Question about 2001 Harley Davidson XL Sportster 883

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Motorcycle starts and will run for 3to 5 minutes and will die out while riding and will not start after it dies out but after 5 minutes it will start again and run for a short period of time i put new fuel filter and changed plugs i looked at the new plugs after i had rode it they were black like the plugs i had taken out.bike has not been rode alot in the last couple of months

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Ok, you've either got a lose of spark problem or a fuel problem. To solve your problem, you've got to figure out which one you've got. The next time it does this, take a spare set of spark plugs and put them in the plug wires. Ground them good to the engine and press the start button while watching them. Do you have a good spark. If so, now you've narrowed your problem to a fuel issue. If not, you've got an electrical problem.

Fuel problems are the simpliest. First, loosen but don't remove your gas cap and ride the bike. If this fixes the problem, replace the fuel cap as the vent valve in the cap has went bad. Check for full fuel fuel flow through the petcock. Your bike may have one of the vacuum operated petcocks. These are notorious for giving problems. I'd suggest replacing it with a high quality manually operated petcock if it proves to be your problem. To test it, remove the fuel hose and the smaller vacuum hose on the rear of the petcock. Using a hand operated vacuum pump. apply vacuum to the nipple on the backside of the petcock. You should have a full flow of fuel through the petcock. If not, replace the thing.

If you don't have a spark when you check the plugs, start carrying a can of "component cooler" with you. The next time it does this, spray the ignition module and see if that brings the bike back to life immediately. Try spraying the pickup module in the timer cavity. You may have to drill the rivets out of the cover to get to this component. Do not replace the rivets with standard rivets,,They're special rivets, get them a the Harley shop. When you spray something with the component cooler and your bike come back to life immediately. You've found a temp problem. Replace that component.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Aug 06, 2010

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