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Author Topic: AVL won't start, no spark  (Read 1120 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
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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.


REVirginia

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Reply #15 on: September 11, 2018, 09:44:41 pm
Well I don't know how or why, but I was able to get spark!  Maybe I just reseated something in all this monkeying around. I put in the plug and was able to start it with the estart, but it wants to turn off after a minute or two. Giving it a little gas helps at times, but it just keeps keeps skipping a thump like a bad heart, worse and worse until it kills.  Is this the timing and misfiring?  There was during one of the "kills" a puff of smoke that did not have an electrical smell. I think it was an expulsion through the air filter, which is an exposed S&B air filter.  It would restart again, but wouldn't hang on for long between the skipping. So I'm left thinking maybe I reset something to get spark and there's a failing TCI too? It's new gas, I haven't touched the jets.  After going through this cycle multiple times until it won't start any longer with just the starter cranking, I'm back to no spark with a depleted battery.  This bike has always been quick to drain a battery if I crank even for a short time, so I've almost exclusively kick started it. 

Oh and by the way, Chuck if you're checking in, my tail light is out.  I can't say I remember if it was on the last couple of days, but I noticed it tonight.  I didn't check to see if it was blown.  The hand lever/foot brake light works fine.  I think we might be able to merge our threads regarding electrical woes soon, sheesh. ::)

I've seen a couple threads between this forum and the Hitchcocks about people ordering the suzuki model TCI but little about how it performed in comparison to the other.  I've emailed hitchcocks to ask if it was basically the suzuki resold.  I'm leaning toward just getting the green unit back on, which I must have gotten rid of after a cross country move.  If I remember, there is a little rewiring involved I believe because the pulsar coil wire contacts have a different shaped connector. 
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 10:14:51 pm by REVirginia »


Mick Bailey

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Reply #16 on: September 12, 2018, 02:17:23 am
You mentioned that with the ignition off you were showing 13v and with the ignition on you were getting 11.2v, yet the battery was still reading 13v (as measured at the starter relay fuse). The ammeter connects to the battery so should always read battery voltage irrespective of load. With voltage measurement it's handy to have in mind that in a parallel circuit all voltages should all read the same when measured from + to - across the feed.

The voltage drop suggests to me that you have a connection issue. Vibration with the bike running can cause intermittent problems and misfiring. TCI units are low down on my list of things to fail. A high resistance will drop voltage according to load. More load, more voltage drop. Under no-load conditions you won't see a voltage drop as per Ohm's law V=IR. If I (load current) = 0, then V (voltage drop) is 0v.



tooseevee

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Reply #17 on: September 12, 2018, 07:05:04 am
Well I don't know how or why, but I was able to get spark! 
I've seen a couple threads between this forum and the Hitchcocks about people ordering the suzuki model TCI but little about how it performed in comparison to the other.  I've emailed hitchcocks to ask if it was basically the suzuki resold.  I'm leaning toward just getting the green unit back on, which I must have gotten rid of after a cross country move.  If I remember, there is a little rewiring involved I believe because the pulsar coil wire contacts have a different shaped connector.

           Good for you !! You have a pulse !

           The connectors on the OEM Black TCI and the connectors on the Green TCI are the same. Instantly interchangeable in a couple of minutes.

              Many years ago I tried the so-called Suzuki 125 TCI just as an experiment. Those connectors ARE different. I had to find the correct ones online, order them and splice them in.

               The Suzuki TCI that I ordered per advice from guys on the forum (with a new coil included which I did not use) did not work for shit on my engine. It started instantly and ran OK sitting still, but it would not take a load at all. Just bogged down very early in the RPM curve in every gear.  I pulled it off, stuck it on the shelf as a learning experience, put the Green one back on and rode off down the road as before. It was no simple thing getting that Suzuki thing wired up.

         I think you should get a new Green one and be done with it. Or is it the Green one you have  ??? ???

           I'm losing track of the details here  :) :) Sorry. Maybe it's the stress  ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 09:45:17 am by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


Michael Marsceill

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Reply #18 on: September 12, 2018, 09:04:05 am
I possible but unlikely that a tci would fail intermittantly. If you have spark, the tci is probably good. I recently had a similar issue. Replaced the tci, did not resolve it. Tested the coil, which was recently replaced and it checked good. Spent the next month troubleshooting without success. Out of frustration, replaced the coil, the 6 month old one that tested good. Bike started and ran like new. I can't explain it, but I wouldn't trust a resistance check on these newer designed coils. Also, don't overlook the pulsar coil that is part of the stator. That sends the trigger signal that tells the tci/coil when to fire. Thats all I've got. Good luck.



