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Doug E.
Doug E., Kawasaki Master Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 2886
Experience:  Professional motorcycle mechanic since 1978. Vintage motorcycle restorer.
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Cougar: Arctic Cat..spark..I am not sure where to start

Customer Question

I have a 1996 Arctic Cat Cougar 550 that is getting no spark. I am not sure where to start. How do I test the different components?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Doug E. replied 7 years ago.

The first test will be to separate the ignition from the harness. Unplug the main 4 pin connector at the recoil housing. On the engine side, jumper the brown and black wires together using the bypass plug from your tool kit, or make up your own. Do you have spark now?

If no, your problem is in the ignition. (Stator, CDI or coil). You will need a multimeter to continue testing parts.

If you do get spark, the problem is in the harness (wires, kill switch, key switch or throttle switch.) Take your bypass plug out of the main connector and install it under the handlebar pad in the three pin connector. Jump the male and female pins on the harness side. Connect your main plug back together. Do you have spark?

If yes, your throttle switch is worn, out of adjustment or the carb magnets have fallen off. If no, one of your other switches is bad. Test each with an ohm meter.

That should get things narrowed down. Let me know what you find and I'll get you up and running ASAP. I will be offline for a few hours, but on most of the night.

Arctic Cat CatMaster
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Could you be more clear on what these tests are testing also when testing the switches what am I testing for? Resistance? What a good numbers? Also do you have a picture of the bypass plug so I can see how to make one? Thank you so much for you help!
Expert:  Doug E. replied 7 years ago.
Switches are on/off. Your multimeter should show fully open in one direction and fully closed in the other. Resistance readings will only be used to test the ignition parts should that be needed.

Here is a diagram of what the factory bypass plug looks like. You can use a simple wire, an alligator clip, etc.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tested the coil, stator, lighting coil, ignition switch and they all seem to check out to factory spec. Do you know how to test the CDI and the kill switch (it has 3 wires and I am not sure how to test).
Expert:  Doug E. replied 7 years ago.
The CDI tests use special meters and are less than accurate. The kill switch can be tested with an ohm meter. It's either on or off. (Open or closed circuit.)

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I understand that but there are 3 wires going to the kill switch what do i test against what?
Expert:  Doug E. replied 7 years ago.
One wire is for the throttle switch, one is for the ground and one is for the kill switch. The ground is brown. I don't know what color the kill switch is on that year, but there are only two other choices.

When you tested the throttle switch using the bypass you would have already tested the kill switch by removing it from the system.