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Harley-Davidson Clutch Problem Results in Recall for 178K Motorcycles

Nearly 178,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been recalled, due to a risk that the clutch may stick and result in a loss of control. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Harley-Davidson motorcycle recall on October 29, following hundreds of warranty claims from customers over clutch problems, which have resulted in at least three motorcycle accidents.

Harley-Davidson opened an investigation into the motorcycle clutch problems in January 2018, after a field data query identified 92 warranty claims related to the vehicles clutch systems. The manufacturer has since received a total of 338 warranty claims related to the hydraulic clutch system leaking fluid and failing to disengage when the motorcycle is in motion.

According to the recall notice, the motorcycles are equipped with a hydraulic clutch system that may exhibit an internal leak of fluid past the secondary clutch actuator piston seal. In the event this leak is present over an extended period of time, the clutch master cylinder reservoir could lose enough fluid to expose the hydraulic clutch circuit to air, which could result in the inability to produce enough lift to disengage the clutch.

Customers are being warned that if the clutch cannot be disengaged, riders could experience a loss of control when the vehicle is started, first shifted into gear, or when coming to a stop.

The recall affects 20 models of Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the 2017 and 2018 model years, totaling 177,636 vehicles.

The recall is expected to begin on November 5, at which time Harley-Davidson will begin notifying owners of the defect by mail, with instructions on how to schedule an appointment at their local dealer. The dealers will be instructed to replace the secondary clutch actuator piston assembly free of charge. Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-327-4236 and reference the recall number 0173.

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