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TOPIC: gpz550 ignition switch

gpz550 ignition switch 12 Jan 2020 20:54 #816998

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Howdy,

So my ignition switch has started to do nothing all of a sudden. It has happened before, but previously would solve by turning the key off and on until it decided to work.
Now in the middle of a canyon ride I stopped at the top to take in the views and it stopped working, and never came back.

my question is: is it possible to rebuild/revive an ignition switch? I would like to keep using my original key, which works for everything.

but if i'm doomed to have to replace the ignition switch entirely, which should I go with? Have been reading on the forum that the EMGO ones seems to be pretty decent. I don't really care for a steering lock, current clip ons do not allow it anyways.
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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Last edit: by Caleator.

gpz550 ignition switch 12 Jan 2020 21:27 #817004

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One fairly common problem with all the switchgear on these old bikes is the solder. It gets brittle with age, and can vibrate apart. If that is the problem, it should be pretty easy to fix with a fine tip, some new solder and some patience.
1982 KZ1000 LTD parts donor
1981 KZ1000 LTD awaiting resurrection
2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough
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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 06:02 #817018

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haven't taken it off and actually looked at it yet, but I will give this a shot. I hope it works
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 07:49 #817024

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Your ignition switch probably has a plastic cover at the base over the soldered wiring connections.
The cover probably has tabs that hold it in place >> access to the tabs is thru 2 rectangular holes in the body of the ign switch.
I use a terminal pin tool to press on the tabs, but a large paper clip, awl or something like that should work.

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 14:46 #817041

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so the whole wiring actually just comes out of the switch itself, that's neat.

I'm no electrician, what's the opinion about re-soldering this? No.3 (white) on the wiring diagram runs to the fuse box then the starter solenoid.

Do they sell these anywhere? I don't even know what to call it.
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)
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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 15:05 #817042

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As you can see there is a lot of heat (current flow) that have melt and burn the solder point and White wire insulation ( battery +).
Any pics of the internal copper slider Switch block??



It Looks like you have a hidden short cut circuit or a device that need a lot of current for nothing. Any electric device upgrades in the past???
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Last edit: by Scirocco.

gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 15:11 #817044

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forgot to add it, the burnt one in the middle is the white no. 3


OEM parts diagrams don't show this as a separate part unfortunately

No electrical "upgrades" but a couple months ago I changed out the turn signals and the headlight, both of which use the same bulbs original parts, except smaller size.
i was running 13V bulbs in the rear for like a week last year, but I got proper ones soon.
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)
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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 15:51 #817046

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As i explain before, your ignition Switch block contcat is burned away and have to be replaced!!!!
Less contact and current load = more current, more heat/melting and so on and vice versa.... OHM`S LAW!!!
The weakest part of the main wiring give up first.

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 16:48 #817053

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I'm trying to locate a used ignition switch to steal the plate off of, but all the ones I can find are 6 pin connectors with an extra female plug on the side.

mine is only a 5 pin connector, both male and female.

would a 6 pin one still work? can't figure out what that extra wire is for on the others...
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)
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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 17:17 #817054

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Okay so it appears that after 1981 they added a "hazard relay" wire to the switch. My question now is did the wire for the hazards just take up the empty space? or did it get re-arranged in the connector after 1981? very obscure information...

pre 1982 kz 550 ignition switches run $150 on bike bandit, yikes!

let me know if you see something floating around. might run with an after market one until I can find one.
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 18:51 #817058

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Starting to think someone custom made this one or something, or it was specifically on the GPZ. cant not find any switch with the same connector.

anyone with an 81 gpz550 want to show me their switch connector? just for comparison
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 19:20 #817060

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does this help... I don't know anything about your bike... trying to help...
www.regulatorrectifier.com/catalog/1980-...-ignition-key-switch
1976 KZ 900 A4
1976 KZ 900 B1 LTD
1978 KZ 1000 B2 LTD
Kowledge Speaks, But Wisdom Listens.
Jimi Hendrix.

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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 19:23 #817061

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locksmith could make you a key...
1976 KZ 900 A4
1976 KZ 900 B1 LTD
1978 KZ 1000 B2 LTD
Kowledge Speaks, But Wisdom Listens.
Jimi Hendrix.
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gpz550 ignition switch 13 Jan 2020 19:27 #817062

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Yeah this is the one I need lol. I guess my searching skills are not as good as I thought.

I'm just using it for the wire plate, finding one with the 5 pin connector was difficult

Thanks!!!
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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Last edit: by Caleator.

gpz550 ignition switch 16 Jan 2020 16:13 #817221

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Switch came into today, took it apart and cleaned out the abundant of spider mess.

put the new (used) plate in my switch and it's back to working order!

Thanks for for finding that switch for me Mikaw.

So again, I'm no electrician, but could a wire being too long cause an overflow issue? When I soldered my front turn signals on I left the really long because eventually I was going to put a full fairing on it. Other than that I can't think of what caused it. The connector on the starter switch under the side cover is pretty rusty too
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)
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gpz550 ignition switch 16 Jan 2020 16:44 #817224

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Caleator wrote: put the new (used) plate in my switch and it's back to working order!

Thanks for for finding that switch for me Mikaw.


Your welcome... Looks like its in good shape.... The longer length of wire might add a slight amount of resistance but shouldn't be the problem, considering you used similar size wire that was either new or not corroded... I'd be looking for rusted or corroded connections like the starter connection you mentioned... The Best way would be to get a wiring schematic and trace thru all wires related to the circuit of the failed wire in the original plate...
1976 KZ 900 A4
1976 KZ 900 B1 LTD
1978 KZ 1000 B2 LTD
Kowledge Speaks, But Wisdom Listens.
Jimi Hendrix.
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Last edit: by Mikaw.

gpz550 ignition switch 16 Jan 2020 17:27 #817226

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A can of dedicated electrical contact cleaner, like Deoxit D5, will do wonders for those dirty, corroded contacts. Some small brass brushes will help, too.
1982 KZ1000 LTD parts donor
1981 KZ1000 LTD awaiting resurrection
2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough
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gpz550 ignition switch 17 Jan 2020 11:27 #817278

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Excessive wire length will reduce the current, so it's not a problem at all. Also if the wire is shorter than a few meters (or yards) the current difference will not even be able to be measured.

The first switch likely burned because of dirt or vibration. Sometimes grease will cause that too. If the surface area of the contact gets reduced because of dirt or grease or mechanical means, the remaining surface area will have to carry the current and will heat up and start burning the copper and/or grease, which then makes the problem worse until the area gets overheated and starts to melt the wire insulation and finally fail entirely.
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gpz550 ignition switch Yesterday 23:54 #817329

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I used contact cleaner on the new one, and also on the connections to the starter.

hopefully that helps.
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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gpz550 ignition switch Yesterday 14:59 #817375

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So it happened again, currently stuck on the side of the road.

Ignition switch does nothing.

BUT if I unplug the headlight, the ignition will turn on, BUT as soon as the starter is pressed, the power is lost. The starter switch itself is making the click, so I know that's getting power...

I only have a screwdriver and a set of allen keys on me right now. I opened up the ignition switch and the wiring is not burnt. Haven't taken a look at the switch plate behind it tho.

Fuses look good

I really don't want to have to get another tow. and I JUST got a parking ticket too...

Anything I could try?
1981 Kawasaki GPZ550 (KZ550D-1)

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