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Hot Tip for
Sportster Owners
and other Harley-Davidson
motorcycles with EFI systems

We all know our bikes have a soul, but imagine how I must have felt when I walked into a dark, silent
garage and heard my beloved bike BREATHING.  Yes, it's true, it was a rhythmic breathing sound, like a
mechanical respirator.  Of course it wasn't a mechanical breath my bike was letting out, it was a
mechanical PROBLEM.  Hours and hours of searching finally brought me to the solution.  It was the IAC
cycling on and off, with the bike off and key out.  Why?   Water collects on the fuse panel, the corrosion
creates a 'live' feed to the relays, causing the bike to cycle on and off as if it were on.

What happens?  The constant cycling of the IAC will drain your battery.  If you have a battery tender on
most of the time, this will mask the problem.  Until you go on a road trip and cannot plug in the battery

Some of the possible symptoms:
As mentioned, the respirator sound.  Dead battery.  Fuel NOT pressurizing when you turn the switch on.
Eventually the starter relay can fail, leaving you stranded!  

The fix:  Remove your side cover - clean the fuse panel, all fuses, and relays of the white corrosion.  
Generously cover all the above with dielectric grease (found at any auto parts store...under a $1).  See
pictures below.

It took over 6,000 miles for my bike to start showing symptoms, you may not have had a problem yet, but
you should look over your fuse panel and grease everything as mentioned above to prevent any future

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A SPARE RELAY!  If you do not have accessibility to a
Harley-Davidson dealer you can purchase this relay at an auto parts store.
Fuse panel side cover on 2009 1200C Sportster
open side cover on 2009 sporty
fuse block on 1200C 2009 Sporty
The Side Cover the fuse panel is
located behind.  On the primary
side of the motorcycle.
Pull down from the top, there are two
clips that hold it in place, it will remain
attached to the bike on the bottom.
ALL of these fuses and relays need to be
removed and cleaned.  Make note of
location for proper re-installation. The
dielectric grease.  Also generously cover
the fuse/relay sockets with grease.
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UPDATE:  When I initially wrote this article I wasn't 100% certain that Sportsters were
the only motorcycle with this problem.  After our 2100+ mile (rainy) road trip to the
Harley-Davidson motorcycles with EFI and the fuse/relay panel under the seat.

My sister's 2011 Harley-Davidson Super Glide Custom suffered the exact same issue
during our trip!  Her bike did not give off any symptoms other than hesitant starting for
a day or two.  Her relay completely failed and the bike would not start, period.  Pass this
important, HELPFUL, information to all your biker friends!