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

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  #11  
Old 23rd October 2006
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cantolina cantolina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMF Ironhead
TS wiring?
Turn Signal....

Those older TS circuits were kinda weird....

If the bike is OFF, the TS will not usually flash.....

Don't know why, but that explains why so much is being interfered with when you use your TS....

Lotsa juice flowin in that circuit...

You should easily find an obvious short, I would think....
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  #12  
Old 23rd October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMF Ironhead
I will check the bulbs. What do you mean by back feeding? I'm pretty new at this, so forgive me. Will the taillight bulb give me problems also?
Backfeeding means power is going back up another route meaning like if no ground connection it sometimes "backfeeds" through another wire looking for a ground causing different lights to flash or other symptoms.
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  #13  
Old 23rd October 2006
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Originally Posted by lagerdrinker
ok, that makes sence. sorry, idiot talking out loud.
Is Ok some of the old stuff is just forgotten about.
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  #14  
Old 23rd October 2006
lagerdrinker lagerdrinker is offline
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Is Ok some of the old stuff is just forgotten about.

or not learned about.

i need an old one to learn
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Old 23rd October 2006
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like others said check grounds, maybe why it isnt starting also. does 74 have points? if so check gap.
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Old 23rd October 2006
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or not learned about.

i need an old one to learn
Thats where this forum rocks!! lots of information and lots of people to share from/with
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  #17  
Old 23rd October 2006
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I had a similar problem with my rear turn signals, When I turned them on my brake light would flash. Turned out to be a bad ground.
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  #18  
Old 24th October 2006
AMF Ironhead AMF Ironhead is offline
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I was checking the electric diagram for my 1980 XLH in my Clymer manual and it has a "ground to handlebar screw" that I do not see in my bike at all. Anyone knows about ground wire to the handlebar screw? Also, how can I check for ground problems? I don't even know what should be ground.
Sorry for for all this, just trying to fix the sucker and learn.
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  #19  
Old 24th October 2006
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Look for the most likely ! You were working around the exhaust as i remember, You may have knocked a ground wire loose or worse drilled through some wiring. But since the problem wasn't there until you were tuning the exhaust, I would suspect that something got torn or knocked loose around where you were working. Did you have to take anything loose while working ? Or take any bolts out that may have been used as a ground ? etc....Take a jumper wire with aligator clips on it, clip one end to the neg. battery term and the other end to several different points on the bikes frame/fender/ handlebars / metal parts etc. until you find one that fixes it. Then it should become appearant what is loose. I don't remember what year it was, But is it rubber mounted ? If so the engine must be grounded as well as the frame. There is a ground strap somewhere! But it really sound like something has gotten knocked loose or disconnected.........my .01$
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  #20  
Old 24th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMF Ironhead
I was checking the electric diagram for my 1980 XLH in my Clymer manual and it has a "ground to handlebar screw" that I do not see in my bike at all. Anyone knows about ground wire to the handlebar screw? Also, how can I check for ground problems? I don't even know what should be ground.
Sorry for for all this, just trying to fix the sucker and learn.
I'll give a basic in electricity.

It's probably just a jumper wire from the frame to the handlebar, to make sure the ground path doesn't have any resistance. Resistance is anything that doesn't let electricity flow well, like a rubber bushing, or wood, or air. Electrons like to move thru good, naked metal. Copper, steel, etc.

Resistance is measured in numbers called "ohms". A reading of "0", or zero, ohms, is the best number to get if you are checking for ground. The higher the number, the more resistance. The more resistance, the less the electricity will move. You need a multi-meter to measure this.

For example, you would set the meter up to read ohms, put one lead on the negative post of the battery, and one lead on the triple tree. Unless there is a gasket or bushing somewhere in the middle, the meter should read about zero.

"Ground" is also the same as the negative post on your battery.

All circuits need to have a complete path. Electrons go out from the battery, some get used up, and the unused ones come back to the battery.

There is another little concept to understand, and it's called "potential". That kind of means, how ready is the battery to do it's job. Use the multi-meter again, this time set to read DC voltage.

If you put the multi-meter between the positive and negative battery terminals, you are reading available voltage, or the "potential" it has to do it's job. If it only reads 2 volts, it has no potential to get the job done.....it's too weak. If it's 12-14 volts, it has full potential, it's ready to go.

So, now that we know about resistance and potential, you can figure out just about anything.

Let's take potential, and put it in a practical application.

There is a wire going from the positive post of the battery to the ignition switch. If you measure the voltage there, you will see it has the same voltage as if you measured it at the battery. That is the potential. When you turn the ignition switch on, the potential goes to different places, like up to the light switch.

The headlight won't come on yet, because the potential is just sitting behind the switch, waiting for you to turn the switch on. As soon as you turn the switch on, the potential flows thru the switch and to the headlight bulb.

It flows thru the filament in the bulb. Will the headlight light up? It depends.

Remember how I said electrons go out, some get used, and some come back to the battery? They come back thru "ground". That is the flow path. That is why a good ground is critical. It is the return part of the flowpath.

The other side of the light bulb is connected to the steel part of the headlight bucket. The headlight bucket is connected to the forks with steel bolts. The forks are connected to the frame, via the neck. If the neck were plastic, the electricity couldn't make it back to the battery, and the light would not light up.
But, we know that the neck is not plastic. But, at many places on the bike there are rubber bushings, plastic widgets, etc. Sometimes extra ground wires are used to make sure there is always a good return path so the electrons can find their way home to the battery.

Here are two examples of how to check something. Let's say the headlight won't light up. Crap. Get out the multi-meter.

1) Put the meter on ohms. Take out the lightbulb. Put the leads on the bulb at the connection points (sometimes little gray dots). If the meter gives no reading, the bulb filament is broken, and no electricity can go across. Filaments will have some resistance, maybe a few ohms. If the meter read, say, 10 ohms, the bulb is ok. Next step.

2) Put the meter on voltage. Turn the key on, turn the headlight switch on.
Put the black lead to a good, known ground spot on the bike. Put the positive lead on the terminal inside the light connector. Should read voltage.

If there is voltage in the bucket, and the headlight would not come on, it's probably an issue on the return path, possibly a ground issue (maybe a corroded connector on a ground connection).

If there is no voltage in the bucket, then you would need to move backward
and check for voltage at the headlight switch.

Anyway, there you have it. An overview of electricity, discussion of ground path, potential, ohms, resistance, meter usage, and how to break a troubleshooting problem in half, decide which half the problem might be on.
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