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Old 09-25-2007, 12:46 PM   #136
Dan nyc
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Thanks for the inspiration Tom and Hiedi.
Georgette and I are heading out to the Ozark Mountains thanks to you and similar stories.
Good luck with the ignition and take-off to South America.
Will you do Columbia or Equidor?
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:17 PM   #137
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Location: Thawed Wasteland
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If its any consolation (assuming its the ignition sensor and related parts), be glad you aren't driving a BMW. By the time mine was replaced on my K75, I was $600 lighter in my pocket! And that was in the US!

See, there's always a bright side to every problem! It could always be worse.

...and you get to live in paradise while getting it fixed. Just think how you'd feel if you were on a 3 or 4 week trip. So buck up!

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Old 09-25-2007, 03:23 PM   #138
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Just so you know, Harley breakers reset VERY quickly. We had a short on my dads shovel and it was maybe 5 seconds to reset. It also has a very distinct sound when it resets. Sorta a loud "tink". Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:41 PM   #139
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Hope you get it sorted out

I am surprised at the amount of the ADV Rider dudes that know so much about Harleys. Who would have thought??

I am sorry that I can't help you guys. I don't know much about them.

Remember though, that we shouldnt be too far behind. Not too sure about the logistics of it, but if you ever need us to pick up something for ya on the way, let us know.

I hope you get it figured out.

B and C
__________________ - don't be scared - check it out!!

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:30 PM   #140
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Welcome to the asylum To bad you didn't bring your hair dryer along, it would have helped in the troubleshooting. I guess that leaves more room for all your shoes

You guys will love Scorpion Bay, a beautiful laid back slice of paradise.

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Old 09-25-2007, 09:49 PM   #141
pfft ...
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Worthless information, or maybe not ...

Tom and Heidi, Hi!

You may already know all the following information, if so I apologize up front for my running at the fingertips with needless information. If you don't then perhaps what I'm sharing might shed a bit of knowledge that could be helpful in understanding the dynamics of the system. Ok disclaimer to follow: I'm explaining this as I understand it. Most likely others will have different thoughts and opinions.

The ignition sensor is based on sending a very low power signal to the ignition module, which in turn sends power to the coil and on to the sparkplug, simple. Most likely the spark plug, coil, and ignition module parts are pretty understandable. Interestingly, all this is controlled by a nominal amount of energy that comes from the ignition sensor.

The ignition sensor receives regular power from the module. The sensor creates electro magnet forces which, when flowing tell the module to fire off a signal to the coil. In order to have electro magnet forces flowing there are two electromagnet heads (my words) that send electrons back and forth. Think of them as the two sides of a gate. When something gets in the middle of the two gates there will not be any flow of electrons between them.

Imagine this, two sets of gates 180 degrees apart, the gates are perpendicular to the face of the surface. In the middle is the crankshaft end or camshaft end. Attached to the crank is a cup that is edge in, facing the surface. The edge of the cup fits inbetween each set of gates blocking the electromagnetic force. However there is a cut out in one spot of the edge of the cup. When that cutout passes through the upper set of gates the electrons can shoot from one gate to the other which sends the signal to the ignition module. Then when the cut out passes between the other gateposts, 180 degrees away, they send another signal to the module.

Call the cup a trigger, and the gates the timing/ignition sensor. In some cases there may be only one set of gates, and in others there is no cup at all, just a magnet that rotates and passes between or in front of a sensor.

Ok, why am I explaining all this? There are no moving parts. The cup is fixed to the end of the crank or cam. If the bike breaks down and won't start again and you are miles from anything and need to deal, you might have to attack this thing.

What would cause something that has no moving parts to fail?

Age and heat that have made the wire coverings crack and short out, perhaps.

Something that has coated the sensors/electromagnets.

A loose trigger/magnet.

Something that is out of alignment with the gates and cup.

A poor connection between the sensor wires and the module.

Water/moisture/oil/gas that has gotten into cracked wire coverings.

