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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's one. I have the spark plugs plugged into the plug wires, (but not screwed down into the cylinders) the key is on, the light is on, the engine "go" switch on the handle bars is on. I push the electric start button and it cranks, should I be able to see a spark on the spark plug? I didn't see a spark, so could this mean that my spark plug wires are bad or that I have an electrical problem somewhere.

Dan "Don't lick the spark plug wire" Kelly
 

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There is no such thing as a stupid question, except the one not asked.

Make sure the plug body is grounded well on the engine somewhere. If there is a good connection you should see a spark.

GB :mrgreen:
 

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kdan311 said:
So here's one. I have the spark plugs plugged into the plug wires, (but not screwed down into the cylinders) the key is on, the light is on, the engine "go" switch on the handle bars is on. I push the electric start button and it cranks, should I be able to see a spark on the spark plug? I didn't see a spark, so could this mean that my spark plug wires are bad or that I have an electrical problem somewhere.

Dan "Don't lick the spark plug wire" Kelly
As long as the plug is grounded to the cylinder you should see a spark. If you're sure if it's plug or not you could just hold the plug wire with your finger and crank it over........just kidding...don't do that. :)

Another easy way to check is to turn everything on like you did before and remove the point cover. take a screw driver and manually open the points and you should see a single spark at the plug if it's grounded. This saves you the hassle of kicking the motor over or messing with the electric starter. Just make sure the point that you're test is closed to begin with.

I think it would be an extreme coincidence to have both of them not working at the same time. Something tells me you've got a loose wire somewhere.
 

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MNellis said:
Another easy way to check is to turn everything on like you did before and remove the point cover. take a screw driver and manually open the points and you should see a single spark at the plug if it's grounded.
Do what Mike says - there should be 12 volts at the points.
If there is, your problem is coils/condensors/wires, etc.
If there isn't, there's a problem with the kill switch circuit.
One of the black wires going into the right handlebar switch is hot to the kill switch.
It comes out of the kill switch as the black/white wire, which goes through several connectors in the headlight shell and under the tank, feeding 12 volts to the coils and points.
That black/white wire should be 12 volts any time the key is ON and the kill switch is RUN.
 

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The "make sure the plug body is grounded to the bike" is a very important step. My first time checking for spark, I missed that part and my arm ended up being the connection from the plug to the frame. After I did that, my dad says, "why don't you just use the timing light with the inductive pickup?"

What's more ironic is that he's the one with a mechanical engineering degree while I have the electrical degree.
 

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The handlebar cutoff switch is a common problem. If my bike doesn't show signs of life after a few kicks, I flip the switch on and off a few times. I've found that works for this particular bike. I've never had the problem with this switch on other bikes, and I'm reluctant to take it apart to try improving the situation as the electrics inside the handlebar switches are of the dollar-flashlight type. so far so good, but I carry a piece of jumper wire so I can bypass everything if I find myself stranded.
 

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kdan311 said:
I tried grounding the plug to the motor and checking for spark and there was no spark, but I'm just realizing the kill switch was in the off position.
D-OH! :shock:
Been there, done that! At least you and three other guys didn't push it 3 blocks before figuring it out!
And, Bill-- again, thank you!! I swapped the bars off my K5 for clubmans and then (with all the switch wires disconnected) decided to move the bike to it's new home 2 blocks away. But it wouldn't start. I figured it was the kill switch. You just saved me a whole lot of "figurin"!
Ended up hanging on to the side of the van to drag all three over to the new home.
I wonder why I'm sore today?
 
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