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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys (Newbie Still Here) :)

Two Question Please:

1. Can I use my car battery which is 12 volts to test my bikes voltage regulator ~ my bike battery is DEAD AGAIN ?

2. Where on my multimeter does it show the correct reading showing that the car battery is good to use ?

I'm just not sure where i put the dial indicator on my multimeter ?

 

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I'm Paid Up...
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Use any 12v battery you like. The difference in these 12v batteries is the capacity. BUT, a circuit will only draw the current that it needs to operate, unless you have a direct short.
On your meter, select the DCV50 range, and read from the 0-50 BLACK section on the gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey Rollmeaway ~ Thank U

Hey Rollmeaway :)

Thanks 4 sending this Newbie that list of troubleshooting things to do.

I know its a short SOMEWHERE.

I'll make some of these test when its daytime ~ its 8:57 P.M. here in Las Vegas tonight.

THANKS AGAIN MY MAN :clap:


DR Duece has ya goin in the right direction. I picked up this site the other day maybe it will help you out,

http://sjhr.org/articles/repair01.htm


Dare
 

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well first off let me say that a short as it is often referred to is when two power or current carrying wires come in contact with one another. That is what is known a short.

You then could have what they call an unintentional ground, that occurs when you have a current carrying or hot wire that has lost its insulation whether its from chaffing-rubbing or from excess current which melts the insulation protecting the wire & in then comes in contact with the metal & unintentionally enters the ground circuit.

Then you have bad ground which are the most common of all 3. They create a higher than normal resistance which inturn causes circuits to seek a ground through whatever means it can.

Electricity is much like water is will seek the path of least resistance to complete the circuit it was originally intended to supply.

Keep us posted on your progress & good luck I am sure you find it.

Dare
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Solenoid Clicks & The Lights Go Dim & Still NO START

Hey Rollmeaway ( I'm still a Newbie )

This FLHTC of mine is driving me NUTS. Trying to find what I believe an Electrical Short in the wiring or wherever

Here's what been done so far before they take me away to the funny farm:
1.New Battery.
2.New Spark Plug Wires.
3.New Coil.
4.Rebuilt Carb.
5.New Gas In Tank.
6.New 10v. Spot Light Switch

And bike STILL WON'T START.

I turn the ignition on to try and start the bike and I get G-G-R-R-
but no start. Then I hear the SELENOID CLICK.

I turn the ignition on and without trying to start her; the headlight goes on and then I hear a " CLICK " from the Solenoid and the lights
go " DIM "

When I just leave the ignition on and SOLENOID doesn't click the light are bright ~ like there's nothing wrong.


Battery read: 12.9v.

Look at the first two photos of my dash board #1 the ligths are DULL the solenoid just clicked.
Now look at the second photo the lights are BRIGHT ~ THE SOLENOID DIDN'T CLICK.
(GO FIGURE)

When I turn the ignition switch onto " lights " and turn either one of my signal light on. The signal goes; BLINK then count 1,2,3,4, AND BLICKS AGAIN VERY SLOWLY. That's front and rear light doing this.

I just know there's a short somewhere. I checked the SPOT LIGHT SWITCH on my dash and its good; but when I try to TURN ITS ON I GET ' NOTHING' NO SPOT LIGHTS. The switch was bought on:
10/9/'11 ~ its new !

I know there's a elec. short somewhere but WHERE DO I TEST FOR IT ? ? ?

Can I test the bulb sockets with me multimeter tester. If so, how would I go about doing that ?




DR Duece has ya goin in the right direction. I picked up this site the other day maybe it will help you out,

http://sjhr.org/articles/repair01.htm


Dare
 

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Sounds like a bad battery cable. Very common on these bikes.
The can corrode from the inside and they 'look' fine from the outside.

A bad cable or a dirty connection will cause the amount of current
available for the starter to be too low to work correctly. This is your
'ggrrrr' noise. Lights on the other had take very little current and will
work fine until you hit the start button and then will dim with a bad
connection.

Give a good tug on those cables to check them.

It's not a short, a short would drain you battery or melt something.
12.9v on the battery is good. Also if the ignition switch was bad
would wouldn't be getting those noises.
 

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I agree with decman, check/change the negative battery cable and connections before you go any further.
 

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I would try checking it without touching anything. What I mean by that is leave all existing grounds as is. Take a 6' piece of heavy wire and bare it at both ends. The reason I suggest not touching anything til you find or isolate the problem is electricity will flow from or through another circuit which can appear to have corrected your problem when in fact you havent. You are basically substituting a ground which will show you where the problems exist.

Now attach one end on the battery - Negitive & the other touch down under the front triple tree so you supply the frt end with a good ground. Sometimes the ground is impeded due to the fact that the grease in the neck isolates the frt end.
Continue to touch areas which are attached to any light which is not operating properly. Also feel for any wires that seem hot to the touch by wrapping your hand around them.
Do you have a service manual so you can isolate the troubled circuits. You would want to start there after correcting the grounds.

