Main Motorcycle: '01 Bonneville (modified)
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Manhattan, NYC, USA
Other Motorcycle: 2017 Moto Guzzi V7 iii
Word to the Wise: Don't Solder Your Crimps
So I'm humming along on my freshly-completed 2001 Bonneville custom, and suddenly when I hit a couple big bumps the engine goes dead. Pull over, try to start, the starter turns powerfully but no ignition. Try the old "screwdriver in the sparkplug wire" trick and sure enough, no spark.
Luckily I was near my house, so I'm able to push it there and pull open the electronics compartment. After a lot of trial and error, I find that one of the dozen ground wires that is screwed into the common ground terminal has broken at the ring-connector. (Difficult to diagnose because the break was invisible - it was inside a length of shrink tubing.)
Problem was that as I crimped mini-ring connectors to each wire, in an attempt to "overbuild" everything, I had soldered the connection and then added shrink tubing. Unfortunately the solder had wicked up into the wire and created a brittle section just where the wire met the connector, and then when I angled the connectors into the ground terminal, the bending weakened the brittle part enough that a few vibrations and bumps caused the wire to break at the connection.
Lesson is, do your crimps right, using the correct crimping tool for the wire and connector (you don't want to pinch it too tight or too loose), and then go with that - no solder. Even adding shrink tubing is a mixed bag: it adds some stress relief, but it hides the connection and you won't see a problem if it goes bad.