In The Shop: Radio Diagnostic Testing

Harley-Davidson Radio

We get hundreds of questions about electrical issues on Harley Davidsons. One very common problem with fairing model bikes is radio failure, or the failure of a radio function. Sometimes it will be an easy diagnosis; like determining that a speaker is blown because it is buzzing after obnoxiously cranking your favorite Scandinavian Death Metal CD for a prolonged period of time. In other instances, it may be difficult to determine an accurate diagnosis; like if your volume switch has stopped functioning or you have zero speaker output.

A lot of riders do not realize, but there is actual radio diagnostic testing that any owner can perform. Similar to checking for stored diagnostic trouble codes, the diagnostic test can be accomplished without the use of any specialty or electrical tools. Diagnostic testing can be performed on radios as old as 1998.

On model years 2006 – 2013 (OEM radio #76160-06), start by pressing the eject button to release any CD in the unit. Then, while pressing and holding any two soft keys (buttons 1 through 6), turn your ignition switch ON. Once the HD logo is displayed, the system automatically performs a complete switch check, scans for current DTC’S, and then displays the radio diagnostic display. Release the soft keys when the radio diagnostic display appears.

After the initial diagnostic test, if any switches are found to be shorted to B+ or ground, the radio diagnostic display reports the applicable DTC(S) to an abbreviated description.

If there are no switches found to be shorted, you may press selected switches to verify functionality.

If a selected switch is functioning properly, the display shows the switches name and the word OK.

If a selected switch is not functioning correctly, the display will not change at all. All radio switches can be tested this way. Rider, passenger, and even side car switches if applicable.

If you press soft key #1 while in radio diagnostic display, the system will be reset to it default factory settings. This is often helpful when a symptom is present without a DTC. Restoring the factory default settings will, sometimes, resolve the issue.

If your testing indicates a short to ground, remove your outer fairing and inspect your fairing brackets along with radio and any other related wiring harness.

Fairing brackets are known to break, especially on older models (pre-2013). A broken bracket can vibrate and rub through wiring conduit and insulation eventually causing a dead short.

It is also important to inspect your switch harness along your handlebars and exiting your switch housings.

Tips on Extending Your Handlebar Wires

Related Videos:

FMH LIVE: September 2018 – Radio

Aquatic AV’s Harley Stereo Review

Hawg Wired Reviews From Fix My Hog

Fairing Removal Videos

Fairing Bracket R&R

Harley Inner Fairing Removal: Part 1

Harley Inner Fairing Removal: Part 2

Harley Rushmore Outer Fairing Removal

Electra Glide Front Fairing Removal

Removing the Outer Fairing Evo

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26 Responses to “In The Shop: Radio Diagnostic Testing”
  1. Eric

    I have a 2005 Electra Glide Ultra Classic that I recently had an amplifier installed on. The CD’s skip. Is it a “sound deadening bushing” that is missing (as I’ve been told)? I tried a CD player cleaning disc and it helps on some of my music not on other CD’s. Any advise would be helpful. Thanks! Eric

  2. Ken

    What about 2014, Electra Glide?I thought I had a blown right front speaker. I pulled the faring and the bad speaker. Plugged the bad speaker into the left speaker connector and it works. Not sure what to test next.

  3. Guy K
    Guy K

    I have a 2010 tri glide, radio cycles through logo then display is normal, no control on either the handle bars or on the radio, it will work intermittently if I cycle the ignition toggle switch,, I have checked the wiring for shorts and grounds, I am at a loss,, I think it’s in the ignition toggle switch? I can’t find per the wiring diagrams how this could effect the radio… what’s next ? Thank you in advance

  4. rooboo984

    2012 ultra classic,radio floats in and out on every channel constantly,Harmon Kardon,going to see about running diagnostics,sometimes gets stronger or weaker depending on where my hands are,really strange maybe a short

  5. John

    I have 99 flhtcui, the radio has stopped working sort of. The hand controls won’t respond but the radio powers on and plays at a fixed volume and whichever station was tuned in. If I turn the cb on the channels continuously scroll. I pulled the fairing off and used electrical contact cleaner on both the black and grey plugs. The problem resides in the grey plug. If unplugged the radio responds normally except for the Cg and helmet earphones. I washed it yesterday and didn’t put a lot of water on the controls or the fairing. Not sure what other wires I need to check for either grounding or corrosion. Hoping to trouble shoot this and get it working again for the rest of the year before having to decide to replace it. Any suggestions are appreciated

  6. papo1mema

    I have cked everything replaced all for speakers and still no sound except thru headset

  7. joe ward
    joe ward

    Thanks. I have a speaker switch problem. I am a member, which video will help me fix it?

  8. Misty Virnig
    Misty Virnig

    I have a 2010 ultra classic. When I am using the aux the radio will switch to FM, AM and weather band in it’s own. I went for a drive about an hour and a half away and it did it most of the way there but then stopped and I had no other problems that day. I took the bike about 20 minutes away and had problems both there and back. Today I took it about an hour away and had no issues there or back. I ran a diagnostic and reset. Any ideas on what the problem may be?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Misty!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

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  9. amy

    I just installed a new radio and now can’t get power to the new or the old radio? I am guessing wiring issue but not sure where to look? 2007 Harley Ultra glide

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Amy,

      Thank you for contacting us. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and access to all Premium video content.

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  10. Kenneth King
    Kenneth King

    the auxsilary plug-in port wont work. is this something that can be fixed

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Kenneth,

      We would love to answer this expert question for you but I would need the year, make, and model of your Hog. Once we receive the information, we can pass it along to the experts.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions
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