What Keeps Feeding Electrical Gremlins?

Discussion in '6th Generation 2002-2013' started by A.M, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. A.M

    A.M Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, they are at it again...

    High beam relay, ground, subharness, fuse...who knows any more.

    What keeps feeding these tossers?
    Thanks, Nelix, for my new favorite term of "endearment".

    Flip on high beams the other night, no high beams but blue indicator light flashes for a split second, so I flip them off and on again...BAM...they are on.

    Last night I flip on high beams, nothing...not even the blue indicator light. I flip them off and on again. Nothing. On and off again. Nothing. On the fourth time and BAM...got muh high beams and indicator light.

    Once I get these stuck and now stripped fairing bolts off then I can take a look at some of the questionables. That's a whole other issue.

    But I still love my Moto!
    20161002_001750.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  2. Allyance

    Allyance Insider

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    One thing I have learned my many many years in electronics and computers is that if it works intermittently, it is OK and it is generally another issue, not the device that you are trying to use. Most probably either dirty switch contacts or corroded contacts some where in the circuit. Low voltage systems, not just on our bikes, are very sensitive to contact resistance because of the higher currents they carry. It is not just a Honda or VFR problem, but more of age and atmospheric effects (and sometimes human error).
     
  3. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    +1

    If the headlights work occasionally, it suggests the actual lights are probably not the problem - its the power feed/switch gear where I would be checking. Indeed recalling the fairly biblical rain you encountered during your Alaska or bust trip, my bet is the dipped/main beam switch needs removal and a thorough clean, or possible replacement if badly corroded, to fix the problem.

    With longer dark nights and cold winter weather around the corner, its probably a good time to get that tool kit out again and fix it before the problem happens in really adverse conditions.

    Take care


    SkiMad
     
  4. VF1000Fe

    VF1000Fe New Member

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    Don't let Gremlins get Wet

    All that rain you rode thru is coming back to get you.
    Water is a solvent and will eventually displace lube, displaces air and gets directly at metal, corrodes it.

    Its most likely your handlebar switches.
    Quick fix, flip the switch a bunch of times, freshen up the contacts.
    Better fix, open the controls up, shoot solvent (brake cleaner, Carb cleaner (aerosol cans)) to blast out crud, dry with compressed air, spritz with WD40, reassemble.
    Best fix, do above but also burnish contacts and solder wire crimp (rember we did that once?).
    [​IMG]
    Not sure about your bike but on the older ones the Headlamp power went thru a Break Make Switch, being your Starter Button.
    I had the same bug once, in Crater Lake park,,.. used a Volcanic Pumic Stone off the ground to burnish those Starter Button Contacts,,.. another Picnic Table fix.

    Since your bike has had so many electrical bugs, the whole harness needs a checkup, but that's a big job.
    Pull all connectors apart, blast with Aerosol Cleaner, reseat many times, Solder the bigger power crimps, respritz,,..
    All Accessories need to have their own Fuse AND series Power Switch.
    Done it many times.

    Riding in the rain destroys a bike, but sometimes you're trapped.
    These bugs will continue till the Connectors/Switch's/Fuses are address'd.

    Its a good bike, just needs some Electrical Maintenance. Good luck.
     
  5. RVFR

    RVFR Member

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    Pretty much what Ally said. After all these years with motorcycling the one thing that pops up on any machine is, Water mixed with a bit of road grime = corrosion, making for a lousy contact, just that simple. Now how to fix that, is up for debate, some do a better job than others. Since WD40 back like 40 years ago I've had a habit in the day when riding in the rain was almost the norm was use a little dab will do ya. Then the question, was it also a design or better materials? Dirt bikes/ enduros tend to hold up pretty good , but then they don't get the additional electrical demands as a street bike like the VFR as an example. Over all, hard to say. When taking into account those little flip toggle handle bar switches and the chores they need to do in the environment they're in, it's no wonder there isn't more falters. Frustrating, oh hell yea, but........not surprising either.
     
  6. ridervfr

    ridervfr Member

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    Check your fuse to headlights. Could be that fuse is not making good contact.
     
  7. A.M

    A.M Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you for the tips and suggestions, friends. Imma tackle those handlebar switches as mentioned and look for corrosion. Seems easier than some of the jobs I've encountered.

    This moto did and does take a lot in the rain on long trips and here at home. And I do ride at night often, so this does need maintenance sooner than later.

    I've never been 100% confident in my electrical abilities, but it's been interesting to learn and getting easier.

    Yes, VF1000fe, I had a ton of fun working on moto with you and remember what you taught me. And with Glenn, zoom-zoom, Randy, and Jeff when we took it apart on the bust trip. I'll put the knowledge to use. :)

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
  8. VF1000Fe

    VF1000Fe New Member

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    Spring into Action

    Take your time and have good lighting.
    There are tiny springs in the Switch Clusters and if they go flying,,..
    Splitting them is no problem, but taking it apart more may mean removing the cluster from the bike and doing it on a table.
    Splitting and Aerosol Blasting should be OK, Operate Switches when solvent in them.
    Taking actual switches apart is where the springs are.
    If switches are still Sluggish, then the Table Clean might be in order.
    Should always have a can of WD40 around, can be used as an temporary emergency lube too.
    Have a buddy in Santa Cruz who uses WD40 exclusively on his chain (Honda Hurricane 1000 / 150,000 miles), says the chain lasts way longer.
     
