9 Common Indian Scout Problems (Solutions Guide)

The Indian Scout is a series of beefy American cruiser bikes known for their comfort, performance, and versatility.

While the Scout is considered a reliable bike, it’s not immune to mechanical failures.

This article covers the solutions and troubleshooting tips most relevant to the Indian Scout motorcycle series.

1. Indian Scout Won’t Start

If your Indian Scout doesn’t start or won’t turn over, it could be due to a dead battery, a faulty ignition system, a clogged fuel filter, or a bad starter motor.

Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot these common causes:

Dead Battery:

Use a multimeter to measure the voltage across your Scout’s battery terminals.

A fully charged battery should have around 12.6 volts.

If the voltage is low, charge or replace your battery.

You can also try to jump-start your bike using another battery or a booster pack.

Faulty Ignition System:

Use a spark tester to check for a spark at each spark plug.

Inspect and replace the damaged component if there is no spark or weak spark.

This could be the spark plugs, the ignition coils, the ignition switch, or the wiring.

Clogged Fuel Filter:

Replace the fuel filter on your Indian Scout to improve fuel flow to the injectors.

You can also check and clean the fuel tank and lines for moisture, corrosion, dirt, or debris.

Bad Starter Motor:

Use a jumper wire to bypass the relay and solenoid and connect the battery’s positive terminal directly to the starter motor terminal.

If the starter motor spins like it always has, the problem is with the relay or solenoid.

If the starter motor does not rotate or makes a clicking noise, it’s faulty, and you need to replace it.

2. Indian Scout Won’t Shift

If your Indian Scout doesn’t shift properly, it could be due to improper clutch adjustment, a damaged shift rod or arm, or a worn or dirty transmission.

Improper Clutch Adjustment:

Adjust the clutch cable according to your Indian Scout’s owner’s manual.

You should have a small amount of free play at the clutch lever about the thickness of a credit card.

Lubricate the cable and the lever pivot for smoother operation.

Damaged Shift Rod or Arm:

Inspect your Scout’s shift rod and arm for any signs of damage or wear.

You can find them under the left foot peg. If either the shift rod or arm is bent, cracked, or loose, replace the damaged part with a new one before riding.

A malfunctioning shifting system can impact your Scout’s transmission.

Worn or Dirty Transmission:

Drain and replace your Scout’s transmission oil with the recommended type and viscosity.

Check and adjust your shift linkage for proper alignment and clearance.

If the problem persists, take your bike to a professional mechanic for further inspection and repair.

3. Indian Scout Cutting Out

Sometimes, your Indian Scout may cut out or stall while riding or idling. This can happen when rear cylinder deactivation is activated, when your exhaust system is faulty, or when your fuel is dirty or bad.

Rear Cylinder Deactivation:

Rear cylinder deactivation is a feature that shuts off the rear cylinder when the engine is hot, and the bike is stopped.

This is designed to reduce engine and exhaust heat to the rider.

If you suspect your rear cylinder is deactivated for some reason, try turning off the rear cylinder deactivation setting by using the right-hand trigger on your instrument cluster.

You can also see if it’s time to upgrade your ECU software to the latest version.

Faulty Exhaust System:

Inspect your Scout’s exhaust system components and repair them as needed.

There are lots of schools of thought on ways to improve exhaust flow on emissions-regulated bikes like the Indian Scout.

We suggest you avoid removing or altering the baffles, catalytic converter, or oxygen sensor, as this may violate the emission standards and void your warranty.

Dirty or Bad Fuel:

Drain and replace your fuel with fresh and high-octane fuel.

Clean your fuel tank, fuel filter, and injectors to remove any debris or deposits.

Use a fuel additive to help dissolve any gunk in your fuel system.

Related: Indian Scout: 7 Most Common Problems (Explained)

4. Indian Scout Rough Idle

If your Indian Scout idles roughly or unevenly, it could be due to several reasons, such as a dirty throttle body, a faulty idle air control valve, a bad spark plug, or a clogged fuel injector.

Dirty Throttle Body:

The throttle body is the part that controls the amount of air that enters the engine.

It may not open or close appropriately if dirty or gummed up, resulting in a rough idle.

To fix this problem, you must remove the throttle body and clean it with a throttle body cleaner and a soft brush.

According to your owner’s manual, you should also check and adjust the throttle cable tension and free play.

Faulty Idle Air Control Valve:

The idle air control valve is the part that regulates the idle speed by bypassing air around the throttle body.

If it is faulty or stuck, it may cause the idle speed to be too high or too low or fluctuate erratically.

