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  #1  
Old 05-18-2018, 08:14 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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No ignition at all

Hi everyone, it has been awhile since I attended the forum. Hope everyone is well.

My 79SF has sat for a year and I am disappointed in myself for letting it get in such shabby condition. We had a hard winter down here in New Orleans and it spent the winter under the carport with a cover over it. When I took the cover off I was really saddened at the condition I let my pretty machine get to. Even had a small nest of rodents camping out on top of the engine under the carbs.

I did a cursory check of the wire harness and do not see any evidence of wires being chewed by my tenants over the winter.

Anyway, I get absolutely no spark from either coil. The fuse is good and since I am not much of an electrical guy I hesitate to just start fooling around with stuff without seeing if anyone has any suggestions where I should start.
Thanks in advance for your input

Mike
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2018, 01:35 PM
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DiverRay DiverRay is offline
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Mike,
I know you guys had some real COLD weather down there so I understand. Here is what you need to do.
1. Make SURE the battery is good! IF it drops below 10.5V while cranking, no spark.
2. Check the kill switch, turn it off and on two or three times and try again.
3. Pull the tank and check the ground wires on the reg/rec. I usually undue the screw, clean any rust, put on a dab of anti-seize and tighten it down again.
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R1200RT Totaled 11-15-2016
XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
XS1100 SF
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2018, 06:03 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Thanks Ray. Battery is new but I never thought of the kill switch.
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79 XS-1100 Special

Once you un-can a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is with a bigger can.
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2018, 03:41 PM
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thumperjsa thumperjsa is offline
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If you're still running glass tubes for fuses, check for voltage across them when you turn the key on. Those old connections to the brass holders and the holders get weak over time. The main should be hot without the key if I recall correctly. I also can't recall if the main is part of the fuse box or a separate fuse connection on this model.

Another piece of advice, if you're still running glass tubes, I'd recommend swapping the fuse box for the more modern blade type. Even a non-electrician can do this as long as you can use a crimper or soldering iron.
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  #5  
Old 05-22-2018, 09:43 AM
Keithh Keithh is offline
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No Ignition at all

Don't forget to clean ALL connectors - don't forget the ones behind the fuse panel!
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Current:
1979 XS11F - "Sigmund"
1975 Triumph T150V - "Ralph"
1975 Honda CB125S - "Blue" - built for my daughter to learn on.
1983 Kawasaki GPZ 550 - yet another bike that needs me! It followed me home...

Previous:
1975 Norton Commando
1969 Triumph Tiger 650
2002 Yamaha YZ250F
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2018, 07:57 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Hey Mike,

Okay, others have gotten you started. Don't forget the TCi connections/plugs. Also if you're running full OEM, the ballast resistor might also be a problem, but it's bypassed by the TCI during startup mode. When the BR goes bad, folks can usually get a starting pop, but once it starts, then it won't keep running once the TCI sends/routes power THRU the BR. Also, check the actual KEY switch, contacts can corrode there also, can be taken apart cleaned and reassembled.

Good Luck.
T.C.
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2018, 09:40 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Thanks everyone.

I have not had much time to deal with it but I have tested/eliminated the kill switch, regulator/rectifier, tip over switch, both coils and a bunch of connections. I actually have a new ignition switch on hand but had not installed it yet. I changed to blade type fuses a few years ago but I changed them all anyway just in case. One thing I noticed is that once when I had the #1 plug out and against the head to check for a spark there was nothing until I turned the ignition switch off. That must have collapsed the coil and I had my hand where it should not have been and it jolted the C*** out of me.

I guess next I will change out the Ign. switch and chect the connectors at the TCI and behind the fuse panel.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2018, 11:18 AM
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DiverRay DiverRay is offline
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Mike, are you running stock coils?
If so, try spraying water on the plug wires and then do a test with the VOM between the two wires, cap to cap, and between the caps and ground. You should have an open between the caps and ground, very high resistance. If you can measure resistance, you have a problem with the insulation and coils are in your near future.
If that checks out good you should next clean ALL ground connectors, including the battery to frame and frame to engine grounds. I put a small amount of anti seize on the cleaned connectors AND the cleaned bolt to keep it from corroding.
Next would be bypass the kill switch to verify that is not the problem. You should be able to find the connector closes to the switch and loop it back to itself on the bike side. This will disable the switch so the key will turn it on and off.
Let us know how things are going as you get the time to work on it!
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2018, 11:31 AM
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skids skids is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TADracer View Post
Thanks everyone.
(snip) One thing I noticed is that once when I had the #1 plug out and against the head to check for a spark there was nothing until I turned the ignition switch off. That must have collapsed the coil and I had my hand where it should not have been and it jolted the C*** out of me.
This is a familiar discussion. Do a search (although it is tough on this site) and try to find the similar discussion. The field collapsing to make spark has been discussed! Sorry I can't help more.
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Down to two 1978 E's. Both stock air boxes with K&N filters, one with 81H pipes and carbs,
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2018, 01:24 PM
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skids skids is offline
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This might be worth a read:

http://www.xs11.com/forum/showthread...&referrerid=69

From,
skids
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Skids (Sid Hansen)

