Question about 1979 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster

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Electrical/starting problems help needed please

I had previously had a problem with finding the fuse block for my blinkers on my 02' Sportster, I did locate it and fixed that problem. HOWEVER I went to remove the battery to elemenate any other electrical problems while rebuilding my bike. While un-doing the postive battery cable my wrench touched the frame and arced pretty good. I immediatly checked the fuses and none blown. When I turn the key on everything works....blinkers , high light indacator, tail lights ect. BUT it will not crank now and I noticed when I turn the key on the oil indacator light does not work. If anyone has had or done this and knows what I need to do to fix this error I would be greatly appricated.

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  • Anonymous Jan 16, 2009

    I have a sort of similar problem, I have a 79 sportster and my headlight comes on when I turn the key but when I hit the starter switch, nothing happens. I know the starter is good because I connected the solenoid to the big lug on the starter and it cranked. Could it be the circuit breakers behind the battery?

  • SGTBob Mar 24, 2009

    I did EXACTLY the same thing happen on my '81 XLH Sporty. Briefly touching the frame with the 10mm wrench while disconnecting the positive terminal. The way that HD has placed the battery into the frame makes removing the battery VERY difficult. Mine won't start now either. I'll recheck all of the connections within the loop, just in case. Disconnecting the ground terminal first is VERY difficult as well. Thanks


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Under the seat you have a ignition relay replace it and it will start..
you can drop the battery out of the case and unloosen or tighten the battery and replace it back in the cradle..

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

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There should be a circuit relay breaker that may have blown. If all fuses are good, try to locate the circuit breaker (about 3/4 square" black box) Usually behind the battery box, possibly mounted to the fender. If you find it and access it, change it. Another problem, depending how long the bike has been sitting and temperatures, is corrosion build up on the solonoid contacts. I've had to pull the solonoid apart and using a very fine metal file, remove the green corrosion build up. Do not use emery cloth! The glue on the paper will come off on your contact plate. Check the contact shoulder's as well. I've had to shim them up at times. Hope this helps.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008

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There shouldn't be any fuses associated with shorting out the battery. It's all local at the point of the wrench contact. Have you checked the bulb if it 's not an led or circuit board and the circuit to it for power? Also check the wiring to the oil pressure switch on the engine. Recheck the connections on the battery to make sure they are clean and tight , this may be the reason for not cranking now since you had them off. You can bridge the small connector on the starter solenoid to the big lug on the starter to verify the starter itself, but make sure it is in neutral first. If the key is on, it will start, with the key off, it will just crank. In the future, ALWAYS disconnect the negative cable first and reconnect it last to prevent this from happening.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008

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No Turn Signal Operation (blinker)The turn signal lights in your car are a basic electrical system that controls the front and rear blinker lights to alert the intended direction of the vehicle. We have listed some of the most common problems and repair troubleshooting tips below:
Troubleshooting Procedure
To start troubleshooting this problem:
  • Turn the key to the on position (do not start engine)
  • Inspect the system fuse located in the fuse panel and replace if needed. If you cannot find the location of the blinker fuse consult your owner's manual or an online repair manual
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