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Buell Forum » XBoard » Archive through July 20, 2011 » HELP! Dead Buell just before ALASKA « Previous Next »

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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

2009 Uly with 16k miles

The preceding:
Bike was in the shop for a new base gasket yesterday. Muffler was dropped, motor was rotated. All was replaced, bike was cleaned. Bike rode home fine (10 miles).

The scenario:
Riding normal this morning. Made it 1 mile, pulled the clutch in and the motor immediately died. Instantly hit the starter resulting in cranking, but no fire. Stopped in gas station, topped off tank because I couldnít tell how much fuel was in there; still nothing. Motor cranks perfectly fine, but it doesnít cough, sputter, or fire at all. Not a single cough since it died.

The reaction:
Checked all fuses, appear OK. Listened for fuel pump, sounds normal. Walked it home (15 minutes) and tried again with the exact same results; cranking with no fire.

The first thought:
Since it wonít even sputter, either BOTH the spark plugs arenít getting power, or BOTH the fuel injectors arenít getting power. Since it was just disassembled yesterday, Iím thinking a connector didnít get pushed together enough to lock, and it took a little bit of riding to pop apart.

The second thought:
I have a Ďfatty LED voltage gaugeí voltage monitor, and lately itís been going nuts; flashing all the different colors in extremely rapid succession. It has been doing it at and around idle for about 100 miles, but when I started riding it would smooth out to the standard green light. I took it as a loose wire. I checked the wiring just yesterday, and it appeared good, but the crazy flashing persisted. I then decided that perhaps the actual LED controller was bad. This morning though, I noticed it didnít stop when I left idle; it was flashing all crazy multi-colored strobe light style while cruising up my street. This immediately preceded it shutting down.
Now with that in mind, Iím thinking voltage regulator?! But would a dead voltage regulator let the gauges sweep and illuminate? This is a 2009 so there is no 77 connector. Is there a way to bypass or test the VR?

Final notes:
Itís still under warranty, and the shop will pick it up on Tuesday, which is EXACTLY 2 weeks from the day I leave for a 12,000 mile ride to Alaska and back. Iím fighting the urge to panic at the moment. I have tomorrow off to look the bike over if you all have any suggestions, I'm fairly desperate here.
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Hughlysses
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I think you're on the right track- either a poorly assembled connector or a broken wire that's making intermittent contact. The disassembly and reassembly they had to do to rotate the engine could have pushed either one over the edge. I would go over every connector on the bike, disconnect, and reconnect and make sure it snaps in tight. Also look for obviously kinked or crushed wires.

Another thought would be a damaged/cracked ECM. There are several threads in the BB&D forum about the seats on some bikes pressing on the ECM and eventually causing it to break internally.

Good luck with it. It's probably a small problem, but this will require careful thought and hands-on troubleshooting which unfortunately a lot of shops are NOT good at.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I look at the ECM every time I have the seat off to make sure their is no rubbing. It looks untouched.
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Arctic9r
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Mike, first of all, no hasty conclusions, second of all you have me always on your side. I will do anything to make it right and get you on your trip. Hell, you had no appointment and look how fast we got it done. Please don't be offended.... but you have a ton of additional electrical CRAP on that bike, and put a damn HD battery in it before you leave on the trip. No worries, we will get to the bottom of it, fast and correct.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 11:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

No problem Neil, I have no beef with the dealership and especially not with you. You've helped me out already, and I know you'll continue to do so.

My comments about the dealership and work having just been done are because I know a loose connector is a possibility. No matter who does the work, when you disconnect and reconnect a dozen connectors, the possibility exists of a problem one.

This bike has the factory BUELL battery in it still. My other bike has the aftermarket battery.

I put the Voltage LED on there because of all my electrical CRAP. I've never run more than one major electrical component at a time. I've never run with the voltage light anything but green (with the exception of the crazy strobe-light as of lately). While I have electrical add-ons (almost all of which are miniscule, gps/ipod charger, LED running lights, additional LED brake lights), I do not over tax the electrical system of the bike.

Back to the point, Neil, all is good with you and the dealership in my mind, my reason for this thread is to see if there is a simple solution. I have a day and a half to take care of it myself before it needs to go in to see you. I figured it was worth a try to save you guys the work, and save me some time.
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Arctic9r
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 12:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I a not doubting the possibility of loose connector.

I am not trying to trash talk about your electrical crap.You just have a lot more stuff than factory on that bike.


Sometimes the scenario comes into play that the more stuff you add on, the more problems you ask for. This may or may not be the case.

I hope it is our fault and is a loose connector. It would make it easier and I would feel better that it was human error and no additional parts are needed.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 12:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

We'll get it one way or another.