Mick Bailey

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Reply #19 on: September 12, 2018, 11:06:22 am
A resistance check will tell you if a coil is bad, but it won't tell you if its good.

A coil can have a shorted turn - either permanent or intermittent. The shorted turn is just one turn out of hundreds (or thousands if its the secondary) and the resistance difference this makes is not detectable. In practical terms the coil will read 100% good when measuring resistance. I do have a tester that will check for a shorted turn (called a flyback, or 'ring' tester). A shorted turn absorbs the energy of the coil, so little or no spark. Commonly a shorted turn will occur where the coil has arced internally - usually when the plug is disconnected - but the insulation can break down anyhow and at least cause a very weak or intermittent spark. Also, a coil can intermittently go open-circuit under operation and still check out OK on the bike under static conditions.

I still think that there may be a connection issue due to the voltage drop in part of the circuit where you would't expect this.


Superchuck

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Reply #20 on: September 12, 2018, 01:48:23 pm
Doesn't it seem likely that there's some sort of intermittent wiring short for the bike to go from no spark, to running, but poorly? 

Could be a wire where the copper part is broken within its rubberized housing.  It makes contact, but as the bike warms up and shakes around (as they're known to do) that wire is essentially disconnecting then connecting over and over again, sending mixed signals to the TCI, etc., thus the rocky idle and inevitable stall.

Just a hypothesis.  Definitely need to figure out what is sapping the voltage too.  My bet is on the ignition switch (key barrel). 

With the key on, remove the headlight and stick your multimeter into the back of the plastic connector at the bottom of the ignition switch.  Test voltage at each of the 2 wires here versus ground (bike frame).  If one is 14v and the other is 10v, your ignition switch is what's sapping your voltage.

There are also a few solder joints on the bottom of that ignition switch key barrel which I've heard can lead to an engine intermittently dying.  Remove the switch from the headlight casque and pry down the rubber boot. 

I watched a YouTube video of an Indian gentleman doing this to  resolder his contacts.  Not sure which one of these videos I watched, but apparently it's sometimes the culpret:

https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+royal+enfield+ignition+switch&oq=YouTube&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j35i39j0l2.1423j0j7&client=ms-android-motorola-rev2&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8


DanB

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Reply #21 on: September 12, 2018, 04:38:21 pm
Happy to hear you got spark!

One other point to watch, there's a safety switch in thr clutch lever perch; if that connector is loose... no spark. I have mine zip tied as the connector housing fell apart.

Poor firing: try emptyimg the carb bowl. Water due to the humidity in fuel.
Suppose I were an idiot, and suppose I were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. ... Mark Twain
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REVirginia

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Reply #22 on: September 12, 2018, 05:54:06 pm
To all, thanks for all the recs. 

Dan, I was just fussing over that coupler a few weeks ago, how shoddy it looked. I'll look at it more closely.  That would be interesting.  The fuel is brand new from an empty tank/carb since last year when I moved cross country.  But if I eliminate the others, I'll give it a flush as well.

Superchuck, I have the same hypothesis about the TCI. I was giving it another shot, and either by coincidence or not, when I would pick up the TCI and move it around, the bike seemed to skip firings or die, and sometimes not, so it's an observational detail, no proof.  I'll pull out the ignition switch as you suggest. Though it's never given me a problem I'm aware, at this point I need to fine-tooth-comb it. 

As for the TCI, I'm just going to bite the bullet, pun intended, and order a new green one from our host.  I saw the ebay suzuki and the coil, but for $26, I just don't trust I'm getting parts that arrived off the boat vs off a used bike or back of a truck.  Hitchcocks Adrian sent a reply that they don't have an opinion technically on it, other than people have tried it. 
Tooseevee, I have the aftermarket "performance' TCI Hitchcocks was selling. The contacts for pulsar coil are one horizontal and one vertical as opposed to, I think, the green being both vertical, so would have to rewire at least that connector.  Can anyone tell me for pulsar coil is it GW on top and W on bottom or vice-versa for the green OEM TCI?

