Whether you are looking for a performance boost or an increase in engine life for your Harley Davidson, improving the stock air cleaner might be a considerable option. For the engine to run smoothly without any issue, ensuring a clean airflow is a must. An air cleaner is an ideal modification for that.
You just cannot randomly visit some air cleaner manufacturer website and select a product on a whim. That will take too much of your precious time and you also may not get the best air cleaner for Harley 103. So, we constructed this article for you to learn the different traits of an air cleaner and buy the most reliable product for your Harley. Thus, by reading this article you will get to know
- The importance of an air cleaner for Harley 103
- What defines the best type of air cleaner
- Properties required to know before selection of an air filter
- How to install one yourself
We also reviewed some of the best-valued air cleaners suitable for your Harley 103 engine. We Included their unique traits and features which may make them the best air cleaner for Harley 103. So, continue reading this article and boost away you Harley Davidson!
- Ensures an additional 50% airflow
- Improved horsepower acceleration and torque
- Large 360° filter confirms maximum airflow and filtration
- 7.78 hp gain at rated 4953 RPM
- A reusable and cleanable filter element
- Smoother engine sound and better throttle response
#1 Air Cleaner for Harley Davidson
If you are looking to retain that sleek look of your stock air filter but achieve a greater performance underneath then this may be the right product for you. This air cleaner will suck in cleaner air than your stock air filter with increased airflow, boosting the performance significantly.
The filter element is cleanable and reusable. Even in heavy rain and storm, no damage will be done to the filter. It is modeled for every Sportster model from 1991 to 2020. This product made our top-rated pick for its long-lasting durability and achieving a greater airflow. For such a price this is the finest air cleaner for Harley 103 bikes.
- Manufacturer: Vance & Hines
- Product: VO2 air intake naked
- Model No: 71011
- Weight: 3.95 pounds
- Dimensions: 13” x 10” x 7”
- Retains the stock appearance
- Boosts performance by increased airflow
- Filter cleanable and reusable
- Precision venturi system ensures clean air
- A larger backing plater prevents unfiltered air from entering
- Won’t fit with OEM cover
- Instruction manual a bit unclear
Air Cleaner For Harley 103 – Buying Guide
Before you select an air cleaner for your Harley 103, you first need to familiarize yourself with the different types and features that come with it. Then it would be easier for you to choose the optimal one. So, we constructed this short buying guide to inform you about the essentials of an air cleaner.
Brief Engine History of Twin Cam 103 Harley
Harley Davidson twin cam engine is the successor of the Evolution V-twin engine. Developed in the early 1990s the twin-cam engine was first available in the market in 1998. The dual overhead camshaft, one for intake valve, and the other for exhaust valve was the cause for the name “Twin Cam”. It was continued till 2016. Now in 2017, Milwaukee-Eight succeeded the Twin Cam engine. You can find an extended timeline of Harley Davidson engines in this Wikipedia link.
The Harley 103 cubic inch engine is a fairly recent variation of the Twin cam engine. Released in 2010 Electra guide motorcycles and 2012 Softail models the engine generates 100 ft-lbs of torque rated at 3500 rpm. This engine was later produced for all 2012 Dyno, Softail, and Touring models.
The metal fins covering the entire Harley 103 signifies the air cooling system of the engine. This air cooling design lowers the weight of the vehicle and natural airflow is utilized to cool this robust engine.
You can find a more elaborate history in this Harley Twin Cam Wikipedia link and also check out this webpage showing the detailed specification for 2012 Harley-Davidson 103 engines.
What is an Air Cleaner?
An air purifier or air cleaner is a vehicle part that prevents debris and dirt from entering the combustion chamber. Every vehicle with a working engine has one in the intake pipe. The filter element in the air cleaner overtime stores the harmful miniature waste and is an important part of an engine.
An internal engine operates by the combustion of the mixture of air and fuel in the cylinder. The oxygen content in the air helps the fuel to combust and generates power. The stock filter in the intake manifold ensures clean air entering the chamber. If harmful debris is present in the cylinder, it may damage and cause wear to the piston, piston rings, and the cylinder walls.
