Stage 1 Flash on 2010 103cu.inch motor - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Stage 1 Flash on 2010 103cu.inch motor

The Harley Dealers appear to be reluctant to flash the ECU for Stage 1 mapping when I added a Screaming Eagle Air Cleaner and V&H slip on mufflers to my 2010 Electra Glide Limited with a stock 103 cu inch motor. Although the parts are available they are pushing a Harley Race Tuner and Dyno time. Is this necessary or are the dealers just trying to make more money when no other engine mods are planned? I don't want to run the bike too lean.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Everyone will want you to introduce yourself in the introductions section before posting... FYI.

Well, first off, I think, according to Nightrider (search Google), with a 2009+ bike, you don't have to do a ECU flash or tune to be safe. Performance improvement comes from doing a proper Dyno tune and using a quality tuner, though.

When I had my Nightster, two dealers near me including the one I bought the bike at have said they refused to do a simple Stage 1 flash and would only do a SERT (Race Tuner) and Dyno run. At the time, I couldn't stand that because clearly they make more money when they sell a SERT and do a Dyno run. Not to mention the fact that the only modifications I had made were an air cleaner and slip on exhausts and the Stage 1 flash comes from the factory, so why is it so evil?

They told me they refused to do it because customers would tend to come back stating their performance didn't improve like they had expected. None would show me Dyno before-and-after print-outs to demonstrate how the Dyno had improved anything objectively. Ironically, I ultimately did get a SERT and dyno tune... and I'm not happy. Luckily I got it done in Europe (while touring) at a custom shop where they're good at it, but it's not their profit center so they don't overcharge.

Anyway, the Stage 1 flash is less accurate - a general remap to enrich the fuel mixture. It's not specific to your engine, so the claims that the dealers I went to have made perhaps are not wrong in that a SERT and a Dyno-tune will do a better job. I also think that the Stage 1 flash is intended for 96" bikes, not 103" bikes.

I know Uke's in Wisconsin will do the Stage 1 download. You can apparently buy the Stage 1 download cartridge (like a Nintendo game) on Amazon.com. You will have to call the dealer to tell them what set-up you have and they'll give you a general map to put in I guess. I've never used such a service, but still. I guess you just connect the cartridge to your ECU and bam... flashed. Not quite sure, though. Think it's $70 or so.

You are in-warranty and given that fact that your dealer won't do a simple ECU flash for you, they probably aren't going to allow you to use a PowerCommander or some alternative ECU programming unit. Fact of the matter is, HD's fuel injection is garbage as it is closed-loop. It's better than a carb., sure, but it's garbage. Take a look at the Auto-tune modules like the PC-V with Autotune or, preferably, the Thundermax with Autotune. They'll cost you a pretty penny, but you'll be satisfied!

Congrats on the new bike! If you want to give it away free someday, I'll take it.

My advice... see if they'll let you switch out the ECU for a Thundermax without voiding your warranty on the spot. Despite them not having the power to actually do so, they are the gateway to getting H-D to pay for something if it breaks. If they don't, then I'd suck it up and get the SERT and have it Dyno tuned at an independent Dyno tuning shop (I've heard they do a better job). Provide the Dyno results in full to your dealer and ask them to file them in your sales file or repair file.

Note: I've heard stories of people paying for Dyno time only to be dissatisfied and later find out from another dealer months later that there was no way in hell a proper Dyno run was done on their bike in the past. The dealer must have just done the Stage 1 download, instead... or nothing at all. Get your Dyno results with your VIN number on it and, if you can, be there when your dealership Dyno's the bike so you can see them do it... or at least hear it. Plus it's cool to watch the gizmos.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the Quick Reply

I did get the flash done since I decided to install a stage 1 air cleaner I didn't want the bike to run too lean. It's hard to tell if there is much improvemnet but there is no popping or any indication yet that the bike is running lean. I am still breaking in the bike and don't want to exceed 3000 rpm untill I get at least 500 miles on it and the rings seat as well as the rest of the motor can loosen up a little. I know the flash was installed right and is suitable for a 103 motor so I guess I will just have to wait and see
I have learned there isn't much available right now from after market for the 2010 since Harley has installed a catalytic converter in the head pipes and changed the location and size of the O2 sensors. They expect to have after market fuel management systems and maps for the 2010 HDs soon. I guess I will just have wait and see what's out there. I have been told what I have done to the bike won't void the warranty and can be removed or overwritten if I decide to add a race tuner in the future.
Thanks, Smitty
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hopefully you're still on this forum

