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Old 08-01-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
themangeraaad
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Default Dead/dying battery

First the basics: '86 Yamaha FZX700 Fazer, new battery. FWIW I am mechanically and electrically competent so I don't mind getting dirty and doing my own debugging work. Sorry in advance for being long winded but I have been kinda fighting this problem on and off for a while now (well I thought I fixed it but I guess not)

So early this season I had taken the bike out a few times and (after cleaning the carbs) she seemed to be running well. One day I took it to work and it just happened to be the first day of the summer that it was pushing 100 degrees out. At the end of the day I found my bike dead as a rock, battery reading 2.5 volts or somewhere around there. Got a jump and it ran fine on choke but if I let it idle down it would die (only running for a couple min at this point). I figured the battery just needed more time to charge than the 2 min I had given it before letting off choke so I got another jump and took off before letting it idle down, ran fine the entire 45 minute ride home (Though I did keep the revs up at stop lights for the most part, etc). Seemed to run & start fine for a few days after that indecent so I thought maybe my battery is getting a bit old and the heat somehow managed to drain it. Got a new battery and haven't had any problems since then, probably 2-3 months now.

Two weeks ago I lost my keys so the bike went unused since then. I pulled the ignition last wed and brought it to a locksmith on Thurs to get new keys made up. Got the ignition installed on thurs and the bike fired up fine. I finally found time to go for a ride yesterday. Ran errands all afternoon and I must have started it at least a dozen times with all the stops I made. No problems, started strong every time

Went out a few hours ago and today it was dead as a rock again. Got a jump, rode it around a bit (maybe 10 min), shut it off and it was dead again (only had enough power to slowly turn the engine over once).. Another quick ride after another jump and same deal. So I am kindof stumped what might be causing the problem. It never seems to have any problems while running. For the past couple months it has seemed to stall if it idled for more than a couple min with no choke but I think a quick carb cleaning fixed that since it didn't have any stalling issues yesterday.

Any ideas where to start looking? Currently all I can think of is one of 3 possible issues:

1) intermittent short somewhere. But I don't know if this is it... I would think that if there was an intermittent short that is able to drain the battery while the bike is switched off it would likely also be able to cause loss of power while riding, which has never happened.

2) bad relay somewhere. Maybe a relay isn't properly latching to the 'off' position when I shut down the bike... most of the time it shuts down OK and doesn't drain but other times one of the relays doesn't latch off and drains the battery. I suppose this could also explain why it runs OK when it is on but occasionally drains when shut down.

3) weak/bad stator. The stator is providing just enough juice to run the bike but is not charging the battery.

Only reason the stator is at the end of the list is because I feel like I should notice the battery getting progressively weaker over time if this was the problem, which it doesn't. It will start strong one day but then the next day it is completely dead.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:02 PM   #2
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Oh, and can't find out how to edit my post, but thanks in advance if anyone has any advice.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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Does your ignition switch have two positions that kill the engine? IOW, a stop or off position, and a PARK position? I've left mine in the park position s couple times, and had to push start it, 'cause it leaves the tail and license plate lamps on, taking the battery down.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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The ignition only has on, off, and locked. I have never had an issue with it but I will take another look next time I get a good charge in the battery.

I did notice the other day (while I had the ignition off the bike) that it seems to have another click past the 'locked' position, but IIRC the key didn't come out if I turned it that far or something. Long story short until earlier this year I never had any problems with it and I don't think it has a 'park' mode.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:30 PM   #5
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update: I was impatient and went out to check the bike. Looks like we have a possible winner and it looks like my ignition has a park position Learn something new every day.

Funny that may be my problem since like I said, as soon as as I got new keys I noticed that extra position on the ignition. My old key was definitely a poor copy because even going from off to on required jiggling the key around a bit... so I guess I just never even tried to 'jiggle' it past the locked position and thus never knew about park.

Awesome, thanks man. Will be jumping it again tomorrow night and going for an extended ride to charge it up. Love cheap/easy fixes, now I just wish my Jeep would follow suit
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:18 PM   #6
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You should probably start shopping for a new battery, as they often don't recover from that much discharge. If you have a voltmeter, measure the battery about an hour after that long ride, then again in the morning; should be 12.6-12.8 for the first, and shouldn't drop below 12.5 the next morning. Then turn the key on and measure again; it shouldn't drop much from the morning reading.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WintrSol View Post
You should probably start shopping for a new battery, as they often don't recover from that much discharge.
AND you should not rely on the bikes charging system to bring the battery back up to a full charge. You need a low capacity charger connected for 8-10 hours to be sure. If you don't already have a dual range charger, NOW would be a good time to get one.

P.S. New batteries need to be charged before installation too.......and you should not trust the "battery store" to do that either.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:05 AM   #8
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After more thought last night that was the plan. I didn't think the motorcycles system would be strong enough to bring a battery back from a completely discharged state but the cheap-ass side of me still wants to try.

On the way home from work this evening I am picking up either a 50/12/2 amp charger or (more likely) just getting a 6/2 amp charger and letting the battery charge overnight at 2 amps, then disconnect in the morning and check it after 12 & 24 hours. I think I might be able to bring the battery back since it will have been dead for no more than 48 hours when I get a charger on it. I have salvaged dead batteries quite a few times now, just as long as they weren't *dead* for too long before charging.

As I mentioned the battery is, at most, 3 months old now. I bought it and initially had it charged at a local bike shop. If I can't bring it back hopefully they can exchange it under warrenty but that might be pushing it... I guess I will find out later this week.

Thanks again!

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Old 08-02-2010, 12:22 PM   #9
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The battery may come back, and work fine. Discharging it like that has bruised it, though, probably shortening its life significantly.
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