How To - Ground Wires

Parts Needed, Tools Needed, How Can I tell? Where Do I Look?

Topic:                           Care and Feeding of your Ground Wires. OMG - if there's one thing on a wetbike that will drive a person nuts, it's a bad ground connection. Here's a little blurb that will hopefully help you overcome any issues they create:

Expertise Required:      Jedi

Estimated Time:            About an hour

Parts Neeed:               You will need the following parts:

      • Your brain
      • Possibly a new eyelet

Tools Needed:             You will need the following tools:

      • 10mm Socket, 3 inch extension, ratchet and/or wrench
      • Maybe a soldering iron and solder if replacing an eyelet


How can I tell?:             Many of us know that Wetbikes will attempt to make you look stupid when they can. Many times, you'll have a random issue that goes away only to reappear at the worst possible moment.

Some of the symptoms of a bad ground are . . .

      • intermittent ignition cutout when hitting the water hard (landing after a jump)
      • funky miss in the ignition at low rpms that clear up when the revs come up
      • wires getting hot and/or discolored
      • ground wires getting brittle and/or beginning to corrode excessively
      • HUGE SHOCK when you hit the starter switch - sweet eh?
      • Discoloration of the electrical pins in the main wiring harness socket
      • Main fuse blows and/or looks discolored and like the solder has been melted out of it
      • Starter occasionally seems dead - or very slow to engage (but engages fully once it starts)

Where do you look?        There are a couple of places to look for bad grounds - here are the most obvious ones:

      • Ground wire from battery should be connected to the bottom of the starter if possible. Clean/inspect as necessary. If running a Goki or S114-555, then connect this cable to one of the upper starter bolts.
      • If your starter switch (especially on pre-'85 bikes) gives you a jolt, you will need to inspect/replace the ground wire that goes from the base of the switch to the negative side of the battery. I think it's #21 in the parts manual.
      • Starter solenoid - there's a ground for the solenoid that goes to the mounting hole opposite the bellows. Clean it with a wire brush and/or make sure the copper strands aren't burned or broken. If they are burned - time for a solenoid.
      • 50HP motors - there is a ground wire connected to the Rectifier and one coming from the engine wire harness that are both grounded to the motor through the lower-left bolt holding the little mounting plate on the motor. Make sure the bolt - AND - the spacer are clean and making good contact. The CDI and COIL also have ground wires. Clean, inspect, and repair if necessary.
      • 60HP motors - On the left side, there are 2 ground wires. One is on the lower-left mounting bolt for the plastic assembly and the second is INSIDE THE WIRING HOLDER. The older style rectifier (bigger one that mounts on it's own special bracket) tends to corrode a little between "it" and the bracket. A little cleanup here goes a long way too. The newer, smaller rectifier is held onto the backside of the plastic holder with an O-Ring. It uses a separate wire for ground. Clean/Inspect/Repair as necessary. The coil and control unit (rev limiter) also have ground wires. Pay special attention to the coil ground wire. It's known to break the wire at the spade terminal - but look OK.




Copyright 2012 Capt'n Obveeus

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