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Discussion Starter #1
This weekend I took my Wee on a rather nice ride from Toronto to Ithaca, NY via Pennsylvania with a few buddies. The weather was a treat and roads were fantastic. Anyways, when we rolled into Ithaca around 8pm, one of my friends pointed out that I have no headlights. :???:

I immediately began to troubleshoot.
Problem
Complete Headlight failure, both lights, high and low beam.

Fuses?
No, all fuses checked out OK.

Switch?
No, as passing button does not activate lights eather.

Bulbs?
No, unlikely that both burned out at the same time with Hi and Lo beams.

Battery?
No, all other electrics are working fine.

There was only so much I could do at a hotel parking lot so decided to leave it till I get back to Toronto. The next day we tried to make it back before sunset, but border crossing in Buffalo took way too long and I ran out of daylight. McGuyver skills to the rescue, I zip-tied my Cree flashlights to the crash bars and rode the rest of the way with flashlights as headlights, while my friends escorted from front and rear. It worked surprisingly well :thumbup:

So now I'm not sure where to even begin looking for the headlight problem.

Possible Cause
I had an auxiliary 12v power outlet installed a few weeks ago by a professional mechanic. This was the first time I actually used it to charge my phone. Could it be the cause? I have full confidence in mechanics job as it was done at a shop that specializes in adventure bike stuff and VStroms. (Dual Sport Plus in Stoney Creek). But so far it is the only variable I can think of.
Any other suggestions?

Cheers!
 

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Once the problem has been fixed, by cleaning the contacts/replacing switch you may want to prevent future problems from recurring by installing a headlight relay to take the load off the weak circuit. This problem and solution crops up often here. Good luck.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Been busy last couple of weeks, but this weekend i was finally able to tackle the headlight problem.

For me, the issue was not with the starter switch itself, but rather in the starter wire-junction behind the radiator on the right side of the bike. The connection pins on the plug were oxidized and cleaning them up is all it took to fire up the headlights again. Getting to that connection is a bit of work.

For anyone else troubleshooting the headlight failure, here is is a brief of what I've done to fix it.

Estimated time required: 1-2hours
Tools required: Allen Keys, 10 mm socket

1. Remove the plastic fearing on the right side of the bike.



2. Remove the two bolts securing the heat sink.
You do not need to disconnect the heat-sink, just move it out of the way.
Use 10mm socket here instead of the philips, these bolts are pretty soft (I guess from the heat).





You will now see a number of wires secured to the back of the radiator cover. However, they are difficult to get to due to narrow space behind the radiator.

3. Remove two 10mm bolts securing top and bottom of the radiator.

Again, you do not need to fully remove the rad or disconnect any hoses, just give yourself some wiggle room.




Now you should have a good view of the wire junctions on the back of the plastic radiator cover. Trace the one that runs all the way up to the starter swithch - thats the one we'll need to clean up. It is second from your view point and uses BLACK connector.



3. Detach the connector from the plastic rad cover.
I found this part a bit tricky. These connectors are secured to the cover with a plastic pin. You would have to reach behind the cover, compress the pin tongues and push it out, thus giving you a nice loose wire to work with.



4. Unplug the black wire connector and inspect.
Mine was completely oxidized and I used a nail file to clean up the contacts.



While you're in there it's probably a good idea to clean other (white and green) connections as well.

5. Test your lights and put everything back in the reverse order.

6. Grab a beer and revel in your amazing DIY skills.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Put some dielectric grease in there and it won't oxidize. Put in headlight relays and never have a connector or contact problem again.
 

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5.1 - put dielectric grease in the connector. If it corroded once....... Well, it may do it again.
 

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I appreciate the information.

Yuros, I am grateful for the vital information you provided. I have not had a problem with headlights, but if I do, I will perhaps benefit from the precise and thorough report that you provided, along with excellent photographs and clever tips.

I hope to ride with you in the summer of 2013; I am no stranger to Toronto.
Keith
 

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Check the starter button.
This weekend I took my Wee on a rather nice ride from Toronto to Ithaca, NY via Pennsylvania with a few buddies. The weather was a treat and roads were fantastic. Anyways, when we rolled into Ithaca around 8pm, one of my friends pointed out that I have no headlights. :???:

I immediately began to troubleshoot.
Problem
Complete Headlight failure, both lights, high and low beam.

Fuses?
No, all fuses checked out OK.

Switch?
No, as passing button does not activate lights eather.

Bulbs?
No, unlikely that both burned out at the same time with Hi and Lo beams.

Battery?
No, all other electrics are working fine.

