Head lights went out/starter button issues - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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  #1  
Old 11-06-2012, 06:22 PM
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Default Head lights went out/starter button issues

while returning from my Key West trip, last spring, i replaced my battery because i thought it was dying & wouldn't run the starter

WRONG!!!

last weekend, while at the Lone Star Rally in Galveston, my starter was acting up, again

wiggling the button did the trick & i was off & riding

UNTIL...

after a late lunch, i started the bike but the HEAD LIGHTS DIDN'T WORK

i made it to the motel & the safety of the trailer, where i looked, in vain, for a blown fuse

all the fuses were in tact & i just shoved the bike up in the trailer for the drive home

THIS FORUM linked me up to Black Lab Adventures & a special thread about just this issue

Start Switch Maintenance ę Black Lab Adventures

the starter switch/button turns the head lights off & re-routes all the electjuicity to the starter & once the engine is running and you release the button, the electjuicity goes back to the head lights

SIMPLE ENUFF, RIGHT???

well, the little contacts, inside the switch get corroded & worn after time & things begin to turn brown & start smelling bad

Black Lab's description, along with excellent pictures, walked me right thru the problem & i came out on the other end w/ HEAD LIGHTS WORKING PROPERLY & THE STARTER BUTTON DOING IT'S THING, LIKE IT SHOULD

since i had had a good 2 days at the rally & made it safely back to the motel before sun set, i don't think things could have worked out any better

MANY THANKS TO THIS FORUM & TO BLACK LAB FOR GETTING ME BACK UP TO SPEED W/O SPENDING ANY MORE MONEY

shiny side up

sw
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2012, 08:03 PM
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Default !

Another thing you might want to consider. In Black lab's first picture you'll notice the two pronged metal contact point, that the sliding black part with the four contact points slides over , has an issue sometimes too. Press down on it and it should move up and down freely to make proper contact, due to a small spring under it. If it doesn't move freely, you need to pry it out and slightly bend the two sides to make it move freely .
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2012, 08:03 PM
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Default Light Switch

Yep happened to me exactly as you stated. Lights quit 20kms outside Golden this summer, just before dark. Wiggled the wires at the starter switch and got lights working to Calgary. Pulled switch apart and cleaned contacts. Yippee all is well for one more day. Lights crapped again. Now its the connector block behind the rad. Cut wires out of block and put straight through. No more trouble after that, but to on the safe side ordered the Eastern Beaver kit to take the load off that starter/light switch.
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2012, 12:21 PM
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A million thanks to the information on this and another thread or two, I spent last evening taking apart , cleaning and reassembling the starter switch due to the same intermittent headlight issue.

Unfortunately, the solution didn't seem to be something a simple cleaning and buffing of contacts would cure. The contacts did look a bit worn, but not unduly, and not unduly dirty either. Certainly there was no evidence of burning or melted bits that some have reported. All was buffed clean, sprayed with contact cleaner, and dried before reassembly, but still no joy. In fact, there was no power getting through the switch at all. The lights could be made to flicker with some wiggling of the switch though, so problem still lay within the switch and not one of the other connectors in the fairing.

Turns out that with the main housing apart, I could squeeze the plastic cover over the contacts and it would work fine. The little contact nubs that slide across the contact points seem to have worn enough that they wouldn't make good contact any more. Squeezing the cover puts enough pressure to establish good contact. Solution: -Found a bit of foam weather-stripping and slipped it under the aft part of the white plastic cover, (clear of the wiring), before installing it over the switch contacts. It should help squeeze the two parts of the switch together. This was better, but not quite enough to keep the contact consistently reliable. Another bit of weather-stripping added to the underside of the handlebar before reinstalling the lower half of the outer housing put enough pressure on the switch inside and all seems good.

Now I am left with another concern. The problem with the switch appears to be from wear. As the copper contacts wear, (or maybe its the plastic parts), the fit gets sloppy and headlight/starting problems appear. Applying a bit of extra pressure to the switch assembly may fix the problem for now, but I fear the contacts will just continue to wear down with use and before long the entire thing will need to be replaced. Admittedly, it has taken 6 seasons for problems to appear, but with the extra pressure and friction now on those contacts from the added bits of weather-stripping, I doubt it will take another 6 years for the problem to start up again.
Can we buy only the push-button portion of the switch with the raised nub contacts and if anyone has done this, did it solve the problem? Parts fiches only show the whole assembly that is fixed to the handlebar. Seems crazy to have to buy all that, just to deal with a couple of interior bits.

Oh, and before the suggestions to get the Eastern Beaver fix come in; I am still considering it, but the electrical load through the switch doesn't seem to be the issue at this point, so I donít think it would do anything to fix this particular problem. The switch will still wear(out), from the sliding action. Seems like it isn't the best design to me.
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2012, 01:03 PM
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When I first started hanging out at stromtroopers I read similar posts complaining of starter button/headlight switch issues attributed to the high current flowing through the switch contacts due to the lack of a headlight relay. It made sense to install the relay to eliminate a weak point in the system. Easy fix and one less thing to spoil your day. Of course one has to do it before the damage is done.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicago View Post
When I first started hanging out at stromtroopers I read similar posts complaining of starter button/headlight switch issues attributed to the high current flowing through the switch contacts due to the lack of a headlight relay. It made sense to install the relay to eliminate a weak point in the system. Easy fix and one less thing to spoil your day. Of course one has to do it before the damage is done.
Likewise - When I got home with the new bike I took it apart in the garage and added EB's H4 headlamp relay and fuse panel (as well as a slew of other farkels). I figured I'd build on a solid start. I thought of it as a monthly payment towards peace of mind.
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2012, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeRob View Post
A million thanks to the information on this and another thread or two, I spent last evening taking apart , cleaning and reassembling the starter switch due to the same intermittent headlight issue.

