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  • 79 only runs when starter engaged

    I got my XS out for the spring the other day. It was 20 degrees and it wouldn't start, so I pulled it in the shop and rinsed it off and let it warm up. It started pretty easy once I put the charger on it. Ran for a while then I shut it off. Abut 20 minutes later I stared it again so I could ride it home, it ran for about a minute and just shut off, like someone hit the kill switch. No spit or spudder, just died and now the starter button doesn't do anything when I hit it. I checked all the fuses and they are good. When I jump the solenoid the starter turns and when I am turning it over I can give it gas and it will Rev up some. It doesn't look like I have a resistor for the coils, but I do have the green coils from Mikes XS if that make a difference. Any help would be apreciated. Thanks
    '79 XS Eleven Special
    Kirker 4-1 exhaust
    Individual Pod filters
    Cafe Racer Fairing
    LED turn and brake lights
    LED underglow

  • #2
    Check your ignition fuse again. Pretty sure that's where the issue is going to be.
    Greg

    Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

    ― Albert Einstein

    80 SG Ol' Okie;79 engine & carbs w/pods, 45 pilots, 140 mains, Custom Mac 4 into 2 exhaust, ACCT,XS850 final drive,110/90/19 front tire,TKat fork brace, XS750 140 MPH speedometer, Vetter IV fairing, aftermarket hard bags and trunk, LG high back seat, XJ rear shocks.

    The list changes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JacobAndrew View Post
      ...like someone hit the kill switch.
      Actually the Kill Switch can be a suspect.

      Happened to me twice before I found it. I rode and stopped for awhile....then could not restart, even with kick starter. Everything dead, but horn works.

      It's easy to take apart and clean.

      Good luck finding your gremlin.
      -Mike
      _________
      '79 XS1100SF 20k miles
      '80 XS1100SG 42k miles
      '81 XS1100H Venturer 35k miles
      '79 XS750SF 20k miles
      '85 Honda V65 Magna ~7k miles
      '84 Honda V65 Magna 48k miles (parts bike)
      '86 Yamaha VMAX 7k miles

      Previous: '68 Motoguzzi 600cc + '79 XS750SF 22k miles +'84 Honda V65

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Radioguylogs View Post
        Actually the Kill Switch can be a suspect.

        Happened to me twice before I found it. I rode and stopped for awhile....then could not restart, even with kick starter. Everything dead, but horn works.

        It's easy to take apart and clean.

        Good luck finding your gremlin.
        I had actually edited my post to include the kill switch and fell short of posting the edit. I forgot to hit the save button...
        Greg

        Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

        ― Albert Einstein

        80 SG Ol' Okie;79 engine & carbs w/pods, 45 pilots, 140 mains, Custom Mac 4 into 2 exhaust, ACCT,XS850 final drive,110/90/19 front tire,TKat fork brace, XS750 140 MPH speedometer, Vetter IV fairing, aftermarket hard bags and trunk, LG high back seat, XJ rear shocks.

        The list changes.

        Comment


        • #5
          79 only runs when starter engaged
          May be a problem with the ballast resistor.

          Edit: just re-read that you may have removed it for using 3 ohm coils.
          Last edited by bikerphil; 03-21-2016, 01:16 PM.
          2H7 (79)
          3H3

          Comment


          • #6
            Our bikes start hard in cold weather.! Better not to torture them.Cold starts oil is thick..Kills battery quick if not up to snuff.Then nothing works right..They like the cold once they get going though.!That's the trick.!Good luck.from.the northeast.cold.!
            1980xs1100.sg Pacifica Fairing ..stock.
            2006 Honda Shadow Spirit 1100.! ⛺

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JacobAndrew View Post
              I got my XS out for the spring the other day. It was 20 degrees and it wouldn't start, so I pulled it in the shop and rinsed it off and let it warm up. It started pretty easy once I put the charger on it. Ran for a while then I shut it off. Abut 20 minutes later I stared it again so I could ride it home, it ran for about a minute and just shut off, like someone hit the kill switch. No spit or spudder, just died and now the starter button doesn't do anything when I hit it. I checked all the fuses and they are good. When I jump the solenoid the starter turns and when I am turning it over I can give it gas and it will Rev up some. It doesn't look like I have a resistor for the coils, but I do have the green coils from Mikes XS if that make a difference. Any help would be apreciated. Thanks
              Cold starts .
              1980xs1100.sg Pacifica Fairing ..stock.
              2006 Honda Shadow Spirit 1100.! ⛺

              Comment


              • #8
                Hey Jacob,

                Okay, first off, you rinse the bike off, that could allow water to get into the harness and cause shorting/unintentional grounding in the plug for the pickup coils.

                Secondly, as stated, you probably don't have the Ballast Resistor with the MikesXS Green 3.0 ohm coils....but how long have you had them on there, how many miles on them. The "Black" coils were junk, and most folks found them die at ~10k miles.

                Next, yes, the kill switch can be at fault, but my bet is on the battery. You stated you had to put it on the charger before you were able to get it started, and then you let it "RUN", so I'm going to assume that it was mostly at idle. The XS's charging system is very weak, and will NOT properly charge the battery at idle rpms....needs at least 2500 rpm to have the ALT producing enough power to run the bike and provide a charging current. SO...while it was just idling, it was actually discharging the battery, and once it gets below ~10.5 volts, the ignition won't work and the bike will then die. And then you don't have enough power to start the bike again...hence NO response when you hit the starter button. FULLY RECHARGE the battery, and then load test it to make sure it has enough deep power to properly turn/start the bike with enough reserve power to keep it above the 10.5 volts during cranking!

