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Thread: Electrical Troubleshooting on a ‘64 Harley Panhead

  1. #1
    CAIMag Non-Member Guest

    Electrical Troubleshooting on a ‘64 Harley Panhead

    <p>After a few weeks of problem free riding.&#160; I noticed a few electrical issues had cropped up.&#160; First my rear running light stopped working, then the horn quit and finally I noticed the front fender light did not work.&#160; All these seemed like easy fixes, so on my next free evening I decided to tackle them.</p> <p>I started with the rear running light, since it is an obvious safety necessity.&#160; I removed the tail light lens and took out the bulb.&#160; As expected, the running light filament was broken.&#160; I happened to have the correct bulb in the cabinet, which I promptly installed.&#160; I turned on the ignition and looked and the back of the bike…no light.&#160; I hit the brake…no light.&#160; I removed and inspected the new bulb, reinstalled and again no light.&#160; At this point I got out my multi-meter and started testing.</p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; width: 416px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72298x6.jpg" title="Multi-meter ready to go" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7229.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div> <p>Setting the multi-meter to DC volts, I tested the light socket on the tail light.&#160; Placing the red lead inside the socket and the black lead on a good ground, I turned on the ignition.&#160; The meter read 12V, as expected.&#160; Thinking I may have a bad bulb, I removed a working bulb from my Jeep and gave it a try.&#160; Same results as before, no lights.&#160; </p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; width: 416px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72348x6.jpg" title="Testing the light socket" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7234.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div> <p>Since I knew the bulb was getting power, my next step was to check for ground.&#160; Using a scrap piece of wire, I created a new ground circuit by connecting one end of the wire to the tail light socket bracket and the other to the frame.&#160; Again I turned on the ignition and this time the light worked.</p> <p>I decided to add a dedicated grounding cable to the tail light, just to make sure that it had a reliable ground.&#160; Using a short piece of wire, I connected one end of the wire to one of the mounting bolts on the tail light socket bracket.&#160; I then ran the wire through the same hole used by the power wire to get into the tail light housing.&#160; This placed the other end of my new ground wire under the rear fender, where I connected it to a fender mounting bolt, which provides good frame ground.</p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; width: 402px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72378x6.jpg" title="Additional ground wire for tail light" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7237.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div> <p>The horn was my next project.&#160; First I removed the horn button on the handlebars to verify that both wires were still connected.&#160; They looked fine, but I went ahead and added a couple wraps of electrical tape around the connections, just to eliminate a chance it was grounding out.&#160; </p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; margin: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; float: none; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72408x6.jpg" title="Horn switch with bare wire" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7240.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div> <p>Next I removed the cover on the horn and checked the connectors there.&#160; A combination of wiggling the connectors while holding down the horn button, found the culprit, a loose connector.&#160; I snipped off the old connectors and restripped the wire to make sure I was getting good clean copper for adding my connector to.&#160; I slid some heat shrink tubing onto the wires and crimped on new connectors.&#160; Using my heat gun, I shrank the heat shrink around the connector body and wire.&#160; Once the connectors were reconnected, the horn was back in working condition.</p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; margin: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; float: none; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72418x6.jpg" title="Horn with connectors replaced" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7241.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div> <p>Lastly I moved to the front fender light.&#160; I removed the fender light housing and inspected the bulb.&#160; The filament looked fine so I reinstalled it.&#160; Suspecting a loose connection, I turned on the ignition and starting wiggling wires.&#160; No luck, then I turned the ignition over to accessory and the light came on.&#160; Looks like it is just connected incorrectly, but to get to the wiring blocks, I need to remove a few parts.</p> <p>Off came the fairing, and headlight housing.&#160; To my surprise, the “custom” wiring done to the bike during its reassembling was completed with only red and black wires…&#160; I guess I’ll be adding a new wiring harness to my wish list.</p> <div style="padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; width: 416px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px" class="wlWriterEditableSmartContent"><a href="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-72448x6.jpg" title="All red wiring behind headlight housing" rel="thumbnail"><img border="0" src="http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/img-7244.png" width="402" height="309" /></a></div>

  2. #2

    Re: Electrical Troubleshooting on a &lsquo;64 Harley Panhead

    Go to the main page to see this article with formatting and pictures:

    Classic American Iron
    1933 VL
    1964 FLH
    1972 R75/5
    1996 XL1200C
    2001 R1200C

    Blog: Riding Vintage
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