Motorcycle Forums » Harley Davidson

The year of the liquid cooled big twin?

    • 1 posts
    July 31, 2012 2:14 PM PDT
     Is this the year HD introduces liquid cooled heads on the big twin? Harley has had a working patent for a few years now and a few factors have lead me to speculate this may be the year.

    1) It's the 110 anniversary. A great time to introduce a new technology. (maybe in the 110ci)

    2) Harley has been progressivley increasing displacement, increasing the need for more efficient cooling.

    3) For the first time (as far as I know), HD has released emmisions data to the state of California with sepreate results for touring models. Previously, touring, dyna and softails were listed together.

    4) In order to meet the future EPA requirements HD will inevitably (IMO) go to liquid (coolant) cooled heads. The public will have to get used to the idea and touring bike owners would be the most likely canidates to accept that change.

    What do you guys/gals think?


    HD Patent for Cooled Heads
    thekneeslider.com/archives/2011/06/20/harley-davidson-water-cooled-heads-patent/
  • July 31, 2012 4:20 PM PDT
    I'm not as sharp on engines and engineering, but I'm thinking it would be a huge bonus. The back cylinder runs hotter due to less air flow around it. Water cooling would go a long way to solve that problem.
    • Moderator
    • 16006 posts
    July 31, 2012 10:05 PM PDT
    I see it as inevitable but feel that something will be lost. One more reason for me to keep my carb'd Rex on the road till I die...
    • 846 posts
    July 31, 2012 10:43 PM PDT
    There have been rumors of this since the Vrod engine came out. It is most likely inevitable and adding one to the touring line makes sense. But I'm with Mike I think I'll keep Fate (my Road King). There have been some who have wanted this for a while and the timing is right.

    Anyone seen the new HD 2013 line up at Sturgis yet?
  • August 1, 2012 12:08 AM PDT
    ...or HD could do like my Intruder 1500, add an oil cooler. Of course then they would probably move up into the 21 century with a shaft drive too. Or just start putting their fabulous VRod engine in all their bikes. Here in Florida where we can ride all roads year around, heat is something we pay attention to. As a PGR member, I ride a lot of funeral escorts, and the HD''s really suffer on the long slow ones. My oil cooler solves the overheating problems but I would still like a water jacketed engine like the other metrics.
    • 1855 posts
    August 1, 2012 5:03 AM PDT
    LCStrat wrote...
    I'm not as sharp on engines and engineering, but I'm thinking it would be a huge bonus. The back cylinder runs hotter due to less air flow around it. Water cooling would go a long way to solve that problem.

    Actually LC, my opinion coupled with decades of riding, is the front runs hotter than the back.  But of course much of my years of riding have NOT been on the TC motors but sitting on shovelheads where the exchange of oil between cylinders had a great deal to do with front cylinders running hotter.     Still, you'll get a number of reasons why this may be true and an infinite number of reasons why I'm barking up the wrong tree. However,  Since the TC motors, Harleys started to run much hotter in general.   The fact is that higher exhaust/ emission standards has increased the temps of engines. Fuel/exhaust emission changes are NOT permitted by Harley Dealers; like actually punching out those worthless catalytic converters.  No, Harley is not breaking the law with remapping (Stage 1, Stage 2)when you add an aftermarket exhaust.  The adjustment/download is all done within specific parameters/approved guidelines.

    Harley has already introduced oil coolers on some models BTW. Still, hot running/cold running cylinders is all about oil flow and fuel mixture IMHO.  And I don't believe there's any concrete proof that "todays" motors are any different (in terms of what it takes to keep an air-cooled engine cool) than the old shovelhead.
     But then, that's just an old fart guessing that HD will go to water cooled because they can't figure out any other way to keep within EPA standards and maintain temperatures below 390 Degrees

