To replace entire Harness or not

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by LadyHarley, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. LadyHarley

    LadyHarley Member

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    Hi everybody! This is my first posting, I just registered yesterday and am so loving the knowledge that is here!

    So, let me get straight to the point. I went for a short ride this weekend and my baby whom I call "Liberty" (XL883C) was acting up a bit. She was riding smooth and cruising along and then...hesitation, POP, and back to cruising like nothing happend. It startled me to say the least. This happened several times. The engine check light would come on and then go off and the spedometer would flucuate. I chalked it up to needing an oil and plug change. My headlamp had also been "burnt out" so I headed to the HD store and got all the stuff I needed to give my baby some TLC.

    After I changed the oil, filter, and plugs-I went to change the headlamp...the entire connecter and rubber mount around bulb was COMPLETELY melted and the wires charred. UH-OH! And she is still doing the same Popping as previously mentioned:(

    So now what? One of my buddies says that I need to replace entire harness, another says to trace it and replace shorted wire. I am going to take it into HD to get tested, but was wondering what you guys thought:) Thanks! Leslie
     
  2. Slo-Ryd

    Slo-Ryd Junior Member Contributor

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    Have them check for a short in the harness and also what wattage bulb is in there now. For that connecter to melt like that indicates that either a higher wattage bulb may have been installed at some point in time. Your bulb should be a 60/55 Watt H4. I've seen folks try to use 100 watt bulbs in an effort to increase the light output and end up melting the harness/socket or worse.
    In any case, I would have the harness replaced rather than trying to repair what is already obviously damaged.
     
  3. av8rjim84

    av8rjim84 Member

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    When it comes to electricity, best not to take any chances. If you suspect the wiring harness has a problem, it is time for a new wiring harness. You can never be too careful as a short can cause damage to just about everything on your bike. Not to mention the risk of electrical fire brewing under your seat. Now that is a scary thought.
     
  4. W1ld Card

    W1ld Card Member

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    It depends on how "electrically capable" you are.

    If you've got solder, flux, a decent iron, heat-shrink, extra wire, electrical tape, and a good multimeter, I say screw replacing the harness ($$), and just find the problem(s) and fix it yourself. Just make sure to do a professional job, and not half-butt it like so many P.O.'s seem to do.

    Beware, the problem may be more thorough than you are prepared for.

    I'd start with the obvious culprits, the headlamp connector, along with all of the wiring that goes up to it. Make sure no fuses are blown in the box, as well.

    Failing that, you'll have to take the harnesses apart and inspect them, see if there is any melting going on.

    And, of course, you'll want to test the wires, making sure that they are all NOT shorting out on each other.


    This is just how I work. I'm the type of guy who NEVER takes anything in to a shop or dealer. If I can't fix it myself, I won't buy it. It would probably actually be easier to take it in and have them deal with it, but far more expensive. My method is pretty much free :D

    Good luck, let us know what the issue is when you get it figured out.
     
  5. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Having a single burned/melted headlight connector would not steer me into changing out a wiring harness. Changing a complete wiring harness is not a small task. You can't have a downstream short that caused the bulb socket to melt. It probably was just a high resistance connection right at the headlight bulb or an incorrect wattage bulb which was earlier suggested.

    You also said the check engine light came on. That is the ECM trying to tell you something. Extract the codes to see what your dealing with.
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    To add to all that has been said here, the burnt socket and rubber surround could be melter from a poor connection on the bulb socket also. If the connectors are not a tight fit, they generate heat which over time will do just what you have found in yours. As also mentioned an oversize bulb could be a contributing factor too. If the wire is still somewhat flexible and not stiff, they harness may not need replacement at all but the connector may need it. They are available as a stand alone part from the dealer.

    As far as the popping you didn't mention if it is carbed or fuel injected so it's hard to offer a suggestion. More than likely it's a carb which would require some rejetting.

    Harley Davidson Community
     
  7. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    04 sporty will be carbed fi appeared on the sporty in 2007
    I would tend to think that if there were a wiring issue the poor running may have been caused by voltage variations
    i would not spend too much time looking at the carb till the wiring is all sorted then see how it goes

    Brian
     
  8. Slo-Ryd

    Slo-Ryd Junior Member Contributor

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    This leads me to requestion what the OP meant. Hopefully the harness you intend on replacing if you choose to go that route is just from the headlight bucket to the main harness with the two plastic connecters. LadyHarley is that correct?
     
  9. LadyHarley

    LadyHarley Member

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    Good morning!! Wow, what great feed back...Thanks so much! I am not an "electrical capable" person what so ever, therefore I did end up taking her to the HD shop.

    GREAT NEWS!! It was only one simple connector behind the headlamp that needed replaced, a $20 fix! And, apparantly...the electric issue did have something to do with her popping and intermittently spiking. Something to do with the fuel gathering up and not being burned because it was missing revolution from electrical issue.

    In any case....she is fixed and running awesomely beautifully, she is ready to go play with the big boys again:p !!

    Now on to my next project....foot pegs for my 5 year old.
     
  10. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Glad it turned out to be something small. It's nice when the $$$ can stay in your pocket for a while.:D