Cruise Control Blues = Front Brake Light Switch Fail

DSCN0491Back in a 5 October blog entry I noted Blue’s cruise control went on the fritz while we were down in Panama City Beach.  It was a flakey failure in that it seemed somewhat intermittent: the cruise would switch on and engage just fine and then suddenly drop out.  A couple times it would recover on its own after a while, but uniformly would work again after coming to a stop or near stop, suggesting the issue was tied to a speed control sensor issue, a brake system issue or just a bad control module.

As mentioned in that 5 October blog entry, the ABS system captured two diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs): C 1095 – Front Brake Switch Open & C 1216 Rear Brake Switch Open.  There is a way of pulling a series of eight three-digit codes out of the cruise control module similar to how you pull the DTC codes from the four major control modules on the bike that would tell you what caused the cruise control to disengage but I couldn’t get it to work on Blue. That would have been very telling: I’ll need to make a point of asking how that’s done on my next visit to HDA. So, anyway, that was the starting point for the diagnostics.

light switch right podI once again borrowed my friend David’s trailer and dropped Blue off at Harley Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) around noon on  Wednesday, 8 October.   Around 5:00pm on 9 October Kelly called to let me  know that Bryan had been able to trace the problem to a bad stoplight switch in the right hand brake lever assembly and changed-out the $61.00 switch (#15 at left) to solve the problem.  Interestingly enough, this entailed once again pulling headlight cowl to get to the internally routed wiring in the handlebars, but this time on the right side.  Interestingly, H-D provided about an hour for diagnostics and another hour for switch replacement on a job that probably took about 4-5 hours as it turns out that the electrical troubleshooting manual provided to H-D service techs wasn’t quite accurate when it came to the wiring colors. Or, more accurately, the wiring colors called out in the shop guide didn’t quite match the way the bike(s) was wired.

Note: The only thing I didn’t like about seeing the brake switch codes or hearing that it was the front stoplight switch is that David never saw our rear brake lights flickering or staying-on which is what you’d expect to have happen if you had a faulty stoplight switch that was signaling an open circuit.  Oh well, time will tell.

Since Thursday was HDA’s one night of the week when they stayed open till 8:00pm I was able to go and collect Blue on the way home.  I must say, Jason does an awesome job of washing bikes after service.  For the second time in a row Blue came out spotless!  No nasty detailing overspray anywhere to be seen and just as nice as if I did it myself.  Once again, Jason offered to help get Blue loaded on my trailer but with the Condor wheel chock and just three tie-downs it’s a simple job so I thanked him but let know I had it covered.  I’m guessing the white shirt and tie is a bit deceiving…

Yesterday was my semi off-Friday so after running some morning errands in the truck and switched it out with Blue so I could go and meet Debbie for lunch at the Red Eyed Mule and then hop on I75, I285, I20 and then jump off on Thornton Road and swing by HDA on the way home to give the cruise control a proper test ride.  The cruise worked like a champ through all of the various commands: Set / Accel / Decel / Resume and all forms of cruise cancellation: frong & rear brake, clutch, and throttle roll.


I stopped in at HDA to say thanks to Bryan & Kelly but they were both out to lunch when I arrived.  I let Ray and the Service Manager, Brian, know that all was good and left a thank you note for Bryan given all of the time he’d put in sorting out the iPod controller issue and now the cruise control / stoplight switch issue.  Before heading out I ran into Jason in the parking lot and had a nice time talking about HDA, bikes, Panama City and Myrtle Beach: just as nice of a guy as you’d expect to find at HDA.  I also ran into an old friend from another Harley Dealer — Tim — who I hadn’t realized was not the Parts Manager at HDA.  Another great add for HDA as Tim is another guy who’s just as nice as can be.  I was embarrassed that he still knew me by name while I had to struggle to remember his.  Of course, I have a hard time with names… a really hard time.  I joke that I call Debbie “my sweetie” so much because it’s just easier to remember than Deborah!  I had to fill out her absentee ballot request form the other night and it even took me a moment to remember her middle/maiden name.  Yeah, it’s not for lack of caring.

Bottom Line: Yet another great customer experience at HDA. Oh yeah, and the ‘Thank You” notes that arrive a mere two days after your service visit signed by the Service Manager, Brian, your Service Advisor, Kelly in my case, and Service Technician, Bryan in my case on both visit, are a really classy touch that speaks volumes about the value HDA places on providing an excellent customer experience.


Post Script: It is a bit disconcerting that Blue has had two electrical system failures at 13 months and 10,000 miles.  Based on these “little issues” and the parts & labor costs associated with getting them fixed — the real costs, not what the MoCo is covering for labor — I’ll definitely be considering an extended warranty as Blue nears the end of her 2-year warranty coverage period.  This is also while I’ve been waiting to dive into the engine for any cam work and lifter replacements as I don’t want to jeopardize the warranty coverage on that motor.  It doesn’t seem like the ’13 FLHRSE5’s have been plagued with too many systemic H-D compensator, lifter, or rear valve guide problems so I’m hopeful! 


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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