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Thread: Broken wire at the steering head.

  1. #11
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    Well I am still working on this, so far removed the 2 grounding terminals behind the fly screen. Now run all ground wires to the steel battery tray. Fixed brown/green, black, and brown wire breaks at the steering head. Also re-worked most of the previous repairs that got wet in the rain, apparently a lot. Plan on using the headlight/horn mount, which had a few cracks & now welded, as a grounding point and strain relief. Also split the main ~30 wire bundle into 4 bundles back to the Air scoop. It has been quite a rats nest, PIA, to sort the wires out but think it has been worth it and glad not many others had to do this.

  2. #12
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    At least you have something to work with and not the aftermath of a meth fueled "make it rad" all nighter.




    • Clean all contact surfaces with Scotchbrite or ~240 grit sandpaper, back to bright metal. Edit : Don't remove the tin/solder or Nickel coatings from the brass or copper lugs as the coating serves a purpose in isolating metals of different reactivity
    • Spray all contact surfaces with a cleaner/corrosion inhibitor that “…improves electrical properties”, like CRC 2.26. (Edit: it actually does! - I dipped a penny in it and it removed the tarnish)
    • Torque up the joint while the contact surfaces are still wet with the cleaner/corrosion inhibitor.
    Edit: As Cooter pointed out below, there is a time element here too. Clean, spray and torque up quickly, don't clean one day and spray and torque up the next.
    • Clean off the exterior of the joint with contact cleaner (CRC Brakleen or carb cleaner works too).
    • Spray the joint with a waxy corrosion protectant like CRC CPC400, to stop water seeping in and corroding it again.

    'Clean all contact surfaces … back to bright metal’ (e.g. on the braided earth strap) means cleaning:
    • the engine and frame surfaces where the joints bolt up (at least on the engine side)
    • both sides of each end of the dog-bone link
    • the new earth cable lug
    • as well as both sides of each end of the braided strap itself.

    A tap into the threaded holes and cleaning the underside of bolt heads and their threads and washers is not strictly necessary now, because the bolts and the frame or subframe don’t need to carry any current. Loctite on bolt threads won’t affect joint conductivity either. However if you don't want to add extra wires then the bolts and washers and thread all carry current and must be cleaned and Loctite will affect the resistance of the joint. (see the checklist in https://www.buellxb.com/forum/showth...-stop-misfires for additional things)

    I’ve only found 5 earth joints in the standard wiring on a Ulysses:
    • Two bolted inside the rear cast subframe,
    • One at either end of the braided earth strap between the frame and cylinder head bridging the dog-bone anti-vibration mount above the engine,
    • One bolted to the front of the steering head.
    Edit:Also the connectors between the ET and O2 sensors' wiring and wiring harness count as earth connections and the ECM fuse in a way also - if corroded they will produce voltage drops that act the same as corroded earths to the frame.
    • Other XB’s have slightly different arrangement of earth points (see https://www.buellxb.com/forum/showth...-stop-misfires & https://www.buellxb.com/forum/showth...y-and-Solution where Lunatic talks about 3 different earth wire positions at the front of the frame)

    Sizes & lengths of extra cable and wire for a Ulysses are:
    • Cable from braided strap to battery negative = 20 - 25mm2 cross section and 29” long (eye centre to eye centre). Check length on other XB’s (shorter frames and/or different subframes).
    • Wire to steering head earth bolt = at least 0.75mm2 cross section and 36” long + however much is in the connectors.
    • Wire to rear coil mounting bolt = at least 0.75mm2 cross section and 12” long + connectors.
    • Wire between subframe earth points = at least 0.75mm2 cross section and 6” long (eye to eye). Check on XB’s with different subframes.
    • The cable I used was a 20mm2 earth cable from a small-car wiring loom (free from a wrecker). It already had a brass lug crimped and soldered on, to bolt to the battery. I cut it to length and got an auto electrician to crimp and solder a lug on the other end.

    Crimp-on lug:
    • get one sized for the cable + 2 extra wires, with as big a surface area around the 5/16” hole as you can.
    • get it soldered as well as crimped (belt and braces).
    • Heat-shrink a sleeve that has glue inside it, over all 3 wires, to strain-relieve the 2 smaller wires so they don’t break from vibration as in the RH photo above.

    Spraying CPC400:
    • use cardboard behind the joint to give room to allow the spray to get to the back of the joint and rags or paper to catch the overspray.
    image (15).jpg
    • use a heat-gun/hair dryer between coats to flash off the solvent, to build up the film thickness.
    Last edited by 34nineteen; 11-24-2020 at 07:48 PM.

  3. #13
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    Thanks 34nineteen. The main problem I am seeing is green copper wires at the splices. Especially the cyclops of 4 or 5 ground wires that were tied together and glued and heat shrunk with no solder behind the Flyscreen? Looking at the purple wire Cluster F..., as well? Ground lugs look good, even the two removed at the steering head. Have been using a soft wire brush to clean up the lugs with Contact cleaner as well on the wires before soldering. Using the marine grade Heat Shrink, encapsulated tubing. That CPC400 looks interesting and will try it. Created individual ground wires for the each: Low Beam, High Beam, Courtesy light, turn Signal flasher, horn, and will lug and bolt them to the headlight bracket with a 12 awg to the battery tray. Also will create separate ground wires for both signal lights, gauges, power port, heated grips, and attach with a second bolt to the headlight bracket. I see a black wire in the main bundle at the steering head that tied into the cyclops of ground wires? is this a ground to the ECM? Would not be surprised, tried to determine from the wiring diagrams????

  4. #14
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tbone View Post
    is this a ground to the ECM? Would not be surprised, tried to determine from the wiring diagrams????
    Find the ground pin(s) of the ECM on the harness using the wiring diagram. Disconnect all ground points and verify with a continuity tester.

    Also, the service book often lists the locations of the grounds with a code. Also, in the book is a diagram showing where the codes are located on the bike.

  5. #15
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    Ok, did a pre-flight check with the motor NOT running and everything works. Also cut the front center and middle out of the plastic bracket on the harness bundle at the steering head and straightened/lengthened it by .5 in. Added a 1 in. pvc conduit strap over the bracket on the mounting bolts, may make an aluminum piece in the future, especially if it melts. Originally was going to just use a strap as a cable guide at the steering head, but realized the bracket gives strain relief and to keep the harness off the motor. B4 I button it all down will give it a test ride. Hopefully this will be worth it? Is the ECM ground(s) a switched, or controlled connection, or is it permanently grounded? Appears under the flyscreen everything I've touched is permanently grounded so that it is how I left it. Might check the manual again for the ECM ground locations, not sure it matters, but I can cross out the 2 ground lugs at the steering head.

  6. #16
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    Finally Done and commuted to work. Everything works well.

  7. #17
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    Cool !

  8. #18
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    Thanks for putting this up Tbone! I just purchased a 41k mile Uly with very similar issues, so I will be digging in following your route to success.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Glad you got it sorted and thanks for posting the results You shouldn't have a problem with the PVC there regarding heat and it would help to insulate the wiring, where aluminum would transfer it to the wires.

  10. #20
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tbone View Post
    Is the ECM ground(s) a switched, or controlled connection, or is it permanently grounded?
    I'm curious how you got this far without looking at a service manual or wiring diagram? I struggled to get my wire harness straightened out without it. The sensor ground, basically connects to the grounding portion of all of the engine sensors.

    1.jpg



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