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Official bike nut
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all:
After 5 years of MOSTLY trouble free miles, my Night Rod had THREE FAILURES in ONE day. Last week I lost my turn signals and horn. I didn't think much of it after checking here on the forum just to see what could be causing the blown 15 amp fused. As soon as I started my bike yesterday and drove up my driveway and pressed on the brakes, I immediately smelled the familar smell of a burnt fuse. I hit both signals and the horn and got nothing. WTF??? I just replaced that 15 amp fuse, what now? I decde I'm going to ride to work anyway and change the fuse when I get to my jobs parking lot.
When I get to work 20 tense minutes later, (try riding in NYC traffic with no turn signals and or horn) I immediately smell a NEW odor, something smells like it's burning, a fluid hitting the hot exhaust is what it was. I place the bike on the side stand and look down by the rear brake pedal. I see a small little black spot on the ground. I tap the brake and sure enough, it's a small little leak of brake fluid that is dripping when I place my foot on the rear brake pedal. (looks like it's coming from the brake switch) To make matters worse, when I went to start up the bike I see the dreaded gas gauge problem raise it's ugly head with my pretty mint looking bike that has around 13k on her. The needle goes from the mid postion to the full position back down to the lowest point position. It is now stuck at the no fuel or lowest position possible!
Can you believe this????? 3 failures happened to me all in ONE day in less than 25 minutes after leaving my garage. Is this a sign of things to come??? I was so bummed out, you guys don't know. I called V-Rod Mike to ask if he has ever seen anything like this and he told me very truthfully, "no". Unfortunately for me, this is the bike I use for two up riding with wifey, we have a trip planned for this coming Sunday, so I need the bike fixed right the first time.
Again, unfortunately FOR ME, Mike is going on vacation and won't be back for 2 weeks. (so I won't have him , his knowledge, his service manuals and his FAIR prices) So instead, I bring her to another indy shop I have used in the past and trust. I am pretty sure they will do the right thing, I'm just a bit worried about price and if there is any real bad news I am going to get. (I haven't heard from these guys ALL DAY) All of this has me thinking, is it time to trade her in and buy something new, or do I hold onto a cool bike and continue to drop money into a bike that is going to have so many failures in one day?
Maybe it's time to go with the Thunderbird SE model and go down to ONE bike? Has anyone else out there had three failures in one day? Am I getting paranoid? Should I continue on this path? Decisions, decisions.
 

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K.I.A. '07 AW
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10,908 Posts
the rear brake switch is a common failure, and LUX started and or posted up an direct bolt on aftermarket beefier replacement. With the stock or beefier replacement, the manufacturer suggests that you coat the exposed threads w/RTV or such to help impede moisture from creeping in that way.
'06D... DOT 4? DOT 4 likes to wick moisture from the air which can lead to premature failure of brakes and their components. In your neck of the woods you should be draining, flushing, and refilling your DOT4 fluids at least every other year.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the rear brake switch is a common failure, and LUX started and or posted up an direct bolt on aftermarket beefier replacement. With the stock or beefier replacement, the manufacturer suggests that you coat the exposed threads w/RTV or such to help impede moisture from creeping in that way.
'06D... DOT 4? DOT 4 likes to wick moisture from the air which can lead to premature failure of brakes and their components. In your neck of the woods you should be draining, flushing, and refilling your DOT4 fluids at least every other year.
AOW:
THanks for the reply and the info. I saw some of threads on the rear brake switch and the thread started by lux. Unfortunately, I gave my mecahnics the OEM part number and hopefully they picked one up today at the nearest HD dealer. (what's the chances a dealer had one in stock even?) I am not sure where I would have picked one of the beefey replacements anyway. If someone has a link where I can buy IN PERSON that would be great, I'll buy one for the FUTURE. As for my brake fluid, I indeed replace it every two years. In fact V-Rod Mike did it for me this June. The clutch and both front and rear brake fluid were done and I went to Spectro full synthetic DOT 4. I'm just bummed with 3 failures in ONE day.
Oh yes, I went to your link and lodged a complaint with the NHTSA for a possible recall of our gas gauges!!!
 

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Premium Member
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11,366 Posts
The dealer should have one. It's the same switch used in every Harley since 1951. Maybe small improvements but the same switch. Cost about $13.00. Your blown fuse may be related if one or more of the two wires running to it are compromised. They run pretty close to the exhaust and sometimes get burnt through causing a short.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The dealer should have one. It's the same switch used in every Harley since 1951. Maybe small improvements but the same switch. Cost about $13.00. Your blown fuse may be related if one or more of the two wires running to it are compromised. They run pretty close to the exhaust and sometimes get burnt through causing a short.
Rusty:
What does one do if the wires or wire is compromised? How is something like this repaired? These guys are pretty good there, but for my own education, what does one do to correct? I''m hoping the blown fuses are related to the bad switch and nothing else.
 

