Harley-Davidson Electronic Throttle Control

In 2008 Harley-Davidson introduced a new throttle system called Electronic Throttle Control (ETC), which eliminates the throttle cables connecting the throttle and the throttle body and replaces them with an electronic connection. ETC is standard on all 2008 and 2009 touring models, including CVO touring models.

Four years ago a group of engineers set out to clean up the appearance of the big bikes’ handlebars. One item that really caught their eye was the throttle and return cable. Modifying or replacing them would go a long way toward making the bars less cluttered. The engineers also wanted to increase reliability and preciseness in the new system. The path they chose was built on relationships they have with both Delphi Corporation and Magneti Marelli.

When the project began, Magneti Marelli already had over one million electronic throttles on the road, mostly in over-the-road trucks operating in Europe. Delphi’s contribution would come in the form of technology and electronics used to enhance the system.

Harley-Davidson Electronic Throttle Control
Harley-Davidson Electronic Throttle Control

The ETC system consists of two main components; the throttle-grip sensor, and the throttle-control actuator. The throttle-grip sensor is made by Delphi, and the throttle-control actuator is manufactured in South Carolina by Magneti Marelli. The throttle-grip sensor is a cylindrical component housed inside the right end of the handlebar. The unit is spring loaded to return to idle, and includes two sets of magnetic sensors that send signals to the electronic control module. The throttle-grip sensor is keyed to the handlebar with a series of notches cut into the bar that mate with bosses on the throttle-grip sensor. The throttle-control actuator includes a geared, permanent-magnet DC motor, and two sealed automotive-style throttle-position sensors mounted to the side of the throttle body. The electronic control module, which controls the motorcycle’s electronic functions, allows the throttle-grip sensor to communicate with the throttle-control actuator.

Motorcycle enthusiasts are no different from the rest of the population when it comes to change; some embrace it, while others resist it. ETC immediately raised concerns among the latter group. What if the throttle sticks open? What if it sticks closed? Can I change out the handlebar? How much more will this cost me in the long run? For the answers to these questions, and to learn more about how ETC works, I contacted Portfolio Architect Lance Onan and Senior Project Engineer Scott Koerner at Harley-Davidson.

One of the first and most important items addressed by Lance was the redundancy built into the system. He explained that there are two separate sets of magnetic sensors housed in the throttle-grip sensor, two throttle-position sensors at the throttle body, and two separate circuits built into the electronic control module. “As the throttle is opened by the rider, the sensors sense the presence of a magnetic field. This is known as the Hall effect—there are no contacts, brushes, or wipers to malfunction. At the throttle body, two separate throttle-position sensors compare the position of the throttle plate and verify that it is in the position called for by the magnetic sensors in the throttle-grip sensor. There is a control loop built in to the electronic control module that provides constant feedback as it monitors the system some 200 times a second. The system looks at both the bottom (throttle-control actuator), and at the top (throttle-grip sensor), so there’s redundancy at either end. The system is constantly comparing those conditions and looking for a failure mode.”

Harley-Davidson Electronic Throttle Control
Harley-Davidson Electronic Throttle Control
If for any reason a failure is sensed, the system will go into one of three failure modes, Scott explained. “If you lose one signal from the Hall effect sensors the system goes into a failure mode called limited-performance mode. In that mode the throttle response will be somewhat slower; it’s going to limit how far the throttle plate will open, you’re not going to get full performance, and cruise control will not work since the sensor itself no longer has redundancy. It also uses the brake input as a redundant—if you are on the brake it will drive the throttle plate to near idle. If you then lose the other Hall effect sensor signal and the electronic control module is unable to determine what the rider wants to do, it goes into a forced-idle mode. In this condition it controls the motorcycle’s idle speed and will allow it to give just a little more adjustment than the pure idle control. It will give some spark advance based on engine speed so that when using the clutch you are still able to get the vehicle home, but it will be at an extremely slow speed—we don’t allow the throttle plate to open up and give you any unexpected power at all. This mode will allow a rider enough power under idle to get it up a few gears and get the bike moving. Providing even more safeguards is the limp-home mode that kicks in if you lose the DC motor or either of the throttle-position sensors. In this mode the engine will provide idle only.” If you find yourself experiencing any of these situations, a trip to the dealer is imperative.

