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Old 05-18-2009, 03:37 PM   #1
jimbee OP
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Airhead Neutral Switch Leak Fix Thread

Hey'o

Background: New neutral switch installed as part of tranny rebuild. Leave on long trip. 5,000 miles into trip, oil starts leaking onto ledge beneath tranny. Figured it was the rear main seal that I just replaced - figured I f**ked up the install. Oh well, now home and pulled the tranny to get ready to pull clutch assembly to change rear main seal when I notice that it looks DRY up there - doesn't look like an engine oil leak!? Where could this oil be coming from....

Eventually put it all together: it was tranny oil leaking from the nuetral switch (might explain why shifting has slowly been getting notchier!)

Called Tom Porter and he explained that it was just what happens to these crappy switches. He suggested that since the tranny is already out to put in a new one - and he is sending me one no charge.

There have been some people here that have claimed to use JB weld to seal the switch and I am going to try to do something like this with the new switch before installing it. My thought is to tape (mask off) the two contacts, the threads, and the swtich assembly and then coat everything in a layer of JB Weld. I'll take some pics and report back...

Has anyone got any tips, pictures, or suggestions to doing this right?

CHeers, James
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:42 PM   #2
bgoodsoil
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whoa, waitaminute. are you saying you're going to coat the threads in JB weld then screw the neutral switch in? am I the only person that thinks that's crazy?

do you have some links to where people said to jb weld the switch in?
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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Nope. The plan is to tape up and cover the two electrical contacts, the threads, and the switch assembly to keep the JB weld off of those areas, then bath the rest of the unit in a layer of JB, then remove the tape exposing the clean parts that were covered...
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:56 PM   #4
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Why not just put the switch in, regular-like.... can't believe that they fail so regularly.... maybe that one got torqued a bit much, or dropped on the floor, or....??

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:51 PM   #5
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it s usually leaking from the bottom (where the electrical connections are) of the switch not just bellow the threaded part.

the lower part is made from 2 different materials and the heat cycles tend to make a leek/seep happening between them...

An experienced Airhead tech advised me to coat the area with some silicone but i also heard about the JB weld option.

Also be careful on the torque cause you need a big wrench which has a lot of leverage to tight it up...
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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I saw you mention threads in the taping off list but couldn't make any sense of it. I thought I read that wrong. alright, eagerly awaiting the pics!

Quote:
Why not just put the switch in, regular-like.... can't believe that they fail so regularly.... maybe that one got torqued a bit much, or dropped on the floor, or....??
Datchew told me they just go bad--no damage required. Like Readymeal said, the heat cycles I guess eventually cause a slow drip. My oil switch did that. Luckily I got around to breaking my neutral switch the good ol' fashioned way before it had a chance to fail

edit: airhead intermediate--ha!
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bgoodsoil screwed with this post 05-18-2009 at 05:50 PM
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
Prairie Beemer
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Mr R60/7 is likewise leaking from the neutral switch, I think. I'll have to replace it with the transmission in place. Lots of info on the web, but still a daunting task for the first time.

My question is this: Could it be something else that only looks like a leaky neutral switch?

Any other tips would be much appreciated.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Whats with neutral switches failing?

In my experience, they usually last several tens of thousands of miles before crapping out or leaking. Oh well.... Maybe it's todays parts thats the problem!

Also... Installing a new one really isnt a big deal if you have a lift.

Jack the lift up.
Drain the trans lube.
Pull the rear mount 80% of th way out.
Pull out the engine mount tube.
Remove/install the new switch.
Put everything back theway it was.

I'd say 30 minutes should do!
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Hawk Medicine screwed with this post 05-18-2009 at 07:38 PM
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:23 PM   #9
bpeckm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymindsok
Whats with neutral switches failing?

In my experience, they usually last several tens of thousands of miles before crapping out or leaking. Oh well.... Maybe it's todays parts thats the problem!

Also... Installing a new one really isnt a bik deal if you have a lift.

Jack the lift up.
Drain the trans lube.
Pull the rear mount 80% of th way out.
Pull out the engine mount tube.

Remove/install the new switch.
Put everything back theway it was.

