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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a 2004 1200c with only 9200 miles. When I picked it up the PO said the battery had drained and he jumped it and it started. I rode it and it ran great so I bought it and rode it 60 miles home but it wouldn't restart. Thought it needed a new Battery and just installed one but it still starts intermittently. It never spins the motor but occasionally it fires and runs good. More often than not though it just give a loud click and then nothing. Everything, lights etc. all work just no motor turnover. Could it be the solenoid? Starter? Any way to tell w/o just replacing things?
Thanks,
Dan
 

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Kicking Rocks...
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Follow proper procedure for installing the battery...
It's a pia on sportys
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It did the same thing with the old battery. I installed this new one and did it properly, all lights work and it starts sometimes but won't spin the motor. Out of about 30 tries it might start, run good. Shut it off and big Click, not click click click. Even when it starts the motor must be at just the right point and it fires but the starter doesn't actually spin the motor over it just fires. I don't trust it to stop anywhere!
 

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It did the same thing with the old battery. I installed this new one and did it properly, all lights work and it starts sometimes but won't spin the motor. Out of about 30 tries it might start, run good. Shut it off and big Click, not click click click. Even when it starts the motor must be at just the right point and it fires but the starter doesn't actually spin the motor over it just fires. I don't trust it to stop anywhere!

Explain how you installed the battery... Step by step.
 

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Kicking Rocks...
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If it wasn't as below, check again....

~ per SCHMIDTYS
On '04 and up Sportsters there's a specific procedure for removing and reinstalling the battery and if not followed will result in the battery negative cable loosening up at the terminal every time .
1) Remove the battery hold down strap .
2) Remove positive cable from terminal .
3) Disconnect negative cable from the top of trans .
4) Slide battery out pulling the negative cable with it .
5) Tighten negative cable to battery terminal with cable pointing down.
6) Start battery into place feeding negative cable back in and down to trans .
7) Reconnect positive cable to terminal and install hold down strap .
8) Reconnect negative cable to top of trans .
 

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Did you charge the battery fully before you installed it? Many folks skip this important step. Just a thought.
 

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Change that process around just a little, remember... the negative should always be disconnected before touching the positive cable.

When reinstalling, always connect the positive first, then connect the negative.

When working around any battery, you should never touch a wrench to a positive terminal unless the negative is disconnected.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
1 removed holddown strap
2 disconnect the ground strap at the engine PIA! Then removed old battery
3 disconnected the positive
4 removed main fuse disconnect
5 removed battery
6 charged new battery
7 reinstalled new battery reverse order

I am going to trickle charge new battery tonight and see if that helps. If not I guess I have to assume the solenoid or starter is faulty. What else can be wrong?
 

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Are absolutely sure you have a solid connection? The batteries usually come with a spacer to ensure a solid connection. Double and triple check that. It's an 04, wouldn't hurt to replace the relays plus they are cheap. Don't it's something as big as a stator or solenoid based on what you've said.


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Check your battery cables for breaks internally with a ohm meter, aka as wiggle check. Have you removed positive lead at starter?, could need cleaning? I don't know much about a Sporty starter, can you get at solenoid check the contacts. Start switch on handle bar may have issues?
 

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The Sportster positive cable has been prone to breaking at the starter stud. They break inside the insulation making it difficult to check.
 

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I am going to trickle charge new battery tonight and see if that helps. If not I guess I have to assume the solenoid or starter is faulty. What else can be wrong?
Never assume the starter is bad-they almost never are bad.

Troubleshoot and be certain.

Since you describe a single loud click, it sounds like the solenoid is operating, but the power is not going to the starter. This could be from a weak battery, a bad cable, or bad electrical contact inside the starter solenoid.

Do a few voltage drop tests.

To test the positive side:

Touch positive voltmeter probe to positive battery post (not terminal).

Touch negative voltmeter probe to the starter solenoid post (battery cable side), press starter button and read the voltage.

Do this same test at the other solenoid post and the small terminal on the solenoid.

You should read less than .5 volt at each location.

Test the ground side:

Touch the voltmeter negative probe to the negative battery post.

Touch the positive voltmeter probe to the starter body, when pressing the starter button you should read zero voltage.

Your problem is intermittent, so of course, this test will only be accurate if it is done when the problem is occurring.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all of your ideas. I am in the process of checking starter connections, solenoid connections, new battery voltage, etc. PO says he never had a problem although when I picked it up it was doing exactly what it is doing but with his old battery. I'll let you know if I find anything out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I took the positive cable off and checked it for integrity and found it to be in good shape and no corrosion. Disconnected solenoid to starter connection, cleaned and tightened. Checked all other wires for connection and everything looks ok. Recharged the NEW battery and tried again. Big Clunk but cannot spin the motor. After a few tries it takes a lot out of the battery and about an hour to bring back to top off.
The only good news is Supercross starts tonight so at least I'll enjoy watching some good racing and try to forget about riding my new to me Harley! Way too depressing and I need a distraction.
 

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I took the positive cable off and checked it for integrity and found it to be in good shape and no corrosion. Disconnected solenoid to starter connection, cleaned and tightened. Checked all other wires for connection and everything looks ok. Recharged the NEW battery and tried again. Big Clunk but cannot spin the motor. After a few tries it takes a lot out of the battery and about an hour to bring back to top off.
The only good news is Supercross starts tonight so at least I'll enjoy watching some good racing and try to forget about riding my new to me Harley! Way too depressing and I need a distraction.
Check the ground from the motor to the frame . It has been known to be a problem that sounds exactly how you have .
 

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Charge that battery and have it load tested. It is not uncommon to get a new battery that is no good.
 

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Check the ground from the motor to the frame . It has been known to be a problem that sounds exactly how you have .
Bad grounds can be a bitch....:fitz Cleaned paint off battery ground point on my frame, starter sounded stronger. That's the way HD built it. :fitz
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Battery load tested at AutoZone and was good. Wires and grounds look good. PO said Battery was dead and he recharged it in place. I wonder if he may have fried something in the solenoid or starter. It seems like the bendix just doesn't engage or if it does(the loud click) I must be losing electrical current somewhere enough to drag the current so low it cannot turn the crankshaft. I am no electrical genius and that is my worst skill in my limited skill levels overall.
 

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"Wires and grounds look good"... but are they connected properly with a solid connection? Do you have a service manual? If so, look up starting troubleshooting and follow the diagrams. If I were in your shoes, I would start with replacing all the relays and fuses before getting into the heavy stuff. Start with the cheap stuff first then work your way up. Your starter is probably not the issue. Have you tested the voltage readings when you start the bike? Connect it to your battery and hit the start button to see how much it goes down.
 

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After a few tries it takes a lot out of the battery and about an hour to bring back to top off.

If it is getting weak after only a few tries, you need to charge it fully and have it load tested.

Do you have a voltmeter?
 
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