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TOPIC: Keep blowing headlights

Keep blowing headlights 21 Mar 2009 19:54 #274042

  • Zacknhs
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SO i have had the bike for about 9 months now. and ever since i have had it it will blow head lights like every 2-3 weeks. it will blow the reg so i switch to the bright but it will blow shortly after. it's never been while i was riding at least not at night it seems like it's when i start it or something like that. b/c it will be working when i get home at night and not when i go to leave in the morning. i replaced the separate rectifier regulators with a combo unit 2 weeks ago. but the bulb blew gain 2 days ago. if you look at the bulb the filament is usually broken at one side or completely detached. The bike doesn't have any turn signals and it blew the high beam indicator bulb in the cluster about a month after i got it.

Should i be looking for some type of short in the wireing harness?

thanks guys Rob Johnson
Columbus, Ohio

Go Bucks

1978 Kz1000 <- first bike and i love it!!

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Keep blowing headlights 21 Mar 2009 20:24 #274052

  • MFolks
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I'd check the battery connections especially the ground cables(the heavy gauge ones)What is the battery voltage at idle and at 4000 rpm? if it's over 14 volts at 4k the regulator/rectifier may be faulty or if the brown sense wire is out of the circuit.

Check all the connections from the regulator/rectifier for corrosion and tight joints. Any loose pins in the connectors can cause voltage surges.
1982 GPZ1100 B2
General Dynamics/Convair 1983-1993
GLCM BGM-109 Tomahawk, AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM)

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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 11:41 #274544

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thanks i'll start there. and let you know what i find
Columbus, Ohio

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1978 Kz1000 <- first bike and i love it!!

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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 14:39 #274620

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if you do have a short in a lighting circuit, it will use the bulb as the fuse
1978 KZ650B 2004 BMW R1150RT

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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 15:17 #274627

  • mark1122
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This does not sound like your problem,but vibration can blow them too. i had to weatherstrip and caulk inside my light to dampen the bad vibes.
76 kZ, frame gusset work,1200CC.Ported by Larry Cavanaugh,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 1.5mm.over intakes,.ZRX12 rear end,and seat,96zx9 front end.
01 CBR600F4i Track bike.
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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 15:36 #274636

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No turn signals? Sounds to me like it could be a short somewhere with the turn signal wires. Make sure the connections at the fuse box are clean and in order. If the fuse box gets hot then for sure. The white wire usually looks brown or the fuse box melted a bit. If the fuse box is shot don't replace it with the same type go for the automotive square fuses used today as they run much cooler than the old bulb type fuses.
I had this problem with my 80 and the headlamp was causing the short and blowing my main fuse. I found the wire loose in the headlight bucket as well as a loose bucket because of dry grommets. I would go to start it in the morning and headlight wouldn't come on then I would tap it or it would come on later causing the fuse to burn while I was on my way to work. It was frustrating because after I had fixed it one of the bulbs I replaced it with also had a short that really bewildered me until someone told me that light bulbs get shorts too.
Scary stuff considering being stuck in traffic on a major highway with no emergency lane.
My fix was easy but took me a while after to realize that the light bulb was the culprit. Once I replaced the bulb and made sure the wires were nice in the place they were supposed to be in and such I never had another problem again.
Electrical stuff is extremely frustrating.
You have to make sure that all the wires are where they are supposed to be and that they are clean and tight and the headlight isn't bouncing up and down as sometimes happens when the grommets dry rot after so many years and well.... for sure all of these things are probable problems now. The ignition switch could be faulty the turn signal switch could be the problem the fact there is no signals hooked up. Make sure the key doesn't move around like a two dollar hooker. It should click firmly into place if it's loose will cause a short. Maybe turn signal wires are touching and causing a short somewhere.
My neutral safety switch had a slight baring of the wires causing my left signal light to burn out all the time and once I got the shock of my life one day trying to kick it over which is when I looked at the wires really closely. The battery connection to the battery could be all ratty causing a short. Easy fix buy a new one from z1. If you have a 79-80 ignition switch will be difficult as they don't make repro's of those and the pre 79 doesn't have the right amount of wires. Learned that the hard way as well as ordering a new fuse box they are different too and will need modifying at which point better to modify it to a newer updated configuration.
Good luck on that one and hopefully it is the easiest of all explanations that the turn signal wires are causing the havoc and nothing expensive to fix.
79 LTD B3
80 LTD B4 1075 kit JE Pistons .410 cam grind, Bassani, 31 keihin CR Specials...
1980 Z1R, 2002 ZRX1200, 2003 ZRX1200

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Last edit: by saxjonz. Reason: added to post

Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 15:55 #274640

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mark1122 wrote:

This does not sound like your problem,but vibration can blow them too. i had to weatherstrip and caulk inside my light to dampen the bad vibes.


