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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have an '08 DL650. My starter switch failed. My lights became intermittent and starting the bike (and unstranding myself) was a matter of wiggling the switch while depressing it several times.

I'm pretty creative and fixed the problem myself, and avoided the $100 replacement part for now. But I wanted to suggest that you think about doing the preventive maintenance that has been detailed in posts I've read on this site (I found them while troubleshooting my problem). What I did was not overly difficult but could result in ruining the switch and being stuck with buying the replacement part. I had nothing to lose and ended up being successful. However, much easier to take it apart, clean the contacts, and put an anti-oxidation electrical contact grease on the contacts. The grease is pretty common stuff and can be found at any auto parts.

I believe what happens is that an oxidation layer builds up on the pads of the switch, causing a resistance at the contact. This resistance causes heat, and in my case melts the plastic enough for the stationary contact pad to sink away from the sliding contact. The spring also fused to the plastic holder. My fix involved heating and reforming plastic, which I can detail if anyone is interested. But if you are uncomfortable melting and reforming plastic with a soldering iron, its much easier just to do the maintenance now.

Edit - I just looked a few posts down at "Won't Start" and learned this is a common issue. Oh well. I'm new.
 

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anti-oxidation electrical contact grease on the contacts
Any hardware store, about $5.50. Note that this stuff is conductive (good!), so must be only on the contact points and not smeared everywhere. Dielectric grease is insulating grease, the wrong stuff for contacts.
 

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Yup, same stuff. Not conductive though, at least to any level you'd be concerned about. I went out to check because I thought it was conductive also for some reason.

I had the meter set to 10 kohm and the needle didn't twitch, with the probes very close together submerged in grease. I also tried touching them together and pulling them apart, still no reading.

Reason I checked is because I gooped it in pretty good and I didn't want something draining the battery while it sat. It sat for a few days while I waited for the rare California multi-day rain to go away, and I've started the bike at least 50 times since this post, no problems with my repair.

In case someone shows up at this post before they find the cool illustrated switch maintenance thread, here's the link:

https://blacklabadventures.com/2012/02/19/start-switch-maintenance/
 

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Also found in many older threads is that fact that in stock form, 100% of your current for the headlights goes through those tiny contacts in the start switch, as well as the headlight bright/dim and flash to pass switches. Since the headlights are 55w each, they draw considerable current, and the breaking of the contacts during each start can cause arcing between the contacts, further eroding them.

If you're going to bother with routine starter switch maintenance, you should also address the root cause; get a dual H4 headlight relay kit from Eastern Beaver. This harness will provide headlight current straight from the battery by using relays, the current draw on the switches is vitually eliminated. :fineprint:
 

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Also found in many older threads is that fact that in stock form, 100% of your current for the headlights goes through those tiny contacts in the start switch, as well as the headlight bright/dim and flash to pass switches. Since the headlights are 55w each, they draw considerable current, and the breaking of the contacts during each start can cause arcing between the contacts, further eroding them.

If you're going to bother with routine starter switch maintenance, you should also address the root cause; get a dual H4 headlight relay kit from Eastern Beaver. This harness will provide headlight current straight from the battery by using relays, the current draw on the switches is vitually eliminated. :fineprint:
That or a HID kit. I am surprised at how flimsy and overly complex some of these switches are.
 

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My solution to this issue was to completely bypass the headlight circuit by splicing the wires to a handy switch mounted on the inside fairing deck. My lights kept going out on me at the worst possible time, nighttime! If my starter switch fails, I can always jump start my Wee and I will still have lights. Check out my pics :)
 

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I tried to find a master "start switch" thread. I hope this is it.

Sorry for the lengthy post......

OK guys, I have a problem - or rather my bike has a problem.

I suspect the starter switch / button, since the bike powers-up just fine when I turn the key and starts just fine once "electrical contact" (at the start switch?) seems to have been made. When this first started happening I'd try things like turning the handlebars (thinking broken wire), and generally the bike would start (thus far it's never failed to start - 8 months of near-daily riding). Recently though, it seems I often have to press the start button really hard or try to wiggle it around to get it to make contact.

