PSA: Report brake/clutch switch issues to NHTSA - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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PSA: Report brake/clutch switch issues to NHTSA

A lot of 1700 owners have reported issues with the cruise control related to the switches; especially the rear brake switch. A few of us have also had clutch switch issues. I won the lottery and after a trip out east and hitting some rain, all three failed. Front brake, rear brake, and clutch. One was replaced and the other two cleaned out by the dealer. However, in my case, I also lost my brake light. The switches didn't just prevent cruise control from working, but they prevented the brake light from illuminating.

I know several folks around here have reported similar issues on their 1700, especially the Vaquero. If that's you, don't forget to file a complaint with NHTSA (U.S. owners) or your countries equivalent. The link is below:

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

Similar responses (finally) got the worn-ignition wire issue recalled, and Kawasaki engineers swiftly developed a fix. Note that most manufacturers will NOT issue a recall unless there's first an investigation by the NHTSA (or NHTSA forces a recall). So contacting Kawasaki is not likely to offer resolution. If you've experienced the issue, even if it was years ago or you no longer own the bike, fire off a report to NHTSA. If there are a handful of reports with the same issue, it's more likely that they'll investigate.

To ME (non-engineer, non-mechanic), it seems the issue is that the switches are not sealed; so rain and gunk can easily get into them. Even though cleaning them out isn't hard (I had to have one completely replaced), it's a safety issue. Going down the highway and losing your brake lights in the rain is NOT a good thing. Hopefully, this can result in a course of action that results in new switches.

I THINK the way this website works is, after a couple of days, my "complaint" should show up on NHTSA's website when you search for the 1700 Vaquero (currently, the only thing that shows up is the ignition recall, and nothing under the 'complaint' tab). I think when that appears, there will also be a way to note under the complaint that you experienced the same, or similar, issue. In my mind, even if you only experienced the cruise control issue; it still needs to be reported. The switches use a shared housing and the brake light switch can fail just as easily as the cruise control switch. The scary thing is, you're probably less likely to realize the brake light switch has failed.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
A lot of 1700 owners have reported issues with the cruise control related to the switches; especially the rear brake switch. A few of us have also had clutch switch issues. I won the lottery and after a trip out east and hitting some rain, all three failed. Front brake, rear brake, and clutch. One was replaced and the other two cleaned out by the dealer. However, in my case, I also lost my brake light. The switches didn't just prevent cruise control from working, but they prevented the brake light from illuminating.

I know several folks around here have reported similar issues on their 1700, especially the Vaquero. If that's you, don't forget to file a complaint with NHTSA (U.S. owners) or your countries equivalent. The link is below:

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

Similar responses (finally) got the worn-ignition wire issue recalled, and Kawasaki engineers swiftly developed a fix. Note that most manufacturers will NOT issue a recall unless there's first an investigation by the NHTSA (or NHTSA forces a recall). So contacting Kawasaki is not likely to offer resolution. If you've experienced the issue, even if it was years ago or you no longer own the bike, fire off a report to NHTSA. If there are a handful of reports with the same issue, it's more likely that they'll investigate.

To ME (non-engineer, non-mechanic), it seems the issue is that the switches are not sealed; so rain and gunk can easily get into them. Even though cleaning them out isn't hard (I had to have one completely replaced), it's a safety issue. Going down the highway and losing your brake lights in the rain is NOT a good thing. Hopefully, this can result in a course of action that results in new switches.

I THINK the way this website works is, after a couple of days, my "complaint" should show up on NHTSA's website when you search for the 1700 Vaquero (currently, the only thing that shows up is the ignition recall, and nothing under the 'complaint' tab). I think when that appears, there will also be a way to note under the complaint that you experienced the same, or similar, issue. In my mind, even if you only experienced the cruise control issue; it still needs to be reported. The switches use a shared housing and the brake light switch can fail just as easily as the cruise control switch. The scary thing is, you're probably less likely to realize the brake light switch has failed.
Good to know Romans,Haven't had any issues w my nomad but wiil keep an eye on it,
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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If these forums are any indication; the problem is most common on the Vaquero. But I figured if any Voyager or Nomad owners had experienced it, they should report it too!

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
A lot of 1700 owners have reported issues with the cruise control related to the switches; especially the rear brake switch. A few of us have also had clutch switch issues. I won the lottery and after a trip out east and hitting some rain, all three failed. Front brake, rear brake, and clutch. One was replaced and the other two cleaned out by the dealer. However, in my case, I also lost my brake light. The switches didn't just prevent cruise control from working, but they prevented the brake light from illuminating.

I know several folks around here have reported similar issues on their 1700, especially the Vaquero. If that's you, don't forget to file a complaint with NHTSA (U.S. owners) or your countries equivalent. The link is below:

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

Similar responses (finally) got the worn-ignition wire issue recalled, and Kawasaki engineers swiftly developed a fix. Note that most manufacturers will NOT issue a recall unless there's first an investigation by the NHTSA (or NHTSA forces a recall). So contacting Kawasaki is not likely to offer resolution. If you've experienced the issue, even if it was years ago or you no longer own the bike, fire off a report to NHTSA. If there are a handful of reports with the same issue, it's more likely that they'll investigate.

