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Thread: Harley-Davidson to pay $12 million fine over motorcycle emissions

  1. #11
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shonuff View Post
    The idea that burning more fuel puts less emmissions in the air than burning less fuel is pretty idiotic in my opinion..
    I am not familiar with the science of emissions management, but it does seem somewhat implausible that better gas mileage would not result in lower environmental impact in total. Especially remembering that you have to consider the production of the fuel as well. Seems the byproducts of combustion must go someplace. I believe that it is true that we do a lot with the best of intentions that do not achieve the desired result. I am in the finance industry and the reams of disclosures that nobody reads benefit nobody and increase the cost of delivering financial services. They actually get in the way of meaningful disclosure and communication.

    Quote Originally Posted by shonuff View Post
    As of right now, there is no "fix" for the emmissions on the VW's. And you have the option of refusing the fix "if" or when it becomes available. The problem with opting out, is that in some states your car "could" become illegal if their emmissions standards get tighter. Such as CA, where it would be illegal. But as long as your state allows it to be registered there, you're good. However, you also have to keep in mind that fixed vs not fixed will also affect the resale/trade values. And right now, no one knows which way is better in the long term as far as value is concerned. So instead of gambling on it, we're considering taking the 22k they're offering and walking away from it.
    Yes, it would seem resale value would be questionable regardless of what you do. Taking the buy-out and walking away makes sense. Or drive it until the wheels fall off and forget about resale value. Fix or not to fix is a tough choice if you live in a state that you can register it unfixed. Choosing not to fix it leaves you at risk of future regulation changes in your state or moving to another state. Now imagine this kind of issue times 100 and you can see how regulations stifle economic growth as businesses are frozen into inaction for fear that regulations may render their business expansions unprofitable.

    Have there been any estimates of the fuel economy impact of bringing emissions into compliance? It seems like it should not be difficult to bring the cars into emission compliance, just a computer adjustment to make them run like they do when they are being tested. I guess the problem would be that the performance might be terrible when the car runs like that. Probably a power loss as well as a fuel economy loss.

  2. #12
    Flirting With The Redline Mad Matt's Avatar
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    I don't know about automotive emissions regulations, but in the power generation world emissions regulations are written to benefit whichever company lobbies hardest, not to minimize emissions.

  3. #13
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorg67 View Post
    ...
    Have there been any estimates of the fuel economy impact of bringing emissions into compliance? It seems like it should not be difficult to bring the cars into emission compliance, just a computer adjustment to make them run like they do when they are being tested. I guess the problem would be that the performance might be terrible when the car runs like that. Probably a power loss as well as a fuel economy loss.
    Give it time, my guess is some whiz kid will develop a programmable black box that lets you switch between power and economy modes much like the Power Commander modules do today. Reprogram it for emissions test and registrations, program it back for the other times. Folks do that now with the removable cat delete pipes. Of course stuff like that come with a "how likely are you to get caught" factor too.
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  4. #14
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asp125 View Post
    Give it time, my guess is some whiz kid will develop a programmable black box that lets you switch between power and economy modes much like the Power Commander modules do today. Reprogram it for emissions test and registrations, program it back for the other times. Folks do that now with the removable cat delete pipes. Of course stuff like that come with a "how likely are you to get caught" factor too.
    That has already been done and it is already installed on the cars. And it is even more sophisticated than that. It can tell when it is being tested and it automatically goes into emissions compliant mode when being tested.

    They were caught because a school was doing an experiment and measured emissions by a different means and found that the emissions was something like 40 times the legal limit. The school assumed that their method was flawed and contacted VW to get their help in figuring out what they were doing wrong. Turns out it was nothing..... busted.....

  5. #15
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asp125 View Post
    Give it time, my guess is some whiz kid will develop a programmable black box that lets you switch between power and economy modes...
    Essentially, that is what 'drive mode' options already provide. Sometimes called, Rain, Standard, Sport/Race, other times just A, B, C; they all provide different shaping of the motorcycle's power output, enhancing controllability or aggressiveness. A side benefit of the lower power modes is increased economy. Emissions are (supposed to be) legal in all modes provided by the factory ECUs.

  6. #16
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    Do not forget to consider that the situation was H-D's choice. Dealers made a LOT of money selling underperforming motorcycles and then selling the customer a $400 'tuner' (plus installation and setup charges)to bring the bike only part way to the performance levels actually possible. Consider the H-D 1200 XL motor compared to the 1203 Buel XB motor. Both motors have the same basic architecture, long-stroke 45 deg V-twin with integrated five-speed gearbox. Buell however, by designing their own crankshaft, pistons, cylinder heads, camshafts, ignition, and fuel injection (plus a few other bits) managed to produce roughly 50% more power from a nearly identical package, without sacrificing fuel economy or emissions. H-D has been keeping things the way they have been because it was profitable to do so.

  7. #17
    If nothing else, this may (but probably not) put an end to the idiotic marketing fabrication that these modifications are for "off road" use only.

  8. #18
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    And there's the bind. As they are made, performance modules may be used for good or evil. My R6 runs fine without one. However, it runs even better with one. Especially with the aftermarket exhaust with which the bike is now equipped. If my bike were remotely street legal (lights, signals, etc) I could turn the device off with the push of a button and be completely emissions compliant. There's also the possibility of loading a 49-state map (programming) and being emissions legal in most of the US, even with the device operating.

    There's also the matter of sound emissions. Because of the way that EPA's sound levels are measured, at least one of Harley-Davidson's models had to have it's maximum rpm electronically limited so that the tested rpm zone (a percent of maximum rpm) would fall in the bike's 'quiet spot'.

    Of course, most of the shop's customers who purchased performance tuners simply asked for a maximum power tune and to heck with anything else.
    Some of these devices on the market are indeed emissions compliant. They have limitations to how far they will allow things to be varied.

  9. #19
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    From what I'm hearing, HD plans to market an "EPA/DOT compliant" black box. Don't know if this will change power output parameters or not. Would be interesting to find out what programs specifically will benefit from the "other 3 million dollars..."
    Since this has happened, HD has announced they have a new 4 valve engine going into production this MY. Dubbed the "Milwaukee 8." Should help the engine breathe in the upper RPM's register. Maybe at the expense of torque down low. In the touring bikes first, as usual.
    If your want a Switchback, get to a dealership, soon. That model has been dropped.
    The future of HD, may become, unmodifiable. Much to the chagrin of the "Motor Company."
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  10. #20
    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! atomicalex's Avatar
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    Allow me....

    The problem here is that HD sold the units as authorized modifications to street bikes, and dealer oversight of the units was poor. My guess is that EPA went into more than a few HD dealers and bought bikes and units and weighed whether the devices were being sold for true off-road use or not. Too many instances of the dealer saying "oh yeah, it's fine, it's OE!" and the EPA gets its hackles up and starts looking to see what percentage of buyers are actually off-road/race, etc. For HD, this is a bad equation - most users couldn't find Indy on a map, and even more don't know what dirt is. Take rate is high, particularly in combination with other off-road parts that are marketed by the OEM and installed by the dealer. This all adds up to willful skirting of the law.

    Contrast this to a tuner like APR for Audi/VW - often sold in the dealership, but made clear that it is not only not factory, certain tunes are not EPA legal, also. The percentage of buyers is low, and the percentage of buyers tracking their cars is actually high. EPA looks at it and says "bad, but meh".
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