Frozen ignition lock/switch

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Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby dcgsrider » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:20 pm

Whoever at Motorrad designed the ignition lock/switch assembly is in league with the lock deicer manufacturers apparently. I figured Sunday into Monday's rain followed by a hard freeze was going to big trouble. And so it was. I had issues with the lock on the way home. Stopped for gas, removed key. When I went to start up again, the key would go in, but not turn. I got it loose, got home, again could not turn key to shut the bike off. Finally splashed hot water on it in desperation. The thing's frozen tight as a tick this morning and lock deicer didn't work, so I took Metro. Not that I was too disappointed to miss out on bragging rights for riding to work in 7 degree temps. :shock: This evening when I get home I will explore ways to gently warm the entire assembly, then apply deicer to get rid of moisture. Seems like a design "feature" BMW could have avoided with a small "flap" in the keyway, like most manufacturers use.
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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby Chiba » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:50 pm

I'm lucky to be able to leave my bike under cover where I live now, but in the past I had this exact problem too! I used duct tape and cotton balls. Seriously. Just put a couple cotton balls over the key slot to absorb water & then duct taped it in place. I could get one of these band-aids to last for 4-5 days before the putting it on & taking it off again over & over wore out the adhesive.
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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby Maria V » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:53 pm

I am not sure about that design either. When I noticed it on my twin 650, I wandered around looking at others' bikes to ensure I wasn't missing something. NOPE - no slide to protect the keyhole. :roll:
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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby jcabiles » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:18 pm

After you unfreeze it and dry it out with a hair dryer, give it a shot of WD-40. That seems to work well with my car door locks.
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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby Motorhead » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:49 pm

I had the same problem last week, and I researched many forums before concluding that the one thing you DON'T want to do is to use WD40 or any other wet oils. This will take care of the problem immediately, but will retain the dirt and eventually damage the switch mechanism and contacts. Paul is right about the moisture causing the problem, and the proper way to treat the switch is to make sure it is completely clean and dry before applying graphite dry lube. Ideally you should take the entire switch apart and clean it prior, but if you are lazy like me you can use any electric contact cleaner followed by dry air before applying the graphite. The air-dryer sounds like a good idea too.

I had hard time finding graphite in auto-parts store and HomeDepot, so I ended up ordering it from TwistedThrottle ($2.50): http://www.twistedthrottle.com/ags-mr-zip-extra-fine-graphite-0-21-oz-tube-dry-powder-lock-lubricant

Also I recently installed new SW-Motech locks on a top-box and the locks had a large sticker on them with a warning NOT to use WD40 or any other oils inside the locks - only dry graphite.

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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby dcgsrider » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:59 pm

Thanks all. I'll be trying the hair dryer fix tonight, or may just wait until Thursday, when the temps will moderate into the normal range. I'll be trying the duct tape idea, or trolling the plumbing section to find a PVC end-cap the right size to fit over the ignition. Seems like a lot of bother for an "unstoppable" brand bike, but c'est la vie. :x
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2009 R1200GS "Franz" Namibia Orange
IBA# 12143
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Re: Frozen ignition lock/switch

Postby Genen8kua » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:25 pm

dcgsrider wrote:...Seems like a lot of bother for an "unstoppable" brand bike, but c'est la vie. :x


Just because it's unstoppable doesn't mean it can't occasionally slip into ungoable mode. :twisted:
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Re: Frozen ignition 2012 RT

Postby Ken E » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:31 pm

Ditto on the frozen locks. When put away wet, gets cold, all 5 locks that point straight up sucks water and then freeze.
Thursday AM got to work by injecting isopropyl alcohol into the ignition and working it in.
When I think about it... I put a cap over the ignition. Cap is from a 2" ID cardboard mailing tube and keep in jacket pocket.
Also had gas cap and saddle bag locks freeze up. Need to get one of those small "lock de-icer" to keep on hand also.
Any other tips or tricks out there?
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