Electrical mystery

Electrical issues
Forum rules
Please do not start new topics here, but here: New Panhead and Flathead topics
Post Reply
StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Electrical mystery

#1

Post by StueyC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:32 am

Hopefully someone can help me solve a problem I'm having with my Shovel. I recently removed the top end to replace the base gaskets. While I was at it I replaced the inner primary with a chome one and fitted a new solenoid. I tagged every wire terminal and labelled everything. Now the thing is all back together I find the starter motor is live when I tried to connect the battery. When I connect the battery the starter spins but the solenoid isn't throwing out. I've checked the wires to the solenoid i.e. lead from the starter to the short stud on the solenoid etc' and all seems fine. Any ideas what I might have done to create this problem?

Thanks.
StueyC



RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5199
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 17 times
Been thanked: 524 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#2

Post by RUBONE » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:06 pm

StueyC,
Did you somehow bind up the solenoid plunger causing it to hold the contact plate in making it hot at all time?
Is the plunger assembled to the fork correctly?
Robbie

Bosheff
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:23 pm
Bikes: 65 FLH 82 FLH
Location: Michigan
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#3

Post by Bosheff » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:05 pm

Didja use a "Genuine" H-D solenoid, or and aftermarket piece. It has been my experience that 99.999999 percent of aftermarket electrical components are junk....bosheff

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#4

Post by StueyC » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:19 am

Thanks for the replies Bosheff and RUBONE. I will check the solenoid assembly out today. I fitted anew Accel solenoid (with made in USA) on the pack and used my original plunger and spring etc'. I read last night that a fautly relay can make the starter spin constantly but would this also activate the solenoid?

StueyC

RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5199
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 17 times
Been thanked: 524 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#5

Post by RUBONE » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:03 am

StueyC,
The relay IS what activates the solenoid. When the starter button is depressed a current is sent to the relay which causes a circuit to be completed sending power to the solenoid and closing the contacts in it , therefore energizing the starter. However, if the solenoid is working correctly the plunger also is making the drive gear engage with the clutch and turning the engine over.
SO--
Is the starter spinning without turning the engine over?
Is the starter spinning as soon as the battery is connected?
Does it spin only after depressing the starter button?
Have you double checked the re-assembly for correctness?
Let us know!
Robbie

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#6

Post by StueyC » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:45 am

Robbie, I'm heading out to the shed now to take another look at things. I have my outer primary cover off. I went to fit the battery yesterday and as soon as I connect the terminals the starter spins. This is with ingnition off and not touching the starter button.

I'll let you know what I find today.

Thanks.
StueyC

Bosheff
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:23 pm
Bikes: 65 FLH 82 FLH
Location: Michigan
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#7

Post by Bosheff » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:55 am

Accel electrical components for H-D's are absolute junk. If you didn't have the problem you are discribing before you repalced a suspect part with an Accel part, check out the Accel replacement part first. What makes you think the relay is now defective if it wasn't before you replaced the solenoid. Stay away, I repeat stay away from anything marketed by Accel that has anything to do with electricity. Stick with Genuine H-D electrical components whenever possible regardless of price. This cannot be stressed enough. Replacing a bad electrical component with a new junk component will have you pulling yer hair trying to diagnose the original problem....bosheff

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#8

Post by StueyC » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:13 am

Thanks for the comments Bosheff. Thought I would take the opportunity to replace the old rusty solenoid with something that looked a bit better and hopefully would work. Looks like a lack of experience has caught me out. I've used plenty of non OEM coils, stators, regulators etc' before any never had any issues. Is it just solenoids particularly that have a bad reputation?

How do I test the solenoid is working with it unbolted from the primary housing and still connected to all wires?

