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Thread: Sudden electrical failure

  1. #1

    Sudden electrical failure

    Returning from the dealer after my 2004 R1150R 30K service, the engine quit and wouldn't start - wouldn't even crank. After 10 minutes on the side of the road, attempting to start only caused some audible clicking (fuel pump?), and the tach needle jumped to 4000 RPM. Huh? I'm thinking the charging circuit might have failed, but there was no battery light prior to the engine quitting. Can't think of anything the dealer might have done to cause this, except they did replace the license plate bulb ($20 LED) which appears to be the only "electrical thing" they did. I appreciate any ideas as to what is going on here.

  2. #2
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    south of Los Angeles
    Right after a service...?
    First things to look at would be the battery connections and the 4-conductor plug under the right rear of the gas tank. Note the locking ears on this connector; carefully take it apart, inspect the male & female pins for alignment or damage, clean/lube and carefully reassemble, making sure it fully locks back together.
    Clicking "should" be the starter relay; make sure the connections down at the starter are secure also.
    How old is the battery? Some types fail suddenly with zero warning.

  3. #3
    Thanks. I'll check those things. There doesn't seem to be a reason for the dealer to get into the electrical system for a Level 1 service aside from reading fault codes, so the likelihood of connecters not being re-connected properly seems remote, but I'll check anyway. The battery is several years old and lived on a tender through the winter and has been performing fine. I suppose it could have coincidentally failed right after the dealer service, but would such a failure cause the engine to quit without a discharge light ever illuminating? BTW, the battery showed about 13 volts after the problem. I haven't checked amps.

  4. #4

    Sudden Electrical Failure

    There was a Service Bulletin for the R1150R for zip ties on the front wiring harness being too tight and breaking wires. It was for the harness that goes around the steering head which contains all the control wires. You can find more info at
    Hope this helps.

  5. #5


    Thanks for that. Dealer claims the battery just failed. There was no explanation as to why it would fail suddenly without any discharge light, and although it lived on a tender, it was six years old. Anyway, the battery was replaced, and the bike is running fine. Hope so as I'm now two days into a 4500-mile trip. In the amusement department, I challenged to dealer with the coincidence that my ultra-reliable bike died immediately after servicing, and the reply was, "We see a lot of coincidences around here." Seems the definition of "coincidence" is not well understood.

  6. #6
    Registered User dmftoy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Lexington, IL
    If it makes you feel any better your post EXACTLY describes the failure mode on my EFI Harley a few years back. The battery was less than 2years old and maintained as yours. It would even register fine on a volt meter but put a load on it and no juice.

  7. #7
    Yea, I guess I should be glad it failed a week before my trip and not in the middle of the no-man's land I've been riding through.

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