Side stand or kickstand safety switches have now been used for a considerable time, and from what I read, cause nothing but trouble across all makes of bikes. Just Google "kickstand switch" and tons of posts come up asking how to remove them or bypass them.
I often wonder why an electrical interlock to stop you from driving off with the side stand down is necessary. I know about the safety aspect, and how driving off with the stand down can cause a serious accident, but why electrical?. Is it some Directive from a faceless bureaucrat?. I suspect it's something to do with linking this safety device to all the other electrical interlocks on modern bikes, like the clutch switch, the neutral light signal, etc to ensure mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging morons can't make any mistakes and win Darwin awards...
Other safety devices used in the past
What was wrong with Honda's rubber block extension used in the 70's-80's?, anybody remember those?. It consisted of a rubber block that would contact the ground just before the stand itself and simply kick it up out of harms way. It was a replaceable item in case of wear, having an arrow moulded on it to indicate maximum wear permissible.
Then some manufacturers went for the spring-back stand. This had the spring(s) arranged in such a way that as soon as the weight of the bike was taken off the stand it sprung back by itself. This was handy in strong winds or when another vehicle contacted yours in a parking lot: the stand would spring back on its own and down went your pride and joy. Not a good solution and a pain to operate for those with short legs as you had to hold them down touching the ground while putting the weight of the bike on it.
There was even a system where the initial clutch lever operation brought up the side stand automatically. The clutch lever had two cables, one of them went to the side stand folding mechanism. I believe it was fitted to some BMW's (K75?).
This worked great until the operating mechanism seized up, usually from lack of maintenance though.
While I'm having a moan, what about the positioning and fixing, at least on the Bonnies?. What was the designer thinking?. The awkward and difficult to access positioning of the two fixing screws shows that the switch is comfortably and easily fitted on the assembly line by cheerful workers, BEFORE the bloody engine goes in or maybe before the left hand detachable frame downtube is attached...clever, eh?. Sod the poor bastards that have to remove it in the future. The service manual solves this issue by the simple expedient of not mentioning the switch at all. Brilliant.
What can go wrong with it?
Ingress of water inside the casing corroding the contacts is probably the most common problem. This shouldn't happen if the protection level for this sort of duty is the correct one: You'll often see IP numbers marked on housings. These signify the degree of protection against dust, water, shock, etc. For a switch
that works in the conditions experienced on a bike the degree of protection should be at least IP54 (the 54 stands for dust sealed and protected against water thrown at it in any direction). IP64 or IP66 would be even better. Most industrial switches meet these specs, but are the ones fitted to bikes up to that standard?, The one we have looks sturdy enough. It's a diecast alloy box open on one side, and completely filled with some sort of silicone compound.
Can't see any water getting in there.
Another problem is the seizure or wear of the operating plunger, even though they are protected by a rubber bellows to protect the plunger shaft, and keep dirt and grit out of the bush. The problem is that if the switch is of a dubious origin (Chinese, for example) the rubber will be badly specified and will soon rot or split, and, if the fit around the plunger is not tight, water will get in. A lot of Chinese rubber components are crap.
How can this be prevented?
You could keep an eye on it, but it's not in the most accessible of places and is difficult to see, never mind removing it for inspection. Trying to keep the operating plunger and the inside of the bellows filled and lubricated with some sort of silicone waterproof grease will stop wear and seizure and also prevent
water penetrating the switch that way. The rubber bellows are easily removed for inspection and grease-filling. Once again I have to stress: "Silicone grease". Ordinary grease will tend to rot some rubber components making things worse.
How do I remove it altogether for inspection or replacement?
I've tried to remove it from the top. The switch fasteners are visible, looking just between the exhaust pipe, left frame tube and the crankcase. Even with the removal of the left exhaust pipe it's impossible.
I have a wide selection of straight and angled drivers, miniature socket sets with universal joints, extensions, etc and couldn't do it. To make things more difficult they've used those Torx-type screws (size T30) so even my tiny and incredibly useful US-made Chapman Mfg.Co.Ltd mini-ratchet
can't be used as it comes, because mine is old and Torx screws hadn't been invented. The modern sets can be supplied with the right bits though. You can buy a separate 1/4" (6.35 mm) hexagonal bit that can be used on the mini-ratchet though, although it's not as good as the originals where the bits are held secure in the ratchet and have knurled ends to ease handling.
Working from underneath the bike using that tiny mini-ratchet it can be done. You could use a fixed 90º Torx key as well but you would have to withdraw it and re-engage it on the screw head many times, so a ratchet mechanism really helps. You'll find that the screws appear to come out with difficulty and might suspect they've used Loctite on them. The reason the screws come out with difficulty is that they're are a kind of self-tapper, of a roughly triangular cross-section, called "Taptite" screws. These screws form their own thread, in this case M6 and they're 12 mm long.
Click on this link
to see the profile of a Taptite self-tapping screw.
How can I make it easier to remove next time?
One way is to wait until you have to replace the oil filter. Access is a lot easier that way.
Also the Taptite screws form (rather than cut) an M6 thread that is a very close-fit on the screw that forms the thread. Run a M6 tap through the holes to open up the threads a little and then any M6 screw will go on by hand easily.
Even screwing and unscrewing another normal M6 screw will ease the tight threads created by the Taptite screw.
Using Allen-head bolts will still require a mini-ratchet next time, so if you don't want that, use a couple of M6x12 Hexagon head screws that can be undone with an ordinary spanner.
If I suspect it's faulty, how do I test it?
Disconnect the aforementioned connector under the LH side cover and identify which half of the connector goes to the main loom and which to the switch under the bike. The male (right hand) part of the connector goes to the switch. Note that it has 3 cables on it. This is because it's equipped with two sets of contacts in a "changeover" layout. We use the "normally closed" set.
"Normally" meaning with the bike ready to run, stand folded up and therefore the switch pluger fully extended and not contacting the stand. Some aplications are the other way round, as in "normally open" contacts. The switch is made with two sets of contacts for different aplications. See photo.
With an Ohmmeter or continuity tester measure continuity or resistance between Black
wires in the normal position for running, i.e. with the stand folded up, you should read around 0.01-0.03 ohms or virtually full continuity.
Dropping the stand down should read infinite resistance or an open circuit. The green wire is not used on the Bonnies and belongs to the "normally open" contacts.
Part number for a replacement, for the Bonnie SE at least, is 2080019T0301. I don't think they've used many different switches. A search through parts fiches shows only 3 part numbers for the entire range.
How can it be by-passed?
For safety's sake it shouldn't, but in an emergency it can be done as long as you can find a piece of thin wire or a paper clip. Drop one in your toolbox...
Location of the switch connector in left hand side panel:
As in the normal running position the contacts are closed, a wire link can be made up and the two wires in the half of the connector that goes to the main wiring loom (the left-hand half of the connector) connected or shorted together. Note that this connector has 3 terminals but only two wires connected to it. Link together the two outer contacts. The bike will think the stand is
up all the time and the engine will run. See photo: