Question about 2005 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom

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My 89 softail takes 10 mins of riding rough with the lights on till it settles down, then it is awesome

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Right off the bat, I'd say your bike is jetted on the lean side. It doesn't run well when cold. Once it gets to full temp, it runs fine. Consider going up one jet size on the slow jet. It should be a #42 jet if it's stock. Go to a #45, the next step up.

Good Luck

Posted on Sep 08, 2010

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  • paulgr748 Sep 08, 2010

    Hi Guru, this would be OK but the only time I have an issue is when I first run the bike with lights on, with them off bike is sweet as, then after running for 10 mins the lights have no effect and it runs all good.
    Battery is fine and charging is fine. Cheers

  • wd4ity
    wd4ity Sep 08, 2010

    So, you're saying that wihout the light on, it runs fine. With the light on, it runs crappy until after you've run the bike for ten minutes or so. Strange. I'd run a charging test on the battery when I first started the bike up and see how long it takes to bring the battery up to full charge. Use a DVOM (digital Volt Ohm Meter) and connect the red meter lead to the positive post and the black meter lead to the negative post. Put the meter's function switch in DC Volts, 20 Volts or greater. Read what the meter says. It should read just over 12 volts. Now, start the bike while watching the meter. It should not drop below 11 volts during the starting cycles even with the light on. Once the engine starts watch the meter and it should build up to 14.5-15.0 volts within a couple of minutes. If not, something is wrong.

    The first thing to check is the battery. Take it to an automotive parts store and ask them to load test the battery. Most places won't charge you anything for this service.

    If the battery is good, check the output of the alternator. Look for the wires coming from the voltage regulator going to the front of the engine cases. You should find a plug in the line somewhere. Unplug the plug and look at the end coming from the engine. It should have two metal contacts in it. Insert the leads of the DVOM into the plug, one lead into each contact. Put the function switch of your meter in AC VOLTS, 50 volts or greater scale. Start the engine and bring it to a high idle. You should be reading 25 volts AC or better. If not, you stator is bad.

    If you're getting 25 volts or greater out of the stator but low on the battery, I'd replace the voltage regulator.

    This is my best guess as to what the problem is with your bike. It's either an electrical or fuel problem. I've never heard of a headlight making a bike not run correctly as long as it had a good charging system on it. I remember back in the old days, we'd charge the battery on our bike and ride until it started to sputter when the generator had quit working. Of course, the headlight would shorten our riding time and cause the sputtering sooner. Back then, we weren't required to ride with the lights on nor did we have to wear a helmet. The good old days when you could actually ride free.

    Good Luck

  • wd4ity
    wd4ity Sep 08, 2010

    On your Softail, the regulator plugs into a plug in the front of the engine case right at the left end of the oil filter. I thought I was working on a Sporty for a moment there. The AC voltage should be 30 volts or greater on your Softail.



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