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Reparing Your Ignition Switch


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#1 DailyCommuter

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:05 PM

Ok, I leave my house this morning Like most other days on the way to work, and ride down my street, turn on to the next one, and .......... NOTHING. Bike dies! "AWWW CRAP!

But the good thing was since I read this forum all the time, I kinda had a feeling what it was, The old ignition switch bad wire thing that seems to happen alot. So push push push all the way home, uphill most of the way, Thought I was going to die. But anyway, After testing a couple things I figured I would call some of the local Stealers to see who ,if anyone, had one in stock,..
No Luck, No one had one, But but but, I need my bike, I will figure something out, thought about the toggle switch fix, suggested by IonBeam in his PM to me this Morning, Thanks by the way Alan.
But I decided I was going to fix the existing ignition switch If I coud so I didn't have to deal with the whole re-keying issue, on the hardcases.

No-one has ever accused me of being overly patient ,If you know what I mean rolleyes.gif so I did this today because I am not going to wait for a switch, or fight about warrantee coverage, My dad always told me when he fixed something that people said couldn't be fixed, He would wink at me and say "country boy can survive boy!" wink.gif So this was for both of us today, me and dad,.... Hug you dad's everyone next time you get the chance. You will miss them dearly when they are gone, I promise you! My dad taught me everything I know that's of any true importance in life, So I carry on.....as he would.

I snapped some pictures so others could benefit if needed.

So first I removed the triple clamp using the conventional methods, so I could see what I was dealing with.


So it was obvious at this point that the brown wire had broken from it's solder connection and that was the problem. The next step I took was rather than drilling out the tamperproof bolts that held the switch to the triple clamp, I drilled the two that held the bottom cover of the switch on. This took a little doing, because of the dome like shape to them. I used my Dremmel with a small grinder to flatten the head out before I centerpunched and drilled them. Below is a picture of the switch with the bottom cover removed. Pay attention to the orientation of the switch body when you remove it, it needs to go back the same way.


Once I was inside the switch it doesn't look to be that bad. Just need to re-solder that pesky brown wire.


I needed a way to hold the switchplate down so I could use the soldering iron, and hold the wire where I wanted it, so I just screwed it down to a 2x4 for the operation. an ordinary drywall screw did nicely. That shiny silver dot left of the screw head and right of the red wire is where it belongs. Those 2 at the top that are still bronze color are unused.

Nothing fancy in the soldering tools department here either

After I soldered it back together it was good and strong.

At that point I snipped off the protective jacket that I cut durring the removal of the triple clamp. Turns out I didn't need to either. It just slid down the wires away from the switch when I tried. So I needed to wrap mine again to protect them before re-assembly. I just used a good wrap of black vinal electrical tape.



to replace the tamper free bolts, I went to home depot and got som 4mmx16mm hex head screws, I needed to trim them down because they were to long,(out comes the dremmel again) rolleyes.gif ,so I would have been ok if I had bought the 4mmx12mm screws.
The main reason to get the hex cap screws is that there isn't room for a socket in that opening where the screw goes. So the hex wrench was the only answer I could come up with.
after I got the guts put back together it wasn't a big deal.

Almost done now..


........ANNNNND BRRROoooMMMMM IGNITION !!!!



I want to thank Ionbeam, Griff, And Keithaba who all responded to my calls for help this morning. Thanks guys. It's great to know that help is always around in one way shape or form!
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#2 rogdeb

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:17 PM

Nice job clapping.gif
Was the "too tight" zip tie on the loom the initial problem ?

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#3 DailyCommuter

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

I suspect it was but cant say for sure. There was really no other reason than that for it to pull off. I never did loosen the factory zip ties, I thought I would take the " It'll never happen to me" rolleyes.gif approach,,, Didn't work out too good. Loosen them if you haven't yet.. tongue.gif
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#4 ionbeam

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:28 PM

Good job Chris, and good documentation too. And dang, that was FAST!

Looking at the brown wire, I don't see evidence of anything being ripped off the switch. There are no broken wire strands, no deformation like something has under gone elastic separation, simply a clean break.

