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Old 10-10-2007, 06:14 PM   #166
pfft ...
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Killington, Vermont
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an "Aha!!" You're on to it, aren't you?

Originally Posted by cavebiker

OK, again I’m not making any of this up. I hop on the bike and ride up the road toward our hotel. I pull into a store to buy some water and pop. After I get back on the bike, the ignition key will not turn to run, it only turns as far as accessory. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. I try for about a half an hour and no luck. I’m thinking it’s possibly the key, it looks pretty worn. I didn’t want to do it but I finally get out my tools and proceed to take part of the bike apart to retrieve the hidden key I have buried deep inside the bike. I should have taken a photo but I was just too frustrated. I get the key. I put the bike back together. I stick the key in the ignition. Same thing, it only turns as far as accessory. What is going on here? No one could have tampered with the bike while I was in the store. It was parked right in front of an all glass store front and I was only in there for a few minutes. No one could have tampered with the bike while I was in the internet caf, the switch worked fine when I left there. What the heck!

I stay calm, thankful I’m only a few miles away from our hotel. I proceed to push the bike first along busy touristy store fronts then along the malecon. The temperatures were hot, the sun was blazing and I was sweating bullets. I’ve pushed many bikes many miles in the past but never a 1200 Harley Davidson half packed with gear. At this point I was glad I still lift weights and compete in marathon cross country races. I made it! The bike is not leaving the hotel in Mazatlan until I get this fixed. The adventure continues…….

Much more to come :)……………………

What makes circuit breakers trip? A short circuit of wires, yes?
Doesn't the ignition switch have electricity going through it? Could there be a short in the switch?

Could the circuit breaker flipping be an indicator of a short somewhere on the bike and the breaker is actually fine doing what it's supposed to do?

You're on to it aren't you? The source of the problem is so close you can taste it, can't you?

Keep digging, you'll find it.



Edited to add that I hadn't read BlueGlide88's post prior to typing this one. We seem to have similar ideas. Sorry for being repetitive.

MsLizVt screwed with this post 10-10-2007 at 06:51 PM
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:48 PM   #167
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: foot of windrock mountain
Oddometer: 26
I wonder if the contacts in the switch body have arced and melted or some similar scenario? I am not familiar with that particular switch, but most switches have that one thing in common.. as in relays, when they start to get funky, they are prone to arc, which can cause a huuuuge buildup of heat, fusing, melting... etc.
That could conceivably be what is limiting the travel of the keyswitch travel.

Just my .02, which we all know how much that is worth.
if it were the tumblers in the lock, I would think it might not turn at all... BUT that contact being arced, etc..... different story..
arcing and the associated heat can cause all sorts of current faults.. fault to ground, fault to another terminal, etc. which could possible create a breaker trip scenario.

be safe, and God bless....
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:21 AM   #168
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Location: Mpls, Mn.
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Hi Tom,

Here's the part numbers your looking for;
Main Breaker: #74699-94 (Parts guy said it should either be located under on the left side cover or under the seat, he told me to buy a service manual).
Ignition switch: #71441-94 (It comes with keys)

Hope to see you guys in Costa Rica at the end of November!


"Its the main circuit breaker. And I need a BIG favor.
Can you find out where this main circuit breaker is on my 1995 XL1200?
Can you find the exact part number of the main circuit breaker.
Can you find out the exact name and part # of the main ignition switch, the one where you turn on the bike with the key. I guess I need a new set of keys along with the switch, I assume the keys will be included."

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Old 10-11-2007, 01:48 PM   #169
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
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Hey Tom,

You must be getting frustrated. Relax and take your time, the bike is just nuts, bolts and wire. Not too complicated for a man of your obvious talent. Remember Grant's advice, when on the road, getting one thing done a day is plenty. Switch thing sounds like some graphite might be the ticket. Check for external damage to the switch from the ferry fall. Not familiar with HD switches, but they are all pretty similar. Lock mechanism turns a moveable barrel/contact plate that makes up contacts with a stationary plate tied to the wire harness. The fixed portion of the switch may be cracked and not allowing the full travel past acc to on.

Good luck, we're pulling for you. Adv is a huge resource so ask and ye shall receive.

Trust Me

'01 R1150GS The Big Bitch
'03 XR650R El Gallo Rojo
'71 R75/5 Old Gentleman
'03 Tiger (Mama Dulce's)
'99 DR 350 (Mama's too)
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:42 PM   #170
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Thumb Fixing a problem on the road

Thanks a ton every one of you. This has turned into some type of fricking scientific engineering discussion forum. I cant tell you how much I enjoy that and appreciate it.

@MsLizVT & blueglide88: Right on. Im going to look even deeper into all the wiring and look for a short issue. This kill issue has only happened when it has been extremely hot out. Im hoping its a faulty breaker but with an intermittent problem there is NO WAY to ever know if I fixed the problem. All the more reason to check everything along with replacing the suspected part.

@robsteros41: I be liken the words you are saying. That switch seems welded, like there is super glue in the tumblers. I was going to ask someone to scan in a 95 XL1200 schematic and hot wire the thing but Im trying to have someone DHL us the main circuit breaker, so we may as well get the ignition switch and a new set keys at the same time. So, no mater what is wrong with the thing, it is Fed.

@Hipster: Thanks at Mil man!! and thanks for double checking that part number. It would be a nightmare getting the wrong part delivered.