Dirt or sand someplace where it shouldn't be.

A broken connection.

These are just thoughts that might help if something happens before you get your replacement part. You had a multimeter on your bench when you were pondering what tools to bring. Did it come with you?

As an aside I know that on the bmw's they go because of cracked wires shorting out. The wires can be replaced and the actual sensors kept. Takes a bit of soldering and finding the right type of wire. I know also that an alternator belt starting to come apart inside the same casing as the sensors can leave bits of fabric on them which can mute the signal.

On the other hand I agree with the concept of it could be the circuit breakers or perhaps the wire connections as they go into the breaker box. A loose wire going into a breaker/fuse box or relay can drive someone crazy.

I hope my sharing all this just gave you a bit more information that might come in handy if the worst happens. If nothing happens and you are fine than it's just additional worthless information.

Don't ask how I know all this ...


PS: Wikipedia has a bit of information. Search under Hall Effect and also Ignition System.

PSS: How I know all this. Dad was in the automotive business. I was the oldest of all daughters, no boys, making me the one he cajoled into helping with the dirty/greasy work. He taught me a lot and I never stopped learning. One of the most important lessons he taught me was to not be afraid to dig in and figure it out, even if it wasn't a very girly girl thing to do.

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Old 09-26-2007, 10:33 PM   #142
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I'm such an idiot

Cavebiker, I forgot about the Mexico Sportster group. Maybe one of them can help you out, quien sabe?
rubber side down,


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Old 10-02-2007, 09:49 AM   #143
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Laugh Guerrero Negro:

Were making our way down the Baja. Guerrero Negro is a nice small Mexican town famous for its whale watching boat tours. We stayed at Hotel Malarrimo two years ago when we came through here with our jeep and thought we would check it out again. We decided that if it was $40 or less a night we would stay here. $36 a night with free wireless internet, we took 3 nights. Thats the window to our room on the left.

The hotel has a fancy restaurant attached but we prefer the small taco stands where the locals eat. This became our favorite place, about a mile walk up main street.

Tacos carne de asada (grilled beef), tacos de pescado (fish) and all the fixings.

I was busy on the internet trying to figure out what is wrong with our motorcycle. I received a ton of help from the community (Motorcycle Adventure Rider). This is huge. I had a theory as to why the motorcycle starts right back up after a short rest after killing. This theory was confirmed by several people from the community. I also received several other ideas as to why the bike may be killing. Before getting all this help from the internet community Heidi and I were planning on shooting for Texas after reaching mainland Mexico to have a Harley mechanic look at the bike. Now we are again continuing on our original route with just one additional stop at a Harley shop in Cabo San Lucas to get a new ignition sensor part, a possible cause to our problem. While in Guerrero Negro I stopped at an auto parts store and bought a handful of auto fuses. I replaced the motorcycle ignition system circuit breaker with a fuse. The more I think about it the more Im convinced that that is the heart of all our bike problems. Three times the bike just killed while riding along in extreme heat. Every time it started right back up after just a one or two minute rest, as if nothing was wrong. If the bike problem was a faulty ignition sensor or a faulty ignition module or a faulty ignition coil, the probability of the bike firing right back up after resting just two minutes in the blazing sun and heat I think is minute. My theory is a faulty circuit breaker inadvertently tripping and killing the bike while riding in the extreme heat. Ive had at least five people agreeing with this theory without me mentioning it. I guess its a known problem on some bikes and a couple people know people who have had this exact problem. Still, Im stopping in Cabo to get a new ignition sensor just in case my theory is wrong. Dirty job.

We are on the road before noon, shooting for the Sea of Cortez and some beaches where there is a lot of camping available.

Volcano Tres Virgenes:

Sea of Cortez:

We tool through the town Santa Rosalia. There is a ferry here that goes to the mainland. We were considering taking this ferry before we had a plan to fix the bike. Before hitting mainland Mexico we need to have customs clear the motorcycle. I see the customs office (Aduana) and try to get the bike cleared here. A very friendly and helpful woman informed me I cant get it done here but writes down where I need to go in La Paz to have it done, the phone number and the hours its open. Its a good thing we changed our plan to take the ferry here, because we couldnt without clearing customs first.

