Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The wayfaring button

My buttons are jumping ship and it's not just the Christmas cookies.

Heading home from work one day, I walked out to the bike only to find an empty hole where the starter button once lived. Just a sad little spring stuck out, which would have been a problem had Yamaha not installed a handy little lever for me prod.

One of the many joys of vintage bike ownership is pulling it apart and seeing how it works. With that in mind I set to work with one question: what's the difference between the horn button and the starter button? And can I steal it? In theory, they do the same thing, close a circuit and send power on its merry way. Did Yamaha use the same part and can I switch them up until I find a replacement?

There are many little parts hiding behind that plastic cover so go slow.

At first glance, the button assemblies seem to be mirror copies of each other. The only difference that I can see is that the starter button has a heavier gauge spring. However, moving the button from the left to right did not result in a functioning starter button. The horn button must sit on its lighter gauge spring if it's to complete the circuit. Reassembled with the spring and button swap, my starter is back in business.

So the button spins the starter once again but I'm left with a question and a problem. Why the beefier spring? The starter button is just a switch for a much more substantial switch, the starter relay, that takes the full force of the battery's cold cranking amps. I'll have to do some more digging into the manual and/or testing with the volt ohm meter.

But the much bigger problem, the one that became important during the first thirty minutes of operation, is the big empty hole where my horn button use to be. I ride in city traffic so that little button on the left sees it's share of use. In addition to that, the bike is a reliable kicker. One or two kicks is all it usually takes. So, it will be kick only for a while, until I can find a part. 

This leaves me wondering if all 78' Yamaha switch gear is the same. Did they make the button assemblies or are they from some Japanese electronics supplier that was used by a handful of manufactures?

Time to do some digging... www.mikesxs.net/  http://www.xs500forum.com/

- Ride North

The tools of the trade.

Update: success!

Mike's XS to the rescue. I put in the order for a button and a set of mirrors on Sunday, USPS had them on my doorstep on Wednesday. The seven dollar horn button works for both the horn and the starter on my 1978 XS500E.

Mike's part # 24-6525OEM # 27010-1009Fits: XS/TX650 switches 1974-84. 

New button is go. 

New mirrors replaces the old oxidized originals. 

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