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'86 XL 600 Spark (Or no Spark)

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After completing a full tear-down and rebuild of my '86 XL600 I'm now chasing down a weak or no spark issue.

So far:

Replace stock stator with Ricky Stator

Replaced ignition coil and spark plug boot

Followed all electrical wiring and retaped

New plug, new battery

Here's the situation:

With the new ignition coil unscrewed from from the orange spark plug cap/boot, I hold the black spark wire near ground and I can kick it over and the bike will arc a full half inch away to the grounding source! As soon as I screw the boot back on the end of the black wire attached to the ignition coil, no spark, no arc, nothing. The boot isn't bad, I put it on another 600 and it works.

So, the questions:

Bad CDI?

Why am I not getting enough juice to push through the orange spark boot to give a good spark?

And, the most important question- What do YOU guys think?

Thanks in advance!

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Don't know..You did have a spark plug in the boot on the end of the black wire aye..Just checking as you didn't mention having a plug in there.,,no way it would arc out of the boot ,,you do need a plug in there. ,apart from that it seems like a very strange problem...If the other bike you're testing things on is an XR600 then swap the CDIs over and test that component works ok..they are interchangable. Is the ignition coil an original for a 600 or is it some replacment part of unknown origin??? Only other thing I can think of is maybe it's something to do with that resistor thing they have in the boots..Try the original Honda boot if it's laying about,,ie don't use the new one..

Whoops.."It works on another bike",,,Dunno...Stumped.

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It is a puzzler, but it sounds like the ignition system is ok if you get a spark with the high tension wire, the cdi should be ok. I think if it were bad you wouldn't get a spark with or without the spark plug boot.As Horri asked, are you trying this with a plug in the cap? if so make sure you have it grounded well, sometimes just holding the plug against a ground doesn't really ground that well.If the plug cap didn't work on another bike I'd say the resistor in the cap is bad.Because you have a good spark with just the bare wire,your only place to go is the plug cap. Try taking out the plug,putting it in the plug cap,use a wire from a ground on frame to the plug, strip enough insulation off the wire to wrap it around the threads a couple times them tape it tight,try kicking it again and look for spark,look close, harder to see sometimes then you would think.I just got finished with mine,"a bike story...the rebirth finally" I had a bad stator but it was easy to figure out,spark when cold,no spark when hot. keep us posted on what you find.this is what I ended up withdadspics.jpg.1.jpg

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Thanks for your thoughts so far. I'll mess around with it on President's Day (day off!). I'll keep you posted. @thumpharder- you have my exact bike! Only you have shiny parts. Nice ride.

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Any update on the fix?

I have a similar issue on my xl75. I get an arc from the plug to the bike, but not in the plug when it is grounded.

Thanks

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It is a puzzler, but it sounds like the ignition system is ok if you get a spark with the high tension wire, the cdi should be ok. I think if it were bad you wouldn't get a spark with or without the spark plug boot.As Horri asked, are you trying this with a plug in the cap? if so make sure you have it grounded well, sometimes just holding the plug against a ground doesn't really ground that well.If the plug cap didn't work on another bike I'd say the resistor in the cap is bad.Because you have a good spark with just the bare wire,your only place to go is the plug cap. Try taking out the plug,putting it in the plug cap,use a wire from a ground on frame to the plug, strip enough insulation off the wire to wrap it around the threads a couple times them tape it tight,try kicking it again and look for spark,look close, harder to see sometimes then you would think.I just got finished with mine,"a bike story...the rebirth finally" I had a bad stator but it was easy to figure out,spark when cold,no spark when hot. keep us posted on what you find.this is what I ended up withdadspics.jpg.1.jpg

Wow, that's a pretty XL..:smirk:

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double check you grounds !!!

the ricky stator has an extra ground wire that wasn't on the factory part.

( my supply co. covered the info about that with their own sticker... had to learn this the hard way ! )

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Thank you pwrpapa, I've had it since '99 and rode it once when I got it, then it sat till last winter when I thought I better do something with it, of course having the wife gone, now ex wife made working on it much much easier, I had not one complaint about spending too much, huh, who would have guessed.

