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Discussion Starter #1
I'm on a road trip through southern Canada and got caught in heavy rain for about 2 hours today. After parking the bike at a hotel and letting it sit while I dried off, I tried to start it to get some dinner.

The bike turned on, engaged the fuel injector but wouldn't start. I tried all of the switches on the handlebars, horn, brights, blinkers, and all worked. I pulled the seat, and everything was dry under there.

I've had trouble starting the bike before, but it was related to the clutch switch connection. That comes off from time to time. I pulled it, blew on it to get out any water and replaced it. Still wouldn't start.

Wait 5 minutes, and try again. It started..

After dinner the same thing happened. It wouldn't start. I pulled the clutch switch cable again and blew it out, but there was no water in there. Plugged it back in, wouldn't start. Wait - then it started.


I was pretty careful about the connection, so I don't believe that it was related to the clutch switch. Also, I'm far from home and 2 up, so I really don't want to a dead bike. Any thoughts? I appreciate any advice you may have!
 

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I think it could be an electrical issue based on the fact that its happening when it gets wet but that could just be a contributing factor. Look for water in your spark plug wells and confirm the drain holes are not plugged. You may have a vacuum leak or a loose air intake causing the engine to "flood" with gas. That's why after sitting for 5 minutes it starts sometimes. Did you try holding the throttle wide open upon startup? Doing that can sometimes help with fuel flooding issues.
 

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Before people can give meaningful advice you need to expand on what you mean by "the engine wouldn't start"

Does it crank but not fire?

Does it crank and there is some ignition but it doesn catch?

Does it not crank at all?

If it doesn't crank at all two easy suspects are the clutch switch setup you have identified and the starter switch. There may be some corrosion on the switch connections and some contact cleaner might help (when you get home spray some ACF50 on all connections.)

(Candadian Tire should have contact cleaner. ACF50 usually require ordering online.)

..Tom
 

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The first thing to check is your battery terminals, they often work loose on bikes but unlike a car the bike will still start.

Get a paper clip and shape it so you can join the 2 clutch switch wires together, this will bypass the clutch switch (you can't leave it permanently bypassed but can for a time)

If the bike starts as it should every time with the bypass in place then it is your clutch switch but if you are still having problems it is time to look other places.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Before people can give meaningful advice you need to expand on what you mean by "the engine wouldn't start"

Does it crank but not fire?

Does it crank and there is some ignition but it doesn catch?

Does it not crank at all?

If it doesn't crank at all two easy suspects are the clutch switch setup you have identified and the starter switch. There may be some corrosion on the switch connections and some contact cleaner might help (when you get home spray some ACF50 on all connections.)

(Candadian Tire should have contact cleaner. ACF50 usually require ordering online.)

..Tom

I'm sorry that my original post was too vague. The bike would "click" as if it had a dead battery. It wouldn't turn over, and the lights only dimmed for the second I held the started. The battery is new and fully charged. I'm just describing the sound and symptom to help.


To answer the other question, I never touch the throttle when starting.

Also, good news in that we rode 400 miles today and started perfectly at each stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The first thing to check is your battery terminals, they often work loose on bikes but unlike a car the bike will still start.

Get a paper clip and shape it so you can join the 2 clutch switch wires together, this will bypass the clutch switch (you can't leave it permanently bypassed but can for a time)

If the bike starts as it should every time with the bypass in place then it is your clutch switch but if you are still having problems it is time to look other places.
I just replaced the battery and checked the terminals. They're tight. The old battery was a Yuasa sealed battery that I've had since 2013, so not a charging problem, just an old battery that didn't like last winter.

If it happens again I'll try the bypass.
 

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I just replaced the battery and checked the terminals. They're tight. The old battery was a Yuasa sealed battery that I've had since 2013, so not a charging problem, just an old battery that didn't like last winter.

If it happens again I'll try the bypass.
My first thought is it can't be the clutch switch area as it wouldn't click unless it is intermittent. Ie the switch works then stops working which stops the starter. So bypassing it as Rolex mentions is a cheap and easy thing to check.

Has your bike fallen over on the clutch lever? If so it is possible a slightly bent lever might not allow the switch to fully activate. (This has happened on my 2006 DL650, my 2012 DL650 and my wife's 2009 Gladius.) IIRC what would start to happen is you had to really pull on the clutch to get it to start and sometimes you would not pull hard enough while doing it and it would stop. the bypass Rolex mentioned would also sidestep this issue.

Corrosion and/or wear on the starter switch can have similar effects. Try spraying some contact cleaner in the switch housing and see if it helps. (There are better solutions but probably not easy to do while on a road trip.)

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My first thought is it can't be the clutch switch area as it wouldn't click unless it is intermittent. Ie the switch works then stops working which stops the starter. So bypassing it as Rolex mentions is a cheap and easy thing to check.

Has your bike fallen over on the clutch lever? If so it is possible a slightly bent lever might not allow the switch to fully activate. (This has happened on my 2006 DL650, my 2012 DL650 and my wife's 2009 Gladius.) IIRC what would start to happen is you had to really pull on the clutch to get it to start and sometimes you would not pull hard enough while doing it and it would stop. the bypass Rolex mentioned would also sidestep this issue.

Corrosion and/or wear on the starter switch can have similar effects. Try spraying some contact cleaner in the switch housing and see if it helps. (There are better solutions but probably not easy to do while on a road trip.)

..Tom
Thanks for the ideas. If I spray contact cleaner on the housing won't that just make a mess? Or are you recommending that I open the housing?

Of course the bike did make a click when I hit the starter button, so it's at least getting some contact. Maybe not enough.

The clutch lever is not bent. I replaced it a few years ago after it broke during a fall. Still, I'll look into this, but after a 100% successful day, I'm not sure that it's anything mechanical and am leaning to something electrical that has the potential to get wet.
 

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I have the exact same problem. it didn't get wet and happened a few days after I dropped the bike on the clutch side and broke off the ball at the end of the lever. I haven't checked the clutch switch, so that is my next step. It works 90% of the time but on occasion, I'll park it for 15 min or so and when I hit the starter button, the fuel pump primes and the tach needle moves up and sets at zero but nothing else. It will not crank the starter. After several attempts and disconnecting an on board voltmeter, it starts. I found it strange that by disconnecting the volt gauge, solved the starting problem. I am baffled.

Let me know if you resolved the problem and what it was.
 

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The clutch lever is not bent. I replaced it a few years ago after it broke during a fall. Still, I'll look into this,
...
Wear of the pin the clutch lever pivots on and/or wear of the hole the lever rotates in can cause the same effect.

Next time it happens (if and when) pull harder on the lever and see if it starts. If not then bypass the clutch switch as suggested earlier.

..Tom
 
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