I asked if it were possible for the system to open or close the throttle plate without the input from the rider. “The only way that could happen would be if the grip were actually rotated and held in a particular position,” Scott told me. “If you look at the possibility of short circuits causing something like that where it looks like it’s as open as it can be, the ECM ignores that. If the voltage gets over a certain threshold it (the electronic control module) doesn’t believe that input any more because it knows that can’t happen through normal actuation of the sensor; that can only happen through an electrical fault.”

ETC has various advantages over traditional systems. It requires no maintenance, there are no cables to adjust, lubricate, or replace, and the system has an indefinite life span. Throttle positioning is far more accurate than it is with a cable system. This is beneficial for EPA testing as one of the tests involves riding the motorcycle on a dyno to simulate real-world conditions. In this situation it’s possible to hold the bike at a particular rpm more easily and accurately than before, leading to cleaner tailpipe emissions.

ETC interfaces with cruise control differently from the previous throttle cable set-up. Prior to 2008 there was a separate cruise-control module that operated the throttle plate by means of a long cable. The new system eliminates the module and operates the throttle plate via the electronic control module. The cruise control on ETC models works far better than on previous units; gone is the surging and variation in speed as the system is engaged or encountering hills. It operates very smoothly, and changes in engine rpm are barely perceptible.

Built into the system is a reset function. If the ignition is turned off with the throttle in a position other than 0 percent throttle, the system wants to use a higher rpm as the new idle speed the next time the engine is started. If you shut the bike off at 1,800 rpm, the next time you start the engine it will use approximately 1,400 as the new idle speed. To keep this from occurring you can reset the idle by turning on the ignition switch until the fuel pump cycles on and off, then turning off the ignition. Repeat this three times and the idle speed will be reset to normal, 1,000 rpm.
The ETC system only works with handlebars that have the notches that mate with the throttle-grip sensor; it will not work on traditional handlebars. Harley offers various handlebar bends for the new system. For certain applications they also offer a throttle-grip sensor with longer wires (43-1/4 inches long, Part No. 32308-08, $89.95), which connects directly to the stock wiring harness without an extension harness. Swapping grips on bikes equipped with ETC requires the purchase of grips designed specifically for ETC applications.

In the real world the ETC feels much the same as a traditional throttle. There are some subtle differences, however; the perception of these differences seems to vary from person to person. Most of these perceptions have to do with throttle response at lower rpm. What I find most notable is the quick drop-off in rpm when I back off the throttle at slower speeds and when shifting gears. When rolling off the throttle, the engine slows more quickly than I’m used to, which has a tendency to pitch my weight forward a bit. This can also be felt when hitting bumps that cause my hand to roll the throttle on or off, causing the bike to jerk a bit. These are not major issues, just something to be cognizant of when operating the motorcycle. Another mechanical difference is the fact that the throttle grip is returned to its zero position with a built-in spring instead of springs mounted on the throttle body. Since the new spring does not have to overcome friction and wear of the cables, it snaps back with more authority and has a different feel than the previous system.

While none of these conditions are particularly earth shattering, they will take a little time to get used to. Some riders will be barely able to perceive the differences between ETC and a traditional cable setup, while others will notice a difference as soon as they roll on the throttle for the first time. No matter what your take is on this, you will have to go with it if you want to ride a new touring machine. Considering Harley has a tendency to introduce new features on a limited basis before introducing them to the entire line, I would expect to see ETC (as was the case with EFI) to be standard fare on all of Harley’s bikes in the not too distant future. So roll with it and enjoy all the benefits that come with this new technology.


  1. What actually causes the failures to occur with this throttle system? Does a sensor go bad or the entire system fail? My dealer “didn’t find anything wrong”? However it happens intermittenly with no warning. Any suggestions?

    • Dealer claims they can only check it while it is in failure or they have “no clue” so who does? Got a feeling HD better jump on this quick before all the lawsuits start piling up. I just want mine fixed while still in 5 year warranty!

  2. Hi, my name is Greg Smith and I live in Denlilquin, Australia.  I had a stroke in 2009. 
    I have little use of my right arm and I have a 2008 FLHCU Ultra Classic Harley Davidson. Firstly, I have to go from right to left throttle (fly wire).
    The problem I have is that when the fly wire is put on the left hand side it has to be throttled forward rather than the normal backwards.  Do you have any suggestions as my mechanic says that this will be problem. Any help would very appreciated.


