An official recall announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sheds some light on the cause of a recall campaign on 2013-2014 Harley-Davidson Breakout and CVO Breakout models. We wrote about the recall last week, after campaigns were initiated in Canada and Australia to address a problem with the fuel sensors not properly reading the correct volume of fuel. We now know the problem is caused by the angle of the fuel tank.
According to documents released by NHTSA, the fuel tank on the Breakout is pitched three degrees further forward than tanks on other Harley-Davidosn Softail models because of the Breakout’s suspension. A float arm that helps measure the volume of fuel remaining in the tank did compensate for the different angle, and as a result, the sensor read that there is more fuel than there actually is. The low fuel warning lamps and fuel range indicator would not show anything was amiss because they were receiving the incorrect volume.
Harley-Davidson first identified a potential problem in January when a test bike unexpectedly ran out of fuel. Over the ensuing months, Harley-Davidson c0nducted further analysis of the Breakout’s fuel level indication system. In the meantime, Harley-Davidson had received eight customer contacts and two associated warranty claims related to riders unexpectedly running out of fuel and an additional 17 warranty claims related to fuel level inaccuracy. None of the reports mentioned any accidents or injuries related to the issue.
Authorized Harley-Davidson dealers will apply a software update on recalled Breakout and CVO Breakout models to recalibrate the fuel level sensors to compensate for the angle of the fuel tank.