To clarify - are you talking starter solenoid or are you hearing a circuit breaker clicking on & off.

Dare
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I Must Say I Haven't Really Checked The Battery Ground Under The Bike

Hey Decman :)

I must say I just looked under the bike and seen the meshed strap ground was hooked-up but that about all I did ~ WAS LOOKED :dh:

Tomorrow I will jack the bike up and disconnect the ground; CLEAN tTHE CONNECTION & MAKE " SURE " I HAVE A GOOD MAIN GROUND CONNECTION :dh:#[email protected]

I'll let you GREAT GUYS know what I found and will take photos.

I have NEVER touched that main ground since I bought the bike new in 1985 :redrolf:

So it will be a process of limination. One step at a time. When I clean and re-connect the ground I'll know at least THAT'S DONE :clap:


Sounds like a bad battery cable. Very common on these bikes.
The can corrode from the inside and they 'look' fine from the outside.

A bad cable or a dirty connection will cause the amount of current
available for the starter to be too low to work correctly. This is your
'ggrrrr' noise. Lights on the other had take very little current and will
work fine until you hit the start button and then will dim with a bad
connection.

Give a good tug on those cables to check them.

It's not a short, a short would drain you battery or melt something.
12.9v on the battery is good. Also if the ignition switch was bad
would wouldn't be getting those noises.
 

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A multimeter isn't going to tell you whether the battery is good or not, all you'll see is 12.8 or so for voltage. You can still see 12 volts on a bad battery. New battery doesn't guarantee a good battery. Needs to be fully charged and then load tested. If nothing else, pop the battery in someone elses bike and see if it works on their bike.

One thing you can do is try to spin it over with the plugs removed. It's kind of shade tree but if it spins over with the plugs out but not with the plugs in the battery may be the culprit.

Next do as you plan and clean all the connections down to shiny metal. Battery terminals, starter terminals and all grounds need to be clean. Hook them back up. I always use dielectric grease to help cut down on corrosion.

If the cables are original you're looking at 25 year old cables. They can build up corrosion down the length of the strands in the cable itself. This creates resistance and results in hard/no starting, even with nice clean connections. So, even though the connections are clean you can't overlook the cable itself.

Even if you had a short somewhere else the engine should still spin up fine, provided the battery was good and your cables/connections are good. If you have gremlins in another circuit it may not start, but as far as spinning over nice and strong, it should, if all is well with the starting circuit components.

Hold the cables when you try to start it. Does it feel like they're getting warm?

If it were me, I'd be focussing on the battery and cables first. Other than that, worst case scenario is a bad starter windings that may have shorted out over time. For spin up issues there's really not much more than the battery, cables, and starter involved. Now, if it spins up nice with a good battery, and 3 days later it won't start then I'd be looking for a drain somewhere. But with a fresh battery....good cables and connections....and a good starter, it should be turning over.

If you still feel you have an issue somewhere else pull all the fuses except any affecting the starting circuit, and start from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This Makes My Head Spin

Hey 07heri

Now that I think of it (and I do that on special occassions ) lol

My so-called new battery i bought from: Battery Plus does read 12.9 and even more up to 18vollts.

I re-charged it and my multimeter reads about 18 volts i believe that dn't seem right but however.

I hit me starter button and I get G-R-R-R-R I stop for a second and hit the starter again and get the same G-R-R-R I stop and hit the starter and THEN I GET " NOTHING " like the battery is DEAD.

So I re-charge it again. You know what I'm going to Harley and buying their battery. I trying getting away with I thought saving a buck and its MAKING ME HEAR SPIN.

Think its a good idea. GOD i bought and installed the following:

1. New Battery Plus Battery.
2. New Coil.
3. New Spark Plug Wires.
4. New Oil & Filter.
5. New Spot Light Switch.
6. New Brake Light Switch.

Now I'm going to go for a new battery from Harley I priced it for ~
my '85 FLHTC $144.99

i'LL LET YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I GET THE NEW BATTERY.


A multimeter isn't going to tell you whether the battery is good or not, all you'll see is 12.8 or so for voltage. You can still see 12 volts on a bad battery. New battery doesn't guarantee a good battery. Needs to be fully charged and then load tested. If nothing else, pop the battery in someone elses bike and see if it works on their bike.

One thing you can do is try to spin it over with the plugs removed. It's kind of shade tree but if it spins over with the plugs out but not with the plugs in the battery may be the culprit.

Next do as you plan and clean all the connections down to shiny metal. Battery terminals, starter terminals and all grounds need to be clean. Hook them back up. I always use dielectric grease to help cut down on corrosion.

If the cables are original you're looking at 25 year old cables. They can build up corrosion down the length of the strands in the cable itself. This creates resistance and results in hard/no starting, even with nice clean connections. So, even though the connections are clean you can't overlook the cable itself.

