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Old 03-19-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
FoolHardy OP
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Fried stator wiring on a KLR

I had an issue recently where my KLR died and wouldn't restart. Back story is I just installed a low mileage bottom end with a new 688 and valve job, about 150 miles ago. I pulled into a parking lot, it idled for about a minute, then died. After a few minutes of checking for fuel, it fired up. After a a few seconds it died. Tried again, spins but won't start. After checking fuses, spark plug wire ect I tried it again. Started right up, revved it up and held it at 3000 for 30 seconds or so. It's getting gas. Let it back down to idle and it died. Tried to start and again it turns over but won't start. Sounds like maybe the pilot jet is plugged. Twisted the carb and pulled out the main jet, its clean. Then realized I didn't have a screwdriver that would fit the pilot jet. I put it back together and it started. Then it died. Battery was getting low so I called the wife to come pick me up. Tried to jump start it with an automotive 2 amp charger. Spins but won't start.
It is getting spark, even when it won't start. So I'm thinking it's a carb issue. I soaked the carb overnight, drained ALL the gas out of the tank, disassembled and inspected the petcock. Checked the valves and cam timing. Installed new spark plug and boot. Reassembled it all. Put in fresh gas, 89 octane from the Chevron by the freeway. Checked battery, 12.6v. Turned on the key, 12.3v. Started right up. Idled good. Revved up good. Checked battery voltage while running 14.4. That's unusual. Its been around 13.6 while idling. Looked down, saw a wisp of smoke come up from the left side under the front sprocket cover. Shut it down. Wires coming out of the left side cover are blackened and the insulation has pulled back from the rubber block exposing a few mm of bare wires. Grrrr.

Spent a good part of yesterday with the bike, the book, and a multimeter. The regulator/rectifier tested good. The diode unit tested good. The exciter coil tested good, after a little wire wiggling. The pickup coil tested good. Not sure what I was doing wrong but I got all kinds of crazy readings from the CDI unit. The ignition coil primary coil tested good, the secondary coil read 9.5 ohms- specs call for 3.8-5.8 ohms. The stator tested good, with some fluctuation as I wiggled the burned wires. I checked the wiring harness for pinching and/or chafing, found spot that was slightly questionable at the clamp under the seat near the R/R. I unwrapped them and they looked good. I continuity tested the yellow wires from the R/R to the stator plug, the white/brown to the battery and the black/yellow the ground. All checked out good. Battery ground to the starter mount is tight.
So the secondary ignition coil is reading high resistance, could that fry the stator wiring? The stator checks out other than the fried wiring. I have a stator from a 94 sitting on the bench, ready to drop in, but I need to know what fried the wiring.
Any suggestions?
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
baloneyskin daddy
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I've seen this problem before and here's what I saw in some cases. The stator is wound with single strand wire and the 3 leads that connect to the harness are multiple strand wires. Where it connects to the 3 leads they use a small crimped ferule because heat from soldering would damage the windings. One or more of these crimped connections get a little loose and start arcing and its all downhill from there. If theres enough good wire after removing the burned up ends,just reconnect them with new crimp connectors and reinsulate.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Baloneyskin, but I can see where the wires leading in are soldered to the stator windings. Everything checks out with the meter from the point where the wires are bare after exiting the case, (due to the insulation melting) back to the stator itself. I got bad readings going from the plug at the end of the wiring back the the stator, through the melted wires. As I said I have another stator in good shape, which I have now installed. In fact the bike is all back together now, other than the ignition coil. I would like to know if a bad ignition coil could have fried the old wires. I would hate to put in a new coil and fry the wiring again.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoolHardy View Post
... I would like to know if a bad ignition coil could have fried the old wires. I would hate to put in a new coil and fry the wiring again.
How do you figure that the coil is bad if the engine runs?

Is your electrical system stock? If you disconnect everything from the stator (unplug the R/R) is there any continuity to ground on the 3 phase wires? There shouldn't be.

In my experience, stator windings can fry if there's a problem with the regulator/rectifier or if the electrical system has been modified away from stock and draws too much or too little current. R/Rs can be intermittent, which makes them harder to troubleshoot. They may work fine when cold and fail when hot.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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The book states that the secondary coil resistance should be between 3.8 and 5.8 ohms, mine reads 9.5 ohms. It was working, but if I'm to believe the Clymer manual, it's out of spec. I'm really not an electrical guy. I don't claim to have a great understanding of the ignition and charging systems on the KLR, just checking what the book says to check. Other than the fact I could not get a single correct reading out of the CDI, everything else I checked was in spec except for the coil. The last reading I took before I shut the bike down was showing a higher than normal voltage, so maybe there is something to your theory on the R/R. But it does check out good, by the book.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:20 PM   #6
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the secondary will be in kilo-ohms (Kohm) (thousands)...
as for not getting a good reading on the cdi... thats normal unless you use an analog meter. it has to do with how digital meters read diodes and transistors. the manual was written before digital meters were common. things like coils with a fixed resistance will still read the same, but ant solid state device will be off

p.s. it has to be the right analog meter as well.... some old manuals give 2 sets of readings depending on the brand of meter
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:01 AM   #7
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Ok, so it reads 9.5 KILO-ohms, and is the only thing I have found out of spec. Should I just replace it and see if the wires start smoking again?
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:20 AM   #8
strongbad
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I think you're completely barking up the wrong tree with the ignition coil.