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Premium Member
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Rusty:
What does one do if the wires or wire is compromised? How is something like this repaired? These guys are pretty good there, but for my own education, what does one do to correct? I''m hoping the blown fuses are related to the bad switch and nothing else.
If it is a burnt wire just a normal electrical repair by replacing with new wire and connector. Not a big deal. 10¢ worth of parts and an hour to remove the exhaust and solder the wire into the harness but they will already have the exhaust off to replace the switch.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your sender is not the style that has the dreaded problems.Yours is most likely just dirty and concentrated injector cleaner should fix it.
Sounds like a quick, easy and fairly INEXPENSIVE fix. Hopefully I'll hear from my mechanic tomorrow, and I'll make sure to bring a bottle and gas up. But with '08 and up bikes having this problem, I'm skeptical.
 

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08 an up bikes use a totally different fuel gauge system. The 08 and newer bikes use a SONAR sender while the 07 and older bikes use a mechanical resistance strip type sender. Your sender strip attracts impurities in the gas because of the electrical charge in the system. Over a long period of the resistance strip will get dirty enough that it will not read correctly. Concentrated fuel injector cleaner will solve you problem over a period of time. Some riders have also had good luck with "Sea Foam". I would suspect that the blown fuses and dead brake switch are all the same problem.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
08 an up bikes use a totally different fuel gauge system. The 08 and newer bikes use a SONAR sender while the 07 and older bikes use a mechanical resistance strip type sender. Your sender strip attracts impurities in the gas because of the electrical charge in the system. Over a long period of the resistance strip will get dirty enough that it will not read correctly. Concentrated fuel injector cleaner will solve you problem over a period of time. Some riders have also had good luck with "Sea Foam". I would suspect that the blown fuses and dead brake switch are all the same problem.
James:
Thank you for the post and for easing my worries. I spoke to my mechanic today for all of 3 minutes. Told me that he still hadn't gotten to the bike yet.(I did tell him to take his time and fix it right the first time) I gently reminded him that I didn't want him fussing or messing with the fuel tank or sender. (I had told him of the three failures and he told me he would look into them) I'm hoping I hear something by the end of the week, let's see what he says about the blown fuses and brake switch. (and I am going to have them flush and re-fill the anti freeze coolant as well )
Thanks again to all of you for easing my mind if even for a bit. Lastly, the bike is now five years old with the original batterty, what say you all about changing it and how hard is it to replace? I'm thinking of staying with the OEM battery, I think 5 years of service is pretty good, don't you guys think so?
 

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Official bike nut
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Spoke to my mechanic yesterday. He confirmed what we have all been saying. "Broken rear brake light switch, was causing the 15 amp fuse to blow, hence no horn or turn signals." NO DUH! Now here come some concerns on my part, bike wasn't looked at for at LEAST 2 days. I gave him part number and claims they are back ordered, WTF? Don't want to rag them YET, because I believe they are a VERY competent shop and HONEST, but if this switch has been around since the 50's, why isn't it readily available from HD?
He claims that adding fuel injector cleaner is NOT going to "fix" my fuel sender. He gave me a rough estimate of around $300 to fix with part. I'm going to try the cleaner first and un plug the maxi fuse just for the hell of it first.
Does this repair price sound about right for the sender? Zanotti's price for the sender alone is $240. What about the Anti Freeze? I hate to admit it, but I haven't replaced it in all of my ownership and have them replacing it also, have any of you forgone replacing like me? How often do you replace?

Lastly I asked about the battery, how long have you D owners gotten out of the OEM battery? Mine is now at LEAST 5 years old, I do use a tender in winter. I'm thinking of buing an OEM and replacing myself, what have you all done?
 

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durata membro
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17,603 Posts
Just because this style sender is common,doesn't mean they all share the same part number.Senders like these are used in hundreds of automotive applications.Lux had found one that will work from a local parts store.PM him for the part number and put it in your bike.

If the resistor strip is to dirty for the injector cleaner to clean ,the sender will have to be removed and use a scuff pad to clean it up.Then use the injector cleaner every so often to keep it cleaned.
$240 sounds about right for the new sender.I've not found any of them to be very cheap.The one for my 92 S-10 is around $200.
Maybe the mechanic knows for a fact the sender is broken.This is the only reason I've heard of them getting replaced.The greatest % of them work well after a good cleaning.
It really shouldn't cost more than an hour's worth of labor to R&R the sender for cleaning.

