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  #1  
Old 29th May 2015
ChopSticks ChopSticks is offline
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Default Nightster electrical problems, not sure where to go from here

Been having problems for the last couple of weeks, bike was randomly dying out while riding and at full stops, finally never turned back on and had to be pushed home. When the key is turned to Accessory position, the speedometer lights up and mileage digits appear, (headlight and taillight are not on) once I pull in the front or rear brake the speedo shuts off. When I turn the key to RUN position, everything appears to be off.

Just got back from an out of state wedding.

So I decided to start from the core and work my way out. I took the battery (bought from HD in March2015) out, put it on the tender, then let it sit for a day, it reads 12.8. Brought it to Advance Auto Parts to do a load test, everything is good.

Reinstalled the battery, tested all of the fuses for continuity, and then tested each fuse under certain ignition positions as outlined below.



Fuses | Off | Accessory | RUN | Continuity?
1. ECM | 12.79 | 12.75 | 12.44 | YES
2. Fuel Pump | 2.7 | 0.39 | 10.85 | YES
3. Ignition | 2.7 | 0.396 | 12.3 | YES
4. Instruments | 2.7 | 0.396 | 12.3 | YES
5. Accessories | 0.3 | 12.75 | 12.32 | YES
6. Battery | 12.78 | 12.75 | 12.46 | YES
7. Lights | 3.0 | 0.401 | 12.29 | YES
8. P&A Ign | 3.0 | 0.406 | 12.29 | YES
9. Spare | 0 | 0 | 0 | YES
10. Starter Relay | see below | see below | see below | no?
11. System Relay | see below | see below | see below | no?
12. Spare (9) | 0 | 0 | 0 | YES
13. Spare (9) | 0 | 0 | 0 | YES
14. Open | 0 | 0 | 0 | n/a


Couldn't get multimeter to beep when testing the relay prongs (which I now realize it's because they aren't like fuses but actually are triggered by power from the battery, I'm going to just straight out replace today) so I tested each of the inserts outlined below there were two vertical ones and 2 horizontal ones for each relay as outlined below

**Relay prong inserts**

| | =

So 4 inserts from left to right and down


Relays | Off | Accessory | RUN | Continuity?

1. Starter Relay | 3.0 - 3.0 - 0 - 0 | .54 - 0.54 - 0 - 0 | 12.32 - 10.82 - 3.5 - 0 | no?
2. System Relay | 12.75 - 3.0 - 0 - 3.0 | 12.73 - 0.538 - 0 - 0.538 | 12.4 - 10.80 - 0 - 12.22 | no?

Alright, not exactly sure what the numbers above mean hopefully someone can provide insight, I'm assuming #3, 4, and 7 look pretty low when ignition is on accessory mode?

Also I referred to the service manual but every time I encounter an electrical troubleshoot it tells me to refer to the ELECTRICAL DIAGNOSTIC MANUAL? Anyone know where I can pick / download one of these?

Considering the lights don't come on when I turn the ignition to accessory mode I'm thinking it's that, is there anyway to test it? The manual says they cannot be repaired and need to be replaced, but I'd like to make sure before I throw away the cash

Also, if there is a short somewhere theoretically, shouldn't I be able to unplug / remove the fuse or wiring and the bike should be able to turn on when it's in RUN? or do all wires need to be connected to create some short of "evenness"?

I really do not know where to go from here, but I am ready to take it on if anyone has any suggestions with troubleshooting, and how exactly can I trace where a bad connection / short could be? I have a multimeter and currently I'm familiar with 12v and continuity testing.
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  #2  
Old 29th May 2015
ivanford ivanford is offline
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I'm having a couple of minor electrical issues with my 2007 as well.
I would check the following:
Battery cables
Fuses & relays including the fuse box
All the earth (ground) connections
All the loom connectors for corrosion / loose pins etc
Check for rubbed / nipped wires everywhere
Put electrical grease on every connection
To do all this properly remove the seat, tank, headlight, handlebar switches etc.

I had an issue with one turn signal, it was a bad connection in the connector pins
Fuel light playing up, not yet sorted
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  #3  
Old 31st May 2015
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First - Welcome to the XLForum - the best Sportster Forum anywhere...

Second - You did a good job of checking the voltages and reporting your findings...

The 3-volts on many of the fuses WHEN THE IGNITION SWITCH IS OFF is a definite indicator of a problem...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopSticks View Post
Couldn't get multimeter to beep when testing the relay prongs (which I now realize it's because they aren't like fuses but actually are triggered by power from the battery, I'm going to just straight out replace today)
Have you actually replaced the System Relay yet? That relay is the most likely place that the 3-volts is coming into those various fuses when it ought to be at 0-volts when the switch is OFF!

But it may be that the main keyswitch is bleeding electricity to the other circuits when it's off - Do the symptoms change by wiggling the keyswitch?