Anyway.........

Assuming the problem is the start switch, I have a few questions :

1. I've carefully read Black Lab's very nice start switch instructions (and I've viewed the provided photos). (Black Lab - Thanks for taking the time. Super helpful). Black Lab says use "electrical grease" to the "elements" of the switch. Stromburger says : "Make sure you use a good coating of dielectric grease on the connector before putting it back together." I'm not an electrical guy. What's the difference between "electrical" and "dielectric" grease? I think what's desired is conductive (non-dielectric) grease. Correct?

2. To which specific "elements" of the switch shall the grease be applied? To the metal contact points only ? To only the non-metallic contact points ?

3. Black Lab's instructions note that if "periodic" cleaning of the switch isn't performed, the contact points become contaminated. Roughly what is meant by "periodic" ? Once a year ? Every-other year ? My bike is an '07 Wee with just over 10k miles now. I've put about half them on since end of January 2012. This "start switch" problem has been coming-on over the past month or so.

4. Regarding the grease, today, after work I stopped by an auto store and picked up a small packet of "Versa Chem" "Sure connect" "Bulb grease". The packet says :

Ensures positive connection & easy removal
For indoor and outdoor use
Waterproofs and prevents corrosion
Use on taillights, headlights, flood lamps, light bulbs
Warning - Never apply bulb grease to the inside of an electric socket.
Directions - Turn off electrical system. Apply a thin film of grease to the bulb threads. FOR ALL OTHER CONNECTIONS, apply a thin film to the connection , make sure there is good metal-to-metal contact.

Does this sound like an acceptable grease (I've never used bulb grease).

How do I ensure good metal-to-metal contact if I'm applying grease there? What's the goal / purpose of using this grease ? To enhance conductivity ? To let the switch components slide against each other smoothly and easily ? To resist contact-point (metal) corrosion?

I thought I'd ask some of these questions before I disassemble the switch. The bike's still starting, but I need to fix this problem within a few days or it will fail to start in some inconvenient location (not in my garage).

All help / comments appreciated. Thanks again Black Lab.
 

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Also found in many older threads is that fact that in stock form, 100% of your current for the headlights goes through those tiny contacts in the start switch, as well as the headlight bright/dim and flash to pass switches. Since the headlights are 55w each, they draw considerable current, and the breaking of the contacts during each start can cause arcing between the contacts, further eroding them.

If you're going to bother with routine starter switch maintenance, you should also address the root cause; get a dual H4 headlight relay kit from Eastern Beaver. This harness will provide headlight current straight from the battery by using relays, the current draw on the switches is vitually eliminated. :fineprint:
Couldn't that be alleviated by using an LED H4 bulb?
 

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It will help immensely. I can't think of anything capable of doing the job that would have a lower draw or lower cost than a relay though. Of course cost goes up if you get a pre-wired relay kit.
 

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Yup, same stuff. Not conductive though, at least to any level you'd be concerned about. I went out to check because I thought it was conductive also for some reason.

I had the meter set to 10 kohm and the needle didn't twitch, with the probes very close together submerged in grease. I also tried touching them together and pulling them apart, still no reading.

Reason I checked is because I gooped it in pretty good and I didn't want something draining the battery while it sat. It sat for a few days while I waited for the rare California multi-day rain to go away, and I've started the bike at least 50 times since this post, no problems with my repair.

In case someone shows up at this post before they find the cool illustrated switch maintenance thread, here's the link:

http://www.stromtrooper.com/showthread.php?t=44177
Hey Admin's...that link is dead/Broken.
 

