Harley-Davidson fined over illegal tuners

Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Street Performance Tuner

Harley-Davidson has agreed to pay a $US12m ($A15.7m) fine over the fitment of aftermarket Screamin’ Eagle Street Performance Tuners which have been found to emit illegal amounts of pollution.

Harley-Davidson Australia spokesman David Turney says they have not sold those tuners in Australia.

Instead, they sell Screamin’ Eagle Pro Super Tuners, but only with the “implicit instruction that they are not for road use”.

David says there is nothing to prevent HD Australia from continuing to sell those tuners on the same basis.

“It’s marketed and sold on the basis that they are for use only in racing or competition,” he says. “We don’t state that it is legal for road use.

“If they are used for road use, it can affect the owner’s warranty.”

Non-official Harley dealers may have sold Screamin’ Eagle Street Performance Tuners in Australia, he says.

Harley points out that engine tuners don’t automatically affect operation or emissions when fitted, though they both allow the user to alter settings which can lead to changes in emissions.

Screamin' Eagle livewire

In agreeing to pay the fine in the US, Harley has not admitted liability.

The company has stated it disagrees with the government’s position, arguing that the devices were designed and sold to be used in “competition only”.

However, Harley has agreed to buy back the devices in the US. There is no scheme to replace any tuners in Australia, David says.

On top of the $US12m settlement, Harley has also agreed to pay $US3 million ($3.9Am) to a US Environmental Protection Agency project to replace wood stoves with cleaner-burning stoves.

The settlement resolves government allegations that Harley sold about 340,000 of the units since 2008 and 12,000 bikes that did not meet US EPA standards.

Replacing tuners or exhaust systems with items that are not compliant for the road is a common practice throughout the motorcycle industry.

In Australia, police and transport departments have issued fines for non-compliance.

7 Comments

  1. “So hyabusas, ducatis kwakas etc are hobbled?”

    One word answer Paul, YES.
    Add to that Ferrari’s Porsche, Audi, BMW, Holden Ford, Victory, Indian, Triumph, Yamaha, KTM, Aprilla, every single vehicle produced by every single manufacture, from every single country of the world, is hobbled.

    As previously stated, all manufactures have to meet, what is called a complete burn.

    But hey if you like using more fuel than you should, that is your problem. But its not just your problem, is it?
    But don’t be telling me that the EPA regs are good for planet.
    When you are forced to use more fuel, and engine life is substantially reduced.

    Think out side the box for one moment, how much energy to consumed just to make a Valk.
    How much energy is used to produce the fuel the Valk consumers.
    Example, Ferrari claims it uses enough energy just to smelt one engine block, that would supply enough power to a small village in Italy for a year.
    There is a bigger picture here.
    “Liquid cooling, ohc’s, alloy frames, engines that last
    over 300,000kms welcome to the 21st century.”
    Go back to the 20th century Paul. I got 480,000k’s out of a 91 FJ1200 and it was not watercooled and the engine was never torn down. That’s when I sold it still running clean and hard. Pipes and filters STD, the carbs where re- jetted to provided Max rich burn AFR under load and max lean burn AFR at cruise. Again producing better HP, and torque and way better fuel efficiency.
    Go back further Paul, when Taxi’s, your run of the mill, Holden or Ford, would clock up a million miles on a motor. When I got out of the taxi game in the early 90’s one was lucky to see, 400,000k’s from a motor.
    So tell me Paul, why after all the new wizz bang materials, even better electronics, Fuel and engine management systems, computer aided design, and testing laboratories, as well as, huge advances in oil technology, we can not make a motorcycle/car engine that lasts even better than before?
    One word answer Paul, HEAT. Heat created by EPA mandated clean/complete burn requirements.

    Manufactures now have to consumer more energy than ever before to produce there product, (to process the rare and exotic materials and gases used, why to help deal with what Paul? HEAT). Fuel/oil processors must use more energy than ever before, does this not impact on the carbon footprint. One word answer Paul. YES. And your very happy with this Paul, using more fuel than required, and a reduced engine life?
    Ask yourself this Paul. Who stands to make the greatest financial gains? I’ll give you a wee hint, Its not the manufactures, its not the Fuel producers.
    Do you really believe the hogwash peddled, to have you believe that Environment Protection Agencies from around the world are protecting our planet from ourselves?
    Three words Paul, Simplistic naivety personified.

    Ride free, ride safe.
    The Grumpy old bastard.

    1. 1 The epa requirements are not going to go away
      2 Most manufacturers are increasing performance
      while still keeping to epa requirements
      3 harley did not and got fined

      So whats the argument?
      ps.my valk probably uses more energy going to the
      shops that an italian village uses in a month, I don’t
      care i like burning fossil fuels

  2. So instead of putting in a bit of R&D and making their bikes
    perform and still be compliant. harley has been making
    their customers bikes uncompliant at no small expense
    just to get performance they should be getting in the first
    place. And’ race and offroad’ kidding aren’t they?
    When did you see a harley racing or offroad
    Really it just looks like a rather cynical business model
    that has backfired badly

    1. Hi Paul,
      Why criticise Harley when there is hardly a sportsbike on the streets that doesn’t have a Power Commander and aftermarket exhaust or at least muffler.
      As it says in the story: “Replacing tuners or exhaust systems with items that are not compliant for the road is a common practice throughout the motorcycle industry.”
      Cheers,
      Mark

