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Ignition Siwtch Failures


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#1 SkooterG

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 12:48 PM

Hey folks. There is a lot of info on this forum on the FJR ignition switch failures. The purpose of this post is to summarize the pertinent info, and point you in the right direction to get more. I am amazed when forum members experience the ignition swithch failure and don't know much about it, and worse, don't know what to do about it while broken down on the side of the road. YOU NEED TO TAKE THIS ISSUE SERIOUSLY! That being said, if you turn the key and nothing happens, don't jump to conclusions and ASSUME it is a switch *failure*. It could just be a dirty switch. You need to do some troubleshooting which I will explain below.

There is an issue with ignition switches on FJRs

They can fail leaving you stranded. Nothing will work when they fail. No electrical. Nothing. Your FJR will be totally dark.

You need to be aware of this issue, how it could affect you, and what to do if it happens to you.

In this post I am breaking things down into three different areas: I) Information about switch failures you need to know, II) What to do if you experience an ignition switch failure, and III) What you need to do after an ignition switch failure.


I. Ignition Switch Failure Information

First of all, this is primarily a GenII FJR issue. While some GenI FJRs (2003-2005) have experienced ignition switch failures, they have been a minority. Still, anyone with a GenI FJR switch needs to know about this issue as it still COULD leave you stranded on the side of the road or have serious consequences with regards to your safety.

Too many FJRs have experienced ignition switch failures. How many is too many? Hard to say. We don't know for sure. It might only be a 1% failure rate or lower, it might be significantly higher. Regardless, there have been too many owners who have reported ignition switch failures on this forum. (Some have had it happen twice) And it is potentially a major safety issue because in some cases, the switch fails with no warning while riding the bike at speed. Most failures occurr when stopped and turning on the switch, but not all.

Also, buying a new switch does you absolutely no good. As I said above, several owners have experienced ignition switch failures and then, brand new *replacement* switches have failed too. So far, there seem to be multiple causes for the failures in the switch with no root cause identified as yet. So until Yamaha gets a handle on this, a new switch is not necesarrily better, and could be worse. We just don't know.

If you are an FJR owner, and especially an owner of a 2006 or 2007 FJR, then you need to know how to deal with this problem on the side of the road.

I cannot stress this enough:

KNOW HOW TO HOTWIRE YOUR FJR

This could be the difference between major headaches vs. an inconvienance. Or, put more specifically: sitting on the side of the road for hours waiting for a tow with days at the dealer waiting for parts and repairs (possibly ruining a long awaited trip), or continuing down the road after a half hour is spent temporarily fixing it yourself.

CLICK HERE for instructions on how to hotwire your FJR and the few simple tools you will need. SkooterG says: Every owner of an 06 or 07 FJR should have this ignition switch repair kit with them on any kind of trip.



II. What to do if you experience an ignition switch failure


If you experience a total systems (engine and electrical) shut down while operating the bike (riding down the road), disregard the next paragraph as there is no doubt your ignition switch just failed.


Imagine, you turn the key and nothing happens. Everything was fine just a short time before when you went for a ride and shut the bike down, but now........zero, zilch, nada, nothing. First of all, DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. Sure, you read about all the bad ignition switches on FJRForum and you just KNOW that your FJR has a bad ignition switch, right? Not necessarily. It could be just a *dirty* switch. That's not the usual case, BUT IT DOES HAPPEN. If it's a dirty switch, getting going again should not be all that difficult.

The first thing you need to try after experiencing a problem is cycle that switch on and off at least 50 times (or more) or until everything lights back up again. This is done to scrape the grime off the switch electrical contacts to make a good connection again. CLICK HERE for Barabus's dissection of a dirty switch.

If that doesn't work, then you most likely have a bad switch. It could be a blown main fuse (not likely - never heard a report of one), or something else like a bad battery, but more than likely it's a bad switch.

So now what do you do? Well, several people who have experienced ignition switch failures have been able to do some things with the switch to get their bike running again and get them home, or to the nearest dealer, or in one case, forum member Cota was able to finish his cross country trip. What do they do? Try wiggling the wires coming out the bottom of the switch. Also, try turning the key only half, or part of the way to get the bike started. Try turning the key on 'with force'. These are all things that have worked for some people.

