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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hey folks, new member from Nashville looking to find a solution to a nightmare

Hey guys. Greetings from Nashville.

I am at my wits end on an issue, and I found no answers anywhere online.

I have a 2009 V Star 950 tourer with about 10k miles that I bought used at a shop about 8 months ago. Since then I was in one minor wreck (people really should pay more attention) that pushed the plastic trim piece that holds the liscence plate up into the wheel well.

My issue is I have no rear running taillight (not the turn signals, I know they are not always on) nor any liscence plate lights. I still have working brake lights. I will list my current breakdown of what I've done so far.

Checked the bulb and replaced it to be sure I'm not crazy.
I have checked the socket at which the bulb makes contact to the bulb.
I have checked the wires that attach to said socket by pushing the wires through the socket and verified good conmection.
Verified that the wires were not cut due to said wreck. I have removed all shielding from the run that goes through the rear fender.
I've gone as far as completely removing the rear fender to trace the blue wire back to the connector under the driver seat. I can not trace it any further due to no access to any more of the run. I do not want to take my bike apart that much.
I have checked all fuses. None are blown.

I really hope I can find a solution to this issue, this is my daily driver.

Thanks in advance guys!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:15 AM
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Can't help with your question, But welcome from Sacramento, Ca.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:49 AM
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Hi Yibba,

Welcome to the forums from the Netherlands!

As to your problem, did you check yet whether you have any voltage over the two wires for your tail light? Just turn the main switch on, which is when the tail light should come on too, and check with a voltmeter. It should give you a voltage similar to the voltage of your battery.

If it is dead (0 V), do check the relevant fuses on resistance. Sometimes a fuse appears to be ok, but is blown anyway. Just use an Ohm-meter to check that. If the resitance is close to zero, things are fine. If it is not, replace it.

Other than that, I cant help you further either.

Please do post one or more pics of your bike (once it is repaired, maybe). Wed all love to admire your bike.

HTH, kind regards, Wim
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:52 AM
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One thing you did not mention, the wires are only half the circuit.

Most bikes and cars use the frame as the return 'wire' to the negative terminal of the battery. If the light socket is not cleanly connected to the fender, which is cleanly connected to the frame, there will be no return path for the current. The socket might have a black return (neg) wire that goes back somewhere to the frame to make the "ground" contact. Something to look for.

This is also a common problem when bikes have starting issues: the black (negative) wire from the battery goes to a bolt into the frame, usually where you cant see it. When that connection gets corroded it will let enough current thru for the lights to come on, but its not good enough for the 100 amps the starter needs.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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I know I do not have a ground issue, every light on the rear lights have a common ground wire that runs to the battery and the ground wire to the bulb socket is good. I put all new fuses in the bike this morning and I still have no luck. I will need to buy a multimeter tomorrow when I get paid tomorrow so I can see if I am getting voltage. I might rig up a working light bulb today to make a DIY test light though.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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I have a few developments after looking at the wiring diagrams. The front running lights (the turn signals) and the rear running lights are both powered from the brake light fuse. I know I do not have a bad ignition switch because if that was bad the turn signals nor the ignition wouldn't work. It is really looking like a bad wire somewhere. I have no idea how the wire is routed from the fuse box to the rear lights due to the limited space beneath the seats. I changed out the fuse again to be sure it was not bad as well.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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I just tested the rear wiring harness at the connector before it goes through the rear wheel well and the running lamp illuminated. Issue must me at the fuse box, there are 2 blue wires that come from the fuse block, one to the front running lights, one to the rear.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 07:27 PM
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Welcome from Houston, Texas. Glad you joined us. Here's a few interesting threads to check out when you get a chance.






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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Lesblank. I took a look at these posts and voted on them.

I could not trace the issue and finally gave in and dropped her off at the shop. Hopefully I wont be looking at too much damage.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2018, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Yibba View Post
... I will need to buy a multimeter tomorrow ....
Pretty much any volt meter you can get will do for checking the voltage and connections on a car or MC, even the free ones they give away at Harbor Freight.

It does not have to be highly accurate. Even the ones they have at walmart for about $10 will tell you what you need to know.

Start by checking your battery, it should be close to 12V DC. When its freshly charged or the bike is running it will be around 12.5 to 12.8V. If you rev the engine up a bit it can jump over 13.5V, because the alternator is charging it.

You dont have to do all that looking for a problem with your running lights, just put the meter on the auto range DC V scale and see what it reads on the battery, of if it has manual ranges put it on the DCV 15 or 20V scale... whatever is the next scale higher than 12V.

If you have not used a meter before there are two things to be aware of:

OHMS. when you use it as an ohm meter to see if wires are connected, the circuit you are checking has to be off. For example if you want to check a bulb take it out of the socket and check the bulb separately. The ohm meter works by sending a small voltage thru the probes, if you have any power connected to the circuit the meter will wack out, or maybe be damaged.

AMPS. The amp meter function measures the current going thru the probes. When the probes are plugged into the amps jacks on the meter, the meter is a short circuit. If you put the meter on amps and then touch the probes to the battery, it will surge hundreds of amps thru the probes, and blow the fuse in the meter. If you want to measure how much current is going thru a circuit, like the headlight for example, you unhook one wire from the headlight, touch one probe to that wire and the other wire to the headlight terminal. Then the meter is in series, its completing the circuit that you just opened, and measures the current flowing thru the meter.

In general the way to find out why a light is not working: start at the battery, measure the 12V to show the meter is working, and you have a good ground, then work you way down the wiring towards the light that is out: battery terminal, fuse box, light switch, wire harness, fender connector, light socket.. and see where you lose the 12V.

If you have 12V at the light socket then the problem is the ground wire somewhere going back to the battery.
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