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Bike Ride'n Budo Geek
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have a 2005 VN800B and it seems to have developed a little issue. The rear running lights (in the taillight) come on, but when I hit the brake, it does not increase in brightness. I am thinking it's a fuse or relay, but since I don't know squat about mechanical things (ask me about computers), I am not sure. Any advice from you mechanical wizards would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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8,842 Posts
Try using both front and rear brake and see if the brake light comes on. If it doesn't with either one then it's probably just a bad bulb. If it lights with one brake but not the other then you have a problem with the switch or wiring.
 

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Bike Ride'n Budo Geek
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Try using both front and rear brake and see if the brake light comes on. If it doesn't with either one then it's probably just a bad bulb. If it lights with one brake but not the other then you have a problem with the switch or wiring.
Thanks for the quick reply. Here's a little more background.

The bulbs were both burnt out when I got home. I had a nice motorist tell me that my brake lights were out. So I came home and found some old original bulbs (the burnt out ones were from Clear Alternatives) and put them in. As mentioned previously, the bulbs came on nice and bright, but nothing with the brake lights.

Anyway, I must be doing something right since I have already tried your suggestion. I even tried with the engine running, engine off, and no joy. It is very possible that those old bulbs are bad as well, but maybe just the filament for the brake lights. At least I hope that's all it is.

In the event that it's not just a bad bulb, what else could it be?

Thank again for your reply,
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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8,842 Posts
If it isn't corrected by replacing the bulb I would get the meter out and start checking the bulb socket. Also look over the physical condition of the socket for any dirt or corrosion on the contacts. Of course you could do these checks before you go out and buy a new bulb and you could use the meter to test the bulb now.
 

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Bike Ride'n Budo Geek
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101 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
If it isn't corrected by replacing the bulb I would get the meter out and start checking the bulb socket. Also look over the physical condition of the socket for any dirt or corrosion on the contacts. Of course you could do these checks before you go out and buy a new bulb and you could use the meter to test the bulb now.
Hmm, checking over the contacts is a good idea, but with bulbs shining bright, I would think that the contacts are fine. Will check tomorrow morning when I pull out the bulb and before I head off to the local bike shop.

I'll check and see if I have a meter. It's pretty likely that I do somewhere.

Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

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itching to ride
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2,233 Posts
Also check your brake switch which should be attached to the brake pedal. I had to bend the spring on mine because it was not pulling the switch.
 

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11,328 Posts
Most if not all Kawasaki's I've encountered have a color code for the brake/ running lights:

RED, running or tail light circuit.
BLUE,(sometimes with a RED stripe) the brake light circuit.
BLACK with YELLOW stripe, the ground circuit.

It's possible a connector is loose/dirty/corroded. Kawasaki likes using the Japanese "Bullet connectors" for tail light/brake light circuits.

Check for blown fuses and shorted wiring.
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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8,842 Posts
Hmm, checking over the contacts is a good idea, but with bulbs shining bright, I would think that the contacts are fine.
The tail/brake light is a dual filament bulb, therefore it has 2 positive contacts and one negative contact (usually the metal socket). One set operates the running light, the other operates the brake light. If the brake light doesn't come on why would you think that contact is fine?

Also check your brake switch which should be attached to the brake pedal. I had to bend the spring on mine because it was not pulling the switch.
That was the purpose of checking both front and rear brakes to see if the light worked with either. It's very unlikely that both switches would fail at the same time. Also, if your spring fails to activate the switch, there is an adjustment on the switch to move it farther from the pedal which makes the spring pull harder on it. You're not supposed to bend the spring. :eek:

Check for blown fuses
The brake light doesn't have a dedicated fuse. If the fuse were bad there would be other electrical issues. So unless the bike has other electrical problems I wouldn't bother checking fuses.
 

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itching to ride
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That was the purpose of checking both front and rear brakes to see if the light worked with either. It's very unlikely that both switches would fail at the same time. Also, if your spring fails to activate the switch, there is an adjustment on the switch to move it farther from the pedal which makes the spring pull harder on it. You're not supposed to bend the spring. :eek:
You are if your spring end has been stretch out and no amount of adjustment will make it work. I just grabbed the end with a pair of needle nose pliers and gave it a little tug and bend.
 
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