Electrical Frustration

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Feb 14, 2004
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Yesterday morning after a short ride i washed some muck from roadworks off the front of the head/barrels/cases using a hose and brush.
Tried to start up again, after quite a few kicks (usually 1 or 2 kicks only needed) it went roughly but died when revs not kept high. Then no more starting but some backfiring - smoke out of the K&N, kickstart lever coming back to meet me. Now not even that but after a number kicks, give up and then turn key on later and get a bang out of one pipe. If the key doesn't do it the kill switch might (don't know why i tried that).
Headlight stayed dry, above engine maybe a little splash, behind engine wet, battery box splashed. Running a boyer but otherwise original zener etc. Coils are insulated from their brackets.
The bike has always been suspect in heavy rain, trailered home once.
Sounds like boyeritis brought on by a water induced short??
Spent the afternoon trying to find it but no luck. Its now the next afternoon and still no luck.
Only possible weak point noticed - is there usually a grommit where the elec cable enters the rear of the points housing? I don't have a grommit - but no moisture visible in there anyway.
Not really expecting this to be solved here but there is no-one else home at present to moan to.
With my baby...it's the norm that it won't start up after a good wash. Therefore, I drive the other poor patrons at the car wash (Which we MUST use here in Schnittelland...it's the LAW) crazy by leaving it running and upping the revs to about 2 grand or so and leave it running load while it gets sprayed down. Normally, there will be some unhappiness from the motor, while the top front and around the carbs get doused, but it clears up soon. The carbs usually don't like getting too wet too, but it's got to be done! The motor has to be running fast enough though, to keep it going if one of the barrels drops out. They normally don't drop out at the same time, so it stays running long enough to get it done and out of the washing stall. It does occationally though, just go off and I usually have to just dry off the spark leads. That seems to be the weak point on mine, maybe on yours too. Mine has no Grommet, there where the Boyer cable goes into the timeing case, but it might not be a bad idea. Sounds just like wet wiring somewhere, my advise is to do the normal, check for spark thing and when you have gotten it back running, spend some time going though all the connections and cleaning stuff up...somewhere is the gremlin which is shorting out the spark...do it before one of those "dark rainy nights" we all know and love!
Start at the kill switch. Pull it apart clean the contacts. I have jumped around them in the head light for a test and found that rain makes them act the way yours is. After wigging the botton it will run for a while than quit again. Test the battery with a voltage tester after runing the head light for three minutes. This removes the surface charge. Double check the ground to the motor, wires like to break there. You may just try a new set of plugs and find it fires right up. norbsa
Thanks for the replies.
Gave it a kick this morning before leaving for work, fired up first time. Whatever it was has now dried, now that the warm sunny good riding weekend is over!!
Might try selectivley spraying water this evening while the engine is running and see where it stumbles. Will also check out the kill switch.
The switch to inspect is the ignition switch, A friend of mine had a T120 that used to reliably "pack it in" in the rain. After many embarrasing wet outings, we renewed the ignition switch. The fibre board that held all the terminals behind the switch had a crack, water tracked in after a while and @#$%^ after that.


Richard S
Thanks Richard,

in my case the ignition switch is mounted in a bracket between the clocks (together with the oil pressure guage) and didn't get wet in the wash - but good idea to check for my riding in the rain troubles - it gets full blast then.
Testing session completed tonight - much to the neighbours pleasure i'm sure.
Used a small pressurised spray bottle and worked my way up from the bottom, after a ride around the block to warm things up.
Only stumbles were rh plug some effect, (but lh plug no effect) and the biggy - lead into back of points housing after a few seconds of direct spray instant stop. Only able to start again with similar spraying of crc type stuff, after which it started first time and ran fine.
Looks like i will have to seal this entry.
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