Bang on correct!
(not saying that it's NOT an electrical issue,but...)
I had the exact same thing going on with My bike a few years back,and it turned out to be a vibration issue.
So I made some new grommets for the bucket and problem solved!

The way my bucket was attached,there was a point where there was no grommet in between the 2 particular metal parts.I put some rubber in between and it solved it.
Good luck.
1977 KZ1000 A-1

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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 15:58 #274641

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i think it's time to check the charging system output. sounds like overcharging to me. warm up the motor to operating temp. then check the battery voltage between the posts with a multimeter. at 4000RPM the voltage should be 14.5v. also touch the reg/rec if it's uncomfortable to the touch you have too much resistance in the wiring somewhere or everywhere. or worst case the reg/rec is toast. if it's worst case. you will still need to clean every connection fuses, switches, battery posts, motor grounds. skip this step and a new reg/rec will fail soon too. remember the bike is 29 years old and corrosion has set in.

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Keep blowing headlights 23 Mar 2009 19:29 #274701

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Is your headlight really really bright? It will naturally brighten slightly from idle to about 4000 RPM or so and then nominally remain that brightness to redline.

The fact that your indicator bulb blew tells me there is an over voltage condition. How is your battery? Does it turn over the engine on electric start? If not it may be failing and causing the regulator to allow too much voltage into the electrical system. This may end up damaging the ignition system as well.

This happened on my KL250 many years ago as I allowed the battery to get real dead since it is kick start only. The battery finally shorted internally and the regulator spiked up probably in excess of 20 volts on a 6 volt system and it blew out every bulb on that bike. I had a heckuva time finding bulbs locally but I did replace them all and the battery as well. I never had another problem as I replaced the battery before it got that weak again.
Nate

Nates vintage bike axiom: Riding is the reward for time spent wrenching.
Murphys corollary: Wrenching is the result of time spent riding.

1979 KZ650 (Complete!)
1979 KZ650 SR (Sold!)
1979 KL250 (For sale)
1994 Bayou 400 (four wheel peel :D )

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Keep blowing headlights 25 Mar 2009 13:35 #275321

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I am another that has had that problem, on 2 bikes, both times it was vibration problems, I got tired of bringing an extra headlight and tools on night rides so I homemade some vibration dampers out of a tire tube for the headlight bucket and never had a problem since. I would take pics but I don't own either of these bikes anymore.
1972 Kawasaki H2-750 Triple Mach IV
1976 Kawasaki KZ900 A4
1981 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD
1981 Kawasaki KZ750LTD-4
1983 Suzuki GS650 Tempter
1981 Yamaha Virago XV920

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Keep blowing headlights 25 Mar 2009 14:34 #275334

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I agree, this would be a bad voltage regulator. Eventually this will also destroy your battery and can also blow your ignition. Change the voltage regulator. 14v across the battery terminals is ABSOLUTELY MAXIMUM. For me that is also a bit too high. Kawasaki states 14-15V. 14 makes me more comfortable. Charging voltage for a lead acid battery should not be more than 12% over rated voltage =13.44v.
74 Z1-A stock
76 KZ-900 Totaly stock vice MAC pipe
77 KZ-1000A stock
78 Z1-R 100%MINT 500 original Mi.
78 Z1-R Yoshi 1103 kit stage 1 cams Yoshi pipe. Etc
79 KZ-1300 (1400)
80 KZ-1300
81 Scratch built GPz1150R
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Keep blowing headlights 25 Mar 2009 17:21 #275360

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otakar wrote:

I agree, this would be a bad voltage regulator. Eventually this will also destroy your battery and can also blow your ignition. Change the voltage regulator. 14v across the battery terminals is ABSOLUTELY MAXIMUM. For me that is also a bit too high. Kawasaki states 14-15V. 14 makes me more comfortable. Charging voltage for a lead acid battery should not be more than 12% over rated voltage =13.44v.




i disagree with you, the charging amperage should not be more than 12% of the amperage rating of the battery. new cars have charging voltages that can exceed 14 volts. as to the the bulbs. many 12v bulbs can easily live at close to 17v+. you have resistance somewhere in the wiring. you have corrosion. first clean the battery terminals and their wire connects. then the positive wire from the battery where it connects to the fuse box and starter solenoid. next trace the neg. battery wire to where it connects to the motor cases and clean that connection. last locate the black wire from the rec/reg clean it and make a jumper wire to the neg. post of the battery from where the reg/rec ground is landed. that should reduce the high voltage. however you still need to go thru all the wiring and clean and snug up all the connections. now test the charging system output.

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Last edit: by hoghaterkaw.

Keep blowing headlights 25 Mar 2009 18:30 #275388

  • JimatMilkyWay
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I kinda like your logic/answer. If the voltage across the battery posts, at 2500rpm or so is not excessive, then the charge current should not be excessive. Battery internal resistance does not vary dramatically.

