IC Ignitor questions - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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IC Ignitor questions

I'm being told by my repair shop that the front cylinder on my 96 VN750 is not firing, and they believe the ignitor, or as they called it, the ECM, is not functioning properly. New one is $400. Before I authorize the work, I have a couple of concerns and questions.

1) Is it really possible for the ignitor to be bad at only 6,000 miles? For background, the bike was left outdoors by PO #1, and then sat unused in the garage of PO #2 for about 4 years.

2) Prior to dropping off the bike I had been getting a Hz reading off the front coil. If the ignitor was truly bad, would it still be possible to get a reading off of the front coil?

3) If the Ignitor really IS bad, are there other/better replacement options besides the OEM ignitor?

4) Is it a fairly easy replacement? If so, I may as well order it and do the work myself.

Regards,
Pete in Gaithersburg, MD

1996, 6,000 miles
Relocated R/R, Corbin seat, Plexifairing III, Sunpro Voltmeter, Sears MF.
Xelement X840 Saddlebags
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 10:32 PM
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The easy way to check is to take a spark plug out of the cylinder, leave it hooked up to the wire, ground out the base to the engine and then hit the starter for a brief second. If you get spark, the ignitor is functioning normally. Be careful not to get shocked. It's usually not dangerous but the sudden zap could cause other issues due to startle factor. No spark, it could be the ignitor but it could also be a wiring problem going into or coming from the ignitor. As I said in reply to this question in your tach thread, the IC ignitor either works or it doesn't. Semiconductors don't have an in between.
Chances are you wouldn't get a freq (Hz) reading if the ignitor were bad.
If the ignitor does turn out to be the problem, check ebay or salvage yard for a used one that works. It's much cheaper that way and they are super easy to replace. It bolts onto the back of the battery box with a couple of bolts. Just unplug the wiring sockets, undo the bolts, reinstall the new one, reconnect and yer done. 10 min job.

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
New R/R, Installed 14Jun08
New Stator installed 10 Jun08
Maintenance Free Battery 12Jan08
21480 Miles
VROC #8542
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ok Jim, thank you. Let me follow up with some more questions, if you don't mind.

) Is it really possible for the ignitor to be bad at only 6,000 miles? For background, the bike was left outdoors by PO #1, and then sat unused in the garage of PO #2 for about 4 years. Ok, on this one - I guess that mileage isn't the only factor, because electronic components break down over time whether they're used or not. But I'm still curious as to average life span is on these things.

2) Prior to dropping off the bike I had been getting a Hz reading off the front coil. If the ignitor was truly bad, would it still be possible to get a reading off of the front coil? I thought I read in the Clymers that a bad ignitor might still send out a weak signal, which I imagine would generate a Hz reading even it it wasn't adequate to fire the plug - but i'd like someone to confirm or refute that.

3) If the Ignitor really IS bad, are there other/better replacement options besides the OEM ignitor? I was looking on http://www.regulatorrectifier.com for a replacement, but didn't see one for the VN750.

4) about how hard it is, it doesn't sound bad from what you described. When I looked at the Clymer, i got the impression that I had to remove the gas tank. I'm glad it's an easy fix.

Regards,
Pete in Gaithersburg, MD

1996, 6,000 miles
Relocated R/R, Corbin seat, Plexifairing III, Sunpro Voltmeter, Sears MF.
Xelement X840 Saddlebags
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 11:45 PM
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Mine sat out in the Georgia and Texas weather for who knows how long before I got it. It had about 7500 miles on her and I got to ride her 30 days before she crapped out hard core on me. A small ball bearing came loose inside her and the acct's acted up from having sat for so long. The ignitor was just fine however. ( I hope I didn't just jinx myself).

No, you don't have to remove the gas tank to get to the ignitor, just the seat. The ignitor sits on the back of the battery box toward the rear fender and EPA spider.

The spark check will tell you if the ignitor is weak. However, all it does is send the impulse to the coil. It's the coil that generates the spark. The ignitor simply tells it when. You can compare the spark you get with the front with the back using the same process. I'd still trace the wiring before concluding it was the ignitor. There are some tests you can run on the ignitor to see if it's within spec as well.
AFAIK, the only two sources for the ignitor are either used, or OEM from a dealer or online distributor like Ron Ayers or Bike Bandit. Neither Electrosport or Rick's or the website you looked at carry ignitors.

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
New R/R, Installed 14Jun08
New Stator installed 10 Jun08
Maintenance Free Battery 12Jan08
21480 Miles
VROC #8542
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-29-2008, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like the smart thing to do would be to tell them to just close it up, pay them for the tires & oil changes, and do the rest of the problem determination myself. Thanks for all your input Jim.

Regards,
Pete in Gaithersburg, MD

1996, 6,000 miles
Relocated R/R, Corbin seat, Plexifairing III, Sunpro Voltmeter, Sears MF.
Xelement X840 Saddlebags
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-29-2008, 12:06 AM
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I have learned over the years that I'd rather screw something up myself than pay someone else to do it for me. At least I learn something from it and when I do get it right, it costs less too. That's why I do my own wrenching on all my vehicles, unless they're under warranty. Then I let the manufacturer pay for it all.

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
New R/R, Installed 14Jun08
New Stator installed 10 Jun08
Maintenance Free Battery 12Jan08
21480 Miles
VROC #8542
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-29-2008, 02:35 AM
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hey Pogg, I was having the same problem on my rear cyl. traced it back to a broken wire coming off of the pickup coil. you might try pulling the plastic sheath off and check the wire where it goes between the startor cover and the transmission. that is where mine broke...just spliced it back together fairly easy...also check out the thread titled "Rear Cylinder No Spark" This thread goes into great detail of how to trouble shoot al of the ignition system...taking time on every part involved starting with the coils and working back to the pickups...It realy sounds like your pickup coil has a broken wire... that would explain the tack jumping....also you might check the sparkplug wires. if the ICB is shot...there is one listed on eba right now for a whole lot less than 400 bucks

click pic to go to item on ebay
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-29-2008, 09:19 PM
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What Slim said!!!!

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
New R/R, Installed 14Jun08
New Stator installed 10 Jun08
Maintenance Free Battery 12Jan08
21480 Miles
VROC #8542
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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An old wise motorcycle mechanic told me it is very rare you see a coil go bad in a bike.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 05:38 PM
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No, but the wires leading to and from a coil can go bad.

Jim W
93 VN 750 "Ursula"
Moved R/R 08Sep06
R/R rewire 17Feb07
New R/R, Installed 14Jun08
New Stator installed 10 Jun08
Maintenance Free Battery 12Jan08
21480 Miles
VROC #8542
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