The following is excerpted from a letter with Chris, I'm opening it up for discussion.

---------------------------------

The Gen II ignition switches seem to have wire failures of two types, one is when the wires ripped out and the other is solder failure. I'm curious about what you found. When you say the wires were ripped out, were there broken strands? Was the wire pulled out of the board leaving an empty hole or broken board?

The reason for these questions is because I've wondered if the tight wire problem may be compounding the real root cause of the failures -- solder failure. Almost all of the 590 watts the Gen II can produce must flow through the ignition switch. Just for shits type numbers -- lets say that the switch has 1 ohm of resistance (virtually a total conductor) that results in a 1 volt drop (14.5 volts at the regulator, 13.5 volts on the switched ignition wires) = 14.5 watts of power being dissipated at the point of voltage drop, most likely the key switch. [Newly added: 14 watts applied to a 12 inch metal circle may be just enough to get it warm, but when consentrated in a 1/16 inch circle like the solder dot, it is a lot of heat.] Back in the good old days solder used to be called 60/40 because it contained 60% tin and 40% lead resulting in a melting point of 370 degrees F; 63/37 solder has the lowest possible melting point (eutectic) at 361 degrees. About 10 years ago almost all of industry moved to 63/37 solder with the lowest melting point as an industry standard. Over the last 5 years or so they have been changing completely away from solders that contains lead resulting in a major problem with connections.

I'm wondering if the solder isn't being heated to a plastic or melting point allowing pressure from the wires to finish off the deal. Or, if constant heat cycles is making it crystallize over time.

Some people have mentioned that he solder 'ball' broke right off the board, as would happen with a 'cold solder' joint, a joint that was improperly flowed allowing it to crystallize when it cools.

After a nice long ride, is your key real hot right when you first pull it out of the switch?

What say you people that have seen your broken switches?

#5 DailyCommuter

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:33 PM

QUOTE (ionbeam @ Apr 25 2008, 06:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good job Chris, and good documentation too. And, dang, that was FAST!


Fast , Hell that took me all day... yahoo.gif
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#6 HYCLE

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:54 PM

QUOTE (ionbeam @ Apr 25 2008, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The reason for these questions is because I've wondered if the tight wire problem may be compounding the real root cause of the failures -- solder failure. Almost all of the 590 watts the Gen II can produce must flow through the ignition switch. Just for shits type numbers -- lets say that the switch has 1 ohm of resistance (virtually a total conductor) that results in a 1 volt drop (14.5 volts at the regulator, 13.5 volts on the switched ignition wires) = 14.5 watts of power being dissipated at the point of voltage drop, most likely the key switch. [Newly added: 14 watts applied to a 12 inch metal circle may be just enough to get it warm, but when consentrated in a 1/16 inch circle like the solder dot, it is a lot of heat.] Back in the good old days solder used to be called 60/40 because it contained 60% tin and 40% lead resulting in a melting point of 370 degrees F; 63/37 solder has the lowest possible melting point (eutectic) at 361 degrees. About 10 years ago almost all of industry moved to 63/37 solder with the lowest melting point as an industry standard. Over the last 5 years or so they have been changing completely away from solders that contains lead resulting in a major problem with connections.


What say you people that have seen your broken switches?


It has been my experience that first the plastic parts soften from the heat of the poor contacts in the switch. Then the contact resistance increases and the plastic melts or softens more.
I am not talking about only an FJR switch since this also happens to Automotive switches. I have replaced Honda, BMW, VW, Mercedes, Nissan and more.
Sometimes I am able to disasemble the switch and file the burned contacts for a temporary repair until the new part arrives.
With that in mind I think the plastic would melt before the solder and the broken solder joint is a manufacturing problem.

Just my personal experience and not too scientific.


I would recommend checking the voltage drop across the repaired switch to see if you have only performed a temporary repair, just to be safe.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
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#7 Joe2Lmaker

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:59 PM

I'm glad you weren't bruised by that scolding over the whole Post+PM thing.

