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Discussion Starter #1
Went on a 120 mile ride this morning. When I got back home and turned my bike off in the driveway, it would not restart to drive it in the garage. The battery seems good. When I turn the key on, the light comes on, but when I hit the start button the headlight dims but doesn't start. Doesn't even sound like the starter is getting juice. I'm thinking it could be one of two things...either the kickstand switch is messed up or the starter is completely shot. I seem to be getting juice to the radio and the headlight. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

BTW: it's a 1999 Honda Shadow Aero 1100
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Check your kill switch, probably not it since the headlight dims but cycle it anyway. Then pull in the clutch and try it. Then the bring the stand up and try it.

If nothing makes a difference then look at the starter and connections
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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Do you have a no-crank or a no-start condition? For NO CRANK, go to:

http://www.motorcycleforum.com/showt...ght=diagnosing

For "No Start...."

First, check the fuel tank make sure it's not empty. Or just add a gallon of fresh and then you don't have to think about whether there's "enough."

Next, get a can of starting fluid (ether), aerosol brake cleaner, virtually any FLAMMABLE aerosol...

Take off your air filter, spritz some in as you crank the bike. If it catches and starts, you've got a lack of fuel problem. As long as you keep spritzing the motor should continue to run.

If it's a no fuel problem, you're going to next get into checking the fuel flow, fuel pump, float levels, carburetors, choke, etc.

If it doesn't start on faux fuel, stick a screwdriver into the spark plug boot and hold it 1/4" from the plug as you or someone else cranks. If you don't see a spark, you've got an ignition problem.

TRY and hold the screwdriver by the insulated handle....

You can also use any of a dozen different spark testers, or a timing light, anything that confirms existence of spark....



If you've got no spark you're going to be checking the points, whether you've got power to the coil, ignition fuse, etc.


Got spark but still won't start? Pull the plug(s) out. If its wet with fuel, dry it in the sun or with compressed air. Wire brush any carbon off, check the gap as long as you've got it out.

Check the gap as long as you've got the plug out, or replace it with a new plug and check the gap on the new one ESPECIALLY if some fool tells you they come pre-gapped!

with the plug still out...

Put your finger over the hole and crank. You should feel it trying to blow your finger off the hole as it comes up on the compression stroke. No compression? Try a squirt of oil down the hole and crank again.

Still no compression? Possibly a stuck valve!

Air, fuel, compression, well-timed spark, those are the things an engine needs to start. I haven't led you down the path of checking spark TIMING as that's rarely the cause of a no-start; usually it's much simpler.

Fuel, air, spark: determine which one you don't have!

Other possibilities: Water in bottom of tank, 2-stroke fuel, diesel......you only THINK your engine is getting "fuel"...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A buddy of mine came over that knows a little more about bikes than I do. We narrowed it down to the battery. It had enough juice to run the accessories, but not enough to engage the starter solenoid. He was concerned that the stator may not be charging, but I won't know that until I get the new battery. It could just be an old battery too. When I checked it on the bike it read 3v, when I tested it after taking it off the bike it read 6.6v. I appreciate the advice guys. I'm just very thankful it waited to die in my driveway and not 50 miles away in Ballinger.
Is there a way to test the stator myself or do you need a special tester for it? I'm assuming it's just like an alternator on a car...am I correct in assuming that?

Also, after putting it on a charger for about 30 minutes on 12v-2amp's, the battery was very hot. I guessing that's not a good thing. lol
 

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You can't reliably test ANYTHING until you have a KNOWN GOOD battery in the bike. So take yours to the auto parts store and have it tested.

If I measure a battery and it's EVER below 8V, it gets replaced. 12.6 is fully charged, 12.1 is 90% discharged. 8V is damaged, one cell shorted, whatever.

With a known good battery in the bike you can measure the voltage at 2000 rpm and it should be charging the battery -- 13.5 or better, measured at the battery posts. If less, you have a stator/alternator problem.

I seriously doubt your starter is "completely shot."

In most cases a loose or dirty connection -- at a battery terminal, at the starter itself, or a battery to frame/engine block ground is loose or corroded, preventing sufficient volts/amps from reaching the starter. This is doubly true if your headlight is nice and bright but it won't crank after a 120 mile ride.

But you can't test ANYTHING, reliably, until you have a KNOWN GOOD battery in the bike to work with.
 

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Time and again old Honda's, especially early 80's, bikes have charging issues..I owned an 83 that was a constant pain.

Anyway, you figured it out...I would have put it in first, rolled it and popped the clutch to see if it would start.

120 mile trip...high speed, or lot's of idling, slow speed/rpm?...bikes go into a discharge state below certain RPM's.
 

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At 12v and 2A, the battery should not get hot...a hot battery is a dead/dying battery at just 2A.

A good battery acts like a capacitor; stores a charge with no heat loss.

A bad battery acts like a resistor; charge passes right through and generates heat.
 

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Well said.

At 12v and 2A, the battery should not get hot...a hot battery is a dead/dying battery at just 2A.

A good battery acts like a capacitor; stores a charge with no heat loss.

A bad battery acts like a resistor; charge passes right through and generates heat.
Good advice.
Things that are failing usually create heat. I always check for heat after connecting the battery charger, big or small. And often I will have the charger and battery outside. I check for volts while charging, and volts after charging and the battery has been sitting for a while.
I also load test the bigger batteries.

Then I scratch my head when something does not work.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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A buddy of mine came over that knows a little more about bikes than I do. We narrowed it down to the battery. It had enough juice to run the accessories, but not enough to engage the starter solenoid. He was concerned that the stator may not be charging, but I won't know that until I get the new battery. It could just be an old battery too. When I checked it on the bike it read 3v, when I tested it after taking it off the bike it read 6.6v. I appreciate the advice guys. I'm just very thankful it waited to die in my driveway and not 50 miles away in Ballinger.
Is there a way to test the stator myself or do you need a special tester for it? I'm assuming it's just like an alternator on a car...am I correct in assuming that?

Also, after putting it on a charger for about 30 minutes on 12v-2amp's, the battery was very hot. I guessing that's not a good thing. lol
You found at least one problem, the battery. With the low voltage the battery is showing..... it's BAD without a doubt.
Like wadenelson said, with a good battery and revving the motor look for 13~14.5 DCV at the battery. If not move on to test the stater and the rec/reg unit.
All it takes to test the stater and the rec/reg is a multi meter but it would be a long explanation.
Let us know if a new battery fixes it.
If not....... long explanation.
 

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The R/R (Regulator and Rectifier) can go out too causing the battery to overcharge or not charge. I had a 1990 Honda VFR750 and the R/R would get hot and go out. I ended up replacing it with a Suzuki 5 wire R/R with a larger heat sink.
 

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Ace Tuner
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Oops, I misspelled STATOR. (w/stater).
Hope you didn't think I was talking about the starter motor.
 
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