Electrical (mainly turn signals, high beam) - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Electrical (mainly turn signals, high beam)

Morning everyone!

I purchased a 2001 RC with 13000 miles on it about 8 months ago. Due to a miserable winter, it has sat in the garage for about 5 of those months But, during the time I had it out, I managed to put about 6,000 miles on it. During that time, I noticed a few things, that were intermittent, but seem to be happening more frequently, and have really shown up now that the bike is back on the road.

1. Hard starting, ESPECIALLY when bike was hot. Example, I'm riding and stop for gas. If I don't let it sit for 20 minutes or so, I normally drain my battery attempting to get it started again.

2. Battery...wow, this thing is horrible. A brand new battery was on the bike when I got it, and I wound up buying a new one almost immediately after I purchased it. While I haven't had as many starting, or battery related issues, I still don't have confidence in either. It sits on the battery tender pretty much ANY time it's in the garage.

3. Tripometer reseting. Just randomly, regardless of the amount of miles on the tripometer, it will occasionally reset. Obviously not the most crushing of issues, but still raises the eyebrows a little bit.

4. Highbeams, occasionally, a flick on the highbeams, and either there is a delayed reaction (a couple seconds), or nothing happens. Often I have to hit the rocker switch a couple times.

5. Turn Signals...most recently. Riding one day and all of the sudden, my turn signals (only front and dash indicator) quit working. Rear still work, but at a faster blinking rate. At the same time, the background light on the dash turns off every time the turn signals flash. I thought I blew a bulb, but as soon as I pulled in the garage, it worked normal again. This has repeated nearly daily since it started, with it not working more often than it working.

I know it's a bear to try and troubleshoot over the internet, and I'm not an electrical expert. Just wanted to see if some of these are common to the RC and if so, what are some known solutions? Or, are these symptoms pointing to a tell-tale issue like a bad r/r, or suspect relay or something.

Thanks and looking forward to some feedback!

Sean
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 11:29 AM
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All of those things point toward a bad ground. Especially the odo reset.
You may have a charging issue as well, reg/rec or stator failures are common for us, but start with going through and making sure grounds are good and battery connections are clean. I would also unplug all associated connectors, inspect them for corrosion or heat, then put some dielectric grease on them, reconnect. That just may solve some issues.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 11:42 AM
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Maybe 1 and 2 go hand in hand? Just a guess. But I to have / had similar issues.

My trip also resets to zero when the bike is powered down...didnt really think anything of it until recently as other things were on the plate. Hopefully someone will drop some knowledge on that...inquiring minds.

I had a similar issue with the directionals and thought I was losin my mind....did a bunch of troubleshooting in the wrong direction and It turned out to be the button set for the indicators. Fast blinks, slow blinks, no blinks and the relay sounded like a typwriter (which I pretty sure only happend because a weak battery at the time)...I pulled apart the housing for the rocker, cleaned it up (it was filthy) but havent had an issue with the blinks since..
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 04:41 PM
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Odd I had the same issue with the high beam switch.
Just a quick question? As the temp goes up do you smell coolant? So I pulled off the bodywork and tightened all the hose clamps...still the same thing.

Then one day I noticed a drop of coolant through the fairing cut out for the rad. So I got bike on the lift and looked up from the forks opening through the nose piece, can you guess what I saw?
A couple of clamps that are not visible by just removing the side panels.

So I reached up from there and tightened one of them and the other I had to push the nose piece away a bit to tighten the other...why am I explaining about coolant and clamps for an electrical issue?

Well at first I just tightened the clamps to fix the coolant smells, then the high beam went wonky like yours.

After some time mulling it over I figured this out, after tightening the other clamps I figure the pressure in the cooling system pushed coolant out to drip on the connector for the high beam switchgear and was causing the same weird thing...I would have to double tap the high beam to get it to turn off.

Check for leaks...it may not be same issue but it fixed mine. Good luck and keep us posted.



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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RC5150 View Post
Morning everyone!

I purchased a 2001 RC with 13000 miles on it about 8 months ago. Due to a miserable winter, it has sat in the garage for about 5 of those months But, during the time I had it out, I managed to put about 6,000 miles on it. During that time, I noticed a few things, that were intermittent, but seem to be happening more frequently, and have really shown up now that the bike is back on the road.

1. Hard starting, ESPECIALLY when bike was hot. Example, I'm riding and stop for gas. If I don't let it sit for 20 minutes or so, I normally drain my battery attempting to get it started again.

