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Discussion Starter #1
ok, so my coil packed it in last week. replaced that now when I try to start, it turns over but no spark, however when I go to turn the ignition off it will spark. took the plug out and tested for spark, none, but when I jiggle the ignition switch it will spark. its a 78 FLH shovelhead. new plugs wires and coil now. I don't want to take it to a shop as I know its something simple that I am overlooking. any help is appreciated. thanks in advance guys.
 

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Vanilla Gorilla
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but when I jiggle the ignition switch it will spark. its a 78 FLH shovelhead.
I would start with checking the connections for corrosion and making sure they are tight.
 

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I had a problem with my shovel's ignition switch. My console switch consists of steel balls sandwiched between washers. I had corrosion and cleaning fixed it up. They are simple to work on.
 

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Harley Rider
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Sounds like the switch to me.
 

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Retired citizen
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If you find the switch isn't bad test for spark with a spark tester installed between the plug and plug wire, plug screwed into the head. If they only spark when switching the ignition off the ignition itself is probably at fault. Or the wiring from the ignition.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
all right, so I took th ignition switch apart and cleaned it all up, still no worky. I'm totally stumped, I've checked wires, plugs, coil, and it still only fires after I turn it over when I turn the ignition switch off. looks like it might just get hauled to the shop. I hate to admit defeat, but dammit I just want to ride.
 

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Retired citizen
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Points or electronic ignition ??? Factory stock ignition ???
 

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Retired citizen
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Without being able to test it myself I'm guessing it's the Mallory. Maybe check their website to see what tests they have posted for your unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Going out today to further investigate this damn problem, I do have one question though. If my stator had somehow sh!t the bed, will a shovelhead not start then, or does the battery have enough to support the start. Thanks for your responses
 

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Just Ride
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Retired citizen
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The battery should measure at least 12.8 volts static across the terminals. A bad stator won't keep the engine from starting if the battery is fully charged.
 

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Retired citizen
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If there's battery volts at the coil terminal with the ignition on the ignition module isn't triggering the coil to fire.
 

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Maddog
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If it sparks when you turn the key on and off, the coil is fine. In fact this eliminates
everything except the ignition box and the pickup. Check the resistance on your pickup coil (disconnect it first).

That should read somewhere around 150-300 ohms. If its open, thats the problem,
otherwize you got a bad amplifier box.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
matt can you explain a little more the pickup coil and amplifier box, not exactly sure what your talking about there. maybe I call it something else, being from Canada and all, EH!...lol thanks for your assistance non the less.
 

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Maddog
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The pickup is what triggers the spark at the right time (just like points on the old bikes).
Amplifier - I should have said ignition module (same difference). Mine is under the seat
(06 FXST).

You should be able to get on-line and find the manual for your particular model. That will
tell you exactly where everything is.

If you're jiggling the ignition switch and it sparks, I would start there. I just re-read your
first post, that bike should have points on it! Disregard all the electronic stuff. Its probably
your switch!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
it has been converted to electronic ignition already (no points). I have taken the switch apart and cleaned it up, all looked alright there. this is possibly the most frustrating problem I have come across with any vehicle I've owned. appreciate all the help and suggestions from everyone that has offered.
 

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It's very common for electronic ignitions to spark when the switch is turned off and on, but if the pickup isn't working the electronics never gets a signal to fire. You problem seems to be in the pick up/ ignition modual.
 
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