    Peace
  • August 1, 2012 5:04 AM PDT
    Hate to see such an icon as the HD air-cooled V-Twin go away. Hopefully the new design will not be intrusive of the bikes styling.
    • Moderator
    • 13808 posts
    August 1, 2012 5:31 AM PDT
    It wouldn't surprise me if they do it.
    It would be a good thing on the touring bikes pulling trailers, trikes, and side-car rigs.
  • August 1, 2012 5:35 AM PDT
    Yep, I think it is bound to happen too. The motors keep getting bigger and running hotter and hotter, there is almost no way around it. I rode a friends Road King and I couldn't believe the amount of heat that was coming off that engine.
    • Moderator
    • 13808 posts
    August 1, 2012 5:48 AM PDT
    It got pretty warm at times on my 2003 Ultra / side-car riding from Pa. to Sturgis and back in 2006.
    • 14 posts
    August 1, 2012 5:49 AM PDT
    I ride a 2009 Sportster XR1200, and it came with oil cooled heads.

    I see H-D as looking into this issue.
  • August 1, 2012 7:38 AM PDT
    Hello guys/gals, hope you dont mind hearing my 2 cents worth (about the worth of it at times). If all of will notice, around 2002 and up, Harley went to an all synthetic oil for all of their engines (by the way, all air cooled engines are, in fact, cooled by the oil as well). I am a certified Harley Technician, as well as an amsoil dealer. I do know that the old VW engine (air cooled) is NEVER to be run with ANY synthetic oil, because the synthetics, as good as they are with lubrication under high stress, are not so good at pulling the heat off of the engines internals. This is why everybody has taken notice of the Big Harley tendency to run so hot. If you will go back to the standard 20w50 Harley oil, or even the straight 60 wt oil, you will notice the BIG difference in engine heat being shed off on you. Instead it will be going into the oil, as your oil temp will increase greatly. This will cause you to change oil more often. But be sure to NEVER , EVER run an oil designed for an automobile in your motorcycles, no matter what brand name bike you ride. The automotive oils have friction modifiers in them, where the Motorcycle oils are blended for high heat with good lubricity, and to work well with the wet clutches found in 90% of motorcycles today. It is better, in the air cooled engine, to run a petroleum based oil instead of synthetic for this very reason. Sure, I know Harley went to the synthetic and recommends you, the customer to do the same. There are some reasons for this, but none are enough to offset the heat related issues with the air cooled engines. If any of you were ever into VW air cooled engines, it never mattered how big one built the engine, the standard oil was all that would keep it cool enough to run consistently. Some of you may have heard of Gene Berg, the man who done more for the life of Hot Rodded VW engines than all others ever. He is the one I learned this lesson from, and he was always right on. Now that he is gone, his sons, who still run his company, still have this information listed on the web site ; www.genebergenterprizes.com. I hope this helps some of you to understand the nuances of the air cooled engine and its special needs, as we all know how much hotter they run in comparison to a water cooled internal combustion engine and the great importance the oil plays in cooling.
  • August 1, 2012 8:44 AM PDT
    dmorel43 : good post mate.....spot on with the oil.....

    Many here know that I speak my mind, you saved me from doing that, my Harley has a modified 1340 to 1402 EVO...the only reason it is still doing exactly what I want it doing since I got it in 1999, modified 1999 on a 3k mile engine, running a much heavier weight oil than was recommended, between 60 and 70 winter and summer with my own additives in to increase the weight...

    Mine has been thrashed to extreme and street raced as often as I can since that time, its as solid today as it was when rebuilt, no apparent loss or variation in power or performance...

    I have found that as a modified engine I am keeping an eye on temperatures of both cylinders, with the offset of the 2 cylinders side by side BOTH cylinders have a hot spot low down in between them but the airflow around them is equal to both cylinders.....

    OIL = LIQUID ENGINEERING
    • 1855 posts
    August 1, 2012 11:44 AM PDT
    Yep, gotta agree with Jetman and dmoral. I didn't quite spell it out as well as they did but it is still all about oil flow and fuel mixture. I don't use synthetics.

