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Trouble starting CB400

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by elizamatic, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm a bit stumped about a problem with my bike and wondered if any of you have had a similar problem.

    Bike is a 2009 Honda CB400, 7,500km, serviced regularly, never been crashed.

    Usually when you turn on the ignition, it does that quick engine check thing and waves its dials around (that's the technical term) and then you can start it up. The problem is, every now and then, maybe 5-10% of the time, the check engine light won't turn off and I can't start the bike. Usually, turning the ignition on and off again fixes this, but lately it's been more persistant to the point I've had to abandon trying and take the train to work once, and it's given me a couple of other scares where it's taken 5 minutes or so to get it running. E.g. this afternoon it started fine after work, I went immediately to get fuel and then it pitched a fit at the bowser when I tried to start it up again.

    I took it to a mechanic last weekend and he used the magic plug to check what codes were recorded in the engine computer - but absolutely nothing was in there. The bike refused to do its trick while at the mechanic's - he must have turned it on and off at least 20 times and all fine.

    It may or may not be if relevant but the last two times I got it serviced, it did this immediately after (when I went to pick it up), but then came good after a few tries. They were just standard services, nothing fancy. Otherwise it just does it randomly - no pattern that I've observed. It's not something stupid like the side stand or the engine stop or anything. I have no other chipped keys or electronic gadgets on my keyring, and I try to keep the key away from my phone etc.

    So my question is, have any of you other CB400 riders had something similar happen? And did you figure out what was causing it?? The bike runs great once it's going, but I'd hate to have to just leave it at some random location when it refuses to start 8-[

    Thanks heaps, Liz

  2. Seems like a connector problem rather than the computer.

    Alternatively of the many sensors could be faulty.

    I'd be going around the bike pulling apart connectors and putting them back together. Starting at the battery.

    Also check on bike specific forums.
  3. Another thing to try would be swapping keys for a while. Its possible you may have a flaky ignition key.
  4. Thanks guys, I'll give those ideas a shot and see how it goes.
    Cheers, Liz
  5. Hi all, thanks for all the suggestions. Just a belated update (was waiting for the problem to happen again)..

    - I'm now 99.99% sure it's problem with the HISS system

    - none of the keys work when the problem happens, so I'm pretty sure it's not a flaky key

    - all the electrical connections look fine.. we spent a couple of hours pulling everything to bits and inspecting connectors on the footpath last time the bike wouldn't start

    - I've ordered a replacement HISS sensor, so we'll see how that goes.
  6. There's a well documented issue with the HISS system on the older bikes. You're correct in thinking its probably that :)
  7. Glad to hear you may have made some progress, look forward to hearing the final outcome
  8. Hello again,

    Just updating this in case anyone is having the same problem.

    That's interesting to hear about known problems, DuaneDibbley, would you be able to point me in the direction of any info you have?

    Replacing the HISS sensor didn't fix the problem, so I gave up and took it to a Honda dealer. They kept it for a while (until it misbehaved for them), then pulled it all to pieces, put it back together and got a breakout box from Honda and ran a heap of diagnostics - but found nothing. Apparently they tried to start it 800+ times and only failed twice. I got it back last week and was hoping that pulling everything to bits might have fixed a bum connection or something - but two days later, not starting, same as always :/

    I'm stumped. Has anyone else experienced this? Will probably try to take it to E2W but just posting here first in case..

    - never cuts out or won't start again when stalled - only happens when first switching it on. It behaves as though the key is not recognised.
    - does not seem related to how long it's been since it's been running (could be 5 minutes, could be days).
    - has been getting progressively worse the last 6 months - used to happen very rarely and turning on or off again would fix. Now it happens probably 10% of the time, and wait time before it will start is often hours/the next day. Sometimes bouncing it around a bit will fix it, but only sometimes.
    - it's been serviced two or three times and had a tyre replaced since the problem started happening, and each time it fussed about starting when picking up from the mechanic.
    - a wrecker quoted me $950 for a ECU/barrel/key set - might be an option, but how to tell if that would definitely fix the problem??
  9. these intermittent probs are the worst, my car got comp errors fri last week, parted with $1021 on sat to fixt it, drove it sat arvo same error!! not happy, now checkin comp components, more moneygoing out the door :(
    good luck with it and hope it wont cost you the earth to fix/reolve or sell the bike :)
  10. Hmm, probably a long shot but do you have anything else on the key ring that might cause interference?. The manual says to keep the keys away from magnetic objects etc. Perhaps try using the key with nothing else attached.
  11. My wife has a CB400 which has never had this issue. I know a few people with this bike, none of them have had this issue either as far as I know. This doesn't help you, but, just letting you know that it's not common (to my knowledge.)

