The major Harley Davidson electronic throttle control (ETC) problems include limited performance, clogged throttle, DTC codes, loss of power, and unresponsive throttle. And these problems can cause many other minor issues.
From 2008, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are designed with electronic throttle control. Since then users have made many complaints.
With time, the ETC itself can be damaged and cause various driving issues. So, without wasting time let’s explore the issues and their solutions.
Troubleshooting and Fix for Harley Davidson Electronic Throttle Control Problems
As mentioned earlier, a faulty ETC can cause some difficult occurrences that can prevent you from riding your Harley-Davidson.
So, let’s get a closer look at the major ETC problems, their causes, and the possible troubleshooting and fixes.
1. Clogged Harley Throttle
One of the most common problems that can come with a Harley electronic throttle is a clogged throttle. There are several possible causes for a jammed throttle control.
In most cases, the ETC on a Harley-Davidson gets stuck because of excessively accumulated dust and debris between the throttle tube and other moving parts.
There is also a possibility of a broken, corroded, or stuck cable inside the throttle. So, start by checking inside the throttle to see if it is dirty, and if so, then clear them all.
Also, check the wires to see if they need to be reconnected or corrected. But if the cable is too old and corroded, you’ll likely need to replace it.
2. Poor Acceleration
Acceleration issues are another common problem triggered by the Harley electronic throttle control. It happens when the throttle is not responding or having issues to respond properly.
If it is, then the reason might be a loose or disconnected throttle wiring or a faulty TPS. So, check for loose wiring and reconnect it if needed.
Then recheck the throttle if it is working. If it is still unresponsive, check the TPS if it has the right setting. Otherwise, reset it or replace it if necessary to solve the problem.
3. Error Codes
This is another most common problem that most Harley Davidson enthusiasts face due to a bad ETC on their bike.
When the ETC or any part of it like the grip sensor, brake sensor or actuator goes bad, the ECU will trigger multiple error codes.
P1511 and P1512 are the two most common Harley error codes related to the electric throttle control.
If the throttle actuator or the TGS gets the wrong position or goes bad due to internal contamination, these codes will appear on the screen.
These errors can cause several difficult consequences for your bike. There might be no acceleration, or no throttle response.
It can also activate the home-limp mode, power management mode, and even the power shutdown mode.
As a result, the engine on your Harley-Davidson will start idling, stalling, or misfiring. In some cases, the engine can also shut down.
To solve these issues, check your Harley throttle actuator to see if it is positioned correctly.
If not, then fix it properly. But if that actuator gets too much contamination, then it’s better to replace it.
In addition, you should check the grip sensor and brake sensor if the error codes persist.
If you find any of these sensors is faulty, then you’re suggested to replace the bad one.
4. Faulty Throttle Position Sensor
Harley throttle position sensor or TPS is an important part of the vehicle’s ETC. So, if the TPS gets faulty, it will cause some electric throttle control problems as follows:
- Poor acceleration
- Decreased fuel efficiency
- Engine idling and stalling
- Check engine light on
- Bad Hall Effect sensor
- DTC code P0120, P0122 or P0123 comes on.
So, if you face any of these problems with your motorcycle, you must check the throttle position sensor. If you determine a faulty TPS, the best solution will be replacing the sensor.
The average cost of replacing a bad Harley TPS will be between $150 and $250. Here, the majority of the cost will be for the labor charge.
5. LIMP Mode Turns ON
If your Harley-Davidson gets a faulty throttle position sensor or a bad grip sensor, the ECU may trigger the limited performance mode or limp mode on.
When limp mode is turned on, it reduces engine power and slows your bike. You’ll also get the OBD-2 P1510 code on the dashboard.
So, whenever you notice that your bike is running in LIMP mode, check your Harley electronic throttle control for any faulty electric sensors.
If you find any sensor is not performing, then replace it with a new one. The labor cost for changing sensors on a Harley is estimated for $75 to $105, while the parts can cost between $47 and $236.
Tips To Prevent Harley Electronic Throttle Control Problems
Now we know how serious issues a bad Harley electronic throttle control can cause!
But following some guidelines we can simply prevent these problems from happening. The tips and tricks to avoid throttle control issues are listed below:
- Monitor the throttle control on a regular basis.
- Keep the cables inside the ETC lubricated.
- Make sure there is no internal contamination
- Check and ensure that the wiring harness is not bent, broken, or corroded.
- Make sure that the TPS, TGS, and brake sensors are properly working.
- Also, ensure that the wires, fuses, and sensors have the right electrical connection.
Is it safe to drive a Harley with electronic throttle control problems?
Yes, you can drive a Harley with electronic throttle control problems if the engine isn’t shut down yet. But it won’t be safe if you drive it for a longer time.
Driving a Harley with a faulty electronic throttle control likely causes an improper fuel-air ratio, reduced fuel economy, an overheated engine, and faulty catalytic converters.
Thus, it can damage the other part of your bike if you drive it with an ongoing ETC problem.
So, whenever you find that your bike is having some ETC issues, stop riding the bike and take it to a mechanical shop or park it in a safe place to diagnose the issues. It will protect the expensive parts of your bike from being affected.
If you’re still confused about Harley-Davidson electronic throttle control, the following FAQs will help you to clear your doubts. So, let’s get into them.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Bad Electronic Throttle Control?
Usually, the cost of replacing the electronic throttle body will depend on the make and model of your Harley-Davidson. On average, it can cost up to $500 for touring bikes like Street Glide, Road Glide, Road King etc.
Are There Any Good Sides To Harley Electronic Throttle Control Units?
Yes, there are multiple good sides of modern electronic throttle control units that the traditional throttle body didn’t have. It requires least maintenance and is easy to handle. Therefore, it increases fuel economy, decreases emissions and is highly reliable.
How Long Does An Electronic Throttle Control Last?
In general, the electronic throttle control unit can run up to 75,000 miles without any problem. But because of poor maintenance, it may become faulty in many ways.
Electrical units are more beneficial and reliable than mechanical units. But when an electrical throttle control unit runs into issues, it becomes a costly investment.
So, it’s better to follow the suggestions we’ve listed earlier to prevent ETC problems.
Finally, if you really need to replace the ETC on your Harley-Davidson, it is best to hand it over to the professionals to avoid mistakes.