Lunch stop in Santa Rosalia:

Tostadas de pollo:
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:57 AM   #144
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Thumb Mulege

I think this is a Mexican prison:

While driving in Mexico we see a lot of these little religious memorials along the side of the road, usually at a sharp turn. They are usually filled with little religious statues and candles. We think they are locations where someone has died in an auto accident.

Entering the town of Mulege. It feels like another world here. After riding along in dry desert and cacti then bam, palm trees everywhere.

Before leaving town we see a sign saying “Villa Maria Isabel - RV - Camping – Pool” We gotta check this out.
$13.50 a night. Looks good to me!

The tent is up in no time:

The pool is huge, clean and in a tropical paradise setting. We are the only guests here. Life is good…..

Heidi finds her spot.

Figs drying in the sun to become dates. I didn’t know figs came from palm trees. This place is loaded with them.

We were going to spend just one night here but it soon became apparent that we needed at least two nights to do Mulege right.
About a forty minute walk along the river to town.

We felt like we were in a scene of some tropical jungle movie or something.

Mulege really seems like it is trying to be tourist friendly. At a restaurant the waitress kept asking me if I wanted more coffee. This has never happened to me in Mexico before.

Signs in English.

We have a small cabin in northern Wisconsin with an old septic system. We tell family and friends to apply third-world rules to the toilet. They never know what we are talking about. Where Heidi and I travel we see signs like this all the time….

We see electrical wiring like this all the time also. Not very child friendly.

This place was a real score. We enjoyed late night dips in the pool under a clear sky with a full moon shining through the palm trees.

We are always trying to figure out ways to lighten our load on the bike. I have vivid memories back in high school of stories my father and older sister told of their three and a half month backpacking adventure hiking the Appalachian Trail. This was their first big hike like this and they had way too much gear they said. I’ll never forget the story of them chopping their toothbrushes in half just to lighten their load. Funny, but when you are carrying everything on your back, every ounce counts. Well, this photo is of the same pot my late father carried on all his thousands of miles of backpacking the Appalachian Trail. I’m paying homage to the pot by cooking in it one last time before we ditch it to lighten our load. I remember cooking with this same pot with my father on one two week leg of the trail we backpacked together. Sitting around the camp after a strenuous days hike, listening to my father tell stories never told before of being a frontline solder in WW2 in the Philippine islands. This is a poor photo but it’s absolutely priceless to me.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:20 AM   #145
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Thumb Loreto

Thanks all for the replies and all the great information. This is a lot of fun and hearing from all of ya makes it all the more fun.
================================================== ======
Again we are on the road before noon. It is hot. Two days of riding in the heat and the bike is having ‘no problems’. Heidi gets freaked whenever I pass a vehicle, worrying that the bike could kill just as we pass, a valid concern. I never pass when I have another vehicle behind me. An engine failure in that situation could be fatal.

Bahia de Concepcion. This is where Heidi and I camped with our Jeep two years ago. The place is like out of some National Geographic show with birds and marine life everywhere. When we were here two years ago the part of the beach in the photo was filled with RV’s permanently parked under palapa houses, some were for sale. They are all gone. Where did they go? Did the Mexican government decide that no permanent RV’s are allowed on the beach and hauled them all away? That’s my guess.

Another beach with camp palapas.

We’re shooting for a village called Loreto today. That’s where we will stage before our last leg to Scorpion bay. From Loreto, Scorpion bay is under 200 miles but the last 30 miles is a dirt road. With our heavy load and knowing how Baja dirt roads can be this last 30 miles could take us three hours or more. We hope not but must plan accordingly.

