Thursday, April 30, 2015

I hate Küryakyn! But love Autozone by IH-35!

That may be a bit overstated, some of there stuff is okay, but I definitely hate these little guys! These are some of those Küryakyn Lazer Node lights which a previous owner installed in a set of otherwise great spark plug wires.

Let me back up a little bit. As I stated before, tonight was my go/no-go night for PMR5. Basically, I needed to be done tonight with most of the major work in order to have time for a shakedown ride tomorrow and be ready for Saturday. 

That didn't seem like that big of a deal, all I had left was to find why there was no spark and change the oil. The first part sounds daunting but I was certain I had hooked up something wrong in the ignition circuit. I've been known to do things like that.

I checked the ignition switch, all was correct there. Then tested the coil, it checked out fine and all of the wiring to it was correct. (Things were getting a little fishy.) 

Moved on to the electronic ignition. It too checked out fine. I even performed the tests where you rotate the engine (and hence the magnets) to certain positions to check the voltage drops. All good there. (Now things were outright suspicious.)

I was using new spark plugs so I ruled those out. Couldn't be the spark plug wires, those worked fine the last time everything was put together. I must've missed something with the coil or the ignition, I'll recheck that. (We should be well beyond "glaringly conspicuous" at this point but, in my stress trying to make my deadline, I was missing the obvious.)

Repeat the last few paragraphs a couple of times and now it was almost 10PM. The oil still needed to be changed and I still was no further than I was when I began tonight. 

Finally, out of desperation, I grabbed a piece of 10 Ga wire and stabbed it into the coil. I took the other end and wrapped it around the tip of the spark plug. Touched the other end of the plug to the head, hit the start button. "Tick-tick-tick..." a perfect, purple spark.

A quick continuity check confirmed it: the spark plug wires were to blame. (Yes, I know you figured that out a step three but where were you a few hours ago?)

Now, the next problem: where to find spark plug wires at this time of the evening. A quick search on the Interwebs and I found that the Autozone store near IH-35 in Round Rock is open until midnight. I went ahead and called first, just to make sure it wasn't a mistake or Mr. Internet lying as he's known to do. (Sure, now I check the obvious.) But indeed it was correct, there were open for two more hours.

Jump in the truck and a short ride later I was pulling up to the storefront.  I ended up being helped by the inventory manager who happened to be a long time Harley owner so he was as eager as I was to find a solution.

Obviously, I didn't expect to find the exact cable pair I needed but I was hoping for one of those universal cut-and-crimp-your-own kits. Unfortunately I learned they no longer carry those kits, everything they have is for a specific model vehicle.

But dammit! I've passed my deadline, made no progress tonight, and just raced to an Autoparts store. I'M NOT GIVING UP! So I asked what was the cheapest set that had the most wires (bang for my buck, "no pun in 10 did"). He pulled down a set for a Honda Accord (V6) with seven wires for $20. I looked at the connectors and realized they'd work so I took them.

Relax, I will order the correct wires later, (actually I plan to do it after this update) but this wasn't about "correct". This was about "now" and getting the bike running in order to ride in to work Friday.

So here's the set I got. They actually were a pretty decent set, despite being Duralast brand, plus the cable was "Made in the USA". 

They were, however, a bit long. Not an issue. I took the two shortest of the bunch and connected them to the respective places.  Made a few loops in them and zip tied them to the coil cover. Viola! Custom ignition wiring. And, as expected, I now get a nice solid spark.

The rest of the night consisted of a cold change of the engine oil, freshening the transmission oil, as well as a few other minor details. All of which were fairly uneventful. I resisted the urge to fire her up (other than to confirm ignition) because it was quite late and my neighbors (and Mrs. IE) have so far been very understanding about my garage antics.

Anyway, I'm now quite tired as you may tell by my rambling. Time to get some sleep before doing this again in the morning. Here's to a couple hours sleep and, hopefully, a first try start in the morning.

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