Ultra Starting Issues

Question for Fix My Hog 2007 Harley Ultra classic. It seems to have a good strong battery and I hear the starter clicking, but nothing happens. No motor turn, no nothing, just tick……tick……tick……tick and it’s not fast like in a car where it’s tick tick tick tick. I’m not sure what it should sound like and where to look next. I’ve been studying the charging system, but basic theory/knowledge is a lot different when it comes to a big bike like the FLHTCU. Plus, I can’t seem to find or see the spot where to run the 10 gauge wire directly into the starter from the battery. Also, I don’t know if it’s possible, but would it be possible to do a video troubleshooting or testing a starter system from every piece in the path and how to test voltage and drop / what to look for on each piece? There is one video Bob did on the charging system that was really good, but the end result was limited to getting it started if you’re stranded, which was great, I just need to go a little further.

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Fix My Hog Answers Other than the possibility of having a bad starter; ticking is typically an indication of a lack of voltage/amperage. Make sure you are using a known, good, quality battery. The battery should be removed and load tested. It is not out of the question to have, even, a new Harley or Yuasa battery that is broken inside. Check the condition of your battery cables. Both ends of each cable. Make sure that they are clean & tight. Check for trouble codes and Thoroughly test the charging system when the m/c is finally started again.

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15 Responses to “Ultra Starting Issues”
  1. Jim

    The first thing to do, in my opinion, is to clean, inspect, and reattach each cable between the battery and the starter. A looky-see and a wiggle is not enough. A connection may look clean and feel tight, but a thin layer of oxidation may be just enough to cause the problems described, especially if the battery condition is marginal. If that doesn’t fix it, then it’s time to get the battery tested and break out the multi-meter. Any way, it’s cheap and easy to do. Many, many electrical problems are caused by loose connections and poor grounds.


    • Richard Rowe
      Richard Rowe

      Yeah, my ’06 Ultra will do that on occasion, or just do nothing at all. I shut down ALL “loads”, wait a bit and it usually starts. Have done ALL the suggested fixes, including replacing the battery, and periodically… but rarely… click or nothing. Wait a while (grrrr) and it starts. Very frustrating. Had the stator replaced when it failed,but…..periodically… rarely… 🙁

    • Don

      Also, you have a 10 year old bike. Sometimes the corrosion is inside the wire under the coating ! Look for green anywhere. As mentioned, many issues are ground wire related. Bad solenoid will cause the clicking. First thing I would do is load test the battery to be sure you have the power!

  2. Dan Gray
    Dan Gray

    How about checking the solenoid for burnt contacts. A new starter is expensive if it’s only the common contact issue.

  3. Robert VanValkenburg
    Robert VanValkenburg

    I was burning up starters, checked everything imaginable, and it turned out to be the battery cables. It was like they were full of jelly, no strength.

  4. Gary Gores
    Gary Gores

    Also be sure to check the ground fasteners, they’re under your seat,it’s the two terminals with several wires attached. Look in your shop book. Hope this helps.

  5. ron

    You can have a battery that charges just fine but can,t pull a load a harley has a lot of compression and the starter pulls a lot of juice.Also the regulator in front of oil filter used to go out but i’m from the shovel days these twin cams are new to me.

  6. Ivor Maddock
    Ivor Maddock

    Hi i have a Harley Softail Heritage Vlasic 1450 YOM 2002
    When i have been riding and the bike is hot if i stop and turn the ignition off, i cannot get the alarm to deactivate for several minuets, i think something gets hot and the alarm only deactivate when its cooled down

  7. Steve Brustman
    Steve Brustman

    I have a 99 FLHTC twincam I have starting issues .When cold I hear click,click from relay .After pushing the start button a dozen times it will start. When warm it will start always.Most recently I broke the bendix gear on the jack shaft pushed the start button and it spun every time.I am thinking because it din’t have a load to push.Also I installed a fail safe button on the starter itself and that works every time .I am thinking the starter is not getting enough power to turn the moter over Therefore I am loosing power from the relay to the starter. It just bothers me that this happens all the time. HELP PLEASE!!!!

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service


      Problems like this are not uncommon on bikes that are more than 15 or 20 years old.
      Most often you are dealing with wire or connector corrosion and weak grounds. Most of the time the corrosion is not visible as much of it exists within the wire casing.
      Make sure that you are using a quality, fully charged, known good battery.
      We suggest making sure that you have good battery cables. If they are questionable, replace them. Battery cables need to be clean and secure.
      If you do not have a ground cable going to one if the starter mounting bolts, we suggest adding one.
      Make sure all wiring & connections at the starter relay are in good condition.
      Use a test meter to see if or where you might be losing voltage. Start by seeing what the battery has for static voltage.
      Remove the trigger wire from the starter. Use your multimeter to see what the voltage reading is when the start button is depressed. It should not drop more than 1 volt from static battery voltage. Move on from there. Test for triggered voltage at the starter relay or plug the trigger wire back into the starter and repeat the same test.
      Then, move on to testing for possible voltage drops before or after the start button.


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    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hey Anthony,
      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.

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