    Greg Smith.

  3. I my name is Greg Smith and I live in Denlilquin, Australia.  I had a stroke in 2009. 
    I have little use of my right arm and I have a 2008 FLHCU Ultra Classic Harley Davidson. Firstly, I have to go from right to left throttle (fly wire).
    The problem I have is that when the fly wire is put on the left hand side it has to be throttled forward rather than the normal backwards.  Do you have any suggestions as my mechanic says that this will be problem. Any help would very appreciated.


    Greg Smith.
    I h

    • Hi Greg! I’ve the same problem like you. I’m driving a Sporty and I’d like a Touring Model with new connectet brake system. Did you find a solutions to move the ETC throttle on the left side?



        • John,
          On my 011 flrtu I replaced the throttle wiring harness with a cvo wire coming from the grip, this gets rid of the green connector that is stock. That worked for about 2k miles, then it started acting up again. Back to the dealer. They checked everything replaced all sensors and ecm. That worked for about 1500 miles then back to the dealer, then replaced the abs sensors, worked for about 2 k miles , back to the dealer. This was at about 11k miles warranty was up. The dealer worked with me and replaced the throttle body under an epa warranty , coming up on 23k miles with no more issues. I knew the throttle body was bad from the get go based on what I read in the TB. But for some reason they chose not to replace it until last. Happy now hope this helps

  4. I have a 2008 FLHTCU with ETC. The bike has 20,000 miles on the clock and is going to my dealer for the 3rd time for a problem with the ETC. This time it started acting up 360 mi. from home on a Sunday. Was able to override the system by cycling the ignition. Made it home ok but am fed up with this system. Does anyone know of a recall from HD? Have you a similar story?

  5. Luke..my bike is the same year model and I have 96,000 and started having throttle problems about 4 months ago. It appeared to be when I tried to override the cruise when I would have the cruise control set and then when I wanted a little more speed to get by a vehicle I gave it throttle without disengaging the cruise control (this is what I thought was the problem), it turns out that was just a coincidence. All of a sudden the engine would just go to idle, it did it three times today so now I’m taking my bike to HD and they are supposed to be able to diagnose based on the bikes “engine light history” but we shall see.

  6. I have an 011 Road Glide Ultra and have had nothing bu trouble with the Throttle by wire. First three times it would go full throttle, all three times were while performing low speed manuevers to the left. alos had issues with throttle going to idle speed with no throttle response. I removed the green plug and hard soldered the wires. Worked for 6k miles, unitl day before yesterday, now going to idle with no throttle response. Out of warranty now. I’m stuck. Going to trade in it in for something with cables. This setup is just not safe!!!!

  7. My local dealer has really been helping me out. They called the motor company and the decision was made to replace the throttle body. Which was done last week at no charge to me. So, to date, all sensors have been replaced, the ECM has been replaced, the ABS module has been replaced. A Screming Eagle twist grip harness has been installed. and of course the throttle body. All that’s left is the main wring harness. If it happens again, I’m enforcinng the lemon law, The dealer that has been working with me, agreed with the lemon law enforcement if I have more trouble.. Also had to replace my front wheel bearing (13k miles). turns out between 08 and 011 wheel bearing were bad (made in India) in 012 they were upgraded! no made in south Korea.

  8. Hi
    Good to hear that there are dealers who live the brand and go the lengths to ensure that the rideis in optimum working order.

    In India it looks like the dealer is the king and any one raises any questions with the quality of service li. I did gets severed iff and does nt get any form of support even though it is a certified Authorised dealership in Bangalore India.

    Thus is one brand of motorcycle where I cannot buy a spares from a local Authorized dealer what a shame and the best part is that the blokes in USA are keeping quite there is loads of issues here and the wonderful brand HD image us getting screwed we a bunch of 100 bikers across the country are looking to get to gethrr

  9. For a while now, when I roll off to disengage cruise, my throttle ratchets. Today it started ratcheting when I roll on. Is there any way to adjust the gear on the throttle?

  10. I have a 2008 flhx Street Glide two or three times a season i loose throttle control engin still run when i turn the bike off for thirty seconds the i gain control to the throttle again, does any body have this same problem let me know thank you and ride SAFE.

