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Author Topic: AVL won't start, no spark  (Read 1949 times)

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REVirginia

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on: September 07, 2018, 05:58:15 pm
I've got a 2009 AVL that won't start for me.  Last season it rode great, started every time.  It was covered during the winter with the occasional ice/snow for about 6 months after being winterized. With a fresh charged batter and gas, I couldn't get it to run with estart or kick. The estart would send signal giving the usual RrrRrrRrr, but wouldn't catch.  I took out the plug and grounded it, no luck getting spark on two plugs.  All the wires are in tact.  Upstrearm from there is it the voltage regulator and TCI and coil?  I've read the output on the spark plug cap is 14V? Is that correct?  I'm not sure how to test at each of the parts along the path above, but will keep researching on here.  Just trying to see if I'm barking up the wrong tree. Is there a way to test the TCI ouput without buying a new one?  I"m stuck and really would like to get out and ride. 

Thanks
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 06:24:57 pm by REVirginia »


Superchuck

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Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 07:57:00 pm
Hey Virginia, I'm up in Baltimore... cheers brother. 

I've also got a currently non-sparking AVL.  Others have helped me immensely in this, so I thought I'd try and shoot a little advice your way.  I'm no expert, and I'm sure the experts will chime in soon.  I am a novice as far as wiring goes, so I'll spell this out in my own personal layman's terms.  Apologies if some of this is incorrect, or is offensively basic.

1.  When you tested the spark plug while it was unplugged, did you hold the threads of the plug against a cylinder fin?  It needs that in order to ground the circuit.  Apologies if this is all well below your comprehension level... again, I am a novice.

2.  Are your lights working and everything, just no spark?

3.  There is a little fuse holder in-line with a brown wire which connects to your TCI box.  Open that little black plastic case up and check and see if that fuse is blown.  Also, check and see if those tiny little wires attached to the fuse holder are broken.  My recent 'no spark' issue was mainly due to that brown wire breaking off right at the fuse holder.

4.  The plug is powered by a Coil.  The coil is a little black unit along the front frame of your bike up under the gas tank.  Follow the thick spark plug lead up from the aluminum cap spark plug cap.  That coil has a 2-wire waterproof connector attached to it.  It's hard to undo, but once you do, the brown wire should always be reading somewhere around 12v DC when compared to ground (bike frame).  The other wire (red/white I believe) comes straight from your TCI box... my understanding is the Coil stores up energy from the brown wire, then the TCI tells it when to fire off that energy (red/white) and it fires off that stored energy via the spark plug lead.  Dunno if this is correct or not, but it makes sense to me.  If you don't have 12v or so at the brown wire, that's probably your culprit.

5.  Have you disabled your side kickstand safety switch?  That is a common no-start issue.  It's a little wire (2 prong plug) down along your side stand.  Just unplug that bad boy and leave it hanging, or tape it up to get it outta the way. 

6.  Attached is the wiring schematic for yours (and my) bike.  I've got an '09 AVL as well.  Love this damn thing but the electricals are frustrating.  I believe the brown wire starts at the right-hand control switch on the handlebars at the kill switch.  It comes out of the control cluster into the headlight casque, then runs the length of the bike, and splits in a Y... one leg goes to the TCI box (through the abovementioned fuse), and the other goes directly to the coil.  If you've got no power at the brown wire at the coil, you can test it at the plug within the headlight casque too... just poke your multimeter into the back side of the connector.

I feel like this is a very roundabout synopsis, but just trying to share some of my little knowledge on the subject since others have shared so well with me.  Others will also chime in with ways to test if your Coil is ok via impedance or something, and other possible issues you may have.  Fingers crossed it's something easy like a blown fuse.  Normally it is.

Cheers,
Chuck


REVirginia

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Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 09:14:39 am
Sorry for the delay.  I've been trying to answer on the phone, but I can't post with my iPhone due to this database error.  Takes me a bit to getting back on the old laptop.

