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P.J., Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 738
Experience:  10 years as a mechanic and fabricator in a privately owned, local, custom bike shop.
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I have a 2013 Harley Forty Eight. I've recently changed the

Customer Question

Hi Steve,
I have a 2013 Harley Forty Eight.
I've recently changed the battery and plugs as the bike wouldn't start.
I hadn't been able to ride it for about 7 months, bad I know. But had been deployed with the Army. I did leave it on Trickle charge, but some idiot had taken it off.
As I said, I've changed the plugs, changed the battery and also changed the FOB battery for the immobiliser.
The bike sounds the same as it always has when turning the ignition on. Fuel injection sounds fine. All the light are working etc.
The issue is the bike won't fire.
I can't get to dealer, as I know live in a country where my Harley is the only one.
Cheers ***** ***** for any help you can provide.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  P.J. replied 4 months ago.

First, you'll need a test meter to do some troubleshooting. I'm going to give you some items to check, some of them may seem okay but still need to be tested to insure they are. These are the steps I would take if the bike came into my shop even if I know what you've already replaced. The system isn't that complicated but one very small problem will cause a no start condition. I'd rather deal with a no start condition rather than just no spark just so nothing is missed.

  • First, make sure there is fresh gas in the tank. If it is more than a couple moths old I'd suggest replacing all that you can.
  • Check the spark plug wires to be sure they are not cracked or disconnected. Pull them off an push them back on to make sure they have good connections.
  • Check for diagnostic trouble codes. Make sure the run/stop switch is in the run position and, while holding the trip reset button, turn the key on, "diag" should appear in the odometer screen. Press and release the trip reset again, "PSSPTb" should appear and the "P" should be flashing. Press the trip reset for 5 seconds or longer to view any trouble codes for the ECM (ignition), either a P followed by 4 digit code will be shown or "none" will be shown. Write down any codes if there are any. You can then cycle through the rest of the bike's modules to check for codes. Any "no rsp" messages means there is a communication issue somewhere and could be part of the issue.
  • If no codes are present then check the Turn Signal Security Module (TSSM), located under the battery, to be certain it is mounted properly. If it has been relocated or cam loose from its mount it can prevent spark from occuring.
  • Check the battery voltage. Bike off = 12.6 volts DC. If it is less than this then it needs charged or may be bad. New batteries can be weak or bad. It is also best if there is somewhere near you that can load test it. This is the only true way of knowing if it can produce the necessary voltage to fire the ignition while the starter draws high amperage. You can also, if your meter can record voltage, check for the lowest voltage while the bike is cranking. If it drops below 10.5 volts DC then the ignition will not fire.
  • Check for voltage on terminal "A" (yellow/green wire) on ignition coil. You should see battery voltage for 2 seconds when the key is turned on with the run/stop switch in the run position.
  • Crack the throttle slightly and crank the bike over. If the bike tries to start then you have an issue with your Idle Air Control Solenoid.
  • Test the crank position sensor. The plug is located near the lower left front engine case. Unplug it and place your meter leads on the two wires leaving the sensor (either color on either terminal is fine). With the meter set to AC you should see 1 to 3 volts while cranking the bike. If not, you need to remove and clean or replace the sensor.
  • If all this stuff is completed and the bike will still not start then pull the ECM plug loose and check for damaged, corroded, or burned terminals.

This is about everything that can be done without special testing equipment. I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Also, please leave a positive rating for my service today. Thanks, P.J.

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