RAM 1500 Diesel Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Couple months ago I was riding on a fast four-lane in traffic when the 2007 FatBoy Harley just shut off. Not a close call with traffic but troublesome. Pushed the bike to a shady area, shut the wife up from yelling at me, then tore into the electrics. Seems the alarm system went off and shut down the ignition. Pulled the battery cable off, waited a while and it fired up. Home we went.

Few days later it shut down during operation again. Same scenario to get it running except this time I had a set of ear plugs to put in.

Sitting in the garage with nothing around the alarm goes off again. The emergency alarm code did not work. Off with the battery again.

Replaced battery, all computer key fob batteries, tore into the turn signal/alarm module and found out it does not come apart or even unplug to fix. Called a dealer. Run-around about service mode, turn signals, defeating the key fobs etc. Heard them actually say the security system cannot be eliminated. The computer controls everything. You can't even tear the alarm and control box off the way it's wired. Of course for something like $800 they would be glad to replace the alarm control box.

Well I have nasty things to say about that and that idiotic fuel injection system that has stalled me often from new. Today, while waiting to buy and install a new front tire (6K miles and the Dunlop bubbled up) the darn alarm went off again. No way to shut it off. No ignition while it's on. Battery disconnect again. Here again, the little Harley shop doing the work is flummoxed. They called and consulted and there just seems like no reasonable way to defeat this computer alarm crap.

Did get it reset after connecting and using a secret code.Then rode home on the new tire. Now it's time to get back to my roots. Every motorcycle I have except this one has a carburetor and most have points and condenser. All can be kept running easily and none try to shut you down at speed in traffic. This computer control is too dangerous. I am now looking for another older Harley that easily will run two-up. I say "nuts' or more to this modern stuff.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Capn,

Had a similar issue with my Rocket - after much grief discovered that one of the pins in alarm harness not fully seated and only making intermittent contact. Every time it moved set off alarm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Turn signal module controls alarm. It is located in front of the rear fender. I already tried to remove and replace. Seems it's hard-wired into a harness with no connector. I pulled and even tried to open harness. No luck.

Trying to find a non-alarm way to run the bike and have turn signals. Assanine Harley complexity and I just got a text from a famous Harley mechanic. He gave me his version of the "Last Rights". Must not be unusual to long for the good old days.

Sure hate to pay as much as what I used to pay for a new bike to get some kind of turn signal module replaced and then find out that was not the problem or it broke again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
Captain,
I have a deal for you my friend.
FIR has a 2002 Roadking special with 3500 miles, pipes, seat, all the usual bling (bags/shield/chrome everywhere), absolutely perfect bike. Never been over and never been outside without bright sunshine above it.

If your interested shoot me a msg, he's looking to sell.
You and the wife could make a trip out of it; fly up to Fargo and drive it back :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks...

Road King in garage at end by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr
Road KIng goodbye loading by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr
fat n flat heads in front of house by Larry Malinoski, on Flickr

I bought a new Road King in 2001. It was serial # 97 Flame paint. Did lots of motor work and some stainless/chrome treatments to get it as you see. This was in front of my place near Apollo, Pa. HATED that bike.

Have owned many, many FL's back into the 1950's. None of them really handled well. That's why I liked BMW, Moto Guzzi and Triumph/BSA. Still have many of them today. That fancy Road King about killed me near Skyline Drive. Cranked into a right corner and could not muscle that pig over (weight is high) to grind the floorboards and keep in the lane. Over the line and just missed an oncoming van.

In addition, it was bulky and heavy to push around. I like the many Superglides I have owned. They handled but did not provide the two-up room and comfort for the passenger. When I found the Fat Boy it was perfect. Been from Cabot Trail to California and most places in between two-up on it.

Another thing is I am not a fan of black or dark bikes. To me they are like a funeral. I want bright white, yellow, gold, orange etc. I own many black BMW's right now. BSA is neat and just had a fun ride with one of mine - yellow one. Most Harleys you see in the shops are hideous dull-looking. In fact, unless you pony up the tens of thousands for something out of the custom shop, the 2017 bikes are disappointing.

Gonna pass on even looking at the Road King. Been there ... done that.

Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,179 Posts
It's sad to hear that. Harley is one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. You would think that for the top dollar that they get that they would have a handle on the electronics.

Unfortunately I can't afford a Harley, HOWEVER, I have FULL confidence in my little 2004 carborated Honda VTX 1300R to get me anywhere I want to go and home again without any issues. 45k miles with just normal services.
I think that ur right, keep the old school. SIMPLE and EASY to fix. Hell its still 2 wheels that will get you where you wanna go. SCREW all that electronic mumbo jumbo!
Motorcycles are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. It is extremely dangerous to be breaking down unexpectedly while riding. (especially riding 2 up!) We need to do anything and everything we can to try an keep ourselves safe.

