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XJ700 Suddenly won't start... at all! Electrical Problem.

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by elliott, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. elliott

    elliott Member

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    I love my 1985 XJ700 Maxim. I've ridden it almost every single day since I purchased it in early July 2014. I've had no serious issues until tonight. I attempted to start the bike after a brief stop home. I turned the key, and the neutral light came on. I flipped the kill-switch to the "on" position. But when I pressed the ignition button, I heard a small *click* and the neutral light turned off. No more electrics.

    My kick stand was up, and I double checked to make sure that I was indeed in neutral. I checked my battery voltage with a multimeter and it read 12.6. I suspected that the main fuse had blown or something so I checked that, but it seems to be fine (it read basically no resistance, as if I had just touched the multimeter leads together). I've also tried the good old "wait and see" technique, and the problem hasn't magically vanished when I've tried turning the key again!

    This is my first post, I appreciate any replies/suggestions. Hope I can get her back on the road right quick.
     
  2. Rooster53

    Rooster53 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Does that mean all electrics? No tail/brake light, no horn, and no neutral light?

    If so, use the meter to check voltages. Connect negative lead to battery negative. Connect positive lead to both sides of the main fuse with the fuse in, should have 12V on both sides.

    Turn the ignition switch to on. Check voltages at the other fuses (ignition, flasher, and fan) with the positive lead on both sides of the fuses - negative lead still on battery negative.

    The output of the ignition switch sends power to these fuses. With the ignition switch on you should have close to 12V on both sides of all the fuses.
     
  3. hogfiddles

    hogfiddles XJ-Wizard, Host-Central NY Carb Clinic Moderator Premium Member

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    flip your kill switch back and forth a number of times.....often these will get oxidation built up inside them and make the contacts dirty......then it acts as if the kill switch is turned off.

    Next step would be to start looking at relays
     
  4. rocs82650

    rocs82650 Well-Known Member

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    Check for power across the main fuse then with bike in nuetral jumper solenoid with old screw driver (watch out for sparks). If it starts turn it off and open the right control switch and see if the wiring is making good contact including loose screws. Hope this helps.

    Gary H.
     
  5. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Yeah, nothing at all. No headlight, no horn, no tail/brake light, no neutral light. I opened up the main fuse housing and actually checked the glass fuse. It passed a test for continuity. I double-checked my battery and it showed 12.87 volts.

    I think I sort of did what you said, I uploaded two photos to be sure:
    XJ700 Main Fuse-2-2.jpg
    I got a reading of 12.87 volts when connecting the negative lead to the negative terminal on the battery, and the positive lead to the main fuse while it was inserted into the main fuse housing.
    XJ700 Main Fuse-3.jpg
    I got nothing when I connected the positive lead to the positive terminal of the battery, and the negative terminal to the inside of the main fuse housing (where the bottom of the actual glass fuse connects when the housing is closed). When I turned the key to the "on" position, however, I got a reading of 12.87 volts.
     
  6. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Tried flipping the kill switch, but I think the issue is occurring before the kill-switch, if that makes any sense. When I turn the key to the "on" position, nothing turns on (headlight, neutral light, horn, tail light, etc.). Looking through the service manual now so I can figure out where the starter relay is.
     
  7. Rooster53

    Rooster53 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well they didn't make it very easy, as from the photo I see you cannot probe the input and output of the fuse.

    The second reading implies the ignition switch and wiring is in place and return is being referenced to ground through a low impedance path such as bulbs. That means at least one of the fuses is OK on the output side of the ignition switch and implies no 12V is making it to ignition switch.

    From what I can see in the pics, I would suggest closing the main fuse housing and verify the fuse holder is really making a contact on both sides of the fuse. Follow the wire out of the main fuse holder to a connector and probe in the back of that connector with the positive lead - connect the negative lead on battery negative. You should read battery voltage of 12V.

    If there is no voltage present the fuse holder must not be making a contact (or bad fuse) on both sides of the fuse and is defective and will need repaired or replaced.

    Some massaging on the main fuse holder might also reveal and intermittent connection if there is no voltage at the back of the connector.

