Friday, February 15, 2008

Believe it or not, I started to worry....

A month or two ago I was riding home late at night when it started to rain. And it wasn't a light rain, either. I came up to a traffic light just as it was turning yellow. I gently applied the brakes. Just before the light, there was a big puddle that happened to have a muddy bottom.

You may not know this, but braking Fatboys tend to have a hard time keeping their balance in muddy-bottomed puddles. I wasn't going fast or anything, but the bike still started sliding out from under me and ended up laid down in the middle of the road.

With no small exertion of effort, I picked the bike up, straightened the mirror, and glanced around looking for a missing turn signal lens. I never found it. One reason for that might be that when I righted the bike, the headlight was no longer working.

I rode the rest of the way very slowly on little-travelled roads. When I got home, I put the bike in the garage, dried it off, and went to bed, figuring I'd fix the headlight in the morning.

I didn't.

But a week or so later, I finally got around to going down to the Harley shop and bought a new headlight. It was remarkable cheap.

When I got home, I took out the old bulb and put the new one in. While I was doing that, I noticed that there were a couple wires in the headlight housing that weren't connected to anything, but they didn't look like they were supposed to be connected to anything, so I didn't think much of it.

I also took that opportunity to adjust the brake lever and all the other controls on the right handlebar, which had been knocked out of alignment.

Anyway, I put the new headlight in, turned on the power and.... Nothing. Not good. I figured I must have damaged the wiring somewhere, but I didn't really have time to deal with it right then. It couldn't have been too bad, though, since the turn signals still worked, and the right signal switch is one of those controls that got knocked out of alignment.

So three or four more weeks passed with me not getting around to fixing it, and therefore not having the use of my bike. I finally decided that I'd have one more look at it, and if I couldn't find the problem, I'd take it down to the Harley shop and let them deal with it for an exorbitant fee.

But ever since I swapped out the headlights, those wires that weren't connected to anything had been bothering me. Could a wire have come loose from the part that the headlight plugs into?

I took the headlight out again and checked it out. And I decided that there was absolutely no chance that either of those wires were supposed to be connected to the socket that the headlight plugs into.

But what about each other? Could it be that those two wires were supposed to be connected to each other, and came unconnected when I dropped the bike?

Obviously not. One of them was clearly a ground wire, and the other had the end wrapped in electrical tape. They were obviously there in case some accessory was added at a later date.

Besides, when I removed the electrical tape, it was obvious that the connectors and the ends of the wires didn't go together.

But that wasn't about to stop me.

I sometimes wonder if I'm really as smart as I think I am.

It was only a little spark, and it only lasted a second.

I tried the turn signals. Nothing.

Duh. A fuse. I forgot to check for a blown fuse.

Once again, I forgot to check the most obvious possible cause of my problem. As some of you may recall, I have something of a blind spot when it comes to fuses.

Two fuses later, it's all better.