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Old 11-12-2011, 11:45 PM   #1
Lunchbox16
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Default What is going on??

I took the bike out last week, 79 fxef, had some Carb issues but was fine. The next day went to start it up and it would not start. Check it a day later and I got no spark. I went over all connections and tested them all. I had power going to breaker and to coil just no spark. I bought a new coil and put it on tonight. I changed nothing but the coil. I go to start it and it turns over but no start. Try again and same thing. So I check the plugs for a spark and nothing. I go over all connections and try again but the starter starts to sound weak. At this point the indicator lights are dimming and the start stops spinning. I bought a new Harley battery a few weeks ago. So I grab the battery charger/ starter and hook it up. It blows the main breaker. So I check the battery with a meter and its 11.4 volts. I. Go to take the battery out and it is hot. So I check the volts again and now its jumping from 7-10 volts, key is off. At this point no lights work and the starter does nothing. Pull the battery out and test it again and now its 11.7 volts. I disconnect the coil and put battery back in now its down to 10.88 volts. With the key in it drops 10.84 volts. At this point the lights now work and horn but the starter sounds like a dying goose. Does not spin at all. What the hell is going on? Am I shorting out? Started relay dead? Only new addition was the coil
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:04 AM   #2
michaelbarry
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Default Re: What is going on??

Not to state the obvious but are you sure you have a good frame ground?
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: What is going on??

ya i checked.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: What is going on??

and the possibilities are; a ground issue/short,starter relay,solenoid or (my vote) voltage regulator.good luck!
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: What is going on??

First, voltage does not equate to a good battery. You can have 12.5 volts, and 0 amps. So you need to do a load test. Any good parts house should have a load tester, if you don't. After seeing the amps are good, and the battery is fully charged(needs to be fully charged to do a load test too), then try the starter. If it still does not spin the motor, try jumping at the selinoid. You may have a starter relay switch too, so if it turns the motor over, from the selinoid, it could be your push button or selinoid. The starter bendix could be going bad too, which would make funky noises, like you describe. Then, you can go back to the non firing situation. Points? or EI? Either one can go bad. If points, get a new set with condenser. Check that the coil is feeding the points full voltage, from the battery. EI, usually work, or they don't. I don't use EI on anything, and have no way to diagnois, but if you are getting zero fire to the plugs, I would say it is safe to say that the EI is bad, or going bad. Points sets are easy to install, and pretty cheap, compared to EI. So if you have EI, you may want to try points, to see if it cures the no spark. Also, the sensor plate may have come loose, causing it to not spin, therefore, no spark. Rare, but a possibility.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: What is going on??

Quote:
Originally Posted by shovithead View Post
first, voltage does not equate to a good battery. You can have 12.5 volts, and 0 amps. So you need to do a load test. Any good parts house should have a load tester, if you don't. After seeing the amps are good, and the battery is fully charged(needs to be fully charged to do a load test too), then try the starter. If it still does not spin the motor, try jumping at the selinoid. You may have a starter relay switch too, so if it turns the motor over, from the selinoid, it could be your push button or selinoid. The starter bendix could be going bad too, which would make funky noises, like you describe. Then, you can go back to the non firing situation. Points? Or ei? Either one can go bad. If points, get a new set with condenser. Check that the coil is feeding the points full voltage, from the battery. Ei, usually work, or they don't. I don't use ei on anything, and have no way to diagnois, but if you are getting zero fire to the plugs, i would say it is safe to say that the ei is bad, or going bad. Points sets are easy to install, and pretty cheap, compared to ei. So if you have ei, you may want to try points, to see if it cures the no spark. Also, the sensor plate may have come loose, causing it to not spin, therefore, no spark. Rare, but a possibility.

+1 :d
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: What is going on??

One other possibility is that you have a bad battery. Sometimes you get a bad one right out of the box. Take it back where you got it and have them test it.