    • yes had that problem today , shut off for 1 min. all ok. Happen 1 year ago . going to pull tsb plug and clean and do dialectic grease hope works for another year

    • Yeah mine was tha twist gripe sensor.easy to change . Have to use a paper clip straightened out for plug ends.. but now , same problem, but now it’s also starter going out .. just one thing after another with this 09 Electra glide.. sheeuuueee!!!

  11. I have a 08 Ultra with 25000 miles. I just started having this problem wirh the electronic throttle control. Was out on the road, acted up twice. Came home , looked it up on Fix My Hog. They said to clean and lube pin connector. Did that, did not solve problem. I tried turning ignition off and on three times. Did not work either. Disconnected battery to reset computer. Took it for a test ride,so far. so good.

  12. Hello Fellow riders I AM DOWN HERE IN PALMDLE CALIFORNIA and I have had that same throttle problem twice now. and it is pissing me off because I have had to pay out of my pocket to have it towed to the Harley dealer to basically have them give me a bill but no explanation as to the problem. and on top of that the first time it happened I had another issue that they were clueless about witch happened to be my butterfly in my throttle body was stuck closed to were apparently you couldn’t just push it open with your finger you had to lightly tap on it. and of course Harley had no explanation for that issue either so basically my friends what I am getting at is if it were to take us all to get together to hopefully just maybe get a recall going .if your with me comment back !!!!!

    • 2010 street glide, 16000 miles. same problem intermitten. told it is the connecter under cowl. throws mine into limited mode. 25 mph. No permanent fix except to replace pins in connecter, with limited success. also clean connecter and apply electro grease. Still looking for a fix. Problem is in the connecter. One member said after pins replaced he got 4000 miles before it started happening again. Harley needs to address this dangerous. Last time it happened to me I was doing freeway speeds and nearly got hit.

      • The old train of thought is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I answer the phone all day at a bike shop here in central Florida and I’ve been listening to a bunch of guys bitching about this fly by wire system. What I’m seeing is a nightmare waiting to happen. I picked up a bike about a week ago due to the throttle issue. I actually never rode one that had this new system on it. Wow to my surprise I almost went over the front of the trailer because of this nightmare. The guy called me again today and his sled quit accelerating after he hit a bump. I’m thinking after reading this article that Harley needs to fess up and fix this nightmare before it kills someone. This is what happens when you over engineer any product. I want to know what these guys were thinking (or lack of) when the were sitting around looking at the bike thinking there were too many wires messing up the handlebars. No matter what anyone thinks there is a major malfunction in the works at the factory. If there isn’t a recall then they just don’t give a rats ass about the rider and his family. I know one thing I’ll never own one because sometimes you need to get and I’m sure I’ll be got!!

  13. Just started having a problem with the throttle all of a sudden it goes into a high idele and I ha e to stop. Restarted the bike and all was OK but within a mile same thing. Sat ten min and got her going and rode home 30 miles in a hard rain and she did OK. I have a 08 ultra classic. Is this a high dollar fix and how hard is it to do I know how to fix something’s . any advise would really help. Thank you Jim

  14. I have a “new to me” 2013 Harley Ultra, it has 11,000 miles on it and worked fine until today. I took a 15 mile ride to the hardwear store and parked my bike in the lot, it was hot, in the 90’s. Upon my return I started my bike normally and went to pull into traffic when I had no throttle, the grip just turned in my hand and nothing but an idle was produced. I had enough momentum from the initial start to pull alongside the road and stop. I had no throttle response whatsoever, it felt like the entire grip just turned in my hand, round and round. I noticed my clutch grip did the same thing, just turned so easy I could have pulled the grip right off the handlebar. I rotated the throttle until it felt like it had a slight resistance and still no response. I thought because the left grip was so loose that the GRIP ITSELF was not in position, so I TAPPED ON THE END OF THE GRIP and all of a sudden I had throttle response again, THIS HAPPEND ABOUT 25 TIMES, LONG ENOUGH TO GET ME HOME. I stopped the bike in my garage and restarted it, there is a slight bit of resistance but it worked O K. I stopped it and restarted it with the same result only this time when testing the throttle limit it would stick at a high rpm. The one thing I did notice was that the throttle would NOT rotate as it did in the parking lot and I could not rotate the throttle BACKWARDS like I could in the lot. COULD THERE BE A PROBLEM WITH THE GRIP COMING OUT OF PLACE WITH THE THEROTTLE POSITIONING PLATE THAT IS SUPPOSWED TO RESIDE WITHIN THE HANDLEBAR CUT OUT? When the grips get hot (summer heat) can the grip slide out of position making the throttle come out of position? Right now the throttle grip does NOT do what it did in the hot parking lot because it is in a cool garage. Has anyone else had the same problem?

