Shift Lever Arcing to Frame - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Shift Lever Arcing to Frame

A couple weeks ago I notice something was arcing to the frame when I started the bike. I assumed it the positive starter cable got chaffed and needed to be replaced. Bike Bandit wanted something ridiculous like $50 for a new cable, so I was going to go cheap and wrap the cable with electrical tape.

This morning I crawled under the bike, and found it's not the cable.

The shifter lever has some side play. If the shifter is touching the frame. I get a big spark arcing from the shifter to the frame. I have no clue why.

It looks like an easy fix to eliminate the side play. My question now is why the heck is the shifter arcing at all. Is this normal, any ideas?

Glenn Douglas
Londonderry, NH
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:56 AM
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Glenn,

That sounds totally weird to me.

I'm more curious as to how something on either side of that equation got a positive charge - based on what you said it seems that either the shifter or the frame is positive and it's grounding into the other one. Of course, neither should be carrying a positive charge.

Does this happen when the bike is on/off? With the key in? With the kill switch on/off?

One way or the other, it sounds like you've got some naked wire touching something it shouldn't - like the frame or the engine.

Time to get out the flashlight and the trusty $3 Harbor Freight multimeter. I'd start by giving the whole wiring harness a good inch by inch eyeball and see if you can spot any exposed wire. One thing you might want to look for is that your engine might not be grounded? There's a ground wire behind the coolant reservoir on the right side of the bike.

Scheherazade
'86 VN750
MF Battery, Iridium Plugs, RR relocated, Voltmeter, 170/80/15 Kenda Kruz rear tire, DIY Samsonite hard bags, DIY shaved seat with Beaded seat pad ('cause that's how I roll) and the dreaded STATOR CHANGE.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skalding View Post
Glenn,
Does this happen when the bike is on/off? With the key in? With the kill switch on/off?
Skalding, I did check with a voltmeter:

Bike off no reading.
Cranking the starter 12volts
Did not check when engine was running.

I read up on the shifter play on another thread and I added five rubber grommets behind the shifter to eliminate the play.

Now I'm not getting any reading on the voltmeter. If there was/is a short it seems like it's inside the case. Still sounds weird to me, but it's not shorting anymore.

Glenn Douglas
Londonderry, NH
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 10:02 PM
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Check your grounds sounds like a high resistence somewhere.

Rckmtn
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDouglas View Post
Skalding, I did check with a voltmeter:

Bike off no reading.
Cranking the starter 12volts
Did not check when engine was running.

I read up on the shifter play on another thread and I added five rubber grommets behind the shifter to eliminate the play.

Now I'm not getting any reading on the voltmeter. If there was/is a short it seems like it's inside the case. Still sounds weird to me, but it's not shorting anymore.
Check the engine to battery case ground, it could be a stator coil grounding out.


85 VN700 "Old Yella"

REBUILT ENGINE
CUSTOM PAINT
VANCE & HINES CRUZERS
EAR SHAVED AND RE-JETTED W/K&N'S
DUNLOP ELITE K591 FRONT & REAR
VOLTMETER
SYNTHETIC BRAKE FLUID
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PLEXISTAR 2 WINDSHIELD
SPLINES LUBED
ACCT'S GREASED W/TOC SPRINGS
COASTERD
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LEATHER TOOL AND ROLL BAG
PICKUP COILS GAPPED AT .018"
NGK CAP, WIRES, IRIDUMS
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:38 PM
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X2 on Lance's thought: since the stator is right there in the case, would seem logical. When mine went the insulation was cracked inside the case. This could lead to the problem you are having. Hope it's not, as stators are not that easy to replace. You can handle it though, lots of experience on this site.


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As always:
Wanting attention at all times.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the ground when it first shorted, I thought it was ok.

This afternoon when I was leaving work the bike wouldn't start. I pressed the starter button and the solenoid just clicked like the battery was dead. Pressed it again and the same thing. Just then I noticed the fried wire smell looked down and had white smoke coming from the same area. Figured the damage was already done and hit the button one more time to see where the arcing was. No arc the bike started right up.

Decided to ride home. No problems, except the clutch cabel is really sticking. When I got home it looks like the case arced to the spring around the cable. Made a nice little heater and melted the clutch cable.

I checked the grounds again and removed the cable this time. Everything looks good, no arcing. I'm stuck....on what's wrong. Unless it's the stator wires but I think those would have fried.

Not a good Monday!

Glenn Douglas
Londonderry, NH
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:48 PM
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You may have a bad connection on the ground strap that connects the engine to frame.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 10:57 PM
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Random thought - check your starter cable. The one that runs from the starter to the solenoid. And check the engine/frame ground as niterider suggested.

But Lance's idea sounds more plausible.

This is so very weird.

Scheherazade
'86 VN750
MF Battery, Iridium Plugs, RR relocated, Voltmeter, 170/80/15 Kenda Kruz rear tire, DIY Samsonite hard bags, DIY shaved seat with Beaded seat pad ('cause that's how I roll) and the dreaded STATOR CHANGE.

Shining Black Bess '86 VN750, retired for parts after a fried stator and being knocked (kee-runch) in her parking spot.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDouglas View Post
I checked the ground when it first shorted, I thought it was ok.
This afternoon when I was leaving work the bike wouldn't start. I pressed the starter button and the solenoid just clicked like the battery was dead. Pressed it again and the same thing. Just then I noticed the fried wire smell looked down and had white smoke coming from the same area. Figured the damage was already done and hit the button one more time to see where the arcing was. No arc the bike started right up.

Decided to ride home. No problems, except the clutch cabel is really sticking. When I got home it looks like the case arced to the spring around the cable. Made a nice little heater and melted the clutch cable.

I checked the grounds again and removed the cable this time. Everything looks good, no arcing. I'm stuck....on what's wrong. Unless it's the stator wires but I think those would have fried.

Not a good Monday!
Did you check the battery to frame ground or the engine to battery case ground. The engine ground is behind the coolant bottle.


85 VN700 "Old Yella"

REBUILT ENGINE
CUSTOM PAINT
VANCE & HINES CRUZERS
EAR SHAVED AND RE-JETTED W/K&N'S
DUNLOP ELITE K591 FRONT & REAR
VOLTMETER
SYNTHETIC BRAKE FLUID
SYNTHETIC OIL & GEAR LUBE
PLEXISTAR 2 WINDSHIELD
SPLINES LUBED
ACCT'S GREASED W/TOC SPRINGS
COASTERD
LEATHER SADDLE BAGS
LEATHER TOOL AND ROLL BAG
PICKUP COILS GAPPED AT .018"
NGK CAP, WIRES, IRIDUMS
BARNETT FRICTION PLATES & SPRINGS
CUSTOM GRIPS, MIRRORS, LEVERS
ORIGINAL STATOR & R/R 14.5v
DEKA MF AGM ETX15L

Best Auto/Moto Insurance | Motorcycle Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
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