As Mick/mgm are saying, I guess it's worth the $40 to get a coil and replace it or keep it on hand if the wiring sleuthing (remember my tail light is out and unless it's simply burned out, the grey wire for it's operation goes where? The ammeter.), and the ignition check and the TCI and clutch housing...and whatever else I uncover.  Anyone have an opinion on coils? I saw Tooseevee you've got a pertronix on your 2008 per details on your bike and superchuck mentioned it.  Is that an endorsement by the forum? ha. Part number 45011?  Best way to mount that since it won't have native bike mounts?

I really hope it's not the pulsar coil doing anything. I'd rather not take off the chain case cover right now. No way to test that other than diagnosis by exclusion?

I have some work to do and parts to order. The ongoing wiring saga will be good fun if the high winds/rain keep me shut in the garage all weekend.

Again, thanks for all this advice. You all are A+.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:07:27 pm by REVirginia »


Arizoni

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Reply #23 on: September 12, 2018, 06:46:52 pm
I think the reason the voltage between the spark plug boot connection and ground is only 10.8 volts is because the electricity has to pass thru the thousands of feet of fine "secondary" windings in the coil plus the spark plug boot might have a resister built into it.
(Most modern ones do).
All of that secondary winding wire will reduce the amount of electricity that gets thru it.

The fact that you have power at the spark plug boot does say power is getting to the coil which is good.

I have no idea about how your TCI works but some of them are set up to provide a path between the coil and the ground.
The controller should keep on providing this ground path for most of the crankshafts rotation.  This allows the primary windings to "power up", creating a strong magnetic field.
Then, when the piston is approaching TDC, the controller momentarily stops the connection to ground.
This causes the magnetic field to collapse which generates the 15,000 + volts in the coil secondary winding and fires the spark plug.

You might try checking the coil wire that goes to the TCI to see if there is any resistance.  I would expect to see very little.  Maybe 1ohms.  Then, check the resistance from that same coil to TCI wire to ground.  It should not have much if any resistance at all.

If there is a lot of resistance or there is no connection at all to ground I think the TCI, or its grounding might be the problem.

Before trashing the TCI, make sure its ground wire is really connected to ground.  If there is any corrosion between the TCI ground and the frame (or ground wire), it won't work correctly.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:52:52 pm by Arizoni »
Jim
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tooseevee

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Reply #24 on: September 12, 2018, 08:50:01 pm

Tooseevee, I have the aftermarket "performance' TCI Hitchcocks was selling. The contacts for pulsar coil are one horizontal and one vertical as opposed to, I think, the green being both vertical, so would have to rewire at least that connector.  Can anyone tell me for pulsar coil is it GW on top and W on bottom or vice-versa for the green OEM TCI?


           As far as I know, the Hitchcocks Performance TCI is the Suzuki TCI.

            I've never changed anything Pulsar Coilwise when I switched from Black OEM TCI to the Green or when I switched from Green TCI to the experimental Suzuki TCI I ordered on Ebay. It Did Not Work (as I've said before) and I hooked the Green one back up. It has been perfect from the first day I put it in back in the early life of this bike.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 08:52:59 pm by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


tooseevee

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Reply #25 on: September 12, 2018, 09:11:13 pm
Anyone have an opinion on coils? I saw Tooseevee you've got a pertronix on your 2008 per details on your bike and superchuck mentioned it.  Is that an endorsement by the forum? ha. Part number 45011?  Best way to mount that since it won't have native bike mounts?


         All I know is that it's just a damn good coil and Pertronix makes a whole line of damn good stuff. I've put them on bikes and cars since the '70s.

           Mine is mounted on the left side on the frame member where that 15 pounds of battery and battery holder used to be.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 09:20:17 pm by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


Mick Bailey

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Reply #26 on: September 13, 2018, 02:25:44 am
I think the reason the voltage between the spark plug boot connection and ground is only 10.8 volts is because the electricity has to pass thru the thousands of feet of fine "secondary" windings in the coil plus the spark plug boot might have a resister built into it.
(Most modern ones do).
All of that secondary winding wire will reduce the amount of electricity that gets thru it.

The secondary is isolated from the primary and there should not be DC present on the secondary. One end of the secondary winding is connected to ground, the other to the ignition lead. If there was any conection to the battery side this would mean that ignition voltage (30kv or more) would appear across the battery terminals.


Arizoni

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Reply #27 on: September 13, 2018, 04:47:01 pm
Right you are.  My mistake.

