Ignition swith issue? I think so, but do you?

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by mroddis, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. mroddis

    mroddis Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    451
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Hi all,
    I have a suspicion what could be wrong, but wanted to get the collective wisdom. Apologies for length of post.

    The Bike: '06 950 Adventure w/60,000kms (just rolled over on the weekend!!). New battery this spring. My forever bike.

    The Issue: I was on a 3-day solo trip this past weekend through some pretty remote areas of the Chilcotin region of BC. If you ever get the chance to ride through here, do so. You won't be disappointed. Lots of fast gravel roads...

    Late on in the 2nd day, I noticed about 3 or 4 times where the bike would die/hiccup for split second (like a 'stumble') and all was fine right away. Seemed to happen up hills and on pretty shaky gravel, and I wondered if it might the local gas I was using as it's pretty low in octane and high in ethanol. I figured it was just clogging things up for a sec, then it would clear and all would be fine. Like I said, happened about 3 or 4 times.

    The next morning after breaking down camp, I noticed the key only went halfway in, I pulled it out and on the second try it went all the way in. Hmmm never had that before, but oh well. Turned key and all lights/pump on, and went to start. Stalled after a second or two - seems to happen on cold days so I wasn't bothered. Went to hit the switch again, and all was dead. Dash lights - everything. Pulled the key out, put back in (was easy getting in) and turned the key. NOTHING - it was as if I hadn't turned the key at all. [insert panic and loud scream here]. No clicking, no lights, nada. I reached up under the ignition and shook the wires (reaching the end of my electrical know-how...)

    Tried about 10 times removing and reinserting and turning on the key to no avail. Again, it was as if the key wasn't being turned on at all. Then I tried rolling it and popping in second gear, but nothing at all.....So I unloaded the bike and pulled out the tools and opened up the battery box. The (+) was 'loose' about 1/5 a turn so I tightened it up.......prayed.....and tried the key again. It worked! I had lights and the pump whirled its beautiful swirl and I fired her up, making sure to keep her going.

    Rode the rest of the day and all was fine.

    My conclusion:
    But, I ride mostly solo so don't want to encounter this again. Here's my thought process on what potentially went wrong:
    1) Dirt got on the ignition switch and when I inserted the key, I pushed the dirt down inside which caused a problem with the circuit. Dirt worked its way free when I was fiddling with the battery terminals, and all was fine. (10% chance)

    2) Bad gas caused the hiccups and my bike was just making sure I wasn't taking it for granted so was reminding me that at any point in time, she could leave me stranded. So I should be nice to her (I think she overheard me contemplating changing from Motorex oil...) (2% chance)

    3) Revenge for dropping her on her side. (75% chance)

    4) The ignition switch has some crud in it and it caused the hiccups the day before (was actually momentarily cutting out) and in the morning the points were enough buggered that they weren't making good contact. Out of sheer luck, they righted themselves and I make it home to Father's Day dinner (95% chance).

    So given #4 above, I want to clean the ignition switch. Found it in the HOW but had a couple of questions:

    - Do I used electrical contact cleaner to 'clean' it all up (after removal)? Anything else I should be cleaning?
    - Do I put dialectic grease back on afterwards, and if so, how/where and how much should I use?
    - Is there anything else I should know?


    As usual, I won't be offended with simple, "KTM for Dummies" kind of responses, simple steps to follow, small words, etc. The more specific, the better.

    Thanks in advance all,
    Matthew
    #1
  2. geometrician

    geometrician let's keep going...

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,128
    Location:
    West-By-God Virginia
    Your symptons lead me 100% of the time to the battery connections- I've been wrenching on bikes, worked at dealerships, had my own shop, helped friends out since 1982- and that is always a loose battery (esp the high-current leads for starter relay/battery). Just happend on my friends 1150R w 130,000 miles on it.

    I always use black molybdenum grease on the battery connections (as well as all other plugs/connections) stops oxidation which also leads to this "poor connection" syndrome

    Glad you got it sorted, I'd say the keyswitch not going in was one of those things that added to the confusion.
    #2
    Loff likes this.
  3. mroddis

    mroddis Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Thanks Geometrician - so you think that the 1/5 turn looseness on the battery could have caused what I described? As well, I had to reset the clock after, which leads me to believe it was more to do with he battery connection than the ignition switch..I think....

    M
    #3
  4. GoGoGavin41

    GoGoGavin41 Qapla'!

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    Yeah, sounds more like battery. Clean the switch anyway though - take the bottom off and clean/brush with contact cleaner. Apply a film of grease after, then reassemble.
    #4
  5. mroddis

    mroddis Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Thanks all. Have my evening project then!

    M.
    #5
  6. Colorado Uli

    Colorado Uli Motociclista Non Elegante

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    Had similar symptoms while on a multi day ride two years ago. Yes, disassembling the entire ignition switch, cleaning the heck out of it with contact cleaner spray (make sure you have a fat lit cigar hanging out of your mouth) and re-greasing it with dielectric grease. Use your best judgement on how much to use. That fixed it for me.
    Then, shortly after, I was on a mission to reduce non-essential crap and weight off the front of my SE and I removed the entire switch assembly (pretty heavy actually) for good.
    #6