Even if you had a short somewhere else the engine should still spin up fine, provided the battery was good and your cables/connections are good. If you have gremlins in another circuit it may not start, but as far as spinning over nice and strong, it should, if all is well with the starting circuit components.

Hold the cables when you try to start it. Does it feel like they're getting warm?

If it were me, I'd be focussing on the battery and cables first. Other than that, worst case scenario is a bad starter windings that may have shorted out over time. For spin up issues there's really not much more than the battery, cables, and starter involved. Now, if it spins up nice with a good battery, and 3 days later it won't start then I'd be looking for a drain somewhere. But with a fresh battery....good cables and connections....and a good starter, it should be turning over.

If you still feel you have an issue somewhere else pull all the fuses except any affecting the starting circuit, and start from there.
 

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Did I miss something, or have you already checked your cables? Do that first!
 

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There is nothing like diagnosing the problem. Substituting a ground cable will quickly identify if there is an issue & exactly where it is. If you have an unlimited budget best just go out and replace them all along with the battery when ya pick that up.

I was under the impression the battery you had in the bike was already verified as good.

When one takes into consideration the year & unknowing of the conditions in which has been kept for the last 26 years I would definitly be checking out the ohm readings at the areas which are giving the problems. Then If you do have high resistance in a circuit I would be checking the wiring in that circuit especially any connectors. Look for green oxidization and above normal heat transfer in the wiring. If it comes to blowing fuses in a circuit the easiest wasy to check it is with a circuit breaker & feel with your hands where the excess heat is prior to removing anything. If you dont diagnosis it properly it could back to haunt you again & again.


Dare
 

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1. your battery should NEVER read 18volts. 14.6 should be the norm for a bike running at 2000 RPMS.
2. if you are in fact reading 18 volts at the battery then I would be looking at the voltage regulator as a cause for all of this. It will certainly do most of what you're stating in your posts if it's bad.
3. I doubt the battery is bad if it's new.

here are 2 links to test your charging system step by step.

http://www.hdforums.com/forum/electrical-and-lighting/5716-charging-system-testing-1-a.html
http://www.hdforums.com/forum/electrical-and-lighting/5599-charge-system-testing-2-a.html
 

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now that I go back and read this entire post again. Have you checked your main circuit breaker?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We found it, found a big short circuit

Hey UltraNutz :)

Thanks 4 your concern.

This has been one hellva jouney 4 this Newbie.

Along with great guys like you trying to help me and my buddy who came over this morning 10/21/11

We started one by one testing the regulator/main ground strap; they were all good.

Then I told my buddy Jim that when I turned on my ignition switch and had the instrutment panel open I smelled smoke and seem a vapor and thought is was coming from that BUNCH OF WIRES wrapped around one another inside the instr. panel.

So again I turn the ignition switch on and the burning of something was happening and then we seen the SMOKE.

But is wasn't coming from inside the instrument panel. it was coming from under my gas tank near or on top of the NEW COIL I just put on.

OH NO! I thought, but GOD IS GOOD ~ What we discovered was this:

As I kept on taking my gas tank off & on & off & on to put the new coil and spark plug in; little did I know that ~ THE TANK PINCHED ONE THE THROTTLE WIRE LEADING TO THE HANDLE-BAR & SHORTED OUT.

Thank GOD i found the problem. Now I have to go to HARLEY and see how $$$ those two throttle cables will cost ?


P.
now that I go back and read this entire post again. Have you checked your main circuit breaker?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My Gas Tank Rubbing Against The Idle & Throttle Cable Did It

Hey DR.DEUCE :)

How I finally found the short was it started to smoke and I traced the problem under my gas tank.

I shut my ignition switch; drained the gas from my tank and low & behold there stairing my in the face with the Idle & Throttle Cable completley bear about 4 inches with no casing around all burnt.

Those cable are sqeezed between my gas tank and the frame (very bad desing by Harley ) Apparently while I was taking my gas tank off & on & off & on. The tank must've pinched the wire and the problem started.

i looked at the frame where the idle & throttle cable were and seen no burning of the frame. That's the only explaination I can see right now.

Lets consider that my bike is a 1985 that's about 26yrs. old stuff on the bike. Although you do have a point. If the tank rubbing up against the cables didn't do it ~ THEN WHAT IN THE WORLD DID CAUSE THE SHORT.

I've order both cable, they'll be in next week sometime.



Hey Doc ~ THANKS TO YOU FOR STICKING YOU NECK OUT TO HELP THIS OL' GUY. ALONG WITH THE OTHER GREAT GUYS ON THIS FORUM.
I SATUTE YOU ALL :clap:

The cable pics you show have no electrical function. Check to see what it was rubbing against...........LIKE A WIRE.
 

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Pal, the pics show burn marks. SO>> if there was no wiring at that point, then we can assume this became the grounding point!
You have a current source shorting to the throttle cable, traveling along , then grounding, where you pinched the tank to the cable. Look further for a hot wire near the throttle cable.
 
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