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Steve, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 6938
Experience:  30+ yrs. experience, MMI, HD technician, HD early, engine rebuild/performance, bike builder, kit bike program manager, CCI 2001-2004
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Are you here? oh ok, 1992 electraglide ultra classic, yes I

Customer Question

are you here?
JA: No. I'm the Motorcycle Mechanic's Assistant.
Customer: oh ok
JA: What's the make/model/year of your bike?
Customer: 1992 electraglide ultra classic
JA: Are you fixing your bike yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: yes I am rying trying I have an electrical issues I am trying to figure out
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: I'm not sure I don't think so
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Steve replied 9 months ago.

I don't do phone calls.

what is your question?


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hey Steve,I have an electrical issue on my 92 ultra classic. I have the bike taken apart. I have volt drop on the dash. The battery is new and rading at 12.6V. The dash is showing 10V. I currently have a test light probing for issues. I have ignition switch out as well. I have the test probe hooked to the positive terminal on the battery looking for grounds. The red ignition cable that runs from the ignition switch to the breaker was giving a ground signal on the test light. This red wire from the ignition switch to the breaker should not be giving a ground signal right?
Expert:  Steve replied 9 months ago.

- first off, I want you to know I own and ride a 1992 FLHTC and have modified my wiring. I do not approve of the way HD did it.

- secondly, I am not familiar with "test lights", I don't recommend them, I don't use them and I have little use for what you are telling me about it.

that said.....the volt meter on your dash does not read actual battery voltage because the meter is fed off the accessory circuit under the dash and is subject to voltage drops in the wiring.

- normally, it should read 12v. you will see the needle drop in response to tun signal use. but when it reads 10v, it usually means your charging system has failed.

to help you determine if that is the case, I would need exact voltmeter readings from you. this will require you to assemble the motorcycle and prepare it for operation to continue.

- and no, there should be no "ground signal" on the red cable from the circuit breaker to the ignition switch. this is probably a symptom of the fault in your charging system resulting in the 10v reading.

you can purchase a voltmeter from Sears or Radio Shack for less than $100. it's a nice tool to have.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry I pressed the wrong button. I am getting ground signals from all terminals on the ignition switch. I am also getting ground signals from 3 of the 4 circuit breakers (the only one I am not is the ignition circuit breaker)When the bike is running and driving the meter goes to 12v and even higher.
Expert:  Steve replied 9 months ago.

I don't do phone calls.

many of the loads on your electrical system will show a slight ground. that means nothing.

- is here anything wrong with the bike? does it start? does it run?

tell me what the problem is.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
These are not slight grounds. These fully light the test light like any other strong ground.The bike has a lot of issues electrically. The brake light stays on, the turn signals are disconnected. When I hit the horn it takes the voltage from 10 to 6 and the horn doesn't sound loud at all.The bike runs and starts only if its disconnected and fully changed (and the temps are not cold).I am getting fully ground signals from all the circuit breakers.
Expert:  Steve replied 9 months ago.

you are overwhelmed by the need to concentrate on the at a time.

- your horn wire is grounded. start at the horn and work your way back to the switch on the left hand control until you find the ground. most often, you will find a pinched wire at the hand controls.

- your brake light it probably on due to a problem with the front brake switch. it is not uncommon for the actuator to break off, causing the brake lamp to be on all the time. regardless......find he brake light relay under the seat and determine what is causing it to pick up.

- reconnect the turn signals.

- the cold start issue is a symptom of a problem with the cold start air/fuel mixture. your engine needs only 3 things to start and run: spark (as in timed ignition), fuel (as in a proper air/fuel mixture from the carburetor) and compression. if you have cold start issues, you either have an incorrect air/fuel mixture or low compression. a compression test will identify which it is. a lean air/fuel mixture can cause starting issues. leaking intake seals are the most common cause of intake leaks.

- the correct cold start procedure is to turn on the fuel, pull the enrichener knob full out, set the run/stop switch to run, turn the ignition switch to ignition, twist the throttle grip full open a time or two, release the throttle grip and press the start button. after the engine starts, allow it to warm for up to about 30 seconds and ride. adjust the enrichener knob to maintain idle rpm as necessary for up to about 10 miles of riding, then ensure it is fully in (off). never warm the engine on the side stand.

- if your circuit breakers were grounded, nothing would function on the bike and the breakers would constantly"click" off,, then back on and immediately, click off and then reset back on and.........etc, etc, etc. since you didn't say the breakers were tripping off, I can only assume they are not grounded. again.....the inherent issues with using a test lamp instead of a proper multimeter.