Hope that you get it worked out, weather its a new ride or an electrical guru for a permanent fix. Good luck and ride safe!

PS, I got almost 8k miles out of my Shinko tire 2 years ago. Best by far since I've had the bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Most tires in the rear get me 8-10K. Front does double or more of that. Unfortunately the Dunlop American Elite on the front separated the cord and bubbled up in just a few thousand miles.

That Harley above has about 65,000 miles on it. Most of my BMW's had 100-150,000 when I offloaded them. That gray Harley in a picture above is right at 200,000. Most of my other bikes are under 20,000 because I only ride on occasion. I have multiple 100,000 mile awards and used to do 20-30,000 miles on motorcycle most years. Used to tire and motorcycle troubles. Just recently though this fuel injection and electronics have stymied me.

The Fat Boy above has a Vance and Hines Fuel Commander and lots of intake, valve porting. Even that exhaust helps as I do not like dull-looking things. I would rather be the dull one in the crowd.

As much as I dislike the Jap products and their past attacks on us, I currently own 3 Jap bikes (one small and two dirt racers) plus two Jap quads and a boat with two Jap motors. Sometimes it's near unavoidable.

Billy LaBrie, old National #10 AMA flat tracker, is going to discuss this alarm and ignition thing with me in detail over beer at the local flat track races Saturday. We may not get to a conclusion but the journey is the reward. Kind of like a long motorcycle ride with no destination.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
503 Posts
Captain= I had a similar but not so severe problem with my 2002 Heritage Softail Classic with EFI. Bike would shut off for no apparent reason, but sometimes would shut off after a big bump. Turns out the problem was the ignition switch that had corroded contacts. New one was something like $150 and would require new keys for the switch and the fork lock. So I took the old switch apart and swapped the accessories contacts (never been used) with the ignition contacts (showed arcing and corrosion). No cost option that takes about an hour and it might solve your problems too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wish it were so easy. No issues with the ignition switch. What is happening is the alarm is going off while in operation. Key fob location and operation OK.

When it goes off, like it did today, codes do not stop it and immediately, you have no ignition. Today it went off just sitting alone and not touched. Done the same thing multiple times just in my garage and once parked at a local biker bar. Did it twice while riding and that's the biggest issue as the bike shuts down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,301 Posts
Wish it were so easy. No issues with the ignition switch. What is happening is the alarm is going off while in operation. Key fob location and operation OK.

When it goes off, like it did today, codes do not stop it and immediately, you have no ignition. Today it went off just sitting alone and not touched. Done the same thing multiple times just in my garage and once parked at a local biker bar. Did it twice while riding and that's the biggest issue as the bike shuts down.
if you have a wiring diagram, you might be able to work backwards from the ecu to the alarm module. wire in a bypass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Hope you can find an answer/solution to your issue. Never owned a Harley. Rode a few, but was not impressed by them at all. Couple of my friends have them and I swear they spend more time in the shop then they do on the road and more money into repairs than accessories.

If you change your mind and want something super reliable and very comfortable to ride, look into a Victory Cross Country. I've had mine for over 2 years and put over 20k miles on it. Only had to change the oil and tires. Had a Victory Hammer before this and did the same, oil and tires. Great bikes, was sad to see them shut down.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Kind of funny that Polaris advertised the Victory so much in late 2016 and then DROPPED the entire line. They are staying only with Indian and that three-wheel Spyder for motorcycle production.

You are right. They have proven to be very reliable. I have never ridden one on a test ride but have sat on them at Daytona. Watched a Hell's Angel riding one a few years ago passing us on the Harley outside Kingman Arizona. Thought they were only Harley men.

Anyhow, too big of a machine for me. I mean those huge farings, radio gear and giant, pointed edges all over turn me off. Always thought that was an engine design that offended rather than pleased.

I do like the new Indian motor. Impressed with the way they run and look. Tomorrow night I expect one to win the flat track races in Phoenix. That would be the 4th consecutive Indian "victory" over Harley Davidson in AMA flat track racing this year. Polaris makes good stuff. The Victory was good. Just ugly as hell.

I like a simple motor that's pleasing to look at, ride, hear and feel. I WANT that motor to vibrate and be a little rough. Never want any kind of radio anywhere near me to detract from the glorious sound of an engine with the right exhaust. Never want anything to do with water cooling on a motorcycle either. One or two air-cooled cylinders is what I think a motorcycle should be. Simple and brash without the electronics confusion.

