Click of Dread - Help

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Odinn, Apr 10, 2019.

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  1. Odinn

    Odinn New Member

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    Good Afternoon all,

    I am a recent addition to the biker community, having purchased a 2008 XL1200N about a month back. Everything seemed to be running fine until a couple days ago. I would see the battery and engine lights linger a little, but would turn off before I even got out of my neighborhood. Yesterday, however, I went to leave work and encountered what I have found to be called the "Click of Dread" - a rapid clicking sound when I try to start the bike. I have done a bit of internet research into the problem and have done the following (I am a mechanically inclined individual):
    Slow charged the battery overnight - Was only reading 6v after charge, so... I replaced the battery.
    *EDIT* - I cleaned the battery cable ends, also.
    I also replaced the System Relay and the Start Relay found right next to the battery (behind the side mounted cover.) All other fuses were fine. Battery reading 12.7v-13.1v with the bike off. Turned key to "ignition" and the reading dropped to 12.4-12.7. Flipped on the switch, and pushed start - The engine turned a couple times, then dropped to the rapid clicking noise again. The meter reading, during this dropped to 5.9v-7.1v, before returning to normal when I stopped pressing the button.

    Am I looking at replacing the solenoid? Did I miss something? Is there a starter relay that missed somewhere?

    Thanks in advance for the assistance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  2. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Experienced Member Contributor

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    Check and clean all battery cable connections to include at the starter.

    A new battery does not mean it’s a good one. I’ve seen brand new ones that were junk right out of the box.
     
  3. liquid_wrench

    liquid_wrench Junior Member Contributor

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    You most likely have a bad connection on starter or battery.....check the date on the battery,like Jeff said it may be bad. Sometimes they sit a long time before they sell them.
     
  4. Odinn

    Odinn New Member

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    Date on battery is 12/18 - only a few months old.

    On a side note - I took off the solenoid cap, just to check the copper bits and they are pitted and worn (they look like the original bits). I am going to replace the bits and add a solenoid button cover while I am at it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2019
  5. liquid_wrench

    liquid_wrench Junior Member Contributor

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    I put a button on mine 2 years ago..and it saved me twice last fall when my battery started getting weaker.
     
  6. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Experienced Member Contributor

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    Testing the charging system.


    Step 1. First things first, load test the battery. Most places like Auto Zone will do it for free. Even if it measures over 12.5 vdc it can still be bad under a load. Battery is typically rated at 19 amp hours and 270 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA).

    Start the engine and measure DC Volts across the battery terminals, the regulator should be putting out 14.3 - 14.7 vdc at 3600 rpm and 75 degrees F.


    Step 2. To check the regulator unplug it from the stator. Take a test light and clip it to the negative terminal of the battery and then touch first one pin and then the other on the plug that goes to the regulator. If you get even the slightest amount of light from the test light the regulator is toast.

    To do this with a meter which is more accurate: black lead to battery ground, red lead to each pin on the plug, start with the voltage scale higher than 12vdc and move voltage scale down in steps for each pin. Any voltage is a bad regulator.
    You may get battery voltage on all three pins on the newer 3 phase regulators.
    The no voltage is for older type regulators with diode indicating the diode is bad and the regulator needs replacing.


    Step 3. On the other part of the disconnected regulator plug. Set the multimeter for Ohms x1 scale and measure for resistance across the pins of the stator. You should read something around 0.1 to 0.2 ohms for the TC88 32 amp system.


    Step 4. Then check for continuity between each pin on the plug and frame/engine ground. The meter needle should not move (infinite resistance)(digitals will show infinite resistance) if the meter needle does move (indicating continuity)(digitals will show some resistance), recheck very carefully. If the meter still shows continuity to ground the stator is shorted (bad).


    Step 5. Set the meter to read A/C volts higher than 30 volts (the scale setting for voltage should always be higher than the highest voltage you expect or you may fry the meter). Start the bike, and measure from one pin to the other on the plug (DO NOT cross the multimeter probes! - touch them to each other). You should read roughly 16-20 vac per 1,000 rpm.


    Step 6. If the battery was good under load test, if the stator is NOT shorted to ground, and the stator is putting out A/C voltage, then the regulator is bad (most likely even if if passed step 2).


    Generally the following is true:
    Check your owners/service manual for the system amp output for your bike.
    22 amp system produces about 19-26 vac per 1,000 rpm, stator resistance is about 0.2 to 0.4 ohms.
    32 amp system produces about 16-20 vac per 1,000 rpm, stator resistance is about 0.1 to 0.2 ohms.
    45 amp system produces about 19-26 vac per 1,000 rpm, stator resistance is about 0.1 to 0.2 ohms.
     
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  7. Odinn

    Odinn New Member

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    Thanks for the detailed response, Jeff.
    While all very sound advice, the bike won't start. That is my issue. I push the start button, it turns over once or twice, then starts rapid clicking.
    On a side note, since I thought that the battery was my issue to begin with, when I purchased the new one, I had it tested when purchased at Autozone, today. Just in case, I also grabbed the relays and replaced them as well.
    I have the solenoid repair kit and solenoid button cover on order and will be here Friday. I will update then on my findings.
     
  8. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Experienced Member Contributor

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    Understood but there are a couple things listed you can check with a non running engine.

    I’m not really that familiar with your 1200 but can and did you check for any codes?
     
  9. coopernicus

    coopernicus Senior Member Contributor

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    Don't forget to check the actual start switch too.
     
  10. joel

    joel Senior Member

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    Welcome
    Be sure to check the ground wire from battery to frame or fender location.
    Remove and clean both sides of the cable end and the threads of the bolt.
    Poor grounds can also cause this problem.
    The battery voltage you show when in start condition indicates a high amp demand from the starter. This could be internal windings shorted, or internal battery failure.
    And while the contacts and disc in the solenoid may be worn do to age.
    Gear reduction starter generally hold up well.
    I would first ask for a replacement battery with a more current born on date.
    You can still use the starter with the contact cover off.
    Good luck.