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Old 04-17-2016, 11:48 AM
Cowsert_C Cowsert_C is offline
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First time owner needs help

Hello all, I recently came into possession of a beat up 81 xs1100SH, which happens to be my first motorcycle. I am mechanically inclined, however, I'm running into a few problems getting it up and running. I can get the motor to turn over and fire but after about 2 cycles, I lose all electrical power and the engine dies. I have a brand new battery installed, I've rebuilt the carbs, replaced the starter, and tested the coils, plugs, and rectifier. All appear to be in proper working condition. Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be happening?

Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:00 PM
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Eastcoaster Eastcoaster is offline
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Welcome to the Site
Do you have the original glass fuse box? Do you loose everything Lights all electrical? I would start with a TC fuse box if its original. Not sure that year had the separate main fuse or not? I would fix them all Lots of information on the TC Fuse box.
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2016, 12:13 PM
Cowsert_C Cowsert_C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastcoaster View Post
Welcome to the Site
Do you have the original glass fuse box? Do you loose everything Lights all electrical? I would start with a TC fuse box if its original. Not sure that year had the separate main fuse or not? I would fix them all Lots of information on the TC Fuse box.
Thanks for your reply,

I have ditched the glass fuse box for some temporary inline fuses before I start working on a chopped wiring loom. I lose all electrical except for the nuetral light. After everything goes dark, I can turn accessory power off and on again to regain everything.

My model and year does have the separate main fuse on the opposite side of the frame, all is good there as well.
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  #4  
Old 04-17-2016, 01:46 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Hey there,

Okay, first of all, the emergency kill switch is notorious for causing problems, gets corroded, etc.. Be careful disassembling, small spring/ball detent mechanism likes to bounce away into the nether regions of the garage. Next, check the MAIN IGNITION switch, can be taken apart, contacts/plate cleaned, regreased, just don't use dielectric in it.

Next, sounds like you may be loosing the ground. Aside from battery to frame ground wire, there's also an engine/frame ground strap at the back/rear, connects to one of the starter mount bolts and frame....also corrodes. Also, all of the wires at the Reg/Rect under the tank, also grounds via frame junction and R/R mounting bolt, clean there as well.

The electrical harness is a major weak link in an old bike that has sat around for years, so if you haven't done so, you really need to take EVERY ELECTRICAL harness connector apart, inspect, clean and reassemble to help eliminate many of the electrical gremlins that can plague you. Don't forget the large white connectors behind the main fuse panel mounting plate.....they are the ALT to harness connectors, a lot of current there, when get corroded can really heat up and even MELT the plastic housing, etc.!

Good hunting.
T.C.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2016, 01:49 PM
motoman motoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowsert_C View Post
Hello all, I recently came into possession of a beat up 81 xs1100SH, which happens to be my first motorcycle. I am mechanically inclined, however, I'm running into a few problems getting it up and running. I can get the motor to turn over and fire but after about 2 cycles, I lose all electrical power and the engine dies. I have a brand new battery installed, I've rebuilt the carbs, replaced the starter, and tested the coils, plugs, and rectifier. All appear to be in proper working condition. Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be happening?

Thanks.
I would first check(not just look) starter solenoid connections, then remove, take apart kill switch and clean contacts(completes star/trunning circuit), remove and clean internal contacts of ignition switch. Included contact cleaning of ALL plug-ins behind fuse panel.....again, just 'looking' doesn't cut it. Remove and clean ALL ground locations. That'll give you a good start!
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2016, 07:28 PM
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MadHatter4119 MadHatter4119 is offline
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I recently had to clean all the electrical connections on a 79 XS1100 Special and once I clean these connections and did a ground mod...it was a different
bike...take the above advice and take the time to do a good job...you won't be
disappointed...Good Luck
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:08 AM
Cowsert_C Cowsert_C is offline
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Thank you all for your replies. It was a combination of everything mentioned. Once I bypassed the kill switch and rewired all of the brittle stuff, the bike came right to life. It'll be on the road soon.
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2016, 09:38 AM
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oldyam80sg oldyam80sg is offline
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One time I was having a lot of electric issues.Frustrated, I took the wiring harness off the bike disconnecting everything.I used to ride a lot in the rain as the bike was my only form of transportation.The harness had gotten rain water/bike washing water inside it.Once I emptied it out and let it dry,The bike was like new again.
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