6 Common Harley Davidson Ignition Coil Problem: Troubleshooting and Fix

Ever since their inception, Harley Davidson bikes have been a reliable choice for touring bikes. However, the issue with the ignition coil has been a headache for most Harley Davidson riders, including the loyal lots. 

Some of the common ignition coil problems include coil failure, internal short circuits, vibrational damage, overheating, and wiring problems. 

While there is no quick fix for the issues, identifying them and getting them fixed should be of paramount importance for safe riding. Here’s more on the matter. 

Troubleshooting and Fix for harley davidson ignition coil problems

There are all sorts of different reasons why the Harley Davidson ignition coil may go bad. 

And once it does, the bike starts showing all kinds of different symptoms which are not normal at all. 

As a result, it’s important to identify the problems at the root. Here’s how to do it. 

1. Ignition Coil Failure

Ignition Coil Failure
Ignition Coil Failure

The first possible problem is the failure of the coil altogether. This doesn’t have to be any external factor. Rather it can be general wear and tear or the elements at play. 

Either way, a failed ignition coil will cause engine stalling, misfiring, and rough running for the bike. In extreme cases, the bike will not start at all. 

To identify the failure, you can use a multimeter. Reading zero should suggest a failed coil. The only fix for a failed coil is to get it replaced. 

The cost of the ignition coil would range anywhere between 50 to 200 USD depending on the model of the bike. The labor cost would also depend on the dealership or mechanic. 

2. Overheating

The second most common problem with the Harley Davidson ignition coil is overheating. 

Some of the earlier models of Harley Davidson do not use the seamless injection cooling system found on the newer models. 

Rather the air-cooled models tend to get heated after long riding hours. Continued exposure to high heat may disrupt the coil resulting in its failure. 

The overheating-related failure can also be identified using a multimeter. Sometimes the ignition coil can become so hot that it becomes too hot to touch. 

That is also a telltale sign of a failing or failed ignition coil. The solution here is the same as replacing the damaged ignition coil.

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3. Moisture and Corrosion 

Keeping the bike exposed to the elements may also cause the ignition coil to be damaged. For example, leaving the bike out in the cold or the rain will see the ignition coil develop rust and corrode over time. 

A rust or corroded ignition coil will cause the same problems as a failing ignition coil. In extreme cases, it might cause the engine to blow out altogether. 

In case of early-stage corrosion, you can simply protect the bike against elements and store it in a shaded area or a garage. 

4. Wiring Problem

The ignition coil may also fail due to wiring issues. Many times, the general wear and tear and constant vibration causes the wires to get loose or in extreme cases, get damaged altogether. 

In such cases, the electrical connection between the ignition coil and other electrical components is lost and it causes engine misfires or permanent stalling. 

The simple solution, in this case, would be to reattach the loose connectors. If it is a case of corrosion, take the bike to a mechanic and assess the level of wiring damage to be repaired.

Read Also: How To Troubleshoot & Fix P1511 Harley Code? 5 Easy 

5 . Vibrational Damage 

If you offroad a lot with your Harley, chances are the ignition coil might be damaged by external vibration. 

Too much offroad may cause the bike to jerk incessantly which might loosen the internal wiring, damage the components, or disrupt the coil housing. 

In any case, get the ignition coil checked by a professional for vibration-related damages. If needed, fix an aftermarket housing for the ignition coil for a more secure fit. 

6. Power Surge on the ignition coil 

A faulty regulator, alternator, or other electrical component may cause an erratic power surge on the ignition coil. 

This will cause the ignition coil to overload the electrical and get permanently damaged.

In case of a completely damaged ignition coil, the only solution is to get it replaced.

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Tips To Prevent ignition coil Problems on Harley Davidson

The ignition coil is a sensitive component of Harley Davidson in the sense that without the component, it will not be possible to start the bike. 

Here are some useful tips to avoid ignition coil problems on Harley Davidson 

  • Protect the bike against elements and moisture 
  • Ensure proper thermal management 
  • Regularly clean the wiring around the ignition coil 
  • Keep the fuel tank filled in regular intervals 
  • Manage the tires 
  • Ensure the spark plugs are in good condition

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Is it safe to drive a Harley with ignition coil Problems?

The answer is a bit complicated. Driving with a faulty ignition switch is nothing to be immediately concerned about. 

It is also something that can be repaired easily. So if you absolutely have to ride your Harley, you can without worrying too much. 

But as you ride, you will notice how poorly the bike is performing with occasional stalling here and there. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now that you know everything there is to know about the Harley Davidson ignition coil problem, let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions.

How Long Does An Ignition Coil Last? 

Generally, an ignition coil should last around 5 years or about 100K miles. In any case, there is no predefined limit. If it shows issues beforehand, simply get it replaced or repaired. 

How To Check The Ignition Coil Condition On Harley Davidson?

The only way to check the ignition coil condition on Harley Davidson is by using a multimeter. It is better not to touch the ignition coil directly without letting it be idle for some time as it might be very hot. 

Can Ignition Coils Be Repaired? 

Yes, ignition coils can be repaired and refurbished. But sometimes, it’s better to get it replaced altogether. 

Best Ignition Coil For Harley Davidson?

The best ignition coils for Harley Davidson are twin power ignition coils and high-performance ignition coils. 

Final Words 

Ignition coil issues on Harley Davidson aren’t really a serious issue. This is something that happens as part of the gradual wear and tear of the bike except for some unforeseen damage cases. 

In any case, replacing and repairing the ignition coil is fairly cheap compared to other parts. 

Make sure you use the designated OEM ignition coil or a certified after-market one to ensure proper longevity.

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