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Old 02-01-2016, 07:57 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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A bit of help from electrical gurus please?

Hi all, here is my dilemma.

I wanted to go for a ride yesterday morning since we are having some really nice weather here in south Louisiana but for the first time in nearly 35 years I have owned my machine I am having starting/running problems. Saturday afternoon it started and ran very nicely but Sunday was another story. I admit electrics are not my forte and I know the problem is electrical.

Here are the symptoms and conditions. Started up and ran fine Sunday morning for about 15 seconds then killed dead. No starter when I tried to re-start. All accessories like headlight, turn signals, horn, etc work fine. Battery is in full charge. I took the side cover off and fuses are all good. Tried it again, the starter functioned and it started and ran for about 10 seconds and killed dead again. I checked the emergency stop switch and it looks good (the handlebar controls are only about 3 years old) but I did not test anything. Throughout the course of the afternoon I tried it off and on but no starter.

Would the solenoid under the right side cover cause the motor to kill and then no starter function when you try to start again? If so, how do you test it? I'm at a loss for ideas!

Does anyone have suggestions of what I might be looking for?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2016, 08:28 AM
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bikerphil bikerphil is offline
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If your bike has the old glass fuses, they may look good, but either the fuse or the metal holder tabs are not connecting. You can also check the 3 wire ignition switch connector in the headlight bucket for corrosion/melting, it will have a red, a brown and a blue wire.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2016, 01:50 PM
crazy steve crazy steve is offline
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If everything except the ignition/start circuit work, that's where the problem lies. Start at the fuse panel, make sure you have 12V power to ground on both sides of the ignition fuse with the fuse installed with the ignition switch 'on'. You should have a brown wire on one side of the fuse (incoming power) and a red/white wire (outgoing power to the handlebar switch). Good there? Then go to the plug under the tank where the right handlebar control plugs in. There's two red/white wires in this plug, one is incoming power from the fuse, the other is outgoing power to the coils (via the ballast resistor if present) AND the TCI box. If you have 12V to ground on BOTH wires (and check on BOTH sides of the plug), the handlebar switch is good. If only one wire has power on both sides of the plug, the switch needs work. If either wire has power on one side but not the other, the plug is probably the fault. If this checks good, then the problem is either in the power feed to the coils or the TCI box. Check for 12V to ground on the red/white at both places. Actually, you could check these two first, performing the above checks only if you DON'T find power at one or both of these places, but if the start circuit quits working when the bike dies the problem has to be between the fuse and the plug under the tank unless you have multiple problems.

The key switch and solenoid won't be the problem, it's the handlebar switch or the plug under the tank most likely. Make sure the connections are clean and tight.
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:27 PM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Thanks Phil and Steve. These are the kind of answers I was hoping for. I have a nice digital volt and resistance meter but figuring out what wire should have voltage and when is where I am really lost. So Steve, the detailed method you give helps a lot.

My wiring harness is in pretty good shape and was re-done about 4 years ago. My handlebar controls are replacements from Mikes XS but I will be sure to check all that out in detail.

Mike
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:45 PM
crazy steve crazy steve is offline
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Mike, read this: http://www.xs11.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35339 for directions on how to read the meter and what to look for. One problem is the meter doesn't put any load on the connections so just because voltage is present doesn't necessarily mean you have a good connection. Checking the circuit 'hot' will usually show this up, but you may want to check for resistance across the switch and/or plug if you get voltage but it still works intermittently. Bring a large dose of patience to the job, it helps... LOL. Those '78/79 style plugs for the handlebar controls aren't the best design, I've had issues with them more than once. They're a pin-and-sleeve design, try pinching the sleeves a bit to ensure a good connection. It can be finicky work....
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'79F parts...
'81H more parts...

Other current bikes:
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'86 XL883/1200 Chopper
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Last edited by crazy steve; 02-01-2016 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:23 PM
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BA80 BA80 is offline
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I'll put my money on the fuses if you still have the glass fuses.

The clamps they snap into will get weak and/or corroded and it'll be a poor/ high resistance connection to the fuse. The high resistance will cause the end of the fuse to get hot and the solder that holds the ends of the fusable link will melt causing an intermittent or no contact issue. The fuse will sill look good but internally weak.

Had that happen several times before swapping out to the spade fuses.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:04 PM
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mine

I had a strange die issue also, ended up being the 2 fuses that are under the seat in the tool box area the issue was the glass end was pulled out
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffintampa View Post
I had a strange die issue also, ended up being the 2 fuses that are under the seat in the tool box area the issue was the glass end was pulled out
That's EXACTLY what happens.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:30 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffintampa View Post
I had a strange die issue also, ended up being the 2 fuses that are under the seat in the tool box area the issue was the glass end was pulled out
I changed out the fuses to the blade type a few years ago. The glass fuse panel got so ratty I couldn't stand looking at it any longer. I am confident it is not a fuse issue.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:32 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Thanks for the swift info everyone. I plan to get started looking for the problem after I get home tomorrow evening. I will certainly keep you posted what it was when I find it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:11 AM
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I changed my fuses out to the blade type a few years ago and this last season I started having the same issues that you are. It would not start or would die while I was riding (one time in the middle of an intersection ). I thought it was the crimps but found that the slot that one of the fuses was in had crack in one side. I moved the wires and fuse to the next empty slot and the problem went away. (the fuse box had 6 slots and was only using 4)

No I didn't get mine from TC I got it off ebay for what I thought was a good price...
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:21 AM
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That one

Quote:
Originally Posted by TADracer View Post
I changed out the fuses to the blade type a few years ago. The glass fuse panel got so ratty I couldn't stand looking at it any longer. I am confident it is not a fuse issue.
These fuses are not in the panel, They are on the other side of the bike by the tool box clipped on the frame.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:24 AM
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"Fully charged" batteries can fool you. There may be 13 volts that is nothing but a "skin charge" with no real capacity to start the bike. Do a load test after complete charge.
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Old 02-07-2016, 04:22 PM
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I sorta know what I am doing but just before a ralle I had an even stranger situation with the start circuit. Drove me nuts cause its not that complicated but bad wires or fuse block can make it tuff to troubleshoot. It ended up being a break in the wire at the fuse terminal to ignition fuse circuit. The wire made enough connection that in OHMS it read good but when the start button was depressed it would not power the start relay. It would also run the bike and then quit. Check the wires at the crimps to the fuse terminals it will give the same conditions as a bad fuse or fuse connection. I suggest getting some small clip on jumper wires and bypass sections to isolate but in the future put in the blade fuse panel before you are on a long trip and it gets you.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:45 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Got it !!

Finally had a nice day yesterday and decided it was time to get out there and see what was going on. Like Crazy Steve said it turned out to be a bad connection at the plug where the right hand controls connect to the wire loom.

I had 11.94 volts all the way up to the connection under the tank. That's where the power ended. I cleaned the connection but no joy. So I tried a continuity check on the circuit through the right handlebar controls and there was a good circuit there so I concentrated on the red wire with white tracer between the fuse block and the connection with the handlebar controls. I used a small pointed probe and got the male pin for that wire out of the plug and the wire was suspect there. I managed to get the pin loose from the wire and renewed the connection to the wire. Pushed the pin back into the plastic plug and connected it back up....Voila !! So I took a few minutes and cleaned every plug I could get to without going through a bunch of major disassembly.

I went outside before leaving for work this morning and hit the button to make sure all was well. Fired right up.

Thanks to all who gave their input. It is appreciated.
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