Honda debuted the VTX 1800 in 2001 as a 2002 model. At the time the launch went down, a 1800cc production motor was unheard of.
Honda may only have worn the crown for the biggest motor for two or so years before the other brands followed suit, but the VTX1800 cranked out a quicker quarter-mile and an unmatched 0-60 as far as V-Twins go.
Whether you’re looking for a hot-rod cruiser or a big-bad-bagger for a road trip, the VTX1800 is a reliable choice, but what are some of the common problems with the VTX1800?
Hit the kill switch and read on to find out!
1. Premature Wheel Bearing FailureOne of the common problems even the Honda-enthusiasts vent about VTX1800 is the premature wear of the bike’s wheel bearings. Before we go any further, let’s get the PSA out of the way—checking your wheel bearings and servicing them per Honda’s spec instructions l is part of the regular upkeep of all bikes.
If you catch a wearing bearing before it’s shot, you’ll save yourself time, money, and gloom at the thought of your precious steed stuck in the stable when it should be galloping highways.
Here’re four signs of worn wheel bearings on a Honda VTX1800:
- The wheels generate a peculiar whirring feeling during rides.
- A hyperactive humming vibration comes up through the handlebars from the wheels.
- A buzzing humming sound while riding resonates from the VTX’s wheelbase.
- Damage to your VTX1800’s wheel hubs and axels.
Warning: Failing wheel bearing can lead to more in-depth motorcycle impairment, including the potential for collision.
- If you find that the wheel bearings on your VTX1800 are failing, waste no time replacing them.
- A decent home mechanic should have no problem knocking out a wheel bearing replacement in a couple of hours if they’ve got the proper tools for the job, of course.
- Remember, there’s no shame in seeking a Honda-literate mechanic for the job.
If you’re determined to take the wrench into your own hands on this and you’re having trouble finding an instructional guide, let us know in the comments.
Pro-Tip: Snap some photos for each step as you remove the damaged bearings; reverse the process during new-bearing installation to ensure your order is on point.
If nothing else, you’ll need a wheel puller to get your VTX’s wheels off. There are various wheel puller assembles you can build yourself for cheap—your call on whether to trust their integrity.
2. Loose Headlight VibrationAnother unfortunate trend the VTX1800 follows regards its headlight and its tendency to buzz loose. As someone who avoids riding at night when I’m in new places, the idea of a loose headlight scares me. Luckily, though. More than a handful of riders isolated the problem and took to the forums.
- To find out where the buzz is coming from on their Honda VTX1800, some riders place their fingers on the headlight while riding.
- I’ve encountered reports from said VTX1800 owners that claim the headlight rattles and vibrations stop once you apply pressure to the headlight.
- We suggest you honor the brave souls that risked their lives pressing on their headlight while ripping their VTX one-handed by keeping both hands on the bars and taking their word that the rattling headlight indeed stops buzzing when you hold it down.
If any of our readers encounter this issue, wrap up the loose wires in electrical tape to prevent them from rubbing against the headlight’s bucket in fierce winds or at high speeds.
To find out if loose lamp wires cause your VTX’s headlight vibration:
- Remove the two Philips head screws.
- Pop off your headlight; it’ll roll down towards you as you remove it.
- Let it hang forward while you’re working if it doesn’t bother you. If you feel it will interfere with your focus, though—no shame in removing it all the way while minding the wiring.
- You can either let the headlight hang forward or remove it all the way.
- In the headlight bucket, you’ll find a cluster of wires connected. You’ll encounter a bunch of wires in the headlight bucket.
- Gracefully, as not to meddle with the wires’ connectivity, apply that electrical tape or a velcro strap in a way that prevents the wiring from interfering with the headlight bucket.
- Some testimonies point to riders gluing foam to the bottom of the VTX headlight’s housing for padding, further enhancing the resistance factor of the stabilized wiring.
- Other riders rip off a piece of double-sided tape, about an inch and a half long, and stick it to the bottom of the headlight’s seat. You’ll have to slit the tape so the headlight can slide into the slot if you go this route.
3. Battery Terminals Disconnect EasilyThis next common issue frustrated riders seem to take with the VTX1800 in the forums is the claim of battery terminals disconnecting while riding. Now, we’re not picking on the VTX1800 here—this is a common problem on countless Big Twin bikes thanks to the inherent vibration in the engine’s design.
An insufficient battery terminal connection will cause your VTX’s starter solenoid to quit holding a charge as the starter motor draws its power load from the now-loose terminals. The result is a failing starter that clicks instead of igniting your VTX.
7 Typical Signs of a Bad Battery Connection on a Honda VTX1800:
- The VTX doesn’t start
- Heat generates from terminal connections while the battery is at work
- Smoke, burning, or the general smell of hotness floats up from the battery while riding
- Displays are less defined and fainter than normal
- Power loss, either while attempting to start the bike or while riding
- Lights dim while your VTX is running or turn off during startup
- Clock display resets itself
4. Water Pump Leaks CoolantThe VTX1800 changed the definition of Big Twin with its liquid-cooled v-twin. How’d they got away with such a monster of a motor before anyone else had it like that? Keywords—liquid-cooled.
The VTX1800 uses a liquid coolant to hold the engine below hazardous heat levels. One of the common issues we’ve encountered with the VTX1800 is water pump failure, developing a coolant leak.
Now let’s clarify something real quick—while there are many claims about VTX1800s leaking coolant in the forums, owner negligence is the common denominator.
Honda specifies which coolant the masterpiece of a VTX1800 engine requires for it to monster-mash down the highway as intended. I encountered multiple reporters of VTX water pump failure admitting they were using car coolant in the VTX1800 motor.
- Most car coolants integrate an ingredient called silicate.
- The VTX1800 specifically suggests coolants that don’t contain silicates.
- If you ignore the Honda suggestion, your VTX1800 will develop a coolant leak.
- If you try to extend coolant longevity by topping it off with water, as some riders have admitted to doing, you must distill the water. The minerals in undistilled water in your coolant can corrode certain motor parts.
Replace your VTX1800’s broken thermostat asap, or it will break the water pump too, which has the potential to cause even more severe engine damage. Replacing your VTX 1800’s thermostat includes the replacement of the thermostat itself, but also the therm’s:
General Pros and Cons for Honda VTX1800
Here’re some pros and cons of the Honda VTX1800:
- Accessible Power via Snappy Throttle Response
- Convenient Heel/Toe shifter design
- Heavy Torque
- Comfortable and Ergonomic
- Generous Storage Space on Touring Models
- Premature Wheel Bearing Failure
- Loose Headlight Vibration
Battery Terminals Disconnect Easily
Water Pump Leaks Coolant
What Do the Reviews Say?
What’s the Resale Value of a Honda VTX 1800?
Was this article helpful?
Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)