Question about 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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Starter doesn't catch, the solenoid clicks continuously

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Look at the end of your starter from the right hand side of your bike. You'll see a plate that is shaped kind of like a pentagon, five sided. It's held on by three small screws. Disconnect the battery and remove the screws and take the plate off. Under the plate, there will be a plunger and a spring. Take these out. You'll see two large copper contacts inside the solenoid. There is also a large copper washer around the plunger. When you push the start button, the starter relay closes and sends current to the solenoid. That current pulls the plunger inward and the large copper washer is supposed to make contact with the two large copper contacts on either side of the solenoid transferring high current voltage to the starter motor. Now, Look at the copper contacts and see if the large washer has burned a place in either or both of the side contacts. If so, you need to replace the contacts You can get everything you need as a kit from aftermarket sources or you can buy the parts individually from Harley.

Also look to see if the two contacts are "flat' against the coil in the back of the solenoid. If someone has tried to tighten the nuts of the starter cables, sometimes the contacts will rotate with the nut. When this happens. the large washer contacts the "twisted" contact but cannot contact the other one. They both must be "flat" against the coil.

To test the setup, reconnect the battery and reinstall the plunger. Make sure your bike is in neutral with the ignition switch off. Use a big screwdriver and push the plunger straight inwards until it stops. The engine should turn over. If not, you've got other starter problems.

Hope this helps.
Good Luck

Posted on Jul 22, 2010

  • slicksixes1 Apr 08, 2011

    what happens if you did not remove the battery

  • wd4ity
    wd4ity Apr 08, 2011

    I'm sorry but I don't really understand your question. Whenever you are experiencing starting problems, your first check should be the battery. You need to have the battery "load tested". There is a difference between just testing the battery with a voltmeter and doing a load test. With no "load" on the battery, it may well show 12 volts or more. Most voltmeters are designed not to put a load on the circuit you are testing with them. The load test is specifically designed to put a load on the battery. It should make the battery provide about a 100 amps of current. Then is when you'll see if your battery is any good. You could very well have a shorted cell in the battery and it's only putting out 10 volts or less. If you try to start the bike with a voltage this low, the starter will draw more current to try to start the engine. This higher current flow will burn up the windings in the starter and melt battery terminals and insulation on the cables. The higher current flow is what creates the heat, not the low voltage. So, always load test the battery when having starter problems. It's the next step after checking for clean and tight connections.

    Good Luck


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Please try to verify that your battery is fully charged,lights and horn may be a good enough indicator especialy if it is low. The clicking sound may just be low voltage.Check the condition of both ends of the battery cables.

Posted on Aug 05, 2010


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