So I've tore her down, all fuses are good, all wiring looks in tact.  I disconnected the side stand cutoff switch.  Still, no start.  I'm wondering if it is the coil.  I'm going to take it off today and check impedance, however any idea what prim/sec should measure?  I've read on here the OEM is a Lucas and found those values.  I've sen in another thread you've tried a Pertronix coil.  Any issues with it?  If it's not that, then I'll move to the TCI.  The lights come on, but weak looking despite my battery coming off the tender and reading good.  My TCI is unfortunately the black "performance" one I've upgraded some time back.  I've read here that it's no longer sold through RE distributors, but is just a Suzuki part?! Maybe a bad starter relay?  Well, I'll go from there. 
Thanks for the wiring diagram. The one in the little owners manual is actually not bad.
God love the AVL. They're a hybrid  Sixty-five/Electra from my understanding.  They must have been listening to Johnny's One Piece At A Time when they created it. Thanks for the advice, Chuck. 


Superchuck

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Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 11:36:51 am
I don't know for sure, but these are the impedance figures I got when testing my stock coil a year or two ago...

Primary:  Between the 2 leads in the pigtail it read 5.6 ohms (cold).

Secondary:  Between the spark plug connector and either pigtail lead I got 20.9k ohms (cold).

Then warm...

Primary:  6.5 ohms

Secondary:  23.7k ohms

The reason I warmed it up was that I was experiencing breakdowns when the bike got warmed up, and someone told me it could be an intermittent short in the coil itself once it reached running temps.  That doesn't sound like your problem though, so you probably only need to test it cold.  To warm it up I just used my wife's hair dryer on the coil body itself.

Nobody stated that my figured were out of the ordinary, but they also didn't chime in and say they were good.  But that breakdown I was troubleshooting ended up not being due to the coil, so I would assume that if you're near the figures posted above, maybe you're fine?

I haven't installed the pertronix coil yet.  I basically am going to replace a lot of the ignition circuit stuff just for good measure. 

Do you still have the green TCI which you removed for the black performance unit?  Could swap that back in just in case.

Do you have the OEM battery installed?  If so that's weird your lights are dim.  Unfortunately I am nearing the end of being able to provide helpful advice and will have to start resorting to uneducated conjecture.

Anybody else have some ideas on what he could try next?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:59:21 pm by Superchuck »


REVirginia

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Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 06:35:24 pm
Chuck,

You're spot on about the impedance values.  Mine read 5.5 and 20.8K Ohms respectively (cold obviously).  So I think I've ruled out the coil, though I wouldn't mind getting the pertronix in there anyway with the increase in output. 
I'll check continuity again.  Every heard of a starter relay switch going bad?  I really hope it's not the TCI. Seeing as it's not sold anymore, I'd have to retrowire the connectors to original state.  Unless indeed that is a suzuki device.  I could look for one online or just go back to the original specs. 



Arizoni

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Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 06:42:21 pm
I've heard of a lot of starter relay switches going bad.  In fact, Kevin, who owns this site and used to import Royal Enfields as mentioned (in a joking way) that selling replacement starter relays helped keep him in business for years.  :D

Although the starter motor relay (solenoid) might be bad, it doesn't have anything to do with the ignition circuit or the sparks needed to run the engine.
If the relay is bad, it might or might not click when the starter button is pushed but in either case, the electric start motor won't do a thing.
Then I know of cases where the starter motor relay got stuck in the "on" position and the starter motor continued to crank even though the starter button was not being pushed.

