ECU Error Codes (VTX 1800)

Posted by Bare | Last Updated August 22, 2013

This is a list of the FI light error codes that the stock ECU will flash. The FI light is sometimes referred to as the MIL light which is short for “malfunction indicator lamp”. The MIL is the red light labeled “FI” on the dash panel, it lights up momentarily after you turn the key on before you start the bike. Remember when counting these flashes that there are long (1.3 second) flashes as well as short (.5 second) flashes. The long flash represents 10 flashes while the short flash represents 1, this means that one long flash followed by 3 short flashes equal error code 13.

Self-diagnostic procedure

With the kickstand down start the engine. At this point if there is a problem the MIL should start flashing a code. The MIL will only flash a code with the kickstand down AND the engine idling at less than 5000 RPM’s.

If this procedure fails to generate a code you can search the ECU’s memory for the last code it flashed. Turn the key off and remove the seat. Under the seat locate the ECU service check connector, if you have a pre-04 VTX then you are looking for a 3 pin black plug with 2 wires (green and brown) entering the back (see pic). If it is an 04 or newer VTX then you are looking for a 4 pin red plug with 4 wires (green, brown, green/orange and black/white) and a red snap-on cover.

Neither plug should be plugged into anything.

You can also find additional information and pics about this process on my forums at this link. The information found there is especially important to read if you have the 04+ VTX with the newer red plug.

Using a small piece of wire short out the 2 wires in the connector (use the wire to connect the 2 terminals in the plug). Turn the key on and flip the kill switch (big red button in right switch housing) to the on position. If there is an error code in the ECU’s memory the MIL will start to flash the code as soon as you turn the key on. If there is NOT an error code in the ECU’s memory then the MIL will just light up and stay on.

Once you have an error code you can reference the table below to find out where your problem is.

At this time I have refrained from listing the exact procedure for troubleshooting every single cause because there are about 40 pages of detailed instructions in the manual outlining the procedures – many requiring special tools.

VTX 1800 ECU Error Codes
# flashes Symptoms Causes
0
(no flash)
Engine doesn’t start
  • Open circuit at the power input wire of the ECM
  • Faulty bank angle sensor
  • Open circuit in bank angle sensor related circuit
  • Faulty engine stop relay
  • Open circuit in engine stop relay related wires
  • Faulty engine stop switch
  • Open circuit in engine stop switch related wires
  • Faulty ignition switch
  • Faulty ECM
  • Blown PGM-FI fuse (30A)
  • Open circuit in engine stop switch ground
  • Blown sub-fuse (10A starter/ignition)
Engine operates normally
  • Open or short circuit in MIL wire
  • Faulty ECM
0
(stays lit)
Engine operates normally
  • Short circuit in service check connector
  • Faulty ECM
  • Short circuit in service check connector wire
1 Engine operates normally
  • Loose or poor contacts on MAP sensor connector
  • Open or short circuit in MAP sensor wire
  • Faulty MAP sensor
2 Engine operates normally
  • Loose or poor connection of the MAP sensor vacuum hose
  • Faulty MAP sensor
7 Hard start at low temps
  • Loose or poor contact on ECT sensor
  • Open or short circuit in ECT sensor wire
  • Faulty ECT sensor
8 Poor engine response when
operating the throttle quickly
  • Loose or poor contact on TP sensor
  • Open or short circuit in TP sensor wire
  • Faulty TP sensor
9 Engine operates normally
  • Loose or poor contact on IAT sensor
  • Open or short circuit in IAT sensor wire
  • Faulty IAT sensor
10 Engine operates normally
  • Loose or poor contact on BARO sensor connector
  • Open or short circuit in BARO sensor wire
  • Faulty BARO sensor
11 Engine operates normally
  • Loose or poor contact on vehicle speed sensor connector
  • Open or short circuit in vehicle speed sensor connector
  • Faulty vehicle speed sensor
12 Engine doesn’t start
  • Loose or poor contact on rear injector connector
  • Open or short circuit in rear injector wire
  • Faulty rear injector
13 Engine doesn’t start
  • Loose or poor contact on front injector connector
  • Open or short circuit in front injector connector wire
  • Faulty front injector
18 Engine doesn’t start
  • Loose or poor contact on cam pulse generator
  • Open or short circuit in cam pulse generator
  • Faulty cam pulse generator
19 Engine doesn’t start
  • Loose or poor contact on ignition pulse generator connector
  • Open or short circuit in ignition pulse generator
  • Faulty ignition pulse generator
21 Engine operates normally
  • Faulty O2 sensor
23 Engine operates normally
  • Faulty O2 sensor heater
33 Engine operates normally but
does not store self-diagnosis data
  • Faulty E2-PROM in ECM

Sensor locations
While this isn’t the best picture in the world it should give you a decent idea of where to find things:

Click for larger image

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