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2009 Arctic Cat atv 550 - electrical


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Hi all - I have a 2009 550 Arctic Cat quad that has an electrical issue. When the key is in the “on” position and I move the quad forward and back slightly by pushing the electrical will flicker.  Not a loose wire as it only does it when the wheels move very slightly. If I push side to side electrical is fine.  Confirmed not the cluster as I have a buddy with the same quad and tried his cluster and it does the same flickering.  Would appreciate any thoughts.  Also installed a new battery.

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It does sound like a minute grounding issue as Mike suggested, I would check all the electrical sensors and make sure they are in tact, also more information, is it in gear, is it in neutral, does all of the functions work on the cluster, does the speedo work, there is a speed sensor for that.

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Thanks guys, could be a worn bare wire, that was my first thought but it for sure only does electrical flickering when the wheels move and doesn’t matter if in gear or neutral (also shook the quad side to side and no issues).  I did initially check the ground and I have a good connection on the frame ground.  All functions seem to be working on the cluster, along with the speedometer.  When I turn the key on everything lights up as it should, it is just when it moves forward or back even just slightly the entire electrical goes off and on.  It is like there is a faulty sensor somewhere in the moving parts?  

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Sounds like it might be something to do with a speed sensor on the wheel, or a hub engaging component..

You could jack it up and turn one wheel at a time to try and isolate it to one wheel, and to make sure it's because of the wheels turning and not the bike moving.

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Thanks Mech. Jacked it up and it does not the electrical flickering on the front wheels. For the back wheels I cannot move independently.  But when turning them forward the electrical will flicker off and fuel pump kicks off/in, if I continue to turn the wheels forward only the cluster flickers lightly and the fuel pump doesn’t click of and on again.  Then if I turn the wheels backwards the fuel pump will go off and on and the cluster will flicker while turning the back wheels.  So the actual fuel pump goes off and on only when changing the directional turn of the wheel.  Not sure if that helps?  Any assistance is greatly appreciated, thanks.

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Well so far I've tried two different downloads but they keep failing.. it will be my weather dependent internet connection and this cloudy day. I'll keep trying.

What you could do next is find and disconnect the speed sensor, which is most likely on the gearbox. If that doesn't stop the flashing then it would be a good idea to check all around the axles and wheels and driveshaft for any touching wires.

If it does stop the flashing then it would seem the sensor is triggering some power drain that's enough to make either a bad earth or power supply play up. The sensor itself shouldn't draw power at all I don't think, and definitely not enough to cause the problem. It makes me thing there will be an electronic fault, in the body control computer if it has one or the ecu, or I would have said the dash, but you've already done that one.

Do you think your buddy would let you fit your body control computer(might be called something else) to his bike, it just needs plugging in but not mounted. Any other computers too..  Or borrow his computers. 

I'll keep trying for the 2008 or 2009 thundercat manuals and get back to you..

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Another thought..  If it is a bad earth or power supply then it should get over loaded by other things, like the lights maybe, or the brake light which will be on the ignition circuit.. Do the lights work ? Horn? brake lights ?

The fact that turning it backwards causes a change in the pump cycle makes me thing the problem's inside which ever computer controls that.. efi/ecu or body controller. 

Best to check/eliminate the simple things first though.. fuses, earths, power supply.


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So not the speed sensor, disconnected and it still has the issue. Tried the lights and they work but also flicker off/on when I move the quad back and fourth.  Is body control the same as the ECU? Also what are “earths” that you mention.  I am sure I can borrow my friends parts to narrow down my issue.  If the ECU is not the body control what else would it be called?

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No don't short the sensor, it has 12 volts going through it.. 

Well if it's not the sensor, and tuning the back wheels does it I'd have to suspect a chafed and rubbing wire somewhere on an axle or driveshaft... especially since it causes the lights to flicker.. It's sounding like a fairly plain old electrical connection problem somewhere..  Have you tried just wriggling the wiring one bit at a time while watching the dash..  

You could check for stored trouble codes in the dash, which also tests and confirms the communication between the dash and the other computers are ok. The various computers are all connected together by two wires and communicate by sending digital messages back and forwards constantly, and if there is a break in the wire they detect it and store a message saying what's wrong..  We can't just test the wires with a gauge or light, we would just see a small amount of power going through but we wouldn't know if the communication was going on or not.. The dash will confirm that's all ok though, or let us know there is an intermittent disconnect.. If the dash isn't showing strange messages though it's unlikely to be that electronic stuff but we should check it.  The manual tells you how to get the stored trouble codes out.. 


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And yeah the ECM they call it.. I'm not sure that's so easy to swap over though without having to go through a process to get the dash and ecm to recognize one other..  You could try it..  Even if the bike won't start up without the process it might make the flashing go away, or transfer to your buddy's bike.. 

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 Sorry if I told you wrong, sometimes its hard to diagnose without looking at it, My thought was, if the sensor was internally grounding, which it may not be, removing it would be the same as what its problem is now, so using a jumper would complete the circuit and let the 12 volts continue its path, unless the sensor is the termination point for the circuit. Then its not necessary. 

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