That being the case, if there is DC voltage showing on the spark plug wire it indicates an internal connection between the primary and the secondary coil.  Not good.
The coil should be replaced.
Jim
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REVirginia

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Reply #28 on: September 13, 2018, 06:51:47 pm
That seems like a good place to start. How do you all pick out a coil? Is the one I referenced adequate or does it matter much?


Mick Bailey

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Reply #29 on: September 14, 2018, 03:05:23 am
The coil should be one intended for application with your specific TCI. The reason is that the dwell time is set by the TCI manufacturer for a particular coil type and resistance. Dwell is the period in milliseconds that the coil needs to establish its magnetic field (the older way of measurement is degrees). Too much dwell and the coil can overheat, too little and the coil will not operate effectively and produce a weakened spark. Oil-filled 'can' type coils are more forgiving than encapsulated types and have a wider range of dwell operation. However, an encapsulated coil can be made with a very short dwell time and this becomes important at higher RPM where the TCI has a very short time to get the timing pulse, calculate the spark position and charge the coil before firing it.

A primary-to-secondary short is unusual, as it's a particular failure mode that has to be eliminated from a coil design due to the possibility of completely destroying a vehicles electronics. The two sections are isolated with an insulating layer that's capable of withstanding the full energy of a spark without puncturing. I would double-check the reading that shows a DC voltage on your plug connection as this is such an unlikely failure. Not impossible, given how some manufacturers continually cheapen construction. I recently tested a whole box of Chinese-made Lucas copy relays that were causing a vehicle's wiring to burn out. The switching contacts were connected to the relay coil in every single one.


tooseevee

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Reply #30 on: September 14, 2018, 07:14:51 am
The coil should be one intended for application with your specific TCI.

           If that's true, then how does the normal garage mechanic builder chose a coil? I have no ability to evaluate what coil the TCI wants  ??? ???

           If that's true, then your (my) only choice when I decided to replace the coil on my '08 AVL would be a new stock OEM coil and who's to say RE picked the correct coil for the Green TCI that was installed about halfway through the production run of 2008 AVLs? (to replace the Black one). Mine came with a Black TCI and those built later in the year got the new Green one. Did they change the coil? Guaranteed they did not.

        I've been putting Pertronix coils on bikes and cars since the '70s, both EI and points, and they work and do fine with no esoteric electrical math exercises or analysis. They just seem to work fine the last being my '08 with Green TCI. I put the Black one back on for a while last season and it worked just fine also. First or second kick all the time and no kickback when shutting down with the key either (since changing to Champion plug).

       Who knows??
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 07:19:25 am by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


Superchuck

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Reply #31 on: September 14, 2018, 11:26:23 am
As to the pertronix coil, I bought the item #40611 which is the 3ohm 12v coil.  Mine is the epoxy-filled one which is intended for offroad use.  I figured with how much these bikes shake around, it couldn't hurt, but now it sounds like the oil filled ones may be more forgiving?  I really don't know anything about the subject.

I'll hopefully be installing mine next week and I will report back as to if it works and if it is a noticeable improvement, etc.

I also bought pertronix part #10001  which is their mounting bracket.  Since I don't have a wide flat spot to mount it to my plan is to bend that bracket and possible re-drill screw holes if need be.  I will mount it up near where the OEM coil is located, under the tank behind the front frame downtube.  Thing is the pertronix is much larger than the OEM coil, so it won't fit all the way up there.  On my bike there are a few screw holes along a flat metal piece which is welded to the downtube, and protruding down below the tank in that area.  I don't know what used to be mounted there... perhaps the PAV breather hose or something.  I think it was up in that area.  Basically I'm going to jury-rig it like I do everything on my bike. 

If you still have the side-panels on your bike, that's probably an easier solution.

I'm interested to learn more about coils now.... sorry for the interruption.

Cheers,
Chuck


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Reply #32 on: September 26, 2018, 03:39:51 pm
REVirginia,

Any update, or has it been too rainy?


REVirginia

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Reply #33 on: September 29, 2018, 12:22:39 am
Hello, Chuck.  And yes an update. 

