'02 RK, won't start: need help with troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Other Service and Maintenance' started by Technologist, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Technologist

    Technologist Member

    02 road King, FLHR, carb'ed. 35K miles.

    Recently had hard starts ( on and off for 2 days). Next day, bike won't start. Starter engages, and hear normal startup noise, but engine doesn't catch.
    Battery voltage is good (12.6V),
    have fuel,
    petcock on,
    run/kill in run position.

    Checked plugs (using autolite right now, since carb adjustment last year), not fouled, just a little dark... replaced anyway, and still no turn over.

    Checked vacuum at top of petcock (old fashioned way: removed vac line, put vac line on finger, crank starter, FEEL vac pulling.

    Ignition fuse (blue, 15 amp) and starter relay ok..

    Heard people say it could be CKS (Crankshaft Position Sensor)... how can I tell for sure (IF you agree it is the problem), and how hard for a medium level mechanic (one step above novice) to replace? I can do all the maintenance, but diagnosis of a problem takes me too long, and I don't know what to look at FIRST! But as far as replacing parts, I can do that!


    PS, did I miss any things to check for FIRST? Can anyone tell me to try something else that is definitive in pointing to (or pointing away from) a specific problem? If someone has a checklist, which shows the best order to trouble shoot, I would appreciate it!

    Thanks again!
  2. R. Lewis

    R. Lewis Senior Member Retired Moderators

    Are you getting spark/fire/electrical current to all points necessary with the correct amount of amps/ohms/volts?
  3. Technologist

    Technologist Member


    Not even sure where to check what... tried starting it, normal starting noises except engine doesn't turn over. ONLY one time in all the attempts did I get a backfire (out the exhaust), so I THOUGHT I had spark (which ignited the fuel).

    But, I pulled the wires off the plugs, and trying to start makes all the same noise, so I am thinking no spark.

    I also pulled the plugs, connected to wires, and tried starting... same noise, but saw no spark.

    I read somewhere that the computer wont' allow for spark UNLESS you have a plug in the cylinder.... so that may have been a worthless test. I can try leaving the plugs in the cylinder, and put other plugs in the wires, laying them on the engine and looking for spark... if you think it is a good idea. :)

    I think I need to check the CKS, but am not sure how (or what to look for). I have the side panels off (both L & R), so I can try lots of stuff...

    Also, was going to check for codes (although I have heard that CKS doesn't always throw a code).... but the steps I found for checking codes don't work on my bike (I think I found EFI steps).

    Thanks for the quick response.... I can't try everything now, but am collecting info on tests to try, so I do it in the morning (about 10 hours from now)... :D

    I want to fix it and ride (if the rain stays away!).
  4. ZoomerHD

    ZoomerHD Member

    I know this may seem like a KISS solution, but did you check that the vacuum diaphram in the petcock is actually opening? Had the same problem with a '97 FXSTC I had once. Try pulling the fuel line off the carb and placing a small jar etc. then applying vacuum to the port on the side of the petcock to see if the vacuum is actually opening the diaphram to allow fuel out of the tank to the carb. A small vacuum pump for bleeding brakes will do the trick.
  5. Technologist

    Technologist Member


    I can appreciate KISS solutions... they are usually the answer!

    Background. Had a leaky petcock LAST summer, and replaced it. Don't want to say that CAN'T be the problem , but think it is unlikely.

    I think it is not sparking, for whatever reason, but will check the petcock (may have to anyway... in case it is the fuel filter (also replaced last year).

    Also, looking at what you suggested.... couldn't I just pull the fuel line off the carb, place the jar, and CRANK the starter? If I get fuel, then I can eliminate the vacuum line AND the petcock?

    And If I DON'T get fuel, then do it your way, which points me to vacuum line, petcock, etc?

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    CPS (Crank Position Sensor) is cheapest item, and item most likely to fail given the age and your checking the basic stuff already. The next item would be the coil and wires...but again they are pretty robust, more expensive and frankly get more cooling ambient air so likelihood of failure is less...Sadly, electronics is an easier link to breakdown than the fueling...especially when you hear the EFI pump stir when you turn on the ignition and you do the fueling check as you stated earlier, electrical is more likely the culprit. JMHO.
  7. Technologist

    Technologist Member


    Gonna find the part number for the CKS (Crank Position Sensor) tomorrow.... couldn't find it online today (probably frustration kicking in). As far as i can tell, its probably gonna be 60 bucks or so... BUT I think replacing it involves lifting the tank (I haven't done that yet, and worry I will screw something else up). Same with coil and wires (need to lift tank).

    You mentioned cooling... I do a lot of traffic-type driving (stop and go, sit for minutes at a time, etc), so I won't eliminate AIR-COOLED items, which normally won't fail under normal driving conditions. BUT I want to eliminate the easy / cheap stuff first, before going expensive / HARD stuff.

    You also said "EFI pump stir"... Bike is carbed (and re-jetted). When I turn to ignition, I do hear the carb priming... is that what you meant?

    Last, are their steps to check for codes (without the harley code checker) on an '02 FLHR CARBED? As I said before , I tried the other steps I found, but I think they are for EFI (Electronic Fuel Injected) bikes, and they didn't work for me....

    Thanks again for all the people that responded... I appreciate you reading and trying to help! ;)
  8. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    The crank position sensor is at the front of the engine by the oil filter. Trace the wiring to see where it goes. Can't remember exactly, but I think it goes over to the right, down and along the inside of the frame in the cable bundle, and then up to the controls. The sensor is held in by a typical 1/4-20 SHCS. See here:

    Crank Sensor (CKP) - Harley Davidson Community

    You might try pulling the plugs and turning the bike over to see if you get arcing across the electrode. The plug will have to be grounded (against the engine or something) to complete the circuit.

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2009

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Technologist - sorry about the EFI mix-up...but I find that baggers phased in EFI and fuel pumps etc. in and around that time and being new I cannot seem to get the hang of when each model got what so I work with a more generic solution...this way you can pick what parts apply. Again, please accept my apology.
  10. Technologist

    Technologist Member

    TQuentin1 - Yeah, I am starting to think it is the Crank Sensor. I have the Service Manual, and found the location (both the sensor and where it plugs in). The problem is the manual doesn't give diagnostics, so the link you gave helps.

    Will check it, trying to follow the procedure.... but I don't know how I can check it if I can't get the bike started. Glider's instructions say to "Do this test at rest and also with the engine spinning." Does spinning mean running, or just turning over?

    Also, tried pulling plugs, and looking for spark. Didn't see any, but then again, I might not have had them grounded. Just lating the plugs on the engine should work right?

    and NEWHD74FAN - No apology necessary! I appreciate you trying to help. I know how hard it is to diagnose something online, through email, or over the phone (I have been working in the computer field a Looooooong time!).

    I got the 02 RK, because I knew the factory was phasing out carbs.... and I didn't want an EFI (too hard to work on, and everytime you change something you gotta reflash).

    GOnna go out and play around some more... will check back in a bit to see if anyone has a magic bullet solution!

    THANKS, in advance!!! :)