Triumph Quit Ignoring Your Ignition Problems

Discussion in 'Common Issues' started by scowherd, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. scowherd

    scowherd Supercharged

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    I am starting this thread and plan to take the post and pass it on the triumph as one big complaint. this is for Ignition switch failure Only So give me your stories.

    I will start by giving you mine and you can join in.

    I took off on a Friday afternoon for what appeared to be the perfect holiday weekend for a getaway with my wife. Everything was going great the weather was perfect and the roads were great we were on US 421 in Manchester Ky making good time. We were trying to get across the mountain and to our destination, Johnson City Tn before dark. We pulled into a station for fuel and a Bio break and then ready to hit the road. I went to start my my bike and had no power to anything except the horn. My wife was waiting at the edge of the parking lot on her Harley Sportster ready to ride. I tried wiggling the key, checked the cut off switch, and did the usual things you do to get your bike started and still nothing. At this time I had wore out my welcome at the gas pump and the line was getting longer. So I pushed my bike out of the way and told the wife I was having problems. She parked her Harley and asked me what was wrong ? I told her I am sure it was something simple and assured her we would be back on the road in no time. I had just put a new battery on the bike for this trip so I assumed I did not have the connections tight and one must have worked lose. I removed the seat and the connections were fine. I checked the voltage on the battery with a meter and it was fine. By the way I highly suggest if you have a rocket get a cheap meter that checks voltage and continuity and keep it on the bike, I was lucky there was a guy in the parking lot with one. So i determined the battery was OK so i assumed it was a fuse. I proceeded to check the continuity on all the fuses one by one they checked out OK. I cursed and told the wife that the quick fix just became a little more complex and I was going to have to raise the tank. So off I went, removing the windscreen, removing the chrome around the switch housing, pulled the gauges, and raised the tank. I checked the voltage going into the switch and it was good I turned the key on and checked to see if there was voltage on any of the other wires in the harness there was none. At this time I was pretty sure it was the switch and by this time an hour had passed. I started calling people from the site I knew have had this trouble before and asked for suggestions. While I was waiting for a call back I decided I was sure it was the switch and I should go get the supplies needed to bypass before the stores closed. Now come the worse part I had to ask the wife if I could borrow her Harley to go to the auto parts store and I caught myself using a phrase I never though I would say "Thank God For Harley's". So I climbed aboard my wife's sportster 883 low and began my ride of shame to the parts store. by the way for those of you that have never meet me I am not the smallest person in the world and I am sure me riding this 883 looked like a bear humping a dog. So i get the the parts store and started browsing, by the way if you own a rocket I suggest you take good notes because this shopping list will come in handy some day if triumph continues to ignore the problem. I purchased a roll of electrical tape, Wire nuts, Wirestriper/crimpers, 14 gauge wire, and a toggle switch and mounted the Harley one more time and headed back to the stations. While I was gone I got the call I was looking for from NMrocket and he assured me he could walk be through the bypass and get me back on the road. So I put 12" leads on the switch and ran and ran them from under the bearclaw so I could access the switch and it still be hidden. Then I cut the wiring harness and instructed and completed the wiring and tested. I now had power so I reassembled the bike, did I mention that installing the bear claw is a pain in the arse. By this time it was 9:00 pm and we still had about 3 hours to ride most of it in BFE. So we opted to ride a little closer and get a room for the night in the thriving metropolis of hazard Ky were we had the pleasuring of staying in the worse motel ever.

    Thanks Triumph for not doing an official recall on the switch that eventually left me stranded as it has a good percentage of rocket owners.

    Sincerely

    Your not so loyal Customer
    Steve Cowherd
     
    trumpet man likes this.
  2. Gkiller

    Gkiller .020 Over

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    Put me on the list as well. I purchased my 06 Rocket Classic last June from the original owner (bike had a tad over 10K miles on it when I purchased it). Approximately two months after I bought the bike, I noticed that I would lose power when making sharp turns or turning handlebars in either direction....very dangerous situation. The problem rapidly progressed to the bike not starting when the key was turned on. After doing research on a possible cause for the problem, I came across the "ignition switch failure" issue, and contacted my local dealer to see if Triumph would warranty the repair since it was so prevalent among the Rocket III's. The answer from Triumph was "what ignition problem?" and "no" to a warranty repair. I ended up taking my bike to a local bike tech who disassembled the ignition barrel and re-soldered the damaged solder points. Bike ran fine thereafter, but for safe measure, I installed the H4 Headlight Relay kit.

    Triumph is well aware of this problem as there must be several dozen forum members just from the R3.net site who have had this problem, brought it to Triumph's attention, and some lucky enough for Triumph to stand behind their product and replace the defective part. Others - like me - were left to deal with both the frustration and financial responsibility of the obvious defective part.

    If Triumph continues refusal to issue a recall, the only remaining option would be to encourage affected Rocket owners to begin filing complaints with the NHTSA and hope to force a recall before someone is seriously injured (or worse) due to the faulty ignition switch.
     
  3. ChopperJ

    ChopperJ Standard Bore

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    Gladly. Here's my story retold from the original post (I'm still afraid of straying too far from home on this bike).