I'd say 30 minutes should do!
Do I feel like a jackass or what.... NEVER occurred to me when I had to put on the new wire harness.... I was using needle nozes, fat fingertips and choice words....Oh, well, any day that you learn something new is a day for the better... thanks for the "brainy" tip!@


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Old 05-18-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
bgoodsoil
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you and me both, brother.

when I put my clutch back in I used a claw hammer to pry against that tube to compress the clutch spring enough to get the lower flywheel bolts in. I thought that 'spacer' was part of the engine! Apparently the hammer thought so too because it didn't budge. Wiser heads told me to sand that tube down just enough so that it's hard to get in with my bare hands but not impossible just for the purpose of doing what mymindsok said--change out the neutral switch without pulling the whole gearbox.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:34 PM   #11
jimbee OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymindsok
Whats with neutral switches failing?

In my experience, they usually last several tens of thousands of miles before crapping out or leaking. Oh well.... Maybe it's todays parts thats the problem!

Also... Installing a new one really isnt a bik deal if you have a lift.

Jack the lift up.
Drain the trans lube.
Pull the rear mount 80% of th way out.
Pull out the engine mount tube.
Remove/install the new switch.
Put everything back theway it was.

I'd say 30 minutes should do!

WOw! To think of all the unecisary cusing that will now be avoided!! (maybe we'll have more time to work on our spelling)
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:40 PM   #12
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I don't mean to be a jerk but.....you did see that mymindsok's ABC number has TWO DIGITS IN IT right? I think it's safe to say he can fix an airhead even if he does spell sock without a 'c'.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:44 PM   #13
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I roughed two small kerfs onto the spacer as well to give me that much more line-em-up to aid insertion. Also keeping the piece in the freezer while youre doing the swap really helps get it back in. That actually makes it too easy, sometimes, so I make sure to forget whether I needed one or two washers to make it actuate properly until after I've put it in.

Also those switches live a hard life suspended upside down in hot oil and occasionally zapped with electricity I'm not surprised they weep.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:08 PM   #14
jimbee OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil
I don't mean to be a jerk but.....you did see that mymindsok's ABC number has TWO DIGITS IN IT right? I think it's safe to say he can fix an airhead even if he does spell sock without a 'c'.
I was talking about MY attrocious spelling!! DOes this mean I not alone in misspelling words longer than 6 letters?

Also, there's a lot more on here that shows how little I know WAAAY more than my 5 digit ABC number does!
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:31 PM   #15
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Alas, no lift. Instead, I have a small piece of leftover carpet that I put down on the garage floor to lie on when I have to get under the bike.

There are so many oil drips on my garage floor, incidentally, that it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Anyway, from what I've read elsewhere, the procedure, with the bike on the centerstand, is to remove the giant bolt that goes through the frame and through that aluminum spacer that blocks access to the switch. The bolt is tapped out or drawn out using the threads on one end of the nut and a succession of random washers, spacers, etc, the idea being to add spacers by increments and use the nut and threads to pull the thing out.

On my bike, at least, that bolt goes through a band that holds up the exhaust, through the forward part of the foot peg bracket, through the frame, through an extension on the bottom of the tranny casing, then through the spacer, on both sides. My fear is that I'll take the bolt out and the whole bike will fall into a random heap of parts, but those who have done it say, "Fear not." Some block up the engine but other say this isn't necessary. I'll block it up.

Prying out the spacer, apparently, is a grim ordeal involving muscle and leverage, but not too much. The switch is easily replaced, but apparently there are two, the old and the new, that are not electrically interchangeable, so you have to be sure to get the right one.

I like the idea of grinding down that spacer a tad to get it back in a little more easily, but maybe there's a good engineering reason why it's so tight. I'd hate to grind off a fraction of a millimeter and induce some kind of spacer-related death wobble. Again, from what I've read elsewhere, it can be tapped back into place as is with a plastic or wooden mallet. Then the giant bolt goes back through. It is to be tightened it in increments, going from side to side.

What the torque numbers are for the switch and the giant bolt, I'll have to find out. Does anyone know?

Also, does anyone know if the neutral switch iuntil fall s exposed during the partial dis assembly required for an in-the-frame spline lube? If that's the case, I'll just add a little gear oil and park on newspaper until fall when I plan to lube the splines.

I suspect the neutral switch is of somewhat similar design as the leaky oil light switch I replaced last year. I couldn't tell whether the leak was through the wires or around the edge of the hard plastic sealant. In any case, the switches are old and exposed, so it figures they'd eventually give out. I'd be reluctant to modify them with any additional sealant for fear of doing something disastrous. A neutral switch modification-related death wobble, say.

Speaking of which, my bike will turn over 100,000 kilometers this tank of gas. The last 9,000 or so are mine. It runs like new. My hope is to keep it that way. The bleeding from the transmission must be staunched.
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