If after trying these 'tricks' you are still getting nothing, then it's time to hotwire your switch. This is a relatively easy procedure if you read the thread I linked above and know what to do. This will allow your FJR to run to get you home, whether it's 5 miles, or 5,000. It will get you to a dealer for a repair. And will even let you ride your FJR for the next 3 weeks while the dealer waits for the new 'backordered' ignition switch. Don't be a victim! Be prepared and proactive and perform a simple temporary fix to get you on your way again.

So, in summary (print this out and carry it with you if need be):

If you experience an apparent (non-moving) ignition switch failure, perform these steps:

1) Cycle the key on and off MANY times. If it's just a dirty switch, this should take care of things.
2) Jiggle the wires coming out the bottom of the switch while turning the key.
3) Try slowly turning the key only halfway or so to see if that gives you lights, and a start-up.
4) Try turning the key on with GUSTO to see if that works.
5) If all else fails, cut the wires coming out the bottom of your switch and hotwire it.


III. What To Do AFTER an Ignition Switch Failure


So, you have been unfortunate enough to experience an ignition switch failure. Of course, being the good little boy/girl scout, you read SkooterG's advice, were prepared, and temporarily fixed your switch to get you where you needed to go. Now it's time to get it properly repaired or replaced. You have two options. Do it yourself or take it to the dealer. In either case, I strongly urge you to do some data collection to help the rest of us here on the forum.

We need to know why the switch failed. So far, it seems there are three types of switch failure that can happen. We want to know (specifically) which type happened to you. If you are repairing the switch yourself, you should be able to easily identify this. If a dealer is replacing your switch, see if you can get them to *definitively* determine why the switch failed. This is critical information!

So far bad switches seem to stem from one of three things happening.

1) Solder connection fails. This is the most common. Example can be see HERE.
2) Metal contact plates melt into the plastic not allowing contact. Electrical connection can't occurr. No closed circuit.
3) Metal contact plates won't travel as they should. I believe there has only been one instance of this. It is possibly related to cause #2, and heated/melted plastic restricting their movement. CLICK HERE for an excellent write-up on this problem.

So please, try to determine how your switch failed and let us know about it. Where? Do it in Barabus' thread. He was the one who first started documenting these failures. Kudos to Barabus!!! Posted Image Be sure to answer all his questions with as much detail as you can. CLICK HERE to report your ignition switch failure in Barabus' Ignition Switch Failures thread

Now, the next step is the most important step of all. PLEASE! Everyone who experiences an ignition switch failure do this:

Report your ignition switch failure to NHTSA

To do that, ***CLICK HERE***

Why is this important? While we all hope (and I personally believe) Yamaha is working to solve the ignition switch failure problem, we don't really know what is happening on their end. We may need some government pressure to get Yamaha to resolve this problem. Not only can an ignition switch failure be a huge inconvienance, but it has the potential to be a significant SAFETY ISSUE. Just ask one of our members who has experienced total shut down of the their FJR while riding in traffic how important they feel the issue is.

So please, I implore you, report your problem to the NHTSA website. Help us help ourselves!

It looks like NHTSA recently started and investigation. CLICK HERE Give them the information they need.

One last thing. For those of you getting your bad switch repaired by the dealer, most likely they will be ordering and installing a brand new ignition switch. You need to realize that the new switch will have a new key that will not work with your sidebags, or to open up your seat. There is a way to fix this - Have a locksmith re-key the new ignition switch to your original keys. Many dealers will balk at doing this due to the added expense. SkooterG says: Don't accept anything less than a matching re-keyed ignition switch. If necessary, call Yamaha corporate customer relations and in a nice, polite way, get them to help you get the switch properly keyed at someone's expense other than your own. Phone number for Yamaha corporate customer relations is (800) 962-7926.

Here are some links to threads with other good information:

Instructions on HOW TO REPAIR an ignition switch yourself.

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#2 SkooterG

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 10:05 AM

Ok boys and girls, eventually this thread will be closed as it is meant to be an 'info' only post. Any discussions on the ignition switch failures can be done on the many other threads already out there.

This purpose of this post was to have one place where someone can get most of the important information about this issue. It was NOT to be an all encompassing post including ALL details.

What I would like is some constructive criticism. If I missed anything, got anything wrong, or if you know of something to add, then by all means let me know. Just be aware that soon I will be deleting all replys and closing the thread.

