Question about Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster Motorcycles

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My 1973 harley xlch has 12 volts at points even closed

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  • Harley Davidson Master
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It should have 12 volts going through the points when they are closed but when they open the current stops flowing through the points and that fires the coil.

Posted on Oct 18, 2014

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: Hi i am looking for

I don't think i've ever seen a service manual for the '73 models. There seems to be a gap in the service manuals. You can use an earlier or later year model as the Sportster didn't change that much in those years. I would get one that includes the "long" oil pump. They probably won't be available online for a free download either. Harley Davidson is very protective of their copyrighted materials. Clymers makes a good manual with a broad range of coverage. Post any problems you have here and we can probably help you.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Nov 17, 2010

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1 Answer

On my 2001 Harley Electra Glide does the coil keep 12 volts all the time or does it drop to 7.5 volts when it is running and what gives it the 12volts


Charlie, Charlie, Charlie I guess you didn't like my last 3 answers but if you want my help you need to contact me at xlch@mail.com I am a retired Harley Tech of 35 years with credentials to die for, what do you say, I promise I don't bite

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Hi, Torri and the usual suspects are:
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2. Severely discharged or a damaged battery, should have 12.5 volts or better and be able to pass a load test if necessary.
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5. Spark plug cables in bad condition, shorting/leaking, spark plug cable connections loose check for spark leakage in the dark.
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http://www.carlsalter.com/pdfs/Harley%20Davidson-SPORTSTER-TROUBLESSHOOTING-%281986-2003%29-TROUBLESHOOTING%20MANUAL%20CYCLETECH-ENG.pdf
http://www.carlsalter.com/pdfs/Harley%20Davidson-Sportster_86-03_Repair_Manual.pdf
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Hi, Kyle your tail light bulb socket contacts should have a constant 12 volts on one and 0 volts on the other until the brake lever/pedal is depressed making the other contact 12 volts if the small filament is constantly burning but the large filament does not light up when the brakes are applied then the problem is a faulty new bulb or the bulb contacts are not making full contact with the socket contacts because the spring behind the contact board has collapsed due to rust and old age or the contact board is stuck in the socket housing because of dirt and or corrosion thus not fully extending to make a solid connection. This can easily be fixed by applying a drop of solder on both light bulb contacts. If your brake light socket contact does not get 12 volts when the breaks are applied then you have a faulty brake light switch or a break in the wiring that goes from the switch to the tail light, a test light and wiring diagram now become your best friends. For more information about your issue and valuable "FREE" downloads that you will need please click on the links below and for more specific information or questions at no charge please feel free to contact me at xlch@mail.com. Good luck and have a nice day.
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You are missing something here. If you have check all above then you must have a spark. Battery maybe, only joking. Use a voltmeter to confirm primary circuit. Check for 12 volts at the points when open (bike turned on).Check for 0 volts when points closed. Check both sides of primary side of ignition coil, one should be 12 volts when points are open or closed, and the other connect should be 12 volts when points open and 0 volts when points closed. To allow for losses in wiring ) 0 volts may be up to .5 or there abouts but not 2 or higher. If this is the case, you have a damaged wire. If all o/k then coil is the problem. simplest way to check is by replacement as static resistance checks can be misleading. Coil could be arcing internally.

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My 72 sportster is getting power to the coil but no power to the terminal leading to the points. Any advice?


remove the wire from the points and check for 12 volts, if you have it then you have a short in the points or wire installed against ground, or just the points were closed. Brian

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2 Answers

Just finished 12 volt conversion on 49 V8 flathead. Starter engages but engine won't start. Appears to be getting fuel.


You might not have spark as the 12 volts needs a ballast resistor or the points burn out preytty quick. 8 volts at the coil in run with the points open and 0 with the points clsed and battery voltage at the coil when cranking. coil wire near the intake manifold while cranking should jump at least 2 inches. Closed points should be 0 volts at the neg on the coil. pos and neg should be the same 12 volts with the points open. if not either the coil or the points are bad. The condenser can fail and no spark with all the rest right

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1 Answer

Wiring harness 1974 sportster???


I am assuming your bike is stock, or close to it. In 1974, all h-d's used a battery coil ignition with wasted spark. Battery positive flows from the ignition switch to the coil, through the coil primary winding to the points, then open or shorted to negative (through the chassis) depending on the points being open or closed. When the engine is turning over, this is what happens: The small cam that operates the points has the points in the closed position, so battery current is flowing through the coil primary, through the closed points to negative. This causes the primary winding inside the coil to set up a magnetic field. When the cam starts to open the points, the current tries to bridge the gap. If we let this happen, the big arc between the point surfaces would burn up in a hurry, and the plugs would not fire for the following reason: The ignition coil is a transformer. It has a primary and secondary winding.The secondary winding has many more turns of wire than the primary. When the secondary winding "cuts" magnetic lines of force a larger voltage is induced in the secondary. In the case on your sporty, we are boosting 12 volts to over 10,000 volts. This depends on 2 things: The number of lines of force and the speed they are cut. So, when the points just start to open, the condenser absorbes the current until the points are open enough to prevent arcing. Then the current flow through the primary winding stops. The magnetic field quickly collapses, cutting through the secondary windings that are connected to the spark plugs. The resulting high voltage (pressure) Jumps the gap on both plugs and lights the fire. One of the cylinders is on the exhaust stroke so that spark is wasted. So: ignition on : 12v at coil positive. With points closed, 0 volts at coil negative. If you read voltage here, the points are dirty or open or the wire from the coil to the points is open. Points open: 12 volts at coil negative. To check for spark, you don't have to crank the engine. Just manually opening the points should fire the plugs. After you get the plugs firing, post again and I will tell you how to razor tune this thing. It should start instantly with a perfect idle. Hope this is clear.

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