer was not a problem, but a friend who was on a 2003 Heritage was struggling with overheating. I just bought a 2012 Tri Glide for my wife and just bought a pair for her new bike, they are everything they say they are and more. For the piece of mind they are worth every penny.

  17. Don

    One thing about engines getting hot. What I have read is Dino oil starts breaking down at about 350 F. Syn oil about 550F. You really don’t want your engine in those high heat ranges for very long!

  18. Kim Taylor
    Kim Taylor

    I have a “95 Ultra, I’ll ride on a 80 degree day at 75 mph, when I come to a stop, I have to rev the motor to keep it from stalling and the oil pressure drops. I’ll turn it off to let it cool and it runs fine. Why is it overheating? Thanks

  19. Mark D
    Mark D

    Do you have any updates and maintenance information on the 2017 Ultra tri glide having such high $ Bike need to do my own maintenance as I cant afford the dealer

  20. Staci

    Hello Everyone! I am a HD fan through and through, and love my bike, but I am having a serious issue, and need some advice. Please do not take this as HD bashing, because it is not. However, I am frustrated and disappointed. Here it goes…. Last fall I bought my 2016 HD Heritage Softail Classic, proud, proud day. Within a few days, on night ride, and in less than 30 miles, I was badly burned, and my jeans were scorched. The bike was so hot, that once I got it stopped, I actually got off the bike and vomited. I completely understand air cooled Harley’s (or any bike for that matter) can be and/or are hot, riding in Florida can also keep the bike hot…got it, I’m a rider, I know this! So, I took the bike back to the dealership, and they put a heat shield on and sent me on my way. Well, it happened again, this time the burn was more severe. So, they took the bike and did a stage 1, telling me it would help cool the bike down. Well, the weathered cooled and in the winter months, when I was able to ride, the heat was still there for sure, but not as much of problem, because it was cold out of course. Now that summer is here, the heat is once again unbearable. I have contacted HD Corp, and the dealership and no one is willing to repair or replace the bike. I’m now being ignored. Now I’m making payments on a bike I cannot ride. Any ideas on what to do? How to fix the problem? I’ve searched everywhere and everyone says, there is no fix for this issue. The heat is NOT normal, it’s extreme, and causing serious injury to me.

    • Kink

      Did you ever get an answer? I put a new Long Block in and have the very same problem. Getting run around from everyone!

  21. tom

    should I lift fuel tank 2 inches front and 1/2 inch back..better air flow over heads……your thoughts?17 street glide…runs hot….want to de-cat—TTS tuner

  22. Birk

    I have a 2014 ultra classic,top end is liquid cooled after riding 15 to 20 minutes the red coollent icon comes on and you can feel the engine getting hot,coolant level is fine but don’t know how to trouble the rest of the system.

  23. clivemoxy

    2014 Rushmore low engine management light and fan not kicking in,done test and fans work could it be a temp sensor ?

  24. Vincent devitt
    Vincent devitt

    NB 17082 Ticket I have a dynamic street Bob 2008 !
    My problem is , that after riding 20 / 30 miles she starts to splutter and cough and so have to stop and switch her off , she will ride ok from cold but once she gets hot same problem ! I have been told that the ECU is kaput finished but some guys tell me that if that were so the bike would not function at all ??
    I’ve tried a crankshaft sensor cable but same problem do think that the ECU is screwed and would a new one slove the problem hoping one of ye can help me out ! Any advice please

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Dear Vincent,

      Thank you for your patience. In regard to your question:

      Not likely to be your ECM. Check for possible stored diagnostic trouble codes and test your charging system. If you already replaced your crank position sensor, may have a failing coil.

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  25. Leonard

    NB Ticket 19350 I have a 2013 Road King Classic with the 103 that I rode in a parade this past weekend. Once the parade started moving, I realized it was a bad situation as we were only moving 1-2 mph. Overheating bikes were everywhere. I decided to ditch the parade route and got on the road to cool my bike off. Once it sat for about 2 hours, I took it home, around a 10 minute trip. I noticed the bike was having issues running at idle; acting like it wanted to stall out. What could the issue be? Appreciate any info you can provide.

  26. Chuck

    I have a 98 Electra Glide with the same problem out of the front cylinder! It gets extremely hot, losses oil pressure and smokes out of the front cylinder! I was even riding down 295 during October thinking it would cool down but when we got to our destination the oil light came on, no oil pressure and the bike stalled out, had to let it sit for a while before it would start again!

  27. Bob Haddox
    Bob Haddox

    I altered my pipes now my rear cylinder is running hot do I need to get it remapped or what is the fix for this problem?

  28. Brian Gibson
    Brian Gibson

    What would be causing add to act like after a long trip at idle to for it to die then file right back up

  29. Will Solen
    Will Solen

    Bought first bike in 1963 and been riding since. Rode motors (HD) for the largest PD in S Florida for over 9 years most of the time in hot weather. If I’ve learned nothing else about Harley’s I did learn that the slow riding, parades and funeral details, will kill the engine. The tech’s were absolutely correct in their answer.

  30. Paul

    I need some suggestions to best lower 3″ inches on a 2018 Harley Softail Breakout FXBR. The 3″ inches is need to safely plant feet on the ground. I was thinking 1″ inch from the chair to include pushing forward of approx 5′ inches (this will allow feet to be comfortable on the forward controls as well as arms to control the bar). I’m also thinking of floor boards. Now the other 2″ inches from the shocks… i’ll need suggestions from you folks that has experience!! I’ll appreciate any advise you can provide and can range from altering performance to cost .


    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi there Paul!

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