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Old 12-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #1
Captdan OP
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R90/6 turns over - no spark

I've been in the process for the last few months breathing new life into an old r90/6. I've had and repaired leaks, and basic engine problems. Some of you here have been good enough to lend your knowledge and pass along tips that are greatly appreciated. Now I have another issue that simply perplexes me.

The problems started last Saturday. The bike started missing and back fireing out of right side. The issues then manifested to rough running on both sides, then to missing in the middle range rpm. She would run ok at higher rpms, but as the rpm range ran back down through the mid and lower range the bike would miss.

Last night I noticed the bike would not even try to crank. I removed the spark plugs and tested spark by grounding the plugs on the head and spinning the bike over.... Nothing, no spark in the least on either side.

I've got parts on order : 2 coils, plug boots, plugs, points and condenser that I hope to install this weekend.

I'm near the point of tossing the bike on my trailer and taking it to a Mechainc with the works " fix everything". The only thing that prevents this is that I missed the mega million lottery by only 6 numbers

So, any ideas? Condenser? Circuit board? .?? Any commenst from someone with past problems of this sort that fixed it I'm appreciate hearing from.

While I bought the bike to work on, working constantly on the bike and pouring money into it for eight months with little reward is not exactly what I had in mind. But I do love the ride the little B$:&;) when she runs and is the only thing that keeps me searching for solutions.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:56 AM   #2
Bill Harris
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Start measuring voltages, from the ignition switch through the kill switch to the points-- it's missing soemwhere. At $120 bucks a pop I'd make for certain the coils were bad before replacing them and hopfully the parts dept will let you return the unused coils.

When is the last time the ignition was serviced?
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:36 AM   #3
Captdan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Harris View Post
Start measuring voltages, from the ignition switch through the kill switch to the points-- it's missing soemwhere. At $120 bucks a pop I'd make for certain the coils were bad before replacing them and hopfully the parts dept will let you return the unused coils.

When is the last time the ignition was serviced?

Thanks, will check voltages. I don't have any history on the bike. It showed approx 44k on the clock, no records of service or history. So basically I'm starting over with it. If all else fails I'll just buy every part in the ignition system and selectively start replacing parts until I find the problem. At this point I'm leaning to the condenser as the culprit. As far as extra parts go, I don't mind having spares in my bins of motorcycle parts.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Have you measured the plug boots?? 5k is what you're looking for on a 2 pluger. Check the connections at the coil and the boot, the wires rarely go bad, it the connections.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:12 AM   #5
disston
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You can use the 5K plug wires, molded, from BMW or the OEM 1K plug caps that originally came on the bike. Plug wires or caps do go bad.

Spark plugs can be regapped but I usually put new plugs in. Spark plugs are non-resister. The resistance in the system is in the plug cap. You are allowed to do it any other way you want but it is supposed to be this way or the Germans yell at us.

Ignition points get burned up. They transfer metal from one contact to the other. They generally can not be regapped. They should not be filed. The Tungsten coating on modern ignition points is too thin to file. I think you mentioned filing these points last week? You will get her running when the new parts get installed.

Usually a bad condenser cripples the entire system not just low rpm. At least this is the only type of condenser failure I have ever seen.

The stock coils on an R90/6 rarely go bad.

Us older guys grew up with this stuff. This was how it was and how this bike was built. After you get tired of changing ignition points every 10K or so then you should consider the addition of an Ignition Booster. This will take the higher voltages off the stock points but it keeps the points in the system only they would then work as a low voltage switch. They will last a long time. Some riders want to convert the system to an electronic system that eliminates the ignition points. I've had them. I prefer to keep the points and do just the Booster. The subject comes up often and you should think about any change before doing this. In the mean time you will learn how to set up and deal with the stock system.

The reason this bike is still not running is because you have not put the new parts on yet. What with the time of year shipping is taking longer. Last week it barely ran and this week it has stopped running. Well last week nothing was fixed.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:17 AM   #6
LonerDave
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My 2 cents:

Check, clean and gap the points. The gradual onset of your symptoms makes me think they may have closed up or become corroded. In my experience, condenser failure is not common. (Not saying it doesn't happen, just my experience.)

If points are OK, then check to see that power is getting to them. If there's power to the points, then you know the problem is downstream (coils, wires, caps per Hardwaregrrl). If not, problem is upstream and you can diagnose that by following Bill Harris' suggestion of checking voltages all the way from battery to switches to points.

Hope this helps.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captdan View Post
Last night I noticed the bike would not even try to crank.
Just to be clear, the motor is "cranking" right? In the sense that the starter is spinning the motor over. But it isn't "firing" or "catching" or "starting". At least that's what we'd say in my neck of the woods.

If the bike is indeed not cranking (using my definition), then it's a starter system problem. But I don't think that's what you meant.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:42 AM   #8
Captdan OP
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Originally Posted by LonerDave View Post
Just to be clear, the motor is "cranking" right? In the sense that the starter is spinning the motor over. But it isn't "firing" or "catching" or "starting". At least that's what we'd say in my neck of the woods.

If the bike is indeed not cranking (using my definition), then it's a starter system problem. But I don't think that's what you meant.

Right, she spins but does not spark and attempt to start. Over the past week the symptoms have gone from bad to worse. I'm awaiting parts at the monent. Good idea to check voltage to see if I an locate where the break down is. All I can do is check minor basics and await the parts.

While I'm somewhat new to airheads, I have in the past built hot rods, know something about small block Chevys of early 60 vintage with points and condenser etc. In fact this is one reason I was attracted to the airheads - so I could work on them.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #9
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I'll second the idea the points are the problem. Just the feeling I get. And since it's a new bike to you, it's best to start with a tune up - get all those things right and out of the way. If it still doesn't run, time to start troubleshooting.

The condensor can mimic just about every electrical or carb fault and drive you nuts. The way to test is remove it from the circuit.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:39 AM   #10
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I have the same model and know that coils are very easily damaged by turning the engine over without plugs correctly shorted. Apparently, the coil failure can happen months after the initial non-proper-shorting-plug thing so may have been done prior to your ownership. Imagine you have an old beemer and it won't start, - check fuel and check spark. The PO may have done the coil damage way before you ended up with the bike. (BTW PO's are a great thing to have as you can blame them for all your woes). I'd bet that the new coils fix your problem. A points booster seems a good buy and I would recommend this as a good option.
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