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Ski Doctor
Ski Doctor, powersports repair specialist
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 818
Experience:  over a decade of double time experience, excellent electrical and mechanical diagnosis capabilties
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1999 Honda: wont start..charging..Turn key..mode, no lights, no horn

Resolved Question:

1999 Honda Shadow VLX, won't start, tried all fuses, even the big 30 amp fuse, tried charging battery, shows 13.6VDC. Turn key, put in on mode, no lights, no horn, no start.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.

so when you turn the key on, do any lights on the gauge turn on? or when you turn the key, nothing happens?

did this problem happen suddenly, or has it been getting worse?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This happened all of a sudden, and when I turn on the key,, no lights , no gauges, no nothing. It was like when I went to start it, everything normal, hit the start switch, everything went blank.
Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.
after you have used a multimeter or voltage tester to make sure the fuses are good, it sounds like the key switch is failing. you can test the switch when you access the wire plug for it. do you have a multimeter or test light?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, I have a multimeter and wire jumpers if needed. I'm electronic friendly, bench technician for 3 years, 20 years as a cellsite technician.
Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.

okay. from the battery to the main fuse you have 12 volts?

turn the key all the fuses in the fuse block have 12 volts? yes/no?

do you get 12 volts leading to the key switch? yes/no?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

From the battery to the main fuse, yes on the 12 volts

When I turn on the key, do all fuses have 12 volts- No, I have tested on both sides of the fuse.

From the 30 amp fuse location, I assume it's mounted on top of the starter solniod, I get 12 volts either side of the fuse but, on the solnoid, I get only 12 volts on 1 terminal nut and not the other with the key turned on.

Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.
okay...all you have tested so far points at the key switch not letting voltage through it. next step is to test the key switch. you will have 1 12v wire going in, and when you turn key on you should get 2 12v wires going out. the key switch also needs to be ohm tested. so you will need to access the connector for the key switch.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, I can't get on the back side of the key switch without drilling out 2 rivits. Seems they don't want the key ignition switch messed with. I traced the wires to where the 30 AMP fuse is. This is a 4 pin cannon connector, I am able to get my multimeter probe into the backside of the pin connectors. Facing me is 2- 8 guage wires, 1 red the other red/white stripe. With the ignition off, both of these red wires show 12v, when I turn on the ignition, the voltage almost goes to 0. The other side of the connector facing the bike has 3 wires into 2 pin connectors, 1 is yellow red and the other has 2 wires, 1 green/red, the other red/green into 1 pin socket.These 3 wires appear to be a smaller guage than the red wires. With the ignition on or off, none of these wires show any volts DC.
Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.

you dont need to remove the key switch yet untill we know it's bad. if you grab the wires that come out of the back, that is the connector we have to test. you will need to take the fuel tank off for this. you might be able to get to it if you remove the two front plastic covers in teh very front under the fuel tank. you want to find the wire harness connector for the key switch.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, I found the connector coming directly out of the ignition switch, 2 red wires and a blue one into a 4 pin connector. When I check, 1 red wire has 12VDC on it and the others 0VDC, ignition off. When I turn on the ignition, the 12VDC goes away on the red wire and none of the other wires have any voltage.
Expert:  Ski Doctor replied 7 years ago.

when you test the same wires with an ohms test, with the switch on do you get 0 ohm through the switch?


if your voltage drops, maybe there is a chance your battery is shot?? have you had the battery load tested? any shop or auto parts store will test it for free, and go get the battery tested before we proceed to make sure it is good.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, with the switch off, I have no continuity, with the switch on I get continuity or 0 ohms.