After it started and would skip a beat or sputter to a backfiring death if I was holding the TCI in my hand and gave it a little shake, decided it was either the TCI or proximal wiring.  I cut out and soldered directly part a portion of the wiring harness that had been modified when installing the original "performance" TCI for the new couplers required.  No change. Given the dubious history of these TCIs that where sold for a time, and this being the second "performance" TCI I had placed on it after another failed mid-ride some years back, I broke down and ordered a new green TCI, along with a pre-made wiring harness designed for the Electra that included the run from the TCI to the ignition and pulsar coils.  For any that do get it from our English friends, it does requires fitting one female connector going to the 10A fuse, otherwise a piece of cake. The wiring colors don't match, so just update your schematics.  Got everything in place and she started up pretty readily and didn't die on me after leaving her run and testing an open throttle and coming off it looking for a backfire. Nothing.  Had to adjust the throttle screw a bit on the carb, but otherwise no apparent issues. Repeated a few more times without a problem.  So spent the next several hours running and retaping the wiring set (I wondered if I was as efficient as the gentlemen in India. I doubted it, but thought it looked good on completion anyhow.), cleaning things up, tightening some bolts, etc.  The real test will be to take it out.  I'm going to proceed with cautious optimism at this point.

I can't explain the voltage loss through the circuit, but it may have always been there all along, and 10.xxV is sufficient for the coil and spark plug.  So it's got a cleaner wiring web, is minus the side stand switch and I'm a little more intimate with the bike.  I've learned something through all this, but unfortunately it may have pushed out another something I was hoping to hang onto.  I'll confirm it wasn't a dream in the morning, change the oils, and go to a friend's retirement party to enjoy a beer.  Sunday will give it a trial ride for the first time in about 20 months.  I'll let you know.

Thanks for all your inputs and collective knowledge. Even it it didn't boil down to some of the these issues, just some redirection and education was very much appreciated.





tooseevee

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Reply #34 on: September 29, 2018, 07:00:31 am
Hello, Chuck.  And yes an update. 

.... and she started up pretty readily and didn't die on me after leaving her run and testing an open throttle and coming off it looking for a backfire. Nothing.

  So spent the next several hours running and retaping the wiring set (I wondered if I was as efficient as the gentlemen in India. I doubted it, but thought it looked good on completion anyhow).

      Hope you found some good tape to rewrap your harness. I used cloth tape on mine. It was an ungodly horrible mess of miles of sticky black plastic tape from the factory and took me hours to get the tape off and then fix some of the connections which were just twisted wire. The cloth tape unwraps and rewraps easily and non-stickyly.

ttps://www.ebay.com/p/Vintage-Parts-76182-Cloth-Wire-Harness-Loom-Tape/1735313895

      I'm glad to hear you're making such good progress  :) :) There aren't too many of us AVL garage modifiers left :(  Good luck Sunday.
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


Adrian II

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Reply #35 on: September 29, 2018, 11:26:35 am
Quote
There aren't too many of us AVL garage modifiers left :(

Did I mention that my wife will be joining this select or deranged (choose one) group? Out of the blue she asked "Do you think I could rebuild an old motorbike?" Well, I think she could, and hey, what better way to use up some of the spare AVL stuff my garage seems to be awash with?  The frame will be from a '94 iron barrel Bullet, but as we know it all bolts together just the same.

We'll see how she copes with winter in the garage, though I suspect our winters are much milder than yours.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


tooseevee

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Reply #36 on: September 29, 2018, 03:22:40 pm
Did I mention that my wife will be joining this select or deranged (choose one) group? Out of the blue she asked "Do you think I could rebuild an old motorbike?" Well, I think she could, and ....

We'll see how she copes with winter in the garage, though I suspect our winters are much milder than yours.

A.

        ...and I think she could, too. That's great. Tell 'er I said so.

            Winters are not exactly horrible here, but at 80 they are now unpleasant at times. We are snowed in 2 or three times a year and juiceless at least once and it's sometimes days before the town's giant front loader makes it here. Coleman stove, kerosene heaters, generator, snow blower, oil lamps; no problem :)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 03:25:12 pm by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


heloego

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Reply #37 on: September 29, 2018, 04:57:26 pm
Pretty cool, Adrian!With you around both of you should have a great time!  ;D
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mattsz

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Reply #38 on: September 29, 2018, 05:52:28 pm
Did I mention that my wife will be joining this select or deranged (choose one) group? Out of the blue she asked "Do you think I could rebuild an old motorbike?" Well, I think she could, and hey, what better way to use up some of the spare AVL stuff my garage seems to be awash with?  The frame will be from a '94 iron barrel Bullet, but as we know it all bolts together just the same.

