For the past 2 months, my bike has been out of commission. I had been having a few small issues getting it started, but didn’t think too much of it until it wouldn’t start at all. It would turn over when I pressed the ignition, but wouldn’t quite catch and run, and on the odd occasion that I was able to get it running, it wouldn’t stay running for long.
My uncle and I tore it down, and began troubleshooting the electrical system using the step-by-step guide in the dealer manual. After testing the wires, plugs, and ignition coils, we moved on to the rectifier regulator. It didn’t appear to be putting out the correct voltage, and after a quick call to the dealership, they said it was a fairly common problem on a bike of that age, so we ordered the part.
This was when I learned that it takes 10-14 days to get pretty much any motorcycle part. And it became even more important as the repair job went on. After finally getting the part in, we swapped it over, and checked for spark. Nothing. So we began troubleshooting again, finally testing it down to the pickup coil. Another trip to the internet had the part on order, and the wait began again.
We spent some time marking out where all the bolts go, and removed the crankcase cover to replace the pickup coil. We’d read a few guides online on how to do it, and were as prepared as possible. The amount of locktite used to hold the bolt in was impressive, however, and we ended up snapping the first bolt as we attempted to take it out. So we are stuck again. Fortunately I work at a machine shop, and we were able to utilize those resources to get the bolt removed, but it still took some time to order the replacement parts and get it drilled out.
At this point, we really wanted to make sure it would run properly, even though the replacement gasket hadn’t arrived, so we used some silicone gasket replacement and reassembled the bike. At that point, it was running, which was awesome, but I did have a small oil leak that dripped when it was running. It was perfectly usable, I just needed to make sure I kept an eye on the oil level so that it didn’t get too low. Since then, the gasket has come in, and everything is back to 100%.
Looking back, I had suspected that there was something wrong with it, as it would often take 5-10 minutes to warm up before I could ride it. A guy at work has a 1500 Kawasaki, and after I started my bike and was gearing up, I watched him walk out, gear up, start the bike, and drive away. Meanwhile, my little 650 was still cold. I’m glad to say that with the pickup coil replaced, it runs MUCH better. I can start it and drive away, finally, and it even seems to run hotter, with the exhaust pipes getting too hot to keep my leg near, which never happened before. Hopefully this is the only major repair I have to do on it, though. Apparently pickup coils don’t fail very often.