Another question, if you charged it, what did you charge it with? Too many amps on the battery charger (like with a quick charger for car batteries) can overheat the battery and warp the plates. If there are bulges in the case, they'll know what happened and the warranty will be void.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: What is going on??

Start looking under the dash, then take the handlebar switch/button housings off and take a look. Look close at the rear brake switch and the kill button area. Check all push connections.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: What is going on??

My buddy had most of the same issues on his . (75 super) it turned out it was the kill switch . Didnt find out till all else was checked. try bypassing it . just my two cents !
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: What is going on??

i do have points.
i will take a look at the switches and bar controls. i bought the battery from a harley dealer maybe a month ago, it's under warranty. when i got it it was fully charged so i did not have to charge it before it was installed. when i hooked the charger up to it last night i had it set on 2 amp and it was on there for no longer then 6 seconds.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:34 AM   #11
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Default Re: What is going on??

Easy way to check the kill switch, is to run a wire from the positive side of the battery, to the coil. If it fires up, then you probably have a bad kill switch. No need to go into the handlebars, unless you know it is bad. To check the push button, jump at the selinoid.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: What is going on??

You may have a short somewhere, take your ground wire off and just touch it to the frame to ground it, if it sparks you have a short somewhere and also your condensor may be bad the reason you have no spark.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: What is going on??

i took the battery to advance auto parts tonight and they tested the battery.
results are good. voltage 11.00v, measured 100CCA, rated YTX20-BS, temp 71.
"battery is good but low on charge"
full battery is 12-13v
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: What is going on??

You have to have a full charge to test the battery. A "load" test is the only way to go.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: What is going on??

Put that battery on a charger, and charge a couple of days, on 2 amps. Unless you are in a hurry. Then use 10 amps. The slower you charge it, the better the charge holds. When you get it up to 12.5 volts, reinstall and test your starter.
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65 XLCH parts bike
66 FLH
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: What is going on??

Quote:
Originally Posted by shovithead View Post
Put that battery on a charger, and charge a couple of days, on 2 amps. Unless you are in a hurry. Then use 10 amps. The slower you charge it, the better the charge holds. When you get it up to 12.5 volts, reinstall and test your starter.

battery was installed fully charged and the starter spins. the bike almost started, burbed a few times but then nothing. checked again and no spark.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:43 AM   #17
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Default Re: What is going on??

Change the condensor. Check and adjust the points. Replace if they look burnt. Service the advance unit.
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: What is going on??

cleaned the points and cleaned and greased the advance. i just bought a tune up kit, blue streak.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:05 PM   #19
TDWZ28
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Default Re: What is going on??

I would run a jumper wire from the pos terminal on the batt to the pos side of the coil and see if it gets fire that way. That will eliminate any wiring problems you might have. Use a quarter between the middle wire and the top cable on the solonoid to make that connection. In other words, short the two terminals together.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: What is going on??

Are you sure that the coil is the correct one, for points? Coils can go bad too. If you are sure that all of this is correct, I would check compression, valve adjustment and timing. I assume, by your last post, that the starter is now spinning the motor over. Spark plugs new? correct heat range? If the bike had EI, it would use a different plug, than the one you would use for points/condenser setup. Not to mention intake rubbers, or carb gasket/oring. I would take the plugs out, and hold on the heads, then spin the motor, over and over, and see if you have and keep a spark. Just don't overdo it, for the sake of the starter motor. Watch the points too, to make sure they are sparking too. You can also check the points by manually opening them from the closed position, with a screwdriver or pick. Or, you can tell me that you have checked all of this before.
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Keep the old Iron on the road....

42 UL long term project
44 Wife and best friend(Keeper for sure)
51 FLH short term project
60 Doc Dytch XLCH Drag only
61 XLCH parts bike
65 XLCH parts bike
66 FLH
68 XLCH parts bike
69 XLH wifies bike
69 XLH daily rider
70 XLH
72 XLH
72 C30 Chevy truck
73 FLH chopper(Shirley the Shovelhead) Daily rider
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