Ignition Switch Issue - no power at all on first position, no headlight on second


XS400 New Member
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Poland, Gdansk
Hello All,

I have a problem with the electric system of my Yamaha XS400 81’. Bought it two weeks ago. I understand enough about electric to follow your thought, but not advanced
It is a cafe racer, so the electric I believe it’s a bit different than the original one.
Background: two weeks ago I got surprised on the way by a storm, and the whole electric is exposed. Until that days everything was running fine, afterward the following problem started. Also, I don’t know if it is as per original, my ignition switch has three positions:
1- off
2- all the electric is connected - now does not work at all
3- the front headlight doesn’t work, all the rest works.
Problem: second key position, cold start, the electric worked (until yesterday). After 1 min riding, power cuts fully off. However, today is totally dead. I move the key to third position, I kick start and then the motorbike rides fine but headlight does not work. So I can’t ride at night. It only works the flashing headlight (if I press the button), the e-start works as well in this position.
I’ve the impression is the ignition switch fault.
1- what can create this issue in the second key position?
2- what is the logic behind the 3rd position which allows me to ride but no headlight, beside only flashing?
Thank you for your inputs!
To answer your questions:
1. With a modified electrical system this is not straight-forward to troubleshoot, but for me this points to having a bad switch. Replace it.
2. You will have to track down the person who "built" the bike to find out the answer to that one.
Maybe the switch itself got filled with water? Try flushing it out with some Water Displacement formula number 40, or WD40! I'd also yank the headlight bulb and inspect the wiring in the bucket. Here you can also use an ohmeter on the ignition switch plug to verify it's working as intended.