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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 28th November 2021
Briank Briank is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Sportster/Buell Model: xls
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Default Starting?

Me old 1980 sportster is having trouble starting, Electronic ignition.
Ingition on push the starter engine turns but on bang, as I come off the starter
she will start and run fine till I have to start her again and the same again?

Is it the starter motor, taking too many amps or has the battary gone and not enogh amps to trigger the ignition with the starter turning?

Thanks for any help.
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  #2  
Old 28th November 2021
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BigMek BigMek is offline
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Can you give us some more details on your starting trouble? Is it taking a long time to start, sputtering, making weird noises, cranking slowly, etc. There are a lot of things needed for a successful startup, so the more details you can give the better we'll be able to narrow it down.
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Old 28th November 2021
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When you're having issues with the electrical system, use this Sportsterpedia section about
checking the battery cables, voltages and grounds - DO THIS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...place_to_start

It's in the EVO section of the Sportsterpedia, but applies to all models (generally)...

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  #4  
Old 28th November 2021
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Yellowstone Kelly Yellowstone Kelly is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Iowa
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLH 1000, Stock
Sportster/Buell Year: 1982
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XLH 900 Hardtail Chop
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1969
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This may not be your problem, but I had the exact same symptoms you describe on my '82 XLH. When trying to start the bike, it would turn over fine but not actually start until I let my thumb off the start button. Then it would fire up and run normally.

My problem turned out to be a completely corroded negative battery cable. The green powdery corrosion wasn't visible since it was under the plastic sheath of the cable. The plastic sheath looked fine.

I found it by accident when I tried to replace my battery. The battery cable separated from the battery terminal as I tried to loosen the bolt holding the cable to the battery.

I don't understand how the corroded cable could pass enough current to spin the motor over, yet apparently not allow enough current or voltage to let the electronic ignition work.

I replaced my negative battery cable and the problem was gone and hasn't returned. This was back in 2004.
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Last edited by Yellowstone Kelly; 28th November 2021 at 16:52..
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  #5  
Old 30th November 2021
Briank Briank is offline
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Good call guys! just had a look and the earth cable is on it's last threads
Fingures crossed this is it, two new cables ordered

Thanks
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