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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few months ago I bought this bike brand new and have ridden it weekly since. First 100 miles very gently per break-in suggestions, after that just being moderate. Absolutely no issues at all until last ride. About 45 degrees, started up fine, warmed up long enough to get my helmet on, took off on my route toward the Blue Ridge Parkway (great place, by the way!). Luckily I was still in town when the first sputter happened. Imagine turning off the key. Dash went dark, engine stopped. I'm moving about 35 in 4th or 5th gear, and in two seconds it comes back on. About a minute later it happens again, but I'm slowing for a light, so I pull off the road. It sits for a minute and the dash comes back alive. I start it up, sounds good, sit at idle for a minute - still sounds good, so I take off again. A minute down the road it happens again. This time it never comes back. Had to load it up and haul it home in the truck.
I checked the battery connections and they were a little loose, so I tightened them up good. But note there was no indication of a low battery. When it started it spun the starter strong. It was literally a switch-off effect.

I turn it on and the ABS light comes on, dimly, and a humming solenoid sound can be heard near the back right side. But the dash stays dark, lights stay off (not even dim), horn won't work, and starter doesn't even click.
This bike has 120 miles on it.
I'm trying to arrange service at the local dealer, but it's a slow process, and I'm wondering if this rings a bell with anyone. I'm not a bike mechanic per se, but I've worked on cars my whole life (I'm 53), and I know a lot about spark, fuel, etc. I don't want to tear apart a new bike under warranty to troubleshoot, so I'll leave that to the shop. I've searched for known issues with ignition, wiring harness, etc., and find nothing like this.
Any ideas?
 

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It is most likely a loose connection, but you have the right idea not to mess with it too much while it is still under warranty.
You could check the main fuse, it should be 30 amps. You could replace it on spec, and check for tightness of fuse to fuse holder connection. But other than that, I would take it back to the dealer.
 

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"I've searched for known issues with ignition, wiring harness, etc.,"

Got a Circuit Tester?
See if the battery shows voltage;
then see if the white wire gets voltage at the starter solenoid;
then see if the white wire at the connector to the ignition switch shows the same voltage?

Meanwhile, anyone see a wiring diagram somewhere out there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Admin and haybaler! We've had a cold snap so I've not checked it out further yet, but plan to tomorrow. I do have a circuit tester and will see what I find. I have a service appt. in December, but I'm going to cautiously explore the fuses, various connectors and such to see if I can find where something just shook loose. To me it seems like that's just what happened. Either way I will advise so everyone knows what I find out! For what it's worth, other than this issue, the bike is a nice little ride for someone my size (5'7 - 150 lbs), so I'm hoping it's a simple fix and not some sinister failing!
 

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Let the dealer know that you want any parts removed, and a detailed summary of what went wrong. In Conecticut you have to ask for this before you give the bike and sign the service paperwork. People have obtained refunds, and new nikes under the "Lemon Law" by having the same issue break three times. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had issues like this on a different bike. It turned out to be bad contacts in the ignition switch. I replaced the complete keyed set and no more issues.
Man I really hope it’s not that on a brand new bike! But my mind went there too- the symptoms fit. It will make me question reliability and always worry about taking it off the tarmac if so. I’ve not been following the brands over the years to know, but does Kawasaki have such reliability issues on small dual sport bikes? I just want to Let The Good Times Roll! Let it be a loose connection!🤞
 

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Not sure where your ignition switch plugs into the main harness; it could be under the tank or inside the headlight shell.

Might be worth a quick look. Some of these connectors require quite a bit of force to get them to fully seat. But first I would mark the current depth on the connector body and then pull it apart and examine the terminals. If all looks good then see if you can push the connector further in than the mark you made on the connector body.
 

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While waiting we can guess, and ignition switch connector sounds possible. I'm guessing a problem with initial setup. Crated the handlebars are usually unbolted and stored sideways. Assembler needs to be very careful about cable and wire routing when returning the handlebars to the correct position. The diagrams in the factory setup manuals aren't always too clear about the proper routing, and some of the tolerances are tight. We'll see...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"I've searched for known issues with ignition, wiring harness, etc.,"

Got a Circuit Tester?
See if the battery shows voltage;
then see if the white wire gets voltage at the starter solenoid;
then see if the white wire at the connector to the ignition switch shows the same voltage?

Meanwhile, anyone see a wiring diagram somewhere out there?
I couldn’t find a labeled diagram, but using part numbers I think I found the starter relay under the seat on the fender.

Battery at 12.6 v, main fuse good and tight, same voltage at relay white wire when key off, white and tan wires when key on. Other two relay wires at 8.9 v when key on. Relay is making that loud rattling sound when key is on. I couldn’t reach the white wire at the switch without some disassembly, so I didn’t.

