The 2004 Harley-Davidson XL883 and XL1200 Sportster models rely on a their batteries to provide the initial power needed to start their engines. These batteries are fairly robust and can provide years of reliable service if maintained properly. However, neglect and extended periods of storage can permanently sap the battery of its charge. While the process of removing and replacing the battery from either model is fairly simple, the battery cables must be removed and attached in a specific order to avoid a nasty electrical shock that can harm both you and your bike.
1. Unscrew the mounting bolt from the rear of your Sportster’s seat, using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the seat up and away from the gas tank.
2. Grasp the left frame cover, positioned below the left frame rail, with both hands. Lift the cover off the tabs near the left seat rail, then pull the cover toward you until it is free from the tab at the base of the cover.
3. Unscrew the terminal nut attaching the negative (-) battery cable to the engine’s crankcase, located behind the engine’s rear cylinder and the primary drive case, using a 10 mm socket and a socket wrench. Lift the negative (-) cable off of the crankcase ground terminal.
4. Unscrew the battery box strap bolt, positioned under the left seat rail, using a 3/8-inch socket and a socket wrench. Lift the strap up, then pull the battery toward you to access the battery terminals and cables.
5. Unscrew the negative battery cable’s bolt with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the negative cable away from the battery and frame, then unscrew the positive battery cable‘s bolt. Pull the positive battery cable away, then pull the battery out of the battery box.
6. Push a new, fully-charged 12-volt, 20-amp/hour battery into the battery box. Place the positive battery cable over the battery’s positive terminal, then screw the cable bolt into place with a Phillips screwdriver. Attach the negative battery cable to the battery’s negative terminal.
7. Reattach the other end of the negative cable to the crankcase ground terminal.
8. Lower the battery box strap over the battery, then screw the strap bolt into place with a 3/8-inch socket and a socket wrench.
9. Hold the left frame cover against your Sportster’s frame. Slip the slots cut into the top of the cover over the tabs built into the left seat rail, then press the bottom of the cover over the frame’s tab.