Harley Davidson Not Starting

Question I have a 2010 ultra classic with ABS. It is not starting. The battery voltage is 12.75 off the battery. turn the main switch on and I get a drop to 12.5 and when the kill switch is turned on it get a drop to 12.38, the self test goes out and Hit the start switch with nothing. no volt drop no starter engage or nothing. DEAD. check the voltage at the kill switch and get 12.3 from the black and white wire that goes to the kill switch and the start button. but i only get 9.2 volts from the black and red wire from the start switch to the start relay. all the fuses are good and there is 12 volts to the starter and the solenoid. Have tried new system relay and start relay.

Answer Hi Michael, Thanks for the email. Have you watched our electrical Class videos and the jumping the starter video?

Note from the guys:

Michael, you are definitely approaching this the right way. That black wire with the red tracer should be sending 12v to the starter relay. Be sure that this wire is not damaged or pinched anywhere in its travel. This will be more common when wires have been routed through the bars, or switch housings/switches have been changed. Don’t forget to use your multimeter inside the switch housings too. You can check the start switch directly. Try jumping 12 volts directly from the battery to where this blk/red wire enters the relay plug. See what the outcome is. You may also want to try this with the blk/red wire removed from the relay plug. If you can start the bike this way; the start switch is probably bad, or a wire may be damaged. Some other ideas: problem with security module or key FOB. — Problem with clutch safety switch, or its wiring (if bike has it). — Bad relay (like you said). Let us know what you find. Sounds like you know what you are doing.

Check out some of our related electrical videos here for some more information.

Hogger Michael Follow Up:

You are not going to believe this – but – it was the battery in the key fob. The bike has to have a signal from the key fob before it will allow the bike to start.

This is all part of what they call: TSM/TSSM/HFSM
The TSM is the – turn signal module
The TSSM is the – turn signal security module ( Japan & Korean markets only)
The HFSM is the – hands free security module. (this is what I have)

I asked the dealer is they could test the ECM & they said yes if it on the bike. I told them that the bike would not start that was why I wanted to bring in the ECM to be tested before I spend $400.00 or more on a new one.

The mechanic on the phone said to look at the TSM/TSSM – that it sounded like the problem area instead of the ECM. Looking in the repair manual on the TSM/TSSM/HFSM it made a reference to another paragraph on maintenance – the first statement said the key fob battery needs to be chg every 2 years.

My key fob battery is three years old – changed them and the bike now starts. The key fob battery is only a 3V system.
I checked the battery voltage on the old battery just to see what it was – 2.5 Volts. And that was not enough to send a signal.

Check out these related Videos:

Starter Sprag Clutch
Starter Install
Tips on Testing the Starter

Related Questions:

Starter Tips
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75 Responses to “Harley Davidson Not Starting”
  1. KEN

    my sportster gets fire to the front cylinder but not the back and does not change fire from front to rear when turning the engine over. it would kick nlast week but now does nothing please help. it is a 93 5 speed

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Ken. CHECK: proper voltage to the coil. Spark plug condition/gap. Condition of plug wires. Condition of battery. Test for spark on front & rear cylinders. If you only have spark on the front cylinder, swap plug wires (front to rear, rear to front ). Now see if you (only) have spark on the rear cylinder. If you do not have power to the coil; Use a small jumper wire and power your coil directly from the battery. This will will bypass your harness and switches. If this gives you proper voltage/spark, you need to repair a dead short or break somewhere in your wiring harness.
      If you have a Tachometer, disconnect it. A bad tach can interrupt proper coil function.

  2. Kevin

    I had a similar issue with my 08 ultra. Key fob battery was dead. Discovered that with a good battery in the fob when I turn ignition to on I can hear the fuel pump charging the system. When the fob is out of range everything works except the fuel pump. Hence the no start issue.

  3. Bob

    Thank you a thousand times over. I spent Over two hours checking every electrical item I could.
    Read your post changed battery in my POD and my Harley started right up.

