Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Power loss after warm up

2003-1200 sportster starts right up, takes off like a bandit, then as you push in the "choke" [after warm-up] it starts to lose power. If you pull the choke out maybe 1/2-3/4 closed it starts running better but still appears to be starving for fuel. I'd have to bet it is a FUEL problem and not the coil. Just started happening about a week ago. Thanks

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Most certaintly a fuel problem. It sounds to me like you might have a high speed jet a little stopped up. I would pull the carb and clean the jets. If the fuel is a little old, and I do mean a little, and the bike sat a little bit, the carbs probably a little varnished. The gasoline we have no days aint nowhere near what it use to be. Clean carb and all should be well. Also for future referance if you know your gonna let the fuel sit more than a couple weeks, I would use a fuel stabilizer and run the bike a while to make sure the stablelizer gets in the carb.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009


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1 Answer

Loss of power

May need to let warm up longer. You usually turn the choke on to start. You then need to turn it off to accelerate. If choke is automatic it needs to be cleaned/adjusted. It would also help to add a fuel system cleaner to your fuel.

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What is the typical warm up time for a 2002 XL1200C Sportster?

Hi David, I usually let my bike idle 2-3 minutes with the choke on then take off, once I get up to speed, push the choke in depending on outside temperature. Good luck and have a nice day.

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

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Sounds like the choke is stuck part closed, check the cable and choke arm function.

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choke is only to be used when there is difficulty in starting the vehicle generally in cold condition. immediately after the engine starts the choke should should be pushed to off AND NEVER TO BE USED WHILE DRIVING.
Also battery has nothing to do with power loss while driving or idling. I would advise calliberation of the carburetor & if problem still persists to get the timing checked.

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One thing I noticed right away is you say full choke for 6 miles, WOW, that might be your cause, one of the spark plugs is gas-fouled. Change out the plugs, let the bike warm up some before you drive it so you don't have to use the choke/enrichener knob as much as you do. Let me know how that works out. BTW, I warm up my carburated HD until no choke is needed before I ride away, it can and does take some time.

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