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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm a potential new owner of an '88 heritage classic. i've got turn signal/passing lamp problems. the left front ts is stuck on, and the right rear ts flashes @ less than full brightness. the other two work fine.
also, the passing lamps are out. the owner tells me they were just replaced, and they're out again. he ordered new ones just before shipping the bike to me. but, i don't want to install new ones if they're just going to blow again.
the owner tells me the bike was recently rewired (in the past year), so i'm not sure what to think.
i don't have any service info. on the bike, so could someone tell me where to start troubleshooting. i'd like to solve these issues, or estimate the cost before committing to the purchase.
other than the listed problems, the bike seems to be in very good shape.
 

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Knower of Stuff
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Welcome to the forum!:welcome:
The problem is, the bike has been rewired. No telling how it was done. If they did not following standard color codes, it can make things very difficult. Also, many times they overlook some of the critical ground wires during a rewire job.
Generally wiring issues as you describe can be found, since they are not intermintent, but you have to have knowledge on how to use a DMM.
You would also need the wiring diagram for the bike, or at least it would help greatly.
The turn signals could be as simple as bulbs, but I suspect the wiring was done incorrectly on the front ts that is staying on.
The passing lamps are a different story. Do not know where to tell you to start on them.
Again, I would be very suspisious since the bike was rewired. No real reason to do this unless the wiring harnass burned up for some reason. The wiring on my "93 is still good and I think it will still be in another 4 years.
There may be other issues here.
Just my opinion. Hope this helps, although I don't think I added much.
Sorry and welcome to the forum. Good luck getting the bike you want.
 

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Electrical problems can cost you and they can drive you mechanic crazy:wacko: . {If the electrics have been hacked up, take a pass -2$en#e- } For the turn signals get a NEW set of bulbs and see how they work. Check the ground wires, as mentioned. For the passing lamps I would suspect the switch and/or a ground connection. I use WD40 on connections and bulb sockets.
Enjoy the ride...:chopper:
 

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Bike Addict
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I agree with LittleBear. Because the bulbs were replaced and then burnt out again, you have a wiring issue and will need to use a meter and wiring diagrams to fix this problem. Good luck! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm comfortable with using a DMM, and also test lights. I guess I'LL start by replacing the ts bulbs. If it gets more complicated than that, we'll be talking about a price drop. Or, possibly sending the bike back (I've got two weeks, as the funds are in escrow.) That would be a shame, cuz I really do like the bike. Not to mention, the cost of shipping it back. I'm not sure, but for $600-$700 I could probably get pretty far into locating the problem. That's what I'll be throwing away, if I have to send the bike back.
If by chance the ts problem is a simple bulb thing and I wanted to jump into the passing lamp problem, what are my options for getting the service info. I mean, can I take a trip to the dealership and pick up a manual in person or will they have to order it. Do Clymer manuals have electrical info.?
 

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What strikes me is that passing lamps or head lights are less likely to burnout prematurely from improper wiring, they either work or they don’t. It might be that the passing lamps aren’t burnt out at all, they just aren’t getting activated. However, if the voltage regulator were outputting too much voltage or if battery connection were severely intermittent, this could explain both the burnt out lamps and possible damage to the turn signal module, which may also be suspect from the described problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Yeah, I think that's a very good point. I need to get my head outta my @** though. I talked to the owner earlier tonight. He replaced the ts bulbs, not the passing lamps. He noticed the passing lamps weren't working just before the shipping date, and didn't have a chance to look into it. He ordered new pl bulbs to send to me (I suspect cuz he was feeling bad that he had to ship it with them not working).
Anyway, I found a toggle switch mounted on the back plate at the top of the forks, behind the headlamp. He tells me that switch is for the pl's. Right now the switch is just dangling in the hole (like the nut on the inside of the plate fell off). I'm suspecting that switch is missing a connection. Not sure, but this switch doesn't look "stock". Are the pl's supposed to be on when the headlamp is on? If that's the case, it looks like someone wanted to be able to turn them off. I'll look into that switch tomorrow.
Hopefully that leaves me with just the ts problem. I guess I'll be trying to locate a Clymer manual in town, so that I can check the tsm.
Thanks for trying to point me in the right direction you guys. I might be halfway home anyway.
 

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Knower of Stuff
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Go to the Harley dealer and order the shop manual. The Clymer is not much use here.
The passing lamps are turned on by the toggle switch. That is the stock location. It is just a large toggle switch with a metal toggle on it. The passing lamps are only on with low beam. Low/High beam switch controls the lamps also. When on high beam they are off. Trouble shoot with the switch on low beam.
The wires on the back of the passing lamp toggle switch have been know to break off their female spade terminals especially since the switch is loose.
Also check the right riser bolt. At the bottom of the bolt there should be a large ring terminal with a black wire on it. The wire goes to a lug behind the right tin cover the brake line runs down. It is connect to the top triple tree at termial lug. This provides proper ground to the handle bars and make things work correctly that require ground. Without this wire you will have strange problems.
You can check the passing lamp bulbs either with the DMM or by using aligator clips and hooking them directly to 12 volts.
Also, the toggle switch is held on the SS panel with a ring nut on the outside. It sounds like yours has fallen off. You will need to get a new one, probably by buying a complete toggle switch the same size and using the nut from it. You can get one at most auto part stores or Radio Shack.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good stuff! Last night I completely took that switch out of the plate. I reached into the space behind the headlamp to spread some of the wires out and lost the low beam side of the headlamp. Sure seems like something's loosey-goosey. I didn't get started 'til late lastnight, so I didn't have time to remove the covers. I'll do that tonight. I think I'm going to find a loose connection, possibly the main ground for the bars that LittleBear mentioned. As for that ring nut, it wasn't gone, but it's definitely seen better days. I have an assortment of those "jobbers" in a small electrical collection.
Hopefully, I can get that problem wrapped-up tonight and move on to the turn signals. I'm sure I'll need the manual for that one. I'm going to try to make it to Harley this afternoon.
Thanks for the info. o.k. then...
 

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Anyway, I found a toggle switch mounted on the back plate at the top of the forks, behind the headlamp. He tells me that switch is for the pl's. Right now the switch is just dangling in the hole (like the nut on the inside of the plate fell off). I'm suspecting that switch is missing a connection. Not sure, but this switch doesn't look "stock". Are the pl's supposed to be on when the headlamp is on?

I have an 88 FLSTC and I am quite familiar with the passing lights...
The toggle switch at the rear top of the fork cowling is infact the over-ride (isolation) switch... this allows you to turn the passing lamps off altogether....
In the on position... the passing lamps should activate with the "LOW BEAM" not the high beam as so many people think.... the wiring is connected to the headlight "yellow" wire
I hope this helps a little
 

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Laughing Poseur
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I have an 88 FLSTC and I am quite familiar with the passing lights...
The toggle switch at the rear top of the fork cowling is infact the over-ride (isolation) switch... this allows you to turn the passing lamps off altogether....
In the on position... the passing lamps should activate with the "LOW BEAM" not the high beam as so many people think.... the wiring is connected to the headlight "yellow" wire
I hope this helps a little
pretty sure after 11 years he's got it worked out ;)
 
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