Ignition wires melted? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 09-22-2007, 05:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ignition wires melted?

Im still tracking down why my bike wont start--I found that the three wires running directly from my ignition switch are partially melted. I took a picture--it may not be great, but I hope it gets the point across. My question is twofold: Would these wires prevent continuity and keep the bike from starting and how do I mend wires like this without replacing them?


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Old 09-22-2007, 11:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are the damaged areas of the wires next to or part of a connector? This is a common failure as the connectors tend to 1. shake lose and provide high resistance before they separate. 2. They attract corrosion or 3. they build up resistance which causes the wires to overheat, building up more resistance eventually melting the wires. If the burned area of the wires is not near a connector then it would be advisable to search for a reason why they failed at that point. The reason might be a pinched wire or wires that shorted to ground, Look for a sharp part of the frame near the failure point that could cause the problem. Also look for wire insulation that failed, mice tend to like eating the insulation. Follow the wires out from the point of failure and see if there is anything odd like scraped off insulation or melted insulation along the way. Wiggle the wires between your fingers as you do this, it should be flexible, if it feels stiff chances are the copper wire inside the insulation took to much current (a big short) and carbonized. If there is considerable damage along the wire its best to replace the whole wire run. If it can be determined that the wire is only bad in a short area, like a half inch then you might be able to pull some slack and patch the wires together. Use solder and a solder iron to mend the wires, and buy some heat shrinkable tubing to slip over the patch job. BTW battery acid around this area can eat away at the wire insulation as well
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Pull your Ing. switch so you can see what's really going on, check that blue splice that's there, I'm not in love with those things at all, they will corrode big time because of dissimilar metals, cutting edges are tin plated and go into copper, add juice and that's all it takes, it don't happen quick but it does happen, you should be able to see where it's getting hot so really check things out, hopefully you can cure it without replacing the ing. switch, spendy and you gotta carry 2 keys
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When you say won't start, what exactly are you telling us? If you hit the starter button does the engine turn over? Does the engine turn over but the ignition isn't getting fire? I'm just trying to get a handle on exactly what is the best way to help if we can.

I do agree the little blue connector is a problem waiting to happen if it isn't already a problem, I'd see what this wire does and if possible get rid of it. Were the wires in question melted together so much the copper for each wire was actually touching one another?

I can't see from your pctures if someone replaced an ignition switch, and if they had done so, did they just twist these copper wires together? A poor connection definately builds heat, and with this size wire heat builds quickly. Are these connections soldered near the ignition switch? If not that's the very first thing I would do after making sure the insulation isn't missing somewhere down the line.

After looking at the main wiring and you're happy things are tight and the connections are done the right way I'd check a few other things before trying to start the engine.
1) Because the engine has tried to start there may have been a lot of fuel dumped into the engine fouling out the plugs, check these out to be sure they look ok, if not replace them.
2) Connect a plug wire to a plug, ground the plug to the engine block, crank the engine over. Do you see spark at the plug? If so is the spark a nice blue color? or is the spark a yellow looking color? Yellow indicates a weak spark possibly caused by a weak battery, or a bad connection. If there is no spark, you have another problem, this will need to be found before continuing. Let us know if you have no spark.

A bad starter will burn wires up in a heartbeat, if the bushings in the armature (the rotating element inside of the starter) allow the armature to drag the field pieces, this causes a lot of amp draw causing heat.

When trying to start an engine such as the one you have, if the starter seems ok when you hit the start button and spins freely. Do yourself a favor and don't keep running the starter continously, use it in short bursts of 3 to 5 seconds each time.

Just a few ideas, and suggestions. There are a lot more steps involved but you may not need each and every one to acchieve starting the engine. Let us know what happens and we may be able to help farther.
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you have a light bar or any other accessory hooked into that circuit. That is usually what happens, even the dealership mechanics hook the light bar to that circuit and it is bound to leave you stranded. It took mine 8k before it died and that was without anything else on the circuit.

If you do have accessories, I would suggest a gonzo harness from Gonzo garage or bikerbuddy. same cost, gonzos can probably get you it quicker but the switches are expensive to replace so either way, it is a great investment.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To answer a few questions: the bike wont start meaning I push the starter button but nothing happens. It WAS turning over fine last week, but I put new gas in it (after it had been sitting) and it turned over a while and just stopped. Im not sure exactly what happened, and the only wiring problem Ive found is right near the ignition. I thought perhaps the melted wires would keep the starter from getting good continuity to turn over (just a layman's guess) so I figured I'd ask the experts. I dont have any accessories on it, just stock headlight and such.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just realized I missed some more questions: the wires seem to have been patched by the PO because they had electrical tape around them that had slipped off over time. I dont have my manual yet so I dont have a wiring diagram (unless someone wants to point me in the right direction) so I dont know which wire goes to what. The burned wires were near a connector; its the original ignition switch; the battery is brand new. Hope this helps
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Old 09-23-2007, 08:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The patch on the wires is likely the problem. A good many bikes I've had to work on has had wires twisted together then taped. The result of this quick fix is that the tape slips off or cracks over time, then the wires contact the frame (short to ground) and melt, or the wires build up oxidation and the continuity starts to fail. When this happens the wires heat up and melt and the connection builds up more and more resistance until the twisted wire patch fails. I sugest you fix the wires using solder and heat shrink tubing, as I stated in my first post.
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