Unfortunately, the solution didn't seem to be something a simple cleaning and buffing of contacts would cure. The contacts did look a bit worn, but not unduly, and not unduly dirty either. Certainly there was no evidence of burning or melted bits that some have reported. All was buffed clean, sprayed with contact cleaner, and dried before reassembly, but still no joy. In fact, there was no power getting through the switch at all. The lights could be made to flicker with some wiggling of the switch though, so problem still lay within the switch and not one of the other connectors in the fairing.

Turns out that with the main housing apart, I could squeeze the plastic cover over the contacts and it would work fine. The little contact nubs that slide across the contact points seem to have worn enough that they wouldn't make good contact any more. Squeezing the cover puts enough pressure to establish good contact. Solution: -Found a bit of foam weather-stripping and slipped it under the aft part of the white plastic cover, (clear of the wiring), before installing it over the switch contacts. It should help squeeze the two parts of the switch together. This was better, but not quite enough to keep the contact consistently reliable. Another bit of weather-stripping added to the underside of the handlebar before reinstalling the lower half of the outer housing put enough pressure on the switch inside and all seems good.

Now I am left with another concern. The problem with the switch appears to be from wear. As the copper contacts wear, (or maybe its the plastic parts), the fit gets sloppy and headlight/starting problems appear. Applying a bit of extra pressure to the switch assembly may fix the problem for now, but I fear the contacts will just continue to wear down with use and before long the entire thing will need to be replaced. Admittedly, it has taken 6 seasons for problems to appear, but with the extra pressure and friction now on those contacts from the added bits of weather-stripping, I doubt it will take another 6 years for the problem to start up again.
Can we buy only the push-button portion of the switch with the raised nub contacts and if anyone has done this, did it solve the problem? Parts fiches only show the whole assembly that is fixed to the handlebar. Seems crazy to have to buy all that, just to deal with a couple of interior bits.

Oh, and before the suggestions to get the Eastern Beaver fix come in; I am still considering it, but the electrical load through the switch doesn't seem to be the issue at this point, so I don’t think it would do anything to fix this particular problem. The switch will still wear(out), from the sliding action. Seems like it isn't the best design to me.
hey Rob

Black Lab indicated there is a need to KEEP the contacts clean w/ regular maintenance & lubricating them @ the same time

i used BULB GREASE from O'Reilly's($1.29), on the tip of a tooth pick

my wee is an '05, which means it took 7 years...

i think i'll add a diamond nail file to my tool kit

i've book marked the relay kit, just in case

i've got my fingers crossed

sw
__________________
Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
--------------------------------------------------------
steve
--------------------------------------------------------
'05 WEE (LRW)
'99 DR TREE FIDDY SEX
plus several BRAND X
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2012, 10:09 PM
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Did you push down on the part with the two contacts to see if the spring under it pushes it back up for proper contact ? I talked about it in my post above. My friends bike started acting up and he's a motorcycle mechanic. His wasn't popping back up. He pried the part out and either pushed the metal taps in or out, I can't remember which, to make the part come back up and make good contact. It fixed the problem on his bike of the lights cutting out.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2012, 11:34 PM
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No doubt that Black Lab is right about periodic cleaning, and I had never done it before now. -Wouldnít have even thought to try without BLís excellent tutorial. The thing is, in this case, cleaning solved nothing. Once the cleaning was done, nothing worked at all. I even bought some conductive grease for the occasion, which I ended up cleaning off again for fear that I had just shorted it in some way by applying too much. In hindsight, I think dialectic grease is better for this part. The conductive stuff could possibly drag the grease back and forth with the sliding action of the switch and effectively short it out. -Could be over-thinking this though.
Anyway, the problem seems to be due to wear within the switch, either of the copper contacts, or of the plastics which loosen up allowing the contacts to not actually contact. Somewhere I read where a poster thought the heat build-up at the contacts caused the plastic to shrink, pulling the contacts away from each other. Sounds plausible. Would Eastern Beaverís relay kit solve this, (or keep it from getting worse)? -Dunno, but I think I have just talked/typed myself into placing an order for Christmas...

Richard; I read your earlier post but somehow didnít absorb it the first time...Slow learner. Nope, I didnít notice the spring-loaded feature of that part when I had it apart. Sounds like if the weather is half decent I will get it apart again on the weekend to see if that might be part of the issue. -Hope it turns out to be that simple!

Thanks for the feedback. All pretty helpfull
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2012, 12:27 AM
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I doctored mine with a slightly heavier duty spring (shortened) from a ball point pen. Worked just fine.
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