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Keep blowing headlights 26 Mar 2009 08:49 #275505

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i have been trying to track down a multimeter. The bike has been apart all this week bc its spring break and i needed to put new bolts and gaskets in the motor. and now it has been raining for two days. the bike will be running on sat when my 3rd set of pod filters get here after order confusion.

The vibration thing def sounds like what is going on since it did the same thing with the old separate reg and rec and with the new combo unit. but I'll check with a multimeter once i find mine :(

The battery is good the bike will start on electric even after sitting all winter with fresh gas it started right up.
Columbus, Ohio

Go Bucks

1978 Kz1000 <- first bike and i love it!!

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Last edit: by Zacknhs.

Keep blowing headlights 26 Mar 2009 11:02 #275525

  • MFolks
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Radio Shack has them, Home Depot,Lowes,and Sears all carry Analog(the type with the needle) and Digital meters.
1982 GPZ1100 B2
General Dynamics/Convair 1983-1993
GLCM BGM-109 Tomahawk, AGM-129A Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM)

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Keep blowing headlights 26 Mar 2009 11:51 #275542

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Do you find headlights attractive??? LOL:woohoo:

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Keep blowing headlights 27 Mar 2009 15:50 #275879

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Than I guess I should get out of the battery engineering business. Lead Acid battery's have always been and always will be voltage sensitive and Amperage self regulating Just like Lithium, Ion or Polymer. Ni-Cad and Ni-MH are Amperage sensitive and voltage self regulating. Our firm has 45 engineers that work on this stuff day in and day out. They can't all be wrong. We deal with all the major battery manufacturers, and the battery charging guidelines are all the same. Besides a head light will consume only as many amps as it is designed for at a given voltage. Simple math V=IxR W=IxV. If your voltage goes up the Amperage goes up with it. once you exceed the rated Wattage of the bulb. POP.
74 Z1-A stock
76 KZ-900 Totaly stock vice MAC pipe
77 KZ-1000A stock
78 Z1-R 100%MINT 500 original Mi.
78 Z1-R Yoshi 1103 kit stage 1 cams Yoshi pipe. Etc
79 KZ-1300 (1400)
80 KZ-1300
81 Scratch built GPz1150R
82 KZ1000

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Keep blowing headlights 27 Mar 2009 17:54 #275900

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Zacknhs wrote:

i have been trying to track down a multimeter. The bike has been apart all this week bc its spring break and i needed to put new bolts and gaskets in the motor. and now it has been raining for two days. the bike will be running on sat when my 3rd set of pod filters get here after order confusion.

The vibration thing def sounds like what is going on since it did the same thing with the old separate reg and rec and with the new combo unit. but I'll check with a multimeter once i find mine :(

The battery is good the bike will start on electric even after sitting all winter with fresh gas it started right up.



harbor freight.....cheap enough to buy two multimeters.......

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Keep blowing headlights 27 Mar 2009 18:07 #275901

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hoghaterkaw wrote:

otakar wrote:

I agree, this would be a bad voltage regulator. Eventually this will also destroy your battery and can also blow your ignition. Change the voltage regulator. 14v across the battery terminals is ABSOLUTELY MAXIMUM. For me that is also a bit too high. Kawasaki states 14-15V. 14 makes me more comfortable. Charging voltage for a lead acid battery should not be more than 12% over rated voltage =13.44v.




i disagree with you, the charging amperage should not be more than 12% of the amperage rating of the battery. new cars have charging voltages that can exceed 14 volts. as to the the bulbs. many 12v bulbs can easily live at close to 17v+. you have resistance somewhere in the wiring. you have corrosion. first clean the battery terminals and their wire connects. then the positive wire from the battery where it connects to the fuse box and starter solenoid. next trace the neg. battery wire to where it connects to the motor cases and clean that connection. last locate the black wire from the rec/reg clean it and make a jumper wire to the neg. post of the battery from where the reg/rec ground is landed. that should reduce the high voltage. however you still need to go thru all the wiring and clean and snug up all the connections. now test the charging system output.


new cars have charging systems that regularly exceed 14 volts because those alternators are charging fog lites, stereos with factory subwoofers, rear defoggers, heated seats and electronics that the first apollo mission would be jealous of..


12v bulbs can live past 17v?.....i m sure engineers put in a plus or minus factor based on a percentage....+40% is o k....?.......

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Keep blowing headlights 27 Mar 2009 18:12 #275904

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Need I say more.... Includes Tach & Dwell

EDIT: Harbor Freight Tools... Oops! Thanks Tony!

1976 KZ900-A4
MTC 1075cc.
Camshafts: Kawi GPZ-1100 .375 lift
Head: P&P via Larry Cavanaugh
ZX636 suspension
Keihin, 29mm CR specials
Kerker 4-1, 1.5" comp baffle.
Dyna-S E.I.
Earls 10 row Oil Cooler
Acewell 2802 Series Speedo/Tach
Innovate LC1 Wideband 02 AFR meter

Phoenix, Az
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