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This post was just what I needed, after being out of town, the wife's 650, sat for 15 days and when we took them out on Sunday, she could not get the starter to engage, but it did and started right up when I pushed the button, led her to think maybe she did not have everything, (side stand, clutch in, pwr switch on) set for it to start.
We rode for a couple hours, stopped twice, upon each restart, she could not get it to engage, each time I pressed the switch it started, which led to some interesting dialogue...
Final stop for dinner, nothing at all, hearing the fuel pump spin up, I knew I could push start it, which I did and it got us home. At home, nothing would not engage at all.
I searched and found this thread, followed the link to Black Lab's page and photos, in the process of taking my switch apart, one of the headlight leads popped off where it was soldered down. My soldering skills are quite dismal, but I went out and bought a good solder gun and some wire and gave it my best. It is ugly for sure, but it reconnected and the lights now work.
I cleaned all the contacts as shown and in the process of putting it back together, the switch spring jumped out and was lost forever. I purchased a pack of springs the right size and had to clip it down to fit, put it all back together and it is working fine.

Thanks all for your comments and contributions to this post, it made all the difference.
 

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2016 DL650. Starter switch question. Hope this thread is not dead! Just don´t wanna start a new one unneccessarily. I understand how to service my switch and/or replace it with a relay, but unfortunately those are not options for me while I´m on the road (currently in Nicaragua). My switch is irreparable but I managed to obtain an OEM replacement. What´s the minimum I need to remove in order to connect the new switch to the wiring harness? The plug must be somewhere behind the radiator but I´m not sure what would be the easiest way to get to it. I don´t want to proceed until I know whether or not I will need to pull the tank or the fairing or what is the quickest way to accomplish this. Thanks in advance!
 

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This worked for me when I replaced my 2012 V1000 starter switch. Hope the pic posts correctly! I had to remove the gas tank, air box top/filter, disconnect the bottom of the air where it engages the throttle bodies. I was able to move the bottom of the airbox just enough to enable me to reach the plug, disconnect it and plug in the new unit.

In order to disconnect the the air box from the throttle bodies, I used a VERY LONG screwdriver (22" long in my case) to access the TB clamps.

Good Luck!!!
269444
 

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Thanks, Big Boy. Got fingers crossed that there´s enough difference between our two bikes to allow something less painful (not to mention the task of finding a 22" screwdriver) and maybe someone else will have another idea. I was thinking I might be able to loosen the radiator enough to get behind it (w/o disconnecting any hoses) and avoid the dreaded tank pull. Bike´s in the open and whatever I do needs to happen without much delay, confusion or glitches. But I suspect you are right and I will have to pull the tank regardless. That in itself is important to know ahead of time. Gracias.
 

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No mater what, the job is a Giant PITA!!! o_O
 

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Hahaha. Looks that way. Might just wait till I have other reasons to pull the tank and so kill more than one bird at the same time. I don´t ever ride after dark down here anyway, if I can help it, and the starter switch works fine; it´s the piece that interrupts the headlight that actually broke into pieces while I was trying to clean it. But it is nice to be just a bit more visible on the roads down here nevertheless. It´s 3,000 miles and change to the border from here; and that´s a long way to go hoping that every chicken bus or jalopy overloaded with bananas actually sees me.
 

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May have found what I was hoping for. The link below gives steps to get to the coupler behind the radiator on a DL650 which doesn´t involve removing the tank. 1) Remove r/side fairing piece, 2)move heatsink out of the way (2 bolts, no need to disconnect it), 3) remove the 2 allen bolts which attach the radiator and 4) w/o disconnecting any hoses, tilt it forward to get to the coupler. It´s a tight space to work in but evidently this guy managed to do it. Will post results after I find a space to work in and attempt this.

 

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A passing thought...

If the issue is the headlight not coming on because the normally closed contacts used to interrupt power to the headlights when the starter button is pressed are fried, could you not just solder a jumper across the switch contacts that the headlight uses? I would think that would be a lot less drama on the road than replacing the switch.

I haven't had the switch apart myself but I assume that it's possible to jumper or bypass those contacts?

Yes, the lights will be on all the time. Both the lights and starter will be drawing current from the battery at the same time which may not be ideal but I imagine a decent battery would be able to deliver that much current for the brief time it takes to spin the starter and start the bike.

Vinnie





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