By replacing the stock air filter with an aftermarket performance air cleaner for Harley-Davidson you will not only get a better, more durable filtration system but also confirm more airflow in the combustion chamber. The increased oxygen content will boost up your engine performance. You will be able to hear your Harley 103 roar with greater horsepower.
Types of Air Cleaner
There are various types of air cleaners used in an internal combustion engine. Usually, they differ from the filter material. Known filter materials are paper, foam, cotton, stainless steel, oil bath, water bath. From these types, motorcycles mainly use three types of air cleaners. Foam, Paper, and Cotton air filters.
The Foam air filters are the oldest of the three. They are washable and reusable. As they are dense and porous material they do a fine job in filtering the intake air. They are still used in dirt bikes for their better filtration ability. But filtration and airflow have an inverse relationship. The airflow is said to be restricted than a stock air cleaner while using a foam air filter. Thus inducing a performance drop. They are uncommon in air cleaner for Harley Davidson.
Paper air filters are your typical filters for street bikes. Although they can’t be washed, you can just buy another one as they come at a very low price. They are also said to have increased airflow and better at boosting the performance of the motorcycle.
The best selection of all three is the cotton air filters. Although they are the most expensive ones they have both better air filtration and increased airflow. The cotton material sucks in more clean air as well as obstructs more harmful debris. They are also washable and reuseable after a certain mileage. These types are the most common in air cleaners for Harley Davidson.
The Main Characteristics You Should Pay Attention to When Buying
In choosing the air cleaner you first have to select which type of air cleaner you want to buy. If you are looking for better purification but no performance boost then a foam air filter is the one you need. If you want some cheap but better performance boost then you may buy a paper air filter. Keep in mind that the paper air filter is not washable. And if you wanna go all out and buy the expensive option, the cotton air filter will boost up the performance and also filters the intake air significantly.
Air filters also come in various sizes. For smaller air cleaners you can keep the stock cover and retain that stock look of your Harley. Usual aftermarket air cleaner has that chrome finish that will surely make your engine look more attractive. The filters generally come in red or black color but they may fade to pink due to debris accumulation.
Also, check if the air filters are washable or not. Reuseable air filters are a great choice in the long run. You don’t have to frequently buy air cleaners. You just have to wash and reinstall it again!
The Best Air Cleaner For Harley 103
Now that you know all the essential things about an air cleaner and how to install one, you are ready to choose one for your Harley 103. But choosing an air cleaner by checking the technical specification product-by-product is a time-consuming task.
So for the sake of your convenience, we reviewed the best air cleaner for Harley 103 you can find on the market. Chose the suitable one for yourself by checking the mentioned pros and cons and the features of the product.
|Product Name||Key Features|
|Vance and Hines VO2 Air Cleaner Naked – 71011||
|K&N Engine Air Filter For Harley Davidson 2008-2014 HD-1508||
|Cobra PowrFlo Air Cleaner 606-0102||
|K&N Harley Davidson Performance Intake Kit 63-1125||
|Arlen Ness Air Cleaner Kit 18-560||
|K&N Harley Davidson Filter Kit RK-3932||
|Turbine Harley Air Cleaner For Harley Touring 2008-2016||
The top best product [hide]
Vance and Hines is a well-known brand for enhancing motorcycle performance. And by manufacturing this product they outdid themselves again. This is undoubtedly the best air cleaner for Harley 103 out there. Every feature is said to be made for enhancing your motorcycle.
You can keep that stock look and increase the performance at the same time using this air cleaner. The backplate, adapter plate, and all the bolts are already included in the product. You just have to buy the product and install it on your Harley Davidson!
This air cleaner from K&N is one of the most inexpensive options for boosting the performance of your Harley. The filter has a multi-layer cotton fabric that is washable and reusable. It does a great job of cleaning the intake air and the larger size sucks in more air to boost the performance.
You don’t even have to reinstall the stock backplates and breather tubes. Just change the air filter and replace the stock cover and you are done. You can even use a custom cover of skull air cleaner for Harley Davidson to get that monstrous look on the engine.
