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California Sidecar Electrical question
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phlaug
Posted 7/4/2015 9:18 PM (#85204)
Subject: California Sidecar Electrical question



Regular

Posts: 85
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Location: Durham, Connecticut
I have a Friendship III sidecar mated to a 1991 GoldWing.

Just noticed the other day that the running lights, front and rear, on the sidecar are out. (Turn signal still works, height adjuster on outrigger wheel still works.)

I had actually only noticed that the headlight was out so pulled that out, and found it was a bit of a melted mess. Took some doing to pull apart and then had to file the inside of the gap to get the old bulb that had broken apart and fit the new bulb in. (But I'd confirmed the light and fixture worked via bench testing before reinstalling.)

When I reinstalled, still no light. So now I was thinking fuse. But I can't discern a fuse anywhere. Sidecar has a quick connect wiring harness (about a nine pin job (I didn't take a picture and I'm far away from it at the moment)), a few wires go forward to the height adjuster control. A few wires are cut off and unused. And then a brown and a blue head toward the back under the GoldWing's top box. So I can only assume these power the running lights.

So my questions are: is there a fuse mounted anywhere in the sidecar itself?

Would a fuse have been installed in line where ever these wires spliced into the GoldWing's original wiring?

Any ideas or guidance whatsoever would be greatly appreciated. I'm mechanically inclined enough to get a lot of stuff done, but boy do I really hate electrical!!!

Thanks! And Happy Independence Day!!!
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DRONE
Posted 7/5/2015 9:38 AM (#85206 - in reply to #85204)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question



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Posts: 238
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Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
I've never owned a Cali so can't comment on the fuse question, but first I'd see if there is good power and ground to the headlight by testing the wires that connect to the headlight fixture, and to the front and rear running lights. I know you said you bench tested the fixture, but still I'd want to confirm that the wires have no power. I'd check the ground wire separately to make sure it is still a good ground. Once you get that done, and there's no power in those lines, then you can restart your search for the fuse (which is most likely the problem.) You can also pull that connector apart, then use your multimeter to test the pins on the bike side of the connector. If your light pins have power, then the problem is in the car. If not, then it's a fuse on the bike.

If no joy, you could call Jay or Barry at DMC Sidecars next week. I'm sure they'd know.
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phlaug
Posted 7/5/2015 9:45 AM (#85207 - in reply to #85204)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question



Regular

Posts: 85
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Location: Durham, Connecticut
Thanks, Drone. Appreciate the feedback.

So, I guess first stop is the auto parts store to get a multi meter -- I had electrical so much I've never even had one. But I have a trailer wiring disaster to work on too, so I guess it's high time.

Great call on testing the quick connector pins directly to help narrow down where the issue is.

Tangentially related question: anyone know the laws regarding running lights on sidecars? The blinkers still work front and back so I feel fine running it in daylight. At night it's a little dicier as some idiot could think I'm just a solo bike and go to pass me on the right when I'm signaling left not realizing there's a wide-ass sidecar over there. But just curious about daytime running whether the cops on their hyped-up long weekend patrols would have an excuse to bother me (I'm thinking not as it'd be obscure info for them to have front of mind...).
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phlaug
Posted 7/5/2015 10:18 AM (#85208 - in reply to #85204)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question



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Posts: 85
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Location: Durham, Connecticut
Sorry, another related question--I just found that two running light bulbs on the GoldWing (the two in the top box, that sit inside the two turn signals, flanking the reflector with the GoldWing logo) aren't installed. Was this necessary due to the additional demands on the bike's electrical to power the car's running lights? Or is it possible precious owner noticed a bulb out and just decided not to replace?

Thanks!
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Lloyd
Posted 7/5/2015 2:23 PM (#85213 - in reply to #85204)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question


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Posts: 161
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Location: Columbiaville, MI.
Normally the right turn signal bulb on the bike is removed, so that people aren't confused by the right turn signal on the bike and on the sidecar are both blinking, but states that require a safety inspection often require that all light bulbs be working on both the bike and sidecar. Often people with Goldwings will hook up the sidecar lights directly to the bikes wiring in the trunk, and often those wires are too small to carry the extra current, it may have blown a fuse on the bike. Good luck with it.
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phlaug
Posted 7/25/2015 6:25 AM (#85546 - in reply to #85204)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question



Regular

Posts: 85
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Location: Durham, Connecticut
Thanks again DRONE and Lloyd for your input.

So I promptly bought the electric testing tool, though didn't so promptly start sticking and prodding the bike. And then one day I had to make a quick daytime run with the rig and when I fired it up all the lights worked! GHOST IN THE MACHINE ANYONE? I'm not complaining, as it seems to be consistently illuminated now (two weeks no issues). But when it does fail again i think I'll really be in a bind trying to track it down as it clearly has an intermittance to it. Alas!
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DRONE
Posted 7/25/2015 5:24 PM (#85558 - in reply to #85546)
Subject: Re: California Sidecar Electrical question



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Posts: 238
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Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
Lucky you!  Just don't push your luck and start installing a satellite TV and a microwave for popcorn.
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