Loreto is a nice friendly small town with a lot of tourism. We tooled around town looking for a place that looked like we could afford with good parking. The first place we went to looked new and over our budget but it had a pool and we were planning on staying only one night, so went in to inquire. The guy said they were booked up. I asked for a recommendation of another place. The guy said most places he knows of are closed up until October. He gave me a feeling that we were not going to find anything. After a long pause he did give me one suggestion but said “If they are open” WTF. We zigzagged around town and never found the place he recommended. Down a side street I see a sign half tilted resting along side a building on a corner “Hotel Palmas Altas block -->” I was on it.

The office is right at the entrance and a woman was sitting there. I didn’t even have to get off the bike to talk with her. I asked if she has a room available for tonight “?Tiene una habiticion para esta noche?” “Si”. Then I asked, how much does it cost. Under twenty bucks. She shows us the room. We take it.

Hotel Palmas Altas. I park the bike right in front of our room.

After surveying the grounds and thinking about the price, I go to the office and pay for three more nights. O… Yeah.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon we were in the room hanging out. It’s a small room with just enough room for a bed and if you are sitting on the throne, there is not enough space to shut the door. Well, we hear someone enter the room next to ours. Heidi says she thinks someone is Doing-it. I say “No, that’s just the maid bumping her mop against the wall” Then we hear a female voice moaning in rhythm. 40 minutes later they are out of the room and the maid is in there cleaning. I guess this hotel rents by the hour also.???

The courtyard here is a tropical garden surrounding a pool. We set up for a day of hanging around the pool. I-pod boom box, cocktails, beans, tortillas and avocadoes, life is good. We have fun watching the couples come and go. It looks like some girls live here. The guys know just what door to knock on.

We saw this gym on our way into town. It was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel, perfect warm-up.

The guy who ran the gym, Manuel, was super friendly and made us feel at home.

Stay tuned! Much more to come….
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:35 AM   #146
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Hey Tom,

If you have time in Loreto, check out a gringo bar called Macaw(sp?). Take the main street to the water and turn right, its a few blocks on the right. Most days at about 5 pm several of the local gringo (full time and part time)residents gather for a cocktail. They pour a good drink and the fish tacos are pretty good.

Great trip, keep the reports coming. We are leaving for a Baja/Copper Canyon loop in mid Nov. If you are still in the area then, maybe we could meet up for a beer or two.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:32 PM   #147
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The religious shrines are Our Lady of Guadalupe, "The Mexican Madonna":

There is one at an overlook on the road from Ojinaga to Chihuahua. We tell newbies that it is "the only shrine to Guadalupe in the whole f**kin' country". They soon learn otherwise.

Thanks for the continued great reports.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:56 PM   #148
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Awesome report you two

Have beer, will fly

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Old 10-02-2007, 04:53 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by tenbears
That was worse than Kaneman's blogg

get out more!

FFS its only on your doorstep! WTF do you lot do during the 'vacation'?


Anyways, looking like life on the road is treating you two good!

That place in Mulege looks great, i'll be writing that place down for future reference.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:48 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Papa Dulce
Hey Tom,

If you have time in Loreto, check out a gringo bar called Macaw(sp?). Take the main street to the water and turn right, its a few blocks on the right. Most days at about 5 pm several of the local gringo (full time and part time)residents gather for a cocktail. They pour a good drink and the fish tacos are pretty good.

Great trip, keep the reports coming. We are leaving for a Baja/Copper Canyon loop in mid Nov. If you are still in the area then, maybe we could meet up for a beer or two.
Hey Warren
Macaws has been bulldozed :( the new hangout is Augies. The woman who ran Macaws runs the restaurant attached to Augies. The bar is not as big but has the same Atmosphere and a terriffic happy-hour.

Thanks for the recomendation to Scorpion Bay! Tom & I celebrated (celebrating) our birthdays here the 2nd & 3rd of Oct. We are really enjoying ourselves. A dozen or more dolphins just finished putting a show for us on Tom's big 50 birthday! We wanted to be somewhere unique for our birthdays and you gave us that gift. Thanks again!
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