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  #1  
Old 3rd August 2020
Wirelic Wirelic is offline
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Default Intermittent electrical problem

A customer brought ina 1991 Sportster 1200 and said it shuts off when it gets hot and he thought the problem is the coil or ignition sensor/plate. I’ve replaced them both and the ignition module, replacing them one at a time with known good spares. No change, but I learned the issue is NOT temperature sensitive. Sometimes it runs for several minutes, than sputters and dies. Other times, it dies within a few seconds. I’ve cleaned and rebuilt the carb also, as there was rust in the gas tank. Tank is cleaned and sealed, but that’s not the issue, it’s electrical. I don’t work on many Sportsters, so looking for any guidance available. Are there any known issues that shut down these models? Kill switch? Ignition switch? Circuit breakers? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 3rd August 2020
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Does the the rest of the electrical (lights) shuts down also when that happens? --> loose or bad battery connector.
I had a Dyna which would shutdown completely out of nowhere and started again after about a minute, which was a faulty circuit breaker.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NLXL View Post
shutdown completely out of nowhere and started again after about a minute, which was a faulty circuit breaker.
Yep - Circuit Breakers are 'thermal' devices... Exceeding the current load causes the internal thermal strip to open it's contacts until the CB cools down and allows the contacts to close. Clicking ON & OFF occurs when you have a current overload.

It is certainly worth checking them to see if they are hot or clicking...

The regulator can also fail and cause a short on the electrical system - You should be able to disconnect the regulator connector and see if the rest of the system works correctly. The engine should run just fine on a good battery, without the regulator connected.

The 1991 model has grounds located all over the bike - The grounding occurs thru the frame - Be sure all devices are grounded well to the frame...

Especially check the battery cables and the battery ground connection at the upper motor mount.

Read this section of the Sportsterpedia about checking the battery cables, voltages and grounds:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...place_to_start


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Thanks guys, really appreciate your suggestions. I’ll look into those and report back what I find. Battery is good, at least it’s fully charged and battery connections are clean and bright.
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Check for voltage out of ignition switch or at coil. My switch would intermittently fail. The contacts were covered in dried up burnt grease.
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The ignition switch is a weak point, it takes a lot of abuse with other keys or other things on the key ring flapping around in the breeze as we ride. Mine actually wore out physically to the point that the keys fell out on the highway. The contacts inside the switch wear out too with all that vibration. The only other thing electrical that shut down the engine was the threaded ferrule on the end of the rear spark plug completely unthreaded itself inside the ignition wire boot from vibration.
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Old 5th August 2020
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Thanks to all for your help. The problem is solved. Turned out to be 2 intermittent circuit breakers. All is good again.
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