When I removed the relay and turned key on, dash lights up all the way, with additional warning lights for starter and battery. Without knowing what is normal for these values, it is meaningless data to me! Otherwise I messed with connections and everything seems tight.

The mystery remains, unless it’s that relay? I don’t remember it being so loud before, I didn’t linger with key on and engine off, so maybe I just didn’t notice it. But it sounds angry.
 

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I wouldn't let the dealer know you did anything to this bike. It's under warranty, and dealerships are cancelling warranties left and right if they hear (think) the owner messed with the bike. They throw in all kinds of theories, like you have made it difficult for them to find it because you touched all the connections (which sometimes is true) Get the bike back to the dealership and let them worry about it. I would have had that bike back the first day, if not the same, back to the dealership, and played the irate "I can't believe I paid this much for........" routine, because if you think about it, you paid a lot of money for this thing and it's broken down and left me stranded, it didn't even make it to the warranty expiring!

I would not remove the battery or touch that bike, rent a van, do what you must, call the dealership and tell them to come pick up your new bike that is now a boat anchor. I hope you have talked to them. If you haven't, tell them it just broke down, if you tell them it happened a week ago or more, they will use that against you, and wonder why you waited so long to let them know about it.

The bike is listed for around $4800 buck, new. If I spent that much on anything, it would be back to the dealership immediately using my AAA to bring it there and tell them to fix it, and to save all parts that were removed, or if they have to return them to Kawasaki, you want to see the parts first. Then take pictures of those parts, with their part numbers in the pics. Protect yourself. IMHO :)
 

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I think Kawasakian makes a good point, depending on your relationship with your dealer.
As a former shop mechanic, I was a little quick to suggest mechanical solutions.

Figured the part about "I have a service appt. in December" meant that instant help was not available in OP's immediate area.
I would still be tinkering with any bike I bought, that's just me, and if a dealer refused a warranty repair request I'd be pretty surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I appreciate all the points. This bike was hard to find, so I bought from a dealer 2 hours away in another state. The only local K dealer is overworked/and scheduling service weeks away at best. (Which makes me question the whole practicality of having a bike that takes so long to service, but I digress) anyhow, I’m doing nothing else to it, and will just describe the breakdown symptoms when I take it in. Did just that already once when scheduling.

I would argue if it ever came to it, that it is unreasonable to expect a stranded biker to do absolutely nothing to try to find the problem and get running again. I’ve broken no seals and removed nothing more than the seat for examination. I checked some connections, fuses, and battery.

Yep, this is the ABS model that runs $5,100. If this was my primary xport, I’d be up the creek and hollering for service now. As is, I contacted the local dealer on the first business day following the breakdown.

I’ll be sure to advise what they discover, and retain whatever defective parts replaced with service summary.

Thanks folks! I’m happily surprised by how quickly I received thoughtful replies to my problem! If nothing else, I got good advice and learned my problem is not a known issue. Cheers!
 

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Had similar issues with an '06 DRZ S 400 with 7800mi. Wound up being a combination of the key switch assembly and the sidestand/start relay bad and a molex issue /wiring at rectifier regulator. Different animal, typical problems to look at.
*Start at batt- 14v + at idle. If not, possible issue @ output molex from rect/reg
*Relay adjacent to key switch- Mine does 5 functions. Easy plugnplay fix.
*Key switch- least likely, but I lost contact in switch. Not fun for gas/helmet lock=2 keys
All lower $ issues, but- all dealer items.
 

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To refine a little-
*Bike ran fine, suddenly lost electronic dash, but it ran until I shut it off. Then NOTHING
This was the rect/reg molex not good connection =declining batt volts. Suggestion- rewire direct from rect/reg to batt for output
* The multifunction relay is the brain. Control voltage passes through. It needs permissives to allow function.
Hope this helps, it took me a while to get through this even with a manual.
PS -original battery is still good. Slow charged back, now gets good voltage in use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So, not much of an update, but I'll share nonetheless. I dropped off the bike at the dealership yesterday. After the service tech moved it inside and came out for the paperwork, I asked him if he tried it. He said he did, but it did nothing but make noise from what sounded like the ignition relay. Then he suggested it was probably just low voltage from the battery doing that. I said it's holding 12.6 volts - the battery never died. "Oh, well not that then!" So here's hoping it's just a bad relay, a one-off bad apple that I'll never have to worry about again once replaced. Should know something by Friday morning (12-2).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Okay, the word is in. Bad ignition relay. 5 days to get the part. Well, now I know the symptoms, just not the cause! I’m thinking the loose battery connection was creating crazy variable voltage that was just too much much for the relay to survive. Since it hasn’t shown up as a widespread issue, seems unlikely that it’s a bad batch. Nonetheless, I’ll stick close to home and on the tarmac for a while to make sure it doesn’t repeat.
Thank you everyone for your help! I’m very impressed - and grateful - for how quickly I had responses on here! This place rocks!
Cheers!
 
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