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2008-08-18 Weird electrical problem

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...Engine dies when blinkers, brake, headlight swtiched 

Posted 19 August 2008 - 07:08 AM

Facts:


  • Last two 0'dark-thirty mornings, approx 55 degrees F, less than 1 mile on pavement after 3 mile dirt road.
  • Engine dies when headlight switched from lo to hi, turn signals turned on, emergency flashers or brake light applied.
  • Engine cranking speed is normal and immediately fires at restart.
  • Failure could be repeated for approximately 3 minutes. Did not 'cycle' the ignition switch. During the 3 or so minutes, I toggled hi/lo beam, emergency flashers, engine cut out switches.
  • Both days, it just all started working again and, in SkooterG fashion, I just kept riding, another 45 minutes to work. Systems worked normally.
  • No problems experienced so far for the afternoon ride home (~75 - 90 F)
  • Both failures occurred in early morning, approximately same location and temperature (~55 - 60 F)
  • 2006 'A' model, ~65K, Solteks with AutoSwitch, Blue Seas distribution center powering Radar, GPS, heated vest.


I think that: (Need to verify)




  • Cluster lights dimmed or went out. I recall yesterday seeing both turn signal indicator lights dimly lit, like a low battery or poor ground. Not sure about running lights.
  • Alternator/regulator output appears normal - at max current draw (hi beams + Solteks, emergency flashers, rad fan running, brake light on) the headlights don't dim at idle or brighten with rpm.
  • Battery 'stress' test (hi beam + running lights + engine fan + brake light) for one minute, bike cranks normally, fires immediately.
  • I smelled something 'electrical'. I know the smell, but have a lousy sense of smell. No smoke I could see (dark).

Troubleshooting Plan




  • Measure battery voltage bike dead, idling, 4K rpm using various loads.
  • Check battery connections for cleanliness/tightness.
  • Measure battery negative to frame ground.
  • Check fuse connections.
  • Wiggle wires at ignition switch, try to repeat failure.
  • Check connection at ECU and alternator.
  • Ask the gurus on FjrForum.com!

Any ideas? Anyone else experienced this?



TIA,

 

Posted 19 August 2008 - 08:12 PM

Thanks everyone, for the help. Seriously. My local dealer went bankrupt, the other dealer is a stealer. Would really like to solve this on my own, with your assistance.

More info:
(all voltages taken at battery with calibrated Fluke 45)
Battery test, 'unloaded' (low beams on, gps powered, no extra load)
Ignition on = 12.8
At idle = 13.6
4k rpm = 13.9

Loaded charging test (Solteks, hi-beams, 4-way flashers on)
Idle= 12.8
4k rpm = 13.2

Extra loaded test (Solteks, hi-beams, 4-way flashers + fan)
Idle - 12.4
4k rpm - 12.8

Battery stress test (engine dead, Solteks + hi beams on, 4-way flashers on + 30 seconds of fan)
Start = 12.0 v
1 minute later 11.8 volts

Here is what I checked so far:

1. Battery connections - No corrosion visible, cleaned anyway. After cleaning, noticeably 'shinier'. I run a Blue Seas fuse block, so both terminals have extra connections feeding the BS block.
2. Pulled every fuse, including 10A ignition. All appeared to be properly seated and no corrosion. Also pulled separate 30 A fuse located near ignition coils.
3. Checked 'visible' wiring from battery to Blue Seas. This is not fused at the battery, probably should be. Did not observer any wiring degradation. Wiring enclosed in Napa 'Asphalt' loom.
4. Checked wiring going to ignition switch. Nothing obviously wrong.
5. Checked all wiring behind panels (what the hell are they called, AB, CD?) on the RHS as sitting on the bike. No obvious signs of distress e.g. no melted insulation, obvious loose wires, etc.
6. Checked wiring at Regulator/Rectifier. When I replaced the rear shock I wrecked the RHS connector and now it is ty-wrapped in place. Jiggled the connector and repeated the load test described above, no change in results.

Did not check:
1. Battery ground wire at frame or measure battery negative resistance to ground.

So, for mañana, I will be carrying a BFF (bug f$#c#ng flashlight) and see what happens.

Note to self: if it fails, check to see if:
1. All lights are dead (instruments, running, etc) or just ignition.
2. Cycle the key and test.
3. Wiggle wires under ignition switch.
4. Move bars stop to stop.
5. Call AAA to get a ride home.
6. Send bike to Radman for a quality fix.

Ideas? Next steps?

Thank You Everyone..

Don

Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:17 AM

QUOTE (radman @ Aug 20 2008, 05:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (dcarver @ Aug 19 2008, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Did not check:
1. Battery ground wire at frame or measure battery negative resistance to ground.

And you're waiting for??????????? That connection is probably the most overlooked cause of odd little problems I know of. Has all the potential for causing problems like the ones you're having-
Fairly hidden, rarely even looked at.
Exposed (though it is behind plastic) to road spray, heat, road splooge etc.
Dissimilar metals (galvanic corrosion anyone?)

Heat worsens the problem with poor conductivity, plus the constant expansion/contraction loosens the connection over time. As the connection loosens, moisture can invade, powdering the aluminum (corrosion), making for a looser connection, and on and on. Even should you find it to be relatively clean and tight, you've eliminated this as a possible.

PS-battery looks good.

Thanks Rad, I'll measure from battery terminal to good frame ground tonight. I would expect to see, just guessing here, about .2 ohms or less?

