Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley – October 09, 2020

Partzilla’s master mechanic John Talley returns for another Friday afternoon edition of Live Q&A, taking on your motorcycle and ATV repair questions. 

A plethora of Honda ATV and motorcycle repair questions were asked (which is not unusual during these live sessions), as well as a variety of electrical repair questions, among others. Check out excerpts from Partzilla’s latest live Q&A session below, and tune into our YouTube and Facebook channels every Friday at 3pm Eastern for the next edition.

Partzilla Live Q&A 10-09-20

Partzilla Live Q&A Highlights – Motorcycle/ATV Electrical Repair Questions & Answers

My 125 4-stroke dirt bike skips a spark when warmed up like every 5 minutes. It's like it just almost dies, but then keeps going. Why is that?

John Talley: That can be a variety of things … a huge range. I’ve even seen a bad ground connection on the battery coils with what you’re describing right here, but it is definitely an intermittent problem. Somewhere on the ignition and/or electrical system. Start simple. Go ahead and check your grounds on your battery. Make sure that there’s no corrosion in there. After that, check the connection on your ECU and then whatever type of CDI, whether it be built into the ECU or separate, that’s actually sending the spark to the spark plug. It’s going to be a process of elimination. It always is with electrical, but always start with the simplest stuff first. 

I put my battery in backwards and my fuses melted and started smoking. What do I do?

John Talley: Unfortunately, you’re going to need to replace your wiring harness. And hopefully you didn’t damage anything beyond that as far as the ECU and the different devices it was connected to. I would not try to straighten out a harness that suffered that kind of trauma. You may think you’ve gotten all the wires replaced that you need to, but when it actually gets connected backwards and all those wires heat up when they’re not supposed to, they start burning into each other or melting into each other and making connections and it just creates a nightmare. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this, but now is the time to just strip the machine down to where you can get to the wiring harness and get it replaced. 

How do I wire up a tether kill switch on a Honda Rancher?

John Talley: Well it should be one of two ways, depending on the type of machine, in this case a Honda Rancher. So that’s going to be a complete circuit I believe, where on some special motocross bikes, they run a single wire up there, you hit the kill switch and then it just grounds it out. So there should only be two wires for you to tap into, depending on what type of killswitch you’re hooking up. There shouldn’t be any polarity because you’re basically just making a connection that’s going to kill the machine. That should be just two wires, more than likely. On the Honda Rancher it’s going to be. 

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See all of John’s Live Q&A sessions here.  


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