    • Your grip was not installed in enough to engage the throttle , so your control housing is not in board enough on the handle bars to let your grip be where it needs to be..

  15. I have an 08 Ultra. Bought it 2 years ago with 34k on it. Started having problems with this ‘limp’ mode this spring. Took my bike in for it’s 50k service and dealer replaced pins and said it should be fine. It’s happened several times since without warning. Sometimes when I’m going through the gears and sometimes when I’m running at full speed. The other day it happened 3 times in 4 miles. It’s at the dealer now and they see the code where it lost throttle response but they do not see anything wrong with the bike. Said the throttle body unit could be replaced to see if it is the problem…but the throttle body on it checks out to be fine. I’m not paying $ 1,000 for someone to guess the problem. I shouldn’t have to pay at all to fix something that is clearly a problem across the globe with this system. Recall? I wonder how many used bikes with this problem gets traded in with no record of this problem, only to have the problem handed down to some poor sap like me who now has to front the problem from his own pocket? I want my Harley fixed…but if it can’t be fixed and the manufacturer won’t acknowledge the issue…my next bike may be native American.

  16. Mervin, I found a problem with my 2013 Harley Ultra throttle response. I think mine was caused by the throttle grip itself coming disengaged with the “fly by wire” throttle plate. The groves in the handgrip itself was not engaging the groves in the throttle plate in the handlebar itself. The throttle plate itself is not secured in my handlebar and is loose in the groves meant to house it. The time mine did it the weather was very hot and both handgrips were very loose on the bar. I found that if the whole throttle assembly is not in the right position ( must be all the way pushed on the throttle plate within the bar) and it is hot enough to expand the grip the connection between the throttle plate and the groves in the handgrip there is a much greater chance for the throttle grip to become disengaged and you will lose throttle response AND YOUR CONFIDENCE IN YOUR BIKE. I believe this is what happened with the previous owner of my bike. I found that the past owner had dropped the bike on the throttle side, there was no damage except for some paint scratches on the saddle bag under the crash bar and the engine guard. I found the whole right grip had been replaced but was not in the correct position on the bar. After finding some teeth broken on the inside of the grip I repositioned the grip and made sure the whole assembly was in the proper relationship with the grip itself. Make sure the grip rotates properly AND WITHOUT ANY STICKING SPOTS. Test the rotation of the grip MANY times without the engine being on, when confident it will not stick try it with the engine on, again make sure the grip returns to idle easily and by itself. Try this if you feel confident enough, it is not very hard to accomplish and will save you time money AND MAKE YOU MORE CONFIDENT IN YOUR RIDING ABILITY.

  17. I have a new 2015 street glide and i use a vane and hines fp3 tuner true duals and slash cut slip ons. I noticed the tear cylinder dropping out at red lights. And was told its a feature i was un aware of and it could be dissabled by turning my grip forward well my grip did not go forward so i applied alot of pressure i heard a snap and low and behold it now rolled forward and dissabled the parade mode. But now ith bike funs like crap. Idle varies and front cylinder dont start firing unyil i turn the throttle about 1/4 turn . No matter what map i flash it is like the front cylinder needs mor throttle to start firing. I think theres a problem with it. I double check my camalignment because i installed s&s 585 easy starts. Opinions pleas i am considering buyin a new tps.