There was only so much I could do at a hotel parking lot so decided to leave it till I get back to Toronto. The next day we tried to make it back before sunset, but border crossing in Buffalo took way too long and I ran out of daylight. McGuyver skills to the rescue, I zip-tied my Cree flashlights to the crash bars and rode the rest of the way with flashlights as headlights, while my friends escorted from front and rear. It worked surprisingly well :thumbup:

So now I'm not sure where to even begin looking for the headlight problem.

Possible Cause
I had an auxiliary 12v power outlet installed a few weeks ago by a professional mechanic. This was the first time I actually used it to charge my phone. Could it be the cause? I have full confidence in mechanics job as it was done at a shop that specializes in adventure bike stuff and VStroms. (Dual Sport Plus in Stoney Creek). But so far it is the only variable I can think of.
Any other suggestions?

Cheers!
 

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I zip-tied my Cree flashlights to the crash bars and rode the rest of the way with flashlights as headlights, while my friends escorted from front and rear. It worked surprisingly well
Now that brought back memories. I rode from El Paso to Alamogordo exactly that way (no zip-ties though) with my two buddies, one in front, the other in back, in the 50's. In Orogrande a trooper writing a ticket saw me but by the time he went after us (me) I had gone off road into the desert by moonlight and covered the the bike, in time to see him pass on the pavement (US 54) at a high rate of speed. My buddies came back to rescue me after a while. Youthful adventures.

Kudos on a brilliant description and photos. I've had that connector apart and know it can be a pain to get to.
 

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Yuros, I am grateful for the vital information you provided. I have not had a problem with headlights, but if I do, I will perhaps benefit from the precise and thorough report that you provided, along with excellent photographs and clever tips.

I hope to ride with you in the summer of 2013; I am no stranger to Toronto.
Keith
I hope everyone realizes that it's that little bit of corrosion in these connectors that causes arcing and burning and melting. It WILL happen sooner than you think, even on a new bike.

The original poster was very lucky he caught it in time, didn't get a meltdown.

As the maker of the Eastern Beaver H4 Dual Relay Kit, I urge you to install one of these Kits to avoid ever having this problem again. Others here will backup what I'm saying, you don't have to take my word for it.

Keith, you haven't had a headlight problem yet but it could happen anytime. Protect yourself now before you're left in the dark on the side of the road.

To those who have just bought a new bike, don't think you have plenty of time, you can have this problem much sooner than you think. Why wait?
 

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Vinegarjoe
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complete headlight failure

Lost my headlights (or 1st noticed i didn't have em) rolling off ferry @ midnite (and no midnite sun) in Ketchikan AK. They worked intermittently on trip back to MT. With forum assistance, figured my problem was white encased switch within right handlebar switch assembly. Replaced switch assembly, installed EB headlight relay. Now, stronger headlights and greater peace of mind when traveling.:thumbup:
 

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Even though corrosion is not much of a problem here in sunny, salt-less-roaded CA (heh, heh) I put dielectric grease on EVERY connection EVERY time. It's cheap, so why not? Also, it makes unsnapping the connectors a little easier if it ever needs to be done again.

Any time you are dissecting a part of the bike that reveals electrical connectors dose all of them within reach.
 

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I had the the same connector fail on me last week.

I removed the air box on mine for more room to get at all the plugs. While under there I also adjusted the throttle cables as the adjusters at the throttle had run out of adjustablilty. Cleaned the filter and just a general clean out of the area.
 

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Headlight problem

hey i had the same problem last summer lost both lights at night and had to trailer home took it took newmarket suzuki after 3 hours off trouble shooting they found the high beam switch had shorted out due to water in switch i was looking at a $500 bill talked to suzuki canada several times but they said warranty was over but they agreed water had shorted out switch if you find same root cause let me know i think suzuki should cover a problem that knocks out both headlights at the same time
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I think you got a bad explanation Jay, probably because the techs involved had a poor understanding themselves. What happens is water can induce corrosion on contacts which can add resistance and create heat. Upon inspection, the contacts may look burnt and the plastic parts they are set in can turn brown. Suzuki puts dielectric grease on the contacts to stave off corrosion but it isn't a great preventative measure because too high a current runs through the contacts and connectors.

All the techs would know would be the area looked burnt and jump to the conclusion of a short circuit. A short would blow a fuse though. Rather than a short, the problem is overheated contacts. Adding headlight relays as mentioned in this thread will dramatically lower the current in the contacts and connections for the headlights and prevent such overheating.

All most techs would know about a fix would be to replace the affected parts. A new switch plus the time to locate the problem and replace the switch is what drove up the cost.
 

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Posted this in Headlight Fix also. :mrgreen:

After reading the problems the headlights have I just ordered mine.
Cheap fix if you ask me ...... :thumbup:
I don't ride to much at night, But I know Murphy's law gets everyone in the end eh :yikes:
 
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