To fix a faulty air control valve, locate and replace the idle air control valve on your Indian Scout.

You can also clean it with a carburetor cleaner and a soft cloth. In some cases, removing dirt and grease is enough to restore the valve’s full range of motion.

Bad Spark Plug:

A bad spark plug can cause your Indian Scout to idle roughly or misfire. Over time, spark plugs become worn out, fouled, cracked, or gapped incorrectly.

Inspect and replace your spark plug with the recommended type and gap. You should also check and replace your spark plug wires if they are damaged or corrupted.

Clogged Fuel Injector:

A clogged fuel injector can cause your Indian Scout to idle roughly or lose power.

Fuel injectors get blocked if you use low-quality fuel, store your bike for a long time without stabilizing the fuel, or fill up from a contaminated source.

To unclog a malfunctioning injector, you must clean it with a fuel injector cleaner by adding it to your fuel tank.

We also suggest inspecting your fuel filter and cleaning or replacing it if it is dirty or clogged.

5. Indian Scout Keeps Stalling

Whether your Indian Scout keeps stalling while riding, idling, or at start-up, it could indicate a problem with fuel, exhaust, ECU, or engine failure.

Rear Cylinder Deactivation/Faulty ECU:

As we mentioned earlier, rear cylinder deactivation is a feature that shuts off the rear cylinder when the engine is hot and the bike is stopped.

However, this feature can also cause your bike to stall when you try to accelerate or move if the rear cylinder fails to re-activate quickly enough or if there is a glitch in the ECU software.

The first attempt to turn off rear cylinder deactivation. If that doesn’t work, you may have to upgrade your ECU software to the latest version.

Faulty Exhaust System:

A faulty exhaust system can also cause your Indian Scout to stall. This can happen if your exhaust system affects the airflow and pressure in a way that disrupts the combustion process.

Your bike can stall if your exhaust pipe is damaged, clogged, or modified without proper tuning.

A bad exhaust system can also trigger the check engine light and reduce the engine power and fuel efficiency.

Inspect and repair your exhaust system to rectify frequent stalls.

Removing or altering exhaust components may infringe on emission standards, void your warranty, and shift your bike’s air-fuel ratio, which can cause misfiring, backfiring, and stalling.

Fuel Pump Failure:

A fuel pump failure is another potential cause of your Indian Scout stalling.

Stalling, choking, poor performance, and hard and false starts can all happen if your fuel pump fails to deliver enough fuel pressure and volume to the injectors.

The only proper fix for a faulty fuel pump is to replace your Scout’s fuel pump with a new one.

There is a safety recall on particular 2021 through 2022 Indian Scout and Indian Chief models due to potential fuel pump failure.

Your local Indian dealership can tell you if your bike is affected by this recall. If so, you qualify for a free fuel pump replacement.

6. Indian Scout Oil Leak

Your Indian Scout can develop an oil leak for several reasons, such as a loose or damaged oil filter, a faulty gasket or seal, a cracked cylinder head, or a worn or broken oil pump.

 Loose or Damaged Oil Filter:

The oil filter is the part that filters out any dirt or debris that may enter the oil system and damage the engine.

If the oil filter is loose or damaged, it may allow oil to leak out of the machine.

To rectify this problem, inspect and tighten the oil filter according to your owner’s manual.

You should also check and replace the oil filter if it is dented, punctured, or clogged.

Faulty Gasket or Seal:

A faulty gasket or seal can cause your Indian Scout to leak oil.

 A gasket or seal is a part that creates a tight seal between two surfaces to prevent fluid from escaping.

If a gasket or seal associated with your oil pan, transmission, or engine is worn out, cracked, or broken, it may fail to seal correctly and cause an oil leak.

To fix a faulty gasket or blown seal, isolate the leaking gasket or seal on your Indian Scout.

Once you’ve confirmed a suspect seal is indeed leaking, replacing it is the only surefire solution.

Some of the common places where gaskets or seals may leak are the valve cover, the crankcase, the oil pan, and the oil cooler.

Cracked Cylinder Head:

A cracked cylinder head is another possible cause of your Indian Scout leaking oil.

A cylinder head is the part that covers the top of the cylinders and houses the valves and spark plugs.

If the cylinder head is cracked, oil may seep into the combustion chamber and leak out of the exhaust pipe.

The only solution here is to replace the compromised cylinder head with a new one. Indian initiated a recall on specific 2020 Indian Scout models due to a potential cylinder head crack risk.

If this recall lists your bike’s serial number, you should contact your dealer immediately for a free repair.

