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how to fix Harley that has starting problems

how to fix Harley that has starting problems
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
9/14/2011
Andre Pilon
Andre Pilon, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 1,032
Experience: Over 25 years experience, ICS, MMI, Owned shop for 12 years, worked tech-support for Harley Davidson
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Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer. Do you have a multi-meter?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

yes

 

Could you please give me VDC reading: key off, key on, while pressing the start button at the battery, thanks.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

key off 12.5

 

key on [button pushed] 12.5

 

motor running 14.6

Those readings are not possible, if you want me to help, i need actual readings, thanks.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

apparently, I miss understood your question...

 

the battery voltage with switch off 'is' 12.5 volts

with switch on 'is 12.5 volts

with motor running 'is' between 14.5 and 14.7

 

how are these reading "impossible"...were you not wanting the battery's voltage readings?

I need VDC readings, black meter lead on negative battery post, red lead on positive battery terminal. VDC reading with key off: VDC reading with key on: VDC reading while pressing the start button:
Let me know what you get? thanks.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

what is VDC, isn't VDC readings the battery's voltage readings...I put BLACK meter lead on battery's NEGATIVE terminal, RED meter lead on battery's POSITIVE terminal...

again, with key 'off' the battery's voltage reads around 12.5v

with key 'on' the battery's voltage reads around 12.5v

with button pushed, it might have dropped to 12v

 

VDC stands for volts dc. Yes, i need VDC reading with key off: VDC reading with key on: VDC reading while pressing the start button:
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

dude I've given you the readings several times

you keep asking continuously for what I've already given you

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Good day and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to help you with your problem today.

Thanks for the readings, but something is not jiving, either you are not doing them or that is one hell of a battery.

The three readings that you were asked for are important & we are not yanking you around. Andre asked several times because with the start button depressed there should be less than 12 volts there.

If there is about 12 volts that indicates that there is a loose battery cable or an issue with the starter circuit wiring, because it should drop to around 10 volts with a loaded starter.

You also did a quick charging system test which seems ok too.

With those both the case it is unlikely that you have any major issues.

I would verify tight battery cables at both ends, get a new starter relay & over the next week or so do several load tests & charging tests of the battery to verify the battery itself is not an issue(stored batteries often sulfate & short internally) or that there are no charging system problems.

Let me know if this leads to other questions...

and just so you are aware, I may ask you again to do those readings.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

actually, after doing test again, I'm getting 12.5v switch off...switch on it drops to around 11/11.5v...and when I push button, it does drop down to around 10v...

 

my apologies to Andre...

 

can relay be tested 'off' bike...

 

also, the plug on end of wires that go to relay looks messed up [corroded, and one terminal on plug even looks cracked]...

 

here is a pic of it, don't know how well you'll be able to see what I'm talking about though

 

graphic

 

 

 

 

 

No you just use a new relay, I have buckets of them for that reason, it's always good to have 2-3 around..

& yes those plugs melt all the time, indicating a stuck, sticking or hot relay... that plug is the same as a headlight plug

And those readings are more in line with what we normally see... that is what is called a load test & is the first thing checked in all no start/hard start/charging issue type problems...

that reading with the start button depressed is important because if the battery drops below 9.5 volts, the battery itself is junk(sulfated as I discussed earlier) & needs replaced & the rest of the charging system verified as good because a sulfated battery will not take a full charge & will eat up the rest of the charging system. The fact that it dropped to 10 indicates that the battery is not as strong as we like but will work for you.

I would get a new relay & new plug. Both are available at auto zone & others.. and keep testing over a few day to see any changes..
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

I took relay and unplugged it...then followed service manual's directions for testing relay...[took battery leads and connected them to the 85 and 86 terminals on relay to energize relay...then tested for continuity between terminals 30 and 87 which there was - there was a zero ohm reading]...service manual said that if no continuity, relay is bad...so according to manual relay is good...

 

the battery is new, and probably low reading due to my messing around with it [just my guess]

 

I'll go ahead and get new relay though, and change plug...how do you change plug

that is only one test for the relay, the plug didn't melt because the relay is not energized... just the opposite, at least based on that photo & your description.

in order to change the plug you will need to push the retainers on each of the female spades inside the plug, once the retainers on each are pushed in slightly the wires just pull out the back of the plug.

To install you pull out the retainers on the female spades & push them into the plug until they "click" in.

And don't forget to inspect both battery cables at both ends, maybe even get new cables.
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