Tail light only shines when braking - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Tail light only shines when braking

I had a bit of a spill the other day. Learned that alcohol and riding don't mix. I'm fine and the bike survived but I'm never doing that again.

Anyways, I just noticed tonight, thanks to a passing motorist, that my rear tail light only shines when I'm braking. I'm not sure exactly how they operate so before buying new bulbs, I figured I'd ask here first. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 06:49 AM
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I pass by a "biker bar" frequently and each time I pray that these idiots grow up and don't kill themselves going home. Who in the world would get on a motorcycle after drinking a couple beers or what-not. Good thing you learned your lesson without a major injury to yourself or others.

As for the tail light, there's two of them in the brake/tail light compartment so the odds that both the bulbs at the same time are the source of the problem are not too great. Most likely a wiring or fuse issue. Check your 10amp tail light fuse to see if it's blown. If it's good, check your 8-pin connector from the junction box to see if there's corrosion, clean it, apply some dielectric grease and reconnect to see if that solves the problem. If not, there may be a short somewhere else in the wiring between the junction box and tail light. BTW, are any other electrical components not working, like your headlight?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 07:14 AM
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Actualy the odds of both tail light filaments going at the same time are very high since you layed the bike down.

As soon as you turn on the key the tail lights come on and the filaments get very hot. Any sudden any sudden impact will easily break the hot filament, and the cold brake filaments would still be intact. Replace the bulbs.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 08:45 AM
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Ditto to what Lance said. And as far as the drinking and riding goes, not smart bro. I can't say that I never drink when I'm out some where and rode the bike, but if I do drink while I'm out some where with the bike, I always make sure to wait before riding. If I've had a beer, I'll wait 30mins instead of the told hour. But if I've had 2 or 3 (3 is my limit when on the bike), I always wait 2-3 hours to make sure I'm sober and level headed before I hop on the ol' Vulcan and get down the road. If I've had more than my limit, which can happen from time to time, I leave the bike, get a friend to drive me home or call the wife to pick me up and pick the bike up the next day.

Sorry you had to learn your lesson the hard way, but it could have been worse and at least you didn't hurt/kill yourself or anyone else.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 09:23 AM
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If you're like me, you probably have some extra 1157's in the garage already, since it had been the standard tail/brake light bulb for about 100 years. It would be the easiest test to do before having to dig too deep.

Other than that, you know we all are going to gang up on you about the alcohol thing. Don't ever forget the lesson you learned, the "easy way". Take care!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 09:38 AM
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Poweroflard I spent to much time working ER's cleaning up intoxicated riders. Don't do it again, ever. As for your taillight, Lance328 stated the bulbs could be out and this is very possible. However, check under the seat where the fender and frame meet also. Could be a pinched wire grounding. This happened to me last year. Had to move the wires around and take the bare spot out.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Sliding across the ground, grinding away skin and the face of my helmet, while the bike slid past was more than enough to teach me not to do that again. I was certified as an EMT a good while back, I know better. Just felt young and invincible at the time, I suppose.

I'll replace the bulbs, it does look like the tail light filaments have popped now that I've taken the cover off.

Thanks everyone!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lance328 View Post
Actualy the odds of both tail light filaments going at the same time are very high since you layed the bike down.

As soon as you turn on the key the tail lights come on and the filaments get very hot. Any sudden any sudden impact will easily break the hot filament, and the cold brake filaments would still be intact. Replace the bulbs.
Didn't think about that. It is easiest to simply swap the bulbs out with a known working one. Only if that doesn't work should you have to delve deeper.

Rubyrick

MY BABY...
'05 VN750
16,000 miles +
Kawi tank bib
Kawi rear rack
Small windshield
DEKA M/F battery
VN750.com Grill Cover
LED license plate frame
Clear Alternatives LED brake light
Cortech mini tank bag on rear rack
Pirelli MT66 Tires: 110 front / 150 rear
Splines lubed when tires installed at 10,650 miles
Splines lubed again at 14,400 with stubby valve stem install

Place your mouse on the X below and drag to the O

X
Even though you can't see Him, GOD is there! O
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 08:26 PM
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I've had 1 or 2 already while riding with my friend, that's about it. We like riding more than drinking. We'll usually stop somewhere for at least one and sit and chat for awhile.

One of the 1st things I did when I got the bike is get a pack of misc. fuses and a few replacement bulbs to keep in my saddlebag (along with a piece of fuel line hose, air pressure gauge, bunge straps) and of course that wonderful tool kit that came with the bike. I 1st had an issue with blowing the main fuse and finally found where a wire rubbed through. Can't be too prepared. How many people carry fix-a-flat or something like that with them?

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