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Fuel pump connector issue- start failure...corrosion?


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I almost got stranded today on my '01 Redbird. No running issues before whatsoever, parked after 20 minute ride, tried to start and heard it starving for fuel, then nothing. Cranked over strongly- good battery. I checked the fuses, lifted the fuel tank and started checking connections. I moved the connections on the fuel pump, and it then started. Runs normally since then, so it was corrosion at that connection and not the fuel pump I assume. My XX almost 20 years old- should I CorrosionX all the connectors, or do something better? 

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Edited by sandman
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40 minutes ago, OMG said:

Yes - every connector and every ground.

You said that it sounded like it was running dry. My 01, 50 plus K miles developed a clogged filter.  I replaces it, and had no more running or starting problems.

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Before messing with the connector did you notice if the pump was running?  If so, did it sound normal?  I always paid attention to mine but I know some, maybe most, ignore it.  First few times I started the '97 I had a brief "oh shit" moment.

 

The connector doesn't look like anything's wrong, but it might have something I don't see.  And it's not a switch connector, just fuel pump connector.  I can't think of a reason to not hit it with CorrosionX, but if it does have corrosion/burns/looseness that should be taken care of first.  The spray might help a minor problem, but isn't a proper cure and it probably won't last if the problem isn't properly repaired.

Edited by superhawk996
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Come to think of it, I do not remember hearing the fuel pump humming when I attempted starting. No clear signs of corrosion and no burns at the fuel pump connector, but jiggling it worked and got me home. There were no signs of corrosion either on the dreaded factory test plug when that left me stranded, so I'm still thinking that this is the issue at the fuel pump connector. I hoped someone else had experienced and recognized the same problem. I will go through every connector and ground as OMG has suggested.

 

I appreciate the suggestions, advice, and shared experience- I need to regain trust and confidence in my bird.

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  • sandman changed the title to Fuel pump connector issue- start failure...corrosion?

Speaking of confidence, two years ago I tore down the bird to add a few things electrical and went thru all connections.

Yesterday I was fueling up a guy on a harley rolled over and asked about my bike, I politely said his bike was beautiful.

He thanked me and then went on a rant that it is a 2020 and has a wobble at 75 that the dealer won't acknowledge.

I realized that I don't think of anything wrong or suspect about this 21 year old, completely reliable at any speed, every ride.

Also was thinking as I stopped along the river that one of the useful mods I did was to weld a larger pad to the sidestand.

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6 hours ago, OMG said:

one of the useful mods I did was to weld a larger pad to the sidestand.

I've considered that a few times despite the rarity of needing it.

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37 minutes ago, superhawk996 said:
7 hours ago, OMG said:

 

I've considered that a few times despite the rarity of needing it.

Only takes once, I have scratches and a cracked faring to prove it.

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First time it happened to me was on asphalt.  My GF & I rode to a cabin in Big Bear and parked on the driveway, seemed good & hard.  A couple hours later both of our bikes were in a hard lean, mine over hers.  They didn't reach the ground or touch each other as I recall, but getting my VF1000R up with her Ninja under it without damaging anything was an absolute bitch.

 

Second time was my SuperHawk in the dirt right next to the driveway.  My dirt is close to concrete hardness so I had no worries.  It rained overnight, but not enough to concern me.  Well, the runoff just happened to be concentrated and aimed at my side stand.  The bike fell towards my GF's truck, didn't hit it, but landed partly under it in a way that the truck couldn't be moved out of the way.  The truck was also on dirt so I couldn't move it over with a floor jack.  Getting the bike up without adding damage was an absolute bitch.

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On 10/11/2020 at 4:46 AM, OMG said:

Speaking of confidence........

I realized that I don't think of anything wrong or suspect about this 21 year old, completely reliable at any speed, every ride.

 

My bird was built in October 1998 and I just completed a 5,000 mile ride with no expectations of any issues. So yeah, they are great bikes.

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33 minutes ago, RXX said:

 

My bird was built in October 1998 and I just completed a 5,000 mile ride with no expectations of any issues. So yeah, they are great bikes.

Pretty fly for a old guy.  😉

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  • 2 weeks later...

Noob question fellas - is there a way to check the wires/installation on these bikes, given that they're 20+ year machines now for the most part? Other than visual "corroded plug" inspection, how would one test if a wire is going bad?

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Wires rarely go bad without visible signs of damage.  They rarely corrode in the middle, it starts at a connection.  They rarely have heat damage without damaging the insulation.  If a wire is smashed or otherwise physically damaged it could break or corrode, but there will generally be obvious signs of damage.  The sneakiest damage that can lead to corrosion is a pinhole, most commonly caused by someone probing a wire with a tester.  I've owned and worked on stuff WAY older than these bikes and don't recall finding a damaged wire that didn't show signs of damage, don't worry about it.

 

The sneakiest wire problem on these is the test connector because it's a connector that's hidden inside the wire harness.  There's also a few connections in the front cowl that can corrode and are hard to get to.

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I had issue with nephew's Subaru Legacy, I dunno, about 10 years ago.  No power going to ecu. Everything tested fine with multimeter. It was definitely puzzling  but after receiving piece of advise from mikesail I went thru critical wires with load probe. Basically couple wires hooked up to 55 w halogen bulb. Sure enough, main power line to ecu had internal corrosion.

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Thanks for the advice hawk! One more question though, last year my mechanic did the regular service on the bike and mentioned that one of the main loom connectors, not sure which one but one of the "main ones" is going bad, I think he was saying that it started to show signs of corrosion, or something akin to it - not sure. Either way I will strip the bike down during the winter so I'll have a better look - but lets say one of those main loom plugs is showing signs of toast - is it possible to fix it without buying the loom from ebay or, yikes - Honda :D

 

 

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Any connector can be fixed.  In some cases I'll eliminate the connector and just splice the wires together, most connectors are there for ease of assembly and never need to be disconnected again.  Or you can clean/tighten/replace the terminals as needed.

 

Corrosion at a connector can travel up the wire.  If you strip the insulation and the wire is discolored you want to keep cutting 'till you reach clean shiny copper.  Sometimes that's impossible without cutting the harness, at that point, if it's not too shitty, I'll treat it with CorrosionX or something similar and let it ride.  If you seal up the wire any continuing corrosion should be stopped or damn near stopped.  If the connector has been wet recently then trapped water could keep eating away at the wire after your repair, just something to think about when you start to plan the repair.

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