Saga of a switch and a hose - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Saga of a switch and a hose

Hey guys,

Just wanted to share some good news about getting my bike back to running condition today! The short version is that I had multiple problems-a loose battery cable, a bad start button, and a missing vacuum hose plug. It is running smooth now and I am wondering if I really need to rejet the carbs. Now, if you want to know the whole journey...

A little over a week ago, my bike was running like crap all the way home from work. It was rough idling, died at a couple of lights, and when I pulled in the clutch on the way in the driveway, it completely died. It lost all electrical and wouldn't come back on.

Now, since I bought this bike last month, it always had the occasional problem with the start button not working. When that happened, I could usually turn the ignition switch to park, then back on and it would work. Sometimes I would have to do this a few times. So, when the bike lost all electrical, I immediately thought of the ignition switch.

The next day, I took the ignition switch apart, cleaned all the contacts, filled the back end with dielectric grease, put it back together and installed it. (Note here that, while disconnecting the battery, I found that the negative connection was loose and that was probably my original problem). It worked! Unfortunately, I did crack part of the housing pulling it apart, but I was able to completely turn it on and off and start the bike five consecutive times with no problems, so I didn't worry about the cracked housing. I took it for a test ride. It was still running rough and died a couple times, but that would be a battle for another day, I had it running...or so I thought!

Well, my luck was short - lived. The next day, it was not starting. Lights came on, but engine would not turn over. I cracked open the service manual and followed the diagram for continuity checking the switches. Everything checked out fine! I checked at the wiring harness, all points were shorted and open to where they should be in all switch positions. The start button even showed a short at the harness when it was pressed. What the hell!!??

Next thing I tried was the ignition coil relay. I followed the steps in the manual for checking it, and I got no click. OK, bad relay. I ordered another one.

While waiting for a relay, I decided to take the ignition switch apart again, just to make sure my dielectric grease hadn't crept in somewhere it shouldn't and to maybe try to secure that cracked housing better. Well, while taking it back out, it completely fell apart. Ball bearing and one of the contact pads are somewhere in the garage, and I can't find them. Guess that crack was a problem after all! OK, ordered a new ignition switch and now I am waiting for both the switch and the ignition relay. While I was waiting, I decided to try the two-wire mod that I read about here, but that didn't help.

Fast forward a week, I have received the switch, relay, and a new set of grips that my wife bought for my birthday. I decided to install all of them in the same evening. I started with the ignition switch. It did everything it was supposed to, but bike still wouldn't start. Next, I installed the relay. Bike still won't start...grrr!

I then decided to take a break from my functional problem and at least make this piece of garage art look better with new grips. Well, while installing the new grips, I noticed that the components inside the start button look dull. Even though I got a good continuity check at the harness previously, I was originally fighting with an intermittent starting problem and that might have been the button. I took it apart and cleaned everything, but lost the spring when putting it back together. Damn it to hell! A new start button assembly is on order, and now I have to wait again. But, while I had it open, I decided to try shorting out the switch contacts with a screwdriver. Lo and behold, the bike turned over! I tried it a dozen more times, and it kept working! Looks like the start button was a problem!

The next day, I was looking through a box of old electronics parts, and I found a Radio Shack momentary push button switch. Score! I remembered that switch. It was originally something I was going to use to build a vape mod, but never got around to. I knew it was rated for 10 amps, and it was the perfect size to fit in the place of the start button. I had to try it. I installed it and it cranked the engine with no problem. I still wanted to make sure it could handle the current, so I kept cranking the engine for a couple seconds and letting go before the engine started. After doing that several times, the switch didn't heat up, so it had my confidence. I put it all back together and fired up the bike.

It started and ran fine for a couple minutes, then started running rough and dying. It was also making an occasional quick hissing noise like it was spitting something on the right side of the engine. I started it again and looked closely at the right side of the engine, and found the source. There was a nipple on the rear carb with nothing attached! Thanks to the info I dug up in this forum, I discovered that bare nipple to be a vacuum line which should go to an emissions box, but since my bike doesn't have that box it should be plugged. OK, so I installed a vacuum line with a screw in the end as a plug, and fired up the bike again. This time, it ran smooth as butter, for about five minutes with no sputtering, no hissing, and no dying! I took it for a test ride, and it ran better than it ever has since I bought it. It used to sputter at high speeds, so I couldn't cruise comfortably on the highway, but that problem seems to be completely gone! I originally thought that problem was caused by the ear shave, and was sure I needed to rejet. Now, I am not so sure.

