Total Novice Here......

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Jul 10, 2008
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Greetings all! I had been wanting a Norton for several years, but lately the bug bit me bad and when one surfaced locally, I had to go for it. This is hardcore Harley country and these are a rarity to say the least in these parts, and I like that. Who wants what everyone else has, anyway? I'm tired of looking at the same old Harleys.

It's a '73 Roadster 750, black, nice paint, top end rebuilt, Boyer ignition, brightwork all looks nice. To me, it's beautiful. I'm gonna take good care of her. The bike is sound, the more I go over her, the more I see that. And I know it runs. That's the good.

The bad? For one, I'm far from proficient in mechanical maintenance, particularly the electrical department. That's where I have my problems. The Amals are a bit temperamental for me, even though they were resleeved several years ago, they still have given me fits. I installed a VM34 Mik and all the other gear, because at my skill level, I think it's best. We'll see how that works out, but not until I've settled this electrical situation.

I've had to replace the brake light switch, but the front brake light is not illuminating.

The fellow I bought it from didn't need a horn where he was and I do, so I've installed that, but not so sure it's right yet. The battery, even though it shows it's a year old, it can't keep a charge for long, so I don't get a lot of tries at getting the horn to function. I hope it works once I've fully charged it again to see if my wiring skills are any good. I used the purple/black lead off a wiring bundle with bullet connectors that wasn't serving any purpose (for the Interpol perhaps?). I used that wire because it was the only one of two that dived towards the unused bullet connectors from the wiring harness that was connected to what I consider to be the horn button on the left handlebar. I connected the lead on the horn to it, grounded it and pressed the button and it worked. Now, I hope the battery charge is the problem, because after wiring the whole thing up, it's no longer working. That's another problem, maybe.

I'm planning on getting a new battery to rule out a weak battery problem. It loses charge much too fast, in my opinion. My concern is that something is drawing power off the battery. I just can't believe it loses charge so quickly.

Also, the ignition switch was worn and one of the leads needed to be repaired. I fixed and replaced all that. Another problem: The flasher works in the 4th position on the switch, but then the headlight won't come on. If I put the switch in say, position 3, then the headlight comes on, but the direction lights stay solid, no flash. I've wired the ignition switch as Old Britt's has illustrated. I've had this issue on both ignition switches, just in different switch positions. So that has me mystified.

In short, I can sometimes picture mechanically what is happening with the bike, but when dealing with the electrical parts, I am lost after reading a sentence or three by the folks on this forum, as well as most other sites on the subject. Your familiarity with the subject is astonishing. It is to me, anyways.

I don't want to put the tank on and fire the bike up again until I know for certain I have all the electrical problems out of the way. Has anyone had similar experiences? I'm sorry this post is so long, but I'm kind of on my own here. I hope to do it all myself. That was the whole point. I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.
Welcome to the mysterious realm of Lucas electrics.

The original handlebar quadrant switchgear is know to cause intermittent electrical faults of every sort. CAREFULLY disassembling and cleaning them sometimes will help for a long time, sometimes only a little while, and sometimes makes it worse.

You seem to have one of those 3-position Lucas switches, "Dim", "Flicker" and "Off".

Get a new battery and check the entire harness for voltage-draining shorts before installing it. It could be your 2MC capacitor (the big fat blue barrel next to the battery) is ruined, that'll do it.
I might be able to help you with the flasher/no flash problem.

My bike still has an untouched all stock wiring harness and up to this point all things electrical on the bike work just fine.

I had an old battery in the bike awhile back. I had the same situation as you do, turns signals would come on but not flash with the headlight on. With the headlight off the signals would flash slowly. This is with engine off, with engine on and high idle the signals always worked fine. I guess the charging system took over for the battery.
My problem was just an old cooked battery with low voltage. Running the headlamp causes a voltage drop in the system. If you are starting with anything much less than 12 volts, the voltage drop brings the volatge down low enough that the turn signal circuit does not get much juice , consequently not enough power is running thru the flasher to make it flash.

Try hooking generously sized (not a tiny trickle charger) battery charger onto the battery, wait a few minutes and then try the signals with the headlight on, they should work.

Your low battery condition may be a result of a short somewhere or the charging system not working properly, but you have the right idea, start by eliminating the obvious stuff like the existing battery. A battery can implode from just a single complete discharge, so even though it is only a year old it may have been discharged numberous times and packed it in.
if you find you need to purchase a new battery i have a suggestion. I've done alot of research on batteries and came to find They are one of the largest manufacturers of batteries with very strict tolerances. The best price i have found is through who simply re-labels them. Probably the best battery on the market, sealed AGM.

Also spend the extra $40 and buy a battery tender, a very worthy purchase.
Sluddawg, welcome, and congrats on your new toy. I think I can pretty confidently state that it will at times frustrate the heck out of you. But that you will never regret it.

You know, a year or so ago when I bought my Snorter, I was where you are. Mechanics...okay, I sort of get those... but ELECTRICITY!?!? and worse, electricity as interpreted and construed by Joe Lucas?!?! God help me....

Plenty of good advice available here, thank the good Lord. But I'd also advise buying a multimeter (they are dirt cheap from places like Harbor Freight ... I'm talking like $5!) and a book on motorcycle electrial systems (I like anything Mark Zimmerman has written, but he ain't the only one). Indeed, I suspect you can avoid the latter expense and find much the same info online. One particularly useful skill is to know how to use the multimeter to find a "voltage drop" (google this at worst).

Anyway, again, welcome, and I hope you get much pleasure out of your new toy. - Brian
Congratulations on getting your Norton Slupdawg. I hope it brings you much pleasure. The only advice I can add to what others have said is this: get used to taking the tank off and putting it back on.
Cheers, Ben
you're in good company here. i have asked any number of what I felt were dumb questions and they were always responded to with civility and excellent advice. Unlike your bike, my 71 basketcase had a toasted wiring loom , so I started right from scratch. I'm pretty comfortable working in electricity as I wire electric bass and guitars all the time and understand (on a rudimentary level) ohms, resistance, capacitance etc. bike wiring isn't too bad on these old road dogs... you'll be fine.

you seem to be using the logical approach to figuring out what's right and working back from there. who know, your new battery may solve the whole dilemma

I should know in the next week or so if I wired the boyer,lights, pod etc correctly.... We're almost ready to give it it's inaugural fire-up!!!! I'll be finally riding THIS summer (I hope)

Many thanks to all who responded. Rest assured, I will be taking your advice, and I can envision a lot more visits (and questions) to this site to bring myself up to speed.
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