Ducati, Harley, maybe Indian and maybe Triumph make what I consider "nice" motorcycles today. None are perfect. All have heritage and character, whatever that is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Next Wednesday morning a local Harley shop is removing the alarm system and replacing it with an old-fashioned turn signal module. They can tweak the computer and expect it to run. Did not know you could buy a new bike without the alarm but the service guy told me he just bought a new bike without the alarm. They have the parts and know-how.

When I got back home yesterday, parked the bike the darn alarm went off again. Would not stop until I disconnected the battery. Glad that did not happen during the ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Alarm system removed.

No need for any kind of key to move, tow or ride. Only thing is when I picked it up the odometer no longer switches to resettable trips or clock. Spotted that before I left and the service man took in back into the shop. Claims the switch just happened to break while they had it.

Pause and let that sink in.

Anyhow he offered to replace that switch for $12 after they order and get one in. I thought that was more than fair and kudus to Brandon Harley Davidson in Florida. What a delight to be able to ride around, listen to that glorious Reinhart/Vance and Hines sound without concern the darn thing will quit because of the alarm. No stupid key fobs to carry either. 60,000 miles and really only a splintered stator for trouble. My previous Harleys really were little trouble. Easy to change oil and service with few issues. I have a Sportster here I bought new in 2001 that has never wanted anything but me to ride it hard.


Thinking back only my 1944 U Model has been trouble, well maybe the 1952 K model a bit also. My BMW's broke down a lot in spite of their reputation. Guess they don't read about themselves. My BSA have all been trouble, same with the old Triumphs. Own just one Moto Guzzi today but have probably owned 10 in my lifetime. Liked them all, even the old pluggers as agile as a slug.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
as an ex wrench puller, you wouldn't believe the number of times stuff "just happens to break" when I was working on it

i'm pretty sure I caused 33% of the issues, 33% weren't my fault and 34% was karma getting either me or the customer

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
...I like a simple motor that's pleasing to look at, ride, hear and feel. I WANT that motor to vibrate and be a little rough. Never want any kind of radio anywhere near me to detract from the glorious sound of an engine with the right exhaust...
Not that any of that is real on a harley anymore. lol Special programming in the computer forces the engine to run "rough", etc.
It is still not as bad as Ford faking engine noise through the stereo system, but while cherished by some, the whole sound and feel of a modern Harley engine is contrived and engineered. :(

Still, I would prefer a simple fuel injection system to a carb. Not all modern advances are bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Gonna fire up my '44 U model and just listen. That video above is a 1952 K. They sure all sound like the Harley's they are.

Only own one fuel injected bike. It stalls more than any other bike I have ever owned. I have played with it. Others have tried. When things get hot it needs throttle at times to keep running. Then when running, it often will not idle down. That yellow Fat Boy and all like it with fuel injection... you don't move if the computer craps out.

Back when electronic ignition started, I installed an Accell unit in one of my BMW's. It waited until I crossed the Mexican border and got maybe 200 miles south and alone when that was it.

Fooled that electronic gizmo. I brought the original points and backing plate/condenser with me. Switched it out along a dirty, scary road that evening and made a secluded place to put up my tent in some measure of safety. Think I went the next few ten-thousand miles on those points. Never put that electronic stuff back in.

When BMW went fancy and all electronic, I got scared of the potential breakdowns and bailed back to old Harley. Now even that option is gone with the technology and times. To those of you growing up in this electronics age I want you to know, it never used to be this bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
I agree Cap, while the electronics are nice and allow for easier tuning they are hard to diagnose on the side of road. With the old mechanical systems you could see the bad part, a bad ECU looks just like a good ECU.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
we have this debate at work all the time, but it takes a different flavor

carb vs efi (which is basically; onboard electronics vs. mechanical)

At the end of the day, if someone can tinker they can fix the mechanical systems given enough time and desire.
but...
Drivability, performance, ease of use are all light years ahead with the onboard electronics incorporated. Granted, if their is an issue, you need a special skillset to solve the problem.

To say, electronics are "bad" and the old tech is "good" is hyper short sighted and only takes 1 aspect of the experience into account (repair ability). What about being able to start an engine with a button vs. a kick, what about not having to manually operating a choke, what about the significant increase in hp, mileage, reduced emissions. Not to mention all the driver aids.

I totally get the frustration when a complex system doesn't work correctly and you can't diagnose it; but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
When auto's first came out, many a person would say the same thing when comparing a horse to a car, yet we don't see many of us taking a horse to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,558 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Kicking an engine to life is part of life. Setting a mixture richer for starting, retarding the timing and later advancing it for higher rpm operation should also be part of understanding. An operator or driver should have mechanical prowess with his equipment.

Far too many drivers or riders can only use a cell phone when mechanical emergencies arise. Our general driving and riding ability is beyond the dysfunctional. We would do better with the horse if the horse was not so fragile, slow and labor intensive.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top