    Thanks again


    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Lee. Our videos cover years 1984 through present. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    • ernie

      check your petcock, make sure that and your fuel line/filter etc isn’t plugged with crap from the tank. if you wait awhile and then she’ll run again, your float bowl may be emptying out due to lack of gas

  4. NOEL acevedo

    I haveA 1999 road king have not rode it in about three years ,gas tank had treatment ,has been started and ran fine however tried to start, will start with choke on. Sprayed carburetor with carb cleaner still starts only on choke ,goes off when choke is taken off.

  5. Brin

    I’ll try to make this short and to the point so you will understand the non starting issues on my 1991 FLHCU. Bike was running before I parked it. Now the starter will not engage In turning the engine over, all I get is a very loud click at the starter with the engine kill/start in the kill position/key on and seems to back feed through the system. With the same switch now in the run position there is no loud click atop the starter. I replaced the starter relay and still the same problem. I can get the engine to turn over by jumping it directly at the battery/ and the small wire that goes to the are. I also replaced the run/kill/start rocker switch’s and still the same issues. Please help me, I went as far as removing the outer fairing trying to locate the grey/white/black wires from the run/kill/start rocker switch’s thinking a wire was off or destroyed and I can’t find them, I also tried to locate the wires from the starter relay into the fairing and I can’t find them either. But I really think that’s its starring me in the face and I don’t see it. Besides parking my Harley, all I did was remove entire the exhaust system I know the battery is good, starter is good and I believe the starter relay is good
    Bloomington, IL
    Help me as I just can’t find the problem.(S)

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi Brin. You seem to have a good understanding of your electrical system.
      You need to eliminate areas until you can zone in on the problem.
      You already began doing that by powering the starter directly. Doing so, you eliminated the entire harness.
      You should not have anything happening with your run/off switch in the off position. Check the fitment of your switch inside the switch housing. Also, inspect the right side switch harness.
      Unplug your right side switches from the main harness. With a jumper lead, put 12 volts to the black (or black w/red tracer) wire and see what your results are.
      Also, find your starter relay. Make sure that the red wire (#30 in the relay plug) is correctly powered when ignition switch is on. Make sure that the black wire #85 has a good ground.


  6. brian fannin

    I have a 2003 ultra classic I started it up to let it run a little while like I do every day or two. at least every two days. today I started it up it ran for ten to fifteen mins and it quit. ok tried to start it back and it just cranks.now I didn’t try to start it up after a few mins because I was pissed. what would u try to do to fix this issue

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Brian. Starting so often without riding is more harmful than good. The charging system on your motorcycle is not like your car’s. You need to ride in order for your charging system to charge to its fullest capacity. Also, you can create condensation in your fuel tank by continuously warming your motor beneath the tank, which holds the same batch of fuel. We would suggest looking to see if you have any trouble codes.
      You may have a bad crank position sensor.


    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Javi. Our videos/articles cover years 1984-present, and we do not currently have any information on shovelheads. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  7. Chuk

    My 2008 daynasuper glide isn’t getting power to the starter switch when you turn the key on you caint here the electric fuel pump come Ina’s you used to it doesn’t make any noise

  8. joe

    I have a 2002 fxsti softail it sat for a year with out starting on empty tank. Four years ago i replaced the pump and regulator and hose.. i had the same problem then. Is there a way to test those parts with out taking them out.

  9. Gene lewis

    Bike running good no problems ran lowon fuel did not run out but low road next day 10 mins later road to fuel up 100 percent gas road around about 20 miles in town next day did not ride today tried to start ran about 3-4 seconds died tried about 8 times went and bought new plugs gaped them still the same tryies to start help

    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Gene! Can you please tell us the year and model of your bike? (ZD: 3314)

  10. Pam

    I have a 2009 HD trike.I have changed the battery out and sometimes it won’t start. it acts like it’s not even connecting.other times it will click once. What can I look for?

