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Thread: Bad electric gremlin

  1. #1

    Bad electric gremlin

    Ill start by saying I love my bike but man do we have a frustrating love-hate relationship. Breakdowns seem to appear more often lately and im tired of fixing it, but when she runs I love it!

    So here is yet another electrical problem I hope someone could help me shine some light on. Iong post coming...

    Bike:
    2008 xb12s - 30000km, owned for 3years, cosmetic mods, top end rebuilt 5000km ago. It has a viper alarm system installed by previous owner, never used and never gave me trouble.

    Symptoms:
    1- Last ride before breakdown, the speedo needle started quiting then coming back once in a while, soon followed by the tach needle quitting. Could be unrelated.

    2- Next morning, taking it out of the garage, key on killswitch off, everything was fine. Killswitch on, the neutral/oil lights come on, dim, 2-3sec delay, then back at full bright, followed by check engine light and pump priming sound. Hitting the start button, I heard the starter click half a sec the everything died

    3- i try that again, so starting from everything off, key on neutral/oil come on with needles sweep, full bright this time. Killswitch on, everything dies.

    4- Third try, at key on I only get the needle sweep, but no oil/neutral light. Its been like that since.

    So far I checked:
    - Battery (brand new, fully charged around 14.8-15.5v). Even tried a second battery, same results.
    - Battery poles are tight and without corrosion
    - Grounds (near battery, under airbox, and behind headlights) are all fine
    - Fuses are all ok (checked with multimeter)
    - Relays are ok (tried swapping them). I can hear the key on clicking with turning key on, and ignition one clicking when killswitch on.
    - unclipped fuel pump from main harness (thought it could have a short), no change.
    - checked behind the fuse fox for loose wires, nothing to report.
    - checked every visible part of the harness for pinched wire, nothing to report
    - checked inside the killswitch for corrosion or loose wire, nothing to report
    - tested with another ECM, same results
    - checked the alarm system fuses, they're ok

    Im running out of ideas and will appreciate any comments that could help me solve this! I know electrical problems are hard to solve online...

  2. #2
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    excellent write-up....outstanding trouble-shooting....a tough one for sure. though you swapped them around i'd be tempted to replace the key switch relay(they're cheap and cross over to ford and chrysler a/c relays available auto parts stores) and also remove windscreen and carefully check the ignition switch plug and harness. i'd also spray something along the lines of kano kroil into the ignition switch key slot....work key around...try again. can you completely disable/remove that alarm system and see what you have?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting a clear, detailed, report of it's symptoms, without using text-speak

    The problem seems to be in the ignition supply circuit and you have diligently checked the usual suspects. Like Lunatic said, I would also check the alarm. 99.9% of the time the substandard connections get corroded.

    What type of Viper alarm is it? Does it have one or two external 20/30(Bosch) relays? At least one will be wired Normally Closed (using the 87A terminal) It's usually wired for the starter kill, but can be used for ignition kill in a vehicle (bike) that could be run-started. Because it's wired NC, you can't just pull it. You can bypass it by jumping the #30 (bottom/ sideways terminal) and #87A (middle) terminals in the socket. Use at least a 12 Ga. wire.
    Last edited by Cooter; 09-04-2015 at 04:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lunaticfringe View Post
    can you completely disable/remove that alarm system and see what you have?
    I started looking into it, but it's a rat's nest and I'm afraid to create another source of problem. I might have to go get through it anyway if that's the source of the problem.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooter View Post
    What type of Viper alarm is it? Does it have one or two external 20/30(Bosch) relays? At least one will be wired Normally Closed (using the 87A terminal) It's usually wired for the starter kill, but can be used for ignition kill in a vehicle (bike) that could be run-started. Because it's wired NC, you can't just pull it. You can bypass it by jumping the #30 (bottom/ sideways terminal) and #87A (middle) terminals in the socket. Use at least a 12 Ga. wire.
    I don't know the exact model, but I can look for a product number or serial. It has one large relay which I can hear click when I turn the alarm on and off. It's wired to allow ignition (pump used to prime with alarm on), but blocks the startter. I'll try bypassing it using that diagram, it's pretty helpful. Thanks!

    Will also buy new relays since they're cheap and eliminate that as a source of trouble.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    You may hear the Viper box click and thats ok, just not the big relay. If the big relay is clicking, it means it is wired incorrectly (and drawing power)
    Wired correctly (as per Viper), that relay should ONLY activate when the alarm is armed, ignition is powered, AND starter is activated. It clicks to interrupt the starter circuit ONLY as long as the start button is pressed.

    Removing the alarm should be simply a matter of unplugging the box. The only wires you'll need to re-splice are the yellow and green heavy gauge wires at that big relay (The #87A and #30 terminals) for the starter solenoid. If you can't find that relay, follow the orange wire from the Viper box.

    To completely remove the alarm wiring just follow all the other wires and remove them where they are tapped into the bike.

    Yellow taps into the ignition. I would check THAT connection very well. People use 'fuse taps' that stretch the connectors in the fuse box and give a crappy ignition connection, just like the problem you have…

    The only OEM wire that should be cut is the starter solenoid wire. That's the one that goes through the big relay (Yellow and green heavy gauge wires) follow them and re-splice the factory wire together.

    Don't worry about removing it, aftermarket alarms just make them much, much easier to steal

    Heres a super typical Viper diagram (It may even be molded into the box) don't get overwhelmed, there's only 5 wires used on your bike
    Last edited by Cooter; 09-04-2015 at 09:38 PM.

  7. #7
    Quick update on this, since I haven't had much time to spend on the bike :-(

    I bought a few extra relays to test, but I get the same thing. Then I used the Viper diagram from Cooter to remove the alarm altogether (about 4 or 5 wires, not much) and resoldered everything properly. Since then I get... nothing. Nothing comes on, so I either messed up somewhere or left a wire loose.

    I downloaded the colored wiring diagram from the service manual, going back to square one...

    More to come!

  8. #8
    Ok So Im back on track. i successfully removed the viper alarm, but I still have to same problem:

    1- key on, switch off: I can hear the key switch relay clicking, gauges sweep but no oil/neutral lights, no headlights, no turn signals.

    2- key on switch on: ignition relay clicks and thats it. No pump priming, no check engine light.

    Most importantly:
    3- key off switch off: the dashboard lights up like a Xmas tree, all lights turn on, even high beam. Actual headlights stay off but parking light turns on.

    Im at loss here...

  9. #9
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    stop right there at your #1. with ignition switch turned on you should have functional headlights both beams....all electrical components including signals operational....all dash lights operational. clearly you do not and progressing past step #1 pointless. my suggestion would be this: get your hands on a wiring schematic for a 2008 lightning and closely examine the following: the 12 volt positive feed into the ignition switch....the 12 volt positive feeds out of the switch in the on position to all components. that is where your problem exists.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mrlogix's Avatar
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    ^^ the force is strong with this one.



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