    Peace
    • 1 posts
    August 1, 2012 12:58 PM PDT
    demorel43, I have to disagree that synthetic oil is not as good at heat transfer. It is actually excellent at heat transfer. This is the reason synthetic oil tends to run hotter than traditional oil at operating temp. It is that it is pulling the heat from the engine. If you run a bike running synth side by side with a bike running traditional oil to operating temp and check oil temp the reading on the synth will be higher than traditional oil, but if you then check internal engine temp, you will find the engine w/ sythn running cooler than the engine w/ traditional.

    That being said, it is not a good idea to run synth in motors that may have questionable seals. The molecule in synth oil are smaller and can find their way through small gaps that traditional cannot.
    • 1 posts
    August 1, 2012 1:03 PM PDT
    jp2code wrote...
    I ride a 2009 Sportster XR1200, and it came with oil cooled heads.

    I see H-D as looking into this issue.

    Harley more than looked into it, they produced it and you bought it. The xr 1200 is a great bike and runs much cooler than the other sportster models. I unfortunatly think the technology is less effective with the big twins. I certainly could be wrong though.
    • 1 posts
    August 1, 2012 1:05 PM PDT
    buckeyecharly wrote...
    ...or HD could do like my Intruder 1500, add an oil cooler. Of course then they would probably move up into the 21 century with a shaft drive too. Or just start putting their fabulous VRod engine in all their bikes. Here in Florida where we can ride all roads year around, heat is something we pay attention to. As a PGR member, I ride a lot of funeral escorts, and the HD''s really suffer on the long slow ones. My oil cooler solves the overheating problems but I would still like a water jacketed engine like the other metrics.








    All touring models now come w/ an oil cooler as standard equipment.

    • 1 posts
    August 1, 2012 1:12 PM PDT
    Overall, I defiantly have mixed feelings about the idea, but looking over the patent has me very intrigued. That motor is not a V-Rod motor. Not even close. It's a big twin and only the heads are cooled. It seems like a brilliant way to prepare for the future EPA requirements without tanking away from the core elements of what makes a Harley a Harley.

    You really have to give major props to HD for engineering for the future while keeping the tradition and the heart of their customers in mind. That is of course if they do actually ever produce this designa and more importantly, if it works.
  • August 2, 2012 7:42 AM PDT
    Looks like they are working on a design that will keep the same look for the motor (for the most part) so I can't see it doing anything but making it more efficient.
  • August 2, 2012 3:04 PM PDT
    They just spent alot of money retooling for the 103 motor as standard issue so I don't see them making any changes for a few years at least. But what do I know I bought new in 08 a year ahead of the new touring frames, so I have been wrong before. Btw I use nothing but synthetic oil and I do 80 percent of my riding across the deserts and have had no problems.
    • 1 posts
    August 2, 2012 3:38 PM PDT
    wheels, I have no idea if they will actually introduce it I'm just speculating, but that being said, this is no major engine overhaul. The only change is to the heads and even there your just looking at some coolant passages around the exhaust and around the valves. The water pump is electric and mounted to the frame.

    HD hasn't really made any major engine changes since 1999. The 88, 96. and 103 twin cams are just different versions of the same engine. The 96 and 103 are essentially identical except for displacement.
    • 1 posts
    August 23, 2012 10:53 AM PDT
    Looks like it won't be happening this year at least
    • 1 posts
    October 3, 2013 6:24 AM PDT
     Apparently I was a year off on this one. Not too bad.


    Liquid cooled V-Twin

    www.cycleworld.com/2013/10/02/harley-davidson-liquid-cools-the-big-twin-engine/ type="_moz" />
  • October 15, 2013 12:28 AM PDT
    Remember! Synthetics work great in most engine applications where there are no roller bearings. Harley's use these bearings in a few places. Because there is no preload on this type of bearing, the synthetic has actually worked too good and makes the bearing skate and not roll... Henceforth, issues after so many miles on the synthetic fluids in Harley engines.
    • 1 posts
    November 7, 2013 4:29 PM PST
    thekneeslider.com/harley-davidson-water-cooled-heads-patent/ 

    Updated patent for liquid cooled heads