Heritage Softail Giving Me Grief

Question for Fix My HogHello. I have an ’02 Heritage Softail Classic that is giving me grief.

Bike particulars:

  • basic stock bike
  • screamin eagle pipes (sounds like a Harley is supposed to)
  • aftermarket 6 speed tranny
  • a few chrome goodies
  • lizard lights (kinda cool)


Just out of the clear blue the bike dies, completely! No lights, no starter, no dash lights, no running, no nothing. After a few minutes (and maybe playing with something that is not necessarily doing any good) the bike gets juice again and runs fine. There are no backfires, no sputtering, just quitting then stating. The last time we rode the thing, my husband and I were together. When it died, he tried fiddling with the ignition switch. At one point this seemed to help. Later we deduced that this was just a fluke and had no bearing on the problem. There does not seem to be any consistency to the problem. It just happens out of the clear blue.

What we’ve tried:

My husband and I checked all the fuses (that we could find). We pulled the seat and checked for loose wires at the battery and grounding areas. We pulled the relays in the fuse block under the seat and that had no effect on the function of the bike (still started and ran with no complaining). We remove the entire dash except the ignition switch and this also had no effect on the function of the bike. My husband said it acts like the older FLH’s that had the little breakers on the main 12v. We were unable to find any of these breakers but it is possible we did not know where to look in the first place.

This is causing ill feelings between me and my scoot, and is ruining my confidence in it’s reliability. I like to ride sometimes when my husband is not able to and I DON’T want to get stranded 50 miles from home! Any ideas would be helpful.


Fix My Hog AnswersHi Loetta, Most likely it is the main breaker located in front of the rear wheel on the inner part of the splash pan, you have to drop the rear wheel to access it easily. If this m/c is fuel inj it could possibly be the ecm, but it should have shown a code by now. With the installation of the six speed I would closely check the wiring harness on the left side of the m/c in the swing arm area.

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10 Responses to “Heritage Softail Giving Me Grief”
  1. Bo

    Just picked up a 92 Heritage Classic the only thing missing is the carb. What carb came stock on this one.

  2. Paul

    My Electra glide ultra classic 2016 doesnt have the harley sound. If i.remove the baffles or enlarge the opening in the end of the baffles will the electronic fuel injection adjust automatically or will i.need to get the computer chip changed or adjust the fuel injection system?

  3. Ronald W. Perdue
    Ronald W. Perdue

    I just had trouble with my 2004 Road King with only 15,000 miles. It died ocassionaly, but, quickly got where it would not fire to start. It was the electronic ignition etc. located under the seat. This is the brain that makes the Harley run. Harley replaced it and it has been running fine. Hope this helps.

  4. Mark

    I had a 2003 Softail that would just die at times going down the road…NOT GOOD. Pull over to the side and shed start back up. Frustrating. Don’t believe that I lost power to lights though..and should not have once I figured out the problem. HD said replace the ign coil. Problem came back intermittent when it wanted. I would it to be a slightly recessed pin in the connector to ignition coil. When she didn’t make contact she’d die. Pulled that pin all the way and problem never returned. Good Luck

  5. Steve

    First thing to look for is to check the backside of the ignition switch to see if there is any melting of the wire insulation showing. I have found that if a person runs extra bright light bulbs, electric gear, maybe a change to running lights for all turn signals that it overloads the lightweight contacts inside the ignition switch. The small brass contacts melt deeper into the plastic backplate and will eventually set themselves so deep that they lose contact. It will start out as intermittent and may even lose contact when hitting bumps, eventually you will have to replace the switch. You can unplug the wires from the back and test the switch with an Ohm meter or just jumper the leads to see if the bike will start and run by bypassing the switch.

  6. Dave Zimmerman
    Dave Zimmerman

    I would check the stator and regulator etc to make sure its charging properly along with a load test on the battery. The main breaker is cheap so i would replace that and the ignition switch as mentioned is also a good place to start along with the coil. Take the coil off and really look at it as mine was cracked and didnt even realize it. Has anything changed or been added? when you did the lizard lights did you make sure the battery connections are tight? Take it to a shop and see if any codes are present. Good luck!


    the problem is the plastic connector in the wiring harness located under the seat. I had a similar problem with my 2001 FB, power died while riding occasionally. I found that little bugger and replaced it (cheap!) and have experienced no problems since then.
    Good Luck!

  8. Thom Ritter
    Thom Ritter

    My ignition switch gave me trouble because I was using it to turn bike on & off and wasn’t using the kill switch on right handlebar. Using the kill switch will take some of the load off of ignition switch.
    I turned the bike off one time and no start. I found the problem when I accidentally bumped ign switch while checking things out, and everything came back on.