Ignition Switch--Repair or Replace [Archive] - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums

: Ignition Switch--Repair or Replace


vn750angky
09-12-2006, 12:22 AM
My bike was having troubles on the hiway. Seemed like ignition switch shorting.
I opened the switch up and here's what I found.
1. It's not as hard as I thought it would be.
2. The switch is NOT part of the key-lock mechanism. It is attached to the bottom of the lock mechanism by two little tiny phillips head screws.
3. The copper contact electrodes wore off--after only 18,000 miles on my bike. They wore off into solid paths of copper tracks all the way around the route the switch contacts ride.

I see two possible fixes:
1. Clean the switch.
2. Replace the switch.

Here is how--
Before all else, disconnect your battery leads. Both of them is a good idea.
1. Pull the headlight and headlight bucket.
2. Look for the black plastic case directly below the key slot, but way down under the fork lock mechanism.
3. If you don't know what to look for, you can find the thick wad of black-wrapped wires going into that black plastic device.
4. Use a small philips-head screwdriver to remove the two little screws that attach the switch to the lock mechanism.

**Now you have to be careful if you want to clean and re-use the switch. If you don't want to re-use it, then don't bother to be too careful.**

5. Carefully pry the bottom off. You have to press in one of those little locking tabs to get it to come off. Don't break it or you will have to glue it back on (like I did the first time I tried it). (You might have to use a magnifying glass if your eyes are as old as mine are with the wrong bifocals on!)
With the bottom off, you can see the colors of wires that are soldered onto the base plate. Don't break these wires off (unless you like to solder upside down).

***Now be even more careful***

6. Carefully pry the base plate out of the housing. But WATCH OUT! (Sorry about shouting--but if you want to re-use it, you have to be careful to not lose the pieces.)
There are three little copper pieces, three little springs, and one little ball, all mounted in one medium sized rotor.
Suggestion: Put a white terry cloth towel beneath your workplace (drape it over the headlight bucket). That will catch the pieces if they get away from you. And, being white, you can find them easily.

7. Now look at the greasy copper tracks. Just wipe them clean.
8. Put more grease on the base and re-install. But be careful to use the right kind of grease. You don't want grease that will conduct electricity easily or you will just short it out with the grease.
9. Snap it all back together and you're good to go. Just make sure that you haven't broken any of the wires off while you did all this gyrationing.

Better yet, replace the whole miserable piece of junk!
1. Clip the wires off the base plate. (Leave just a little tag of wire so you can tell what color went where--in case you get confused, or don't agree with my write-up.)
2. Butt-splice extensions onto each of the wires. Make these as long as you will need to get to the switches you are going to mount. Use automotive crimp style butt connectors.
3. Bundle these three wires into one:
Yellow (this is the ignition switch wire)
Orange-green
Brown-white
All these wires work together to run the bike and the lights (except brake-tail). Look in Clymer manual if you want to see what they connect to. I forgot and I'm away on a business trip so I can't look it up.

*Now be certain of what you do.*
4. Connect this bundle of wires to the switched side of a relay. (Use an "always-open" relay like is used for installing extra running lights on red-neck mud-gobbing pickups. I got my relay from the accessory lighting section of a large auto parts store.) There is too much current running through these wires to run them directly through one of Hyper-lites' little tiny switches.
5. Connect the white wire to the other pole of the switched side of the relay. This white wire is your power supply (hot wire).
6. Connect one of Hyper-lites weatherproof switches to one of the poles on the control side of the relay.
7. Connect the other lead of the Hyper-lite switch to the black-white wire. This is also a hot wire--it actually connects to the white wire someplace back in the guts of the machine.
8. Connect the final pole of the relay to ground. Or connect it to the supplied negative lead inside the headlight bucket. (I can't recall the color of the wire--yellow and white???)
That finishes the power-up section. You still have to connect the tail-brake lights to the headlight control system.
9. Connect the blue wire to one lead of your second Hyper-lite switch.
10. Connect the red wire to the other lead of your switch.
Now comes the fun part!
Mount the tail light switch in an obvious place so that it looks important--as if it runs the bike.
Hide the real ignition switch (the one connected to the relay) in a place that you can quickly reach without seeming obvious, but which nobody is likely to find. The switch is dark black, and, if you wrap your leads in black electrical tape, it is almost impossible to see in a dark place.
Turn both switches on, hit the starter button and watch things come to life!
You can still use your key to lock the front forks--and to fool people into thinking all they need is your key to grab your bike for a fun run while you're sleeping off the after effects of yesterday's run.

I'm writing this while away on a trip. Hope I recalled it all correctly. Let me know if I screwed up.

By the way, that wasn't the only problem with my bike. The new (3-month-old) Westco battery was jacked up too.

If you try this, give yourself a day. It's scarey at first, but fun after you get into it. And then watching it fire up and run, and knowing you don't have any more worries about sloppy switches--well, that's pretty nice.
Angky.

vn750angky
09-12-2006, 12:24 AM
Oops, Forgot one little detail--
I have LED tail/brake lights. So I just wired the blue to the red directly through the little Hyper-lite switch. If you have standard bulbs--and more of them--then you might have to put a relay in this circuit too.
Angky.

vn750angky
09-12-2006, 12:25 AM
Oops, Forgot one little detail--
I have LED tail/brake lights. So I just wired the blue to the red directly through the little Hyper-lite switch. If you have standard bulbs--and more of them--then you might have to put a relay in this circuit too.
Angky.

global_recon
09-12-2006, 12:32 AM
i recently had some ignition switch issues as well... this is a great description of the procedure. i just posted three pics in the maintenance section of the gallery today which might help illustrate what angky is talking about.

cegodsey
09-12-2006, 02:23 AM
Ground is black/yellow

hyperbuzzin
09-12-2006, 04:41 AM
Great job with the 'How-To' and with the pics !! http://www.addis-welt.de/smilie/smilie/schild/010.gif

vn750angky
09-12-2006, 11:38 PM
i recently had some ignition switch issues as well... this is a great description of the procedure. i just posted three pics in the maintenance section of the gallery today which might help illustrate what angky is talking about.
Paul,
Thanks much!
I didn't take pics, and now I don't have the stuff on my bike anymore to take pics of.
Thanks,
Angky.

vn750angky
09-12-2006, 11:41 PM
Ground is black/yellow
"Fluffy",
Thanks for the correction!
That could make a big difference for somebody.
Angky.

vn750angky
09-12-2006, 11:43 PM
Great job with the 'How-To' and with the pics !! http://www.addis-welt.de/smilie/smilie/schild/010.gif
Hyper,
Thanks for the encouragement!
Angky.