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'97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insanity

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'97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insanity

PostAuthor: RMiddy » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:58 pm

Problem has been plaguing me for more than a year, but I have more information than ever, and it is reproducible.

-Originally, bike would "die" momentarily during every turning signal "on" blink. Tachometer would tank to 0, lights would shut off, and engine would die as if I were feathering the engine kill switch -- for the half second that either turn signal was "on", then during the "off" part of the blink, everything leaps back to normal, resulting in backfiring and lurching as the bike's power returned.
TEMPORARY SOLUTION: Pull clutch in and everything returns to normal -- cancel signal and I'm golden.

-Later, while dismounting the bike in the dark, my hands brushed the cluster of cables near clutch lever. Headlight momentarily brightened considerably against the wall. I could repeat it by grabbing the cables in my fist, but when I let go, everything dimmed. Clearly I was dealing with a grounding issue, but as I played with cables individually, I eventually found out that it was my CLUTCH CABLE that would return things to normal. I found that by loosening the tightening washer(name?) closest to the clutch lever itself, I could REDUCE the incidence of the signal/bike dying, but not prevent it completely. Clearly the clutch CABLE was stealing current from somewhere.

-Find that while riding, the intermittent power loss can now be reproduced when the CLUTCH LEVER is in a very exact spot in the middle of its vertical play. Less than 1mm, but reliably, if the lever returns to that spot at rest, the lurching/dying problems would occur when using turn signals.
TEMPORARY SOLUTION: Ride with my left index finger permanently depressing the clutch lever downward in its play (not pulling it along its action axis, more like pointing downward at it so that it never rises from its lowest position of free play on the opposite axis).

-While parking the bike now and then, I realize that the same "sweet spot" of the clutch lever is causing the bike to prematurely shut off when I lower my kickstand -- much like the kickstand dummy switch is supposed to, but this is when the bike is in NEUTRAL, and only when I am not actively manipulating the lever as described above while I park. So I start by playing with the kickstand depression button(name?) that makes the bike think the kickstand is up. Despite fooling the bike into thinking the bike is upright with the kickstand up, I can SHUT OFF THE BIKE by delicately moving the clutch lever to the "sweet spot" while it is running. It shuts off as effectively as if I had turned the key to OFF or flipped the kill switch. No special sounds, stutters, or anything, just shuts off.

-Next, I pull the seat and side panel off and follow the CABLES that go from my kickstand up into oblivion. It is a plastic connector piece, and out of curiosity, I simply unplug the cable. While this plug is detached, the bike has power, and when I attempt to start the bike, it will TURN OVER, but never start. Lights work, starter is clearly trying to work, but it will just never catch a spark. Plug the connector back together, I can start the bike fine again.

WHAT. THE. F*#%.

I am so tired of riding with my finger pressing down on my clutch just so I don't backfire while changing lanes. I am tired of worrying that every turn I slow down for will have to be coasted through in 2nd gear just so I don't have to let the clutch back out and start lurching like a teen learning to drive stick.

Local bike shop charged me $400 to diagnose it as a burnt out diode block which they replaced, and the problem began immediately after leaving the parking lot. They will not look at it again for free because technically the diode block was burned out and they replaced it.

I can't let this bike defeat me; everything else is so perfect on it. What do I do next?

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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: Jake » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:00 pm

It’s your clutch switch, a safety device like the side stand switch.
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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: RMiddy » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:53 pm

I think I'll need more help than that.

Today, I opened the headlight assembly and went at the rat's nest of wires there. Uncoupled every joint and bent prongs slightly wider with tweezers for better friction/contact. Then rubbed WD-40 along the exterior of whatever I could to discourage conduction. It may be my imagination, but it started much easier than it has been lately; no chance to actually ride today.

Also traced wires coming up from the bottom of the bike, making sure the ground on the bottom of the crank case was seated well and that any other bundles of cables/wires that bottlenecked were readjusted and rubbed lightly with WD-40.

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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:06 am

RMiddy wrote:I think I'll need more help than that.


Jake: I'd insist on "First Class". :bg:
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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: Cusstout 1100 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:32 am

Just a shot in the dark here, but it almost sounds like when you press down on the clutch lever you're providing a ground for the electrical system through the handle bars. There's a small (14 or 16 ga.) black ground wire that grounds everything in the headlight bucket and speedometer/tachometer/related lights etc. that grounds to the frame under the left front of the fuel tank and above the left side pod. It's fastened there by a small sheet-metal screw and if it's not grounding it will cause no end of grief. So I'd check that. Also, as suggested above, check the clutch safety switch.
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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:07 pm

FYI - There's a kickstand switch too.
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Re: '97 XV1100 Help With Lightning Gremlins in a Bottle Insa

PostAuthor: Jake » Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:41 pm

RMiddy wrote:I think I'll need more help than that.


The clutch switch is circled in the photo.


D7BF6164-38BF-43F7-804B-2F2989177EC4.jpeg
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_______________________________________________________________________
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

~Mark Twain


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XVS650 manual petcock, Hard Krome Double D exhaust.
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