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Discussion Starter #1
So as a brief overview, I replaced the wiring harness with a new one because the Previous Owner did a complete hack job on the previous one, but now the bike won't start. I just tried jumping from the positive battery to the positive side of the starter solenoid and the starter did whine to turn over, but my battery is low so I didn't push it very far, just enough to know if it worked or not. So, my question is, are we back to trying to disable the safety switches? I did try grounding out the 12 (IIRC) wire, but no luck there. Is my only other option trying to jump the 11 - 13 wires? I would really like to try to keep the Neutral safety switch working if at all possible. To be honest, I really couldn't care less about the sidestand or the clutch lever safety switches. I don't know if it is related or not, but I am not getting any voltage to my headlight either.
 

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If you actually don't need the safety switches, I highly recommend eliminating them. They are very prone to failure, and if one has not already failed, it will. It is easy enough to test the switches with a multimeter, but the readings can be inconsistent, as they tend to not work intermittently.

I recommend first getting a good battery, better yet, while working on it, jump it with a car battery or one of those booster packs. The Vulcan battery is marginal, and easy to run down from excessive cranking. The starter also seems to require more amperage than most motorcycle starters do. I also believe the Vulcan has a weak ignition system, and needs to be turned over at max speed to start well. A partially dead battery can fail to start it, even if it turns over.

Once you have a good, and completely charged battery connected to it, see if it will crank the engine over as it should. If it does, then you're starter and complete starter circuit are ok. The next thing to look for is a good spark. If it cranks normally, and you have a good spark, and it still won't start, the next place to look is the fuel system. Make sure there is gas in the carbs, by loosening the float bowl drain screws, and see if it comes out. If it does, troubleshooting the fuel system can get a bit complicated. First just make sure the engine turns over properly, and you have a good spark.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you actually don't need the safety switches, I highly recommend eliminating them. They are very prone to failure, and if one has not already failed, it will. It is easy enough to test the switches with a multimeter, but the readings can be inconsistent, as they tend to not work intermittently.

I recommend first getting a good battery, better yet, while working on it, jump it with a car battery or one of those booster packs. The Vulcan battery is marginal, and easy to run down from excessive cranking. The starter also seems to require more amperage than most motorcycle starters do. I also believe the Vulcan has a weak ignition system, and needs to be turned over at max speed to start well. A partially dead battery can fail to start it, even if it turns over.

Once you have a good, and completely charged battery connected to it, see if it will crank the engine over as it should. If it does, then you're starter and complete starter circuit are ok. The next thing to look for is a good spark. If it cranks normally, and you have a good spark, and it still won't start, the next place to look is the fuel system. Make sure there is gas in the carbs, by loosening the float bowl drain screws, and see if it comes out. If it does, troubleshooting the fuel system can get a bit complicated. First just make sure the engine turns over properly, and you have a good spark.
I completely spaced saying it, but, it won't even attempt to turn over, the only time it did was when I jumped the positive from the battery to the positive on the starter solenoid. I sat and looked at my post before submitting thinking I forgot something but couldn't figure it out lol. It was running before I replaced the wiring harness. I do have a pretty strong feeling that it is one of the safety switches as they were all disabled before hand. I know that because I pushed the start button once while doing a little bit of testing with the sidestand down, clutch lever out, and in gear and it jumped forward. Will the safety switches prevent it from even attempting to start?
 

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I completely spaced saying it, but, it won't even attempt to turn over, the only time it did was when I jumped the positive from the battery to the positive on the starter solenoid. I sat and looked at my post before submitting thinking I forgot something but couldn't figure it out lol. It was running before I replaced the wiring harness. I do have a pretty strong feeling that it is one of the safety switches as they were all disabled before hand. I know that because I pushed the start button once while doing a little bit of testing with the sidestand down, clutch lever out, and in gear and it jumped forward. Will the safety switches prevent it from even attempting to start?
The side stand safety switch will not prevent it from turning over if the bike is neutral. Its designed to keep you from putting the bike into gear while the stand is down
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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Check all your grounds and connections.and this may sound dumb and don't take it as that,but how are your fuses?the headlight doesn't come on until the bike cranks over if I remember correctly.do your other electrical components work?check the solenoid as well.
 

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I completely spaced saying it, but, it won't even attempt to turn over, the only time it did was when I jumped the positive from the battery to the positive on the starter solenoid. I sat and looked at my post before submitting thinking I forgot something but couldn't figure it out lol. It was running before I replaced the wiring harness. I do have a pretty strong feeling that it is one of the safety switches as they were all disabled before hand. I know that because I pushed the start button once while doing a little bit of testing with the sidestand down, clutch lever out, and in gear and it jumped forward. Will the safety switches prevent it from even attempting to start?
If it would only turn over by connecting 12V directly to the starter side of the solenoid, then you have an open circuit somewhere between the battery and solenoid. If the solenoid is getting voltage, it should click. The best way to find the problem is to backtrack. See if you get voltage to the small wire on the solenoid coil (the one that electrically activates the solenoid) when the button is pushed. If you don't, you will need to go further back. There are a lot of possibilities. A bad sidestand or clutch switch, kill switch, starter switch, or ignition switch. You may also net even getting power to the ignition switch. The problem could be in any of these switches, a bad connection in a wire, a blown fuse, or even a broken conductor inside a wire. Several times after getting totally stumped, I have actually found the wire broken inside the insulation, with no indication of a problem at all, until I checked the continuity, and didn't have any. The one electrical part of the Vulcan I am not yet familiar with is the J-box. There is someone on here that knows all about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The side stand safety switch will not prevent it from turning over if the bike is neutral. Its designed to keep you from putting the bike into gear while the stand is down
So, as long as I am interpreting you correctly, the safety switches are not at fault here? Where would I go from here if that is the case? I have tried every combination I can for the switches. In neutral with stand up, clutch in; stand up clutch out, etc. Still nothing at all, no attempt to turn at all. I have used a charger/maintainer/jumper pack to get it back up so that it should turn, but nothing. I'm lost here. From what I can tell, if I have it in neutral, it shouldn't make a difference whether the other switches work or not. What's next?
 