  9. fink

    fink Member

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    Electrical gremlins are usually the easiest to fix but the hardest to find.

    General list.

    First thing check battery connections are tight.
    Fuses are clean and intact. Have been called out to a few bikes that have stopped over the years. To be told by the owners that they have checked the fuses only to find when removing them for inspection they had broken as opposed to blown.

    After fuses, test bulbs, then Check switches. If necessary strip and clean more so on switches that aren't used often.

    Bikes with lights on all the time usually have more issues due to the "switch" that is disconnected when the starter button is pressed.

    Most of the problems are not power in, it's power to earth so the final one being earths and esp on the vfr earthblocks which if used a lot in wet tend to corrode.

    Yes there may be broken wires but usually not that often.
     
  10. Badbilly

    Badbilly Official VFRWorld Troll Of The Year!

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    Would it be fair to say that biblical rains sometimes create arcs?
     
  11. mneal

    mneal New Member

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    I boat a lot in salt water and battle electrical germinals a lot with marine stuff. Things that get used a lot rare ( like your bike) rarely have issues with switches, mostl of the time it's connection . Unfortantly that's harder to find and the vfr has a lot of those. Good luck, intermediate stuff is way hard to troubleshoot..
     
  12. A.M

    A.M Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the input. Yes, it's been difficult to figure out. Especially since I can't accurately recreate the issue. I have only had the issue a couple more times.

    As well as the start hiccupping, cut out for a split second, start again but dash resets.

    But, got those fairing bolts off and replaced. :) Woot!!

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
  13. James Bond

    James Bond Member

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    With all this good advice, you have to finish this suspenseful story and let us know what the real gremlin is (was)...; ) Good luck (skill).
     
  14. GigemVFR

    GigemVFR New Member

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    Dare I mention putting grease on contacts and the conversation digress into a dielectric grease debacle? However, I would say (and have done myself) to put a fair amount of white lithium grease on contacts before putting back together after you have cleaned real well. Will help with corrosion and lube at the same time. That grease will hang around a long time too unlike many spray type aerosol lubricants. I have used on many types of electrical applications for years. Hope you find that gremlin and keep us updated.
     
  15. A.M

    A.M Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree in the use of grease, gigem. Glenn750gt and I used grease on most of the connections we investigated when I was in Edmonton. I have always used grease in other applications on previous motos as well as autos. I'm no mechanical expert, but I learn as I go and have a shizzz ton of knowledge and skills to gain, but this is one thing I have learned.

    I do plan on pulling the switches apart and cleaning them up best I can. I am definitely not opposed to putting grease on the contacts before I put them back together and that has been my thinking of the route I'm going to take.

    I am heading out to a toy run soon, but I'm tackling this in the afternoon. I am planning to go on a four state-run next weekend and need to have a look-see at this issue before I go.

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
  16. RVFR

    RVFR Member

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    ya know what i'd do knowing after reading all there is and probably be more of the same later on. Get a new switch assembly. There's no need to be messing with this all the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  17. VF1000Fe

    VF1000Fe New Member

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    Grease; A little Dab will do ya,,..

    The purpose of Dielectric Grease is to keep Oxygen off the metal.
    The Nitrogen in our air (78%) is not a problem, its the oxygen (21%).
    Grease itself is not a Lubricant, it is the Carrier or Reservoir.
    The purpose of "grease" is to Weep Oil, for a long time. Oil eventually Evaporates, so it needs to be replenished.
    Rubbing down a connector with grease doesn't get the Coating Lube everywhere, but oil will eventually Weep/Coat everywhere.
    So don't use too much or "oil" will constantly weep out of the Switch Cluster, big time, for a long time.
    Only a Smear is needed.
    Don't use Wheel Bearing Grease!
    Dielectric Grease is non-conductive, as the name says, and is Clear.
    A thick glob is bad news, it becomes a Insulator and doesn't allow the connector to dissipate heat.
    I've seen connectors blobbed with thick grease that burned.
    In a perfect world, the connector should not get hot anyways, but,,..

    I use WD40,,.. it sprays out crud, foams, and coats everywhere, but the Kerosene Oil left behind doesn't last as long.
    If you store your bike outside, ride in rain, then it needs to be done more often.
    No, I don't buy a new Switch Cluster every 10 years.
    That logic means I should be on my 4th switch cluster.
    The little ball and spring need ordinary lube as do the other moving parts.
    Everyone's needs will be different.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  18. A.M

    A.M Moderator Staff Member

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    So not sure if this qualifies as totally nasty...but it's not clean. High beam switch assembly:
    [​IMG]

    Is this too greasy in your peeps' opinion or no?

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
  19. VF1000Fe

    VF1000Fe New Member

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    That looks OK, seen a Lot worse that still worked.
    Still, worth a clean and relube.
    Might have a Connector Problem, reseating always worth it.
     
  20. RVFR

    RVFR Member

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    MMM yum tasty. LOL Like VF says, I've seen worse, but yet there's still the contact, so I'd give it a clean up and lube ? Still suggest one might look at a new one, but then there's what this plugs into .
     
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