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Thread: Ignition Problem - Opinions on CDI boxes

  1. #1
    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Ignition Problem - Opinions on CDI boxes

    First off, if I am putting this in the wrong spot, mod's please move it. I just did not really see a "home" for this.So, I'm battling an ignition problem with my '86 R. Last fall it developed a intermittent spark/ no spark issue. Searching around on the web and many quad sites I found an old post from C-Leight Racing about a grounding issue. His recommendation was to run a wire from a bolt on the engine to the wire harness ground screw. I tried this and it took care of the problem. I rode the machine on a 2-day ride in October with no issues what so ever! Then, the quad sat in my barn all winter. Forward to a couple of weeks ago and I dig the quad out to get it ready for a ride this past weekend. I do all the annual maintenance on it, not even thinking it's not going to start, then when I do try to start it, nothing!I have been through all the circuit/component checks in the service manual, I've checked that I have no resistance to ground anywhere on the engine and frame, I've had all the harness electrical connectors apart and cleaned them. Everything checks out as "good" except of course for the CDI, which you cannot check. After talking to a couple of motorcycle mechanics, they both agreed that it could possibly be the CDI, for with having the grounding problem in the fall last year, I might have burnt-up a circuit in the box.There's my story, so now I am to what I want to ask of you guys: what is my best avenue of getting a replacement CDI? E-bay, someone on here have one? Does anyone have any experience with aftermarket CDI's? My engine is not modified enough to really justify a MSD, but I would consider if that would give me more reliable performance.I've read on here and a couple other sites that there is a difference between the '86-'87 CDI vs. the '88-'89 unit, with something about timing advance? Again, just looking for any and all options here. Thanks for any advice, opinions or help that can be offered.

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    Pro-X Hawaiiysr's Avatar
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    Yes there is a difference between 86-87 and 88-89. Most importantly is the plugs on the cdi. They are different between the years. I dought you will be able to feel the difference in performance between the years also if there is any at all.

    Aftermarket CDI's include Rick's, msd, vortex, Jansen racing, LRD use to make one. OEM being the most reliable. Cr250 and pvl are a good complete ignition replacements. Cr250 being the most desired.

    I would double check to make sure your harness plugs are 86-87. Being that our quads are some years old mixing and matching of parts could have happened with previous owners. After that I would look for a good OEM cdi.

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    Rider Hurley250R's Avatar
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    Borrow a known good CDI from someone. If the CDI is bad, find an oem off ebay etc. Aftermarket are no good.

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    Supporting Member dem3500's Avatar
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    have you confirmed all your grounds are good? reason im asking is ive seen wires corrode up into the wiring insulation before. you could even have continuity with your meeter but the little wire thats still connected cant carry the current your cdi needs to run.

    finding a used one on ebay would be your cheapest and probably quickest option. and ask around here too. im sure theres lots of guys with one tossed in the corner.

    your best option would be to put a cr ignition on it. IMHO. there expensive and sometimes hard to find but i know people that might have one or two laying around. the 00-01 cr 125 setups are usually cheaper than the 250 and i know on a stock stroke bike they have been known to pull more hp on the dyno than the 250 cdi's. the key is you need to use a 250 flywheel. dont aks me how i know this.......i learned the hard way lol! and theres the 02-07 that are also a great upgrade and those are usually a few bucks cheaper than the 00-01 also.

    hope this helps a little bit.
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    Racer
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    Im pretty sure 85 is the only year that has different plug ins

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    Supporting Member dem3500's Avatar
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    I have a 88 that I could lend you for trouble shooting if that ends up being the cdi you currently have
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    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Guys- thank you very much for the quick replies and PM's! You have backed-up what I thought and that the OEM CDI is the best to stick with for a replacement. I just wondered because seeing used ones on ebay for $70 ~$90 then new aftermarket ones for $45. OK, Hawaiiysr- thanks, I thought that I read something else besides the timing advance thing. It was the connectors! Yes, I'm sure mine are '86 connectors, for I am the second owner of the machine. First owner had it for 5 years, put a Cobra pipe and K&N filter on it, then only rode it at Silver Lake. I guess to add information here- I did all the resistance checks in the Honda service manual and all my readings came up in the middle of all the ranges. The wiring harness on the machine has one grounding point to the frame, the rest of the grounding goes through the engine and frame. I have a 12ga wire running from the bolt that holds the clutch cable to the engine, to the ground screw that the wire harness attaches (C-Leigh's idea). So a more direct ground from the engine to the rest of the electrical system. If I ohm from anywhere on the engine to the ground screw, I have no resistance. If I ohm from the frame to the engine I have no resistance as well. dem3500 - I have been considering the CR ignition route, but the cost vs. the actual gain for me has been the stopping point. I have a stock bore/stroke engine with mild port work and a FMF pipe. So all I have been after with my modifications to the engine have been for reliability and strength. I do a lot of long distance trail riding with it. Also, thank you for your offer to loan me a good CDI. I might take you up on that. Now, can anyone tell me why I can't get paragraph breaks in my posts?

