Stumped (again)

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Jaguar F822, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Jaguar F822

    Jaguar F822 Member

    Hi all,

    After a generally good riding year with about 9.000 miles my 03 ultra is throwing me for a loop.
    For the last couple of weeks I have some electrical issues(?). Here's what happening.

    I am happily motoring along and than, without rhyme or reason:

    1) speedometer needle drops to zero
    2) odometer doesn't display anymore
    3) radio/cd player/aux ipod input stops working
    4) check engine light comes on.

    While this happens the speedometer gauge light and radio display light stay on...

    Engine keeps purring without a hitch, but when I have to stop, she will not idle, and stalls. I can keep it slightly revved, and can drive like this all day, but in city traffic that gets old really quick.

    The episodes used to last 15 seconds to 1 minute, than everything would go back to normal, check engine lights goes off, and engine idles normally. Over the last week or so it's happening more frequent. Today, as it was a nice riding day in Washington DC, I took her to work. My commute is about 40 minutes (suburban,and city driving) and it now mostly happens continuously. I am afraid I am going to hurt it if I keep driving this way. so I plan to take the fairing off tomorrow and look for electrical wiring issues?

    Any help, ideas, suggestions will be highly appreciated.

  2. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    1st would be to check and make sure the battery cables are clean and secure on both ends....
  3. Rubyred

    Rubyred Senior Member

    I would also question the battery, have you checked it or changed it lately?
  4. Jaguar F822

    Jaguar F822 Member

    I'll start there, but the battery is relatively new, and seems in good condition. I will check the terminals etc. but; yes, the battery is charged, bike starts without a problem, and when this issue happens, all lights and other electrical stay on.

    Also, when it happens, and the engine stalls (as described below) I can start the engine right back up, so battery, terminals and wiring seems to be ok.
  5. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Does it always happen when the bike is moving? Since it starts right back up it is probably not heat related. I do agree that you need to check the battery cables at both ends and make sure they are clean and tight. Have you checked for codes?
  6. oldhippie

    oldhippie Senior Member

    I'd check your ignition switch circuits. What you describe happened to my car. Over time carbon deposits accumulated on the contacts of my ignition switch. When the circuit heats up, resistance rises because of the carbon buildup and the voltage would drop over the contacts until it was too low (9 volts) causing my car to stall. Use to just restart the car within a minute until it got worse and had to sit for 15 minutes or longer.
    Have you ever determined what code was setting off the check engine light?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  7. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

  8. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Do you have a Vdc meter on your dash? If so, when this happens, what voltage are you reading? Does it drop to battery voltage which at the time is pretty low? If any of this is happening, I would be suspicious of the VR. It may also point towards an intermittent problem with the stator. Open up the inspection cover on the side of the primary (not the derby cover) and take a sniff. See if the fluid smells burnt (pungent nasty smell). Run through the tests for the charging system in Self-Help.

    Harley Davidson Forums

    Let us know.


    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  9. r_k_dragon

    r_k_dragon Active Member

    Only thing I'd add to all the above coverage, if the battery load test is good. Is there a upgrade tuner installed and it so, I'd remove it!

    My run in with the same problems ended up as a short across battery cells! Kaput and it wasn't that old!
  10. RibEye

    RibEye Junior Member

    That year, the main circuit breakers tended to develop continuity problems. Measure the voltage on each side the main circuit breaker, while running/loaded/ignition on. If the votage is not the same on both sides, you may have found it.

    Low voltage could do what you describe. Even gauge-type speedos appear to have processors in them. Processors will shut down below a fixed input voltage threshold, to prevent them from doing unpredictable things. Other stuff could work at lower voltages. I would be concerned about the ECU, which also has a processor in it.

    You will want to pull the code associated with the check-engine light. It will be there, even if you have to find it in the "historical" codes. Codes are you friends, when trying to find out what is up.

    Good luck,
    Rich P