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2020 FLTRXS, HD 131 Kit, V&H 450, Heavy Breather, Yaffe 12" Bars
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Had a wonderful ride this past weekend and had a head scratcher a long the way.

Left Myrtle Beach, SC at 3:30am Friday morning and rode to Cape Coral, FL to meet up with my brother-in-law, then continued on to Key Largo, FL. After dinner, drinks, and a good night of sleep we headed on to Key West Saturday morning and had a fun day and night there. On Sunday, I headed back straightaway from Key West, FL back home to Myrtle Beach. It was a wonderful 1,900 miles on the scooter for the weekend. But on the way back, something strange happened.

Around Key Largo heading home, it started falling in buckets. Thirty miles later the rain had lightened up considerably, but was still falling when my shark started choking--no power. It idled, but any throttle roll at all would almost kill the engine and there was zero power---like a naturally aspirated small engine improperly choked when cold. As I pulled off to the shoulder, the engine completely died.

I got off the shark, checked the plug wires (suspecting someone loosed one to be funny and it lost contact) but they were fine. The rain happened to stop at that time. I did nothing else and the shark fired up fine, responded to throttle, etc. I was distrustful but had no choice but to continue at that point. To my surprise, the rest of the ride home was perfect. No more issues over hundreds of more miles. The engine performed perfectly--so good in fact I thought I might to jail in McIntosh County, GA when I got pulled over, but instead just had a nice conversation with a county Sergeant on the side of the I-95--not tickets issued. (A good post itself maybe).

Along the way I started considering everything that could be the cause and eliminated most of them except: water in the "HD Screaming Eagle Heavy Breather Elite" air cleaner. I know they sell a rain sock but I never used them on my 103 Softail that had a previous version of the HD heavy breather AC; Never had an issue in much heavier rain. Granted, my 2020 RG Special has a 131, should be taking more air and thus the problem could be different. But, the water alone getting in shouldn't do much except effect compression a little I would think. Isn't that the point of race motors that inject water purposely, after all?

Ultimately, my working theory is that the waterlogged AC filter prevented enough airflow and choked the engine out.

Has anyone experienced this? Any thoughts? Any better theories?
 

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I’ve experienced something similar coming home from NC in heavy rain. Like you I was at first worried something was wrong with my bike. The rain sock will keep a lot of the water out. I don’t run in a lot of rain here in CA but always have the rain sock handy for road trips.
 

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My bike has the SE Heavy Breather and I use a rain sock when it's raining.
The fabric of the cotton filter will rinse out oil - that's how they are cleaned BTW.
Once the oil rinses out, they are not repellant of water and when waterlogged they block air flow.
The rain sock is a bit of an umbrella - it bounces the vast majority of the water away from the filter and lets enough air through to get you home. You won't have the same acceleration wearing the rain sock - they somewhat impede full air flow. But the sock should prevent your roadside drama.
 

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2020 FLTRXS, HD 131 Kit, V&H 450, Heavy Breather, Yaffe 12" Bars
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’ve experienced something similar coming home from NC in heavy rain. Like you I was at first worried something was wrong with my bike. The rain sock will keep a lot of the water out. I don’t run in a lot of rain here in CA but always have the rain sock handy for road trips.
Good to hear I might be on the right track. I miss CA riding. So many hills, canyons, and good stops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My bike has the SE Heavy Breather and I use a rain sock when it's raining.
The fabric of the cotton filter will rinse out oil - that's how they are cleaned BTW.
Once the oil rinses out, they are not repellant of water and when waterlogged they block air flow.
The rain sock is a bit of an umbrella - it bounces the vast majority of the water away from the filter and lets enough air through to get you home. You won't have the same acceleration wearing the rain sock - they somewhat impede full air flow. But the sock should prevent your roadside drama.
That makes sense. The water blocking airflow makes sense to me and is a good reason to use the sock. I had never really considered that aspect and thought the sock was kind go a gimmick as a few raindrops in the combustion chamber isn't an issue.
 

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09 CVO Roadglide 117/24D Cams Drago 2 exhaust
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Something else you might consider is at least on the twinkle there are some sensors in the intake around the throttle body. I have heard of water drops coating the sensors and playing havoc with the ECM till they dry off. Never had it happen personally but had a couple times of that being the reasoning for losing power.
 

