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Old 06-24-2014, 08:59 AM   #167
Dare to be Stupid
bgoodsoil's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Oddometer: 4,608
The stock electronic ignition failed on me during a road trip and left me stranded. The ICU failed--likely because I forgot to replace the heat sink paste during my rebuild. Several days of 100+ degree traffic in Mexico was as hard on the bike as it was on me I guess.

It was easy to troubleshoot, you undo the 3-pin connector and ground out certain pins to determine which component failed, and I found a spare ICU from a Volkswagen Jetta for $25 at a local parts shop. Fired right up and I was off and running.

When I got back from the road trip I picked up a rebuilt points-can from Datchew for cheap. I didn't mistrust the electronics but I liked the idea of an old-school, mechanical system. If you don't like old-school mechanics you probably shouldn't be riding an airhead anyways. I've lived with the points for 40 or 50k miles and I've been pretty happy with them.

I didn't switch the 5k electronic plug out for the 1k points caps but the bike ran fine on them for tens of thousands of miles. The greater resistance caused some juice to leach through the insulator where the wire from the condenser goes through the can to the points though. It melted the resistor once and a blob of molten plastic fell down on the points killing the bike. I scraped the plastic off, wrapped the wire in electrical tape where it passed through the can, and I was off again.

I'm on my 3rd set of points--once I replaced them when they didn't need it and once they were burned up. I probably could've sanded the points and they'd have worked but I had a spare so swapped it. Still on the original condenser.

I had a new set of Bosch points fail on me the day after I installed them when one of the contacts fell off. The stories of the newer parts being poorly made might be true. I'm running a set of off-brand points made for some car now and they've held up fine for 10k or so.

I can't complain about either set-up. It was never cold-natured or finicky about idling/accelerating with either one.

I've got an Enduralast alternator and I'll likely get their crank-mounted electronic ignition once they get the bugs worked out. I'll keep my points can installed though.

Anyways, there's my two cents after having put a lotta miles on both.
'85 BMW r80G/S--Another G/S on the road--Central America on a Shoestring--Nova Scotia on a Shoestring--Never Leave a Man's Behind

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