Thanks for sharing that excellent write-up!
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted ImagePosted Image

#8 DailyCommuter

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 03:05 PM

QUOTE (Joe2Lmaker @ Apr 25 2008, 06:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm glad you weren't bruised by that scolding over the whole Post+PM thing.

Thanks for sharing that excellent write-up!


No Not bruised at all, I explained the whole thing to Iggy and he understood. He's a great guy. Thank you
I will definitely from now on do write ups like this with pictures when I perform an install or maintenance type task, I enjoyed it, and the time to take the pictures usually allowed me a needed break, That tends to prevent flying tools and such.... rolleyes.gif
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#9 dcarver

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 05:47 PM

3 cheers for DailyCommuter! clapping.gif clapping.gif clapping.gif
A most excellent post. This is exactly what happend to me on my Death Valley ride. If I substituted a picture of my brown wire for your brown wire, they would be identical. Same failure.

Excellent job of documenting what you found.

Oh, SkooterG? Neener-Neener! rolleyes.gif
Walked away Posted ImagePosted Image Is it really crashing if you don't fall down?--
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#10 madmike2

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 05:58 PM

PM to Rickster....this needs to be "linked" in your FAQ thread.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.


#11 mfletch69

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (dcarver @ Apr 25 2008, 08:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
3 cheers for DailyCommuter! clapping.gif clapping.gif clapping.gif
A most excellent post. This is exactly what happend to me on my Death Valley ride. If I substituted a picture of my brown wire for your brown wire, they would be identical. Same failure.

Excellent job of documenting what you found.

Oh, SkooterG? Neener-Neener! rolleyes.gif


I read the "Death Valley" link story and some of the posts refered to the "loom" being too tight. Is the loom the zip tie that is on the ignition wire just after they come out of the ignition, because mine sems to be pretty tight and is pulling the ignition wires?

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#12 dcarver

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:17 PM

QUOTE (madmike2 @ Apr 25 2008, 06:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
PM to Rickster....this needs to be "linked" in your FAQ thread.
I agree!

QUOTE (mfletch69 @ Apr 25 2008, 08:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (dcarver @ Apr 25 2008, 08:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
3 cheers for DailyCommuter! clapping.gif clapping.gif clapping.gif
A most excellent post. This is exactly what happened to me on my Death Valley ride. If I substituted a picture of my brown wire for your brown wire, they would be identical. Same failure.

Excellent job of documenting what you found.

Oh, SkooterG? Neener-Keener! rolleyes.gif


I read the "Death Valley" link story and some of the posts refered to the "loom" being too tight. Is the loom the zip tie that is on the ignition wire just after they come out of the ignition, because mine sems to be pretty tight and is pulling the ignition wires?
Yes. Imagine you're a wire with a crappy solder joint on a pos PCB trying to stay connected then some idiot pulls your leash to short... blink.gif IMHO, many ignition switch failures are due to excessive tension caused by the factory installation. Cut theTyy-rap and give the wire a bit of 'service loop' to absorb vibration, heat due to IR loss, etc. Sure can't hurt, and may keep you from being stranded in places like Death Valley. dry.gif
Walked away Posted ImagePosted Image Is it really crashing if you don't fall down?--
I wouldn't change a fucking thing; I've lived hard, played hard, and I ain't done yet. I've paid some severe penalties along the way, but the rewards have been so much greater; even if for just have participating in the game of life with utmost abandon. It's not who rides the furthest in a day, but rather in a lifetime. CBA member #1, IBA #31845 and very proud of both.
Posted Image

#13 mfletch69

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:09 PM


[/quote]Yes. Imagine you're a wire with a crappy solder joint on a pos PCB trying to stay connected then some idiot pulls your leash to short... blink.gif IMHO, many ignition switch failures are due to excessive tension caused by the factory installation. Cut theTyy-rap and give the wire a bit of 'service loop' to absorb vibration, heat due to IR loss, etc. Sure can't hurt, and may keep you from being stranded in places like Death Valley. dry.gif
[/quote]

Done. Thanks

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#14 Constant Mesh

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 05:05 AM

Don't think the wire's mechanical connection should be a function of the solder. The solder just makes the electrical connection.