  11. Christopher Booker

    Hi I have a 93 sportster the starter solenoid will click but the starter does nothing new relay new starter.if you rock the bike I gear the starter works ?? Checked the grounds battery fully charged please help thanks chris

  12. Donn cyr

    Have a 2013 ultra classic 103 cu in motor. I put a set of slip ins on bike today and had to knock them on with 2×4 and a hammer didn’t slip on to easy. Well now bike won’t start just pops at the starter any clue on how to fix this problem it’s my only transportation thank you in advance

  13. John

    I have a 2011 electro classic 103″. Battery seems to be charged, won’t start, just clatter?

  14. Christopher Sampson

    Accessory /lights come on
    Turn to ignition switch/nothing comes on
    Won’t start

    • Christopher Sampson

      Accessory /lights come on
      Turn to ignition switch/nothing comes on
      Won’t start/charge didn’t take /fuses are good

      • Customer Service Techs

        Hi, Christopher! Can you please let us know the make/year of your bike?

        • cychowillie

          yea same thing like what Christopher say as HE should know better posting model/year of his motosickle as mine is 1988 Harley Davidson FLSTC!!

  15. Lee

    Is there anything special I should do before attempting to start my 93 Fat Boy after it’s been sitting for 2 years?

  16. trace

    I have a 1998 sportster and I’m not getting any spark. So far I’ve replaced the battery new plugs and wires and the coil. Also checked the fuses all good. Only thing i can find is I’m only getting voltage to one side of coil, any ideas?

  17. Harland R.

    2016 Freestyle, intermittent won’t start since new, but can’t duplicate for diagnostics. This has happened five times. Commonalities when this happens:

    – Parking brake won’t set – I push the pedal down but it doesn’t latch.

    – Neutral light will not illuminate – No amount of fu’ss’ing with the shifter will illuminate the green N, even though the shifter seems to be in the neutral detent. Cycle will not roll until clutch lever is pulled, so it isn’t getting into neutral. Other cycle owners can’t find neutral for me, either.

    – Seems to be only when engine is warmed up. Have not had this problem when engine is cold.

    – After 30 seconds to an hour, problem suddenly goes away, everything works as it should, and engine starts normally.

    First time this happened was in a parking lot after shopping. Attracted plenty of attention from other cycle-owners parked nearby. Nobody else could get it started, which vindicated this 80-year-old. I tend to assume it’s operator error when I see a white-haired old fat-guy that can’t walk having problems; Especially when the white-haired old fat-guy is me. After almost an hour, I moved the key fob from the ‘trunk’ to my pocket and everything worked. Since then, though, where the fob is doesn’t seem to matter.

    Does anyone have experience with this issue?

  18. Marcus Palmer

    95 fat boy softail. Problems starting. ..intermittent. Replaced voltage regulator, solenoid, relays and starter kit. Installed battery tender for quick top up charge. Here’s the problem. ..can charge overnight, then ride 100 150 kms stop for gas and just clicks. ..sometimes I roll it back a few feet and it starts. ..other times I need to plug in battery charger for half hour or more. Driving me insane. ..any insights or help very much appreciated. Thanks!

  19. Lauren

    Having similar problem with 08 sg with abs (no key fob). Put new bars on the bike and also put chrome switch covers on. Bike will not start. I can hear fuel pump kick on but when I hit ignition switch nothing happens.(did put new tank on so switched the fuel pump from original tank to this one)
    Tried checking the wire like was suggested by running the 12v from the battery and that does nothing. I have checked all connections in the fairing and they are good I am getting power all the way up the wires up to switches…
    Unplugged the battery to clear any codes, like I said checked the wires, tried bypassing the switch. Scratching my head here could really use some help

  20. tater

    will a bad MAP Senor keep my 2010 SG from starting ? I was out riding, everything was great stopped to take a break and now it will not start , its hits like it going to but will not

