Saturday, January 24, 2009

M60 fills in on CX500

Lights: SF 6P w/Malkoff M60, HDS B42XRGT, Ra Twisty 70Tr

After some Linn'sing, Charlie and I hung around the behind the bank lot like old times. He had his cig, I had my Dragon Pearl green tea. We reminisced about bank wall tennis, car chases, old friends, the usual stuff. Got a visit from a familiar face from the past, watched some raging drunks running and screaming at each other on Bridge. Around 12.30 we decided it was time to take off, so Charlie went to fire up the motorcycle and got nothing. It's been a rainy weekend, so we figured the starter got wet or something. The headlight came on but looked a little dim, run switch was where it should be, but the starter didn't respond at all. After 10 minutes of rocking it and peering at it (with B42 and 70Tr), we finally resorted to bump starting it. First attempt only showed us how easy it is to get a 500lb bike to slide along damp pavement. Second attempt fired it right up, but suddenly it had no headlight. We let it run a little, peered at it some more, banged on the lamp, jiggled wires, jiggled ignition, nothing. He shut it off, found that it would now start up fine on its own and the headlight would flicker whenever the starter was pushed, but it died completely as soon as the engine started. We eventually had to give up on getting it to work. I switched the M60 module over to the 6P for better cooling, put in primary CRs for more reliable power, wrapped the light in electrical tape with some padding to help it sit securely, then paracorded it to the middle of his gauge cluster. It worked pretty well, plenty good enough for him to ride behind my car at 30mph through town to leave it at Tia's house. By that time it was about 1. We set off around 1.15, I got him home to Cayucos about 1.30, and he snuck into his house through the back.


Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles said...

This is a follow-up to the "M60 fills in on CX500" story. The original problem is that the headlight was at best unreliable. It took considerable fiddling with the starter button to get it to flicker and, with luck, eventually stay on. Although the headlight is supposed to dim when the starter is engaged, it seemed odd that the starter button and headlight should share such a direct and malfunctioning connection. Lately it has gotten to the point where nothing I can do will make the headlight stay on for more than about five seconds.

So today I decided to give the electrical circuitry my best shot and see if I could at least figure out what has been going on. I started by removing the headlight and some of the plastic pieces covering wire connections and disassembling the box with the starter button and run/kill switch which also houses the control for the cables going to the throttle. This housing proved difficult to remove but after taking the top off there wasn't anything visibly wrong with the switch or connections. After that I went through all the wiring harnesses, cleaning the pins and making sure everything was connecting properly. Hoping that my laying-on-of-hands methodology had somehow fixed the problem I reassembled everything and put the key in to test it: the flicker had possibly worsened and nothing was any better.

Having nearly given up, I remembered noticing a small hole on the bottom of the starter switch housing. Turns out it's there so that you can spray contact cleaner into the switch without taking anything apart. I went to the hardware store, got a can, sprayed it liberally while fiddling with the switch, and waited for it to dry. A few moments later I turned the key in the ignition. For the first time in about a year the headlight came right on before starting the bike. It dimmed briefly while depressing the starter button and then resumed full brightness as soon as it was released. The fix cost 4.99 and took about two minutes. I'm going to keep this stuff around.