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Thread: Electrical Gremlin - Uly Headlights/starting issue

  1. #1
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    Ok, so I have been a less-than-dutiful Uly owner. My bike hasn't been ridden in 3-4 months because I have been waiting for the time and confidence to dive in and tackle an electrical issue that finally put my uly out of commission. I am hopeful that it will be a reasonably easy fix and that, with some advice from the knowledgeable members of this fabulous board I will soon be romping the snot out of my bike again like it deserves. The history and issues are as follows:

    2009 uly XT with about 34,000 miles. Had a bunch of motor stuff done (heads, pistons, a bunch of electrical stuff replaced) through a local harley dealersheip (on warranty) to diagnose a starting/rough idle issue between 10,xxx and 15,xxx miles or so. Turned out to be a cracked ECM which I figured out and sent to them to deal with. They replaced ECM and notched the seat pan to prevent rubbing but it still rubbed and cracked the new ECM. At this point I replaced the ECM with an EBR ECM (r.i.p. EBR) and relocated to prevent continued rubbing.

    All was well between ~15,xxx and ~33,xxx miles. At this point (~august 2015) it began to do a funny thing when starting or riding: if I swiveled the bars lock to lock before starting the headlights would cut out. It didn't seem to do it when riding, but I later realized (after getting flashed many times) that the lights were indeed cutting out when riding as well. This made me rethink riding it, esp at night, so it got ridden very infrequently during the day for a few months. In December it began blowing headlight fuses (if I recall correctly) when trying to start. So it got parked and I rode my GF's blast when I needed extra transportation.

    I figured that the issue was a broken wire so I waited for weather to improve (I park/wrench under an EZ-up canopy) and until I had the time/tools (soldering iron, etc.) to tackle this issue. I have now removed the headlight, windscreen, left scoop and am hoping to tackle this issue. When I tried to start it today the needles didn't sweep consistently with lights connected (they swept 3/4 times) and with them disconnected the needles sweep but all I get is a click from near the fuse box, which I assume is a relay in there somewhere.

    My questions are:

    1. Does my analysis sound accurate? (broken wire causing groun/incomplete connection, probably in wiring harness where it passes behind forks or somewhere behind the windscreen.)
    2. Could it also be a bad ground?
    3. If it is a broken wire will I be able, with my in-expert soldering experience to find the break, re-solder, and fix this problem?
    4. Should the bike start with the headlights disconnected or are they necessary?
    5. Maybe just a bad relay? (This would be an ideal solution, I think).

    Ok, if you are still reading then I thank you! Any thoughts or advice is welcome. Portland, OR area buellers are welcome to come drink beer and laugh at me while I burn myself trying to solder this damn thing back together.

    TLDR: headlights cut out when sweeping bars lock to lock, gauges don't sweep consistently, bike no star

  2. #2
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    P.S. I just ran out and checked one more thing: it has the dual headlight mod done. When I reconnected the headlights, no gauge sweep. After I jiggled the wire sat the headlight connector, I got the gauges to sweep. This may be my first place to start, undoing the headlight mod. Thanks again in advance. Summer is coming and I miss my lumpy little beast.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shawns's Avatar
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    Check your ignition switch as well. You might have a wire breaking. If I remember correctly there is a plug for the headlight harness(white?) that pins come loose in.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    what shawn said and if you're going thru the wiring bundle and removing less than stellar headlight mod wiring it's simple and goes like this:
    remove windscreen and access your headlight 4-wire plug. back of plug has male finger which engages small hole in bracket behind plug. there are 4 wires as follows;
    black is ground
    orange is 12 volt positive source
    white is high beam
    yellow is low beam
    with left handlebar control switch in low beam position the yellow lights test light
    wiith """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" high beam position the white lights test light
    anything other than that and you have a fault somewhere.

  5. #5
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    Thank you gentlemen for your replies. I have disassembled and reassembled the ignition switch. I didn't see, however, the place where the switch makes contact. Everything else looked pretty normal in there, so I just threw it back together. I didn't see anything on disassembly of the ignition switch in my manual or I would have dug in further. Again, tips welcome and much appreciated.

    On another note, as I was wiggling wires to see which one might be loose/broken and causing the gauges to not sweep, I noticed that when I hit the high beams the gauges dimmed considerably. I threw it on a trickle charger and will check on it again in a few hours.

    I still haven't gotten the pins out to reverse the dual headlight mod. I know I can do it, I did the mod in the first place, but getting those damn pins out can be tricky. I will try that again here shortly.

    Again, thank you everyone! I hope to get this thing back on the road before summer, and without the assistance of HD if possible.

  6. #6
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    Ok, so I charged her up for a bit. The guages now sweep, fuel pump primes, but she blew a headlight fuse when I tried starting her. Upon inspecting the wiring that passes behind the left scoop, it looks like some of them were rubbing on the cooling fins. It had worn through the protective sleeve, but it looks like the wires inside were untouched. (no actual wire exposed) See pics below. I am doubtful that the headlight mod would cause a short if it was fine for thousands of miles (like, many thousands.) Could the ignition switch be causing the headlight fuse to blow?

    Where it was rubbing the fins:


    Frayed wiring loom:


    Loom again:

  7. #7
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    Ok, followup question:

    Is getting access to the wiring harness where it passes through the forks, behind the little harness cover, as easy as removing the screws behind the flyscreen? Nothing will fall off when I take this off? I hope to have time to jump back into this this coming weekend.

    Thanks in advance!

    (p.s. i looked in my PDF manual and didn't see how to get in there for access, apologies for my ineptitude!)

  8. #8
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    as easy as removing the screws behind the flyscreen? Nothing will fall off when I take this off?
    nope.

  9. #9
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    Thank you everyone for your support and help with this issue. After wiggling many wires and pulling and twisting procrastinating, I finally noticed that when I plugged in the headlights and wiggled one of the wires they would cut out. Ordered a new headlight and a new battery, installed and I'll be damned if she didn't fire right up, 8 month old gas and everything. Ran her in the last few days and she seems back to normal. Happy to be back in the saddle again.

    P.S. I have the old headlights if anyone wants them. Not sure where the break/ground/whatever is, but it's yours if you want to dissect it for parts or try and fix.

  10. #10
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    Update on my Uly situation: She ran fine for a while, but the repair I had done to the primary cover (stripped primary adjuster hole) had a slow seep and so didn't want to ride the bike. Finally reparied that, and upon reassembly would not start. Blowing headlight fuses again. Also, when sweeping handlebars left/right with ignition on but not running, the oil light flickers. Could this be related to the blowing of fuses? (Makes me think main wiring harness?)

    I have sinces cleaned the flyscreen ground, framerail ground, battery terminals and tightened them. Checked fuse box looking for corrosion, found nothing. Attempted a jump with non-running car battery, still blowing fuses. At this point, it looks like I may have to dive into the harness. I assume that I should start by checking all wires before they go into the harness. If no rubbed/grounding wires are found, then working my way back towards the fuse box and battery. I am not electrically inclined, or mechanically inclined for that matter - see stripped primary adjuster mentioned above - but likely even less electrically inclined so any tips are welcome. I did buy a volt meter, but it has a million settings and I am not sure exactly how to work it. :/



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