harley davidson motorcycles

Harley Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine Problems and Solutions

Harley Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine Problems and Solutions

Harley Davidson is one of the most popular motorcycle brands. Established in 1903, it has a long history of success and producing classic motorcycles with traditional styling, soul-satisfying exhaust notes, and improved performance. Modern Harley motorcycles are a perfect blend of old-school looks and advanced features that ensure unique performance.


Harley Davidson is well-known for producing bulky, high-performance cruisers and touring bikes designed for comfortable long-distance rides. However, Harley cruisers and touring bikes are not ideal for high-speed performance. Modern Harley motorcycles are mostly powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine that ensures high-end torque and smoother acceleration.


The Milwaukee-Eight 114’s engine is the most recent innovation by Harley Davidson, having become quite popular among riders who love touring. However, if you own a Harley motorcycle powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, you must be familiar with the potential problems it may have. The Milwaukee-Eight 114’s engine problems become more noticeable over time and must be addressed to prevent permanent engine damage. If you are facing the same issues, read this article to learn about Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine problems and solutions.


Also Read: MOST COMMON MILWAUKEE-EIGHT ENGINE PROBLEMS

1. Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine

Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine
Photo Credit: @Boss Hunting

The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine has a V-shape configuration due to being built with two cylinders. It has four valves per cylinder which add up to eight valves in total. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine has a displacement of 114 cu in (1,870 cc) and is capable of producing a torque of 161 Nm and a horsepower of 86 hp. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine has both air- and oil-cooling systems to ensure it does not overheat.


In 2017, the Milwaukee-Eight engine replaced the previous Twin Cam engine. The Milwaukee-Eight engine was expected to perform better, produce more power and torque, and produce less engine vibration and heat. Harley introduced internal counterbalancers in Milwaukee-Eight engines and successfully reduced excessive vibrations by 75%.

2. Harley Davidson Milwaukee-Eight 114 Engine Problems and Solutions

2.1 Faulty Radiator

Radiators release heat from the engine into the environment to maintain the internal temperature. However, if they are blocked, heat will build up inside the engine and cause it to overheat.


The radiator in the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine can fail over time due to a failing engine coolant system, poor maintenance, and blockage. Problems with the radiator can lead to issues with other engine parts due to being interlinked.

How to Fix

The engine overheating is the most common symptom of a faulty radiator. You can also inspect the condition of the radiator to check if it is blocked by dust and debris. Cleaning the radiator and removing buildup can help resolve this issue. Otherwise, you may need to replace the water pump if the problem persists after cleaning the radiator. Maintaining the motorbike regularly can also help keep the radiator working. However, if the radiator suffers severe damage, it will need to be replaced.

2.2 Starting Issues

A Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine may have difficulty starting due to cold starts, starter issues, poor electric wiring, and bad engine oil. If you have stored your Harley motorcycle for a long time or trying to ride in cold weather, the engine may have difficulty reaching an optimal temperature to initiate ignition. Cold weather can also affect the viscosity of the engine oil, resulting in hard starting. The Harley Milwaukee-Eight 114 may also fail to start due to a dead battery.

How to Fix

Make sure the battery is charged and check its condition regularly. Even if you have to store the motorcycle for a long time, turn on your motorcycle at least twice a week. Keep the motorcycle stored in a warm place while making sure it is covered.


There are certain engine oils that can handle cold weather to avoid cold starts. These engine oils do not freeze or become thicker in cold weather, ensuring that they will continue to move throughout the engine with ease.

2.3 Faulty Crankshaft Configuration

The placement and configuration of the Harley Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine’s crankshaft has often been a cause of engine breakdown. This is due to the crankshaft coming into contact with the twin cams at high speeds.


The crankshaft and the twin cams interacting can result in misalignment, causing the left flywheel to slide due to being forced out of place by the spline shaft. The out-of-place flywheel then interacts with the crankpin and causes it to become misplaced, resulting in engine failure.

How to Fix

If there are issues with the crankshaft, visit a professional mechanic immediately to get it fixed. Carefully observe and listen for any strange sounds coming from the engine since this may indicate a broken engine component. If you visit a mechanic promptly, you will only need to replace the damaged part. Otherwise, you will have to replace the entire crankshaft.

2.4 Engine Produces Excessive Vibration

Despite being fitted with twin internal counterbalancers, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine still produces excessive vibrations at high speeds. There are several built-in issues with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, including a defective harmonic balancer and internal engine imbalance. Other possible causes of excessive engine vibration include misaligned low-quality internal engine components.

How to Fix

It is difficult to fix the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine by yourself. It is better to ask a mechanic to inspect and diagnose what is wrong with your Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. To reduce engine vibrations, you may need to readjust the engine or replace the harmonic balancer.


Before balancing the engine, make sure to read the instructions provided by Harley Davidson. You must also tighten the bolts of the engine mounts to ensure the engine remains firmly fixed in place.


Also Read: HOW TO FIX EXCESSIVE MOTORCYCLE ENGINE VIBRATIONS

2.5 Rattling Engine Noise

How to Fix

To fix the rattling engine sound, you will need to open the engine and check for any broken parts. Visit a professional mechanic as it requires disassembling the engine and inspecting the internal parts.
Fixing the rattling engine sound may also require balancing the engine and checking to see if the engine mounts are tightened.

2.6 Oil Sumping Issue

A frequent problem with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine is oil sumping. Oil sumping is more common in 2017-19 models powered by Milwaukee-Eight engines. If the motorcycle is parked for a long time, the engine oil may start to leak and gather in the gear case and crankcase. This reduces the oil level in the engine and degrades its performance.


