Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down


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mhess1968@live.com
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Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:58 am



I have a 84 GL1200A Aspencade, I was riding the other day and my radio cut out but was getting a lot of feed back through speakers. I shut radio off but feedback was still coming through. Then my "tail light" light would come on and go off. The lights would dim as the rpm reduced and headlights lights would flicker when I used the turn signals and brakes. I immediately thought alternator. I limped it home and as soon as I pulled into my driveway it shut down. Nothing no lights, no dash, nothing. So, I checked the battery and 13 volts so alternator and battery good. Fuses in "tank" and 30A fuse in battery line are good. Is this an ignition problem. FYI: I recently added a trailer and lighting to the bike for those long tips.



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HawkeyeGL1200
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:04 am

The first place I'd look is the last place I had my hands on the bike. If you recently added anything to the wiring harness, you could easily have pinched a wire, cut a wire, loosened a connector or a ground.

I would systematically inspect every wire, connector, ground and fixture near the point you were working last.

Things I would look at if you don't find anything on the light install you did: Stator to R/R plug connector (should be tossed and the wires soldered and shrink wrap tubing installed). All ignition related connections, grounds... including but not limited to the Ballast resistor, both ends of the plug wires (plug boot ends have screws in them to hold resistors in place and they should be snug with a screwdriver). Check for proper spark plugs and gap. Power to coils.

You may also want to check the kill switch out. There could be a spider web or corrosion in there causing trouble. I'm out of ideas.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

mhess1968@live.com
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 1:39 pm
Location: Lancaster, PA
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:22 am

Thanks for the input. I did not find anything wrong with added wiring.(kinks, rub through, etc...) I will try to check ground tonight on ignition. I'm not sure how the other things would effect the lights. ( nothing turns on with ignition) I am far from a mechanic but I do wrench so looks like a lot of trial and error. :shock:

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HawkeyeGL1200
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1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:35 am

I probably should have said starter button... not kill switch. When you press the start button, it turns off headlights so as not to put additional load on the battery during starting, if I recall correctly.

By ignition, I included the KEY in my head, as you can't start the bike without the key on, and all power begins with turning on of the ignition (key) switch.

Anyhow, there are plenty here who are more knowledgeable than me. I have the day off and should be riding instead of reading...

The most important thing is to keep track of what you have done, and move through the wiring systematically. Grounds, connectors, switches, relays... you'll find the problem.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:44 am

When you are testing,do you use the frame or the battery lug for the ground.?

mhess1968@live.com
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Location: Lancaster, PA
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:10 pm

I used the battery lug to test the battery. Should I use the frame?

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WingAdmin
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:59 pm

First remove the most recent addition: Disconnect the trailer harness you just added and see if the problem goes away.

Where did you connect the harness? Is it an isolating harness?

mhess1968@live.com
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:58 pm

I connected the wiring harness directly to the wire (in-line tap connector) at the back of the bike. The lights are LEDs, from my reading I did not need an isolator since they are LED and don't draw a lot of current. The trailer is disconnected so essentially the wires are disconnected since there is no draw on the wires. (Am I thinking of this correctly?) I will remove the wires tonight. Just figured that if one of the wires there would be shorting (rub through, Kink, etc..., which I didn't see any) I was thinking that I would have blown a fuse in the fuse box and not all bike power. Please let me know if I am thinking about it wrong?

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virgilmobile
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:22 pm

mhess1968@live.com wrote:I used the battery lug to test the battery. Should I use the frame?

Testing battery volts directly across the posts is correct...Testing the volts to any circuit should be done with the test meter attached to the frame....It's the same part that the rest of the bikes electrical attaches to..
I have seen a bad ground off the battery absolutely drive one batty...when there is a bad ground at the battery or where it connects to the frame ALL measured volts will be normal when measured from the battery post... measured from the frame and the volts go nuts....Double check the ground cable..especially the lug under the engine mounting bracket....

Your mention about "feedback" with the radio off and a multitude of other problems is what tripped my trigger pointing to a ground problem...Inspect,clean every one you see...including the plug at the regulator module...
Green is ground..

mhess1968@live.com
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 1:39 pm
Location: Lancaster, PA
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:42 pm

My thought to that it is grounding out somewhere, the fact that all power was lost through me off (for a loop). I will try these things tonight and let you guys know how it goes. Thanks to everyone for the help much appreciated. Wish me luck! I'll count the number of times the wrench flies across the room!! LOL

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virgilmobile
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:15 pm

Not grounding out.That should have blown a fuse or smoked a un-fused wire.
Lack of a good ground.

mhess1968@live.com
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 1:39 pm
Location: Lancaster, PA
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:45 pm

Weirdest damn thing I pulled the main 30A fuse. It was very brittle didn't see a break in it but broke when I pulled it off replaced it with a waterproof 30A fuse "in-line". Everything works perfect! There was even an engine sound "pfft" sound. I always thought it was a carb leak but that sound is gone now. Wondering if I'm being to optimistic or could the fuse have slowly worn out? Never had a fuse do that it could have had a hair crack and still making contact.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:17 pm

mhess1968@live.com wrote:Weirdest damn thing I pulled the main 30A fuse. It was very brittle didn't see a break in it but broke when I pulled it off replaced it with a waterproof 30A fuse "in-line". Everything works perfect! There was even an engine sound "pfft" sound. I always thought it was a carb leak but that sound is gone now. Wondering if I'm being to optimistic or could the fuse have slowly worn out? Never had a fuse do that it could have had a hair crack and still making contact.


That's a fairly common failure mode for that fuse, and it was going to be my next suggestion after you checked the trailer harness. And yes, it slowly wears out until it creates a hairline crack, just like you describe.

mhess1968@live.com
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 1:39 pm
Location: Lancaster, PA
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby mhess1968@live.com » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:58 pm

That makes me feel better. Thanks again for the help.

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HawkeyeGL1200
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Re: Electrical Problem - Bike just shut down

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:29 pm

It is odd at times how some unrelated thing we do will cause trouble somewhere else. Coincidence perhaps. Maybe the few milli-amps extra drain on the fuse was too much for it and it finally gave up the ghost.

Thanks for reporting back what you found.


I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.


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