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  #1  
Old 13th June 2018
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Default Electrical Gremlin and weird Speedo Behavior

The electrical gremlin crawled in through a tail light, I suspect. Odd, I know.
Basic facts, then basic story, then ramblings as I drooled over the problem so far.
2008 XL883. Bone stock, basically. 91k miles. Ran fine this winter and spring, daily.


Story: On Thursday, I took the controls and throttle off of the bars, to check fit of new bars. Placed all back on old bars, rode to work Friday. Nothing weird I recall.
On Saturday, I take tail light plastic off to check wires with multimeter for which to cut into. No cutting / splicing done, just the plastic connectors.
Turn bike on. Multimeter reads one hot line to tail light, 1 cold, 1 ground. Tie off brake lever. Still one hot, one cold, one ground. WTF. Check upstream, the connector where the harness attaches into tail light. Same thing. Blue line hot, all others cold. WTF.
Now, signals, front and rear, don't work. Front ones light for running, no blinking for signal. Speedometer's digital readout ... is worse. Won't show, when bike is off. Normally can get total miles, and clock. Nothing. Turn key on. Nothing. Hit kill switch to arm the bike, now I get digital readout. Hit starter, goes blank again. Speedo also not working when digital is out. Signals NEVER worked again, beyond running lights of front one. Headlight is fine, hi and lo. I checked where the tail light harness plugs in under the seat, also still hot / all cold.
On Monday, 2 of my 4 trips, the speedo and digital readout worked, even after bike was running. 2 of 4, it went blank / dead as described above. Now, some times, when I park the bike, after hitting kill switch, the battery and check engine lights come on, if I can see anything there at all.
I checked for diag codes, and found only U1016 in the St section. Googling this gave me little help.

Reminders, I did not pull any wire from any connector (though always possible one loosened, I don't see any signs of that). The only 3 connectors I opened were for the tail light harness.

So, how bad is this? Dying ECU? a simple short I can't find? I am not a fan of electrical hunts, but my easy weekend project to move the plate has gone south in a hurry.
I THINK I've eliminated worn wire in rear fender, by checking upstream under the seat. While there, I looked at the ground on the frame which still looked perfectly good.
I have swapped fuses from spare to lights, no help, no change. I have swapped system relay for ignition, no help, no change.



Any suggestions? The schematic makes my eyes go crossed, but I can at least read it, and amazingly, the wires are even the colors advertised.
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  #2  
Old 13th June 2018
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Does it have a security system? If it does I'd start there. Otherwise, it sounds like it all started when you tested the taillight.
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Old 13th June 2018
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no security system besides a padlock and angry owner.
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Old 13th June 2018
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I work in a Chevy Garage and for the last ten years we have had to be careful using a regular test-light because they can back-feed current and destroy a module. In an instant. Most of the testing is continuity tests for me. Disconnect the battery and try some continuity tests on the wires you opened up and go from there. If you had spiked anything it was probably the TSM (turn signal module). You'd be surprised to know that a lot of the modules have to work together to work properly.
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Old 13th June 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xElvis View Post
Story: On Thursday, I took the controls and throttle off of the bars, to check fit of new bars.
<SNIP>
Now, signals, front and rear, don't work. Front ones light for running, no blinking for signal. Speedometer's digital readout <SNIP> Won't show, when bike is off. Normally can get total miles, and clock. Nothing. Turn key on. Nothing. Hit kill switch to arm the bike, now I get digital readout. Hit starter, goes blank again. Speedo also not working when digital is out. Signals NEVER worked again, beyond running lights of front one. Headlight is fine, hi and lo.
You may have pulled the Speedo harness connector loose during your bar checks...

But... (the problem may be unrelated since it has 91K on the clock)

Your model year has a history of corrosion & gunk in the fuse/relay tray - Start there - Remove fuses & relays - Clean every, front & back - apply dielectric grease to all contacts & reinsert fuses & relays...

Next, check both battery cables (tug hard on both ends of both cables & check for corrosion & breaks inside the cable sheath)...

Then check all grounds - remove connections - clean contacts - apply copper-based anti-seize compound and retighten well - Be sure to check the Battery ground, the Powertrain ground and the engine-to-frame ground strap under the bike...

NOW - Use your meter to take some voltage readings off the battery - Key OFF, Key ON, Cranking the Engine...

Here's the Sportsterpedia section on checking the battery cables, voltages and grounds:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...place_to_start
Please report your SPECIFIC METER READINGS from those tests...


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  #6  
Old 20th May 2019
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Update, and further clarifications (quite late)
The speedo itself turned out to be a low voltage problem? Replaced a dead battery, and lo ... my speedo works. Signals, horn, and brake light still no go. Running lights both amber and tail work fine.
This seems to indicate the relay and fuses are fine. Visual inspection of the fuse seemed good as well. Current best guess for the horn / signals / tail is either the TSM (but the horn?) or more likely a crimped / shorted wire in the left hand control stack at the grip area (but the tail light?)
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Old 20th May 2019
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I would start tracing the wire harness from the left switch housing back to the connections under the tank, and while you have the tank off check all the other connections, too. When I started losing power to horn, brights, etc. after a handle bar change, I found that 2-3 pins had pulled part way out of the deutch connectors.
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Old 20th May 2019
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I've got a bigger fish to fry right now with my clutch keeping it from running at all. Once that is sorted ... maybe I'll go gremlin chasing again.
I hate those little buggers...
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Did you check the battery & powertrain grounds?

Did you remove all the fuses & relays - then spray circuit cleaner on the entire fuse panel - then apply a coating of dielectric grease to the fuse panel - then reinsert all the fuses & relays? Make sure the right fuse rating goes back in the right spots - the relays are interchangeable... (2007-2009 were susceptible to fuse panel gunk)

The Accessory Fuse feeds all those 'not working' circuits... Swap the 15A Accy Fuse with another one to be sure it is not burned (even if it 'looks ok')...

The Accessory Circuit uses the ORANGE/White wire to feed power all over the bike...


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  #10  
Old 20th May 2019
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Appreciate the feedback.
The lights work, sort of. They are powered, and running fine. I hit the signal button, no blinking, but the running ambers stay lit. I hit the brake, the tail light doesn't go extra bright, but DOES stay lit normally. For this reason, I've ruled out fuses / relays. The lights work, but the controls aren't registering. Because of short in controls, or the TSM computer, as best remaining culprits.


I have checked the grounds both on the frame and on the engine case. Those are good.
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