Worn or Broken Oil Pump:

A worn or broken oil pump is another potential cause of your Indian Scout leaking oil.

An oil pump is the part that pumps oil from the oil pan to the engine parts that need lubrication.

If the oil pump is worn out or broken, it may not be able to deliver enough oil pressure and volume to the engine, resulting in low oil pressure, engine noise, and oil leaks.

To fix this problem, replace your worn oil pump.

7. Indian Scout Overheating

Sometimes, your Indian Scout may overheat while riding or idling. This can be a dangerous and uncomfortable problem that can damage your engine and cause intense rider discomfort.

Low Coolant Level:

Since the Scout’s engine is sealed, airflow doesn’t cool the engine’s internal parts.

Sealed engines like the Scouts are liquid-cooled and rely on coolant.

Therefore, low coolant level is one of the most common causes of Indian Scouts overheating.

Coolant is the fluid that circulates through the radiator and engine to prevent overheating during routine use.

If your coolant level is low, it may not be able to absorb enough heat from the engine and dissipate it through the radiator.

Check and refill your coolant level according to your owner’s manual.

You should also inspect your coolant system for leaks or blockages that may cause coolant loss.

Faulty Cooling Fan/Blown Fan Fuses:

A faulty cooling fan is another possible cause of your Indian Scout’s overheating.

A cooling fan is an electric fan that turns on when the engine temperature reaches a certain point to help cool down the radiator and engine.

If your cooling fan is faulty or not working correctly, it may not be able to provide enough airflow and cooling to prevent overheating.

Inspect and replace your cooling fan if it’s damaged, dirty, or not spinning. You should also check and replace the fan relay and fuse if blown.

Bad Thermostat:

A bad thermostat is another potential cause of your Indian Scout overheating.

A thermostat is a valve that reads the engine temp and regulates the coolant flow between the engine and radiator accordingly.

If your thermostat is worn, faulty, or stuck, it may prevent coolant from flowing correctly and cause overheating.

Test the thermostat on your Indian Scout and replace it as needed.

After replacing the thermostat, you should also flush and refill your coolant system with fresh coolant.

High Ambient Temperature:

High ambient temperature can also cause your Indian Scout to overheat. Ambient temperature is the temperature of the surrounding air where you are riding.

If you frequently ride in hot weather conditions, especially in stop-and-go traffic or low speeds, your engine may generate more heat than your cooling system.

To prevent overheating in high ambient temperatures, you should avoid idling in standstill traffic, especially in direct sunlight, for long periods. We also suggest you use high-octane fuel to prevent pre-ignition and knocking and turn off your engine when stopped for more than a few minutes.

Related: Are Indian Scouts Reliable? (9 Important Facts)

8. Indian Scout Battery Not Charging

If your Indian Scout battery is not charging, it could be due to a bad battery, a faulty regulator/rectifier, a damaged stator, or a loose or corroded connection.

Bad Battery:

Use a battery charger designed for 12-volt batteries and charge the battery for 10 hours at 1.8 amps.

Once you’ve established the battery is damaged or won’t hold a charge, replace the bad battery with a fresh one, following the recommendations in your Scout’s owner’s manual.

Faulty Regulator/Rectifier:

A regulator/rectifier is the part that converts the alternating current (AC) from the stator to the direct current (DC) for the battery and other electrical components.

A faulty regulator/rectifier can also cause your Indian Scout not to charge correctly or at all.

If the regulator/rectifier is faulty or burned out, it may not be able to regulate or rectify the current and cause overcharging or undercharging of the battery. A bad R/R can kill battery after battery until it’s replaced.

Damaged Stator:

The stator is the part that generates the AC power from the engine’s rotation.

If the stator is damaged or shorted out, it may not be able to produce enough power for the regulator/rectifier and the battery.

A faulty stator needs to be replaced to restore the battery’s charge, as it’s the stator responsible for converting engine power into usable current for the battery.

Loose or Corroded Connections or Battery Terminals:

If the wires or terminals that connect the battery, the regulator/rectifier, and the stator are loose, dirty, or corrupted, it reduces the voltage and current flow, causing poor charging and performance.

Inspect and tighten the battery and charging system connections, cleaning them with a terminal brush and a baking soda solution as needed.

Coat them with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to prevent corrosion.


  • Michael Ta Nous

    I've been weaving words into stories since my early scribbling days, and my journey in the world of motorcycles and their communities spans almost two decades. Living with a talented motorcycle mechanic as a roommate, our garage transformed into a vibrant workshop where I absorbed the intricacies of...