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Kill switch does not turn off engine

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  • Kill switch does not turn off engine

    Hello to all in the forum:

    I have an electrical issue where my kill switch does not turn off the engine. If I unplug the ballast resistor, then the kill switch works as it should. There is constant power to this resister, so even if I turn off the kill switch the coils are still getting about 8 volts??

    Also, if I leave the ignition off and turn the kill switch on, the oil pressure and neutral light come on.

    I have restored the kill switch and it works as it should.

    The electrical system does not seem to be hacked in any way.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

    My bike is a 1979 XS1100 standard. It has the stock coils and resistor. It is all stock, no mods.

    Last edited by Ronnie_D; 11-04-2020, 03:57 PM.

  • #2
    Start by taking it apart and cleaning it. Beware, under the detent ball is a tiny spring just waiting for its chance to fly away. OTOH, it could be rusted away.
    Marty (in Mississippi)


    • #3
      Originally posted by jetmechmarty View Post
      Start by taking it apart and cleaning it. Beware, under the detent ball is a tiny spring just waiting for its chance to fly away. OTOH, it could be rusted away.
      I have restored the kill switch and it tests fine.
      The bike runs and turns off as it should if I unplug the resistor. I don't want to run without the resistor because it will burn out my coils.

      thanks for your input.


      • #4

        Curious if you been riding the bike and this is a new problem?

        Obviously with the Ignition Switch OFF (as in key out) there should be no current flowing around.

        If you don't have a Wiring Diagram try a search or use this one I just found:

        What else is happening when Ignition Switch is turned to ON? The switch allows hot red into blue (lights) and brown (fuse box) wires. Have you cleaned the Ignition Switch or cleaned the Connectors throughout the bike? Grounds cleaned? Right handlebar wires & starter button wire certainly should turn anything ON -or- OFF when the Ignition Key is in your pocket.

        We likely need more background & diagnostic info to troubleshoot this. For starters the Ignition Switch and its wires + connector are suspect.

        78' XS1100 E
        78' XS1100 E
        78' XS1100 E

        '73 Norton 850 Commando
        '99 Triumph Sprint ST
        '02 G-Wing GL1800


        • #5
          Since you have cleaned and tested the switch I would say that the 2 ignition wires that go to it (red w/white stripe I think} are shorted together somehow. When I got ol' okie the PO had wired them together inside the switch harness because the switch wasn't making connection internally and the bike wouldn't crank or start without that connection.

          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.


          • #6
            JAT: Could someone have replaced the fusebox and wired it incorrectly?...Or did this problem suddenly appear?
            '79 XS1100SF 20k miles
            '80 XS1100SG 42k miles
            '81 XS1100H Venturer 35k miles
            '79 XS750SF 15k miles
            '84 Honda V65 Magna ? 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


            • #7
              Hi Ronnie, Sorting through your symptom descriptions. What I gather: 1 key off = voltage to engine. 2 kill switch functions when ballast resistor circuit is open. The starter solenoid switch is where the ballast resistor gets bypassed for added spark when starting. Guessing the connection is on the battery side terminal post.

              Click image for larger version

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              80 SG


              • #8
                I bought this bike in August. It was sitting for 16 years. Not a lot of history about it. I am restoring it to the factory style.
                It was a bagger, 1979 Venturer, but I removed the fairing and bags.
                There was a connector to the fairing for lights but it seemed like an easy unplug and plug the others back into the system.

                The fuse panel is original.

                I was wondering that maybe this was a known issue or somebody had the same problem.

                I have cleaned and inspected all the switches and connectors. The right switch connector was bad so I replaced it with a new one.

                ** Bax suggested I check the solenoid wiring, I will do that today. The fuse panel and solenoid was hanging off when I bought the bike.

                Also a little puzzling is the original 1979 right switch control had 3 wires coming out on the switch side socket and 5 on the wiring side socket. I put a 1978 switch on which has 5 wires on the switch side plug. I will leave this alone for now and sort out the power on all the time issue. I don't think it is related.

                Thank you for your help with this.


                • #9
                  Look up the VIN on the frame! The Pacifico fairing on the bike was a 1978 only, as the factory burned down late '78. The bike could be a'78, first registered in '79 as a '79.
                  Ray Matteis
                  XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                  XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!


                  • #10
                    My VIN is 2H7-110321.
                    manufacture date 8/78
                    Canadian bike.
                    Looks like it is listed as a 1979 Canada.

                    It did not have the headlight switch on the right handle bar switch.
                    Last edited by Ronnie_D; 11-05-2020, 11:13 AM.


                    • #11
                      We found out what was causing the power on all the time to the resistor. The PO had used battery cables with the small wire attached to it for both battery cables and they had the wrong side plugged in to the solenoid.
                      Now I have to sort out the connector to the right switch gear.
                      Fingers crossed.

                      Does my solenoid looked like it is connected properly?

                      ***Big kudos to Bax***


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                      Last edited by Ronnie_D; 11-05-2020, 12:52 PM.


                      • #12
                        Yep, that be it .................
                        Batt ++ to that top right post that also feeds that big red wire to that single connector. Bottom Left AOK and the red/W & blue/W back to the connector.

                        You should be able to power up now for further testing.

                        If you haven't cleaned the Grounds (both Batt to Frame & Frame to Engine) and the black ground wires at the Reg/Rec, i would do that asap. Same for the Connectors behind the fuse box. If the connector pins especially on the 3 whites are corroded then you got enough heat to melt the connectors and make a mess.

                        Good Luck and keep us posted

                        Last edited by JeffH; 11-05-2020, 12:49 PM.
                        78' XS1100 E
                        78' XS1100 E
                        78' XS1100 E

                        '73 Norton 850 Commando
                        '99 Triumph Sprint ST
                        '02 G-Wing GL1800


                        • #13
                          Hi Ronnie, Welcome Good to see you found the problem. A 79 Standard would have come naked so fairing and bags were accessories. Probably Vetter.
                          One year only 81 H is the Venturer .

                          1981 XS1100 H Venturer ( Addie)
                          1983 XJ 650 Maxim
                          2004 Kawasaki Concours. ( Black Bear)


                          • #14
                            Phil, the fairing is a Pacifico, one year only but a MUCH BETTER unit than the Vetter, IMHO. I've had both on the same bike, and the Pacifico will give you more top end, wind protection, and better gas mileage
                            Ray Matteis
                            XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                            XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!


                            • #15
                              Hi Ronnie,
                              Since you were running on boosted spark for an unknown duration I’ll recommend that you check the coils. Safe bet the units were running hot and may have developed cracks in the potting. This could lead to poor spark, grounding out during wet conditions, or complete coil failures.

                              80 SG