Black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe is a clear indication that your Milwaukee-Eight 114 is suffering from oil sumping. Oil deposits and leaks visible on different engine parts and on the ground underneath the motorcycle may also indicate the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine is leaking oil. This problem can be due to a defective oil pump. Oil sumping can also result in air entering the engine, resulting in less smooth power delivery.

How to Fix

If you have not used your Harley motorcycle for a long time, make sure to check the oil level in the engine before taking it out for a ride. Regularly check the engine oil level and inspect the engine parts where oil can accumulate. Maintaining your motorcycle regularly can also help identify oil sumping.


You may need to replace the faulty oil pump, which can cost between $300-700. If you are looking to buy a Harley motorcycle powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, make sure to buy the most recent model.


If there are signs of oil sumping and oil deposits in the crankcase, drain the oil completely to make it easier to clean and fix.

2.7 Faulty Clutch

Oil leaks in the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine can make it harder to engage the clutch, resulting in stiff gear shifting. You can hear a clunky sound when shifting gears due to the clutch not engaging properly. The faulty clutch can also be due to faulty and low-quality oil gaskets.


Also Read: 10 COMMON CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE ENGINE OIL LEAKS

How to Fix

To fix the clutch connected to the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, you will need to fix any leakage. Carefully inspect the engine for any signs of oil leaks. Also, you will need to replace any worn-out oil gaskets.


This issue can also be due to a worn-out clutch. Regularly inspect the clutch cable and the whole clutch assembly, Also, check the fluid levels to ensure smooth engine performance.

2.8 Engine Overheating

The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine betters circulates and dissipated heat more than the previous Twin Cam engine. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine has increased air intake and exhaust capacities.


However, a faulty or clogged radiator does not allow good airflow to enter the engine, causing the engine to overheat. Meanwhile, the oil leaks result in more friction between the metallic parts which also causes the engine to overheat.


Also Read: REASONS WHY YOUR MOTORCYCLE ENGINE IS OVERHEATING

How to Fix

Giving the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine a thorough inspection and providing regular maintenance checks can help identify issues. Firstly, the radiator needs to be checked to see if it is still functional and allows decent airflow for better heat dissipation. Secondly, replace the oil gaskets and seals to ensure the oil does not leak. Regularly check the fluid levels to make sure the engine runs smoothly. If the cam chain tensioners are worn out, replace them with new ones.

2.9 Poor-Quality Cam Chain Tensioners

The plastic cam chain tensioners in the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine can wear out quickly. Any issue with the low-cam tensioners can result in the engine overheating, improper oil supply, and engine failure.

How to Fix

Replacing the broken and worn-out low-cam chain tensioners is the best way to fix the issue.


Note: Make sure to replace them with good-quality cam chain tensioners to ensure better engine working. Regular inspection and maintenance can also help you detect wear and tear and any other issues with the Milwaukee 8 114 engine.


Also Read: WHY DO HARLEYS REQUIRE A LOT OF MAINTENANCE?

2.10 Air Entrapment in Engine Oil

If your motorcycle’s engine is experiencing wet sumping, it may cause air to become trapped in the engine oil, known as oil aeration. This puts extra stress on the engine parts, causing them to become worn out faster.


Frequent inspections and replacing the oil supply lines can be problematic as it allows more air to enter the oil.

How to Fix

To stop air from entering the oil supply lines, make sure to check for any blockage that prevents air from entering. A faulty fuel pump cannot pump air into the oil lines. Make sure to replace the faulty parts to avoid oil aeration.


You must also fix the wet sumping to avoid oil aeration. You can accomplish this by replacing the damaged oil fuel lines, oil seals, and gaskets. You must also check the oil filters to see if they need to be replaced.

2.11 Poor Acceleration

If your motorcycle’s exhaust is emitting blue or white smoke, it is an indication of issues with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine causing poor acceleration. It can be due to increased oil pressure in the engine, a faulty harmonic balancer, and engine imbalance. This issue can also be due to broken engine components and poor-quality low-cam chain tensioners.

How to Fix

To fix poor acceleration due to a faulty Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, replace the broken engine components to avoid further damaging the engine. You must regularly check the fluid levels, oil supply lines, and oil pump, and inspect for oil leaks and oil aeration.


Also Read: HOW TO CHECK FOR ENGINE OIL LEAKS IN A MOTORCYCLE?

3. Takeaway

Harley Davidson is one of the most trusted motorcycle manufacturers, with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engines being the best example of reliability. However, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine still suffers from problems. If you experience any issues with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, make sure to seek professional help to fix them. You can visit the Harley Davidson Support Center and contact your dealer. Do not disassemble or replace the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine’s parts if you are not an expert.


Engines are key motorcycle parts that must be maintained and cleaned regularly to ensure your motorcycle lasts longer. A well-kept motorcycle with a well-maintained engine also has better holding and resale values.


If you love motorcycle touring but do not own a touring bike, Viking Bags can help you transform your Harley cruiser into an ideal touring bike. A wide range of aftermarket parts available at Viking Bag, including sissy bars, backrests, handlebars, crash bars, seats, and fairings can make long-distance rides more comfortable. If you want to pack more stuff for wilderness trips, Viking Bags also offers good-quality luggage bags, including motorcycle trunk bags, sissy bar bags, tank bags, and saddlebags.

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