    If there is voltage inspect the connector for corrosion. Since the 700x version powers on the headlight with the ignition switch a poor connection at the connector or ignition switch could cause a similar issue

    From the photo it looks like the connector just above the main fuse holder would be the right one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  8. Rooster53

    Rooster53 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Also, looking just above the meter on the positive terminal there is a wire that runs to a single connector - from the photo it looks like a possible poor connection. It also looks like the wire that would connect to the main fuse. Terminal even looks a bit loose - battery tender wires are the extra wires?
     
  9. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Just sprayed some contact cleaner on connection between the main fuse and the battery. The neutral light and all other lights came back on. But when I went to start the bike, I heard a little *zap* sound coming from the main fuse area, and the neutral light went back out.
     
  10. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Yeah, I have the battery tender quick connect wires in there.
     
  11. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Just went through and used contact cleaner on all connections from the battery to the main fuse, including the battery terminals themselves, testing each time to see if the neutral light would come on. After I cleaned the battery terminals and retightened the leads from the bike, I switched to "on" and the lights came up. I pressed the ignition expecting it to fail but the bike fired right up. Gonna keep an eye on it for sure.
     
  12. Rooster53

    Rooster53 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Good to hear it's back up. Just in case:
    upload_2014-9-29_23-10-36.png
    upload_2014-9-29_23-14-51.png
     

    Attached Files:

  13. HeavyMetal

    HeavyMetal New Member

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    did you figure the problem out? My xj650 is doing the same thing. Turn key on, press starter, "click", neutral light cuts off, jiggle battery, light comes back on, repeat...Now the i have absolutely no power. Checked all fuses and battery connection looks good. I don't have a voltmeter.
     
  14. elliott

    elliott Member

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    Thanks for the advice Rooster, and for looking out. You're right, it makes sense to test the actual posts. The whole time I was testing the battery I was actually just testing the terminals, which could have been not making a good connection to the battery due to dirtiness or oxidation. I'll post the results of my battery test soon.

    I spent a couple hours the other day basically studying the electrical schematic in my XJ700 service manual and tried to ensure that all my connections were clean and oxidization free. The connection between the battery positive terminal to the starter relay was heavily oxidized. Not anymore. I also cleaned the connection between the starter relay and the starter motor, and basically any bullet connector I could see.

    If there's anything I've learned from this ordeal, it's that you need to start from the bottom-up. Pick up some contact cleaner, some scotch brite pads, and maybe some disposable nitrile gloves. You can probably find some contact cleaner locally for less than 10 bucks a can, a 3-pack of scotch brite pads for like 2 or 3 bucks. Get the gloves from an automotive store or something, you can usually find them for like 5 bucks for a like 5 pairs or so.

    Contact Cleaner: http://www.amazon.com/Hosa-Cable-Deoxit-Contact-Cleaner/dp/B00006LVEU

    Scotch Brite Pad: http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Brite-General-Purpose-Scouring-Length/dp/B00978XCOW/ref=sr_1_2?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1412544929&sr=1-2&keywords=scotch brite

    Disposable Nitrile Gloves: http://www.amazon.com/SAS-Safety-66518-Powder-Free-Disposable/dp/B002XXO60M/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1412545080&sr=8-5&keywords=nitrile gloves

    Take a couple hours and just carefully clean any electrical connections you can easily reach, starting at the battery terminals. Unplug them and clean everything: the lead from the bike, the screw that holds it to the battery post, and the battery post itself. Follow the red (positive) wire from your battery to your main fuse, and to the starter relay (at least that's how it worked on my bike, I imagine your bike is similar?). Disconnect and clean all those connections as well. See if you can get each part shiny. I recommend that you take your time, and only clean one connection at a time, then plug it back in, that way it doesn't get confusing.

    If you don't already have a copy of your bike's service manual, you can probably download one for free somewhere. It took me a bit of searching on the internet for mine, but it is well worth it. It has your bike's electrical schematic, which is basically a map of all your electrical components. Also, the multimeter you see me using in the photos above costs $5.99 at Harbor Freight. It's a very handy tool, and will be critical to troubleshooting if your issue proves to be deeper than just cleaning connections.
     

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