That happened on my old Ford once and I found that giving the relay a good whack with a large Crescent wrench temporarily solved the problem.  ;D 8)
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


REVirginia

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Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 10:26:40 pm
I've been checking continuities just to make sure there's not a bad wire that I'm not seeing.  Maybe this is a totally normal state, but it doesn't jive with the schematic.  When I check from the coupler (brown/red-white) that connects to the coil and to the coupler (brown/RW/black) that connects to the TCI,  the RW to RW gives tone, the brown to brown gives tone, but the brown to black gives tone as well. At the TCI coupler touching the brown and black gave me tone too, signifying a common ground point.  There's an additional 3 inch set of couplers that extend from the under tank ponytail to the actual TCI, just a straight through connector.  I disconnect that to rule it out and I'm curious now; it's fine.  I had a hard time thinking there's a short in that mass of wire that travels under the tank.  To be sure I took out the individual prongs in the TCI side coupler and they give tone to one another. 
So does the coil side coupler brown to the TCI brown/black have a common point that would ground it? The schematics don't show anywhere that the black/brown have a common point except maybe at one coupler point en route to the right hand starter module where there's a grey that connects to a ground maybe.  In other words, I don't know if this is a normal state.  Likely so, just contrary to the schematic from what I'm seeing. Not enough will tonight to cut the pony tail open and investigate nor suredness that it's abnormal to warrant it.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 10:40:58 pm by REVirginia »


Mick Bailey

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Reply #7 on: September 10, 2018, 08:07:08 am
If there is continuity between the brown and black wires then this would indicate a short. I would expect that to produce smoke as it would place a very heavy load on those wires. Your ammeter would also show a serious deflection to the left. Using a tone to trace wiring faults depends what the range of resistance your device can 'see' and still produce a tone. It may be several tens of ohms or even hundereds, which is misleading with auto electrics as it can give the impression of a short or direct connection where there isn't one.

Did you establish  that you're getting a good voltage on the brown coil connection as per Superchuck's suggestion in his point #4? Measure this in relation to chassis ground. No voltage here = no spark.

 


REVirginia

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Reply #8 on: September 10, 2018, 06:16:38 pm
Mick,

Good point and thanks for pointing that out. The battery is measuring 13 volts.  The voltage at the brown wire is 10.5V at both the waterproof connector on the coil side and the TCI side.  The black ground wire at the TCI side is reading 0.23V (huh?).  The spark plug boot after connecting the coupler again gets 10.5V.  So between the resistance checking out per Superchuck's and the pre/post measured voltage getting through, I think the coil is good.  So some gremlin is stealing voltage. A short? So if all fails, tomorrow I'll tear apart that mess of electrical tape and trace the black out. 
I dont' know.  I feel like that's not totally it, where as the last time I tried to fire it (months ago), at least I was getting the attempted chugchugchug with no spark when using the estart. Now I just get nothing except a slight dimming of the lights.  Maybe the TCI did go after all. Mick I saw a post from you in July about testing the TCI.  Either I go back to green or order the Suzuki GS125.  I checked the right control switch, which is a nice alloy, vintage looking aftermarket install years ago I put on, with a left hand light switch to match and vintage decompressor lever, all solder points are good and it's never given me a problem.
Maybe I'll just get one of those slick Enfield GT650 continentals and let this be the hobby bike, which is what it really has turned into, much as I love it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 09:47:06 pm by REVirginia »


Mick Bailey

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Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 10:07:58 am
You could have a short that's not enough to blow the fuse but is sucking power. Sometimes it's not as clear cut as a circuit either being fully open or fully shorted. My Wife's bike had a bundle of charred wires that got hot with the headlight turned on but the fuse didn't blow and the headlight was dim.

More likely than a short though is a high resistance (ignition switch contacts, fuseholder contact, spade/bullet connections) which cna result in a lower-than-expected coil voltage.

You say that the spark plug boot measures 10.5v. can you clarify what/where this is measured - is it a metal shell cap?


hpwaco

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Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 10:27:36 am
Should there be any measurable DC voltage at the spark plug boot?    Was stated as 10.5 v.


Mick Bailey

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Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 11:49:37 am
I can't see why there would be any voltage there - that's why we need clarification.


REVirginia

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Reply #12 on: September 11, 2018, 01:23:47 pm
I can't see why there would be any voltage there - that's why we need clarification.