We'll see how she copes with winter in the garage, though I suspect our winters are much milder than yours.

A.

Please have her start her own thread - or start one for her.  I can think of a few other interested women who would love to "observe" the process...


Adrian II

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Reply #39 on: September 30, 2018, 12:52:14 pm
Glad to see the positive comments, I'll need to crack on and get my other project properly mobile so I can make a bit of garage space for her!

A.
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motoguzzibill

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Reply #40 on: October 01, 2018, 08:47:43 am
Sorry I didn't read this thread sooner. I had the same or similar problem with my 07' Electra last year which resulted in a lot of frustrating chasing of possibilities. My bike went from running fine to intermittent cutting out, impressive backfires, and then not running at all.

I considered all the same issues you have discussed and tried them all but in the end it came down to that "performance" black box. Mine had very little use time on it but still failed. Frustrating part was I couldn't find a way to test the unit other than replace it. I bought the Suzuki unit available on Ebay and now the bike sparks reliably. I'd guess those "performance" boxes were/are poorly constructed and/or designed. I don't think they are available anymore, reliability might be the reason.

It was a pretty frustrating experience and made me think that a point/condenser set up would have been much easier to deal with. But we won't find those on any newer bikes.
Glad you got it figured,
Bill   


tooseevee

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Reply #41 on: October 01, 2018, 12:50:30 pm
I had the same or similar problem with my 07' Electra last year which resulted in a lot of frustrating chasing of possibilities. My bike went from running fine to intermittent cutting out, impressive backfires, and then not running at all.

I considered all the same issues you have discussed and tried them all but in the end it came down to that "performance" black box. Mine had very little use time on it but still failed. Frustrating part was I couldn't find a way to test the unit other than replace it. I bought the Suzuki unit available on Ebay and now the bike sparks reliably. I'd guess those "performance" boxes were/are poorly constructed and/or designed. I don't think they are available anymore, reliability might be the reason.

Bill

       Gotta correct just one teeny little fault in your TCI narrative.

       There IS no difference in these TCIs. By that I mean that the so-called "performance TCI" IS the Suzuki TCI and always has been whether you bought it from Hitchcock's or Ebay.  They're not different because of who or where from you bought them. I think they're different because of quality control and what year was the one you got made (not you Bill, anybody).

         I went to a lot of time and effort to install one from Ebay on my '08 a few years ago just as an experiment to see any difference between it and the Green TCI.

        The difference was that the engine just would not run at all above a fast idle and would not take any load at all. The Green one went right back on (I made them both Plug&Play, OCD bastard that I am).

        They are not reliable. Some have been fine, others not. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 12:54:05 pm by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.


Adrian II

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Reply #42 on: October 02, 2018, 06:07:39 am
I have kept the 2006-ish Suzuki TCI box that I was given for my Electra-X. It ran very well.

The problem might be that as the original GS125 Suzuki is probably long since obsolete, we are now relying on pattern parts from a Very Large Asian Country, rather than the original Asian Country, and these parts may or may not be of suitable quality.

Still feel bad about sending tooseevee off an a wild goose chase...  :-[

A.
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tooseevee

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Reply #43 on: October 02, 2018, 11:38:15 am
I have kept the 2006-ish Suzuki TCI box that I was given for my Electra-X. It ran very well.

Still feel bad about sending tooseevee off an a wild goose chase...  :-[

A.

     Truth be known, I didn't mind doing it at all so don't feel bad. I like 'speeraments  :)

      If I had spent equal time on the road as I have modifying and fiddling with this black beast, it would have 30,000 miles on it by now.

      It took a long time to "get it right", but it's there now. I trust it implicitly. I ran it yesterday after two or three weeks and it just starts instantly and drops right into a perfect idle, no muss no fuss. Just do not touch the throttle AT ALL for at least 30 seconds or a minute.

      My next experiment is to see how cold it has to get before I need the enrichener (even though I never ride in the cold any more). I just want to know.

        And thanks for all your help, A, and thanks again to you, Ace, for the head  ;) ;) and all the other advice from everybody since '09.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 11:42:17 am by tooseevee »
2008 AVL Classic.Extensive head work by Ace.Ace canister/TM32/Ace manifold.Small open bottle/hot tube removed.Pertronix Coil.Bobber seat.Fed mandates removed.Battery in right side case.Decomp&all doodads removed.'30s Lucas taillight/7" headlight.