How to remove the ignition lock

The problem

Do you know that? You're riding on a highway, you're passing a cage, and suddenly - nothing. No power, no engine sound, no headlight (that's really funny, if it's dark), no dashboard lights - nothing. You don't? Lucky one. I had this experience a couple of days ago, and I had some whole lotta good luck, that nothing bad happened to me. When standing on the roadside, I found out, that every now and then, when touching the ignition key and holding it in a certain position, the ignition was on. When I released the key, the ignition went off. Ok, I fixed the key in that "on" position with some duct tape, and managed to ride home. So obviously the ignition lock was defective. A quick look at the microfiche in question told me, that it wouldn't be a too big deal to remove the lock. Naive guy me ... I removed the right fairing, had a look under the upper triple clamp, and found nothing looking like a hex or Allen head nut, it looked more like a washer (red circle). A quick question on the International Transalp Mailing List brought the answer: Jake stated, that security bolts are used, with the head breaking off when they are tight. For obvious reasons, naturally.

Ok, it's a little bit more of work. The plan was, to drill a tiny hole into the bolts and to remove them with a screw extractor. "Linksausdreher" we use to call this brilliant toy here in Germany. To accomplish that there is no other way than to remove the upper triple clamp. Here's what you have to do. Remember: I try to tell my very best, but in no case I can give any guarantee!

Tools you will need

The solution

The way I did it, you don't need to remove neither fairings nor tank. If you plan to adjust steering stem bearing however, you should remove them. You also should remove at least the right and left fairing, if you plan to remove the ignition lock wiring harness by towing the connector. This connector is hidden somewhere inside the front fairing, I didn't feel like searching, and possibly removing the front fairing. So I simply cut off the harness, I will solder it together later and isolate it with some shrinking hoses. I can't actually recommend this procedure, though ... ;-)

  1. Remove the fuse box. It is fixed to the left side of the upper triple clamp (red arrow on picture 2).
  2. Remove the handlebar and put it on the dashboard.
  3. Remove the 30 mm stearing stem nut.
  4. Remove the upper triple clamp. Possibly it sits very tight. Use a 50 cm long piece of hard wood and a hammer to loosen it from below. (The correct way to accomplish this is: Remove the front wheel, remove the front fender, losen the bolts of lower and upper triple clamp, pull down the fork legs, remove the upper clamp) Better cover the tank with a cloth.
  5. Now it's time to remove the lock. Remember, we don't have any hex or Allen head bolts. Drill a 4mm hole into the middle of the bolt. It should be deep enough (15 mm) for the screw extractor to seize. Be careful not to destroy the thread inside the triple clamp, though.
  6. Apply the screw extractor, turn it left, et voilà.
  7. Here's the lock removed.

So what happened to the lock? Why didn't it work? Let's have a deeper look at it. On the lower side, there are 3 small Philips bolts (green circles). Having removed those, and also having removed the black cap, we see the lock's mechanic. The two balls are responsable for the catches. But the catches were allright ... Contact was bad. The reason for that I saw a moment later, when the white part separated from the black one by chance (this normally should not happen), letting two little springs fly through the air having been under the two copper terminals. The pivot was broken, the lock is scrap. I have to go for a new one.

For a brandnew complete lock the gentle Honda dealer next door asks 116.- €, for the electric part of the lock only 50.- €. Yes, it's possible to purchase and change the plate holding the terminals only (the white one with the cables in the picture). Big advantage: if your lock is still mechanically ok, you can keep your keys. Disadvantage: Honda wasn't able to supply me with the plate. So I made an inquiry amongst the local junkyards. One had a complete set, incl. ignition lock, tank cap, helmet lock and 2 keys for 100 €, the other one a single ignition lock with a single key of an '87 TA for 30 €. Yep, that's up to my alley ...

Little disadvantage: There were 3 cables coming out of my lock, the "new" one had only two:

Fairly enough for switching ignition on. So what is the 3rd one (blue/brown) good for? A look at the plate gives the answer: FAN. Radiator fan. An even deeper look at the plate and another look into the electric diagram told me, that red/black and blue/brown are led together inside the lock. Ok, if it's so, I can lead them together in any other place, inside the connector, for example. Quick test - yup, works. Time to put it all together again.

If you want to mount the lock completely correct, you should use those security bolds. If you want to have things a little bit easier and cheaper, and if your TA is a pretty old one like mine, you may use Allen head bolts with a thread diameter of 8 mm. In any case you should add a drop of screw locking fluid.

Reassembly is vv to removing. Pay attention to the fork: Before fixing the triple clamp bolts, provisionally mount the handlebar. With front brake lever pulled, push the fork a bit. Fasten stearing stem nut and triple clamp bolts. Fasten handlebar bolts, front first. If during the test ride you have the idea, that the front suspension doesn't work correctly, or that the bike tends to go to either side instead of going straight, then most probably the fork is bent. In this case I recommend to go the hard way: Loosen all bolts top-down (upper triple clamp, lower triple clamp, fender, wheel axe), straighten the fork by putting the front wheel between your knees and carefully turning the handlebar. Fasten all bolts down-top. Check fork after each step.





© Detlev Müller, 15-JAN-2008

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