Wrenchin’ on the Dyna

Today I spent a goodly part of the day wrenchin’ the Dyna. An interval service was a bit overdue and I wanted t get it done before Biketoberfest. Bummer, I found a few issues…

There’s a bit of debris in the thick part of the tread on the rear tire. It’s about a millimeter thick by maybe 3 millimeters long. No leak, I doubt it goes all the way through, but I didn’t pull it out, either. When I get back I’ll order a new tire. I’m not happy because this tire, while not new, isn’t all that old either. But I don’t like to screw with tires, they’re too important. For the near term I’m going to gamble that it’ll survive the next week or so. I hope that’s not a mistake.

There’s been a nagging hot-start issue for a while now. No issue on cold starts at all, only hot. So I tore into the starter wiring which, for this bike, meant removing the battery and the caddy it lives in, along with associated hardware. I discovered the boot covering the battery positive on the starter had obviously been dislodged for a while. The terminal nut’s torque was a bit under spec, too, so I cleaned that all up and put it back together. Not sure if it cured the issue but it hasn’t been touched since 2008 so maybe…

While the battery caddy was out I had partial access to the back of the electrical caddy on the other side of the bike. I’ve wanted to get back there for a while. For nearly a year I’ve chased an intermittent demon that causes a fuse to blow. The fuse takes out the signals and brake lights. Not good.

Intermittent problems are hard, but careful observation has me believing it’s only triggered when actuating the left signal. It never occurs when I ride alone, only when Pam’s ridin’ bitch. The frequency has been on the rise.

So, poking around back there with a powerful flashlight I thought I saw the glint of copper through some worn insulation. Digging a little deeper confirmed it. The harness had rubbed the back of the starter housing, and apparently for some time.

It’s going to take some effort to effect a permanent repair. There’s very limited access there, and no less than three separate bundles enter the harness just upstream from that spot. It’s all got to come apart so I can open the harness. From there it might be as simple as wrapping the worn spots or as hard as replacing one or more individual wires.

I just don’t have the time now, I need the bike running for Biketoberfest. So I wrapped the offending spot with insulating tape as best I could.

The lesson here is not to put off service until a few days before an event. You never know what you’re going to find.

Tomorrow I’ll finish up, clean and put away the tools,  and give the ‘ol Dyna a much-needed bath.

See you in Daytona!

[UPDATE – August 20th – Not a single fuse has blown in several hundreds of miles of two-up ridin’ so I think that’s one problem fully identified. The permanent fix will be a bit of a pain in the ass, but that’s okay. The hot-start issue remains. Daytona was  a blast.]

3 thoughts on “Wrenchin’ on the Dyna”

    1. Relief, yes. It’s the strongest suspect I’ve seen as the cause of the issue.

      But I’m not especially looking forward to tearing into the harness to completely repair it. There’s a lot that has to come out simply to reach the area. Then, depending on whether individual wires are frayed badly, I may need to splice replacements into the harness.

      This adds to the several times already that I’ve encountered electrical issues on Harleys due to boneheaded wire placement. Whether this one is by design or just an assembly error remains unknown.

Go ahead and say it.