2. Battery...wow, this thing is horrible. A brand new battery was on the bike when I got it, and I wound up buying a new one almost immediately after I purchased it. While I haven't had as many starting, or battery related issues, I still don't have confidence in either. It sits on the battery tender pretty much ANY time it's in the garage.

3. Tripometer reseting. Just randomly, regardless of the amount of miles on the tripometer, it will occasionally reset. Obviously not the most crushing of issues, but still raises the eyebrows a little bit.

4. Highbeams, occasionally, a flick on the highbeams, and either there is a delayed reaction (a couple seconds), or nothing happens. Often I have to hit the rocker switch a couple times.

5. Turn Signals...most recently. Riding one day and all of the sudden, my turn signals (only front and dash indicator) quit working. Rear still work, but at a faster blinking rate. At the same time, the background light on the dash turns off every time the turn signals flash. I thought I blew a bulb, but as soon as I pulled in the garage, it worked normal again. This has repeated nearly daily since it started, with it not working more often than it working.

I know it's a bear to try and troubleshoot over the internet, and I'm not an electrical expert. Just wanted to see if some of these are common to the RC and if so, what are some known solutions? Or, are these symptoms pointing to a tell-tale issue like a bad r/r, or suspect relay or something.

Thanks and looking forward to some feedback!

Sean
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All of those things point toward a bad ground. Especially the odo reset.
You may have a charging issue as well, reg/rec or stator failures are common for us, but start with going through and making sure grounds are good and battery connections are clean. I would also unplug all associated connectors, inspect them for corrosion or heat, then put some dielectric grease on them, reconnect. That just may solve some issues.
I agree that it sounds like a ground issue. Many things are being affected, but not necessarily at the same time. Unfortunately this can be a real pain to figure out. To be intermittent and random, it is often a wiring problem, such as pinched wires that have resulted in an intermittent short, or bad connectors, corroded connectors, etc. It sounds like it is coming from the front end of the bike so I would start wiggling and shaking all wiring and connectors going to the front end off the battery, one a a time with the bike running. See if you can cause the problem to happen which will narrow down the culprit. If nothing then turn the bike off and check/clean all the connectors as per jondog9.

Hard starting could be a ground/short issue that also affects spark (unless you don't hear the fuel pump prime). But if you find and fix the problem and still have hard starting, that could be indicative of early FPR issues. (Can anybody confirm hard starting from early FPR issues?)
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks guys, I'll start tracing wires and seeing what I can come up with. I'll follow up and let you guys know. I figured a short somewhere, but didn't think of the ground...that actually makes some sense now that I think about it.

No, I don't smell coolant, but that's an interesting issue. Never would have thought of that.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 10:49 AM
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(Can anybody confirm hard starting from early FPR issues?)
It could certainly happen. I haven't specifically heard of that symptom on it's own. OP didn't mention any other fpr symptoms, like smelling gas, stalling, crappy throttle response at low rpms, etc.
I wouldn't rule it out...

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Pulled off the rear cowl today, and ran some simple tests. Couldn't resolve any issues. Wound up getting slightly longer battery screws to help ensure there's a really solid pos/neg connection. I have battery tender and PCIII hooked up to the battery, so there's very little room on the small screws that are provided. Well...that did NOT help. Pulled the plastic protective box from the area directly in front of the rear brake lights and exposed the little black box and the millions of connectors down there. All I did was clean up some of the routing.

I will admit, that none of those actions solved the problem. So, at this point, I decided to run and grab some oil for a quick oil change. Pulled the side fairings off, did the oil change, and flicked the engine on. Amazingly, the turn signals are back to normal!!!

I have NO idea how, but the issue seemed to have resolved itself, at least for the short time. So, that leads me to believe it is indeed a bad wire somewhere (oh joy) and it will likely show up again. I have some aftermarket lights coming (p3lights) that I am going to install on Friday with the help of one of my buds. He's WAY more electrical savvy than I am, so he's going to see if he can track down the bad ground/wire.

I'll keep you guys informed of what we figure out. Of note...I did have to replace my fuse in my battery tender (3A). Found that slightly odd, but...kind of not with the random electrical issues I'm having.

Anyway, thanks again!

Sean
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 07:13 PM
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Sounds good. Come back here if the symptoms come back.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2013, 07:57 PM
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The wiring check is supposed to be all the wiring from the battery to the front of the bike, while it is running. That includes the harness running up the left side and subharness to the headlights, signals, etc. It doesn't sound like that was done. Pulling a side fairing off and having things change further leads to wiring issues somewhere on the front half of the bike.
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