Question about 1979 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster

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Why can't I get my 1978 1000 sportster to fire, was then it stopped.?

Posted by Anonymous on

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  • Harley Davidson Master
  • 3,506 Answers

1978 is back beyond my knowledge or expertise but:

Check your pick-up sensor located inside the timing cover, behind the adjustor plate. If the filament is not intact you will have no spark.
A defective coil, cam position sensor, or stator will also cause a no spark condition.
Ignition Coil Primary Circuit Test
Remove the coil. THEN set your ohmmeter scale to RX1 and place ohmmeter leads on the primary coil windings A (front of coil) to B (middle of coil), B to C (front of coil) and check for primary coil winding resistance which normal resistance range is 0.5-0.7 ohms. If primary resistance is not within this range check out test results below.

Ignition Coil Secondary Circuit Test
With the ignition coil removed from the motorcycle and the ohmmeter set to the RX1K scale place the ohmmeter leads on the secondary coil windings B (middle terminal) to
R (rear secondary terminal/socket), B to F (front secondary terminal/socket) and check for secondary coil winding resistance which normal resistance range will be 5.5-7.5K ohms. If secondary resistance is not within this range check out test results below.

Test Results
A low resistance value indicates a short in the coil winding which requires coil replacement.

A high resistance value might indicate that there is some corrosion/oxidation of the coil terminals requiring the coil terminals to be cleaned and the resistance test then repeated and if after the test is repeated the resistance is still high after the terminals were cleaned the coil must be replaced.
If there is an infinite ohms or no continuity) resistance value the coil is open and must be replaced.

Some time ago 4wdity posted that:

Take the plugs out of the heads, put them back in the wires, and lay the plugs on the heads so that they have a good ground. Turn the ignition on and then turn it back off. When you turn the ignition switch off, you should see a spark. If you do, then something is wrong with the ignition unit. If you do not see a spark, you have a bad coil or a wiring problem. You can also do this test by "hot wiring" the coil.Anytime you put 12 volts to the coil then stop it, you should get a spark.

If you have spark, it sounds like either the sensor in the timing cavity of the engine is bad or the electronic ignitionunit is bad.

Posted on Oct 14, 2014

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

1998 1200 sportster won't fire or spin over when hitting the button


Hi Anonymous, and the usual suspects are:
1.Ignition/Light Key Switch not in IGNITION position.
2.Engine Stop switch in the OFF position.
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4. Bank Angle Sensor tripped and Ignition/Light Key Switch not cycled to Off and then back to
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You need to remove and completely disassemble the carb. It sounds like the main jet is stopped up or the slide is not operating as it should. If it's been sitting for that long, a carb overhaul is probably what it needs.

Good Luck
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Are you getting spark? I know this seems obvious but check the kill switch if this particular model has one.

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I have a 03 sportster. After about 10 miles when the engin heats up it starts to loose power and starts back fireing then stops. after it cools down she ready to go again.


i would inspec the valves-then chec condition of ignition components or carbs-recommend purchasing clymer repair manual-they hav pages of troubleshootin

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