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Headlights not working on a 1987 softail - Harley Davidson Motorcycles

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Check fuse and bulb first, then switch and wiring next.

Posted on Oct 14, 2014


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My headlight goes dim and then bright on my 2009 Harley softail custom

Hi, Anonymous if your headlight is not working, keeps burning out, blinking, or is dim the first thing you need to check is the headlight bulb for damaged filaments then check your light circuit fuse, that being said the usual suspects are:
1. Faulty ground or power supply wire to headlight bulb socket.
2. Worn, chaffed, or broken wires in the light circuit.
3. Corroded, broken, or loose pins/sockets in wire connectors.
4. Faulty hi/lo beam switch.
5. Faulty ignition switch.
6. Fuse is good but no continuity on both sides.
7. Faulty wiring between battery positive and headlight bulb socket.
8. Weak charging alternator/generator.
9. Faulty voltage regulator/rectifier, overcharging.
For more information about your issue and valuable "FREE" downloads that you will need please click on the links below and for specific information or questions please feel free to contact me at Good luck and have nice a day.
Harley Davidson Softail series Service Manual
Owner Manuals Harley Davidson USA
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1 Answer

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check power and ground at the headlight socket for high and low. if you have power and ground there the headlight is no good. if not then you will have to trace back to find the problem, but first I would check the headlight switch after finding out if you don`t have power or ground.

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1 Answer

I have a harley softail deluxe 2009 my headlight don;t work when key is turned on low beam my question is if the low beam burn out, the passing lamps didnt work ?

The blinkers should work independently of the headlight unless you have a blown fuse. Check the voltage at the plug on the back of the headlight.

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1 Answer

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What works? Just headlights? Does anything electrical work that does not need the ignition switch to be in the on position? Possibly four way flashers, brake lights, horn, interior light, dash lights in instrument panel as well as headlights should all work without the key in the ignition and in the acc or on position. If this is what you have, then I would say you need to replace the ignition switch.
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I have a 1987 Nissan pickup. With no headlights plugged in, I get 12 volts of power to the headlight plugs. As soon as I plug headlights in, I get no power on the volt-meter.

Are the headlights working ? If so they would pull current thru the switch and leave nothing for the meter.
If not you could have a weak connection between the headlight switch and the source of power, including inside the switch. The connection could be good enough to power the meter but not good enough to power the lights.

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

Spotlights on 2008 heritage softail have stopped working... no other problems and the fuses are good. What else could it be?

Hi Jhawkeye, check the conection from the spotlights to the headlight wiring harness for corroded, broken or loose pins/sockets. Good luck and have nice day.

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1 Answer

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