A modern motorcycle battery is designed to provide years of service before it needs to be replaced, but several factors can drastically reduce the service life of your XL 883 Sportster’s battery. Colder climates, repeated short rides and long periods of inactivity can discharge the battery in short order. In worst-case scenarios, the battery will refuse to hold a charge at all if it is left in a severely depleted state for too long. Replacing a dead battery can appear difficult the first time you try it, but it’s simpler than you think and can be done in just a few minutes.
1. Unscrew the bolt from the rear of the seat with a Phillips screwdriver. Lift the seat slightly and pull it toward the rear fender until you can remove it from the Harley.
2. Remove the left frame cover to access the battery. Pull the top of the left frame cover away from the frame, then unhook the bottom of the cover from the tab on the frame.
3. Unscrew the bolt from the bottom of the metal battery strap with a Phillips screwdriver. Lift the battery strap until it can be unhooked from the battery tray.
4. Pull the battery out of the tray slightly to access the battery cables. Unscrew the negative battery cable’s bolt first, using a Phillips screwdriver, then unscrew the positive cable’s bolt. Pull the cables away from the battery.
5. Pull the battery out of the battery tray. Slide a new 12-volt 12-amp/hour battery halfway into the tray. Connect the battery cables, starting with the positive cable, followed by the negative cable. Tighten the bolt on each battery cable with a Phillips screwdriver. Push the battery completely into the battery tray.
6. Reassemble the battery tray, frame cover and seat, following the reverse order of removal.