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Author Topic: electrical trouble  (Read 2868 times)

cowboysculptor

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electrical trouble
« on: February 17, 2008, 12:27:45 PM »
I'm only 140 miles into Royal Enfield ownership, so I could use a little help:

I bought my 2007 Enfield new, it only has 140 miles on it, and recently it wouldn't start for me. The starter motor does its job, but no ignition.

Yesterday I did a check, and the spark plug wasn't sparking. Tried cleaning it, no help. It was a little blackened on the tip, and I figured that's because it's running a little cold, what with sub-sub-freezing temps here in Chicago. I tried a new spark plug (went with a slightly hotter plug while I was at it) and got spark. I put it in and she fired right up!

I took her out for a little joy ride, (since it was 40 for once!) and about 3 miles in she sputtered out. I checked the plug, and it wasn't sparking again. I tried another new plug, but still no spark. Can anyone think of a reason why a new plug would have worked the first time, but then failed so fast, and another new plug isn't helping?

Of course it's still under warranty, but I didn't get a Royal Enfield to have someone else work on it. Any ideas out there? Thanks!

Peter
2007 Royal Enfield Bullet Deluxe
1978 cb750f

birdmove

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 01:13:00 PM »
    I fouled out one spark plug on my 2007 Classic now at about 268 miles. I believe I parked the bike for a few days and didn't make sure the piston was at top dead center.That can allow the oil to "dry sump".Then when you start it up it can smoke a lot and foul the spark plug.I replace the plug and it fired right up and has run fine since.When you park the bike and won't be riding it for a few days or more, you shut it off.Then turn the key on,engage the compression release and ease it over with the kick starter.Watch the ampmeter.The needle will go off to the left.Ease it over a little bit more until the needle comes back to the right and thats top dead center.If oil is fouling your plugs, this should keep the oil from dry sumping and doing it again.
    You might check your connections at the coil too.Its possible your bike may be running to rich which might also take out your spark plug.My bike had the air screw bottomed out when I got it.It would start up and then you could open the choke almost right away and it would run fine.But after it was warmed up the rpms wouldn't come down like they should when shifting.Someone gave me a tip to check the air screw, and sure enough, it was bottomed out (meaning maximum rich mixture).It should be out a few turns.After I adjusted that screw no more throttle/rpm hangup.Of course I have to use the choke a bit more now to warm it up and get it to run well without the choke, but the rpm hangup problem was irritating, and not condusive to good shifting either.
    I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will answer you shortly.You can do a search on "dry sumping" here if you like.
    Good luck and don't despair,
    jon
Jon in Keaau, Hawaii

Foggy_Auggie

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 01:17:36 PM »
Hi Peter,

I'm assuming yours is the classic Bullet with points ignition.  From your description, I'd remove the battery to give access behind it.  The insulated lead going from your distributor (points) to the coil has a connector behind the battery.  This connector has given people trouble by vibrating loose.

Gently squeeze the connector with pliers to make sure it's secure, then use heat shrink wrap or electrical tape to cover it.  Check all coil connections and point/condensor connections in the distributor.  Also there is a ground point to the frame in this area - tighten that as well and put some di-electric grease on it.

When turning the engine over by hand or starter the ammeter gauge will kick with the points opening.  This can also be used for ignition timing using a top dead center tool.  If the ammeter is not kicking there is an open in the above circuit.

Chances are this will fix your problem.  If not - the ignition coil could be at fault.

When your bike fires up, put the original heat range spark plug back in.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2008, 01:21:33 PM by Foggy_Auggie »
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LotusSevenMan

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baird4444

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2008, 06:51:54 PM »
Peter-  when I first got my 2003 I would leave the choke on too long.
Lever up = choke off
Lever down = choke on
Now this isn't really a choke but the results are the same. The choke should only be needed for starting and then maybe 30 seconds till it can Idle on it's own.  Feel free to use the knurled knob on the left side of the carby to set a higher idle speed. It's made to be adjusted as needed.
      I was leaving it on thru the warm up and then a couple of miles down the road...
fouled plug!!  Go back to a fresh plug like your original and give this a try. If it is a plug fouling issue I'll bet you are leaving the choke on too long.
- Mike
"You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!! "
        -Cody Baird
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 but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly'
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mike704

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2008, 07:29:57 AM »
That happened to me a few times and it ended up being the fuse under the seat. it is a pain to get to, but for me it is the one that burns out the most.
mike
2007 Military (My only vehicle)

jonapplegate

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2008, 08:20:07 AM »
 I had issues with fouling plugs when I first started breaking in my bike. Birdmove is right, gotta park the bike at top dead center or oil will slowly seep into the cylinder. Also, this is just something that you may have to work through at first. The initial break-in speeds are so slow that you almost can't help fouling plugs since you are just shy of lugging the bike everywhere you go. There may be a quick cure though. When I was having this same problem I thought for sure the bike was set up wrong. My dealer(VINCE!) assured me it was fine. Once I happened to pass one of those speed check deals and discovered my speedo was "optimistic" by a full 5mph. I really was lugging the engine. Adjusted my speed and the problem vanished, no more fouled plugs. Of, course after you make it past the first break-in phase and your first service this probably will not be a problem anyhow. Check your speedo against something. 

cowboysculptor

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2008, 11:31:17 AM »
Thanks everybody, all of this is useful. I didn't know about cylinder position, I'll watch that.

Here's the weird thing: I did put in a new, unused, spanking clean plug when she puttered out, and still no spark. Then she sat overnight and fired right up. I'm riding again, which is great, but I wish I had been able to figure out the problem.

By the way, I'm thinking of bolting on a solo seat, just to make things more accessible under there. I had a '75 Yamaha xs500 with a flip-up seat, and I could reach everything, no sweat. I want to get in and crimp that connection but I can't quite reach it. Anybody have tricks for getting at the goods? Maybe I'll try to hinge the seat . . .

