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Thread: 2004 Buell XB12R No Start Condition

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    2004 Buell XB12R No Start Condition

    Good morning everyone.. So I have read through dozens of posts about my issue and did not see a thread with the resolution my situation had. So, instead of the norm and getting on here asking for help, I thought I would share my experience in hopes it helps someone down the road. This might be a bit lengthy so forgive me. Since we went back to racing sprint cars about 3 years ago I haven't had time to ride. I put the bike up for sale last year and refused to "give it away", so after a few tire kickers, it was put up all of last year. Had someone wanting to buy it last week, so after setting idle for about 16 months I headed to the shop, install a second new battery in the last 2 years since I didn't put that one on a trickle charge or anything. Dropped the battery in tightened everything up, turned on the key, hit the kill switch, lights on, fuel pump prime, all good... Hit the starter button and this crazy bee like buzzing sound is coming from the relay box..Take the cover off and sure enough the start relay is raising Cain.. Bike was running perfect when I last put it to rest.. So obviously it's a bad battery connection, or dirty connections right... Wrong. And so it begins..
    Here are the lists of things I checked, in no particular order.

    Voltage on battery... 12.8, no voltage drop when the lights come on, fuel pump primes or when I hit the start button.
    Check 12V to the pin on the starter relay.. It's there, so far so good.
    Check for 12V signal on relay when the start button is pushed.. No go.. Finally, it is isolated..
    Check 12V power at the start button.. Good.. Check power on exit side of the start button.. 6V.. What??? Ok, has to be corroded contacts, or an issue with the button right. So i take apart the start button, it was nasty. Cleaned contacts and everything inside switch handle gear. Put it back together thinking this was the solution.. Wrong, same buzzing sound..
    At this point I am scratching my head.. Nothing is making sense.. I check the battery and connections at least a dozen times, because 99% it's battery or ground related right?? Oh and I checked cleaned tightened every ground on the bike..
    I still wasn't convinced that it wasn't the start button, so I jumped 12V straight to the exit side of the button.. Surely this will make it start, but no.. Instead it blew an ignition fuse..
    I disconnected the 4 pin harness from the right side handle gear.. I did have continuity on both the kill switch and the start button, so probably shouldn't have even worried about bypassing the start button... Live and learn.
    Another thing I now see as odd, but wrote it off at the time. My brake light wasn't working.. The horn hasn't worked in a while.. I checked the fuse since they are on the same fuse, but it was good.. Figured the bulb must need to be changed and I will get around to it once I get it running..
    So here's what I know so far.
    Battery good. 12.6 volts and load tested perfect.
    Battery connections and grounds, good.
    12V power is getting to the switch, the constant 12V hot is getting to the relays, but the control voltage is not getting to the relay.. well, only half of it is getting there.
    About 4 years ago my buddy had the wires pull out the bottom of the his XB9R key switch.. When that happened to him I bought a new electrical section of the switch and had it laying up in the shop, in case it ever happened to me.. I was gonna let it go with the bike when it sold. I decided to swap that out just for the sake of trying..
    Swapped the electrical portion of the key switch, still have the front fairing off, turn on the key everything is normal, hit the start button and the bike fires on about the 2nd revolution..
    Remember the brake light issue I mentioned.. It is now working.. I haven't looked at the wiring diagram close enough to determine if the key switch could have had anything to do with it or not.. Just mentioning it in case it could be a troubleshooting indicator in the future.
    There is a cracked solder joint in the electrical portion of the key switch.. Again, haven't looked at the wiring diagram to be able to tell you exactly which one it is, but it appears that it was making just enough contact to make everything turn on, but not enough to complete the circuit, or causing a short in there maybe???...

    I would have never dreamed there would have been something in the key switch that would have failed "just setting there"... However, now that I think back, it didn't really just set there. The bike has been moved all around the shop over the past 14 to 16 months.. And even though it hadn't been ridden or even started during that time, moving it around by hand, lots of lock to lock motion and I bet you that one full lock movement of the handlebars pulled on the wire in the switch just enough to break an old solder joint.. FYI, for those of you that don't know, the wiring harness on these switches need to be longer.. I made up a jumper harness and lengthened this new one i just put on hopefully to eliminate this in the future..

    Again, sorry for the length here. Too many times there are a 100 posts in a thread about a problem and never a resolution.. I wanted to try and capture everything I did in an effort to find my problem. This community has been a huge help for me over the years with this bike. I hate to see it go, but I also hate to see it just set in the shop...
    Last edited by mchall629; 05-12-2020 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    la harpe, il
    Nice write up. Electricals Gremlins are a pain in the ass. Glad you found the issue. I understand about letting the bike sit there. I only put 4 miles in mine last year. Then again I was dealing with other issues and couldn't ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Central Soviet state of new jersey.
    Thanks for sharing. Seems like you covered all bases, figures it would end up being the last logical thing. Take it out now and spank it good !

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