Milwaukee 8 Oil Pump Recall: What You Need to Know Now

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Mr. Chase Manhattan

Understanding the intricacies of motorcycle mechanics is crucial, especially when it comes to components as vital as the oil pump. At the heart of many Harley-Davidson discussions in recent times is the Milwaukee-Eight engine, which has been a signature part of the brand’s lineup since its inception in 2017. However, issues surrounding its oil pump have prompted service actions that resemble a recall. This scenario highlights the importance of staying informed about the health and maintenance of your motorcycle.

If you’re an owner of a Harley-Davidson with a Milwaukee-Eight engine, especially from the 2017 to 2019 model years, you might have come across information or even experienced firsthand the situation known as “sumping.” This is a condition where the engine’s oil fails to adequately return to the oil tank, causing a variety of performance issues. Service bulletins have shed light on the technical issues identified with the oil pump, leading to a push for updated components to rectify the problems faced by riders. But what do you need to know now, and in case of emergency? Keep reading and we’ll find out!

Key Takeaways

  • The Milwaukee-Eight engine has experienced oil pump issues, leading to performance problems.
  • Service actions resembling a recall were issued for certain 2017 to 2019 models.
  • Updated oil pump components are available to address the identified issues.

Custom infographic showing two popular miluwakee eight engines, the 107 and 114ci variations.

You’re about to get acquainted with the Milwaukee-Eight engine, which has become a signature of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This section will take you through its unique design and explain the critical role of its oil pump.

Design and Performance

The Milwaukee-Eight engine is prized for its balance between performance and smooth operation. It’s the ninth generation of the company’s famous “Big Twin” engines and comes in various displacements, including 107, 114, and 117 cubic inches. This engine features four valves per cylinder, increasing air flow and efficiency, which translates to more power. The design also includes a single camshaft and counter-balancers to reduce vibrations, providing you with a more comfortable ride without sacrificing the Harley-Davidson growl.

  • Performance: Strong and smooth acceleration.
  • Comfort: Reduced engine vibration.
  • Efficiency: Enhanced fuel economy.

Introduction to the Oil Pump Function

The oil pump in your Milwaukee-Eight is the heart of the engine’s lubrication system, crucial for maintaining oil pressure and delivering engine oil to various components. Its primary job is to prevent power loss and engine failure by ensuring all moving parts are adequately lubricated, thus reducing friction. A well-functioning oil pump equals a healthy engine, as it guards against the high-temperature operation and aids in cooling engine components. If the oil pump malfunctions, you could experience significant issues, such as oil aeration, that can lead to the dreaded condition known to riders as “sumping,” where oil fails to properly circulate and return from the rocker boxes. This situation can escalate to severe engine damage if not addressed promptly.

Custom infographic containing a Milwaukee Eight oil pump that is known to be problematic

Your Harley-Davidson may be one of the models affected by the oil pump issue in the Milwaukee-Eight engines. Here’s what you need to know about the recall announcement, identifying your bike’s VIN, and how dealerships are responding.

Recall Announcement

Harley-Davidson didn’t issue an official recall but released a service bulletin (M1450) concerning the Milwaukee-Eight engines, specifically for models from years 2017 to 2019. This action addresses a condition known as “sumping,” where oil fails to circulate properly, potentially causing engine damage due to oil starvation during high RPMs or heavy loads.

VIN Identification

To determine if your bike is affected by the sumping issue, locate your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). It’s a unique code for your motorcycle, typically found on the frame. You can match your VIN against the range specified in the service bulletin to see if your bike is included.

Dealership Response

Authorized dealers are prepared to address the issue by replacing the defective oil pump if your motorcycle falls within the affected VIN range. This service should be covered under your bike’s warranty provisions. It’s essential to contact your dealer to schedule an appointment and get further instructions on the process.

In your Milwaukee-Eight engine, you might encounter a few technical issues related to the oil pump. These can lead to performance problems and potential engine damage. Understanding these problems can help you address concerns effectively.

Oil Sumping Issue

The main technical concern that has arisen is the oil sumping issue. This occurs when oil accumulates in the crankcase and is not returned to the oil tank. With nowhere to go, the oil can cause increased crankcase pressure, leading to oil blowback into the air intake system. This sumping is more likely during extended high RPMs or under heavy engine load, which can risk engine health and your ride’s smooth performance.

Excessive Oil to Air Intake

As a result of the oil sumping, oil may be forced into the cam gearcase and, subsequently, the air intake system. This leads to excessive oil saturating the air filter and spewing out into the intake. Over time, this oil splattered situation not only messes with your bike’s workings but can potentially reduce your engine’s efficiency and lead to power loss.

Loss of Oil Pressure

If your oil pump is failing or is faulty, your engine could suffer from loss of oil pressure. This problem is indicated by the oil light on your dashboard and could lead to increased friction between moving parts, escalating to engine failure. When the oil pump does not circulate oil effectively, it doesn’t just risk the pump itself but could jeopardize the whole engine due to insufficient lubrication.

Remember to keep an eye on these signs and maintain regular checks to prevent any lasting damage to your Milwaukee-Eight engine.

In addressing the Milwaukee 8 oil pump issue, your safety and riding experience are at the forefront. Let’s explore how these concerns specifically affect you as a rider.

Safety Concerns

Riding a motorcycle inherently comes with risks, and the oil pump problem potentially elevates those risks. The primary safety issue stems from the oil pump condition known as “sumping”. This can cause your motorcycle to:

  • Stall: Sudden stalling during operation is not only inconvenient but dangerous, especially at high speeds.
  • Engine Failure: In severe cases, the oil pump’s failure to adequately lubricate the engine can lead to total engine failure, putting you at risk of an accident.

