Stuck in Costa Mesa, CA-1500 miles from home

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by abselite, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. abselite

    abselite Member

    I am in Costa Mesa, CA visiting family. Rode down last Sunday from WA state.
    Tonight I am 6 miles from families home and the bike begins to sputter, and stops firing on the front cylinder.

    I limped it home and twice the front cylinder fired for maybe 5 seconds and quit again.

    It's an 05 Fat Boy. 88B with 14,000 miles.

    Any ideas, please?
  2. ultrat

    ultrat Senior Member Contributor

    1st off we need to find out if it fuel or electrial / any codes / engine lite on....with your input ,answers ,,the forum & its talent will have answers..
  3. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    With only one cylinder cutting out, it looks like it could be either a mechanical problem with that cylinder or an ignition problem such as plug or plug wire, possibly coil. Be sure the plug is tight, not fouled and the plug wire is attached securely by pushing it on and see if you feel it click on as you push it on. Plug tips where the wire attach can loosen up and cause a misfire.

    See if the plug is gas fouled and this would give an indication that if it is fouled that it isn't firing. Follow through on the troubleshooting then in the ignition system. You may try swapping the plugs in the cylinders and see if it fires in the rear cylinder indicating a problem with the plug wire.
  4. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

    Well, I could think of worse places to be stranded. Glad you were close to family & got back safely, but did any of the above items pan out? I'm leaning toward electrical - what was the spark w/each cyl - both good, or one dead?
  5. eleft36

    eleft36 Junior Member

    This happened to me descending a steep hill, I noticed unusual exhaust popping. At the stop at the bottom it was running on one cylinder and continued to do so until I stopped a a gas station about about a tenth of a mile up the road. I shut the bike down, looked for loose anything, everything was what seemed normal. I started the bike and it idled fine, it revved OK so I proceeded 30 miles home.
    Next day I removed the seat and gas tank and disconnected every electrical connector I could find including the ecm and the crank sensor connector behind the voltage regulator and dabbed dielectric grease on the connector pins.
    Never had a this problem again.



    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    I like Ice' thinking, SoCal is beautiful today, 70's, sun shining, cloudless...opps

    I would look into ignition problem, likely broken hi tension wire (are they the original ones?) fouled plug (check), I even had the little nipple on top of the plug come loose, as well as the brass connectors (happened in my very early bike years on that one).

    Do the simplist troubleshooting first. Further up the line like Eleft says, loose connection, clean with contact/electronic spray cleaner, mate and unmate and coat with dielectric grease.

    Finding an intermittant problem is tough, may need to do "live" troubleshooting with cold spray/heat gun and such at worst.
  7. eleft36

    eleft36 Junior Member

    Forgot to mention I checked the compression when I got home while hot, front 168 rear 165, then I performed task as noted in my previous post.


  8. fisherman124

    fisherman124 Active Member

    youve been on site for awhile.hang in there iam sure they can figure it out for u, they did a broken wire on a sportster handle bar. got the dude back on the road while on vacation. dont skimp on info they want it all. god luck
  9. abselite

    abselite Member

    Thank you for all of the help and advise. I am back home now and here is the rest of the story.

    I checked plug wires and all electrical connections. Pulled the plugs and swapped them in the cylinders. I did everything I could with limited tools and no test equipment.

    The following morning (Saturday) I started it and same thing. It idled ok but as soon as I put it in gear and started rolling, it sputtered for about 100 yards and the front cylinder stopped firing.

    I called for a tow truck and had it towed (paid for via insurance) to Harley Davidson of Orange County and began having nightmares about what this was going to cost me.

    I arrived at HDOC and told Charlie, the service writer the story and that I was passing through and hoping to leave on Monday morning. (I already knew that they would be closed Sunday and Monday) I told him the symptoms. He did a quick ignition diagnostic and said the bike gave him a 'ghost' code and did not have a clue what was wrong with it, but he would put the shop foreman on it.

    He worked on it for an hour and a half. He came walking out to me and said, "Holy (EDIT) , that was a tough one but I figured it out. Your after market Corbin seat was pinching the Power Commander plug and causing it to bend at the junction of the plug. It has been a problem in the process and finally shorted or something. I removed the PC and it is running fine. it'll get you home ok, and when you get home, find another option and your local dealer."

    They rolled the bike back to the front and I waited at the desk for the bill. Charlie came up to me and said, "Your good to go,man!" I asked what was the bill. He said, "Hey, you are on the road and we were glad to help you out of a bind. I'm not charging you."

    :worthy:worthy WOW!!! HDOC-add them to the GOOD dealer list.

    Again, thank you for your replies. I really appreciate it.

    Please read this...
    A Friendly Reminder - Harley Davidson Community
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2010
  10. billyd1

    billyd1 Active Member

    That's what made America great! :s