The most likely culprit for 1998-2001 Random Clock Resets

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by vfrgiving, Sep 2, 2022.

  1. vfrgiving

    vfrgiving New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2021
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    18
    So I've been dealing with this on occasion, and a quick google search shows other VFR owners have as well. I key on the bike, or go to start the bike and the clock and odometer resets. It hasn't happened very often, but when it does the bike has usually been cool for a while and ambient temps aren't that high. At the back of my mind I've always thought it was just some sort of connection issue.

    Reading some of the other topics on the same, I see the usual responses of maybe it's a failing battery, or the rectifier regulator is on the way out, or maybe it's the orange ground block. Sure, that's entirely possible, but in my case the rectifier is a new MOSFET style. The battery is new. The bike has never had a problem starting, and charging voltage is fine. Yet I've still been getting the random clock reset.

    Well today I completely pulled the gauge cluster for the first time to look at an unrelated backlight issue, turns out that's just blown bulbs. Anyway, while wiggling one of the connector boots on one of the plugs I noticed the clock blanked out. I wiggled it again and 1:00 AM appeared. I finally got the two plugs unclipped and was a little shocked by what I saw. The worst connector interface I have ever seen on any piece of machinery. Frankly I'm stupified that Honda thought this was a good idea. I'm even more amazed that it's been as reliable as it has been for 20+ years.

    The flex membrane bends around into the connector sockets, the green solder resist coating ends and the connector pins are allowed to push into exposed copper traces. See the below photos.

    conn.jpg
    dash.jpg
    So as oxidation sets in over time, and the pins have lost some bend the connections aren't as good as they were rolling off the factory floor. My guess with the clock reset is that when the connection is a bit iffy, and key on or start is just enough voltage draw to take away from powering the clock until the engine gets going, charging voltage is in play and enough juice is available again to overcome the junk connection. That's my working theory anyway.

    So the fix? I'm not really sure too be honest. I'm not going to be smearing di-electric grease in there. I'm also not going to be giving those copper traces a scrub. My current plan is to give the traces and connectors a good spray with contact cleaner, and give the connector pins a friendly little bend upward before putting everything back together.
     
    Grum likes this.
  2. airwalk

    airwalk New Member

    Country:
    Canada
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Courtenay,BC (Vanc. Isl., Canada)
    Map
    A tiny smear of oxgard(not a di-elec) , applied via toothpick, would be my approach, after your measure(s)
     
  3. Allyance

    Allyance Insider

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    381
    Trophy Points:
    128
    Location:
    East Bay, California
    Map
    i Like to use a pencil eraser to burnish contacts, looks like you might have cut one off and hold it to reach those traces.
     
  4. airwalk

    airwalk New Member

    Country:
    Canada
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Courtenay,BC (Vanc. Isl., Canada)
    Map
    Good idea, even then you need to be very careful/gentle, those copper tracks are delicate, thin, & nearly impossible to solder back together
     
  5. vfrgiving

    vfrgiving New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2021
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I've actually got a sizeable tube of that stuff. I was a little hesitant about that idea with all the connections on the same flat plane. I usually use that stuff a bit in female connectors, or dipping wire ends before crimping on new pins. If I have more issues I might try that.

    What I did was give everything a good spritz of Deoxit. I used an o-ring pick to gently move the pins upwards a bit. I then put everything back together. i gave the connector a bit of a wiggle and the clock stayed up.

    The middle blue connector also seems a bit more prone to wobbling as the wire has a longer reach. I gave it some strain relief by putting a cable tie behind the boot and around the leads coming out the headlight relay , or whatever that black square module is dead center.

    I've had the bike off and on a few times today. So far so good, but then the reset wasn't that common to begin with.
     
  6. vfrgiving

    vfrgiving New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2021
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It's been about a week now since spraying down the gauge cluster connection area. The bike has seen a good bit of use and a decent number of key cycles now. I want to say I'd have seen at least one clock reset by now. So far so good. If you're having issues, try something similar.

    I did a quick eBay search at different Honda instrument clusters. It looks like they introduced this style with the flex membrane for the 1993 VFR750. They were doing the same with their automobiles as well, just go look at a 1994 Civic cluster for example.

    It looks like they stopped this flex membrane nonsense for the 2002 VFR. 6th gens have a sealed back to the circuit and a decent connector with actual pins.
     
    NorcalBoy likes this.
  7. vfrgiving

    vfrgiving New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2021
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Another week and a half.. still good. Bike saw heavy use all weekend, riding it today as well. No clock resets.
     
  8. airwalk

    airwalk New Member

    Country:
    Canada
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Courtenay,BC (Vanc. Isl., Canada)
    Map
    Congrats, even if you haven’t fixed the glitch you’ve apparently made it work right! That’s my usual result with intermittent electrickery gremlins, along with learning stuff I never wanted to know & likely will never need to know again
     
  9. airwalk

    airwalk New Member

    Country:
    Canada
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Courtenay,BC (Vanc. Isl., Canada)
    Map
    PS. This is what I use to clean those copper tracks/traces. upload_2022-9-20_16-17-15.png
     
  10. Grum

    Grum New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2020
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Good job with the repair, the copper tracks, mounting screws, and the main connector plugs are the main causes of clock issues.
    Agree with the application of Ox-gard on the main plug contacts not Dielectric Grease. Ox-gard is nowhere near conductive enough to cause any tracking/shorting issues, so a liberal coating after your good contact clean will certainly help stop any further oxidation or high resistance build up.
     
Related Topics

Share This Page