Difficulty starting

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by horizonchaser, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

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    This has happened to me probably 5 times since i bought my bike used 4 years ago and it happened again yesterday after work. I get out of work, hop on the bike, turn the ignition on, hold down the button 'till the light goes off on my instrument panel, then press down the start button. 99% of the time it always starts but this time it just kept turning over and wouldn't fire. :( After repeated tries, maybe 5, and with the onlookers from work making their usual anti Harley comments, I decided to give it a rest for about 5 min. Tried again and it still sputtered. So I waited about 10 minutes again and tried once ,more and she finally fired up.
    My question is: Why does that happen? I mean, I start my bike all the time without any problems so why does this happen? Do I need to add maybe a fuel additive or something?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Is the bike EFI or carb. Since the problem only happens appox 1 time per year, or 1 time out of 300+ successful starts, you can't use conventional methods to diagnose the problem because your not getting any immediate feedback to the changes you make to the bike.

    Check to see if you happened to log a DTC's. Once the engine is running, has it ever just quit or stopped for no reason. Engine starting is your only issue? No other concerns with hesitation, surging, fuel mileage, engine miss at idle etc

    What's the mileage on bike. What have you done so far (plugs, wires, filters etc) in an attempt to fix this problem. Is the bike bone stock and if not, what changes (stage1, fuel enrichment, black boxes etc) have been made to it.
     
  3. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    If its carbed, when cold I give mine two complete twists of the throttle before hitting the start button. Fires every time like clockwork.
    If its not carbed, when it does start, does it start as if it were flooded with fuel or does it start as it normally does?
     
  4. cool breeze

    cool breeze Active Member

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    I think i'm missing something here hold down what button till the light goes off ? I've owned 2 injected harleys and dont remember holding down a button
     
  5. R. Lewis

    R. Lewis Senior Member Retired Moderators

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    My thoughts also. Not sure what "hold down button" here.Have had 2 EFI & 1 carbd. and ???? button.
     
  6. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

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    Stage one, Dobeck TFI, air breather. I guess I'll just assume it is a freak occurrence that happens on rare occasion and just live with it.

    It start as it normally would, although I swear sometimes it sounds like it backfires but i'm not sure.

    Sorry, didn't mean to be vague. Directly to the left of my throttle on my '03 Ultra are two buttons. The run button, which is the button that i am referring to. and the start button to the left of it. When I start my bike I hold down the run button until the light goes off on my speedometer gauge. Right there in the center is a light that goes on. Don't you have that? When that light goes off, I then press the start button and she fires up ninety nine percent of the time. I just assume that button primed it for starting. What exactly is happening when the aforementioned button is pressed?
     
  7. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Here is the procedure to pull codes. It is from a 2004 manual. Don't know if it will work on a 2003 but no harm in trying.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    You must be referring to the kill switch. However, it shouldn't have to be held down. It should be a standard switch on or off.....
     
  9. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    That would be the engine light icon? I always wait for that light to go out before hitting the starter
     
  10. Mavagrand

    Mavagrand Senior Member

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    +1, Bo. I agree. Sounds like it is the kill switch he's talking about. I wonder if he has stressed that switch by holding it down. Over time, that stress can add up.