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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I have a 2012 RE C5 Bullet that keeps shutting down while riding with electrical problems. I've replaced the relay starter, and the magento. The electrical shut offs continue. I touch wires and wait, and the bike restarts. Does this sound like a wiring problem and do you think a main wiring harness replacement will fix this problem? I have a theory that a squirrel chewed on my wires somewhere while under winter cover, anyone heard of that one?

Thanks all,
Greg
 

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If it really does have a magneto, I would check the points backing plate for shorting against the body of the magneto. You might need a new paper cup. Also check the kill switch, or whatever shuts down the ignition. Squirrel teeth marks should be visible. I would run a new wyre from the magneto first, and thru whatever else is in the way between the mag and the coil. A key switch and or a kill switch.
It may also have a neutral and or side stand switch. If so I would check the side stand switch first. If it were mine I would probably eliminate all useless silly switches. There might also be a switch sensor for the head light. That can get turfed as well.

UK
 

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The RE C5s are kind of known for having a weak negative battery connection and too short main ground lead, that cause some negative battery terminals to crack under the plastic sheath. You can end up with an intermittent B- connection that creates misfires and engine die-out. That thumper can create quite a bit of vibration, as you know, which isn't easy on electronics components or connections. Folks have also reported poor connections in the spaghetti inside the headlight casting. As UK suggested, the side stand switch can also be a source of problems. I'd suspect that switch if my bike died while going over bumps. The kill switch can cause issues if it gets flooded with water.

But, I'd start with a check of the battery connections and the main ground connection. Is your MIL lighting up before the bike dies?

This time of year batteries, at least in many North American areas, a lot of batteries have been neglected for some months. What voltage does yours show, before you start the bike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Johnnyvee,

That's all good trouble shooting guidance. I'll catch up with the bike in the Catskills in about a week and take a look at all that. The battery is at full charge, I've been tending it all winter. Much appreciated feedback!

Best,
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If it really does have a magneto, I would check the points backing plate for shorting against the body of the magneto. You might need a new paper cup. Also check the kill switch, or whatever shuts down the ignition. Squirrel teeth marks should be visible. I would run a new wyre from the magneto first, and thru whatever else is in the way between the mag and the coil. A key switch and or a kill switch.
It may also have a neutral and or side stand switch. If so I would check the side stand switch first. If it were mine I would probably eliminate all useless silly switches. There might also be a switch sensor for the head light. That can get turfed as well.

UK
Krusty, I meant to say thanks as well. Much appreciated.

Greg
 

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The battery is at full charge, I've been tending it all winter.
Tenders are well and good, and I use one myself, periodically. Tenders don't take the place of monitoring battery voltage though, and the worst of them can even damage a battery by slowly cooking the electrolyte out. Also, a tender should be matched to the specific battery type. Tenders for wet cell batteries may screw up AGM batteries and visa versa.

If I had to choose between a tender on one hand, and a $5 trickle charger plus a $10 VOM, I'd go with the latter, not just because I'm cheap, but because I think it's better to be more interactive. An educated brain and dumb tools beat smart tools every time! This won't be an option of course, if you want to leave the bike alone in a garage for months at a time, which is what it sounds like your situation might be.

A fully charged wet battery, once the surface charge has dissipated, should read about 12.7 - 12.8 volts, and higher for AGM type.

Good luck with your 2012 RE C5! You can see pictures of mine on my garage tab.
 

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If yours wasn't a 012 JV, my first thought would be that you might have got it from a guy that used to frequent the forum often named soupy1957. But he bought his new in in 017 or 018 I believe. I think he's still around but just don't see much of him these days. I like the fact RE's haven't changed much. Wouldn't mind having one myself. Especially one around your vintage. Might be one of the only ones still going when or if we get one of those magnetic storms that take out all the computer controlled bikes.
 

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If yours wasn't a 012 JV, my first thought would be that you might have got it from a guy that used to frequent the forum often named soupy1957. But he bought his new in in 017 or 018 I believe. I think he's still around but just don't see much of him these days. I like the fact RE's haven't changed much. Wouldn't mind having one myself. Especially one around your vintage. Might be one of the only ones still going when or if we get one of those magnetic storms that take out all the computer controlled bikes.
Mr. Soupy and Mr. Bilgemaster's posts here regarding the RE machines are what attracted me here in the first place. I was sad to see that Mr. Soupy's bike was up for sale along with his nice looking side car rig, for health reasons, and his last post seems to have predated my joining by just a few weeks. I don't know his situation, but I can understand how, if one could no longer ride, they might not want to be reading other folks talking about riding.

The RE's up until 2003 or so use the old technology, even to having breaker point ignition, but after this semiconductors started to creep in, first with TCI ignition, and by 2009 the export bikes will be found equipped with what is, in many ways, a quite modern system including a Keihin ECU and EFI with 02 sensor feedback.

My 2012 C5 fools a lot of people into thinking it's some old WWII restoration, but if you look closely, in a lot of ways it's nearly as advanced as bikes from US and Asian makers. The latest singles even have ABS. What you won't see are digital displays, and LED lights, or plastic body components. I think it's a quite ridable relic. I use the kick starter every time, and even in freezing temperatures, it's a one kick starter. It seems perfectly suited for my use, which is city riding, and gives me a solid 60+ mpg in city commuting while not giving up much in low end torque and audio experience. It's not well suited for highway riding, runs out of guts at about 75mph, and feels like you might expect any 430lb bike to feel when passing (or being passed by) a semitruck.

If this sounds attractive, NOW is a good time to buy one of the Unit Construction Engine singles. RE has stopped making the 500s for India and they are only being made for export. The 350s are only being made for India and are not exported. There is a 411cc "Adventure bike" called the Himalayan that is being made for both markets, and this has attracted some fans worldwide. And RE started making 650 twins in 2018, which are retro, but not nearly as much so as the Singles.

If you want a bike that is really invulnerable to a nuclear blasts mag pulse, you can find 500s from the Cast Iron cylinder era ( pre 2004) which are essentially like riding a 1950s machine. They have tons of mechanical charm, right down to the side accessed tappets, pushrods, external oil lines, and separate transmission. Not a lot of these machines were being imported back in the day, but it seems that most that are for sale 2nd hand are offered very reasonably, and with very low mileage.
 
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