Any tension on the wire should be controlled/absorbed by some nearby mechanical device, not the soldered connection.

#15 Zorlac

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 06:42 AM

QUOTE (Constant Mesh @ Apr 26 2008, 09:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Don't think the wire's mechanical connection should be a function of the solder. The solder just makes the electrical connection.
Any tension on the wire should be controlled/absorbed by some nearby mechanical device, not the soldered connection.
Absolutely, positively true, but not always observed in commercial practice. It's absolutely forbidden in Mil specs.

It's a shame they pass that much current through the ignition switch, thanks for the pics of the inside!

I spritzed mine with some Caig Labs ProGold spray when I had it off as I repaired the fractured upper bracket.
It makes sense when you don't think about it.

#16 Rickster

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 06:43 AM

QUOTE (madmike2 @ Apr 25 2008, 08:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
PM to Rickster....this needs to be "linked" in your FAQ thread.

bin is already updated. also added a link to the pinned thread on the subject.

Excellent job DailyCommuter!

From the photo's, discussion, and my experience, I would lean toward ionbeam's thought that this is a cold solder joint.

From the pictures, the connection is not a through hole connection, and the solder break looks clean on the switch side.
Without some fine focus x-rays of the assembly, my conclusion is that either:
(an assumption is that the switch terminals are copper, based on the 2 unused terminals in the photo)

(1) manufacturing process is not allowing both components (the wire and the terminal) to become hot enough for the solder to flow on the terminal connection,
(2) the terminal has not been properly cleaned (or has aged in a non N2 purged storage) allowing some corrosion to form on the terminal post.

I would recommend that if you have a problem, that you re-flow solder on ALL of the connections, not just the one that broke.
(from dcarver's observation that his failure was identical, but on a different wire)
Regards, Rick
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#17 Patrick

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:45 AM


THANKS for this info ! good.gif



wink.gif BTW, a Dremmel is a GREAT invention !!! cool.gif

#18 Barabus

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 10:30 AM

I will post a link to this info in the sticky thread in the tech/mech problems sub-section entitled "FJRF003: Ignition Failures on FJRs, FJRForum Technical Bulletin and Information". Thanks.
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#19 DailyCommuter

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 05:49 AM

QUOTE (Rickster @ Apr 26 2008, 10:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (madmike2 @ Apr 25 2008, 08:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
PM to Rickster....this needs to be "linked" in your FAQ thread.

bin is already updated. also added a link to the pinned thread on the subject.

Excellent job DailyCommuter!

From the photo's, discussion, and my experience, I would lean toward ionbeam's thought that this is a cold solder joint.

From the pictures, the connection is not a through hole connection, and the solder break looks clean on the switch side.
Without some fine focus x-rays of the assembly, my conclusion is that either:
(an assumption is that the switch terminals are copper, based on the 2 unused terminals in the photo)

(1) manufacturing process is not allowing both components (the wire and the terminal) to become hot enough for the solder to flow on the terminal connection,
(2) the terminal has not been properly cleaned (or has aged in a non N2 purged storage) allowing some corrosion to form on the terminal post.

I would recommend that if you have a problem, that you re-flow solder on ALL of the connections, not just the one that broke.
(from dcarver's observation that his failure was identical, but on a different wire)


I would definately aggree the cold solder is the correct diagnosis. While performing the repair I noticed the plastic surrounding the copper terminal would start to melt when I held the soldering iron on it to pre-heat the terminal. This tells me that durring the manufacturing the joint couldn't possibly be done right.
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#20 Patrick

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 05:48 PM

QUOTE (DailyCommuter @ Apr 27 2008, 03:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would definately aggree the cold solder is the correct diagnosis. While performing the repair I noticed the plastic surrounding the copper terminal would start to melt when I held the soldering iron on it to pre-heat the terminal. This tells me that durring the manufacturing the joint couldn't possibly be done right.


...And not an overheating of the terminal if the surrounding plastic was intact ! wink.gif