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Toolcraft4100
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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed several days ago that my right-side tail light was not as bright as the left. When I began to investigate I discovered that I have no brake lights. I pulled the bulb and I found this:
322044

I replaced the bulb and I still have no brake lights. I spent a couple of hours investigating last night and if I remember correctly:
I swapped the stop and tail relays and that made no difference. It looks to me like the shorter, stop filaments are bright with the key on and the tail filaments are very dim. If I put the bad bulb back in it only, dimly burns the taller, tail filament on the bad side. Nothing happens ever if I apply the brakes. If I remove and replace the tail fuse with the key on I hear one of the relays click. I hear two clicks at the hand brake and one click at the foot brake.
Any idea what the problem is?
 

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I wonder if the shorted brake light upset the ground. If you probe the green wire at the socket you should read zero volts with the tail or brake lights on. If you read voltage higher than a fraction of one volt the ground is bad somewhere. Then check back, :)

EDIT: Assume it must be a GL1500 from context of conversation. Please list the bike's year and model.
 

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Toolcraft4100
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389 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
thanks, Redwing. Yes, it's a '91 Aspencade. And actually it's not that I have no brake lights, it seems like the brake lights are stuck on and the tail lights seem really dim.
If I do asearch for "brake lights stuck on" or similar it leads me to suspect the foot pedal switch and first of all I don't want to go there and secondly the damaged bulb leads me to think the problem originated in that socket. The socket looks good. I will do as you suggest and check back, but if I remember correctly probing both of the contacts at the bottom of the socket, they bith show like 10.5 volts.
HoganJr
1991 Aspencade Survivor
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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22,576 Posts
Does the cruise control set? If not...

It very well could be the rear brake light switch sticking. Very common.

Go to the brake pedal and follow the spring.
 

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A couple of things;

First, is the tail light assembly after market?
Show Chrome and Add On sold aftermarket tail light assemblies that gave you turn signals on the saddlebag tail lights.
The sockets used in those assemblies are mass assembled and not assembled very well. The ground wire is not very well attached to the socket base. It is just kind of pressed in between the socket and the plastic housing. That can cause the lights to not work. I had to fix the ones I have. I ended up taking the OEM sockets off of the old taillight assemblies and installing them on the after market taillight assemblies.

Second, if the brake lights are stuck on, the additional heat generated by the bulb and current draw could have caused the damage to the bulb and socket. You need to take a look at the foot pedal brake switch. It is pretty easy to look at it and adjust its position.
 

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02 GL1800 w/Auto Pilot
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thanks, Redwing. Yes, it's a '91 Aspencade. And actually it's not that I have no brake lights, it seems like the brake lights are stuck on and the tail lights seem really dim.
That is indicative of a "lost ground". One filament is now getting its' "Ground Return" thru the 2nd filament.

You have a bad ground on the circuit.
 

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Toolcraft4100
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389 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I'm getting ready to head for home and dig into it again. I will do some more probing and record my results. And I'll see if I can access the rear brake switch.
Thanks
HoganJr
'91 Aspencade
 

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Don't go to the switch if you find power on the green (ground) wire. It will be a waste of time. The green wire must read near or at zero at all times with any or all lights on.

If you want to go a step farther, if you find voltage at the green jump the green wire to a known good ground. The lights should then work.
 

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Toolcraft4100
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389 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
A couple of things;

First, is the tail light assembly after market?
Show Chrome and Add On sold aftermarket tail light assemblies that gave you turn signals on the saddlebag tail lights.
The sockets used in those assemblies are mass assembled and not assembled very well. The ground wire is not very well attached to the socket base. It is just kind of pressed in between the socket and the plastic housing. That can cause the lights to not work. I had to fix the ones I have. I ended up taking the OEM sockets off of the old taillight assemblies and installing them on the after market taillight assemblies.

