Turn signal issues & OEM relays

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Turn signal issues & OEM relays

Postby kirk_dunkirk » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:28 pm

A few minutes into a ride recently, the turn signals started acting up.

Symptoms:
When you push the turn signal button on the handlebar, either R or L, nothing happens. No flashing signals, nothing on the dash.
When you turn the headlights on (on my bike they are not always on) the headlight comes on fine as do the amber indicators.
Or if you just want the amber indicators on (not flashing) and switch to that position, they come on.
But if the lights are on and you choose the right or left turn signal, the corresponding amber light just dims off.
As soon as you de-select the turn signal, the amber light returns to normal.

Anyway, I hate figuring out electrical problems, and I'm pretty bad at it, and if taking a gamble and buying a cheap replacement part pays off, I'd rather do that than spend a lot of time out in the cold, frustrated. In other words, maybe I'll just replace the indicator relay.

A thing is tho, I see wildly varying prices for the relays. They seem like a pretty generic part, but specific OEM ones for the bike are around $30 -$40. Used ones like $20. Cheapo generic ones anywhere from $5 to $10. (But kind of a hassle to figure out if they'd work with the bike.)

So two questions:
1. What's a likely culprit for the turn signal problem?
2. What kind of relay is needed?

Thanks.
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Re: Turn signal issues & OEM relays

Postby squirrelman » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:13 pm

Are the turn sigs stock ?? Any rewiring on the bike for lights, alarm, etc. ?

Most likely a loose or bad ground wire somewhere...... :(

suggestions: use a meter to check battery and charging voltage/ remove and test signal bulbs, and clean the base contacts/spray WD40 into the turn sig switch/find main ground wires and clean contacts.

new relay might not fixit. :?:
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Re: Turn signal issues & OEM relays

Postby Alan_in_WA » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:43 pm

From your symptoms, you have a bad ground for the amber turn signal/running lights. (Semi) short explanation - each bulb has two filaments in it, but only 3 connections - the two filaments share the ground connection. For running lights, yours winds up grounding through the turn signal filament and relay, so the running lights work. But when you turn the turn signal on, you now have 12v on the + end of both filaments, with no ground on the (common) - end - so no current flow, and the light goes out - and it's not drawing any current, so the turn signal flasher
doesn't have anything to cause it to flash 'off'. I don't have a wiring diagram for your bike, but typically there'll be a common groundpoint somewhere around the steering neck. Try following the ground lead from an indicator, and see where it goes - or take the quick way out, and add a ground of your own.
(Note: if you don't have dual-filament (2 contacts plus shell/ground) bulbs, then you've got an unusual system, and I'd need a wiring diagram to diagnose it.

Alan
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Re: Turn signal issues & OEM relays

Postby kirk_dunkirk » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:20 pm

Thanks.

Yeah, everything is stock. No alarms, hazard lights or anything either.

Wiring diagram, I have 1 in Japanese and 1 in English, they are a little different.
Bike is an '88 "H" model VTZ.
Though even that is not 100% certain. The wheels and paint scheme matches an H (Navy, white and gold), engine, but the frame number is off a bit.
Even the guys at the Honda dealer scratch their head when I order certain parts. But I digress...

First I'll try lots of contact spray. It has miraculously fixed other electrical bugs with this bike. 30 years of crud I guess.
But ugh, checking wiring - I dread it, I don't know what I'm doing. But I'll give it a go.
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Re: Turn signal issues & OEM relays

Postby squirrelman » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:09 pm

It's great know we have alaninwa--our #1 electrical :ugeek: expert-- scanning this forum to help out with useful info. :arrow: ;)
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Re: Turn signal issues & OEM relays SOLVED

Postby kirk_dunkirk » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:37 am

Yes, good to know. People on this site sure know their stuff.

A buddy who's an electrical whiz came over and we had a look.
Beforehand, he had reached similar conclusions.

We took a look at the bike, and the good news is, it kind of fixed itself!
What I mean is, we first had a look at the relay, and something must simply have shook loose. Just by examining it and putting it back in place, the indicators worked again!
A little embarrassing, but hey, at least it's fixed. :oops:

If the indicators start acting up again, I'll know where to check first. And if the unit does crap out, at least I might be able to just replace it and not have to search for another kind of bug.

Thanks.
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