  21. Dennis Melton

    I have a 2002 Electra Glide Classic. It will not start. I did a load test on the battery and it is fully charged and in good condition. When I turn the ignition switch to the on position the relay under the seat buzzes and the battery voltage drops to zero. The first thing I did was to swap the relay with the starter relay to see if the problem was in the relay. The buzzzing did not follow the relay but remained in the relay placed in the original position ruling out the relay.I then disconnected the voltage regulator to rule it out. Not the problem. I then checked the wiring going to the relay. It appears that the red wire with the black tracer is grounded. I traced it to the front of the bike inside the fairing and disconnect the coupler to rule out the instruments and handlebar wiring. It appears the wire is grounded between the relay and the front connector. Is this supposed to be grounded? Possibly shorted under the fuel tank? Am I going in the wrong direction all together? Any Idea would be helpful.

  22. NIGEL

    hi i have a 2011 sportster 883 low which is not firing the rear cylinder fuel injector so rear cylinder not fueling check all wiring replaced injector and control relays still no go is it the ecm do you think ?

  23. Jimmy

    I gotta 2011 street bob with 1000 miles on it….nothing wrong…no fob….just sitting with almost full tank of gas….whats procedure to get my bike running again….Thanks…..Jimmy

  24. Todd Theobald

    My 2005 Harley Night Train was warming up then all of the sudden it started missing on one plug then it died entirely and now it will not start. Any ideas? I have check the plugs and the spark plug wires and I have a good spark. I have also checked the carburetor and I am getting fuel. It turns over just fine and has good spark but still will not start

  25. Stephen

    Hello. I have 1999 sportster 883 with 1200 kit. I was riding on the interstate and my bike made some kind of weird jolt and as i was coming to a stop it died completely. I tried to restart it and it turned over just fine. Seemed like it wasnt getting gas i pulled the filter off and i saw it just fine. I adjusted the clutch cable a couple times after realizing that when i am in first gear and hold the clutch in it still doesnt move at all like its in gear. When i hold the clutch in and try to start it the bikes moves and tries to take off. Please someone help me

  26. Cindy Kennedy

    Bike won’t start code p0374 comes up,will fire but not stay running on either but won’t start with fresh gas bike Sat on trickle charge all winter, how do I fix this?

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Cindy. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your motorcycle?

  27. Joshua Gresham

    2012 Road Glide Ultra. The turn signals come on but wont blink, the odometer isnt coming on and the start button isnt working. Any ideas what this might be?

  28. Keith bond

    My 93 fat boy starts sometimes but other times it just click it startx when i jump start it

  29. Walker

    When I turn on my bike it makes a weird grinding type noise while I am waiting for the electrical system to be ready. (waiting for light on speedo to go out which means it is ready to crank). The Bike starts fine and it does not make this sound every time. I have a 2013 Sportster 48..

  30. Shane

    I have an 2009 street bob, I just went to start it but I have no headlight, turn signals and the light is not coming on in my speedometer but the light for the fuel gauge does work, I have no horn as well and it also will not start but I can hear the fuel pump priming when I hit the switch just nothing else, when I pull the key out my small security light does not come on anymore and blink either

  31. GMAN

    I have a 2001 FLSTF wasn’t starting replaced starter and the starter breaker when I turn on the switch everything powers up when I go to start it and press the start button I get nothing not even a click I am getting power all the way to my starter.
    CAN ANYBODY HELP ME OUT PLEASE? this is driving me nuts.

  32. Thomas

    My 03 Roadking Classic won’t start. No indicator lights, ignition on, buzzing in the starter relay under the seat, battery fully charged, connections tight.

  33. cychowillie

    I meself ride/own 1988 FLSTC…yup motor evo of course…if not feeling/hearing nothing….I would TRY starting FIRST is ignition switch wire could be loose/shot meaning wire worn out…..why why why did cychowillie say the part about feeling!!?? Lol, I meself am DEAF!! Serious I ain’t joking as that’s the BAD parts about deaf bikers can’t HEAR what’s the problem is whenever something ARISE around Harley Davidson mc……thank you all for reading this as that’s all I have to ASL about this!! Lol