    • I don’t know about your 2015 but my 2011 CVO Road Glide Ultra does not have a TPS that is replaceable they are built in the TCA and are not serviceable

  18. does my 2012 Harley triglide have the electronic throttle or is it cable operated thanks I want to change the handlebar grips bui I don’t know what to get thanks

  19. I have a 15 St Glide throttle went out with only 4500 miles on it Thankfully I wouldn’t but 8 miles from home. Would only sit an idle.Local dealer picked it up next day.Since fix throttle don’t feel the same an idles up an down. Also went through procedure of getting the idle set where it wouldn’t cut back cylinder off.Now amp hand is fluxawaiting.Wish I’d kept my 06 Ultra 60,000miles an never no problems

  20. I have a 2008 road glide. Loss of throtle occurs after i wash the bike or when I get caught in rain. When thisnhappens I pull over turn bike off wait a fre seconds and restart. Throtle comes back. There is a plug behind air filter that can get moisture built up inside. I sprayed with dia letric cleaner. It has not happened since. As for the odd times when idlle stays at 1400rpm. I shut bike off turn switch on and let fuel injection start, turn switch off 3 times and idle will reset to 1000rpm. Hope this helps. BTW i stoped at a harley dealer and they just wanted to replace all kinds of parts for no reason.

  21. The old train of thought is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I answer the phone all day at a bike shop here in central Florida and I’ve been listening to a bunch of guys bitching about this fly by wire system. What I’m seeing is a nightmare waiting to happen. I picked up a bike about a week ago due to the throttle issue. I actually never rode one that had this new system on it. Wow to my surprise I almost went over the front of the trailer because of this nightmare. The guy called me again today and his sled quit accelerating after he hit a bump. I’m thinking after reading this article that Harley needs to fess up and fix this nightmare before it kills someone. This is what happens when you over engineer any product. I want to know what these guys were thinking (or lack of) when the were sitting around looking at the bike thinking there were too many wires messing up the handlebars. No matter what anyone thinks there is a major malfunction in the works at the factory. If there isn’t a recall then they just don’t give a rats ass about the rider and his family. I know one thing I’ll never own one because sometimes you need to get and I’m sure I’ll be got!!

  22. Hi all. I have an electra ultra glide 1584 model 2011,i’ve had her for 2 months, 13000 on the clock,it went back to the dealer with the engine management light on, it worked out the cruise control switch needed replacing,on its return,it wont respond to (yes it goes,60 to 90 takes forever), quick throttle reaction (blimping the throttle). HD dealer cant understand it,they only touched the cruise switch.Pleased i read with page. My first Harley may be my last

  23. I have a 2011 CVO Road Glide Ultra with 46,000 miles on it. it’s starting to get almost unridable with its bucking(it is like you turned the key off then back on), backfiring, popping and stalling when you come to a stop. It is out warranty. I don’t want to take it to the parts replacers(HDDealers) on my dime. I want a recall.
    It cost $38,000.00 and has been an electrical nightmare since day. 2 navigation interface module, 3 Ipod interface modules, a garage door controler and receiver, high beam/ low beam switch, security problem(new FOBs), heated hand grips are not working now, every ride I have to disconnect and reconnect the Ipod because the stereo doesnot recognise it. The security doesn’t recognize the FOBs if I keep them on my person( the fobs have a home in the TourPak and that seems to fix that problem). Not to mention it is on its 4th battery(2 replaced under warranty). And now with TBW thing I am so fed with this thing.

    I want Harley-Davidson to step up to the plate like they should.

    If anyone knows a good class action lawyer I am in!

  24. I’m in. I have an 08 Flhrc with tbw. Sometimes on startup it will be stuck in limp mode and will not throttle out of it. I have to turn it on and off three times to get it to reset. Now its at the local shop after it died on me going down the highway. It would start, rev really high and shut down. Mechanic is checking the actuator plug as the plastic clip has broken off. I think its in the twist sensor or in the actuator itself. Bought the bike used a year ago and have had nothing but troubles out of the tbw.

  25. I had the same trouble last year 2008 rioad glide. Added dielectric grease in plug behind air filter. never had issue again

  26. 2013 Road Glide with maybe 8K miles.. Caught in rain for a few blocks, but then sat in drive in rain that evening, next morning, zero throttle. Checked it a few hours later, I get rough idle, and throttle has only one rpm response whether wide open or just cracked, no change through rest of day. It is Central FL so its steamy high humidity and August, so no dry air at all. I will check it in a couple days, try to disconnect battery and let system reset and see what I get. But is MORE than obvious this system is bad! Harley needs to show some devotion just as we all do! Brothers need to get the car guys OUT OF THE SHOP!!

