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Speedo not working...weird

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I have a 2003 Sportster LX. Speedo quit working totally now. It started out intermittently not working some of the time , then moved on to more and more not working and now NOTHING. By dealer is 3 hours away (at least) so I started to try to trouble shoot myself. I think it's the gauge but thought I would ask here. My dealer is looking into it but I thought I would bend your ears too because maybe someone else has had a similar problem?

First of all the paddle wheel is fine. Spins freely, all the paddles are there and no weeds or crap in it.

2. The wire at the sender is not frayed or kinked or anything that I can tell.

3. Every thing under the hull looks good and nothing has shifted (like the little spigot in front of the sender)

4. With the sender out of the hull and the key turned onto on (not started) the gauge moves when you spin the wheel.

5. But here where it get weird, with the engine running and you spin the paddle wheel buy hand or spin it with compressed air it will not work. Shut the engine off, and turn the key till the gauges all activate the gauge reads again???

Does this sound like the actual speedometer gauge or is there some computer that translates the paddle wheel spin to MPH on the gauge??? Oh yeah, ALL the functions in the gauge (hours, air and water temp and clock) all work as do all the other gauges.

Any thoughts???


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This sounds like a ground issue to me. When the engine is off, no vibration and the the gage works. The engine running, you introduce vibration and also a charge from the alternator. If you have a bad/loose ground, then the speedo may be sporadic.

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but doesn't that boat plug into the common buss (i think that's what it is called) for all the guages. So you can plug any guage into any connector on the harness.

I would try plugging the speedo into a different connector on the harness to see if you get the same results.

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