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1995 Harley Ultra Sidecar Lighter Fuse Question

I blew an in-line 10 amp fuse to my cigarette/power outlet on the ultra sidecar.  I've followed wires, ripped things apart on the sidecar (not to the point of ungluing carpet yet), checked all the fuses on the actual bike, and checked every wire between the sidecar and the bike to no avail looking for this ridiculous fuse.. It HAS to be somewhere accessible- you would think- I just haven't been able to find it.  I have wiring schematics which show that there is a fuse, but the service manuals I have show nothing.  I've found NOTHING on line and no "retro" cycle expert that I've talked to on the phone have been of any assistance.. So I live with a non-functioning power port- only I know that, but it still bugs me.. I have one on the bike that works, so it's not that big of a deal.  One of these days, I will run into someone who knows where the fuse is or I will find it by accident.

If ANYONE has any knowledge of where the sidecar in-line fuse would be located, any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Chris

Chris, I had a similar issue with a BMW 3.0 CS.  BMW said that there were no "flying" fuses in the entire car so I was looking for a broken wire.  The classic method for this is the use a meter with a continuity function.  Find two points where you can access the wire in question.  When you find a section that doesn't have continuity you've found your break [or your blown fuse].  In my case it was a flying fuse that BMW said didn't exist.

Before you go down that rabbit hole, have you done all the simple stuff?  First is to check the connections behind the power plug to see if there is voltage there, indicating a bad power socket?  Is there voltage at the point where the wires leave the power source, fuse block or barrier strip?  I once spent a whole day looking for an open wire or blown fuse only to find out that the bulb I used as a replacement for an apparently dead bulb was also dead.

Anyway, good luck.

Al Olme Minneapolis, Minnesota

Al,

Thank You SO MUCH for getting back to me regarding this issue!  I am extremely grateful that I found and joined this awesome organization of like minded individuals!

As for my continued troubleshooting, the power outlet was replaced with a new receptacle and there was a separate pig tail line between the outlet and the main power lead connection point- located under the left grab handle trim piece.  You would think that the pig tail would be the appropriate place for an in-line fuse- of course not.  Prior to the blown fuse, the power outlet had continuous power at all times, regardless of bike power status, which led me to think that this has to somehow be connected to the separate reverse motor battery located to the rear of the sidecar behind the seat.  A voltage check of the power lead connection point under the left grab handle showed that the line was dead prior to the connection point.  I have attached some pictures for some points of reference.  I can feel the wire of the power lead under the glued down carpet going towards the rear of the sidecar.  This sidecar is extremely buttoned up- not intended to be taken apart easily.  To the rear, behind the seat, I removed the battery box and disconnected the bracket securing the amplifier/communications module  in order to have better access to all of the wiring.  There are some speaker wires and communication wires, and I would assume one sheathed line which would have to be the power lead- with no fuse and no way to easily tell where its connected to.  Then there's a huge umbilical cord which exits the underside of the sidecar and heads to the bike for electrical/communication connections.  There were only two of what appeared to be 8 or 10 gauge wires that came off of the rear control module and attached to the battery.  The only thing I did not do was disconnect everything to physically remove the module  from behind the seat to observe what the connections are.  That would be very difficult to do solo- possibly with a second helper.  But, again, no in-line fuses noted behind the seat.

For the trouble it's worth, I will live with it for now until I can get some extra hands and eyes to assist me further.

This is, unless, anyone else may have further insight into this issue.

Regards,

Chris

Uploaded files:
  • 060219UltraSidecarPowerOutletLeadPigtail.jpg
  • 060219UltraSidecarPowerOutletPowerConnection.jpg
  • 060219UltraSidecarPowerOutletPowerPort.jpg

Chris,  You didn't mention the extra battery or the reverse.  It's probably not important but giving all the details is often useful when seeking help.

I'd discount the sheathed cable.  There's no reason to sun that sort of wire for your accessory socket.  I'd bet that it's part of the communications system.

The "always on" state of your accessory socket is a clue.  It's tied to a battery directly, either in the bike or possibly you reverse battery but I'd bet on a bike connection.  The accessory socket is a common add on but the reverse kit is really unusual and was probably added later.  Don't be concerned with the wire under the carpet, the likelihood of a break there is very low.  I'm not really familiar with Harley practice but an 8 or 10 gauge wire is pretty big for an accessory socket.  In the old days when they were cigar lighters that would have been more common.  Heating elements are a big draw.

It's time to get out your meter and start tracing the wire.  I'm not sure from the photos but it looks like the wires feeding the male plug are red/white and gray.  Look for those wire colors and stick you probe through the sheathing to see if you get continuity.  If you do, your fuse or break isn't in that section.

Where are you?  Maybe there's a member somewhere close who could help. Good luck.

Al Olme Minneapolis, Minnesota

Al, thank you again for your insight!

I am located in Glenside, PA, a suburb directly to the north of Philadelphia.

Brainstorming overnight, I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I have a 12 v constant battery source directly behind the rear of the sidecar seat that I keep charged with a battery tender.  Rather than driving myself crazy trying to diagnose this mess, I think that my next course of action will be to just run a whole new fused line directly to the rear battery.  The outlet will not drain the battery unless anything is connected.  I can reuse the connector from under the left handle trim piece and put that at the front end of the new line that I run to the rear battery from the pig tail.  It will then be properly connected to the rear battery with an easily accessible in line fuse and will work great.

If you encounter a hazard in the road, swerve around it..

Problem solved.

Regards,

Chris

 

Thanks to your insight and expert advice!

Problem Solved!

I just rewired the whole dang thing with a new 10 amp in-line fused line from the outlet back to the reverse battery behind the sidecar seat.

That is probably all that a Harley dealer would do and charge me $109 / hr to do it, saying that they fixed the problem.. Doesn't matter how it's done.

Works great and I have my sanity back 🙂

Regards,

Chris

I really do hate to rain on your parade but...

That's ALMOST a really good solution.  It fixes the accessory plug but you still don't know if it's a blown flying fuse or a broken wire.  If it's a blown fuse and you don't mind the extra wire, you're good because the fuse is in some way encapsulated and there's very little chance of anything further.  OTOH, if it's a broken wire, you could be leaving yourself open to an inopportune spark that might be harmless or might start a fire.

Al Olme Minneapolis, Minnesota

Al,

Thank you for your broken wire concerns.  I have thought about that myself.  However, the fact that this whole issue started when the original cigarette lighter was accidentally depressed in by an oversized box I was carrying to the post office and the lighter burned itself up, I am pretty sure that it is a blown fuse.  Once I pulled out the burned out lighter and replaced it, there was no longer power to it from the line.

One thing's for sure, I will never make that mistake again with cargo transport.. No longer functioning as a cigarette lighter, just a power outlet.

Regards,

Chris