A stupid headlight question - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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A stupid headlight question

I have a 2000 Sportster 883 XLH with a non-working headlight. The daytime light (the little 5w as it's Europeam) light comes on, but the H4 bulb doesn't work. I have changed the bulb for a new one, still the same.

Should the headlamp illuminate when the ignition is turned on, or only when the is engine running? Previous bikes I've owned where the headlamp only works when the bike is running.

Anyways, this will help me diagnose the problem with a volt meter. With the key turned to on, I get zero through the three pronged plug going into the H4 bulb. Next stop, the switch itself?

Between the switch and the headlamp, is there a plug or does the harness from this switch split somewhere behind the lamp unit?

Which colour is the hi and lo beam wires going into the plug?

THanks.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 11:32 AM
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Sounds like a fuse issue. The lights normally come on with just the ignition on, or to accessory.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I meant to say, all other lights are working. I was unsure, but these bikes only have one fuse that is for all lights? Guess I will check for a headlamp fuse later when I escape from work.

Thanks for your help
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 01:15 PM
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If the fuse is good.... check the condition off the bulb connector. They have been know to fail.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-19-2019, 07:49 PM
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If the fuse is good.... check the condition off the bulb connector. They have been know to fail.
My vote. And if memory serves, if it is bad you can purchase the connector at an auto parts store, rather than HD.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maritimesbob View Post
I have a 2000 Sportster 883 XLH with a non-working headlight. The daytime light (the little 5w as it's Europeam) light comes on, but the H4 bulb doesn't work. I have changed the bulb for a new one, still the same.

Should the headlamp illuminate when the ignition is turned on, or only when the is engine running? Previous bikes I've owned where the headlamp only works when the bike is running.

Anyways, this will help me diagnose the problem with a volt meter. With the key turned to on, I get zero through the three pronged plug going into the H4 bulb. Next stop, the switch itself?

Between the switch and the headlamp, is there a plug or does the harness from this switch split somewhere behind the lamp unit?

Which colour is the hi and lo beam wires going into the plug?
THanks.
(1) Yes.
(2) Put the black meter lead to an engine ground then check for volts at the white and yellow wires in the plug. Try the hi beam switch also.
(3) White and yellow.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 07:05 AM
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I always ask "did you do any wiring of any sorts prior to this happening"?

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 09:15 AM
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(2) Put the black meter lead to an engine ground then check for volts at the white and yellow wires in the plug. Try the hi beam switch also.
(3) White and yellow.
Make sure the connector is plugged onto the headlamp when you do this test, it needs to be done while the circuit is under a load.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, problem solved!

After going through a couple of fuses and elimating one thing at a time I narrowed it down to the hi/lo switch or the harness on the handlebars. I unplugged this harness and the fuse did not blow anymore.

So, I removed the clutch lever and mirror mount, unscrewed the switch mount and found that that the harness was being crushed underneath the clutch mounting ring causing some wires to ground on the handlebars. Wrapped some insulation tape around them and the headlight works just fine.

Can someone post a photo of their Sportster handlebar where the hi/lo switch is located? I want to see how this harness is located in the clutch lever. On mine both harnesses (left and right side) are severely crushed under the brake and clutch lever mounting rings. It doesn't seem like it should be that way!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 06:43 AM
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There should be a dimple in the bottom of the bars under the switch clamps that the wire harness snugs into. Some aftermarket bars don't have the dimples and the harness will get crushed.
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