Second, if the brake lights are stuck on, the additional heat generated by the bulb and current draw could have caused the damage to the bulb and socket. You need to take a look at the foot pedal brake switch. It is pretty easy to look at it and adjust its position.
I don't believe it's aftermarket, although it may be. There's alot of jacked up stuff on this bike, though. This is part of what I'm dealing with.
322054


HoganJr
'91 Aspencade
 

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HOLY CRAP! The guy that did this needs to get slapped.

If you have amber or clear lens turn signals in your saddlebag light assemblies, they are aftermarket.
 

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I don't believe it's aftermarket, although it may be. There's alot of jacked up stuff on this bike, though. This is part of what I'm dealing with. View attachment 322054

HoganJr
'91 Aspencade
Looks like somebody added a trailer hitch lighting. I've seen worse. Oh wait, I see that is a trike. Makes me think even more that it is a bad ground. Lord knows who wired it??? :)
 

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Is this a trike? Just curious.
Anyway, here what the OEM lights look like:
GL1500 OEM Tail Light.jpg
Here is the aftermarket light:
GL1500 Aftermarket Taillight.jpg

Amber Turn signal in the aftermarket. None in the OEM.
 

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Those are the strangest seat mount posts I have ever seen.
GL1500 Under Seat MOD.jpg
 
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02 GL1800 w/Auto Pilot
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Those are the strangest seat mount postsI have ever seen.
View attachment 322057
how did you get the seat off?
with nuts on the bolts, it appears someone tightened the OEM bolts so much, the securing nuts welded to the frame are stripped out.
 

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Toolcraft4100
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389 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for all the above.
It's not a trike. It's a '91 Aspencade with a '90 motor and body parts from at least three different bikes. I bought it without knowing how to look it over and got shafted pretty good.
I'm thinking someone tied it down on a trailer or tow truck with the passenger handles and broke the seat mounting points. I had no idea what they were supposed to look like and my fabrication skills are limited so that's what I came up with. Actually works real well.
When I first bought it there was no inner fender. Everything just crammed behind the gas tank or zip-tied to something.
My brake pedal light switch was pretty stiff. Looks like it is open on the bottom and corroded. I removed it, shot some silicone lubricant up in it, worked it until it felt much smoother and reinstalled and adjusted it. I will order a new one. I'm back on the road!
HoganJr
'91 Apencade Survivor
 

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Toolcraft4100
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Discussion Starter #17
So, it was the switch all along?
That's what I'm going with. I thought I had a complicated electrical conundrum. Turns out it was just a routine thing that I probably should have been paying better attention to.
It does make me wonder, though if I had a voltmeter or ammeter guage, if I would have noticed anything that would have alerted me to the fact that my brake lights were stuck on? I've got a digital light bar voltmeter; I didn't notice anything with it.
HoganJr
'91 Aspencade
 

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That's what I'm going with. I thought I had a complicated electrical conundrum. Turns out it was just a routine thing that I probably should have been paying better attention to.
It does make me wonder, though if I had a voltmeter or ammeter guage, if I would have noticed anything that would have alerted me to the fact that my brake lights were stuck on? I've got a digital light bar voltmeter; I didn't notice anything with it.
HoganJr
'91 Aspencade
If the switch was the only issue it would not answer the question of why did you have power on the ground (green wire) side of the circuit? Hope it is fixed so you can just ride baby! :)
 

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If the switch was the only issue it would not answer the question of why did you have power on the ground (green wire) side of the circuit? Hope it is fixed so you can just ride baby! :)
It is a matter of where he was checking, he didn't check the ground with the lights on, he checked both contacts in the bottom of the socket.
"probing both of the contacts at the bottom of the socket, they bith show like 10.5 volts."
 
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It is a matter of where he was checking, he didn't check the ground with the lights on, he checked both contacts in the bottom of the socket.
"probing both of the contacts at the bottom of the socket, they bith show like 10.5 volts."
Gotcha..... so he checked for power to the taol and brake lights but never checked for power at ground????
 
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