Replacing A Reverse Motor On A 2011 FLHTG

Article By: Corey Barnum

Photos By: Craig Harriman

Originally Published In The June-July 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magzine


This month’s article has to deal with a troublesome problem with the Harley trikes, the reverse motor. We recently had one of our customers come in complaining that his reverse on his 2011 Flhtc had quit working. Upon inspection, we noticed the whole motor had come apart and was just hanging by the wires. Over the years I spent at a dealership, I replaced a countless number of these motors. This procedure is a simple one and should take less than an hour to accomplish. Here are the steps that I do when replacing it.

Since I’m dealing with an electrical component, The very first step I do is unhook the negative side of the battery.

After jacking up the rear end of the trike, I remove the right side wheel to gain access to the reverse motor. You may have to tie down the front end, as it will want to lift before the rear end. As you see in the picture, I tied the front end down to my lift.

With the right wheel removed, you can see there is plenty of room to work on the motor now.

Now, having access to the motor, the first thing I do is remove the to power wires going to the engine. One of them will require an 8mm wrench or socket. The other is a 17mm on the older motors, the revised version of this motor requires a 14mm socket or wrench.

The next step is to remove the two mounting bolts for the starter. They will require a 5/8 socket or wrench. It is a long reach and can take a bit of creativity to get to. I usually link two or three extensions together to get me outside the wheel well, where I can get a little leverage on it without damaging the trike. Or, if you have access to one, an impact works really well in this tight area. Challenges are what make jobs fun. Try to stay positive and enjoy solving the problem at hand.

As you can see in this picture, There have been some significant changes to this component. The one on the right was the original one that exploded. The left one is the new and revised version. It’s common to find components improve from year to year. Rather than get discouraged when a component fails, I would suggest you find gratitude in the installation of the next generation.

Now it’s time to start installing the new one. Start with the 2 mounting bolts for the motor itself. Pay close attention to the bottom mounting bolt; don’t forget to put the two ground wires and star washer on the bolt.

With the two mounting bolt snug and the ground wires on, go ahead and torque both of the bolts. The spec for this is 38-44 ft-lbs. After those are torqued, go ahead and hook up the two power wires to the motor.

After the motor has been installed and wired in, start putting the trike back together. I start with the rear wheel. Torque spec for the lug nuts is 95-105 ft-lbs. Once the wheel is torqued, take the trike off the jack. Hook the battery back up, and you’re all set.

Now, we have a trike with a working reverse ready for the customer to come pick up and enjoy again. As you can see, this procedure is not really the time or labor-intensive. With the proper tools and around an hour to spare, you to can change your reverse out. Working on your own bike can be both frustrating and rewarding. I will always encourage anyone with a mechanical mind and a desire to give it a try. Help is only a phone call away. Stay safe and healthy out there… -C

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