StueyC

Sir_Rat
Posts: 285
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:10 am
Bikes: '37 UL, '79 Frankenstein, '88 Sporty
Location: Oahu Hawaii
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#9

Post by Sir_Rat » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:18 am

Stuey...Changing the Solinoid is easy...put the old one back on, I learned a long time ago to do one thing at time, that way when it didn't work I usually stood a pretty good chance of figuring out why. That being said...are you sure you got the Positive battery cable going to the right terminal on the soilinoid? It sounds to me like you got it on the wrong terminal..if you dissconect the relay wires going to the soilnoid so all you got is the positive battery cable going to the soilinoid and nothing else, does the starter still spin when you hook up the battery? I have seen alot of starter relays fail...I have never seen one fail in such a way as to keep the starter energized all the time. Has anyone else here ever seen a relay fail where it keeps the starter going? Good luck

Aloha...Mike

socalrider
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:22 am
Bikes: 1963 pankenstein ; 1965 flh ; 1978 shovelhead lowrider
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#10

Post by socalrider » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:09 pm

it sounds like the starter solenoid or the fingers that pull in the solenoid were put in wrong. if there are no wires from the relay connected to the solenoid , there is no way for the soleniod coil to energize and in turn pull in the core which pulls the fingers that move the bendix gear along the jack shaft. if fingers are not in the groove of the bendix gear and possibly behind the groove ,you are completing the circuit to the motor from the battery without energizing the solenoid circuit.another possibility is you dont have the jackshaft all the way into the inner primary bearing. the starter button to relay circuit ,relay to solenoid circuit, and battery to starter circuit are all seperate from one another. as rubone said earlier, check your installation ,make sure its right. in particular, look at the return spring on the finger assembly make sure you have it in the right location.
buena suerte,
arnulfo
los angeles

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#11

Post by StueyC » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:38 pm

Robbie and socalrider both hit the nail on the head. Somehow in my excitement to get the thing back together and on the road I have placed the spring on the wrong side of the fork. It was looking at me in the face and I still took hours to figure it out. Appreciate everyones advice on this one and I'm relieved it wasn't the new solenoid.

Now I have another problem. My headlight don't work now. Dash lights and tail light both work OK but no headlight. It did flicker on a few times once when I turned the switch but that was the most I could get from it. If the tail light comes on it can't be the switch. I checked the light globe in the headlight and it was fine. My harness is in fine condition and all earths are good.

Any ideas?

Thanks
StueyC

RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5199
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 17 times
Been thanked: 524 times

Re: Electrical mystery

#12

Post by RUBONE » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:23 pm

StueyC
It can indeed be the switch. The headlight and taillight wires come off of different terminals. It could just be dirty, or on rare occasions I have seen too much current passing through overheats and weakens the spring on the bottom and allows the contact bar to sag. It could also just be wear on the contact bar, in which case rotate it 180 degrees.
Robbie

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#13

Post by StueyC » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:46 am

Thanks again for ther advise Robbie. I just printed a parts diagram from the library so I will see if I can beat this electrickery problem when I get home from work later today. My switch alway did have a dead spot when switching from ignition to lights so the contacts might be a bit suspect. Reading past posts in the knowledge base it appears this is common with aftermarket switches and mine might be one? In addition it has been sitting unused in my shed since Easter while I did the top end so maybe a bit of corrosion has developed to make things worse.

I'll let everone know what I find.

StueyC

StueyC
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:48 am
Bikes: 60 FL Pan, 2011 Wide Glide, 49 BSA, 40 Ariel, 47 Excelsior (British)
Location: Australia

Re: Electrical mystery

#14

Post by StueyC » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:54 pm

Thanks to all for your comments and help. Got the headlight to flicker when I got back in the shed yesterday and after switching the light on and off multiple times everything appears to be working fine now. I can probably put the switch problem down to a non original switch and the fact it has been standing untouched for 4 months. The solenoid problem or should I say the owners (me) problem is now solved. The bike fired up this afternoon and should be fine after a bit of timing and carby fine tuning.

Should have the Panhead running for the first time soon after a 16 month rebuild. Will keep you all posted.

Great site.

StueyC

Post Reply

Return to “Electrical”