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In response to exdirtbiker - currently chasing down a potential grounding issue from the kill switch on the handle bar. Have the headlight off and a wire back in the nest of them in there was grounded. Still a challenge to start even after putting in a new pulse generator.

List of new ignition related parts:

Ignition coil

Pulse generator

Stator

When it does go, it's balls out! Takes about 30-40 kicks when cold to get started, then when it's hot about half a kick will fire it up again. Also getting some cutting out in the high rev's, 65-70 mph the engine is hesitating.

Thanks!

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Sounds like your getting the problems found a little at a time. I know I've read in here that guys have had trouble with the kill switch, some say they quit using it and only use the key, not long ago a guy just took kill switch off all together.

Don't know if it will help with your problem at all but I put a ricky stator on, rode the bike for a couple months, and pulled the engine for a little work I wanted to do, when unplugging the wires from the stator I noticed something, the plug was fine but the black wire with red chaser just fell out of it's bullet plug,don't know what it does exactly, but it does go to CDI, just a thought, you may check yours,I soldered mine to the plug.

Seems if it starts good hot you should be good cold, if your have marginal connection or short,cold is your friend and heat is the enemy.

The running at speed issues could bejetting, I'm using #62 pilot and 125's in both carbs in the mains. could be floats, maybe starving for fuel.

You've replaced all the normal problem childs, your makin this one a real brain strainer.

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@ thumpharder- thanks for the ideas. I know I want to start adjusting the carbs. The dual carbs are a little intimidating to me though.

Rode the bike today (Sunday). Hadn't been started for a week or so, took a fair bit of kicking to get it going. Nothing new to report, other than this bike is so stinking fast it's all I can think about! Minus the hard start, I love this bike. I'll keep you posted on changes.

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Ive got a 85 xl 600, I took that resistor thing out and replaced it with same size solid copper wire. Dont know what it does, but runs fine without it. Try that and see if anything happens.

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LOOM IS TALKING ABOUT THE PLUG CAP, i HAVE HEARD OF PEOPLE DOING THIS WITH SUCCESS, EVEN THOUGH YOU SAID YOU HAVE CHECKED IT ON ANOTHER BIKE, IT MAY BE WORHT A TRY, OR JUST REPLACE THE CAP WITH A GENERIC CAP LIKE A NGK OR EVEN ONE FOR A BRIGS OR SOMETHING JUST TO TRY.

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updates ?

I posted the Honda manual for those twin carbs here somewhere....

it's realy not hard to do, just having the book printed out in front of me in the garage was all I needed to make my bike a 1-kicker !

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A one kick bike would be a dream! I'd be stoked if it was 10 actually. But that's encouraging news, thanks, I'll start hunting down a manual.

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Removing the Cap resistor does not improve performance and may put more stress on the CDI unit.

I'm glad someone said this. The resistor also causes the spark to initiate at a higher voltage and helps slow the coil discharge, making the spark longer duration. Honda has been putting a resistor in the plug boot for decades and I tend to think that they would have stopped by now if it served no purpose.

It's irresponsible to tell people to remove parts when you don't even know what they do. :thumbsup:

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http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=827613&highlight=

let me know if the links went bad. ( pm me )

Go step by step and go through THE WHOLE THING, and I assure you life will get better !

ps--- I had another XL600 for a week... ran pretty good, even though one of the main jets was found swimming in the bowl. Yep, it fell out !

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So I know it's been a long time, not sure if any of the responders will still read this thread, but I wanted to update for any others out there. The issue on my XL 600, after replacing stator, ignition coil, spark plugs, wires, on and on, was a carb issue. This has a dual carb, and somewhere along the bike's life someone got something backwards in the two bowls in the carb. It was starving the bike of fuel on start up, this is why when it was hot and had been running it would fire, but when it was cold there was almost no chance of starting it. Now it starts 2nd kick! WHEN COLD! Praise the Lord hallelujah! Thanks for your help it was a long process.

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