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P.J.
P.J., Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 750
Experience:  10 years as a mechanic and fabricator in a privately owned, local, custom bike shop.
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I have an 05 Harley FLHTCI, Electra Glide Classic. 25,000

Customer Question

I have an 05 Harley FLHTCI, Electra Glide Classic. 25,000 miles on it. I just replaced the battery. I had it on a trickle charge all night, and it charged fine. Went on a 5-10 mile ride, shut it off for about 5 mins, and it wouldn't start again. Just clicks. Tried jump starting it, wouldn't start. Let it sit and charge with their vehicle running- Still just clicking. I also hear my compression hissing when I was attempting to start it, and the guy who's truck we were trying to jump the bike with, said when I would hit the starter to try to get it to crank, his amps would drop and his headlights would dim. It would almost start cranking a couple times, but wouldn't fully crank or come close to turning over. My lights, however, light up fine- and injectors prime, etc. What could be draining my battery? Also the night before, I drove about same distance but it sat for couple hours and it cranked really slow and weakish- but it did finally turn over.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  P.J. replied 1 year ago.

3 things will cause the issue.

A bad battery, battery cable issue, starter issue. You cannot jump start with a bad battery in the circuit or with bad cables.

  • Begin by having the battery load tested. Bike shops and auto parts stores can do this for you. The trickle charge indicator is not reliable for any useful information. I know it is a new battery but if it was dropped during shipment or has a manufacturers defect it can easily be bad. I get a bad one every 75 to 100 new batteries at the shop.
  • Once the battery is verified good check both ends of both cables. Insure that the cable terminal ends are still properly and tightly connected to your cables and that there is no corrosion present. Also check all the bolts on all 4 ends. The negative is just as important as the positive. Take your time to check them closely.
  • If the battery, cables, and connections are in good condition you likely have a starter issue. It can be an internal starter motor electrical issue causing a higher than normal amperage or a mechanical issue causing the starter to stall. Pulling the plugs and cranking it over this way will give you some quick information.

The compression hissing worries me. Your bike doesn't have stock compression releases and, unless you've added them, this is a mechanical issue that needs to be corrected. It could be several things but it is tough for me to know where to tell you to start without more detail.

I hope this helps. Thanks, P.J