No need for extraneous replys, so please refrain from those. For examle:

"Great job Skooter!"

"Your mama wears combat boots Skooter!"

Just suggestions please.

I do have one request. I know there are some photos out there of a bad switch with partially melted plastic restricting the metal contacts. I couldn't find those again. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it.

IBA #327........................ Darksider #52

 

FJRForum:  No fun allowed here!

FJR#1 - The 'Dirty Ol Whore' - 2004 non-abs - RIP @ 226,400 - Gone, but not forgotton.
FJR#2 - The 'Hula Girl' - 2004 ABS - 147k
FJR#3 - The 'Virgin' - 2004 ABS - 4344 miles, a garage queen
FJR#4 - The Oregon FJR - 2004 ABS - 65k
FJR#5 - The Bastard POS Gen II - 2009A - 68k

FJR#6 - ?????

200K_04CLUB.jpg 100K%2004CLUB.jpg 158771.png


#3 ponyfool

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:41 AM

This is a great one stop thread. The only thing I'd add is, for those who don't really believe it'll happen to them and don't want to carry a switch with them, at the very least, carry a pair of wire nuts in your tool kit and something to cut and strip wire (swiss army knife is just fine). In addition, due to the fact that you will be cutting into a main power lead connected directly to the battery, carry an extra main fuse in the event of a short during the repair.

Once I figured out what needed to be done for a street side repair, it took maybe 5 minutes to complete it.

Oh, and skooter, if you could find the post that shows folks where the main fuse is, that would be helpful too. If you can't find one, I'll do a step by step tonight and post it for you.
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#4 adaniel

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:51 AM

Possibly a bone head disclaimer about working with hot wires and staying away from ground.?

#5 wheatonFJR

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 11:58 AM

probably doesn't matter 'cuz the thieves already know what to do...but is this a one-stop shop thread for how to hot-wire the FJR?

feel free to delete this post if its considered a nuisance post...

#6 TriggerT

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 03:53 AM

And why wouldn't this post be pinned? I think it is important enough, and effects more than enough forum members to warrant being a permanent fixture for at least a little while.

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#7 dcarver

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:37 PM

I'd like to see a link to the guy who installed an ignition relay. That's a permanent fix, no factory support needed. Can't find the link though....
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#8 ionbeam

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:44 PM

That would be Brodie. Be sure the relay you use is an automotive style so that contacts don't bounce when the suspension gets jarred.


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#9 fjrboomer

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 02:09 PM

I have been reading the excellent instructions on how to by-pass the switch in the event of a failure. I am fairly new to the forum and have read the various posts on the failure. The question I have is has anyone inquired whether this switch is unique to the FJR or is it used on the R1 and R6 or any of the Road Stars. If so has anyone heard of them also having this problem. That would increase the likelyhood that Yamaha would address this problem a little sooner. I have not had the problem yet on my 07 and frankly I am not looking forward to it. Especially if happens while I am zipping down the road or in a curve.

#10 ahchiu

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 11:34 AM

I'm not looking forward to when this happens to me, I really don't want to be on the side of the road fixing this, my luck I will be packed to the gills and on a mountain road with no shoulder room to work, I think I'm going to do the toggle switch and wire it in and have it hidden in the OFF postition, and when it fails I can switch it to ON and be on my way in less than 30 sec.

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#11 dbx

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 02:05 AM

QUOTE (ahchiu @ Oct 26 2008, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not looking forward to when this happens to me, I really don't want to be on the side of the road fixing this, my luck I will be packed to the gills and on a mountain road with no shoulder room to work, I think I'm going to do the toggle switch and wire it in and have it hidden in the OFF postition, and when it fails I can switch it to ON and be on my way in less than 30 sec.

Marcus


If you're going to go to the trouble of adding a secret toggle switch, in my opinion it would be better to just add the relay like Brodie did, thus avoiding the situation entirely. The relay will protect the ignition switch from high current loads in the same way that the horn relay protects the horn switch and the headlight relays protect the headlight switch, etc.

Adding a switch versus a relay is almost the same amount of 'work', and both are relatively easy. Just a thought...

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#12 ahchiu

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 08:53 PM

I plan on adding the relay from Brodie, and I also plan on doing the hidden switch just in case it happens after the relay install.


