Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Battery keeps dying

My 2005 sportster will start only if i jump it but when i get it going the battery lite comes on and so does the engene lite. I have replace the battery and had the alternar replaced what is going on?

Posted by Anonymous on

  • ThatDarnOzie Aug 03, 2010

    Do you have anything that is not stock attached to the electical on the bike? eg lights battery tender....

    Also have done any modifications to the bike?



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Take your battery to an automotive parts store and ask them to load test the battery. Make sure you're using a good quality battery as well. You need at least 250 CCA to start your Sportster. The engine may not be big compared to an automotive engine but it is a high performance engine and harder to start.

If your battery is OK, use a DVOM (digital volt ohm meter) to check your charging system. The battery must be fully charged to make this test and get the correct results. Connect the DVOM red meter lead to the positive post of your battery. The black meter lead go to the negative lead of your battery. Put your meter in DC Volts, 20 volts or higher range. Start the engine and bring it up to a fast idle. The meter should climb rapidly to between 14.5 and 14.8 volts. If it does, your charging system is fine. If not, proceed to the next test.

To test the alternator output, find the wires coming from your engine case and the alternator in the font. It should be a round looking plug with two wires running into it. If you can't find it this way, find the voltage regulator and follow the two smaller wires until you find the plug. Unplug the plug. You're going to test the voltage on the alternator side of the plug, not the regulator side. Put your DVOM in AC volts, 30 volts or greater scale. Make sure you are in the AC volt range, DC will not work. Now, you'll see two metal pins or sockets in the plug. You are going to put your meter leads into these metal connectors. Since you're measuring AC voltage, it make no difference which meter lead goes to which pin or socket. So, start the engine and bring it to a fast idle. Insert the meter leads and your meter should read at least 30 volts. If not, your stator is bad. If it does but you reald less than 14.5 volts at the battery, your regulator is bad. I hope this helps.

Good luck

Posted on Aug 09, 2010


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You need to do a complete charging system test. First, put a battery charger on your battery and bring it up to full charge. The accuracy of the test depends on it being fully charged. You will also need a DVOM (digital Volt Ohm meter) and know how to use it.

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If it does not, follow the wires from your voltage regulator to where it plugs into the wires from the engine case. In the plug coming from the engine case, put one of the leads from the DVOM into one socket of the plug and the other lead in the other socket. It makes no difference which lead goes where as the output of the alternator is alternating current. Now, put the DVOM in Voltage, AC, 50 volts or higher range. Make sure you put the meter in AC voltage or you will not get a reading. Again, start the bike and bring to a high idle. You should read 30 volts or higher at high idle. If you do, then the alternator is operating as it should.

Now, since the equipment to test the regulator is quite complicated, most mechanics use this method to test the battery and the alternator. If these two components check out good, they simply replace the voltage regulator. I fixes the problem 90% of the time. Good luck

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