Engine cutting out & headlight problems
Actually, my bike was having problems a while back... once every 3 or 4 weeks I'd be riding it (it's my daily commuter) and it would die. I'd be going 30mph or so... maybe 50mph another time, and it would start bogging down and acting like it wasn't getting gas, and it'd die. It wouldn't start for an hour or so. Sometimes when I kept trying it would backfire, other times it might start up but be missing on a cylinder. I got rid of it (knock on wood). I was already to have a new igniter and ignition coils put in... but a buddy and I decided to just take a can of radio shack tuner cleaner, and some stiff bristled small brushes of the type used to clean electronic stuff... and clean all the connectors. We just opened up every connector we could easily get at with the side panels off, sprayed in some contact cleaner, brushed real good with the little brushes, and hit it with contact cleaner another time or two to flush away any oxidation that got knocked loose. I'll be damned... the thing started right up and acted like a whole new bike. No kidding. It even seemed to have more POWER... seriously. Connections in connectors can get oxidized, and even look okay and still be a little resistive. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I am an electronics tech. each of those spots that are going resistive will drop your voltage a bit, and dissipate power as heat. Clean everything up with a brush and some tuner cleaner... and it seems like it can make a real difference. My bike has behaved well since then. I'm actually wondering if this isn't part of the cause of some of our stator and R/R woes... since when this stuff gets oxidized or dirty and resistive... everything electrical has to work harder? Just a thought - a mechanic I am definitely not. Get the TV tuner cleaner at Radio shack. It's about 7 or 8 bucks a can, and comes with the handy red straw for spraying. It's well worth it, and won't dissolve any plastics like some electronic cleaners will. It's safe to use. Also, if you have a control on a stereo or something at home that's gotten intolerably scratchy... give that a squirt too just for kicks.
I also hit those connections with dielectric grease to help keep those contacts clean longer. Dianna
Reminder - exercise some caution with dielectric grease. This stuff itself doesn't conduct eletricity (you can test that with a multimeter). Product directions usually say to maintain metal to metal contact. So putting it between delicate connections that aren't tight could stop current flow. If the connection is tightened down it pushes the grease out and makes a coating to seal around the outside against dust and water, etc. In a situation like Bill described in his post, with a small component where small springs push flat plates together there may not always be enough force to make "metal to metal contact", leading to intermittent problems. I've heard of people putting PlastiDip (rubber tool handle coating) on the outside of connections after they're put back together to seal them (never tried it myself - yet). "Limey"