Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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My 2003 sportster 1200 sputtered this morning and quit. I tried to start it and it would turn over and sometime like a small backfire but would not stop. What could be the problem?

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Sounds like it ran out of gas. Yeah, and I bet the fuel tank is full. Reach under the fuel tank to the petcock and pull the fuel line off. If you've still got the vacuum operated petcock, no fuel should flow out. But, if you try to start the engine, the vacuum should open the petcock and allow fuel to flow to the carb. Press the start button and watch for fuel to run out, catch the fuel in some sort of container.

If no fuel runs out, you've got a bad petcock. I've seen this at least a hundred times. Those petcocks are the worst thing Harley ever did in my opinion. You can take the petcock out of the tank, disassemble it and look for a hole in the diaphragm or you can replace it with a high quality manually operated petcock. I recommend a Pingle. They're pricey but well worth the money.

To check your diaphragm, take the four small screws out of the back of the petcock. Remove the plate watching for the small spring and needle thats under the plate. Hold the diaphragm up to the light and gently stretch it and look for a hole. If you find a hole, buy a replacement diaphragm at your local Harley dealer and reassemble your petcock.

Hopefully, this will help you fix your problem. If not, write back and give me some more information.

Good Luck

Posted on Jul 29, 2010

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For more information about your issue and valuable "FREE" downloads that you will need for viewing or printing please click on the blue links below and for more specific information or questions at no charge please feel free to contact me at Good luck and have a wonderful day.
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Have a 2001 1200 sportster , while ridding after a bout 20 miles it starts to cut out then it will shut down. sometimes it will start back up after a couple of minuets but there has been a couple of...

It is a Harley, what did you expect? Just kidding, look for fuel flow issues, like filters. The key to this issue is exactly what the cut out is like....if it is sharp, perhaps with backfire, look at ignition components. Overheating is an issue.

if the cut out is smoother or anaylog in nature, look for fuel and filter issues.

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