Short In Instrument Cluster? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-27-2011, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Short In Instrument Cluster?

My 2003 DL1K left me stranded yeserday. I took it for a short ride, during which it ran fine. Stopped at a convenience store. When I went to start it, it would not start.

When key is switched on, instruments wag as normal. But immediately upon pressing the starter button, the starter solenoid clicks normaly, headlight goes off, guages mostly go off, engine won't start. Trying this over and over, I intermittently get the CHEC message.

After trailering it home, I started the troubleshooting routine according to the service manual to check the usual suspects: fuses, clutch switch, kickstand switch, handlebar switches., etc. etc.

Occasionally, it will start. But if I turn it off and try to start it again, the whole sordid affair starts over. During one of the sessions in which the starter worked, I noticed the battery was very much weaker than it should be for the amount of starting it had done.

I disconnected the negative battery cable, and put a voltmeter in series between it and the negative battery terminal. With everything switched off, I get a reading of 11.9 volts. I started disconnecting harness plugs one at a time and re-checking for the voltage drain.

There is a harness connector in the left side "pocket" of the fairing which leads to the instrument cluster. Disconnecting this stops the battery drain. I've checked that harness for any signs of abrasion, but have found nothing amiss. If I reconnect the connector, trace it up to the instrument cluster itself, disconnecting the large plug on the back of the instrument cluster, that stops the drain, too.

So am I barking up the right tree in suspecting the instrument cluster itself has a short in it? The cluster costs around $300, so I don't want to order one if I'm just fooling myself somehow.

Any advice from those more knowlegeable about electrical than I am would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
James
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-27-2011, 05:38 PM
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A CHEC indicates the kill switch is on, the kick stand switch is in a non running position, or the ECM signal is not getting to the instrument cluster. With a low battery, the clock drain may be noticeable. A short will blow a fuse. Charge the battery, check that the battery cable connections are clean and tight at both ends. Check the connector in the fairing for brown spots indicating an overheated connection.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-27-2011, 07:20 PM
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I would check everything Greywolf suggested and add that it couldn't hurt to disassemble the start switch and clean the contacts per Black Lab's thread:
https://www.stromtrooper.com/maintena...ance-pics.html

A 2003 probably has had many cycles of the start switch, and it could be carboned up from arcing (2003's don't have the headlight cutout during start, so that's an extra load to cause arcing).

If that's the culprit, I would recommend Eatern Beaver's dual H4 headlight relay kit...it keeps those huge electrons that the headlights draw out of the start switch (and low/high beam and flash to pass switches):
Suzuki VStrom Electrics

Good luck; you'll get her fixed up in no time!

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DL1000K5 - Black
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-27-2011, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JET_V-Strom View Post
With everything switched off, I get a reading of 11.9 volts
...
There is a harness connector in the left side "pocket" of the fairing which leads to the instrument cluster. Disconnecting this stops the battery drain.
You do know that you have a clock, right? :mrgreen:

The voltage is a red herring. What you should be testing for is current draw, not voltage. A certain amount of current draw is to be expected (see above comment about clock). I don't know what "normal" is, but I wouldn't expect to see more than a few milliamps.

However -- I doubt that's your problem. You didn't say whether you cleaned the battery connections. A corroded battery post could probably explain everything you've seen ...
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-27-2011, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone.

Well, I guess it's abundantly clear now that, as an electrician, I make a pretty good...uh...guitarist. (And I stink at the guitar.)

I took a break to eat, and it dawned on me that voltage is needed for the clock, and that amperage (around 1ma) is what I should have been checking, not voltage.

I then checked and determined it was the red wire with white tracer that was passing current. According to the diagram I have, that wire goes to the speedo, whereas the clock is in the tach; but for all I know, the tach may be a "slave" unit to the speedo.

So with a day wasted, I guess I'm back to square one, but a little bit relieved nonetheless.

The terminals are pristine. I took the starter button and kill switch apart, cleaned the contacts (they did not look bad), and reassembled.

The few times that the bike has started since bringing it home yesterday, it turned over strongly and started right away, as is its norm.

I turn on the key. The instruments wag. Headlight goes on, bright and strong. When I press the starter button, the solenoid clicks and everything goes dead. The headlight comes back on, but dimly.

I've checked the sidestand switch and clutch lever switch with an ohm meter, and even cleaned the contacts of the clutch lever. Both seem to be working correctly, both when mounted and when removed from their mounts and operated manually.

I don't get tidy results from the neutral switch. I unplugged it and connected an ohm meter across the black and blue wires. I can get it to indicate continuity, but only erratically, by fiddling with the shift lever. The neutral light in the instrument cluster does consistently come on whenever it's in neutral.

At any rate, continuity across the neutral switch should not be required so long as the side stand and clutch lever switches are closed, correct?

I'm kind of at a loss here. Can't think of what else to check.

Any ideas as to how to proceed?

Oh...I did notice that when it's in the "state" of having failed to start, a faint sulfuric scent can be smelled from the battery. I turn the ignition switch back off and the smell goes away in just a few seconds. If I turn the ignition switch back on and check for the smell, it does not occur. It only occurs after I press the start button, the solenoid clicks, and the bike fails to start.

Thanks again,
James

Last edited by JET_V-Strom; 02-27-2011 at 11:32 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-28-2011, 12:49 AM
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A bad battery or battery connection would be at the top of my list.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-28-2011, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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I am such a dunce. Thanks for your perseverance, Greywolf.

It was the battery.

Throughout the ordeal, I was so doggedly "certain" it wasn't the battery, because the few times it did start, it started strongly; no strained, slow turnover; just instant vroom, like normal. And when it failed to start, everything just seemed to "switch off."

It wasn't until later in the game that it acted slugglish in turning over the engine. By then, I had convinced myself that whatever the mysterious electrical problem was, it was now quickly draining my battery.

Turning around, bending over so you can all kick me.

Worst part is: Nancy had said at the start of the ordeal, "Maybe it's just the battery."

Thanks again, guys.

James
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-28-2011, 05:21 PM
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Occam's Razor....the greatest idea since the cheeseburger.

Go hakafugu yourself.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-28-2011, 05:54 PM
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I can understand getting sidetracked away from the battery under the circumstances. But to positively eliminate the battery, all you have to do is load test it after a seemingly full charge. Load testers are cheap compared to a day wasted in the wrong direction. There's no reason not to own one if you do your own work.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-28-2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JET_V-Strom View Post
It was the battery.

Throughout the ordeal, I was so doggedly "certain" it wasn't the battery, because the few times it did start, it started strongly; no strained, slow turnover; just instant vroom, like normal. And when it failed to start, everything just seemed to "switch off."
Personally, I'd still be skeptical and cautious for awhile. I wouldn't expect a dead battery to magically spring to life periodically as yours seemed to. A new battery can mask other problems for awhile and thus appear to solve the problem, so I'd still be wary.

That said, yeah, a bad battery can cause really weird symptoms.
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