To ME (non-engineer, non-mechanic), it seems the issue is that the switches are not sealed; so rain and gunk can easily get into them. Even though cleaning them out isn't hard (I had to have one completely replaced), it's a safety issue. Going down the highway and losing your brake lights in the rain is NOT a good thing. Hopefully, this can result in a course of action that results in new switches.

I THINK the way this website works is, after a couple of days, my "complaint" should show up on NHTSA's website when you search for the 1700 Vaquero (currently, the only thing that shows up is the ignition recall, and nothing under the 'complaint' tab). I think when that appears, there will also be a way to note under the complaint that you experienced the same, or similar, issue. In my mind, even if you only experienced the cruise control issue; it still needs to be reported. The switches use a shared housing and the brake light switch can fail just as easily as the cruise control switch. The scary thing is, you're probably less likely to realize the brake light switch has failed.
It makes sense to me that the rear brake switch would be the one most likely to go, considering that it is much closer to the road than the front brake or clutch switches. I am guessing that it is the rear brake switch that needed replacing?

I shall watch for these issues with my 2011 Nomad. If a problem shows up, I shall immediately report the issue to NHTSA.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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The rear brake switch is just for cruise control; at least the one that gets dirty. There's a different switch for the rear brake light. I have had to clean that out several times. However, the one that I had to have replaced was actually the front brake switch. Critically, that meant that if ever I didn't use both brakes, the rear brake light would not illuminate. The front (CC+Brake Light) and rear (CC) switches suffer from the same fatal flaw; they aren't sealed (in fact there's a hole in them, presumably for liquid to drain from). So minerals and grit get in there and mess them up.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 07:49 AM
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I had my front brake switch cleaned. I wanted the dealer to replace it but they would only clean it first. If it happened again they said they would replace the switch. This happened to a bike that has seen rain less than 6 times in its life...lol

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 12:45 PM
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The 26th of this month will be 3 years since I bought my 12 Voyager new. I dont have a garage, so bike sets outside year round, but also gets rode year round. I have not had any issues with these switches or the ignition. I do sometimes have the turnsignals not want to work after a good rain. I just spray a little contact cleaner in it and all is good again. Last year we rode 650 miles, 550 of those in light to moderate rain in one day and was issue free. Maybe I'm just lucky?

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captj3 View Post
I had my front brake switch cleaned. I wanted the dealer to replace it but they would only clean it first. If it happened again they said they would replace the switch. This happened to a bike that has seen rain less than 6 times in its life...lol
It's a bad design for sure!

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick View Post
The 26th of this month will be 3 years since I bought my 12 Voyager new. I dont have a garage, so bike sets outside year round, but also gets rode year round. I have not had any issues with these switches or the ignition. I do sometimes have the turnsignals not want to work after a good rain. I just spray a little contact cleaner in it and all is good again. Last year we rode 650 miles, 550 of those in light to moderate rain in one day and was issue free. Maybe I'm just lucky?
It's certainly possible. On Facebook groups it's pretty commonly reported. Even the most common problems will only affect some bikes. Since it seems mostly on the Vaquero; I wonder if the Voyager somehow has different switches.

I'd strongly suggest getting the ignition recall done though. It's free, and it would be awful to be halfway on a trip and for it to short out and fail.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
A lot of 1700 owners have reported issues with the cruise control related to the switches; especially the rear brake switch. A few of us have also had clutch switch issues. I won the lottery and after a trip out east and hitting some rain, all three failed. Front brake, rear brake, and clutch. One was replaced and the other two cleaned out by the dealer. However, in my case, I also lost my brake light. The switches didn't just prevent cruise control from working, but they prevented the brake light from illuminating.

I know several folks around here have reported similar issues on their 1700, especially the Vaquero. If that's you, don't forget to file a complaint with NHTSA (U.S. owners) or your countries equivalent. The link is below:

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

Similar responses (finally) got the worn-ignition wire issue recalled, and Kawasaki engineers swiftly developed a fix. Note that most manufacturers will NOT issue a recall unless there's first an investigation by the NHTSA (or NHTSA forces a recall). So contacting Kawasaki is not likely to offer resolution. If you've experienced the issue, even if it was years ago or you no longer own the bike, fire off a report to NHTSA. If there are a handful of reports with the same issue, it's more likely that they'll investigate.

To ME (non-engineer, non-mechanic), it seems the issue is that the switches are not sealed; so rain and gunk can easily get into them. Even though cleaning them out isn't hard (I had to have one completely replaced), it's a safety issue. Going down the highway and losing your brake lights in the rain is NOT a good thing. Hopefully, this can result in a course of action that results in new switches.

I THINK the way this website works is, after a couple of days, my "complaint" should show up on NHTSA's website when you search for the 1700 Vaquero (currently, the only thing that shows up is the ignition recall, and nothing under the 'complaint' tab). I think when that appears, there will also be a way to note under the complaint that you experienced the same, or similar, issue. In my mind, even if you only experienced the cruise control issue; it still needs to be reported. The switches use a shared housing and the brake light switch can fail just as easily as the cruise control switch. The scary thing is, you're probably less likely to realize the brake light switch has failed.
This is the first I've heard of that issue, and I have ridden in a lot of hard rain.....lucky I guess

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