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2571 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  RichardMcCoy1
My 1997 ZX 900R was working fine. I parked it for the night. Then tried to start it the next morning and nothing. No noise nothing. Everything else works except for the horn too. When you first turn the key to the on position the instrament panel lights up. As soon as I hit the start button the headlight comes on but nothing else no noise at all.
I've checked the Batter Duh! That is new and reads fine. I've checked the engine kill switch and starter button and those are fine. I also checked the sidestand kill switch and it is in working order. When you bump start it, it fires right up and runs normal until you turn it off then you get nothing. I am fairly intellegent when it comes to bikes but I have never seen or heard of this typ of problem. Oh and the fuses are good too. The whole headlight coming on only after you attemt to start completly baffles me too. I don't think it is a wiring problem either. If someone out there knows anything else please let me know before I go and spend top dollar for something rediculus. Thanks.
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RichardMcCoy1 said:
When you bump start it, it fires right up and runs normal until you turn it off then you get nothing.
Are you saying that you tap the starter and then it fires up? Old Ford starters used to be famous for that. Just change the starter and you'll be fine.

But if you're talking about push-starting the bike, that's a different story. It still could be the starter or the solenoid. The first thing I'd check is to see if you have voltage at the starter. The big wire should have power all the time. The smaller one should only get power when you hit the start button. Are you getting those two voltages properly? Check it and report back.

Then we can trace it down from there. You've already eliminated most of the common problems, so I'm leaning toward starter failure anyway.
Re: The Start Button

RichardMcCoy1 said:
Also note that the horn does not work either. . . . Now if the starter was bad that would not effect the horn though.
Oh, yeah. Okay, so I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box.

It sounds like the horn and starter may be on the same circuit with a blown fuse. You said you already checked your fuses, but here's what I would recommend anyway:
1. get a manual to see if the horn is on the same circuit as the ignition. If they are, I'd sure be looking very suspiciously at that fuse.
2. The horn isn't the problem, but it's a great clue. So let's find the horn fuse and pull it. Then check to see that the fuse is good and check that there is power where the fuse plugs in.
3. Check voltages on the ignition switch. You should always have power on one wire (on my bike it's a white wire) at the ignition switch. When you turn the switch to on, you should have power coming out of two more wires. On my bike it's a brown one going to the horn, and a yellow one going to the handlebar kill switch.
4. While we're at it, you said that you checked the kill switch. Did you check it for continuity or voltage or both? And while we're still at it, we could do the same for the neutral, clutch, and kickstand switches. You know, it doesn't do any good for the switch to be functioning if there is no power to the switch.
5. When you turn the key to on, you said the instrument panel lights up. Does the oil light turn on? On my bike that is powered by that same brown wire.
There's a lot more we can check. How about if we start with these and see where we go from there?
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Wait! Wait! Wait!

You can push start the bike? Oh, that's a huge clue. Let me think about that one for a little bit.
Okay, so after you push start it everything is normal; i.e. except the horn, right?

So that means that the problem should not be the key switch, nor the side stand switch, nor the neutral switch, nor the clutch switch, nor the kill switch. It might be the starter switch, even though you checked it.

Do you have an alarm on this bike? Sometimes those interefere with the start circuit and the horn.

I would like to know if there is power on the thumb-button start switch. I think that is a logical place to look first. If there is power there, then we can move closer to the starter. The next place is to check if there is power on the little wire on the starter (only when you push the start button). If it's there, then we're looking at a bad starter again. If there is no power on the starter switch, then we can look backwards towards the key switch.
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I would also like to know how the horn failure is related to the problem. I feel like I'm looking at all the right clues, but I can't figure it out. Does the horn itself work? You could test it by running a hot wire to it, just to make sure it is working properly.
Re: My ZX 9

RichardMcCoy1 said:
And as far as the start button (switch) it has to be getting power because when I push it the head light comes on.
That's right, you said that at the beginning. I told you I wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box.

I still can't quite figure out the horn clue, so I'll ignore that for the moment.

Let's look into that headlight a little more. On mine, when I turn on the key, the lights come on, except the headlight. That is to save the battery power for the starter. When I press start, the starter turns and the headlight stays off. When I release start, the headlight comes on. Does your headlight turn on "as soon as you hit the start button" or only when you release the start button? If it happens when you release it, then it sounds like that system is working perfectly.

Anyway, as you said, the starter switch is probably good. It should be a SPST switch, so if it can trigger the headlight, it shoud be fine. So let's follow the logic to the starter. The switch is working, and it has power. From there the power has to get to the starter. So let's check:
1. Put the bike in neutral, on the center stand, with the side stand up.
2. Check the "out" wire on the starter button. This is the wire that is only hot if you press the button. Make sure it is hot when you press the button.
3. Check the other end of that wire at the starter. It may go through some other switches and junctions along the way, and the color may change. But at the starter there should be a small wire that is only hot when you press the start button. This is the one that powers the starter relay. If you get power there, and only when you hit the start button, then your entire electrical system is working properly and you have a bad starter. If you're not getting power there, but you have it at the starter button, then the problem is somewhere in between. Until you figure out the problem you could hotwire the bike to get you going for a while.

My starter has these contacts (other than the big starter wire and ground)
1. white wire going from the positive starter cable to the alternator and fuse box
2. yellow wire/red stripe powers the relay when the starter button is pressed
3. black wire/yellow stripe goes to ground.
So if you were working on my bike, I would want to see power on the yellow/red wire, but only while the start button is pressed. If that's the case, it's time to change the starter.
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Stuart said:
just so you know jump starting and push starting a bike are two different things, which did you do?
I think he meant he push starting; i.e. he pushed it then popped the clutch to start it. I don't think it would start if he tried jumping it with battery cables from the car.

QKENUF4U said:
you have relays in the junction box that need to be closed to power the starter solenoid/system. look in your manual and figure out the "POWER IN" wire and check it for battery voltage, then find the "POWER OUT" wire and check that for battery voltage. if that checks fine then you need to find your starter solenoid and check for voltage there.
easy test once there is put a screwdriver across the battery cable posts on the solenoid and see if the bike starts/turns over.
if you FIND NO VOLTAGE AT THE "POWER OUT WIRE" on the junction box then the box is bad, if you DO HAVE POWER OUT of the junction box and the soleniod doesnt work then the solenoid is bad.
Sounds like good advice to me.

I still think that the horn not working is a really important clue.
Re: Thanks for the help

QKENUF4U said:
wheres my THANKS !!!!????
Here ya go . . . Thanks. You nailed it. I'm sure he meant you instead of me.
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