Question about 2003 Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Classic

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Electical short, bike wont start

Installed a new battery, now I have a short somewhere as I get spark when I attempt to connect negative cable. when I try to start I lights come on, but after I hit the switch everything fails. Then nothing happens on secand attempt unless I diconnect the battery and reconnect. may have touched frame with tool when installing new battery, but, it ran for a while after I installed then battery went dead,

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When you shorted with tool you may have caused a wire to burn through insulation to ground? You could try to disconnect wiring until sparking stops.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009


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  • See the diagram below for a visual of your starter installed.
  • The alternator wire goes on top of the battery cable just like it sounds like you did. If something sparked you might have a loose connection from the starter install. The sparks mean there was a real bad direct short somewhere. You will have to look and find it. Remove the negative battery cable until your reinspect your job.


  • If you have any comments please feel free to leave them here.
  • Hope this helps and thank you for using FixYa.

Regards, Tony

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2009 sportster 1200 low. New battery has gone dead in 4 or 5 days. Replaced original battery a month ago. had some light corrosion on the fuse block at that time. cleaned that up as well as possible when...

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But, let's do it this way. Disconnect all the wires off both terminals of the battery and reconnect only the large cable that goes to your starter on the positive side. Now, find the wire that runs from your voltage regulator back towards your battery. On some bikes this wire connects directly to the battery and on others it connects to the starter terminal where the battery cable connects. Disconnect this wire and reconnect any wires that were on the connector with it. What you're doing is isolating the voltage regulator. Now, touch the negative battery post with the negative cable. Watch for a spark. If you see a spark, something else is draining your battery. Now there are certain things that run all the time on your bike such as the ECM needs power all the time, the clock, and maybe a few other things. But if there's a rather large spark, it's probably something else. Also, if it's a large spark with the regulator disconnected, it's probably not the regulator.

Now, remove all the fuses from the fuse box. Remember what fuse goes where. Do the spark test again and notice the size of the spark. Start adding one fuse at the time and doing the test. When you put a fuse in that dramatically increases the size of the spark, your current load is more than likely on that circuit. You'll need a schematic to find out what is on that circuit.

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