@Papa Dulce: You are right on and Good advice indeed. We have the solution in hand. I soaked the thing overnight and nothing. I had to try it but it is locked hard. It has to be welded or super glued or just wore out and a tumbler fell or something. We are attempting to get a new switch and main breaker DHLed to us.

We are getting at least one thing accomplished every day. We are developing more confidence this thing is going to continue taking us the rest of the way. We are in a good spot and smelling the roses. Relax is the word. We like Mazatlan and this adventure is continuing. Fixing a problem on the road is a pleasure at the highest level and will amplify this journey for sure.

Right Heidi?................ :|
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:52 PM   #171
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Location: Idaho
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Even with the bike problems im still envious of you:grinnerTime to kill some time, kick back and have another good ol mexican beer in the sand
Have beer, will fly

"This forum requires that you wait 30 seconds between posts. Please try again in 1 seconds."

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Old 10-11-2007, 04:29 PM   #172
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Location: Southern Ontario
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How much longer do you have to wait for DHL?

I know you are concerned about getting your bike going again but you are in a safe place that you like, things could be a lot worse.

I hope the new switch arrives soon.

Like has been mentioned before you could hotwire the ignition if there are any problems receiving the new switch.

If I were stuck with a bad ignition switch I would buy some single pole single throw switches that have the same terminals (connectors) as the HD ignition switch and connect the main wire from the battery to each of the remaining wires with one switch for each circuit.

This would be a lot easier if you had a wiring diagram and at least a 12V test lamp or a volt meter. To finish the job you would also need more wire, the correct crimp-on connectors and electrical tape.

Usually one main wire from the battery supplies power to the ignition switch and then one wire goes from the switch to the ignition system. The other wires may be for the accesories. The neutral light should come on and engine should keep running if you connect the correct two wires together.

I do not own a Harley so cannot help you with the colors of the wires but there must be others here who can help you with that.

If you like, while you are waiting you can tell us how many wires are connected to your HD ignition switch and we can start looking into the hotwiring further.

The yellow boom in the picture below looks like it would be used to contain an oil spill and the 'boat' may carry the equipment to remove the spilled oil from the surface of the water. Just guessing, I really should get on my bike and ride there to check it out.

Keep posting, excellent ride report with lots of ADV.


Originally Posted by cavebiker

What is this thing?

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Old 10-12-2007, 10:30 AM   #173
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Hi Tom,

I shipped the circuit breaker and ignition switch today. It should be at the DHL office on Wednesday

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Old 10-12-2007, 01:14 PM   #174
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Location: Shakopee MN
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As Suggested

Here I am, A part of History Now! Hope the new circuit breaker fixes your problem! I am beginning to wonder if the switch was maybe part of the problem all along! Maybe just put in the switch and see!!: Lmao! Just make sure tou check all of your wires for the bars and any other place you may have had to splice over the course of time! I have a high speed connection now so I don't have to wait half an hour to watch all of these GREAT pictures to paint!!

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Old 10-12-2007, 02:30 PM   #175
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Thumb Heidi and I want to thank everyone.

@Burtonridr: Beer in the sand. We were doing some of that last evening…….Can Do.

@OffRoadCruiser: Gracias amigo. Hot wiring has always been an option. With the stuff I have and your help I know we could get that thing going. Luckily with a two year ride, being laid up in Mazatlan is not a bad thing, especially when we arranged a deal for a long stay.

@Hipster: Wow man you are great!! True friend indeed. Mil gracias Tom. Now we can really kick back and enjoy Mazatlan. All the big jobs are accomplished, Now we can focus on a new bikini for Heidi.

We are hoping to meet up with you in Costa Rica at the start of December, I mean you and the monkeys.

@GroveRider: Ya Mon, welcome to the asylum! The GroveRider, Great Name. I knew you would have shipped me the parts also man. You were next if Hipster was out of town or something. I appreciate it a ton man.

It feels so great having friends and inmates willing to step it up to help us out. Heidi and I want to thank everyone.
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:07 PM   #176
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Great story, great read...luvin' this. Good luck with the repair....waitin for more....
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #177
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Location: KC, Palm Springs
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Tom and Heidi,
It was good meeting you two and sharing a few beers the last two days.
Kennyanc and I are El Fuerte now. Just took a swim and found the internet.
Tomorrow we are off for Urique. Have some fun for us in MZ.
Registered offender

"picking up hookers, instead of a pen, the words of my youth slipped away" Waylon Jennings

MX '06

MX '07
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:39 AM   #178
2005 FLSTC
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Shakopee MN
Oddometer: 10
Harley Circuit Breakers

Just a short explanation of the Harley cirduit breakers. (as I know it)

They are made of two strips of metal called a bi-metallic strip!

Basically two different strips of metal fused together that have different properties. Metal usually expands when heated, one of these two strips will expand faster than the other so when heated the strips will bend. opening up the circuit. when they cool again they become the same length and they close the circuit. if the combination or composition of the metals are not right they can open up when the outside air temp gets too high, or open a little, which will cause the contacts to heat up causing more expansion and the same effect as a short circuit!

Hope this may help someone understand! Take it for what it is worth!!
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:05 AM   #179
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Location: Ojai, Ca
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Great ride, we just missed each other I was in San Juanico when Ivo was heading our way, lucky it turned. For future referance there are 2 gas stations in San Juanico.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:43 AM   #180
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