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'05 350, intermittent no crank issue. (Solved)

211 Views 6 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Krazylegz1485
I just recently picked up an '05 350 for the wife that seems pretty well taken care of for the most part. Looks pretty clean, couple small cracks in the plastic, but overall pretty nice. Have ridden it around the yard and neighborhood (ditches and a trail by the train tracks) a handful of times and have had no issues worth mentioning.

Yesterday the wife and I took our first trip to a legit trail/ATV playground so she could get used to it a little more. We were there for probably an hour or so in the morning and it was going pretty good. She's very timid and was going pretty slow for the most part, but she didn't grow up around doing stupid things on wheels so I can't blame her.

At some point it's kinda smoking a little, smelled like maybe a hint of burning oil coming from somewhere. I thought maybe it's running a little warm because it's air cooled and she's going so slow most of the time. So I say "let me take it for a spin quick and see what happens".

Made it like 40' away and it just totally died. Shut off right after I shifted into 3rd. Pulled the clutch in to restart and the start button is absolutely dead. No click, no noise of any sort.

Take the seat off. Negative terminal on the battery is loose. Get a screwdriver from the truck, tighten it up. Still nothing.

There's some electrical tape wrapped around some wires by the CDI box so that's an immediate red flag, obviously. That and there are actually a couple wires showing and a non protected crimp connector. Sweet. I messed with it for a few minutes and started getting hot and frustrated, so I quit.

Fast forward to me unloading stuff at home. I go to roll it off the trailer and hit the button for the hell of it. Cranks instantly. Caught me off guard so I did it again. Fired up. I keep it running while I coast off the trailer, pop the seat off and start wiggling all the wires around in hopes that it shows itself again. Nothing.

So I think "hey I'll throw the seat back on quick and see if I can ride it around the yard". Shuts off. No crank.

TL,DR: intermittent no crank issue. Has power to all lights, including neutral and reverse. Cranks when jumping the solenoid but will not fire. When it cranks with the start button, it also has spark.

Where to start?

I messaged Morph for a service manual in order to get a good wiring diagram. He mentioned possibly a bad CDI unit. My head is spinning from reading thread after thread about no spark this and no spark that, but almost every one I find they have cranking. I don't.

I've found mention of the on/off kill switch possibly being faulty. Is there a way to bypass that momentarily for troubleshooting purposes?

Any help and/or guidance would be much appreciated!


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The first thing I do with any new to me equipment that has 'rigged wiring is to undo those connections, get down to shiny clean wires (either cut back if you have enough wire or clean up with steel wool) , slip on the heat shrink tube, solder the connection, one wrap of electrical tape, then heat shrink tube over the electrical tape. Obviously your connections are correct as it does start and run. Now you have to track down where you have power and where you don't when it won't crank. My guess is that the loss of connection is between the battery/stator and the ignition switch, because when it dies it also won't crank. The ignition switch switches power to the ignition and the starter circuit.
If @morphrider tells you something else, follow that advise first.
So just for clarification, I would consider the key switch to be the "ignition switch". Is that correct in this application?

Also, it sounds like the "kill switch" is actually referred to as the "on/off switch", correct?

Lastly, what is the starter button called?

Thanks for the suggestions! Sometimes I don't think of something as simple as just checking for continuity at the switch right away. That seems pretty easy if I can find the harness plug.
I'm not a fan of crimp connections or just twisitng wires together. Please don't do that and then report back with more probelms. One of those cheap Weller solder irons (Amazon??) and some electrical solder would be a good investment if you don't have one already or can't borrow one.
Definitely a good procedure. Thanks for that!

As far as wiring connectors, I've never been a just twist them together and let it fly kinda guy. However, I've also never really been a fan of solder connections in "automotive" applications that will be subjected to a lot of vibration. I know this seems to be one of those usually debated topics and have people arguing about it like politics. It is what it is. Haha.
Well that was easy... Thanks to @morphrider for the manual (which had a nice wiring diagram) and @Montana for some suggested troubleshooting tips, found the on/off switch must've just been dirty.

Popped the "hood" off and found the wiring right out in the open. So much simpler up there because of lack of radiator... Haha. Found the harness to the on/off switch and checked the hot from the key. Had 12v with the key on. Checked continuity at the switch and it beeped right when I touched the leads but kinda stuttered and shut off. So messed with the switch a little with the leads still attached and it definitely was a little touchy. Took it apart and cleaned everything out. Seems to work good again!

Now onto figuring out the apparent clutch slippage.
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