The harder step will be to figure out how to get at the battery ground on the frame. I've not yet played the plastic removal game.

Oh - All was OK this morning, no symptoms, but I don't feel like I've 'fixed' anything yet, no smoking gun.

Thanks again for words of encouragement and help rolleyes.gif .

Posted 20 August 2008 - 07:01 AM

QUOTE (ionbeam @ Aug 20 2008, 06:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

dcarver, the battery ground connection really needs to have a wrench put to it. If the connection is loose causing intermittent contact you may have gotten lucky and ohmed the connection while it was 'good'. Also, in motorcycle & car ground circuits .2 ohms can be significant. When making a very low ohm reading, set your DMM to the lowest scale and touch the two meter leads together. The value you read is the resistance of the meter leads. Note this number. Now make your ohm measurement then subtract the meter lead values. In your case this should equal just about zero ohms of resistance. But, if the cable is loose you may have just caught it at a good moment.

I was able to get to the block ground on my Gen I by using a couple of extensions and a swivel joint on my socket wrench. It's worth a look before pulling plastic.

Thanks IonBeam, I haven't ohmed the battery cable yet and will zero out the meter leads first.
Even if it measures good, I'll clean the connection anyway.

What you expect the battery cable resistance value range to be? .02 to .08?

Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:05 AM

QUOTE (kaitsdad @ Aug 20 2008, 07:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

QUOTE (dcarver @ Aug 20 2008, 06:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

QUOTE (ionbeam @ Aug 20 2008, 06:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

dcarver, the battery ground connection really needs to have a wrench put to it. If the connection is loose causing intermittent contact you may have gotten lucky and ohmed the connection while it was 'good'. Also, in motorcycle & car ground circuits .2 ohms can be significant. When making a very low ohm reading, set your DMM to the lowest scale and touch the two meter leads together. The value you read is the resistance of the meter leads. Note this number. Now make your ohm measurement then subtract the meter lead values. In your case this should equal just about zero ohms of resistance. But, if the cable is loose you may have just caught it at a good moment.

I was able to get to the block ground on my Gen I by using a couple of extensions and a swivel joint on my socket wrench. It's worth a look before pulling plastic.

Thanks IonBeam, I haven't ohmed the battery cable yet and will zero out the meter leads first.
Even if it measures good, I'll clean the connection anyway.

What you expect the battery cable resistance value range to be? .02 to .08?

Don, remember your little "Bambi" incident? Consider what everything's been through.

Like IonBeam says, check that ground.

KaitsDad, which relay should I be looking at? Per PonyFool's encouragement, I removed some plastic this morning.. rolleyes.gif

Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:15 PM

Update. Last night measured cable resistance using Fluke 75, best resolution is only 1/10 ohm, so probably useless. Display read 00.0 ohms with leads shorted. Measured from battery terminal to various frame ground points, 0.00 ohms.

Found the ground wire at engine case, could barely get 3/8" drive universal and 10mm socket on bolt head, realized I would NEVER be able to hold the wire in place and start the bolt if I removed the bolt, and since I need the FJR for work, decided the best temporary solution would be to loosen the bolt, (it was tight, spray some good electrical contact cleaner on it, then tighten up again.

Bolt / connection was tight, no signs of corrosion.

No problems again today on the ride in.

Maybe this weekend will remove tupperware to take a harder look.

Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE (radman @ Aug 21 2008, 01:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Someone posted a while back concerning the harness junctions below the tank, in the vee formed by the frame rails joining the neck. Having chased some odd vibration problems, I checked mine, and found them pretty corroded. They are in a spot where water running off the front of the tank, as well as water coming off the tree, bars, etc is funneled right into that area. Cleaning it up solved the vibration, obviously a coil induced misfire at speed. Bears attention, regardless of year I would think. It's not a weatherpack connection IIRC.

Great idea, Kaitsdad and Rad. Will pull the tank tonight and check under hood. At least tonight this old man won't be on his back on the concrete looking into a dark void while wearing granny glasses and holding a AA flashlight in his teeth.. unsure.gif

Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:43 PM

Update:
Tonight I pulled the left side covers (not sure what the panel numbers are) but left hand side as sitting on the bike, and did more inspections. I didn't feel I had time to pull the tank and check under there, so I did what I could.

I found the hi/lo beam relay, promptly broke the freakin' hard plastic 'tab' connecting the wire harness to the 'adapter' that then holds the hi/low relay. WTFO? I barely 'moved' the tabs for clearance, next thing I have a connector in two pieces.

Makes me wonder if I'm doing more harm than good in this quest. I put everything back, after cleaning of course, using high quality 3M electrical tape to ensure the connector doesn't disconnect from relay later on.

I did find two connectors, unconnected, that are, IIRC, used for the AE's heated hand grips. They were hanging down past the radiator cap, exposed. I looked at them, no signs of arcing, wrapped the ends with electrical tape, then zip typed them away from any possible ground contact.

Couldn't figure how to get the stupid glove box removed, and there are two large electrical connectors in the region. I had the glove box 'loose' but must have missed one more bolt or plastic whatchmacallit pinning it on the front bottom side.

Once again, I wonder if I'm doing more harm than good at this point...

I will pull tank Saturday (at least I have 2 days to play then) and check all connections on the harness.

Thanks again everyone, appreciate the help..

this problem turned out to be burnt grounding spiders....

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