Peter
2007 Royal Enfield Bullet Deluxe
1978 cb750f

birdmove

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2008, 01:28:26 PM »

    jonapplegate is right about the speedo.Mine reads 30 when I'm really doing 26 mph.So I figure if my speed reads 40 I'm probably doing about 36, which is the maximum speed suggeted for the first 300 miles.

   Jon in Puyallup
Jon in Keaau, Hawaii

DireWolf

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2008, 02:50:29 PM »
I had a second fuse under the seat of my military that wasn't on the schematics or mentioned in the @#$& manual.

mike704

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2008, 07:10:22 AM »
I only found the fuse under the seat after checking every other connection on my military. it took 2 hours and I was quite unhappy
2007 Military (My only vehicle)

DireWolf

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 08:20:43 AM »
I only found the fuse under the seat after checking every other connection on my military. it took 2 hours and I was quite unhappy

Yeah.  Me too.  Had to get "rescued" by my Father-in-law (Harley guy...ugh) and hear all about my great "servicable" bike while he trailered me home.  Found that fuse a day or two later........@#$%

.75 part THAT I DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED left me stuck in a parking lot.
  >:(

LotusSevenMan

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2008, 08:25:31 AM »
So where does that fuse exactly hide then? I have only found the one fuse on my 2003ES and that was in a large snap topfuseholder in the left tool box!  :o
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

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DireWolf

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2008, 08:56:29 AM »
It's way up under the seat.  Supposedly on the military, only, but I don't know that for sure.

LotusSevenMan

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2008, 09:09:50 AM »
Mines a European spec (as I'm in the UK!) Army 500ES. I have a single seat conversion on mine so should be able to see it easily, but haven't seen a fuse there so far (just that dreadful points wire joiner/bullet connector that falls apart behind the battery/toolbox).
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

Royal Enfield Miltary 500cc  (2003)
Honda VTR FireStorm (SuperHawk) 996cc 'V' twin
Kawasaki KR1 250cc twin 'stroker
Ducati 916 'L' twin

jonapplegate

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2008, 11:00:08 AM »
I know this isn't really helping at all but somewhere in last years catalog it says something about thoroughly checking ALL the ground (earth?) connections as these are notoriously weak connections. I haven,t had any issues on mine yet but I have seen it be the solution to many mysterious starting and drained battery issues on older cars. the ground connection gets corroded, loose, grimy, whatever, and suddenly out come the gremlins.  Too much money later someone finds that a simple check and cleaning up of that connection(s) was all it would have taken.   

LotusSevenMan

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2008, 12:13:50 PM »
I agree Jon as I had an 'interesting' fault of either no tail light or no headlight (and got pulled by the police because of it!) where it was just the earth point of the rear light attachment bolt/earth ring terminal where it fits onto the mudguard creating the grief.
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

Royal Enfield Miltary 500cc  (2003)
Honda VTR FireStorm (SuperHawk) 996cc 'V' twin
Kawasaki KR1 250cc twin 'stroker
Ducati 916 'L' twin

geoffbaker

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 09:28:15 AM »
I had a phantom electrical problem on a car once that turned out to be a cracked wire rubbing on a metal edge under the dash... it would simply ground out at times, causing a surprising range of electrical issues including radio failure, doorlock failure, starter motor failure... it took two years to find, as every time I would take it to a dealer or an electrical shop, they would find nothing wrong.

The good thing in your case, with RE electrics is they are so simple in comparison.
Check your wiring wherever it might rub... up in the headlamp casque on the front fork seems a likely candidate; but also where the wires enter the rear mudguard, or go into the toolbox, or exiting the primary from the alternator.

 

cowboysculptor

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2008, 12:43:27 PM »
Found it!

Sure enough, the connection of that little black wire behind the battery was the culprit. Thanks to everyone who mentioned this.

That little sucker was hidden really well back there! I couldn't find it when I had troubles before, but after a while the trouble would go away so I forgot about it. I was left stranded last night (in the middle of Chicago, hardly "stranded", really) so today I started feeling around back in there. Between grasping around with my pinky finger and looking at the reflection of wires on the chrome air box, I found it and pushed the connection together. She started right up, like she's been waiting for me to get my act together.

Thanks again everyone.

Peter
2007 Royal Enfield Bullet Deluxe
1978 cb750f

LotusSevenMan

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2008, 05:36:35 PM »
Glad you found it!
Replace that bl%dy connector with an in-line crimp and it'll be fine from here on in and one thing less to worry about!!!  ;D
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

Royal Enfield Miltary 500cc  (2003)
Honda VTR FireStorm (SuperHawk) 996cc 'V' twin
Kawasaki KR1 250cc twin 'stroker
Ducati 916 'L' twin

geoffbaker

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2008, 12:21:07 PM »
I did some wiring work in the past few days (wiring in a cylinder temp gauge) and I was surprised to find that my splices were not conducting properly. A direct connection (wire to wire) was fine, but the butt splice thingies were just not conducting properly. Either they didn't cut through the wire properly (most likely) or the metal was of such poor quality as to not conduct as well as it should... either way, I ended up getting out the magic soldering gun and fixing it that way. Nothing works quite as well or lasts quite as long as a real soldered connection!

Ofcalipka

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Re: electrical trouble
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2008, 11:41:19 PM »
There are several of those connections just below the coil between the battery and the air filter.  On my Military 500 I ended up replacing them all with a higher quality connectors that I picked up from the local Auto Parts store.  I got tired of having to keep plugging the factory ones back together.  No matter what I did they seemed to come loose.  Anyways once they were replaced I've gone over 2000 miles with no more problems.
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