The Agony of Defeat

capeIt was a brilliant plan – sort of last minute, but when I saw it was already touching 50 this morning, I knew it was going to be a nice day, and perfect for my first day trip of the year. I decided to head to Cape Cod. It’s best to see it before the tourists invade and clog up all the roads and scenic areas. I also decided to superslab it down there so that I’d have the maximum time to take secondary roads down to Provincetown at the tip of the Cape and back. Then I’d superslab it home, and as long as I didn’t lollygag, I’d be home in time for dinner.

Here’s the APRS map of my actual trip. Within a mile after crossing the Sagamore Bridge and getting onto Route 6A, which I intended to follow all the way to Provincetown, I lost all electrical power to the bike, and coasted into an Irving station which you see as the end point of my trip, because it was. I checked every fuse I could, and they were all fine. The APRS station still worked, so I knew the battery was fine, and that the ham radio equipment wasn’t responsible for the issue, since all of its fuses and wiring were intact. I checked the manual, and learned that the bike’s main fuse goes into the starter relay switch under the seat.  The totally dead symptoms I was seeing matched those of my Civic wagon when its main fuse blew, so that was my best guess.

I was able to remove one of the two seat bolts, but the other was so tight that the tools supplied with the bike couldn’t budge it. It was time to call MoTow. Fortunately, the flatbed driver agreed to bring a 12mm socket with him to help me try to get it running.  He did, and we were able to finish removing the seat.  We had a great deal of difficulty unplugging the wiring harness from the starter relay switch, though.

meltyflatbedWe finally managed to get it undone, and this is what we found. One of the four terminals had completely melted the plastic around it. That melted plastic was why the harness was so difficult to unplug. The fuse, of course, was perfectly fine. At this point, it was clear that this was not going to be a roadside repair, so we loaded it up onto the flatbed and headed for home.


My wallet took a significant pounding for being 80 miles from home. MoTow only includes the first 35 miles, and they won’t let you drop off at a shop that’s closed. What good is that? What bike shop is going to be open on Easter Sunday? I’m going to have to reconsider my roadside assistance. While it did rescue me, it was a very expensive tow, and I couldn’t even drop it off at the shop, which was actually closer. At least from home I can load it on a trailer and tow it to a shop myself if necessary.

I can at least do some investigation of my own first, though. I found the PC800 Service Manual online, including a complete wiring diagram. I can figure out which wire attaches to the terminal that fried, and from there identify the circuit that caused it. And then… I don’t know. Electrical is definitely my weak point. Give me a mechanical problem, something involving broken or malfunctioning parts that I can put my hands on, and I’m pretty good at fixing them. But you can’t put your hands on this electrical stuff – not without significant pain or injury, at least.  I’m actually rather proud of myself for figuring out as much as I have so far.

But in any event, my bike is grounded indefinitely until this problem gets fixed, just as riding weather really begins to return around here.

Categories: day trip, mechanical | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The Agony of Defeat

  1. So sorry for the aborted trip. Hope you get your bike up and running again soon.

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