So, in summary:
Rough running - caused by missing vacuum plug. Whatever previous owner had there must have come off during my ride.
Loss of electrical - caused by loose battery cable, probably made worse during vibration of rough running.
Starting problem - caused by bad start button.

I will include some pictures to show the switch and vacuum plug that I used.

Side note here - For some reason the two-wire mod would not work for me. The bike will not start with it, but starts fine without it. Something to tackle another day.





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Last edited by davej323; 03-26-2017 at 03:07 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 02:42 PM
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Nice job of following through. I am sure there will be several members that will pick up a tip or two from your final explanations. Appreciate you doing this thread so we know the ultimate outcome. Thanks.
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and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
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New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:13 PM
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sweet

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 02:44 PM
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Well done, like it when a plan comes together!😉

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davej323 View Post
The next day, I was looking through a box of old electronics parts, and I found a Radio Shack momentary push button switch. Score! I remembered that switch.
Too Funny!

I actually used that same switch from Radio Shack on my first bike, (Yamaha 650) when it's starter button came apart.

Well Done!
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37K+ Miles
Relocated R&R
LED License Plate Bolts
Solar Panel Battery Charger
Relocated new Turn Signals to Taillight Housing.
Replaced original round, chrome rear view mirrors with black, squared mirrors

Avatar: George The 3rd
June 2006 - Sept 27, 2013

Current Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 750
4th Ride: 1981 Kz1000 LTD (2008 - Storage)
3rd Ride: Wife (1999 - 2005)
2nd Ride: 1982 Kz1000 LTD (1983 - 2004)
1st Ride: 1977 Yamaha XS-650 (1981 - 1983)
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majdsaster View Post
Too Funny!

I actually used that same switch from Radio Shack on my first bike, (Yamaha 650) when it's starter button came apart.

Well Done!
Nice to know someone else tried this! How did it hold up over time?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by davej323 View Post
Nice to know someone else tried this! How did it hold up over time?
It was still on there and working in 1983 when I sold it and bought my first KZ 1000 LTD.
BTW, just noticed you are in Fremont, CA. I was living in Capitola, CA when I had those bikes.

37K+ Miles
Relocated R&R
LED License Plate Bolts
Solar Panel Battery Charger
Relocated new Turn Signals to Taillight Housing.
Replaced original round, chrome rear view mirrors with black, squared mirrors

Avatar: George The 3rd
June 2006 - Sept 27, 2013

Current Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 750
4th Ride: 1981 Kz1000 LTD (2008 - Storage)
3rd Ride: Wife (1999 - 2005)
2nd Ride: 1982 Kz1000 LTD (1983 - 2004)
1st Ride: 1977 Yamaha XS-650 (1981 - 1983)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Capitola is nice! We just moved to Fremont from Santa Barbara a month ago, and I already miss the beach and small town.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 05:59 PM
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Capitola is nice! We just moved to Fremont from Santa Barbara a month ago, and I already miss the beach and small town.

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Well, at least you can ride to the SF Giants games. I subscribe to 'MLB At Bat' to watch the Giants games online. Since I work second shift, most of the Giants games are just starting when I get home. I may make a ride up to Miami when the Giants come in to play the Marlins this summer.
Mike
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37K+ Miles
Relocated R&R
LED License Plate Bolts
Solar Panel Battery Charger
Relocated new Turn Signals to Taillight Housing.
Replaced original round, chrome rear view mirrors with black, squared mirrors

Avatar: George The 3rd
June 2006 - Sept 27, 2013

Current Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 750
4th Ride: 1981 Kz1000 LTD (2008 - Storage)
3rd Ride: Wife (1999 - 2005)
2nd Ride: 1982 Kz1000 LTD (1983 - 2004)
1st Ride: 1977 Yamaha XS-650 (1981 - 1983)
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majdsaster View Post
Well, at least you can ride to the SF Giants games. I subscribe to 'MLB At Bat' to watch the Giants games online. Since I work second shift, most of the Giants games are just starting when I get home. I may make a ride up to Miami when the Giants come in to play the Marlins this summer.
Mike
I am not a baseball fan, unfortunately. I am a football fan and my team is the Chargers, so i was hoping to get to see them once a year up here when they play the Raiders, but it looks like the Davis family just took a crap on Oakland again, heading off to a new stadium in Las Vegas.
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