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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, semi-quick rundown on how I got where I am today - August, started out for San Francisco and bike died on freeway about 20 miles out. Couldn't get anything to turn on. Got it home and found my ignition fuse popped. Replaced it and still got nothing. Checked wires quickly for signs of short...nothing.

Jump to April, I finally get around to pulling bike apart to rebuild harness and find my battery has only 25% fluid in it. Refill all sections and charge and voila! Bike runs. Put the bike back together and run it up and down the street, then wires start smoking and I shut it off. Turns out I pinched the red wire from the Regulator/rectifier when I remounted it. Added new section of wire and loomed whole trunk together and remounted. Started bike right up and rode it for two days.

Second day of riding, had to push start my bike a couple times before I got it home. Hooked up my meter while running and found it topped out at 11.5v charging. Hooked up a charger and tried to start bike to check generator leads, but orange wire (main power output wire from keyswitch) started smoking and melting at the clip. After that, starter button did nothing. Ordered a new regulator/rectifier, got it in and installed it, bypassed the starter button and tried to start...no success. Bought some quick-start and bike started up. Took apart starter button and found the leads had gotten hot and moved. Moved them back and now button works. Bike starts and runs and charges at 13.5 at idle and 14 even at about 1500rpms...don't have a tach, so I'm just guessing. Wasn't really winding it out cuz bike is in my back yard and louder than normal...LOL.

Got the bike to idle and started feeling the wires I had problems with. What I found was the main output wire from the keyswitch AND the main ground wire for the harness (that goes directly to the neg term on batt) both get warm to the touch. They don't get hot or smoke or melt, but they do get pretty warm. IS THIS NORMAL? I'm no professional electrician, but I think not. I'm just looking for confirmation and maybe some ideas thrown at me. I need to get this bike up to par because I start a new job that has a 19wk training period...if I miss one day, I get fired and my truck sucks too much diesel.

Would the battery be causing this problem? I am planning on buying a sealed AGM (gel) battery, but want to be sure I don't have a serious wiring problem before I invest money I don't have in a battery.

Thanks to anyone who can help.
 

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Wrench. Ride. Repeat.
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Have you checked the stator? If it's boiling the water out of the battery, you have a problem. Make sure all your connections are clean, and use die-electric grease on them.
Good luck!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
update

Rode the bike today for about 50 miles on freeway and streets...ran great, started easily...even seemed to idle better. I noticed that I am losing battery acid through the vent tube when I have been riding. Checked the charging and it still is charging 13.3 - 14.8 (idle - 4000-5000rpm). Talked to a buddy of mine and he thinks that one of the cells in the battery was damaged, so my bike is constantly charging the battery and causing it to boil out. I am already set on buying an AGM battery so I don't have to worry about this water stuff any more. I will check my generator output wires tomorrow. I"m a little scared to do it though because seems like everytime I mess with the wiring, something fries...LOL.

here's a question: If the stator was faulty, wouldn't it show in the charging when I test it?
 
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The Curse of the Lead-Acid-Batteries Strikes Again!

Morning JollyGQ and welcome to the Forum! :D

Sounds like to me you've found and corrected the shorts, and just need to replace that (lousy) battery with a (real) sealed type. :D As you disclosed, if your getting Voltage readings of anywhere from 12.8 to 14.5 above idle your charging system would be now seem to be operating correctly. If you want to be as untrusting as I am, I would go ahead and check the system on a different Multi-Tester just to get a second opinion. Even the gauges / meters themselves can be faulty as I’ve learned (the hard way too) over the years. I would also sure perform tests with and without the system under additional loads (brake light, signals, high-beam, etc.). For the past 25+ years or so I’ve been installing Voltmeters (Amp Meters are too darn much a pain to hook up!) on every car and bike I’ve owned – won’t leave home without one!

I seriously doubt you fried the Stator Windings in the Alternator. But for peace of mind there are specific tests that can performed on it, contained within a Shop Manual covering your specific bike. Your current Electrolyte filled battery is ‘boiling out’ (leaking out of the tube) probably for no other reason then you might of overfilled it a bit because you were worried about it being dry the next time you check it?! We ALL do this schitt – NO way around it! :eek: I’ve got AGM and/or Gel Batteries on all my bikes now – I’ll never go back, EVER! ;)

LRG :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I am tending to think it is the battery if nothing else. I am going to test the stator today though I doubt it will be a problem with the readings I have been getting. I honestly don't know if I overfilled the battery. I filled it til the water came to the bottom of the plastic fill tube on all cells. This battery has been beat up in the two years I have owned it. The AGM battery should definitely be an improvement. Getting to my battery on this model bike SUCKS! The manual shows and "easy" way of changing the battery, but that only works if you have a lift for the rear end...and the cables are not really long enough to do it by the book. Thanks again for the vote of confidence. BTW...any suggestions for source of batteries? So far, since my bike is so old, I have only found one place the advertises an AGM to fit my bike and that is Ebatteriestogo.com. They showed my lead-acid type and then automatically cross-referenced it to an AGM that is almost the same dimensions as my original. Price seems pretty reasonable too. Thanks again.