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#13 twistedcricket

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:53 PM

Guess I'm adding a few things to the "winter maintenance" list ... blink.gif
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#14 Fred W

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:56 PM

QUOTE (dbx @ Nov 5 2008, 05:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ahchiu @ Oct 26 2008, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not looking forward to when this happens to me, I really don't want to be on the side of the road fixing this, my luck I will be packed to the gills and on a mountain road with no shoulder room to work, I think I'm going to do the toggle switch and wire it in and have it hidden in the OFF postition, and when it fails I can switch it to ON and be on my way in less than 30 sec.

Marcus


If you're going to go to the trouble of adding a secret toggle switch, in my opinion it would be better to just add the relay like Brodie did, thus avoiding the situation entirely. The relay will protect the ignition switch from high current loads in the same way that the horn relay protects the horn switch and the headlight relays protect the headlight switch, etc.

Adding a switch versus a relay is almost the same amount of 'work', and both are relatively easy. Just a thought...

dbx


Actually, just because you add the relay does not mean that your switch will never fail again. There are other reasons other than heat due to the overloaded contacts that these switches have been known to fail. Hence the desire by some to add the hidden switch in a addition to the relay.

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#15 dbx

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:57 PM

QUOTE (Fred W @ Nov 21 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, just because you add the relay does not mean that your switch will never fail again. There are other reasons other than heat due to the overloaded contacts that these switches have been known to fail. Hence the desire by some to add the hidden switch in a addition to the relay.


I'm sure you're right, but I thought I saw a really smart guy recently saying in another thread that the other set of ignition switch contacts have never been known to fail, so I just assumed.... rolleyes.gif Sorry for the bad info, I guess I wasn't reading that close.

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#16 Fred W

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 06:28 AM

QUOTE (dbx @ Nov 22 2008, 01:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Fred W @ Nov 21 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, just because you add the relay does not mean that your switch will never fail again. There are other reasons other than heat due to the overloaded contacts that these switches have been known to fail. Hence the desire by some to add the hidden switch in a addition to the relay.


I'm sure you're right, but I thought I saw a really smart guy recently saying in another thread that the other set of ignition switch contacts have never been known to fail, so I just assumed.... rolleyes.gif Sorry for the bad info, I guess I wasn't reading that close.

dbx


Sorry if I appeared to contradict you.
I was merely pointing out what "some" other people feel. Naturally, those that have been burned by theis situation are a bit "hypersensitive" to future failures. Knowing that it can happen in the middle of traffic, or in the middle of nowhere, it is easy to understand.

I happen to agree with you that the hidden switch would be "overkill". The "Brodie Relay" should be the only fix you need. But redundancy never hurts.

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#17 Bulldog9

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 10:13 AM

So what is the deal with the failures? I read about dirty switches or failures, but what is the deal? Do the contacts burn out? or is it a mechanical failure of a spring, tumbler, etc? If it is a switch overload, then a good 50-60 amp Relay will cure the problem permanently. It would stand to reason though that the switch ALREADY activates relays for fuel system, lights, ignition, etc. Every other bike I have owned does this, and the igniton switch usually just activates the relays on the main bus? Guess I need to look at the wiring diagram.

If it is dirty contacts, or corrosion from rain, elements, and you can dissasemble the switch, I would clean and fill it with dielectric grease every couple years. May be good preventative maintenance?
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#18 FJR-Pilot

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:44 PM

My '07 FJR died completely while riding at 60 mph in traffic and I was able to safely glide over into a turn around at a horse farm to troubleshoot. All fuses - OK. Battery - OK. Unplugged Power Commander - still dead. No lights, no gauges, no nothing electrical. Trailer ride home. It's at the shop as of today. Will report back if it indeed turns out to be the ignition switch. Sure points that way.

#19 FJR-Pilot

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 07:38 AM

Just talked to the service manager: yup. It's the ignition switch. Yamaha is sending the parts gratis but I have to pay labor.

#20 Fred W

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:24 AM

QUOTE (FJR-Pilot @ Dec 5 2008, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just talked to the service manager: yup. It's the ignition switch. Yamaha is sending the parts gratis but I have to pay labor.


Can you take the part and install it yourself? Even if not, see if you can get the old parts to autopsy.

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