I'm likely explaining it poorly.  I'm learning much here. I resorted to calling the new toll free number on the enfield official site for "all things Enfield."  Options 1 or 2, either for sales or for complaints, respectively. It's pretty funny to think about. It's just a recorded woman repeating to hold for the next associate.  No one answered, but they called back in a few minutes and the Indian fellow couldn't have been nicer. I told him about my problem and asked for specs. He said he'd have an engineer call me back withing 1-2 days.  Funny.

Back to task.  I'll try to explain my half-split testing and trace it out. This is a lithium 12V 14A battery. Sorry for the extraneous details, just want to paint the picture.  with ignition switch off: Chassis ground to + terminal of battery 13V freshly charged. Checking red across the starter relay fuse, still 13V. Checking voltage to the red at coupler to to the ammeter and across the ammeter, 13V.  At red to the iingnition switch I get 13V. Thats as far as I can go with the bike off.   

Ignition switch on: The lights are good, a little weak perhaps and turn signals dim and VERY sluggish to initiate and flash. In part to engine not running and they only get 11.2V on check at the Uflasher red on its Lconnector. Assume the R/R would step this up when it's actually running? So again, checking red leaving the starter relay fuse, 13V as expected. Checking voltage at either side of the ammeter posts is registering 11.2V. So 2V going to bulb?Going on to the brown and across the 10A fuse before the TCI, roughly 11V. At the brown wire of coupler going to the coil, 10.9V. Coupler attached and multimeter probe to the plug's boot contact as pictured, 10.8V.  So the circuit goes through. Estart is not depressed of course. Is this abnormal? Can anyone confirm this reading or does it make a lick of difference?  I took the coil off as above and the resistance checked out perfectly as per Chuck's readings.  So I'm losing voltage along the way. Is this expected?   

This is eating me up that I don't have the experience or specs to work this out. You all are a lifeline.  I don't hold much hope that the Indians will offer much, especially with the AVL.

Thanks again
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 02:06:04 pm by REVirginia »


Superchuck

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Reply #13 on: September 11, 2018, 01:51:22 pm
You're definitely onto it.  I would suspect that you are losing 2v at your ignition switch. You can test that by poking in the back of the 2-prong connector that plugs into the ignitions switch (with the key ON).  You should get the same voltage from both cables at that connector (I think the red comes from the battery, and the other one goes out to the ammeter or elsewhere??).  I recently learned that corrosion in the key-barrel can cause impedance, etc. 

However, I believe 10 or 11 volts should be plenty to get a spark if kickstarting.

Does anyone know how to test the coil other than the impedance tests he's already done? 

In another post, Mick Bailey previously alluded to a way to test his TCI unit, but said it was a massive pain in the butt.

Unfortunately my little bit of expertise has been exhausted.

Thoughts?


REVirginia

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Reply #14 on: September 11, 2018, 02:17:23 pm
You're definitely onto it.  I would suspect that you are losing 2v at your ignition switch. You can test that by poking in the back of the 2-prong connector that plugs into the ignitions switch (with the key ON).  You should get the same voltage from both cables at that connector (I think the red comes from the battery, and the other one goes out to the ammeter or elsewhere??).  I recently learned that corrosion in the key-barrel can cause impedance, etc. 

However, I believe 10 or 11 volts should be plenty to get a spark if kickstarting.

Does anyone know how to test the coil other than the impedance tests he's already done? 

In another post, Mick Bailey previously alluded to a way to test his TCI unit, but said it was a massive pain in the butt.

Unfortunately my little bit of expertise has been exhausted.

Thoughts?

Sorry, I updated this after I posted.  Maybe it's the bulb, maybe not. The ignition switch looks clean,  but I could't easily get the boot off as it's sealed up pretty good.  The bike has been mostly garage kept aside from a couple years intermittently, but always covered. Though one never knows.
I saw Mick's post about the TCI. Maybe I can fedex it to him.  I don't know which to replace.  To be sure, checked the plugs impedence and it's good. Like you say, maybe the 10-11 V is fine, so I should go to the TCI for yucks.  I'm at a loss.