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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, my bike nearly left me stranded today while riding when the key suddenly wouldn't quite click into the start position. I've had this happen a couple of times, tried the spare key, tried turning the key in different directions in case the pins were worn oddly, tried finessing the turn, pushing while turning, pulling while turning, cursing, walking away and waiting for my temper to cool before trying again. Only Luck seems to work. I think there is something wrong inside the ignition switch.

So how universal are these things? I've seen ignition sets that have keys and complete wiring harnesses for $25 and others for upwards of $150. If the wiring harness is the same, will it still work? Or is there something else to worry about with fitment?

Any advice will be GREATLY appreciated!!!
 

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Have you tried spraying some WD40 or better yet, liquid graphite into it? May very well solve your issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yep. Tried that more than once and it helps, but it's a temporary fix at best. Like today, I won't always have the WD-40 with me. I need a real fix - new ignition. Just want to make sure if I buy a "universal" switch & key set, that I won't be wasting my money.
 

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Mine has the unusual "feature" in that if the bike is running and you turn the key off, it continues to run. It'll only shut off with the Kill switch. I haven't been interested in spending $115+ on a new ignition switch.

So, I just took my ignition apart today. I wanted to see if I could figure out what the problem was. It comes apart easily enough... two screws. Out comes a black plastic piece with four wires on it, all of which were intact on mine. They go to the wiring harness on the bike. Up inside it gets more complicated. But since I was only interested in wiring issues, I didn't dig into it, so I reassembled it.

FWIW, my key has some issues too on occasion. It's usually related to locking and unlocking the steering column though. I have to do some combination of pushing and pulling and rotating to get it to lock or unlock. I don't think this is gonna help your issue though.

My best suggestion at this point is, if you're mechanically handy, disassemble it. Take photos along the way in case you get stuck during reassembly. Maybe you'll figure it out. Mine seemed to have some grease inside it, kinda like Vaseline, so maybe you can lube yours up good while it's apart. Figure worst case, you screw it up and now you have an excuse to get a new one. Or, you learn something and/or fix it.

Keep in mind if you get a new ignition, the key won't match your gas cap anymore unless you have a locksmith adapt it. Ditto the helmet lock if you still have it (I took mine off).
 

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Your TW is a '99, correct? Here is how your switch works: it has two sets of contacts. One set is closed when in the off position, and open in the on position. It simply grounds the kill line when off.
The other pair is open in the off position, and closed in the on position. It connects battery power to your electrical system.

You can use any universal switch that has both of these types of contacts. Some older Honda switches are like that. A good, common example is the XL250. You can get a new XL250 switch for less than 20 bucks shipped, and it will work just fine.

In the interim you could just wire in a toggle switch to bypass the electrical supply contacts, and hide it out of sight. As long as the kill contacts still work, a potential thief still wouldn't be able to start the bike even if he found the switch. It would work like this: flip the switch on, turn the key switch on, start bike. At the end of the ride: turn the key switch off (which will still kill the engine) and then flip the switch off, killing the lights and the rest of the electrical system.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks WECSOG! That's what I was hoping for. You just saved me (and I'm sure others) a good $80. :D
 

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you might find that your ignition contacts inside are dirty or the casing has come loose, i had a problem once where i had to wiggle the key like you said to find the 'sweet spot' where it would all work, i removed the barrel and cleaned everything and tightened all the screws and it was all good…sometimes it can be the rain getting in. (mine was an after market one)…

if you want to install a switch as mentioned above and have a 99 drum brake model you can do this easily….. remove the RH side panel where the CDI is you will see a red wire from the battery with an inline fuse, if you cut this wire and fit a toggle switch inbetween you can cut the ignition that way. if you're not going to use the key you will have to press the kill switch to stop the engine, the bike won't start on the button with this switch 'ON' but from memory it will still with the kick start, only if you switch the ignition key will it be 'OFF' like normal, i also did this mod as a theft deterrent when i had a barrel i had to break after losing the keys.

here is a picture of where i installed the switch on the bike i mentioned
11694353_10155768573495156_480516050_n.jpg
 
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