As Ivanford suggests, you should also pull, clean & apply dielectric grease to every fuse and relay and all the associated connectors...

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  #4  
Old 31st May 2015
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The ~3 volt reads with the circuit off makes me question the multimeter reading.
Could it be 3 millivolts = relatively zero?

The biggest problem I notice is 10.85 volts to the fuel pump.

1. As already mentioned, check both ends of both battery cables, particularly the frame end of the negative.

2. Pull the fuses, clean the contacts and re-insert.

3. Replace both relays, but especially the system (fuel pump relay). This is an expected maintenance item on 2007-2009 models.
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  #5  
Old 31st May 2015
ChopSticks ChopSticks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanford View Post
I'm having a couple of minor electrical issues with my 2007 as well.
I would check the following:
Battery cables
Fuses & relays including the fuse box
All the earth (ground) connections
All the loom connectors for corrosion / loose pins etc
Check for rubbed / nipped wires everywhere
Put electrical grease on every connection
To do all this properly remove the seat, tank, headlight, handlebar switches etc.

I had an issue with one turn signal, it was a bad connection in the connector pins
Fuel light playing up, not yet sorted
Could you go more in depth for the ground connections? I think it's a ground somewhere. Also if I find a nipped wire is it easy to change / repair or do I need to get a whole new set, ie taillight or headlight?

Also how do I test a bad connection in a connector pin?
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  #6  
Old 31st May 2015
ChopSticks ChopSticks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IXL2Relax View Post
First - Welcome to the XLForum - the best Sportster Forum anywhere...

Second - You did a good job of checking the voltages and reporting your findings...

The 3-volts on many of the fuses WHEN THE IGNITION SWITCH IS OFF is a definite indicator of a problem...



Have you actually replaced the System Relay yet? That relay is the most likely place that the 3-volts is coming into those various fuses when it ought to be at 0-volts when the switch is OFF!

But it may be that the main keyswitch is bleeding electricity to the other circuits when it's off - Do the symptoms change by wiggling the keyswitch?

As Ivanford suggests, you should also pull, clean & apply dielectric grease to every fuse and relay and all the associated connectors...

....~\
__o~~o__
IXL2Relax
>>>> Build & Ride Reports Are Here <<<<

I just bought new relays yesterday so I don't think it's that, the measurements were with the relays out with the test leads in the sockets..

So this morning I took a lot of my bike apart, initially thinking it was the right control.

I disconnected both taillights to solve the shorting from the pulling of the brake in accessory mode.

Disconnected the right controls from the harness, nothing improved

Disconnected the left controls from the harness, everything lights up like Christmas again when it's in RUN yay!

Reconnect left controls, then disconnect headlamp, everything lights up again

Reconnect headlamp, but change bulb, nothing lights up, so it's not the bulb.

Disconnect headlamp, (left controls are still connected) reconnect tail lights everything turns off. But when I wiggle the right taillights the lights come back on and off, so I know there's definitely a short in the tail lights, but also something wrong with the headlamp and left controls

So looking at the wiring diagram, the only thing that all three have in common are the o/w and ground wires

Where to go from here? with the exception of the taillights I can't find any nipped wires from the headlight or left controls

EDIT: To add there's continuity of all 3 wires from the headlamp to the harness and considering it's both the headlamp and left controls I'm thinking it's somewhere in the main harness? Is there a clean way of searching it without taking all of the wiring apart?
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  #7  
Old 31st May 2015
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Also the speedo lights shut off when I press the horn, no horn sound. I've unhooked the power train ground and inspected looks brand new
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  #8  
Old 31st May 2015
ivanford ivanford is offline
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Have you been working at the handlebar controls? I recently nipped the horn wire on mine when changing grips, kept blowing fuses. Easily fixed when I eventually found it.

A lot of the main loom is behind the plastic covers underneath the tank. Take off the tank and have a real good look in there. Because you have a hard fault it should be relatively easy to find. Intermittent faults are much harder to fix.
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  #9  
Old 31st May 2015
ChopSticks ChopSticks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanford View Post
Have you been working at the handlebar controls? I recently nipped the horn wire on mine when changing grips, kept blowing fuses. Easily fixed when I eventually found it.

A lot of the main loom is behind the plastic covers underneath the tank. Take off the tank and have a real good look in there. Because you have a hard fault it should be relatively easy to find. Intermittent faults are much harder to fix.
Handle bar controls are all clean, and I did look under the main loom of the plastic covering all the way under the tank to behind the fuse box, no noticeable damage
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Old 1st June 2015
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The o/w wiring powers the following:
speedo
tach
front brake light switch
rear brake light switch
right turn switch
left turn switch
horn....and, on the Nightster
the brake/turn/run module

If everything is OK without operating any of these accessories, then the problem is in the switched circuit, such as the r/y to the brake light

Have you unplugged the tail harness (connector 7, under the seat)?
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