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    Supporting Member dem3500's Avatar
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    my cdi is an 88 so i dont think that will work if yours is an 86. right?

    no idea on the paragraph breaks lol
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    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Yes, my machine is definitely a '86, so you are correct, your '88 box will not work. Typed to much and lost track of that fact.Now after last night, I am chasing my tail on this ignition problem again! Nephew brought over his '87 to get it ready for him to ride. So I took my '86 CDI and plugged it into his machine and it fired and ran! So I took his CDI and plugged into my machine and still no spark! I guess that I'll start with cleaning all ground points and connectors again....

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    Rider Hurley250R's Avatar
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    Might want to open up the stator side cover and look for rust/corrosion.

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    Pro-X Hawaiiysr's Avatar
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    Cdi good, ground good, then guarantee stator issue.

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    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Hurley250R- actually your suggestion was something I came across last year when this problem came up. Last year I pulled the stator cover and found not only corrosion but water inside the cover! So after a thorough cleaning, it got a new gasket with a little Honda-bond on it. But yes, I did pull the cover and flywheel again this time and no water or corrosion found. OK, so last Friday night, I have the nephew's '87 running, so one piece at a time I take off of my '86 and put on the '87 and fire it up - CDI, coil, voltage regulator. All my stuff works fine on his machine. I then put it all back on mine and when I check for spark, I now have a nice thick blue spark! I don't get it? My '86 now fires and runs on the 2nd kick! Now, everyone reading this will probably think it was a bad connection at the parts because unplugging them and re-connecting them fixed it. But, I had those parts unhooked several times prior to Friday, as well as cleaning all the connector ends! This reminds me of the occasional problem I have at work with our testing equipment- every so often a computer will have a bunch of problems, so I disconnect it from the test equipment and take it to our IT dept. They of course find nothing wrong with it. So I take it back to the lab and reconnect it and it works fine. The IT guys say that "the computer just wanted to go for a walk". Must be my ignition parts just wanted the same thing! Thanks for the replies everyone.

  13. #13
    Supporting Member dem3500's Avatar
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    haha those things DO happen!! to all of us! lol!!
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    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Hey guys, my ignition problem came back! However, this time was a total failure so I was able to find the root cause of the problem: the igniter coil. So, to my knowledge, this part is the original one. Back in 1997, I had the stator quit on me, so I sent it out to a shop in Massachusetts and had it re-wound, but I believe they did nothing with the igniter. I've been looking around on the web for a replacement and I am finding the stator/igniter assemblies, but not just an igniter. Have any of you ever replaced just the igniter? Or are these 2 parts always replaced together, with the idea of they are electrical parts, so if one fails, the other is not usually far behind? My next question is what is anyone's experience with an aftermarket stator/igniter assembly? It looks like Ricky Stator has a good product, as well as I can remember that name from back in the 80's. Give me some input guys. Thanks!

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    I have one in mine and never had a minute of trouble. I replaced the whole assembly on mine when it went out.

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    Racer
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    I have ran Rickys in other bikes without issue. I have heard mixed results about Rick though. Similar in name but they are different companies

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    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys! Yes, there is a Ricky Stator that has been around for a lot of years as well as there is a Rick's Electronics. The Rick's I have only seen popping-up on searches for about 4 - 5 years now. One of those not sure what to do, for I called Ricky Stator's shop number about 2 weeks ago, no one answered, left 2 voice messages and have yet to get a return call. Out-going message says to order parts, use the website. If they cannot return a call, not sure if I want to try the website? How about anyone else? Who else out there makes a stator / igniter worth spending money on?

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    Pro-X JesseA420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 86Rrider View Post
    I have been considering the CR ignition route, but the cost vs. the actual gain for me has been the stopping point.
    ^personally i feel this is the best upgrade an R can have. worth every penny.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawaiiysr View Post
    Yup i sucked the head. taste like dirt.

  19. #19
    Rider 86Rrider's Avatar
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    My one worry about going with the CR ignition is I've read and been told that with the smaller flywheel, my engine will struggle some on the bottom end? I say this for I do a lot of slow-speed technical riding, so if the smaller flywheel is going to cause more stalling on me, I'd rather stick with stock. Tell me if I'm wrong on that or not. I like the idea of everything else that the CR ignition offers though. What is the best way to do this conversion? Order all OEM Honda parts then the adaptor plate from ESR? What is the true difference with the CR set-up? Is it just the digital CDI? Or are other parts way different/better than stock TRX?

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    Ignition Problem - Opinions on CDI boxes

    If you decide to go with the car ignition. I have a complete 01 cr setup with ESR adapter plate.

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