'04 With Only a Loud Click

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by rnoser, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. rnoser

    rnoser New Member

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    I've been hunting all over the web looking for help, and this forum seems to have the best information around. I'm hoping somebody can help!

    I have a 2004 Sportster that I took out for a ride today with the wife. At our last stop prior to starting back home the bike simply would not start. I'll spare you the long story of the public transportation ride home in the rain. Suffice it to say the bike and I were not on her favorite list by the end of the day.

    All it does is a single loud click when the ignition switch is pressed. I don't recall any odd behavior leading up to when I parked it. The three other starts prior were uneventful -- the usual cool weather hard start, than two fairly instant starts.

    The battery seems to be OK. I'm looking for my lost multimeter to verify, but the head light is very bright. I've had a dead/dying battery before so I'm fairly certain that this is not the case. To be sure I plugged it into my battery tender for a couple of hours. I tried it later in the evening with no change in symptoms.

    I tried to see if there were any diagnostic codes available using the instructions elsewhere on this site. No luck there either -- all came up with "none."

    I suspect it's the starter solenoid based on previous experiences with cars. Unlike my car experience, it is just one loud click on the bike whereas in the cars it was a series of clicks.

    Any help/advice would be very appreciated. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    From what you describe, two things come to mind. The first would be bad contacts in the starter solenoid causing the no start condition which would require opening up the solenoid to fix or replace completely. The second would be battery terminals/cables that need a cleaning and re installation. Also do the other end of the both cables to be sure on the solenoid and ground.

    The click you are hearing, is this a heavy one like the solenoid throwing or a click like a relay energizing?
     
  3. rnoser

    rnoser New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. The click is definitely loud and heavy sounding. It's as if the sound is from a physical source and not electrical.

    I'll check out the battery terminals when I get home this evening.
     
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    That sounds like the solenoid then. Put your hand on the solenoid and hit the start button. You should be able to feel the vibration there.
     
  5. rnoser

    rnoser New Member

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    Sorry for the delay in response, but I had to go out of town for a couple of days.

    I had some time tonite to take another look at the bike. I choose the easy route and checked the battery terminals. After wrestling the battery out there was a very small amount of corrosion on the terminals. I cleaned them off and wrestled the battery back in. It fired up on the first try!

    I'm still concerned about the state of the starter. I'd hate to have another repeat of this past weekend -- especially with the wife in tow. In your opinion, does just a little corrosion cause this problem or was I just lucky to have the bike fire up tonite?

    Thanks again for your tips!
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    I've seen where you couldn't even see the corrosion and the connection was bad causing the problem.