Question about 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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2005 Harley Sportster 1200 The issue is that almost every time I try to (eletric) start it all of the electrical goes out. I push on the positive battery cable and the lights come on and then when I try to hit the start button many times the electrical will go out again. Sometimes it will start. I have tried to tighten down the positive battery cable but it doesn't seem to always work. I am convinced that it is the positive battery cable...maybe it needs something added or adjusted...Looking for any ideas

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The problem is more than likely INSIDE the battery. It sounds like you've got a bad connection to a cell right at the positive terminal of your battery.

A twelve volt battery is actually made out of six two-volt cells. If you look at a twelve volt battery, count the number of the "filler caps" on the top of the battery. There are six. The same thing appies to a six volt battery. Three two-volt cells, three filler caps. These two-volt cells are connected in series inside the battery to make a six or twelve volt battery. If one of these connections goes bad, the battery quits working. In this case, it's a open circuit. A battery can also "short circuit" on the inside causing it to lose one or more "cells" and dropping in voltage.

In short, take your battery out of the bike and take it to an automotive parts store. Ask them to load test the battery for you. This should tell the story. Battery life in Sporters and Softail model Harleys are often very short, two years. The reason, vibration and heat. If your battery is over two years old, you are probably due for a new one.

Good Luck

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

Testimonial: "even if the battery is firing the bike up most of the time? When it doesn't fire up all of the eletrical goes out...the +cable is moved and all works"

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  • wd4ity
    wd4ity Sep 10, 2010

    Yes, I once drove a Toyota Corola from Atlanta airport to the Macon airport. Turned the car off, went inside for a few minutes, and the car could not start even though I'd just made a 100 mile trip. I got the securtiy guard to jump me off. I went and had the battery tested and it showed nothing wrong. A week later, it did the same thing. The key is that EVERYTHING GOES OUT WHEN THE BATTERY GOES BAD. A weak battery will usually light small dash lights and stuff but it will not light anything, something is wrong inside the battery. They don't exactly use wires to connect the cells, they use the bars but they are soldered on. If the solder joint breaks, It may make contact most of the time but hit a bump or something, it may come loose.

  • williamdep Sep 15, 2010

    I finally brought the bike out to the dealer and they made an adjustment to the positive battery cable and now for two weeks straight it has been working...keeping the fingers crossed....thanks for the reply(s) it is appreciated. wpd

  • wd4ity
    wd4ity Sep 15, 2010

    Yeah, that might work. If the post is broken down inside the battery, if you reposition the battery cable it might hold it into contact. But, here's the next step. The post will break out of the case. I've seen it happen before. We had to use a sheet metal screw screwed into the battery just to get the bike home.

    Good Luck and Ride Safe



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