  27. What a load of shit! Computers have no place in any motorized vehicle, bike, car of truck. They are impossible to fix when they decide you do not need to use the bike and ungodly expensive to repair or replace. It STILL comes down to “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT”. Everything worked well before computers on bikes and it still should. Shitcan the electronics and go back to the perfectly working manual controls!

  28. Same problem on my 2009 road glide, bought it used, ran great, then last year at approximately 36,000 miles it started going into limp mode. I replaced the pins on the plug to the throttle body and it ran fine for a while. I have 40k miles on it now and it’s happening again, so I cut the green plug out of the twist grip sensor and hard wired it, cleaned the terminals on the actuator with alcohol, put die electric grease on the pins. It ran good for about 100 miles now same thing. This has happened to me while passing , and just going down the road with the cruise control on. Harley really needs to step up before someone gets seriously injured, or killed. I have worked at dealerships and know how they operate.

  29. I too am struggling with this same issue.. just bought an 08 road king … ran great for 100 miles,been crapping out ever since. i go about 25 miles and the light comes on,p1511 and 2135..replaced pins yesterday with silver ones.. same thing. Now im just going to change the whole damned tca and see what happens…nothing like having your bike quit while your in traffic…this is unreal !!

  30. I have a ultra Classic CVO 2010, untill two days ago after i washed the bike (ordinary) and ride the bike about 10 minutes the bike went in to “limp mode”. This was the first time it happend and I have ride this bike across Europe with no issues whats so ever. I have run the dignostic test and get some fault codes that describes this problem. P1356, P1511, P2135. I’m gonna try cleaning the sensors and put some electronic-grease on as a first trying to solve this problem. I have riding Harley Davidson bikes my whole life (30 years) and love those hog’s. But I must say, after my reasurch about this problem and what I have understand ,the Harley Davidson company have not showing any good will and have not take any responsibilty to inform the aftermarket. It’s sad.

    // Niclas (Swedish)

  31. Just found my problem. The wire harness that is connected to the throttle plate the wires are not protected right there. Black & white wire is broke. This area catches alot of heat. So new wire harness it is I guess.

  32. I just got a 2013 Ultra Limited 7000 miles on it. When I accelerate while already moving, (not from a dead stop but going down the road) it seems as if the rpm’s jump up and then the bike takes off. It feels like a brief pause between the acceleration and take off. Is this a transmission slip or normal for an electronic throttle?

    • Hi Jim

      I have a 2008 Road Glide with fly by wire. Had issues with it and installed the Vance and Hines FP3 tuner. I had to send the map back to the V&H techs twice. The second time around i loaded the map and could not beleive the results.. Awesome throtle response at all speeds. Highly recomend. It beats paying $1500.00 FOR DYNO TUNE..

    • Check this. The throttle “sleeve” has tiny grooves inside the very end of the sleeve itself. There is a “pick up” that sits in a cut out in the end of the handlebar itself. Sometimes the sleeve “slips” a little to far off the metal handlebar because the sleeve restraint is not set right. These tiny grooves MUST MATCH PROPERLY AND NOT BIND IN ANY WAY. or you will get an erratic throttle response. This “throttle by wire” is very precise and there is almost no room for error. Even when reinstalling the sleeve you must make sure you do not bend or warp the “pick up” because that could create a whole new very troubling problem, replacing the pick up itself. Good luck.

  33. I have a 2 014 Tri-Glide , I changed the hand grips today and tried to start the bike to check for proper operation. I turned the ignition switch on to start the bike, the head light and tail lights came on but nothing else. The bike will not start and nothing else works. any ideas?

  34. I just purchased a 2017softail with the same throttle system from a dealership. I was looking at the throttle system on line because I was going to change out handlebars and run in to your comments. Does anyone know if they had corrected any of this prior to 2017 models or has anyone with 17 0r 18 models still having these problems. I would really appreciate some info on this. Mine was a demo with just under 4000 miles on it.

  35. Well today a friend with a 2008 Road King had this throttle problem happen, We disconnected harness at throttle body as suggested in search on internet. Connection looked and was put back together no change, When suggested to take it back off for another look we noticed that in fact the problem was with one of the wire on backside of pin connector was just about broke off, we macgyvered it back together and it worked fine as far as I know because guy was not to be seen after.