I'm curious to see what happened with your bike ... I just bought an '11 Road Glide Ultra with the 103 and I put on Bassani Slip-On's and the SE Stage 1 Air Cleaner. I had the dealership do the "download" - they recommended that, did not try to upsell me on the SEST and dyno tune. She hasn't had much road time, but I'll say this much. When revving the motor, I get the pops when I let off ... I hope that's a sign that she's running rich, but somehow I doubt it. I'll wait to judge until it's warmer up here but I'm not feeling great about it.

Please let me know how yours has been performing since we've got the same motor and similar setup ...
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've installed the Vance and Hines pipes and added the screamin eagle air cleaner. I went to the dealership and had the "download" installed, man! what a difference that made, that is like riding a new bike. Now i'm wondering about camshaft changes,,,,never ends does it?
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're looking to do something a little more check into the Power Commander V. You can get one from fuelmoto.com and it'll be delivered to your front door with a proper map installed for a little over 300 or so.

This method is very good, as close to a "custom tune" as you can get. Best part is you don't have to hand over the deed to your house to the dealership for the dyno fee. Far as I know if you ever upgrade somewhere down the line and a new tune is needed it's only a phone call and an email away.

I don't work for FuelMoto, I'm just a very happy customer.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Same thing at my local HD dealer...they didn't come right out and say they won't do the stage 1 flash but they did say it doesn't add any fuel to the mixture, only timing changes. They too are pushing the SERT ($470 bucks!) and dyno time. I passed.

Sounds like mama HD is telling their dealers to stop doing the less expensive flash and push the SERT. This particular dealer was installing PCs up until this spring, now only SERT.

When I add the air intake kit to my ride I'll grab a Doebeck Electronic Jet Kit and do the install myself.
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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get a PC,very user friendly & easy to map yourself
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Looking for the same advice!! 2011 FLHX 103ci. putting on Rinehart Slip-ons. Now want to mod the A/C and Dealer "suggests" SERT and Dyno. $460 SERT and $375 Dyno!!! Add the A/C and I'm at a $GRAND! Hoping I can do the A/C mod and do the PCV myself???? Don't want to be running too lean either!
Any advice??
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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For those thinking about a stage-I, II reflash: Save your cash.

Dealer's reflash only adds enough fuel and timing changes for the mods performed, to get you back to 14.6:1. The MoCo ECU flash is not a tuning solution for adding more fuel and gaining performance. It makes a modded bike that's too lean, run rich enough again to get back to where it was, BEFORE you modded it.

Yes, a PC(V) is something you can add on, and tune at home with your laptop, unless you have a Home PC in your garage. I've used them personally, and they're easy to use. If I can use one....your dog can.

It allows you to ADD fuel, change the a/f ratios to 13's for cruising and 12's for WOT. For the change of exhaust, air cleaners, cubic inch enlargement, cam changes, you can go back in yourself and make the changes yourself. It's a piggy-back, programmable computer that adds to the stock ECU settings, from it's little brain, extending injector pulse time and fuel delivery.

The issue I have with the SERT units, (Or any SE unit) is that the unit, cable, software and introduction CD (which is a "How to" CD that's strongly recommended) is ALL SEPARATE PARTS, and all have to be purchased to do the job. It does, however, seem to have less of a failure rate then the SERT, or at least it appears that way on Harleys. SERT units also mate with the ECU, and once installed, can not be placed on another bike, unless the ECU accompanies it.

The Dyno run is optional, IMHO, if you don't care if you're getting every sliver of HPs out of the engine. If the air/fule is mapped for your add-ons, and it has a runability issue, then you know the mapping needs to be re-downloaded, or something's not right.

Dyno runs are a tool. They're not the save-all, nor are they worthless, but you need to keep things in perspective, and know what you want, and more importantly, what you need.
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