Harley Sportster 883 Engine Will Not Crank

What is the issue with the Harley Sportster 883 engine not cranking? What could be causing the Harley Sportster 883 engine to not turn over?

When a Harley Sportster engine will not crank, it means that the engine is not turning over or starting when the ignition switch is turned on. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a faulty ignition switch, a defective engine run switch, loose or corroded starter and battery cables, a discharged or defective battery, a defective starter, a defective starter solenoid, a defective starter shaft pinion gear, a slipping overrunning clutch assembly, seized pistons, seized crankshaft bearings, or a broken connecting rod. In a mechanical sense, this means that there is an issue with one or more components of the starting system that is preventing the engine from turning over and starting.

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There could be several reasons why the engine of your Harley Sportster is not cranking. Below are some possible causes and solutions, according to the manufacturer's troubleshooting recommendations:

  1. Ignition switch turned off: Make sure the ignition switch is turned on. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it is easy to forget.
  2. A faulty ignition switch: If the ignition switch is turned on and the engine still won't crank, the switch itself may be faulty. In this case, it will need to be replaced.
  3. Engine run switch in off position: The engine run switch controls the fuel supply to the engine. If it is in the off position, the engine will not crank. Make sure the switch is in the on position.
  4. A defective engine run switch: If the engine run switch is in the on position and the engine still won't crank, the switch may be defective. It will need to be replaced.
  5. Loose or corroded starter and battery cables: Make sure the starter and battery cables are securely connected and not corroded. Loose or corroded cables can prevent the engine from cranking.
  6. A discharged or defective battery: A discharged or defective battery can prevent the engine from cranking. Check the battery voltage and consider replacing the battery if necessary.
  7. A defective starter: If the starter is defective, the engine will not crank. The starter may need to be replaced.
  8. A defective starter solenoid: The starter solenoid is responsible for connecting the starter to the battery. If it is defective, the engine will not crank. The solenoid will need to be replaced.
  9. A defective starter shaft pinion gear: The starter shaft pinion gear is responsible for engaging the flywheel to crank the engine. If it is defective, the engine will not crank. The gear will need to be replaced.
  10. Slipping overrunning clutch assembly: The overrunning clutch assembly allows the starter to spin without turning the engine. If it is slipping, the engine may not crank. The assembly may need to be replaced.
  11. A seized piston(s): If one or more pistons are seized, the engine will not crank. The pistons will need to be replaced.
  12. Seized crankshaft bearings: If the crankshaft bearings are seized, the engine will not crank. The bearings will need to be replaced.
  13. A broken connecting rod: If a connecting rod is broken, the engine will not crank. The connecting rod will need to be replaced.

Overall, there are many possible causes for a Harley Sportster engine not cranking. If you are having this issue, it is important to diagnose and address the problem as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the engine.

If you own a Harley Sportster that was manufactured between 1986 and 2003, this troubleshooting information applies to you. This includes all 883, 1100, and 1200 models.

  • Sportster 883 (1986-2003)
  • Sportster 1100 (1987-1999)
  • Sportster 883 Custom (1988-2003)
  • Sportster 883 Hugger (1988-2003)
  • Sportster 883 Low (2002-2003)
  • Sportster 1200 (1988-2003)
  • Sportster 1200 Custom (1988-2003)
  • Sportster 1200 Sport (1996-2003)

Note that this list may not include all possible model variations and special editions.

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