Mystery Engine Problem Solved
I hope this post will help anyone experiencing the same problem. It took over 18 months and countless research and finally sheer luck to figure out the problem.
Here is my story:
I own a 2016 Road Glide Ultra, purchased with just 2 miles on it from Blue Springs Harley Davidson in Independence, MO. I rode my 2007 Ultra Classic from Fredericksburg, VA to Independence, MO for a business meeting. Ended up trading in my 2007 for the 2016 Road Glide Ultra, the test ride on the highway is what sold me on the Road Glide Ultra. With over 78,000 miles on my Ultra Classic, the lack of wind buffeting when I passed Semi's or strong winds really is noticeable going from the batwing to the shark nose.
Anyway, riding from Independence, MO to Fredericksburg, went through some bad thunderstorms and my RGU did great. Jump forward about 6 months and 10,000 miles later start thinking about adding some performance parts. Cam plate here, oil pump there, better lifters and adjustable push rods, you all know the mod story and it could go on for hours and dreams go on.
I'm riding home from work about 124 miles round trip (62 or so one way). It was a rainy February day, we had some snow the week prior so a lot of salt on the road, so along with rain, I have salt getting kicked up on the RGU. About 15 miles from home on I-95 south the rear cylinder stops firing, my engine light comes on and it feels like the ITMS just kicked in. What the hell is this!!! I had just bought all the parts for my engine upgrade and hadn't put them on and I'm glad I didn't. Going to Harley to have them look this over.
I call the Dealer the next day in Fredericksburg to take the bike and figure out the problem. I told them I'll see if she fires up, yep, sure did. Fires up with no problems both cylinders firing. Ride to the dealer about 7 miles down the road. Pull the engine codes, no combustion, fuel mix, and temp error codes all get pulled. The dealer looks the bike over, complete all sorts of test, compression test, idle, sensor tests, no problems found. WHAT? I know what happened yesterday... the rear cylinder definitely quit working and the error codes prove there was a problem. The dealer agrees, but can't figure it out. The replaced the spark plugs, fired up and road her home. If she experiences the problem again, they'll check it out.
OK... well, I decide to hold off the mods until I have a few thousand more miles on her to see if the problem persists. Another 2,500 miles gets racked up in a few months and no problems. The rear cylinder issue never came up again.
OK... must have been some weird fluke. I thought, had to be the salt, not sure how, maybe some odd way it may have come in through the air cleaner, mixed with the fuel air mix and caused the problem. I don't know, but I hadn't had the problem in over 2,500 miles riding her every day back and forth to work. No difference in performance, no difference in how she is handling, no difference in sound.
OK, let the mods begin!!!! So April 2017, I tear into the to and lower end. I installed the rocker lockers, replaced the push rods with S&S Quickie Push Rods, S&S Premium Lifters with travel limiters, replace stock cam bearings with Torrington Needle Cam Bearings, Feuling 7062 Race Series High Flow Oil Pump, 8015 High Flow Cam Plate, S&S Easy Start 585 Cams, Zippers Cam Chain Tensioners, Arlen Ness Inverted Big Sucker, K&P High Flow Oil Filter, Thundermax ECM, Bassani True Dual Down Under Headers, Screamin Eagle 4" Cannons with FullSac 2.25" Baffles.
DAMN!!! What a ride!!! I don't need to dyno because I can feel the kick in the seat! I wanted a daily rider with get up and go and got it now.
About 15,000 miles with the new mods, raining and heading to work and the rear cylinder cuts on and off... crap... what the hell. Thankfully I was only a few blocks from work when it happened. I'm going to call Triple A and have them tow. But lets see, before I do, if she'll fire up. Yep, fires right up, it not raining only in the morning, so I'll ride her home and if she acts up, I'll pull over and call Triple A. Get home with no issue... Wonder if the Arlen Ness inverted filter has something to do with it. It says it doesn't require a rain sock, but maybe to much water was sucked in.
Ok, going to put a rain sock on. I have my old rain sock from my 2007 Ultra Classic and it fits my Arlen Ness just fine... Ok, that's my solution....
She's been riding awesome for almost 20,000 more miles, now I've got a little over 31,000 miles on my RGU, its now February 2018. Never had an issue with the rear cylinder since that last time. Rain or shine, hot or cold, she's running awesome!
This winter is really cold... she's running great though in 7 degree temp. Really enjoying my ride into work and home. Almost 2 years on my RGU and loving it!
Mid February, Its rainy out, coming home from work, just entered the express way, have about 50 more miles to go to get home. SON-OF-A-BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB my rear cylinder is acting up again. This time I've got NO error code showing up on my Dakota Digital Gauges, I drop back my speed from 60 down to 40... not that I had much of a choice, but I intentionally reduce power because I now smell fuel, a lot of fuel.
SHIT, the injectors still firing fuel into the cylinder, its gotta be getting into the oil.. do I stop and call my wife, AAA or could I limp her home. Still got about 45 miles left, its cold outside, rainy and I'm pissed off..... f*** it... I'll limp her home very gingerly, the engine temp is showing 139 degrees and dropping, oil temp is showing 128 degrees and dropping... got about 15 miles left before I'm home...
DAMN the rear cylinder just started again... got power, she's running normal, smooth maybe we'll be ok... 5 miles left. NOPE rear cylinder stopped again... smell gas, she's now sputtering, at light and she is barely running, sputtering very badly.
Finally, get her home.... HOLY F***, what the hell is this!! undue the oil cap... damn, very strong fuel smell... fuel definitely got into the oil. I don't know how much viscosity loss it caused and don't know if there is damage internally. I'll leave the cap open to let the fuel evaporate and need to drain the oil.
It is some weird February, rain, salt mix issue? Got to be... I look up on the message boards, call Harley... due to the mods, especially changing out the ECM, I'll have to pay Harley to figure this one out...
NOPE, going to figure it out on my own. Search the blogs, could be this, could be that, check this, check that. Nope none of those checked out. Called my boss who is also a Harley rider, need to take the day off to figure out what's wrong with my Road Glide. I need to tear into the engine to see if there was any damage. Boss completely understands... my Road Glide is my commuting vehicle, I have to get her back up and running.
So I take off the Arlen Ness, ah oh... breather bolts look like water and oil mix. Not good. This means I need to tear into the lower end and see what damage.
Get the lower cam cover off, doesn't look bad, maybe I got lucky! Look at the cam chain tensioner... Looks very excessively worn for 20,000 miles. Called Zippers, yep, this isn't normal, shouldn't be anywhere as worn, I need to pull the shoe and look more closely.
Pull the cam tensioner shoe off, holy crap, large chunks are missing from the shoe. This definitely isn't normal. Ok, if large chunks are missing from the cam shoe, where did those chucks go? Need to pull the cam plate off and look at the oil pump and filter. Crap, this is looking like an expensive fix.
Continued in next post....