1991 Heritage Softtail Engine Cuts Out??

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by gibbysr14, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. gibbysr14

    gibbysr14 New Member

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    When riding my engine will suddenly just cut off and then backfires once. Did it four times today. Lights remain on. Recently had carb cleaned and adjusted and new ignitiion switch put on. Any thoughts. I just bought this bike and am already frustrated because I cannot ride and depend on the bike to keep running.
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    You first have to find out if it is lacking fuel or spark when this happens and go from there. Being your lights are still on, you can probably rule out the breaker.
     
  3. billst

    billst Member

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    my 95 did the same thing. what i suspect happened was i had to go to reserve the last couple tank fulls and i sucked up some dirt. was going to pull the screen to clean it and the tank but after doing it a few times it quit. winter project instead

    so much for that. it did it again this morning so i drained the tank and pulled the petcock. screen had some rust but nothing serious. cleaned everything up good and put it back together. the wife wanted to go for a tour this evening so we headed out and everything worked smooth for about 70 miles then she just quit.( the bike i mean) this time it stayed off for about 10 seconds then started right back up. it's almost like the key was turned on and off but it never backfires when it starts up again. i'm thinking this suggests lack of fuel. it was dark this time so i was able to notice all lights stayed on. any more suggestions would sure be appreciated. thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2009
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Try opening the drain on the float bowl and catching about a pint or more of fuel in a glass jar. How does it look? If there is anything in the jar but clean gasoline, drop the float bowl and inspect (BTW, what carb is it?). Since you have already cleaned out the tank and the screen in the tank, I would tend to rule that out (would suspect water, but you have emptied the tank, so ...). Add Sea Foam anyway.

    Plan B: Simple stuff first. Check the battery terminals - like take the cables off, wire brush both contact surfaces and put them back on. Check the grounds.

    Plan C: You mentioned a new switch. Who did that, and is it an ignition switch (with key) or the "kill switch" on the bars? I had trouble with corrosion salts on the contacts in my kill switch on my '91. Had to dissassemble them and clean out all that stuff. Used electronics cleaner spray and then a spray lube. Reassembled and voila!!

    Plan D: This is getting more involved, and means debugging the ignition system. Is it original or aftermarket electronic? That will determine next steps.

    TQ
     
  5. billst

    billst Member

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    thanks for the reply tquentin1. i dropped the float bowl( no drain on this one) maybe this will do the trick. i'll take it one step at a time as you suggest. when i put it away in the fall i added stabilizer to the gas and this is supposed to prevent water but who knows. it has the stock carb but has the thunderslider kit put on. this was adhttp://www.hdtalking.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=158091ded when the exhaust was changed to the thunderheader system. i didn't do anything with the switches. that was the first poster to this thread. as far as i know switches,ignition system are all stock except everything on the bike is chrome. i bought this bike a couple years ago with all the mods . any way, i will see what happens now and let you know. thanks Bill

    20 miles and i was dead on the side of the road. good thing i was riding with friends. bike would not start for 15 min. then quit again in 15 miles. managed to get to a bike place in goderich ont. and was diagnosed with a faulty ignition switch.one of the contacts was heating up and tripping the breaker causing the shutdown. he didn't have a switch in stock so routed the ignition wire to the lights onthe switch to let me get home with it. ok all the way home. i won't be doing a lot of driving until the new switch comes in but will update once complete if this was indeed the problem
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2009
  6. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Is this the "keyed" switch, or the "KILL" switch on the handle bars? If the latter, see my Plan C above. You can dissassemble the kill switch and clean the contact to get all the corrosion salts off of the copper. Easy. Will fix the problem until your new gang switches and harness arrive.

    TQ
     
  7. billst

    billst Member

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    it is the keyed switch. i'm going to clean the kill switch also as you suggested and i think change all the breakers. thanks for the help