The Cobra PowrFlo air cleaner kit will boost your engine performance significantly as it comes with a K&N air filter element which is noted for its 50% more airflow. There is also a stainless steel mesh over the filter that will prevent bugs and debris from entering.
The chrome finished cover will also look better than your stock cover. The kit already comes with everything needed to install it yourself. You won’t need any extra bolts, support plate, gasket, or any other parts.
This K&N air cleaner is much larger than your average air cleaner. A larger air filtration system means more clean air will enter through the intake. The Softail Harley Davidson model Is also dyno tested at a 10.21 hp increase mentioned on the webpage of the manufacture.
The appearance looks like a spike air cleaner for Harley Davidson. You can buy a spike air cleaner cover and install it over this custom air filter.
If you want to keep that stock cover of yours and increase the horsepower of your Harley 103 then we will recommend you to buy this air cleaner. The shorter radial filter element will not protrude from the side of your engine thus you will get better legroom. The filter is also pre-oiled so it is ready to install on your Harley 103 just after buying.
This K&N air cleaner especially made for Harley Davidson is notable for its attractive styling and performance boost. The higher the engine capacity the greater the performance boost. For a 96 cu in Harley, you will get a 9.84 hp increase. Even greater for a Harley 103.
The installation manual is easy to follow and a pre-oiled cotton filter with a given support plate with bolts will take no time to install. It also has a flat classic teardrop-shaped look which is both stylish and comfortable.
This turbine air cleaner for Harley Davidson has the most exposed filter design than any other products from our article to maximize the airflow. The uniquely designed backplate also induces more air to the throttle increasing throttle response. This product will fit in any touring (2008-2016), Softail (2016-2017), and Dyna Harley models.
How to Install an Air Cleaner on a Harley Davidson
Now that you can select an air cleaner you should know how to install one by following these steps.
- Tools required: Allen wrench, Torque wrench, Scew drivers, and air cleaner kit.
- Always read the instruction given with the aftermarket air cleaner so you don’t void any warranty.
- Now remove the air filter cover with the Allen wrench. You will find the stock air filter bolted underneath it.
- Unscrew the filter and carefully remove it with the breathing hoses intact.
- Next, take off the backplate and take the breather assembly from the aftermarket cleaner and screw it gently.
- Now sequentially screw the gasket and adapter plate and then aftermarket backplate with the gasket.
- Lastly, place the new filter over the backplate and screw the new cover plate. That’s it! You are done.
Replacement and Cleaning of Air Filter
Depending on the Harley you own, you already have to replace the stock air filter after 12,000-15,000 miles. So why not replace it with a performance air cleaner! Typical foam and cotton air filters have to be cleaned every 10,000-15,000 miles. You can then reuse it again. For a paper one, you may have to replace it after 7,000-8,000 miles. The filter life may vary depending on your driving condition.
To clean your used air filter first take it out from the intake housing. Carefully brush off the dry debris. For the sticky waste, you can’t just use soap to clean it. You have to use a proper air filter cleaner. Their chemical composition has a corrosive element that easily removes all the filtered waste without damaging the filter.
Always wear gloves while washing the filter. After washing it wait till the filter is properly dried or water particles will enter the cylinder and can damage your engine. Then carefully strap it around the housing and reinstall it in the intake of your engine.
Air Cleaner For Harley 103 – FAQs
Is custom air cleaner for Harley better than stock?
Will the air cleaner fit any Harley Davidson?
Is aftermarket air cleaner durable in rain?
Is every air cleaner washable?
Can you reuse the stock cover?
Increasing the performance of your Harley by replacing the stock air filter with an aftermarket one is a cheap investment. You will also protect your engine from harmful debris and unwanted particles. Thus increasing the durability of your engine.
You don’t even need to pay a mechanic to install the air cleaner in your Harley. We already described how to install one and you can easily follow it. Seeing all the benefits such as increased performance, better protection, better fuel economy, etc you cannot deny the fact that it is an upgrade for your money. So, install a custom air cleaner for your Harley and cruise away down the highway!