Question about 2007 Harley Davidson XL 883 Sportster

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No start problem on 07 883 customer sportster. When I hit the starter it either starts or when it does not start you can hear a click like a relay switch. 3 moths ago harley dealer replaced a relay do to bike would shut off while riding. Is there any connection with the two? Any ideas? The bikes no longer under warranty and I don't want to get racked over the coals.

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You need to determine if the solenoid is delivering power to the starter motor terminal when it just clicks. You need to have either a test light or a voltmeter to read 12 volts DC. If, when it clicks, and the meter shows 12 volts at the starter terminal, then the starter motor is in trouble (it could be bad brushes or an open segment on the armature commutator). If you see no voltage, then check the battery side of the solenoid to see if the normally present at all times 12 volts disappears when the starter is tried. If that is so, check the battery cable for a bad wire or connection all the way to the battery. If it stays 12 volts, then the solenoid is bad and should be replaced. Hope that gets you started!

Posted on Sep 27, 2009


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That little black box (about an 1" square by about 1 1/2" high) that's clicking is (probably) the "starter relay", and they do go out over time.

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It sounds like a bad relay or solenoid on the starter. Look on the end of the starter and you'll see a single small wire plugged onto the end of the starter. Pull this wire off and connect a test light or volt meter to the wire. Turn the ignition switch on and press the button. The test light should light up or a meter should show battery voltage every time you press the button. Press the button a dozen or so times. If the light does NOT light up or no voltage, replace the relay that is clicking when you press the button. If the test light DOES light up or you do see voltage, it's the solenoid on the starter. If you don't have a test light or meter, simply replace the relay that you feel clicking and try that. I hate to tell people to "parts swap" as that's not being a mechanic but I'm pretty sure that you just want to get the bike back going as quickly as possible. It's up to you if you want to gamble and simply replace the relay.

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1 Answer

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