Bizarre '11 990 Adventure Dakar electrical gremlin

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by gkostolny, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    I bought a leftover 2011 Adv Dakar last August. Since then I have had a couple of problems with it - a lambda sensor was replaced, and then an electrical short that stranded me late one night due to a wire wearing through and shorting against the rear cylinder head.

    Now I am seeing a transient problem that I saw a couple of times before the short was repaired - truly weird, and I haven't seen anything the same based on any of my searching. Hoping some of you experts can help out!

    Symptoms: after the bike has been parked for a while (e.g. Today during work) I turn on the ignition, all lights come on, and the gauge sweeps. With the kill switch in the ON position, and standing off to the right of the bike, I press the starter button. NOTHING happens - no noise, no lights dimming, Nada. Bike doesn't start.

    Then, I honk the horn, and push the starter button again. The bike starts right up and runs like a champ.

    Tried to duplicate once I arrived at home, but it starts right up.

    I'm at a loss. I can't reproduce it, so I can't just haul it over to the dealer and hassle them to fix it.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks much.

    Gabe
    #1
  2. bikepsych

    bikepsych Been here awhile

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    Gabe,
    I'm sorry I can't help out much, but the thought of honking your horn first to get the bike started gave me a chuckle. I've got an 11 as well and am dreading the first electrical issue. These aren't like the old days.

    You might trouble shoot it by taking apart the left handlebar pod and disconnect the horn switch and see if that does anything to the starting.

    BG
    #2
  3. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob

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    For really flaky electrical issues - look for bad grounds.

    Could be as simple as a dirty starter button contact.

    Does the fuel pump prime at turn-on? It should run for 5 sec if the computer thinks it's ok to start the bike. Next time, turn the handle bar switch off/on and listen for the fuel pump.

    This type of thing drives us mechanics crazy. I've been tracing a intermintent no-start problem for a friend these last two years or so. It finally broke down and wouldn't start. Was a simple problem with a wire pushed out of a gang connector.
    #3
  4. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    It is pretty funny, but I don't want to get stuck someplace. :)

    #4
  5. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    Thanks, Zuber. But any idea why honking the horn would resolve a dirty starter contact? That seems pretty weird. I'm more suspicious that perhaps it's energizing the wiring and helping resolve an intermittent short or something. However, I'm pretty amateur at troubleshooting electrical issues. Does this make any sense?

    thanks!

    #5
  6. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    Electricity is like water. Follow the flow. When water comes to a dam or barrier it will go over, under or around it but always find a way to flow. Same with electricity. It will look for the easiest path to get to where it wants to go. I would strip your bike down (tanks, fairing off etc) and methodically go over every connection and ground. Just takes time and patience. Crack a beer on a rainy day and have at it. :1drink
    #6
  7. Dustodust

    Dustodust Long timer

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    Did you check the battery connections ?
    very common for the battery connections to get loose and act random like that
    #7
  8. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    Thanks, Deuce. I'll try to spend some time on that, unfortunately I have limited garage space and time at the moment, so tearing down the bike is a bit of a pain, but I imagine there's no help for it.

    #8
  9. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    The battery connections should be tight - I installed and then removed a pigtail recently, and tightened them as part of each process, but I'll give it a double-check.

    Thanks!

    #9
  10. pdxmotorhead

    pdxmotorhead Long timer

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    I believe the 990 has the "Low-Voltage-Disable" "Feature" by honking the horn you put a brief fairly high load on the battery, and that could improve the battery connection then improving the voltage reading to the ECU..

    I'd check battery terminals, and voltage both at the battery terminals and the un-switched accessory fuse in the fuse box.. The difference should be minimal between them.

    Cheers.
    Dave
    #10
  11. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    Thanks, Dave. That's very helpful. I'll check it out.

    #11
  12. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    So after a short period of no problems after installing a new battery, my 990 has decided to take a dump on me again, and continues to misbehave after quite a bit of messing about. Same symptoms:

    - Lights come on, tach sweeps, etc.
    - Press the starter button, no click, no hum, nothing
    - Press the starter button with the kickstand up, clutch in, bike in neutral, same
    - Honk horn, press starter button, bike starts (sometimes)
    - Press starter button w/jumper cables attached from a running engine, bike starts

    What I've done thus far:
    - Replaced battery with a new, fresh Yuasa YTZ14s
    - Replaced regulator/rectifier with a new unit from Ricks Motorsport
    - Replaced starter button assembly/wiring (fortunately I was doing this anyway to install the KTM LED lights)
    - Replaced auxiliary starter relay
    - Checked & tightened all grounds on the wiring harness & positive connection to starter
    - Checked starter relay for cracks, damage, etc. - nothing
    - Checked for obviously frayed/damaged wires in the harness - nothing

    This evening after buttoning the bike up I decided to ride up to my girlfriend's place since it had been starting fine all afternoon. It cranked up and ran fine for the 40 minute ride. Parked, turned off, and then tried to turn it on again, and when I pressed the starter button - nothing. Honked the horn and it started right up.

    One more detail that may or may not be relevant - when it wouldn't start yesterday, I removed all but the fuel system, power & starter fuses, and it still wouldn't start, so I don't think it is a fault in the horn wiring.

    At the main starter relay, power is being delivered to the harness, but when it refuses to start the relay is not closing and no power is delivered to the positive starter connection.

    I'm just guessing, but perhaps my next step is to try replacing the main starter relay?

    Any other ideas? This has really got me at my wits end.

    Thanks!

    Gabe
    #12
  13. tacosupreme

    tacosupreme Been here awhile

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    How many volts does it read at the fusebox with the key on? Just because the battery is "new" to you doesn't mean it was manufactured recently. It could have sat on a shelf for years...
    #13
  14. ADVill

    ADVill Been here awhile

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    Still under warranty? I'd let the shop have fun with it. That's what the warranty is for. They will certainly be glad to let you know when it's up.
    #14
  15. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    I haven't checked at the fusebox - will do that today. At the starter relay it was reading 12.8.
    #15
  16. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    I think it's expired, but I'll call them and double-check. What I was told when I bought it was that the Adventure Dakar model had a 1-year because of the R tune on the engine.
    #16
  17. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Have you tried turning the bars back and forth when it wont start? Many have had problems with frayed wires near the steering head. Given the newness of your bike--doubtful.

    How about the ignition/key switch? Try wiggling the wire bundle going to it. problems have been with a stuck contact.

    Disconnect horn?

    Starter relay is easy to replace. Worth a shot.

    Good luck
    #17
  18. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    Well, turns out my home shop was full of shit. Scuderia in SF says it's under warranty until August '14, so I left it with them. They agreed that it sounds like the starter relay, and fortunately they have one in stock. Fingers crossed!

    Thanks for all the suggestions, and I'll update when I get the bike back.

    Gabe
    #18
  19. gkostolny

    gkostolny bay area adventurer

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    So the folks at Scuderia were kind enough to replace the main starter relay under warranty same-day, and so far the bike is starting just fine. May have just gone bad in an invisible way.

    Will post back up if it starts misbehaving again.

    Thanks for all the help & insights!

    Gabe
    #19