    1 question tho, if it does it while at the mechanic after a service, why are the mechanic's not looking at it for you? What I mean is, you've told them of the issue, you go to pick it up, the issue occurs (presumably in front of them) they can now see it for themselves. Is that the right sequence? If so, I would've thought THEY would be the ones doing all the running around trying to understand what the issue is?? Maybe you need one of them to borrow it for a few days etc and ride it around. See if it does it to them too.
  12. Thanks ultram. No, only the key for disc lock and front door :)

    That was actually what Honda said too. But even if there is nothing else near the key at all it still plays up sometimes (I was using a spare key with nothign else on the ring for a while to test that idea actually).
  13. Thanks minglis.
    Glad to hear your wife's bike is fine :)

    Re: playing up after a service, the first couple of times I didn't think much of it as it was early on and turning the bike off/on a couple of times myself fixed it. The more recent time was late last year, probably a couple of months before I made the initial post. I did mention it to the mechanic and he came out and had a look and got it going after a minute of switching on/off and bouncing around. Said it was a probably just a ghost in the electrics. It was just there for a standard service and it's a well-regarded workshop that I trust. If it happened again now I'd be pushier!! but it's only in hindsight that I realised the pattern of misbehaving after a service. It's only really the last few months that the problem has become untenable - two minutes of stuffing around I can live with, refusing to start for hours and potentially stranding me places is quite another.
  14. I fully understand your frustration.

    What do Honda say about it? Have you contacted them directly? I think that's what I'd try to do. Not sure how successful it would be, but, I'm be trying to get onto them to explain the issue, and tell them that no-one seems to be able to solve the issue for you.
  15. Thanks minglis.

    No, I haven't contacted Honda directly, just via the dealer. To be honest, I was kind of scared to just hand over the bike and tell them to start looking for problems. Sounds like a recipe for bankruptcy! And happily, it's starting to look like it might be unnecessary.. after chatting to someone from the forum the other day things are making a whole lot more sense :) About to make a post updating the situation.
  16. great to hear it.
  17. OK, so things are looking up. Thanks again to everyone for all their help :)

    I've been chatting to adxdopefish who had pretty much the same problem a couple of year ago (see: https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?p=2034816 ) and the prime suspect is now the ignition coils. adxdopefish very kindly replied to my PM and explained how his bike was behaving, and how he worked around it and what the problem was. The result is that I can now 1) reproduce the problem and 2) get the bike started when it chucks a tanty.

    Basically, taking it for a short ride, letting it cool down for 5-10 minutes and trying to start it again will make the problem to happen. The bike can then be reliably started by pressing the starter button for a few seconds and turning it off and back on again. I'm pretty hopeful it's the coils since this could conveniently explain the acting up after visiting the mechanic (probably started/ran it for a couple of mins to check all ok before pickup). It definitely explains doing it at the servo after just leaving work. And also probably explains the odd occasion before/after work as I have a short commute and used to politely sit idling in peak hour traffic with the cars instead of hooning between the lanes :D Can't remember it ever happening out on country ride.. so assume not since I would've been bricking it if it did :eek:

    Anyway, it's booked in for a service on Monday and the mechanic will get a demo while it's there. Will update again when it's back.

    Thanks again to everyone. My mind is officially blown - seemed like it had to be a HISS or ECU problem because of the HISS light staying on and because there were no engine error codes stored in the ECU (which was why I first took it to a Honda dealer instead of a regular mechanic). But apparently not so, according to that old thread. Go figure! Maybe that should have been obvious, but putting it here anyway in case it helps someone else down the line.
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  18. I guess you've tried the simple stuff like disconnecting the battery for 5 minutes or so ? , have you tried switching the kill switch on/off a couple of times when it plays up , my 09 CB400 did something similar once , i flicked the kill switch and although it wasn't actually in the "stop engine " position , it appeared to be 1/2 way between stop/go position , i reckon i must have just flicked it with my glove or something , sounds silly i know , but give it a try , when it plays up can you hear the fuel pump give its little buzz noise as you turn the key on , because that appears to be what the kill switch controls.
  19. In had a similar problem with my 09 cb400 and spent hours trying to replicate the problem including many trips back to the dealer. I clocked up 40000k's with the cb and never found out what caused the problem.

    What I did discover though is that whenever the problem occurred a few on off clicks with the kill switch with the ignition on fixed the problem and the bike would then start ok. This is the be all to end all answer but at least this is one way to get out of trouble if your worrried about being stuck.

    Good luck Liz!
  20. wanted to add some information on this:

    There is a certain process your meant to do if the HISS light stays on - and you can find it in the manual

    I had this issue, what I did to fix it was disconnect the HISS sensor, check the pins, reconnected it after a little blow to remove any collection of dust, then I placed it in the loosest spot behind the light I could find. I think it was getting pinched inbetween the headlight and the headlight casing

    the hiss sensor is this thing: http://www.aliexpress.com/item-img/...EADER-SENSOR-PICK-UP-FOR-HONDA/931769891.html

    been fine since
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