Down to two 1978 E's. Both stock air boxes with K&N filters, one with 81H pipes and carbs,
One with Jardine 4-1 pipes. 8500 feet elevation.
03 Honda ST1300 ABS
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  #11  
Old 06-26-2018, 05:00 PM
motoman motoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TADracer View Post
Hi everyone, it has been awhile since I attended the forum. Hope everyone is well.

My 79SF has sat for a year and I am disappointed in myself for letting it get in such shabby condition. We had a hard winter down here in New Orleans and it spent the winter under the carport with a cover over it. When I took the cover off I was really saddened at the condition I let my pretty machine get to. Even had a small nest of rodents camping out on top of the engine under the carbs.

I did a cursory check of the wire harness and do not see any evidence of wires being chewed by my tenants over the winter.

Anyway, I get absolutely no spark from either coil. The fuse is good and since I am not much of an electrical guy I hesitate to just start fooling around with stuff without seeing if anyone has any suggestions where I should start.
Thanks in advance for your input

Mike
Under a cover stored outdoors and add in the humidity......I suggest removing the Stop/Run switch, take covers off it and drop the whole thing in a shot glass full Evapo-Rust for a few hours. Remove, rinse with water, blow dry with air hose and ALL those copper components WILL look like new....even the switch and covers if you drop then all in there too. BTW, the STOP/RUN switch COMPLTES the running circuit, and if cruddy contacts inside, bike won't start....period without complete operating circuit giving voltage to those coils.
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Last edited by motoman; 06-26-2018 at 05:04 PM.
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2018, 06:59 PM
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skids skids is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman View Post
Under a cover stored outdoors and add in the humidity......I suggest removing the Stop/Run switch, take covers off it and drop the whole thing in a shot glass full Evapo-Rust for a few hours. Remove, rinse with water, blow dry with air hose and ALL those copper components WILL look like new....even the switch and covers if you drop then all in there too. BTW, the STOP/RUN switch COMPLTES the running circuit, and if cruddy contacts inside, bike won't start....period without complete operating circuit giving voltage to those coils.
BUT, he said good spark happened when he turned off they key...
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Skids (Sid Hansen)

Down to two 1978 E's. Both stock air boxes with K&N filters, one with 81H pipes and carbs,
One with Jardine 4-1 pipes. 8500 feet elevation.
03 Honda ST1300 ABS
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  #13  
Old 06-30-2018, 06:42 AM
TADracer TADracer is offline
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Well I have checked everything and still no joy. I checked all connections, coils, pick up coils, fuses, the works with the exception of the ignition unit which I do not know how to test. I put in the new ignition switch I already had on hand and I am getting 12 volts constant up to the coils and also to the ignition unit and since the motor kicks over I know I'm getting 12 volts to the starter solenoid. The ballast resistor has been jumped several years ago because I have 3 ohm dynatek coils, which I removed, cleaned and bench check and they still ohm out. Does anyone have any idea if the ignition unit can be checked? Or if not, does anyone have a known good unit for a 79 SF?

FYI I was planning on selling my machine over the winter because I am approaching 70 years old and I just can't keep after it anymore. But I wanted to get some riding in during this summer and fall Before I Let It Go. Whatever I decide to do I will be sure to make it available to members of this forum before I would sell it to anyone else.
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79 XS-1100 Special

Once you un-can a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is with a bigger can.
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  #14  
Old 06-30-2018, 10:04 AM
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DiverRay DiverRay is offline
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Mike,
I may have a unit in the garage. pm me with an address and I can send it to you so you can test with a different unit. If it works, just catch me when you sell the bike. If not, at least it's one other thing out of the way.
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R1200RT Totaled 11-15-2016
XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
XS1100 SF
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  #15  
Old 06-30-2018, 07:44 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Hey Mike,

The TCI's are very strong, rarely die. If you're OKAY with a soldering iron, you can take just the cover off so you can see the solder joints for the PIN OUTS to the circuit board, and just ReSweat those joints/connections. They have been known to corrode and loose contact.

The 78-80 TCI's are relatively cheap anyways, but you could also MAKE your own out of GM parts, see the Tech Tips for how to and what parts to get.

Just saying, so that IF the loaner TCI works, then you'll know your TCI is defective, then it's up to you whether you buy a used TCI or make one.

Good Luck.
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