Personally,I would recommend for you to start maintaining your V-Rod yourself.You need a Harley service manual and a few hand tools.If you don't use the tools everyday,inexpensive tools work just fine.Right now,pawn shops are loaded with tools and equipment for cheap because of the economy.Stay away from harbor freight,they sell nothing but junk.
If you use patience and common sense,along with advice from this forum and the service manual,you can do the service procedures more thorough than any flat rate mechanic in a fast paced shop could ever do.you'll find the difference in the price of the tools you buy compared to high shop rates will be in your favor too.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just because this style sender is common,doesn't mean they all share the same part number.Senders like these are used in hundreds of automotive applications.Lux had found one that will work from a local parts store.PM him for the part number and put it in your bike.

If the resistor strip is to dirty for the injector cleaner to clean ,the sender will have to be removed and use a scuff pad to clean it up.Then use the injector cleaner every so often to keep it cleaned.
$240 sounds about right for the new sender.I've not found any of them to be very cheap.The one for my 92 S-10 is around $200.
Maybe the mechanic knows for a fact the sender is broken.This is the only reason I've heard of them getting replaced.The greatest % of them work well after a good cleaning.
It really shouldn't cost more than an hour's worth of labor to R&R the sender for cleaning.

Personally,I would recommend for you to start maintaining your V-Rod yourself.You need a Harley service manual and a few hand tools.If you don't use the tools everyday,inexpensive tools work just fine.Right now,pawn shops are loaded with tools and equipment for cheap because of the economy.Stay away from harbor freight,they sell nothing but junk.
If you use patience and common sense,along with advice from this forum and the service manual,you can do the service procedures more thorough than any flat rate mechanic in a fast paced shop could ever do.you'll find the difference in the price of the tools you buy compared to high shop rates will be in your favor too.
Elrod:
I was referring to the rear brake switch, I thought these would be readily available from HD? Someone posted that the switches have been used in most HD's since the 50's. Obviously the V-Rod has been around since the early 2000's, but see no reason why the switch isn't available.

I have always done my own car oil changes and such. In fact, just did the oil change myself on my BMW bike a few weeks ago. Problem with me is, what to do with the used oil and mess? I've also become kind of lazy. so I usually find a friend who does his own work and or has a place for me to work on my bike.

V Rod-Mike has been an invaluable friend when it comes to these bikes. He is always very willing to help, doesn't mind you looking over his shoulder and asking questions. Lastly, he is way more than fair when it comes to working on a bike and pricing out the job.
So, while I would LOVE to work on my own bikes and saving some money, I don't think I want to other than doing the oil change or light work I do now, but I thank you for the help and suggestion.
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know you were referring to the brake light switch.I call them a sender.
Ask Lux for the part number.
Elrod:
My bad, I thought you were referring to the fuel gauge sender. I'm shooting a PM Lux in a few asking for that aftermarkey brake switch model number. Hopefully I can go into a store and buy in person.
 

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durata membro
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17,603 Posts
I've been fixing vehicles for a long time,and it still gets me when something as simple as the brake switch you're having trouble with creates a big hassle.
I just snatched a late model F350 transmission out.It's been diagnosed,the parts are ordered and will be in the drop box tomorrow evening.I'll rebuild it and deliver the truck back to the customer on Tuesday afternoon,along w a few other jobs I have,before your rear brake will be fixed.Amazing,isn't it?:banghead:
 

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Official bike nut
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1,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've been fixing vehicles for a long time,and it still gets me when something as simple as the brake switch you're having trouble with creates a big hassle.
I just snatched a late model F350 transmission out.It's been diagnosed,the parts are ordered and will be in the drop box tomorrow evening.I'll rebuild it and deliver the truck back to the customer on Tuesday afternoon,along w a few other jobs I have,before your rear brake will be fixed.Amazing,isn't it?:banghead:
Truly AMAZING! To be totally honest, Mike told me to order the part or in my case, I would have called every dealer near me to see who had a switch in stock. Then to bring it to his place and we would drop her in. My problem(s) was I didn't want to wait. I thought it was going to be a QUICK fix and even leave the rear brake fluid bleeding to them. I just didn't anticipate he was going to have such a heavy work load and the fact that the switch wasn't available.
Reading your post and the scope of work you say you have with this customer has me questioning my mechanic's work load and or ordering habits. lol.
 
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