Instead, rig a voltmeter across the battery in such a way that you can see it while you ride. Then go ride (on a mostly deserted road) and observe the voltage carefully. Ride for at least 20 minutes and ensure that the voltage varies between about 13V and 15V. If the voltage suddenly jumps up or down, stop the bike and feel the voltage regulator/rectifier. Is it hot as a pistol? That's your problem*.

*Assuming your electrical system is stock and there are no shorts to ground on you phase windings.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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I'm really trying to figure out what went wrong before I start the bike again, as last time I started it, wires got fried. Last time it ran, I had 14.4 volts at idle which is higher than the 13.6 it had been reading previously at idle. Is that a good enough indicator to pinpoint the R/R as the problem?
And the system was stock, except for heated grips and GPS, both of which were being used the day it first died.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:42 AM   #10
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I could find nothing wrong with the stator using the meter and the Clymer manual. Just the fried wires. The stator I just installed checks out also, and came off a known running low mileage bike.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:40 AM   #11
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The ignition coil secondary wiring presents no sort of drain on your alternator (stator), IMHO. The secondary ignition coil winding has no direct electrical connection to the stator; instead, the secondary winding serves as essentially a transformer outlet, firing the spark plug when the capacitor in the CDI discharges through the ignition coil primary windings.

Thus, the ignition coil secondary winding presents no direct load to the stator; further, since the ignition on Generation 1 KLRs is powered by alternating current from the stator exciter coil, the rectifier/regulator is not involved in the ignition circuit.

Don't know what's frying your stator, but--little chance it's the ignition coil secondary windings, IMHO.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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right... as XDR says, the Gen I ignition system does not need battery and is not connected to the rest of the electrical system. I would not worry about the ign coil.

the smoke from the wires at the C/S sprocket I'm thinkin you have figured that out... just need to be clean and insulated.. a regulator that has failed diodes could back feed into the stator but your battery will drain quickly. you would also see a flash at the battery terminal when the battery was connected. (there are other possible regulator problems, but do not fit your symptoms)

as for spark & no start... I kinda think its a fuel (carb) problem because it sounds like it will run in mid range.

if the rotor has been removed lately it is possible that the key was pushed out of place during re-assembly. this will let the system be normal for a while but then slip. it can still spark, but it will be out of time. pull the spark plug, put the bike in gear & roll it to compression, feel for TDC. check for the timing mark in the window.... if it's not visible... rotor has slipped. seen a couple of these. if it slipped though, the bike shouldn't run

Beezer screwed with this post 03-20-2013 at 11:22 AM
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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Thanks guys,
As for spark and no start, that *may* have been a carb or fuel issue. It has been intermittantly starting and running fine, then stopping, and not starting again. I have completely cleaned the carb, overnight soak, ect. cleaned petcock, fresh gas, checked vents, ect and believe that system is good. After that it started and ran fine, but started smoking wires. Possibly two seperate issues coincidentally happening at the same time, possibly there was never a fuel issue, but now I am sure any fuel issue can be ruled out. And the bike was running before the smoking wiring, so the rotor is in time, plus I checked the valves and cam timing a couple of days ago, even checked to make sure I could see the key in the keyway.
I felt that the battery did seem to go low fairly quickly, but then I did mess with it trying to start it for an a while. It is now 100 percent charged and load tested. I checked the R/R with the multimeter as per the book, wouldn't that testing have caught a failed diode in the R/R? I saw no arcing or flash when installing the battery cables.
I replaced the old (06) stator with the new(94) stator yesterday, it all checks out according to the book, wiring is in great shape. Could a short in the wiring harness cause the burned wiring? Electrical troubleshooting is not my strong suite, any tutorials, tips, or recommendations?
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:58 PM   #14
Beezer
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ya, a shorted diode would show up on the multi meter test as long as the proper scale is selected. the deal with digital meters is that the voltage they use to determine resistance is too low to turn on a diode, transistor, scr, & such.... that is why the book numbers for the CDI never read right when tested with digital. as I recall the test for the rectifier/regulator is simply that they read high one way and low when the leads are reversed. whats high and low? (also I think they have the polarity backwards in the old OEM manual... doesn't matter though as long as all 3 do the same thing).

long winded point I'm getting at is the digital meter has at least one scale or setting that is for reading diodes... it uses a higher voltage in order to turn on the device (but not as high as an analog, hence different reading).

the numbers you get vary a bit with manufacturer. typically a forward biased (allows flow) number is 400 to 600 ohms (.4-.6k). some devices like a zener typically read 1.3k, but thats not what you are testing at the 3 yellow leads. anyway, a good reverse bias (blocks flow) will be "infinite", usually indicated by the numeral 1 on the screen... same as no connection. if you got numbers that looked like that it is probably OK.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
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So after checking wires today and finding nothing weird, I decided it was time for a test run. Took a reading of the battery- 12.8v. Pulled the choke and started it up. Across the battery terminals read 14.4 at a high idle around 2300 rpms. Ran it for about 20 seconds, took the rpms up to about 3000, still about 14.4v. dropped the idle to 1600, reading 12.7. Shut it down. Felt the wiring for heat. Wires felt fine. Battery 12.9v, with the key on it dropped 12.4. While cranking, voltage dropped to 11+. At idle @ 1400= 12.6v, voltage climbs with rpms, tops out around 14.5v @3000. After that voltage decreases with rpms, drops to 13.5, up to 5500 rpms. Does this all sound normal to you? Oh, and it ran fine, never died on me. If there was a carb issue its gone now.
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