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7 pin ignition control unit electrical connector

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John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
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Topic starter
 

 I'm going thru the Clymer manual troubleshooting the ignition system while waiting for carb parts and new plug wires. One of the tests is to remove the 7 pin ignition control connector and carefully  pull the #5 wire. When carefully pulling the wire came off of the connector. I'm now trying to remove the #5 connector and cannot figure out how to get it off. I cannot find any instructions on how to disconnect the female side that was attached to the wire. Clymer offers no insight on this. Thanks

 
Posted : 11/18/2021 18:23
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2530
Member
 

John -

We need year, model and photographs... please.

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/19/2021 07:25
John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
Trusted Member
Topic starter
 

Yes, sorry. It's a 1985 R80rt. I don't have the ability to post pics. I will probably end up purchasing a new harness for this application. The learning curve continues.

 Not sure if all Clymer manuals are the same for all airheads, but mine is a Clymer M502-3 specifically for airheads 1970-1996. For anyone else contemplating doing this, it's on page 393 righthand side midway down. Approach this troubleshooting info with caution, unless of course you know what your doing. 

 Lesson learned. Thanks

 
Posted : 11/19/2021 15:12
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2530
Member
 

Very sorry for your troubles.

97.4% of all ignition woes are in the white/ivory-colored 3-pin connector, under the front cover. If you'll disconnect that connector pair, the plastic of the white connector (only) will typically crumble in your hand, or you may find it split or cracked. ANY sign of plastic degradation will make the BMW electronic ignition act up and/or stop working completely.

 

The other half of the connector (the black, harness side) never has any issues. It's the plastic of the white-ish connector body coming from the "bean can" that causes all the problems. To correct it you remove your "bean can", take it to the workbench, and solder in a whole new connector pigtail from Motorrad Eliktrik. You have to call, this item is not shown on their web page.

Even if you are not having ignition problems (Yet !), this is a great "winter project" for any Airhead with an electronic ignition.

Hope this helps.

 

 

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/20/2021 06:25
John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
Trusted Member
Topic starter
 

 Thank you for this help. I will keep posting with my progress.

 
Posted : 11/20/2021 20:57
John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
Trusted Member
Topic starter
 

 This evening I was able to remove the bean can. On the first picture looking at it closely it looks like the white connector is in the same wiring as the ivory plastic 3 pin connector. I don't have the white connector along with the ivory. It looks like the ivory connector is intact with no signs of deterioration and no cracks. Can you tell me what the white connecter attaches to? It looks like the red wire leads to the white connecter. The ivory connecter doesn't wave any colored wires exposed. 

 
Posted : 11/21/2021 01:39
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2530
Member
 

John -

Sorry if I have not explained this clearly enough. There is only ONE, lightly colored 3-pin connector. It once was white, but due to age, on many machines it may now appear in a darker form.... like ivory or light yellow. It is on the end of the cable coming out of the "bean can". To be clear, there is only ONE 3-pin connector of ANY color within the front cover.

To inspect the connector, you need to defeat the "latch" which is a thin, steel wire, and then pull the white/black connector pair apart. Only then will you see the cracking and crazing of the plastic. 

If you intend to replace your wiring harness, then this has to be done anyway. The connector in question plugs directly into the main wiring harness. The connector shown above looks normal, but ended up being the second photo in the previous post.

Hope this helps.

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/21/2021 11:02
John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
Trusted Member
Topic starter
 

@wobbly,

 Thank you for the clarification on the wiring. I was relieved to see that 3pin connector intact. 

 I would like to request your thoughts on the bean-can itself. When removing it I marked as well as took pictures of it's placement so that I can return it back to where it was set. I've read some posts regarding spraying WD-40 or some oil into the can with access from the oval cap that sits on top and in the back of the bean-can. I pried it off last night and looked inside with a light. It looks as though it has a bit of maybe white lithium grease in there. Do you know if that came from the factory like that? Also, what are your thoughts on putting some type of lubricant in it. If so, any particular area I should direct lube too? I have some dielectric spray for electric contacts also. 

 I installed some new plug wires last night as well as a pair of clear in line fuel filters. I went ahead and purchased a new ignition control unit that is arriving tomorrow hopefully. The one that came with the bike was in need of heat sink paste. It will be saved for spare parts if needed. 

 I also took my coil out. It is one unit and contains both coils. It is a black one as I've read the earlier gray ones are prone to cracking. I am considering replacing it as well. Money is certainly an object but after inspecting it there are no cracks, although it appears suspect. 

 Sorry for the long ramble, however I do look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

 John Young

This post was modified 2 years ago by John Young
 
Posted : 11/21/2021 15:32
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2530
Member
 

• Any grease anywhere on the bike that left the factory, would be so far out of date and oxidized as to be useless at this point. There are 2 small caged ball bearing inside the bean can that needs lubrication. I don't go looking for that work, but when the bean can off and on the bench, as you have, that is the time to swipe and little grease into those bearings. Any good quality grease.

• WD-40 does many things, but lubrication is NOT one of them.

• Certainly marking the bean can is the way to go. But really, the best it can do it get the timing close enough so that the bike will start without issue. You will always want to re-check the timing using the Full Advance flywheel mark with an ignition strobe lamp. That means with the engine running at high RPM.

• Where did you get your new plug wires ?

• I prefer the thermal paste known as Arctic Silver. All the computer and electronics hobby stores will have it. Its very highly rated.

This post was modified 2 years ago by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/21/2021 16:52
John Young
(@john-young)
Posts: 45
Trusted Member
Topic starter
 

 I ended up not king into the bean can. Didn't want to do any irreversible damage. It looks pretty good. The white connector is solid. After reviewing your pictures I saw that it was just the one connector crumbled into two pieces. I purchased the wires from EME. I was hoping the ignition control unit would come in the mail today but no luck. Awhile back at your suggestion I installed a new voltage regulator with good results. With a new v. regulator and ICU going in along with new spark plug wires I ended up ordering a new coil for my bike. I had some concerns regarding the original coil after a thorough visual inspection. I have a few days to wait for everything to come in the mail. I'll have to get it started and then I can set the timing. Looking forward to the day that it runs well.

 
Posted : 11/23/2021 02:38

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