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Same exact thing happened to a friend during our ride to Eureka Springs this past June. He’d neglected to put the sock on when we left the hotel during a heavy rain that morning.
 
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I got caught in a downpour 1/4 mile from home last year without a rain sock on my air cleaner. My bike coughed a bit but didn't die. My check engine light did come on. I believe the code was something like engine running rich.It cleared & I took the filter off & cleaned it. Haven't had any issues since. I've only had that issue in an extremely hard downpour, not an average shower.
 

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The rain sock is for when the scooter is sitting. It keeps the throttle body from filling with water after the filter is saturated.

Running down the road, the engine just ingests any water that lands on the filter, or sock. And unless you are fording lakes and rivers, its not enough water to greatly effect the way it runs.

For the OP, I would suspect a wet connector. Something out in the weather. The plug on the throttle body is often the issue, but these M8's also have issues with the switch modules on the bars. A look at what the ecm saw might point you to it.
 

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2020 Zephyr Blue / Black RGS stage 2 TQ cam,V&H power duals, Ventilator Ciro bag blades,Kahuna heate
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Any non stock intake I have installed which would be 7 intakes I use the compatable sock.Ran 200 miles,2020 RGS, ventilator intake, in that last monsoon with the sock bike ran awesome no performance issues.Years ago forgot the sock sputtered into the drive after 5 miles in a downpour.Next day took it off, air dry re oiled the element and was good to go with the sock on board.They work !
 

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I have a question, pls. Do I need a similar type sock for a stock breather on my 17 RGS?
I've never seen one but you can never have too much protection.
We're heading down to the Tail from NY next week, and I'm sure to get rained on and don't need
any problems....thanks
 

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2020 RGS, runs great out the gate.
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The rain sock is for when the scooter is sitting. It keeps the throttle body from filling with water after the filter is saturated.

Running down the road, the engine just ingests any water that lands on the filter, or sock. And unless you are fording lakes and rivers, its not enough water to greatly effect the way it runs.

For the OP, I would suspect a wet connector. Something out in the weather. The plug on the throttle body is often the issue, but these M8's also have issues with the switch modules on the bars. A look at what the ecm saw might point you to it.
What I understand as well...

"The rain sock is intended to keep water out of the filter element, say outside the hotel room at night in a storm, not for normal operation."
 

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I had my TC 103 start to sputter and loose power twice after I put the Ness Big Sucker on. It never quit running but it wouldn't accelerate properly. Hard rain was the common denominator both times. I bought the rain sock and have never had an issue since. I keep it handy in the TP all the time.
 
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Same set up and same here, keep it in fairing pocket.
Even bought an extra ...just in case I loose it.
Must have been a challenge finding a chrome rain sock!
 

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I'm not arguing with previous posters, but the same experience happened to me running through Denver during torrential downpour. Sputtered, felt like water in the gas. I'd donned rain gear, but had not put the sock on. Pulled over as engine died. Put the sock on, started it up, let it idle for a few minutes, and took off again. Within 5 minutes engine was running fine. (Was not running fast as traffic was bumper to bumper in the downpour, but was running smooth.)

I'm not certain what the sock was intended to do, but my experience suggests that it protects air intake adequately during torrential downpours to allow unimpeded running.

Your mileage may vary.
 

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2020 FLTRXS, HD 131 Kit, V&H 450, Heavy Breather, Yaffe 12" Bars
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Something else you might consider is at least on the twinkle there are some sensors in the intake around the throttle body. I have heard of water drops coating the sensors and playing havoc with the ECM till they dry off. Never had it happen personally but had a couple times of that being the reasoning for losing power.
Hmm...that is interesting. Had not even considered that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got caught in a downpour 1/4 mile from home last year without a rain sock on my air cleaner. My bike coughed a bit but didn't die. My check engine light did come on. I believe the code was something like engine running rich.It cleared & I took the filter off & cleaned it. Haven't had any issues since. I've only had that issue in an extremely hard downpour, not an average shower.
That was another part of the head scratcher, for me. I really would expected some kind of code to be thrown. But nada.
 
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