                Forgot, you said you bypassed the starter button and jumped the solenoid and it would crank and seemed like it was firing running, but would stop once you let go of the jumper. So...sounds like you will need to check the starter button circuit....the blue/white wire at the solenoid is the GROUNDING wire that goes to the button. You can put a jumper wire on that terminal to ground which bypasses the starter button, and activates it. IF it works, then the ground circuit at the starter button is faulty. IF the starter doesn't engage by grounding the solenoid wire, then the solenoid is suspect. Folks have taken them apart and cleaned them...the contacts can get burned/corroded. A search should reveal the thread(s)...I think Scott/3phase posted one with photos, as well as some other folks.

                T.C.
                T. C. Gresham
                81SH "Godzilla" . . .1179cc super-rat.
                79SF "The Teacher" . . .basket case!
                History shows again and again,
                How nature points out the folly of men!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow, everyone thanks for the help! For some reason I'm not getting notification from people replying, so sorry about the long delay. I didn't read all of the replie's yet, but I will now and let you know how my problem turns out. Thanks again!
                  '79 XS Eleven Special
                  Kirker 4-1 exhaust
                  Individual Pod filters
                  Cafe Racer Fairing
                  LED turn and brake lights
                  LED underglow

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Update

                    I just tested all the fuses with a test light and they are good on both sides. I even took the tape off and checked all the connections as the po changed them to spade type fuses. Everything looks good there.
                    Next, I went to the handlebar. First I checked the kill switch. I have power on both sides in the "Run" position, and no power on both "Off" positions.
                    Then I went to the starter button. Hooked my light up to the positive terminal and had a constant light on the input side of the button and momentary light when I would hit the button on the output sidea. I even checked it down by the starter solenoid, and got the same results there. Momentary light when pushing the bottom on the blue/white wire.

                    Next I will check the pickup coils.
                    '79 XS Eleven Special
                    Kirker 4-1 exhaust
                    Individual Pod filters
                    Cafe Racer Fairing
                    LED turn and brake lights
                    LED underglow

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Before you try the pick up coils, make SURE the battery is FULLY CHARGED! The bikes WILL NOT RUN if you have a dead cell in the battery. Put your VOM on the battery terminals and see what you have. Anything less that 12V and you need to charge the battery BEFORE you try again.
                      If you can clip the test leads to the battery, look at the readings when turning it over. If you have less than 10.5V, it will never start.
                      If you get it to start again, check the voltage as it's running. If the battery shows below 13.2V at 2,500rpm you have a problem with the charging system. Look BEHIND and a little below the fuse block holder at the 4 pole connector. You are looking for the one with four 1/4" flat connectors, three white wires from the engine. make sure they are clean and do not look like they have been getting hot.
                      Ray Matteis
                      KE6NHG
                      XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                      XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another update.

                        Well I picked up a new battery the other day, and finally got time to throw it in, but it still doesn't work. I might have found a problem though. The two wires that plug in to the solenoid, one red w/ white stripe and one blue w/ white stripe are both grounds. Whenever I hit the starter button with one test light lead on the positive terminal, they both light up. Is one supposed to be a positive wire?
                        '79 XS Eleven Special
                        Kirker 4-1 exhaust
                        Individual Pod filters
                        Cafe Racer Fairing
                        LED turn and brake lights
                        LED underglow

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nope. The red white/wire is the ballast resistor bypass for full power to the coils when cranking. The blue/white one is the wire that grounds to make the solenoid engage to send power to the starter.

                          You aren't getting power to the coils with the key on. That'll be most likely a fuse issue but could also be in the ignition switch itself, any number of connectors could be corroded and not making contact.

                          It sounds like there's an issue with the kill switch since the starter won't work with the button. If the kill switch isn't making contact in the run position it disables the start button too.
                          Greg

                          Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

                          ― Albert Einstein

                          80 SG Ol' Okie;79 engine & carbs w/pods, 45 pilots, 140 mains, Custom Mac 4 into 2 exhaust, ACCT,XS850 final drive,110/90/19 front tire,TKat fork brace, XS750 140 MPH speedometer, Vetter IV fairing, aftermarket hard bags and trunk, LG high back seat, XJ rear shocks.

                          The list changes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have power to and from the kill switch and all the fuses test good. I checked all the connections around the fuse panel also and they all appear good. Where should I start to look? My tail light comes on when I turn the key on, as does the neutral light. The starter button is grounding when pushed, and there is power to the solenoid. There must be something I'm missing. I would think that it would turn over at least. Where does the kill switch power go? Maybe the power isn't making it all the way to wherever its supposed to..
                            '79 XS Eleven Special
                            Kirker 4-1 exhaust
                            Individual Pod filters
                            Cafe Racer Fairing
                            LED turn and brake lights
                            LED underglow

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The red/white dotted line is the circuit you are working with. Somewhere a connector or switch is not making contact.

                              Greg

                              Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

                              ― Albert Einstein

                              80 SG Ol' Okie;79 engine & carbs w/pods, 45 pilots, 140 mains, Custom Mac 4 into 2 exhaust, ACCT,XS850 final drive,110/90/19 front tire,TKat fork brace, XS750 140 MPH speedometer, Vetter IV fairing, aftermarket hard bags and trunk, LG high back seat, XJ rear shocks.

                              The list changes.

                              Comment

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