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    d3vil's Avatar
    d3vil Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 20, 2016, 02:50 PM
    83 Harley Ironhead Sportster not cranking
    I have a 1983 Harley Davidson Sportster 1000cc, that won´t start somehow. But I have to mention that the last time I fired it up was about 2 1/2 years ago. I just recently changed the oil, the oil filter, emptied the old gas and filled her up with new gas. I also bought new spark plugs and a new battery not long ago, that is fully charged. But when I turned on the ignition, the lights came on and all that, but when I pressed the start button the starter cranked just once before it went completely dead. The headlight doesn´t dim when I press the button, and no click from the relay. What could be the problem here?

    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 38,813, Reputation: 5431
    Jobs & Parenting Expert

    Dec 20, 2016, 04:20 PM
    I asked my mechanic brother, who has owned Harleys all his adult life. He sent me this:

    Well, we need it to turn over (crank) before we know if there's more issues. The first move would be to check the main positive and negative cables off the battery. Then put a 12v test light to the + terminal of the starter from the negative battery post to see if there's power when the starter switch is applied. If so, touch the starter body next. There should be no light. If all checks out, try a jump from a good battery on the cycle battery and retry. Sounds like a bad connection on battery, frame, or starter.... or very weak starter or battery.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
    Uber Member

    Dec 20, 2016, 07:42 PM
    I'm guessing it's the starter solenoid / relay or maybe even the switch itself.
    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 11,188, Reputation: 508
    Uber Member

    Dec 27, 2016, 07:56 AM
    Is there a Clutch Safety?(wont start unless clutch lever pulled in), If so, put bike in neutral, test it, or bypass it for test.
    See if voltage makes it to solenoid when cranking. 2 people will make this easier, safer.
    If voltage is present, check negative side of solenoid. If not grounded, may be a safety of some sort not grounding solenoid. It needs a hot and a ground to energize. Check Battery Connections, Frame ground and Starter Connections. Fuse? Good Luck.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
    Uber Member

    Dec 28, 2016, 05:49 AM
    On an '83 no interlock safety switch... there is a very light duty switch on a handlebar controls that triggers a relay (earlier ones are mechanical newer ones electronic) that switches power to the solenoid on the starter (yes that's two steps before the actual solenoid). I've lost count of how many of the handlebar switches I've replaced over the 33 years I've owned my Ironhead. I considered them total crap quality wise no matter when you get them. Some last months some last a few years... none last forever.

    There is also a bigger issue, if the bike won't run after manually bypassing and triggering the starter directly, really easy to do and proves out the bigger stuff... check for a blown fusible link.

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