Harley-Davidson’s proactive approach to issue service bulletin M1450 was to mitigate these safety hazards associated with the Milwaukee 8 engines made between 2017 and 2019.

Rider Experiences

Your experiences on the road matter, and they’ve been varied due to the oil pump issue. Some of the common experiences reported include:

  • Loss of Power: As you ride, particularly under heavy load or high RPMs, the defective oil pump might cause a noticeable loss of power, impacting your bike’s performance.
  • Engine Damage: Over time, inadequate lubrication can increase friction, leading to premature wear and potential engine damage.
  • Overheating: Without proper oil circulation, your Harley could be prone to overheating, which might not only shorten the engine’s lifespan but also diminish your comfort and riding pleasure.

Harley-Davidson’s response included offering replacements and improvements to the oil pump design, which should enhance your ride’s reliability and maintain the engine’s integrity.

If you own a Milwaukee-Eight engine-equipped motorcycle and face oil pump issues, it’s essential to know your options for addressing the problem. Whether you prefer solutions covered by warranty or are considering aftermarket alternatives, understanding each path can help you make an informed decision.

Warranty and Guarantees

Your first step is to check the warranty provided by Harley-Davidson for your motorcycle. Most dealerships will honor the manufacturer’s warranty, which typically covers the repair or replacement of parts, including the oil pump. If you have a 2017-2019 model, particularly if it’s a Touring, CVO, or Trike, approach your dealer as these models have had known oil pump issues. Remember to:

  • Review your warranty documentation for specific terms and conditions.
  • Contact an authorized Harley-Davidson dealership to schedule an inspection.
  • Discuss with the dealer if the service bulletin (M1450) for the Milwaukee-Eight engines applies to your situation.

Aftermarket Solutions

For those out of warranty or seeking enhanced performance, aftermarket solutions offer an alternative. Various reputable brands provide upgraded oil pumps and accessories designed to fit your Milwaukee-Eight engine. Here are some points to consider:

  • Verify compatibility with your specific model and engine configuration.
  • Look for aftermarket parts that may improve over the original specifications.
  • Reach out to specialty shops that have experience with Milwaukee-Eight engines for recommendations.

Keep in mind that while aftermarket components can sometimes offer improvements, they may also affect other warranty coverages you have. Therefore, ensure they are installed by a professional to maintain engine integrity and performance.

In addressing the Milwaukee-Eight engine’s oil pump concerns, a combination of factory upgrades and technical service bulletins offer solutions. These enhancements focus on mitigating the sumping issue and aim to boost the reliability of your bike’s performance.

Factory Upgrades

Harley-Davidson has implemented upgrades directly at the factory level to improve the oil pump used in Milwaukee-Eight engines. Notably, newer versions of the oil pump have addressed the design flaws that led to sumping—a condition where oil fails to return properly to the oil tank, affecting oil flow and engine performance.

  • Solutions applied:
    • New Oil Pump Design: Increased efficiency with internal modifications.
    • Scavenger Gear Improvement: The updated oil pump features changes to the scavenger gear, which enhances oil scavenging from the engine.

These adjustments have been made standard in production to ensure that each Milwaukee-Eight engine benefits from the advancements in oil pump technology.

Technical Service Bulletins

When manufacturers identify a persistent issue after production, they issue technical service bulletins (TSBs) to inform service departments and customers about the necessary repairs. Harley-Davidson released a TSB identified as TT466, which relates specifically to the Milwaukee-Eight engine’s oil pump.

  • Key Details from TT466:
    • Retrofitting: The bulletin informs you that new oil pumps can be retrofitted to all previous models with the Milwaukee-Eight engine.
    • Installation Guidance: It specifies that if replacing an oil pump on 2017-2019 models, the pump should be installed as a complete unit.
    • No Mixing of Components: It is crucial that new and old pump components are not intermixed.

By following these bulletins, you can ensure that your bike’s engine maintains optimal oil flow and reliability.

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to common inquiries regarding the Milwaukee 8 engine’s oil pump issues, costs, and potential remedies.

What are the common symptoms of a failing oil pump in the Milwaukee 8 engine?

If your Milwaukee 8 engine is experiencing reduced oil pressure, increased engine temperature, or abnormal noise from the engine, these could be indicators of a failing oil pump.

How much does it typically cost to replace the oil pump in a Milwaukee 8?

Replacing your Milwaukee 8 oil pump can vary in cost, but you might expect to pay between $400 and $600 for parts and labor, depending on the service provider and any additional required maintenance.

Have there been any official recalls for the oil pump on the Milwaukee 8 engine by the manufacturer?

No official recall for the Milwaukee 8 oil pump was announced by Harley-Davidson; instead, they issued a service bulletin (M1450) addressing the oil pump issue.

What year models of the Milwaukee 8 are known to have oil pump issues?

Specific 2017 to 2019 Milwaukee 8 engine models were identified as having oil pump issues which can lead to a condition known as “sumping.”

How can an oil pump issue impact the overall life expectancy of a Milwaukee 8 engine?

An issue with the oil pump can lead to inadequate lubrication and cooling, potentially causing significant engine wear or damage, which in turn can reduce the overall life expectancy of a Milwaukee 8 engine.

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Hey y’all! It’s Chase Manhattan, a life-long gearhead, tinkerer, and adrenaline junky. I like to write about all things technical in the Harley Davidson and motorcycling space.