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Battery not charging properly - Intermittent

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Battery not charging properly - Intermittent

Old 04-15-2019, 03:37 PM
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Default Battery not charging properly - Intermittent

Hi All,

Looking for some help if anyone can give me some guidance. I have a 2012 Road King with 120R crate motor. My battery light has come on intermittently and I've been stranded a couple times with no charge. I checked to make sure the +/- binding terminals were secure since everything tends to shake loose and they were fine. I checked with my voltmeter and the voltage reading went up properly when bike was running vs when it was off, so I figured I had a battery problem. I replaced the battery. Battery light came on again on second ride with the new battery and I got stranded again. So I figured my voltage regulator or stator must be shot. I put the bike on the stand and checked with my voltmeter again and it showed just over 13 volts when off and over 14 volts when running - which would make it seem like the charging system is working properly. Worse yet - it seems to prefer to drop the charge when my wife is on the back and rarely does it when I'm riding solo. It's pretty much killing my marriage - and she wants me to dump the bike and after all the $$ 120R work I'd rather not. Any help would be much appreciated!!
Old 04-15-2019, 10:16 PM
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I would check the stator for proper ac. I had a bike only act up when the bike was hot. It was bad voltage regulator.
Old 04-16-2019, 01:41 AM
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Keep in mind that there seemed to be a bunch of defective voltage regulators during the '12 model year.
I think I may have had one of those on my '13 as it was the ONLY bad voltage regulator that I've ever had on a motorcycle.

That said, IF you're your battery light is coming on intermittently there is a problem either with your battery, battery cables/connections, voltage regulator or stator.

I've never had a stator to work/not work, they either charge or they don't and usually they're good for thousands of miles so that is something to consider along with having the output checked.

Being that you don't have a volt meter on your bike it's impossible to tell if or when your battery is being charged as you ride.
When my voltage regulator started to fail I spotted it because my volt meter reading fluctuated and I knew there was an issue.

I always tell anyone having an issue to look for the cheapest, easiest problem first.
Make sure that your battery is fully charged that your cables are clean and tight, then if possible, have a tech run a check on your stator output.

Usually for this time of the year I'd suspect a bad or week battery but since you're covered that possibility, a bad voltage regulator is very possible, mainly because of the model year of your bike.

As for it being a problem when your wife is riding with you is probably just a coincidence but you need to pull your seat and look for signs of bad wiring, just in case.

Good luck and let us know what you find!

Last edited by 2AMGuy; 04-16-2019 at 01:44 AM.
Old 04-16-2019, 04:11 AM
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I had this problem with a 2013 FLD and after changing out the battery, regulator, and main wiring harness I found the problem to be the pigtail on the stator where it plugs into the VR. The pigtail had 3 female connectors in it and one of them was bad. The stator checked out good before but when you would jiggle the pigtail it would loose connection.

The teck at the dealership said that they could not splice in a new pigtail without without changing the whole stator because HD would not let them do it, but it could be easily done if I could find a bad stator with a good pigtail laying around somewhere. I did not go this rout myself because the dealer was replacing the whole stator anyway

I would pull the plugs off the Voltage Regulator and look for discoloration or a loose female connector inside the plug itself . Remember, there is a lot of water that gets on these things coming from the front tire and a intermitant problem will check out good intermitantly.
Old 04-16-2019, 05:03 AM
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When you said you checked the battery terminals, did you check both ends of the cable? Make sure they are clean and tight at both end of the battery cables.

Next time you start your bike, watch the check engine light. Does it come on like normal, then go off and back on again for a second or two. If so, you have a stored code, Check the code and that might help give you an idea of the problem. You can also search hear on how to read the codes if needed. There is also a sticky here on how to check the charging system to determine if it's a voltage regulator or stator or both.

13 volts off and over 14 running seems on the high side. High voltage usually points to the regulator.

Good luck.
Old 04-16-2019, 05:06 AM
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As said above, 12s have the voltage regulator issue. Ask me how I know.
Old 04-16-2019, 05:27 AM
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My regulator went intermittent before it failed hard.
Old 04-16-2019, 07:19 AM
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Easy to spend other peoples money but votl regs and stators are sorta cheap. Just sucks taking primary off. I replaced both mine last year. I had primary off, so figurd might as well.

You can check the AC out put with RPMs for the stator. But intermittent problems suck.

I'd pick up battery jump back. Granted it has to charge enough to run the bike. Actually I probably wouldn't be leaving home with a bike I don't trust. Unless you are able to jump each time to get home.
Old 04-16-2019, 08:41 AM
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I had an annoying returning intermittent charging system problem with an '01 FXD that ran me ragged for almost a year. It started with a hard failure of the stator which I replaced and all was good for awhile but the voltage regulator was compromised when the stator failed and it soon gave it up as well and stranded me again. I replaced the voltage regulator and things were good for awhile until the 3 year-old battery gave it up. I replaced the battery with a new MoCo and all was good for awhile until the new voltage regulator started going intermittent and not charging the system...and stranded me again. I learned that MoCo had some bad voltage regulators out and they gave me a new one under warranty. All was good again for about 3 months and the intermittent discharged battery started happening again. This time it ended up being the 9 month-old battery that was intermittent. After I replaced it, again under warranty, I did not have any more problems. In all, I replaced the bad stator, the voltage regulator, and battery only to have to replace the new voltage and battery because they were defective from MoCo.
Old 04-16-2019, 05:21 PM
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Only thing I buy typically from Harley is batteries, because I have had such good luck. I went cycle electric. But can't really say if better yet.

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