Short in wires?

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Troy 86
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:16 am
Location: Flint, Michigan
Motorcycle: 86 gl1200a

Short in wires?

Post by Troy 86 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:56 am

Help me someone, PLEASE!!! I have an 86 aspencade, I recently painted the bike and added a some chrome with lights. I was riding and started to smell that burnt wire smell and then it went away as fast as it came. I rode it home (about 10 or 15 miles) and put it away. The next day I rode it about 10 miles, stopped and shut it off and it wouldn't start. We jumped it and it died as soon as we disconnected the cable. So we charged the battery, it drove fine until the battery died again. I then discovered that the plug down by the 30 amp in line fuse next to the battery had been charred not blowing the in line fuse. I discovered the diode that goes to the horns (dark green wire with red stripe) had shorted out. I bought a new one but still don't know what caused the problem. I disconnected the lights and did a continuity test from power to ground and got a connection. Is that supposed to happen? I'm kind of lost here can anyone help me here?

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Re: Short in wires?

Post by wjnfirearms » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:12 am

If the lights are disconnected and you still have positive terminal continuity, there is definitely a short. Recheck all of the wiring from power source to the lights along with the ground wires. You never said if you checked the ground wires to the lights. If the hots are disconnected (make sure all of the newly installed lights are disconnected to hot) and still they show power continuity anywhere within the new wiring, you likely shorted a ground wire to a positive feed to somewhere else. Since the horn circuit did short out, that circuit may be the offending one.

If the battery is now being killed, you developed a parasitic drain and/or the charging system has been affected by the short. Hopefully, you didn't kill the stator or regulator. Once you find any bad wires and/or connectors and fix them properly, check the charging voltage with a multimeter and make sure you did not fry something within the charging system.

Some think incorrectly that if you develop a short circuit, that automatically a fuse will blow to protect the circuit all the time. That is not always the case. If the resistance within a circuit gets large enough, but pretty much stays within polarity, the heat builds up and damages the circuitry but the fuse may stay intact. I've seen it happen too many times. I've seen bikes develop pretty significant wiring damage due to a shorted circuit but the fuse never blew. It can also happen this way with a short, but too large a fuse was placed in line and/or too small gauge wiring was used in the installation and couldn't handle the power demand of the accessories. When I do installations, I make very sure to do very solid weather resistant connections, use the proper gauge wiring and check for pinched wire potential before I button things up. I also look carefully on where I'm doing wire runs to insure that the new wiring doesn't run where it may become damaged easily. If there are no alternatives to where the wiring has to go and there is damage potential, I armor it with loom or other ways to protect it.

Check everything very carefully and take your time. These type of problems need a slow and methodical look see. Considering how bad the problem became in short order, I'd take the time to check the entire harness now along with the charging system.
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Re: Short in wires?

Post by virgilmobile » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:39 am

First question.The lights you added,are they halogen driving lights?
If they were,you may have simply overloaded a compromised charging system ending in a burnt connection.
Unhook the add on lighting and repair/solder all the wiring associated with the charging system.
This includes the 3 yellow wires to the left of the battery AND the 8 wire plug that feeds the regulator module.Its to the left of the gas cap.
These wings were never designed electrically to handle more than a couple of amps add on load.
If you must add halogen lighting,you need to reduce the main load first by that amount.

Example:2 halogen lamps draw 4.2 amp each,8.4 x 13=109 watts.
Just this add on would push a charging system past its maximum.
If you converted most of the lighting to LED and used LED driving lights you would be able to stay within the limits.
If the charging system is restored to the best possible condition.
By the way,a halogen lamp will read a near short.It is just a small piece of filament wire.

Troy 86
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:16 am
Location: Flint, Michigan
Motorcycle: 86 gl1200a

Re: Short in wires?

Post by Troy 86 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:20 pm

update, I have traced it down to the plug that fits on top of the starter relay. It was fried, I have to replace it and I will keep you posted thanks for the advice. :lol: :D

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