Yes the lights are fine, battery is fully charged (also tried car battery to verify). I agree it must have something to do with the starter but it seems strange it won't turn over all all when the plaugs are in but when I remove them (leaving the caps on) they fire and the engine turns over.
You wrote: Probably starter/solenoid
contacts needs to be cleaned or somthing from it sitting. Could even be
the starter relay. If everything else seems to work on the bike then
its probably something with the starter system.
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Re: Harley start trouble
Just your average run of the mill bad starter. When you take the plugs out, you relieve all the compression from the cylinders, therefore there is no load on the starter, and it turns it over. Put the plugs back, and you get the compression back, putting a tremendous load on the starter. Replace the starter and you're good.
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Pull the spark plugs out and hit the starter. This will make sure that the engine is not locked up. If the starter does not turn the engine, put the bike in first gear and have someone push you, making sure the engine is free. If the engine is OK, your starter is probably jammed and needs replaced. That wire getting hot is a dead giveaway something is locked up tight...starter or engine. If ya have a large hi-performance engine in the bike, chances are your stock starter won't do the job.
Either you have a dead short in your wireing or your battery is not charging fully. Use a volt meter your battery will have 12 volts start the bike and it should read 13 plus then take it up to 2000 rpm above idle anyway it should read 14 plus. If you dont have these numbers then you have a stator or regulator problem or both. You may be geting a slight charge when running but not enough to keep the battery peaked out.
first check your battery connections to be sure they are tight. then check all the grounds for clean connections and to be sure they are tight as well. battery could be fully charged but cant handle a load, you may want to have the battery load tested by your local shop. keep me posted to what you find and if needed I can give you more information later.
first ya gotta figure out what clicks - is it the relay, or the starter ? In either event - you'll need a multi meter or voltmeter to trouble shoot it.... but since u just replaced the battery - start by checkin the battery connections especially at the starter. Torque em and rotate em to grind em in and make a good connection. If that s not it - you have a bad solenoid or starter motor or relay. oh - before you start replacing stuff - make sure ya gotta full charge from the battery
You've got something that's pulling from the battery. It could be as simple as a loose connection or bare wire touching the frame, it could also be a bad relay, and this will generally show when testing for an open circuit. Check any added electrical devices. Also, keep in mind that the system on a Harley doesn't charge the battery, it only keeps it topped at where it's at. So, if you have a half charge on the battery, you can ride to Hawaii and back, and you'll still only have a half charged battery. This is where a battery tender comes in helpful for garage time. I'm afraid you're just going to have to start tracing wires, and checking relays.