Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Hugger

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When i went to start it the ignition key worked fine & all lights came on but when I hit the start button everything went black - as if the circuit breaker kicked in. what would be making the circuit breaker kick in? I checked the 4 fuses & they are fine & the battery has a full charge still. I know that must mean something shorting out but where do I start looking? Denise

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Take the battery out and take it to an automotive parts store. Ask them to load test the battery. Sometimes a battery will short out internally and do this. I have a diesel pickup that has done it twice and hit has two batteries. Everything seems fine until you hit the starter, then "bang" everything goes dead and in the truck, both batteries are fried.

On your bike, if it's a short somewhere, when you hit the start button, you should be able to hear and feel the main circuit breaker break. Then, a few seconds later, you should be able to hear it reset. If it is the breaker, you'll need a schematic to determine what is one each fused circuit. The reason you need to know that is because whatever is causing it is NOT on a fused circuit or it would blow a fuse instead of trip the main breaker.

If you don't have a schematic, I have one for a '99 model. It should be about the same. If you'll contact me off forum, I'll e-mail you a copy. This forum will not allow me to send a file over 150kb in size. If I reduce the size that much, when you blow the picture back up it's so distorted that you can't make it out. contact me at Remind me of what you need.

Good Luck

Posted on Sep 29, 2010

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It sound as though the starter is grounded or the wire going to the starter

Posted on Sep 30, 2010

  • marc brockwell Oct 02, 2010

    i think this would be more of the problem than a bad battery, sportys are famous for starter problems especially the older ones. but you always need to know that your battery is hot enough to power the system.


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Yes instrument lights at least should come on.
Power goes from the battery to the ignition switch via the main fuse, & then splits to ignition & lights (via auxiliary fuses if present) which are separate circuits.
The problem could be an auxiliary fuse (if fitted) then contacts inside the ignition switch or wiring/connections from the ignition switch out to the ignition circuit
That is presuming the cluster light bulbs work!

Hope this helps ( if so please mark as very helpful)
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