    My 09 Rocket with less than 2,000 miles on it tried to strand me while 1,000 miles from home in Canada. After stopping for about 30 minutes to do some sight seeing, it refused to start when I tried to leave (turn key = nothing.) I checked the connectors under the tank and eventually wiggled the wire from the ignition switch until it came alive again, then wire tied it to the clutch cable. 2 days of riding later my headlights stopped working, which really put a crimp in my schedule since I was limited to day travel at that point. The 6 guys on Harleys I was riding with were quite amused - how humiliating. The dealer will gladly fix it, but I'm disappointed. I've had 2 Speed Triples and a Speedmaster, none of which I ever had even a minor issue with. I feel more comfortable riding my 67 Tiger now - at least it's never stranded me!
     
  4. RatBoy

    RatBoy .020 Over

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    I burned through the original switch and another switch that I had to pay for ... wasn't covered under warranty.

    I took the first switch apart to see if I could determine the problem. The wiring was still attach, but it would function.

    The second switch I completely wrapped in DEI CoolTape for both support as well as heat protection. The Switch still crapped out.

    Prior to installing the third switch, I installed the Eastern Beaver wiring harness for the headlights. The headlamps are brighter and I haven't burned out another switch since.

    I believe, and others more knowledgable than I, that the problem is too much power going through the switch.
     
  5. dandiego

    dandiego .060 Over

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    I, too, had an ignition go bad on my 2009 Rocket III Touring with about 10K miles on it. About a year ago (or about after I'd owned it a year), I was away from home when I stopped the bike for about 10 minutes. When I returned, the bike would not start--no indication of power whatsoever.:mad: I waited 3 hours from a wrecker to arrive and tow me home; the bike was towed to the dealer the next day where the ignition failure was identified.


    Luckily, that was a warranty fix and my bike was only out of commission for about two weeks while the dealer ordered, received and installed the new ignition.


    While the two tow truck service rides were taken care of by me via AMA Roadride Assistance, the time I was without transportation and the general feeling of being stranded away from home is a bad, bad feeling and does little to inspire confidence in one's motorcycle.

    Like another owner mentioned, I no longer have any faith in the bike and won't travel far from home knowing that there are serious dependability factors with the Triumph Rocket III.

    Like my anger toward Triumph, my collection of photos of my bike on the back of a flatbed is growing...


    This ignition issue is absolutely, positively a well-known fact that needs to be acknowledged and addressed by Triumph.
     

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  6. scowherd

    scowherd Supercharged

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    Great stories keep them coming .... I would like to put a deadline of august 1st so I can compile the information please if you have had the problem please respond
     
  7. nolton

    nolton Turbocharged

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    Good thread.
    I havent had any ignition problems yet but because so many have and I dont want to be stranded, I will have the EB relay kit installed.
     
    STRIPES, TRIIICK and COMick like this.
  8. Molinoman

    Molinoman Turbocharged

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    Mine left me stranded after I got off of work at Sears back in 2008...before Bike Week by about a month. I wasn't too happy at the time and had to get an associate of mine (who's dad rides and trikes Harleys) to borrow his dad's truck and trailer and haul mine to the dealer.

    It was fixed under warranty and I made my now "epic" (at least to me anyway) on time to Bike Week, Key West and back home without a thought on the subject...but as others have mentioned on here...you never know.

    Jeff Lee bought my bike and I haven't heard anything from him that the switch went out again.

    But, you are right Triumph should acknowledge this and design an ignition switch and routing wiring assembly that will fix this problem.

    Dennis

    In Big Timber, MT tonight after visiting Little Bighorn Monument Battlefield.
     
  9. Ugarte

    Ugarte .020 Over

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    My rocket ignition switch left me stranded at work in december of 09. I had to take a cab home and get my truck and trailer to haul the rocket home. In order to get the rocket on the trailer I had to block the entrance to a state office building for about a half hour, the security guards were not happy about that and I am pretty sure they mumbled mean things about me to each other. Also, this all took place near a long line up of bikes with riders coming and going and witnessing my embarassment and discomfort.

    There is no excuse for such a cheesy ignition switch design on a 15k dollar bike. I never replaced the switch fearing the same thing would happen again leaving me stranded in an even worse location.
     
  10. HellFire

    HellFire Legend

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    Bought my 2008 Standard in August 2008. In July 2009 it left me stranded on two commutes to work in 100 degree temps on I-95 in Philly. Here I am pushing an 800lb bike down the shoulder while cars wiz by and I'm late to work. Both occasions the bike eventually started 1 hour or so later after getting so angry that I shook the bike like a rag doll.

    The switch was replaced under warranty while the bike was still covered within the first 2 years. Immediately afterward I installed the Eastern Beaver bypass kit so I wouldn't have another situation like that again. The headlights are bright white now and there has not been another problem with the switch.

    Even though the problem is now fixed with aftermarket parts, I am more than just a little upset with Triumph for not acknowledging the obvious defect. It's BS that they haven't done anything about it, both with a recall and that they still build them this way.

    Triumph, get your head out of your ars !!! :mad:
     

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Triumph Rocket III