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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Smart thing to do is pull the seat and disconnect the negative
battery cable from the battery, so you don't accidently short
anything out. Then you have to remove the windshield if you've got
one, then the headlight, then the headlight bucket, to get to the
switch. Remove the neck cover on the left side (left as you sit on
the bike) in front of the tank, and pull the ignition switch harness
plugs apart. One plug is multi-connector, sort of orangish-red; the
other's a bullet connector. (You don't have to pull the tank to get
to it, altho it's a tight reach getting them back together with it
on.) There's a tab on the multi-plug that you have to depress to
seperate it.

Next step is to remove the two tiny Phillips-head screws that hold
the switch to the ignition lock assembly. It's sort of a tight fit,
because the two internal Allen-head bolts that hold the lock cylinder
to the triple tree are slightly in the way, but it can be done,
especially if you've got a long shank #0-size Phillips screwdriver
like we use for reaching into cowlings on model airplanes. A #1, and
even #2, Phillips will work, tho. Gently reach in and rock/twist the
switch loose and slide it off the cylinder, pulling slightly towards
the right front of the bike, directly opposite the flat side of the

With the switch off the cylinder, check the wires for nicks in the
insulation, then---now comes the twitchy part---_very_ carefully
depress the 4 tabs that hold the bottom cover on the upper cover of
the switch, _just_ enough that they pop out of their slots one at a
time as you work your way around the perimeter of the switch prying
the cover up, then pop the cover the rest of the way off. Those
little tabs are fragile, and easy to break off; that's the reason
the bottom cover on my '95 went MIA sometime in the last couple
weeks. Then gently pull the switch out of the upper cover, which has
the spring loaded contacts in it. The upper cover is what slides
onto the lock cylinder.

With the covers off, you can see the wire connections on the bottom
of the switch. The most likely culprit is the white wire that has a
section of insulation out of the middle of it where it connects to
one contact before it terminates at another. That joint may have
turned "cold", like it did on Jason's, and popped loose; when you
pulled on the harness, it would force it to make contact. When you
pushed, it would break contact. To resolder it right, you need to
desolder the orange wire below it, then use a solder sucker or solder
braid to remove as much of the old solder from the wire and the
contact as you can. Clean the contact itself up best as possible,
and get it as shiny as you can, then re-solder the wire to it while
holding it down with a jeweler's screwdriver or one of the prods that
usually comes with a soldering iron set. It helps a bunch to have a
second pair of hands here, altho it's not too difficult if you're at
a table or work bench. Clean up and resolder any other joints that
look iffy, particularly the one at the end of the white wire, and
then resolder the orange wire on it's contact, and you're done with
the major part of the job.

Take the spring contacts, one at a time, and spray them with contact
cleaner (CRC #05102 QD Electronic Cleaner, available at most auto
parts stores, or--at twice the price and less than half the content--
tuner cleaner from Radio Shack), and wipe clean with a shop towel,
paper towel, whatever's handy. Gently stretch each contact spring
just a tad before you replace the contact. Done with that, take the
switch and clean the fixed contacts the same way; these contacts are
what the wires on the other side are soldered to.

Carefully reassemble the switch, slide it back on the lock cylinder,
and put the screws back in. Clean the harness plugs with contact
cleaner, and plug them back in, then put the neck cover back on,
making sure the harness is pulled as far forward out of the cover as
it will go without jerking it back out of the wiring harness. Put
the headlight bucket back on, cleaning each connector with contact
cleaner as you reassemble them in the bucket. Don't do like Jason
and I did, and forget to tighten up the two bucket mounting bolts!
BTW, pack the backside of each connector with dielectric grease,
available at the parts house or Rat Shack; keeps moisture and
corrosion out. You can put a thin coat on the mating parts of the
connectors, too; friction of pushing them together will clean the
majority of the grease off the contacts themselves, and pack the
grease into the inner side of the plugs, keeping everything nice and
moisture free inside. Reconnect the headlight assembly, stick it
back in the bucket and put the screws back in, reattach the negative
cable to the battery, and you're ready for the test run. Turn the
key, hit the start button and fire the ol' girl up. Turn the
handlebars lock-to-lock and make sure everything's working properly,
shut it down, put the seat and windshield back on, crank 'er back up,
and enjoy the test ride.

Hope that helps. Don't be intimidated by all this; it's easier than
it sounds, and a quicker than it takes to write it.

Have fun!

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