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Old 03-18-2006, 06:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question shovelhead charging kaput!

My 1975 FXE does not charge. Same voltage at the battery with bike running or not. Is there some way to test to see which component is at fault? Don't want to start buying stuff just to eliminate the possiblilty of that part being the culprit. Thanks
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tractorhunter
My 1975 FXE does not charge. Same voltage at the battery with bike running or not. Is there some way to test to see which component is at fault? Don't want to start buying stuff just to eliminate the possiblilty of that part being the culprit. Thanks

I will assume that you don't have the factory manual.

Remove the two pin plug from the left engine case. That's the one that feeds the regulator. Insert a meter (VOM, set on 100VAC range) into the two pin plug on the case and start the engine.

You should see about 40 VAC at 2,000 rpm. If nothing, then your issue is likely with the stator, unless the magnets are totally shot on the rotor. More on this in a minute.

If you have the necessary AC voltage at the engine case connector, about 20 VAC per 1,000 rpm, then reinsert the plug and remove the cable from the battery where it comes from the regulator. It's the long black cable that goes along the frame under the motor on the right side. Check that cable carefully for breaks, cuts and terminal condition where it connects to the battery. If good, then, just to be sure, check for 14 Volts DC between that wire and ground with the engine at about 2,000 rpm. If no juice, then you have a bad regulator.

So to recap:

If 20 VAC at engine connector at 2,000 rpm, then stator/rotor is OK.

If no Voltage at engine connector at 2,000 rpm or low voltage, then stator/rotor is Ka/Ka.

If voltage OK at stator/rotor but no DC output at regulator black wire, then regulator is Ka/Ka.

About the rotor. Assuming that your system is ten or more years old, I would opt for a complete replacement with new stator/rotor/regulator as a complete matched unit. They are available readily in 32 amp configuration.

I replaced my system a few years ago and it's great. I got a whole 32 amp setup in a box from HD for $189.95. I wouldn't do it piecemeal since it's best to get a matched set and all components will then be new and working together.

Hope this helps.


Last edited by newultraclassic; 03-18-2006 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 03-18-2006, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Thanks

Classic, Thanks, thats just what I needed. I do have the manual but my buddy has it. Still, your description was clearer than what I remember the manual saying anyway. I should get to it this week and will let you know how I make out. Thanks again, Dan
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You're welcome. BTW, I looked at my manual and discovered the following about the FX/FL charging systems. If yours is stock, it's probaly a 16 amp (total) charging system. That's pretty small. So as I mentioned above, if you have to replace, a 32 amp job should be sufficient. I think there are stronger systems in the aftermarket but I would stick to HD parts if at all possible. (they are made in a higher-class area in China. )

The book shows:

Regulator voltage output should be 13.8 to 15 VDC @ 75 deg. F.

Various years:

19781/2 to 1980 = 16 amp regulator
1981 = 17.8 amp regulator
1982 and later = 22 amp regulator.

Harley had different stators for 71 through 75, 76 through 80 and 81 and later. Rotors were different for 71 to 81 and 82 and later. Rectifier & Regulator Assemblies were different for 71-75, 76 to 80 and 81 aand later. That's why it's best to purchase a matched set.

32 amp systems are available as I mentioned,.
AC voltage specification is 19 to 26 VAC per 1000 rpm. Stator coil resistance should be 2 to 4 ohms.

Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2006, 10:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Question Update

Can't start the bike right now, waiting for some exhaust gaskets but I did check the plug from the engine to the regulator. It's a 4 prong plug with the left 2 plugs being closer together. If I test any of the plugs to ground I get about .4 ohms resistance. I get about 1.2 between the top two prongs and .2 between the bottom 2 , 1.5 between right hand prongs and .5 between the left 2 prongs. With all this resistance, does it mean my stator is fried? thanks again, Dan
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tractorhunter
Can't start the bike right now, waiting for some exhaust gaskets but I did check the plug from the engine to the regulator. It's a 4 prong plug with the left 2 plugs being closer together. If I test any of the plugs to ground I get about .4 ohms resistance. I get about 1.2 between the top two prongs and .2 between the bottom 2 , 1.5 between right hand prongs and .5 between the left 2 prongs. With all this resistance, does it mean my stator is fried? thanks again, Dan
You got me there. Someone else may know about a 4 pin system. Both my original 22 amp factory setup and the Harley-Davidson replacement 32 amp kit are two pins only. The book that I have shows a test only for the standard two pin system. My Service Manual is FL/FX Models, 1200/1340, 4 speed 1978 1/2 to 1984 P/N 99482-84.

Perhaps you have a different year or an aftermarket kit?


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Old 03-23-2006, 02:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Stock

Stock 1975 unit. Maybe the exhaust gaskets will be in today and I can do some testing.
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tractorhunter
Stock 1975 unit. Maybe the exhaust gaskets will be in today and I can do some testing.

Well, the test would be the same. Just a matter if discovering the VAC pins that are feeding the regulator. There will probably only be two that show the necessary voltage of around 20 VAC per 1000 rpm.

Guess that the pre-1978 bikes had a 4 pin unit.

Let us know what you discover.
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I had the stock charging system on my '76 FLH and for the first year I had to recharge my NEW battery every couple weeks just to get it started.

After my warmed over restoration last spring I installed a new package that included new rotor, stator and regulator. This is supposed to be a 34 amp system. I had to also put in another new battery, same at the first new one I had. Since then I've driven the bike about 2,500 miles and let it set for months over the winter in my garage and it's started every time without any extra charging necessary.

I now have my turn signals changed over to dual elements so they can be on with the lights. I run with my headlights on and my fog lights on all the time and I'm very happy with the new charging system. I think it was somewhere in $275 range from a catalog wholesaler.

My thought would be to upgrade if it has to be torn down. It's well worth the effort and money. It's very easy to install as well.

Later dudes.

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Old 07-19-2010, 07:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a question for you along the same line here. I have a 75 FLH. Been having charging issues as well. I now understand that this is a 16amp system because of the 4 plugs like the other guy here. I can see the voltage go up at the battery terminal when you rev the bike so the charging system is charging but on a day long ride, I'll have to kick it to start it. So my theory is that it is just not charging enough.

Two things I have changed. Dual filament bulbs in the rear turn signal for turn and running lights. And I had a real toggle switch problem with the passing lamps so I hooked them up straight to run all the time with the Headlight. Am I drawing to much for this system with having the passing lamps on constantly?
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