Question about Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic Motorcycles

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1988model starter does not engage more often than it does engage

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Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} What is the difference in the sound when it engages and when it does not?
What does engage mean to you.
To me it means a loud click sound followed by the engine cranking.
Actually engage is just the click sound.
Cranking is the small electric starting motor forcing the engine to move as if it were actually running. Once it moves just a bit a spark plugs fire and the resulting explosions makes the engine keep going until one of the following happens.
Loss of air/fuel mixture (i.e. run out of gas or air intake blocked)
Loss of spark (i.e. battery low or dead, bad coil, bad plugs)
The two above do not come together at correct time (timing)
Something physically stops the engine from continuing to operate (engine seizes, too much load)

If battery is low starter will not engage or crank.
If electrical connections are bad (usually loose or dirty) current will not flow properly and starter will not engage or crank.
Both can be checked with a multi meter.
Measure battery voltage when attempting to start.
It should be 12-13.2 volts and should not drop below around 10 volts
If it is not dropping but still not engaging/cranking, continue to take voltage readings move from battery toward the starter. When you find a sudden voltage drop, investigate wiring just before that point upstream toward the battery.

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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