      1. The reason i’ve picked on harley is that most
        spotsbikes leave the factory with ample power
        within the rules
        harleys perfomance figures have always been
        embarrassingly poor compared to such as victory
        and indian, buyers were having to upgrade just
        to not be riding a total slug, it looks like that may
        be changing with 4 valve heads, but i might point
        out riviera was making 4 valve heads for evo’s 15
        years ago. they had a brilliant R&D bloke in buell
        but got rid of him for reasons that seemed to be
        more about company politics than anything else
        lets face it in standard trim most harleys would
        be pushing to be 60hp and 90ftibtorque
        and those big inch ‘expensive’ screaming eagle motors
        did they have warranty? or where they ‘racing’?

    2. Hi Paul, please don’t take this as a flaming, it is merely an attempt to educate you.

      “So instead of putting in a bit of R&D and making their bikes
      perform and still be compliant. harley has been making
      their customers bikes uncompliant at no small expense
      just to get performance they should be getting in the first
      place.”

      The EPA has hobbled all manufactures of all vehicles, with standards that (a) require what is called complete burn air / fuel ratios. (b) a requirement to produce heat to enable catalytic converters to work.
      Anyone who has dabbled in tuning, as I have, will tell you that this condition ( complete burn ) hobbles both power output, in terms of horse power and torque, whilst using more fuel, and shortening the engine life.
      HD for the most part, of its range has stuck to the traditional air cooled configuration, and that is a totally different argument altogether. But HD’s business model clearly is about catering for the traditionalist motorcyclist.
      My steed is non HD, fully water-cooled big twin, again like HD’s because of EPA regs, was hobbled to the point of dangerous situations arising from complete burn. The heat required to activate the catalytic converter bed, quite literally burnt the muffler internals away, causing an even leaner burn, due to the lesser back pressure. The engine would stall out on long descents at zero throttle position, and in traffic this was not a good situation, requiring one to let go of handlebar with one hand, turn the ignition off at the key, turn back on, wait till the computer had done its complete scan, before attempting a restart.
      After much research I found a program, that with a cable plugged into my laptop, I could remap my ECU, and I did. No more stall outs, smoother running, cooler running temp, more power, more torque, and the bonus that proves beyond reasonable doubt that the EPA is nothing but a croc of shit, a 15% increase in fuel efficiency, That’s right, you read that correctly, 15% better fuel economy.
      You see Paul, this is not just a HD problem, it’s all vehicle manufactures. And we the consumer are the suckers at the end of the day paying the price. Using more of a commodity, fuel, than we really need to, shortening our engines life, by unrequired heat stresses. To prove my point I found a programme to enable me to remap my car, by changing the complete burn AFR’s to between industry recognised AFR’s of max rich burn and max lean burn, I obtained, nearly the same results as on my bike. Smoother running, more power more torque, and a 10% increase in fuel efficiency.
      So therefore no matter what you ride or drive, in stock trim off the showroom floor, the machine is hobbled, its running hot, it’s not going to last as well, and it’s going to use more fuel, than it should.
      So HD have done their R&D made a machine that complies, but at least HD at a small price gives the owner the opportunity to get the best from their ride, in enabling the owner to (a) reduce engine killing heat, (b) obtaining smoother power and torque delivery, (c) increasing the life span of their investment, (d) decreasing the use of fuel.

      “And’ race and offroad’ kidding aren’t they?
      When did you see a harley racing or offroad”

      Really Paul?

      “Really it just looks like a rather cynical business model
      that has backfired badly”

      IMHO that business model works fine for me, and many like me would wish, that all vehicle manufactures would adopt the same.
      Would sure beat the hell, out of the Months, days, and hours spent researching to find a way of unhobbing our machines, without having to go the Power Commander way, and all the associated rigmarole, and cost, to get it running right.
      3 things govern engine life. Heat, oil, and the knob hanging off the throttle. And the standards that are forced upon all manufactures, produces the first, HEAT.

      Grumpy old bastard.
      Ride free, ride safe.

      1. Complain as much as you like but the epa regs
        are not going away.and it is illegal to alter them
        Some of the mods harley did obviously broke
        these regulations, but also probably voided harleys
        own warranties. Dealers dont actually make a huge
        amount on the bikes they sell, they pick up on
        finance, insurance, clothing and accessories
        Now you fit a set of loud pipes and another air cleaner
        at the dealers, not only have they sent you out of the
        door with an illegal bike, but you may be in for a nasty
        suprise if you come back on a warranty claim,
        This seems like a backdoor approach to what volkswagen
        did ,and it nearly bankrupted them.
        So hyabusas, ducatis kwakas etc are hobbled?
        Liquid cooling, ohc’s, alloy frames, engines that last
        over 300,000kms welcome to the 21st century.
        I own a harley, even without the epa rules, you are looking
        at a top end around 120,000ks ,I know because i’ve
        done 7 top ends on mine, The main reason you are probably
        having problems is those two very large lumps of metal
        flying around in there. do yourself a favour and buy a jap
        liquid cooled multi and just ride it.
        i have an 18 year old valk that pushes out 100hp and 100ftib torque. why when that can hurl you along at over 200kmph
        would you want to alter it?

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