Question about Harley Davidson FLHRC Road King Classic Motorcycles

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99 road king classic won't start. Makes loud clattering sound when start button is depressed. Put in new battery, cleaned all connections, installed new start relay and still the same problem. Getting 12.7 volts at the starter with the switch on but drops to 1 - 2v when start button is depressed. Also small wire at starter gets only about 2v when start button is depressed.

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Since you installed a new battery and starter relay and cleaned all the connections, can't be but one thing left, the starter. Check the voltage at the battery. When you depress the start button, it shouldn't drop below 11 volts. If it drops to the 1-2 volts you mentioned, you've got a bad battery even if it is new.

If you're checking the voltage at the small green wire at the starter with it connected, you may be getting a bad reading. Unplug the wire and then check it. Should be 12 volts or better.

The starter is a Nippondenso starter. The starter motor is the "round part" on the bottom and the solenoid is the "pentagon shaped" part. When you depress the start button, the voltage pulls in the plunger in the solenoid. Once it's pulled in, the voltage holds it in. There is a coil inside the solenoid called "the hold in coil" that does just that. If it's not doing it's job, the plunger will be pulled in only to allow it spring back and then be pulled in again only to spring back and on and on. The plunger running very quickly in and out causes a loud clattering noise. It may be time for a new starter. They can check it out for you at your local shop.

There is a way to "Test" your starter motor. On the back of the starter there is a pentagon shaped plate that is held on by three small screws. Remove the plate and you will see the plunger of the solenoid. Make sure the bike is in neutral or you're in for a real shock. Take a large screwdriver and push the plunger inward until the contacts make. Your engine should turn over and it will start if the ignition switch is on. You don't need the switch on to do this test though. If the bike is in gear, it's going to lurch forward so make sure it's in neutral. This test will verify that everything else is good only the solenoid is bad. Problem is, you have to buy the starter complete unless you want to do the work to change everything out. I think you can order just the solenoid but you'll have to swap all the "guts" out the old starter into the new solenoid.

Posted on Oct 07, 2009

Testimonial: "Very clear and concise advise. Thanks tk"


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