They're BAAAAaaaaack...electrical problem persists...@%$& - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 18 Old 11-05-2006, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 18
They're BAAAAaaaaack...electrical problem [email protected]%$&

Well, crap! I had an electrical mishap the bike suddenly went dead to the world, posted here about it: I fixed it, so I thought, by replacing the battery terminal screws with OEM stuff ( i had made my own before and run into problems keeping it tight), and cleaning up my jumping of the starter lockout circuit.

I rode the bike to work all week long with no hiccups, and then last night the GF and I were riding 3 blocks from her house to mine and *poof*, out go the lights! :shock: Luckily we were on a quiet back street and there was a bright moon! The bike kept running fine and I got home, turned it off, and turned the key back on expecting to have a dead bike again, but the lights came back on and the starter kicked over like everything was fine...WTF? :???:

Now this sucks because now I have a mystery intermittent electrical problem that could leave me stranded at any time. I've been really really lucky so far. Last night (and every other night this week) I took a 12 mile night time ride that takes my through some pretty dark areas at high speeds and then through city traffic...don't like to think about my lights going out during that ride :shock:

Anyway, since it happened in the dark, I got a couple of clues: 1, the instrument lights stayed dimly lit when everything went out. 2, when I hit my turn signals they came on but faintly and stayed solid, no blinking...I know this means something I just don't know what...At this point I'm thinking it is a short to ground somewhere.

I didn't want to suspect this, but I did several electrical modification to my bike this summer. I added a headlight harness/modulator upgrade, and stebel horn, and to top it off, I installed a power distribution block so I could have electrical farkles all fused and hooked up in one spot. I did that moths ag, though, and have had zero problems with those projects up to this point...

Oh well, looks like it's time to take the damn seat and tank off...again. I just wish I had an idea where to start. I don't want to waste my time tearing everything down if there is a simple solution.

Thanks for reading... [/i]
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-05-2006, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
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G-unit, the thing that jumps out at me is that your instrument lights were still on and dim. When the turn signals fail to blink, but remain on I have always found a "plug-in" type connector loose under the fairing or tailsection. Always. The dim characteristic is puzzling except that it leads me to "ground" issues.

Boat trailer wiring suffers the same issues when you have a "ground" problem. Dim bulbs, no blinking, lights failing to work...... almost always a "ground" issue.

I would remove that seat and trace every single wire you have adjusted, rerouted and all plug-in connectors for good connectivity. Spray them with CorrosionX or something similar. The power distribution block should be an easy thing to check. By the way, where did you mount it? Got any pictures of this install?

I installed the headlight upgrade a year ago from Tammy. I think you have a different animal from your description. I have had 0 problems with mine.

If I can help with anything on my bike against your bike for comparison issues.... let me know... 0052
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-05-2006, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks X6! Yeah it seems like a ground issue to me as well, and I feel like given the clues of the dim lights, etc. the solution is right ion front of me. i'm just worn out from working too much this past month, so my brain doesn't want to deal with it! But I love riding my KLR and can't stand the thought of electrical boogey monsters lurking in there, so I'm going to have to get to the bottom of it all. I bought the power distribution block from CA Sport Touring, here is the link:

It is a pretty cool unit, allows for easy connection of up to 6 electrical devices, all fused, and the whole thing is relay controlled and has a master fuse. Also has a place for a battery charger to connect, etc. I mounted it inside of a box where the smog box used to be. It was a pretty involved process, but I took my time and feel like I did everything right. Still the potential is there for problems. Electrical systems are very unforgiving... I also fashioned a grounding block out of a barrier strip, so that all the grounds for the electrical add-ons could also go in one convenient location. I have a gut feeling that my problem could be related to this part of my add-on...could be wrong. I mounted this where the sidestand aftey swich assembly used to be. I did a write-up with pics over at when I did it, but everything went south over there and I don't think it's coming back. :|

So yeah, it seems like a grounding issue to me as well, just don't know where to start looking. I'm going to check that starter lockout connection again for sure, but I'm pretty sure I have that nice and tight, and that wouldn't kill the lights I don't think. Anayway, I'll post more when I get around to tinkering, probably tomorrow. Cheers!

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post #4 of 18 Old 11-05-2006, 03:24 PM
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anything running off the city light wires? i kept blowing headlight fuses when i had my grip heaters wire into the city light wires.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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I used to have one of the voltmeters wires hooked up to the hot wire on the city lights. Not anymore, as the voltmeter is in the landfill... :roll:

Another potential clue is that no fuses have been blowing out during these fun little incidents...
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 01:54 AM
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It sounds like a "bad" connection. Check all the plugs,(wouldn't hurt to clean and gease them) and check all your grounds as well as the the hot wires from the battery to the starter and silinoid switch.

You could fix the problem by unplugging and re-plugging a connection and never know you fixed it. It is rare that you find a problem like this, most of the time you fix it without knowing which plug/connection was the culprit.

I'm sorry I couldn't tell you to just replug a certin one.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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well it turned out to be very very simple, and had nothing to do with my electrical mod, which makes me very happy. It was indeed a bad ground issue, with my battery tender lead inerfering with the negative battery terminal. I found it by turning the key on and jiggling this and that until I got definite response wiggling the tender's negative lead at the battery. I just put the lead under the battery cable instead of on top of it, and all is well. Didn't even have to take the flippin' tank off again!

Now, i'm 99% certain I have it figger'd out... :roll:

Thanks for the input, guys.
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 05:40 PM
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I dred the day I have electrical problems. :r0018
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 05:54 PM
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Plus 2 on the electrical problems. I'd much rather take a good ass whuppin' with a garden rake that do electrical. I'll even wade knee deep into a Detroit 2 xycle diesel than fight with electrical. Murphy's law on electrical. Number one, you can't see it. Number two it can and will kill ya' Least ways the big stuff.

bill stanley is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 11-06-2006, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, it's a pain. So unforgiving and the smallest little thing can kill ya dead. But I feel good that I've rolled my sleeves up and done some serious electrical tinkering and been able to come out on top...well most of the time :roll:

That time I got stuck on top of the mountain, pushing the KLR uphill though mud trying to outrun a thunderstorm was one for the ages, let me tell you! I knew it was my custom fabricated battery screws, but I couldn't take off the seat and get at them with the big storm brewing so all I could do was push...I think i got about as winded as i've ever been doing that, and that's saying something, as I have done a lot of long distance running, cycling, mountain climbing, etc. But trying to push that pig up a grade, while slipping in mud puddles was something else altogether. I had to stop for fear of a coronary, and I let the damn thing fall over so on top of pushing it, i had to pick it up! :lol: I found a hill and got it bumped, but only after a few failed attempts and more pushing, and only after the rain and thunder hit. :h0158 I look back on it as character building. :mrgreen:
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