Is there a simple VR test that I can perform? I can check the service manual when I get home, but often times Badweb has a better solution.
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Iamarchangel
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I wouldn't go with complex yet. I'd assume a connector did not get fully connected.

The first one disconnected and last reconnected is the fuel pump connector which is located on the rear frame, left side. However, I don't think the pump will cycle through with that disconnected.

The coil connection is a slide fit and may have vibrated out. Most likely culprit, given the info here.

I think everything else will show up on the CEL.
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H2opatrol
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 01:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I sent you a PM about a spare ECM
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 01:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Coil connection! That sounds like a grand possibility! Where might I find said connector???

It was assumed, but I meant to mention that there was no CEL.

I replied about the spare ECM. Thanks for the offer! We'll keep in touch!
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Tootal
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 01:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

If you have ECM SPY you could run the diagnostics for the fuel pump, coils, fan etc. Might find something that will start you on the right system to run down.
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Od_cleaver
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Mike,

It sounds like you have a voltage monitor from Signal Dynamics.

I had one of their voltage monitors (installed on a DRZ400) fail. With the engine off and the monitor powered by a separate battery but still mounted to the bike, the monitor performed properly. When the motor was running, the monitor would fail.

Signal Dynamics replaced the out of warranty monitor free.


If you still have the no start condition, check for spark. Pull the front spark plug wire, attach it to a spare spark plug. Lay the spark plug on the cylinder head with the threads touching metal. Look for spark as you start the engine.

Have spark? Yes, then check for fuel pressure. No, then find your electrical problem.

FI engines have a sharder (sic?) valve on the fuel rail. With a rag to control the spray and your face out of the way, depress the sharder valve. You will get a spray of fuel if you have fuel pressure.

If you have fuel pressure and spark, then you could have a spark timing problem or a mechanical problem. Since your engine was just rotated. I would unplug and replug every electrical connector that could have been touched. I would also look for pinched wires.

I hope that these ideas help.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 03:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

That is excellent news that you've seen a Signal Dynamcis LED fail. That's odd to say, but really, I don't want an electrical system problem. Just a loose connector please.

I'm dying here because I'm stuck at work. I would give just about anything to be at home messing with the bike. Chances are pretty great it's a simple issue, and I should be able to get it taken care of.... but not while I sit here at work.

I will be pulling a spark plug and checking for spark, but I may take a look at the Coil first. IIRC it's tucked up behind the frame rail on the left side? Probably only accessible by removing the air box?

I can hear the fuel pump cranking away, and from my experiences with running out of gas/pressure, there's usually much coughing and sputtering before it's completely dead, so fuel pressure seems less likely. Still I will keep it in mind if I don't find an obvious coil/electrical issue.
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Od_cleaver
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 04:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Mike,

Kill my idea on an easy fuel pressure test. I just looked at my bike for a Schrader valve on the fuel rail. I did not see it. I must have been thinking of a different bike.

I checked the manual. Buell may use some other type of fuel pressure connector. Access is from the top after the air box cover is removed.

Sorry. Good Luck
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I think I can picture it in my mind, more like an AC connector than a standard Schrader valve.

No problem, Thanks!
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 04:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Here's a question for the guru's! Is there any difference in voltage regulators from an 05 to 09??? I've read that the connector is different, but I could fab up some jumper wires to solve that issue (this would just be for testing purposes, not to ride)

(Message edited by Mikef5000 on July 16, 2011)
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Hughlysses
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 05:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I'm pretty sure there's a difference. The 06/07 bikes had a 3-phase alternator. The 05 and 08/09 have single phase alternators; their VR's may be interchangeable.

It's unlikely the VR is causing your problem though. Your battery has enough charge to crank the engine so the battery is being charged, which means the VR is functioning correctly.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Ok. Sounds good. It's the (most likely bad) Voltage LED Gauge that's making me consider it.

I'll rule it out of my testing.
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Mikef5000
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 07:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Sorry for being in a panic all! It took longer to turn on the garage stereo than it did to fix the problem!

It was a disconnected plug behind the left side scoop.

I took a picture, but no time to post it now... time to RIDE!

Thanks so much everyone!
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Gunut75
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

How bout jumping the wires on the bottom of your clutch lever? Sounds to me like when you pulled in the clutch, that switch may have failed and acts like the clutch lever is always released. Just another idea. Hope all gets better.
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Thump4fun
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 10:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Whew!!! Glad it was simple to find and resolve after all that Mike! Just now saw your post this morning (I was out riding all day yesterday). I was about to offer riding over with my spare stock ECM for you to use if that was the culprit, but sounds like you got it.

May any problem you have be as easy to find and fix for the next...oh, 12,000 miles!
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