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Old 12-12-2009, 06:35 PM
Tukt0yuktok Tukt0yuktok is offline
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Default Ignition issues on a 1980 FLT

Hello all. I have a 1980 FLT which I just got this year. My first foray back into the world of shovels since my boy was born back in 1988 (had and sold a 1965 pan with 1969 shovel-heads on).

Anyway, enuff of the intro. Bike had been refitted when I bought it. The fairing, dual lights, as well as the FLT tank are all gone. It has a Road King front end and tank on it now - with the speedo on the tank where God and Willie G. intended to be. It is OK as far as it goes. It is not a bubba job - until you get to the wiring. Lots and lots of electrical tape tucked in the nacelle - and at the ignition relay on the right side under the cover. The bike would turn over intermittently when I got it. Wasn't sure at first if it was a worn ignition switch. Slight downward pressure would make the lights on the dash flicker on or off. However, I could hear the relay 'click' whenever I hit the starter button, so I figured whatever problems there may be with the switch, power is getting to the relay, it just wasn't getting through to the solenoid. Took the battery off to recharge it. Bypassed the relay and went to the solenoid post. It hit and picked up, motor turned over. All that being said, put leads to the battery's posts and it reads as giving out far less than 12 volts - about 6-8 volts instead.

Any suggestions...ideas?

I am figuring the problem is between the relay and the solenoid. Maybe a loose ground or something. Like I said, the wiring is really punky, so it is going to all be coming off and I am going to rewire through the frame (as soon as I have my grommets in hand).

Any other ideas are welcome - even those who tell me (nice and kindly) that I am off base in my thinking. Like I said, it has been over 20 years since I was working on these beasties, and I have forgotten more than I know now...hopefully, with experience, it will tap those old memories and I will remember...

Tuk
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:27 AM
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AlCherry AlCherry is offline
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I had one of those beasts. They had a gu-zillion miles of wiring in it. I think you are on the right track. If you don't have the sail on the front end any more, find a wiring harness for a FXR, or make your own.
The switch on your tank is notorious for shorting out against the cover. Once you get the electrical issues worked out and everything is hooked up, and just before you put the dash cover on, get a intake O-ring and roll it on top of the switch. This keeps everything tight, and there is no chance of the contacts touching the cover.
Find a FXR battery box and replace that "55 Mercury" battery and box it came with. That battery was so much overkill!
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:15 PM
Tukt0yuktok Tukt0yuktok is offline
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Default Ignition issues - rewiring

Thanks for the input. I have been looking at one of the solid state ignition switches as a potential replacement, any thoughts?

As to the balance of the wiring, I will probably just grab spools of wire, proper connectors, loads of heat shrink, wire markers, grommets and covers and make the harness myself. Not much too it, what with all the fancy stuff gone. No stereo, no CB. Just the headlight, spot-lights, some running lights, horn and the starter & charging systems. Hardest part is going to be drilling and fishing wire through the frame I think.

As to the FXR battery box, will it fit onto the saddlebag rails/crash bars like the FLT's does? With the electric start only, (first bike I ever had that did not have a kicker - although I am looking for a conversions kit for that too), it may be better to have too much battery rather than too little. That being said, since I no longer have all the accessories, I think I can pare it down a bit without jeopardizing the start-up.

Thanks again.

Tuk
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:14 PM
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AlCherry AlCherry is offline
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I'm only assuming about the battery box. The Shovel FXR/FLT shares the same frame. It should work. Someone here will chime in on it and flame me if I'm wrong. Hang around for a couple of days. I always thought that battery was a little much. It was the same size as the one in my 55 Mercury.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:48 AM
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t150vej t150vej is offline
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Pardon me if I missed something but you said the battery only shows 6-8 volts? Whether that was when the starter or relay was engaged or just sitting, that's not enough voltage.

There's 2 kinds of solid state ignition switches and one is meant to be used with relays on all positions. That type will smoke as soon as you use it if the wiring harness is setup for the other type. But there are 2 types of replacement mechanical switches, one of which they "call" electronic but it's actually mechanical and crimped together rather than the older style which could be easily disassembled and worked on.

Does the starter relay have 4 posts or 5 posts? Or is it the old round type like Ford cars and trucks used for years?
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:15 PM
Tukt0yuktok Tukt0yuktok is offline
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I agree that the voltage would not be enough to operate the bike, and that is why I was thinking that, amongst other things, the battery was problem. My question was in relation to the fact that notwithstanding the less than 12 volts, the relay seemed to close (I heard the click), and when I bypassed the solenoid (stud to stud), it 'clacked' shut and the motor turned over.

I have ordered a new battery and will try that...but my thinking is that there is something else as well...

Tuk
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tukt0yuktok View Post
I agree that the voltage would not be enough to operate the bike, and that is why I was thinking that, amongst other things, the battery was problem. My question was in relation to the fact that notwithstanding the less than 12 volts, the relay seemed to close (I heard the click), and when I bypassed the solenoid (stud to stud), it 'clacked' shut and the motor turned over.

I have ordered a new battery and will try that...but my thinking is that there is something else as well...

Tuk
Here's the path... and when I say lites, "I mean sends power to"

The ignition switch, when in the run or lights position, lites the kill switch. Kill switch lites the coil and starter button. Starter button lites the relay which lites the solenoid which pulls the starter gear fork, engaging the gear/clutch hub and when the solenoid is drawn to the fully engaged position, it lites the starter motor.

Solenoid pulls a good bit of power and with a weak/near dead battery it won't stay engaged or pull far enough to actually send power to the starter motor. Also, the relay power comes thru the rest of the harness and if the voltage drops below a point, it won't have enough to operate the solenoid because of its power requirements. The "big" side of the solenoid draws directly from the battery and apparently there was enough there, without the loss thru the rest of the harness, as in - coming thru the relay, to somewhat engage the starter.

Get your new battery in and I think you'll be fine. If not, from the relay the relay back is where the problem will likely be found.

Keep us posted
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:26 PM
 
 
 
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1980, 1989, coil, davidson, electrical, flt, harley, harness, ignition, part, photos, pictures, problems, solenoid, stereo


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