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You just need to make sure you have a complete circuit, from the battery to the ignition switch, through the safety switches, kill switch, starter button, to the solenoid. Somewhere in all that you have an open circuit. The voltage starts at the battery, and makes it's way around through all those things before it winds up at the solenoid. Start at the solenoid, and backtrack until you find voltage with the ignition on and the starter button pressed in.
 

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So, as long as I am interpreting you correctly, the safety switches are not at fault here? Where would I go from here if that is the case? I have tried every combination I can for the switches. In neutral with stand up, clutch in; stand up clutch out, etc. Still nothing at all, no attempt to turn at all. I have used a charger/maintainer/jumper pack to get it back up so that it should turn, but nothing. I'm lost here. From what I can tell, if I have it in neutral, it shouldn't make a difference whether the other switches work or not. What's next?
OK let's go back to basics, and run the list of easy probs first
1. Good battery, check voltage should be more then 12
2. If you turn the ignition key do all the lights come on
3 if all lights come on and the bike is in neutral what happens when you hit the starter, do the lights dim or go out, does the starter turn the engine slightly or not at all, if not at all do you hear your starter solenoid click when you push the button?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK let's go back to basics, and run the list of easy probs first
1. Good battery, check voltage should be more then 12
2. If you turn the ignition key do all the lights come on
3 if all lights come on and the bike is in neutral what happens when you hit the starter, do the lights dim or go out, does the starter turn the engine slightly or not at all, if not at all do you hear your starter solenoid click when you push the button?
Been using a jumper pack because my battery sucks, but I don't want to replace it until I need to later this year.

Yes, all the light come on, don't have my headlight installed but I have tested the voltage and I am not getting anything. But, the dash lights, turn signals, and brake light all work fine.

No clicking at all, just silence.
 

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Been using a jumper pack because my battery sucks, but I don't want to replace it until I need to later this year.

Yes, all the light come on, don't have my headlight installed but I have tested the voltage and I am not getting anything. But, the dash lights, turn signals, and brake light all work fine.

No clicking at all, just silence.
Ok if you getting zero voltage to your starter then Jerry is right you have a broken/missing electrical connection. Trace the connection from the battery to the starter and find the break. Should be pretty easy to find the break as the starter should be the first thing in the chain.
If you have voltage to the starter and you hear no clicking or anything your starter and or solenoid is fried .
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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Have you tried crossing the two solenoid terminals with a screwdriver(jumping the solenoid) ?it's a quick test.if bike turns over when the terminals are crossed then ya got power to the solenoid.or,keep your negative terminal attached on your jump pack and touch the positive terminal of the jump pack to the wire that goes from the solenoid to the starter
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have you tried crossing the two solenoid terminals with a screwdriver(jumping the solenoid) ?it's a quick test.if bike turns over when the terminals are crossed then ya got power to the solenoid.or,keep your negative terminal attached on your jump pack and touch the positive terminal of the jump pack to the wire that goes from the solenoid to the starter
I did use a wire to jump it over from the positive on the battery to the positive on the solenoid and the starter motor did whine, but I was low on the battery so it just made a little sound (typical dying battery sound).
 

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OK so if your starter turns jumping out the batt cable, sounds to me you have you have a break in the connection from battery to starter.
 

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Clean your ignition switch. Take the puck apart under the key. Careful of springs and solder points. Sand the contacts lightly to brighten them up, stretch the springs ever so slightly (watch out for the ball bearing it can get away from you), put some electrical grease in there and put it back together. zip tie it tight if need be.
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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I don't know if it will prevent the starter from cranking, but check your RUN/KILL switch.
That's an idea.doesn't crank with switch off.didn't think of that Anthony
 

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could also be the relay inside the jb that happened to another guy here i can fix your jb if thats the problem
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The ignition switch was running good when kanuck sent it to me, but it wouldn't hurt to clean it.

The kill/run switch is definitely in the run position, first thing I checked, but I'll make sure there aren't any loose wires.

Kinda feeling dumb right now but I have no idea what the jb is...junction box maybe?

The frustrating part is that everything ran before I changed the wiring harness. He just totally f***** the front end of it in the headlight bucket. It's gotta be something stupid I'm missing. I've wondered the last couple days if I need to go back over my grounds, but all the other lights turn on it just won't even attempt to start....
 

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I'd go back through all the grounds and connectors.
 
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