  36. I have a 2012 Fatboy I bought new. It has under 5k miles still. Its intermittent but sometimes when I start it the throttle will be stuck wide open with no response on the actual throttle. Ive been on the road a few times and have worked the clutch to get it home. It seems to right itself after a few miles if I remember. I read the issue above on turning the bike off when the idle is high and the system setting that idle as the default startup. I understand the theory, I dint recall having a high idle speed when turning the switch off however. I also tried shutting the switch off and on several times with no response. I do recall a mechanical noise in the motor once or twice on startup when it occurred. Something like a very hard shift engage. I most always shift to neutral before turning the engine off, so Ive considered what the clank noise could be from when not in gear… possibly a vapor lock? Condition of sone sort. Ive racked my brain to resolve this issue with not a lot of results. Dealers saying they need to see it happen or web posters discussing but skirting the fix fo the problem. I know this is an old thread, but its given me more info than I found anywhere else of late. I’ ll try the reset steps noted above and shot down at normal idle. But any further info anyone has on this I would greatly appreciate… thanks again
    D Rise

  37. I have a 2012 FLHTC that started having this FBW problem. The bike has 45K and I loved it. First time it happens, 45K, I started it and high idol, 1,600. Rode 60 mi and it seemed fine again. Next time was after starting it hot, high idol then nothing, limp mode. Sat for awhile and it fired up and was fine, but I went home. I read thread after thread and everyone said what I know, HD Dealers can guess, so can I, and say if it ain’t doin it we can’t fix it. I get it. I finally pulled a code out, throttle actuator control. Called a Stealership and they said that’s the twist grip sensor and they didn’t have it. I get one, screw around with Molex connectors for hours, and the new colored wires that dont match old ones and put it back together. Stealership gave me the wire positions sense the part came with no reference. Runs great. Went for a ride, shut the bike off to BS with my Bro’s, fired it back up and wham, same thing, limp mode, this time sounded like the feature that shuts off the rear cylinder kicked in, shut it off. Again, let it cool and ride it home. I can buy all the sensors the Stealership would replace guessing and charge me 300 bucks a sensor to replace but I can do that. This time pulled out 6 codes instead of one. An array of computer BS from what I saw from the code chart. I was looking for a temp sensor code, didnt have one. The next time I go for a ride I will have wife follow with trailer. Any ideas ?

  38. My wife has a 2010 street bob, whilst on a ride the other day she was complaining of it running lumpy and bad vibration s through the bars, shortly afterwards whilst turning right it all of a sudden went to full throttle and launched her into a Bush and sign throwing her 10′ in the air and landed on a kurb stone she is now in hospital with a broken back.

  39. i have the same throttle problem just idles ,,someone is going to gt killed ,, recall problem because theres so many going wrong what are they waiting for ..not building crediability with me first harley ,,always had japan products with very very few problems …if thers a fix gey it out there DA

  40. These comments leave me shocked. I have a couple older Harleys with cables and was looking at a newer one for the wife. I guess I will stick with one with the old cables. BTW – Harley likes to say this “improved” system improves the looks and throttle response – the real reason they went to this, is newer riders tend to lug the motor, then apply lots of throttle. Thats hard on the bottom end. ETC wont let you do that. It will limit throttle application until revs are high enough to handle it. Sad they dont offer a retro fit back to cables.

  41. new 2009 ‘ultra crap classic’ i traded for ’08 Goldwing Honda!!! 2 up & could not ride in the ‘hills for not enough power to take off from stop on any good hill; like in tx & ark. ….would have to slip cluth on take off & hope to get started..igot tired of of adjusting clutch so had a new spring put on “from Limited series; helped not to slip but not help take offx… went to 3 diff. ‘dealers to no avail….i had an upgraded $25+K bike that was not safe to ride in hills….only plus side ‘of Ultra C. Harley over the ‘Goldwing was (‘Harley had alot better xxx wind & rain Protection with any height wshield))……on the Honda my back & lower leg is soaked in light rain && never got wet on Harley in heavy rain untill u stopped…..this part is sad….i mis the Harley BUT w/not get another…Now im goto trade Goldwing “Windy” for a fishing boat thou i enjoyed the speed the honda has. “Gone Fishing”

  42. I have a 2010 FLHXXX triglide that has the ETC throttle controls and I’m having issues with the throttle grip sticking and not coming back to idle,any ideas on the cause.


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