BTW, yes, I am also going to put on a voltmeter as well just for personal security.
 
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Definitely no suggestions as to where to find the best deal on Bike Batteries, because the pricing on these seems to fluctuate so much?! :eek: I think the last place I got it at was (?) BikeBatts.com :confused: First I check eBay, then check elsewhere on the web. Have gotten em' at both locations - good stuff (so far) either way. :D Last bike I updated to AGM was a 1981 H-D FXS-80. Let's face it, Domestic or Foreign they're all a pain in the rear to check Acid Levels! :rolleyes: This AGM battery however solves this nicely. A side benefit of the AGM batteries I’ve found so far is they just seem to have a bit more CCA’s (Cranking Power in cold weather) then the rest. ;)

I would recommend at this point though, if you want to extend the life of your new battery to 5 years or more, immediately set it up on your bike with a Quick Disconnect and Float (not trickle) Charger arrangement. This of course IF you don’t ride your bike every day of the year?! Here in SD we get 4 months to ride out of 12 (IF lucky!)! :rolleyes:

LRG :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I was riding my bike yesterday on the freeway, when it sputtered and died with no response from the starter button. I pushed it off the freeway and a mile to my friends house where I found the ignition fuse had popped again. Replaced the fuse and it started right up. I didn't ride it though. I just loaded it into my truck and took it home. I took the battery in to have it tested and they said it was fine, but the guy didn't really seem too interested. I ordered a new sealed battery for it which I will get tomorrow. Hopefully a new battery will solve the problem. I'll let you know by Thursday after I've gotten the new batt in and have run all the tests.
 
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Ouch! Sorry Partner, but I seriously doubt a new battery (AGM or otherwise) will cure this problem now. My last response was based on the charging voltage readings you claimed - sounded fine to me. I'd check em' again if I were you. But sounds like you might have (?) an intermitent short of some kind, one that's almost virtually impossible to find. I know - to date I've been fighting with a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird with much the same malady. Still, there's ways around everything (ala Mickey Mouse) if need be?! ;-)

LRG
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah, well, I figure I would be replacing the battery anyway. If the problem continues, then next step is to replace the harness. I found one place that sells them online. If not purchasing a new one, I would probably just rewire the whole bike myself which is definitely a possibility, though a lot of time and concentration on my part...LOL. I'll know tomorrow because once I get the battery in and test everything again, I'm hitting the freeway to go see my son who is an hour away...could prove to be an interesting trip...LOL.
 

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If you want to be as untrusting as I am, I would go ahead and check the system on a different Multi-Tester just to get a second opinion. Even the gauges / meters themselves can be faulty as I’ve learned (the hard way too) over the years. I would also sure perform tests with and without the system under additional loads (brake light, signals, high-beam, etc.). For the past 25+ years or so I’ve been installing Voltmeters (Amp Meters are too darn much a pain to hook up!) on every car and bike I’ve owned – won’t leave home without one!
I actually run both voltmeters and ammeters in my cars, the Miata I have now has had the alternator replaced three times. (281k miles) The first time there were warning signs that I didn't see. I.E. the temp gauge would go down with the A/C running. I thought it was the secondary fan that runs only with the A/C on was responsible, odd, but justifiable. Until 100 miles from home, I needed a jump start -- I figured the starter had gone bad, after it started again a short while later. Then the last jump start got me about two miles, before all the lights dimmed and the RPMs would go to 200 when the four-ways blinked.
Alternator #3 just gave up the ghost one day, the voltage was ok, but the ammeter showed negative. That's why I run both. I called my mechanic, he had one on the shelf for a 1.8L (uses a serpentine belt), so I had to yank the pulley and put my (V-Belt) pulley on. But that one's been worry free for a while (knock on wood).
Every time an alternator died the charging system idiot light did not turn on until it was way too late if it all. But, if you disconnect the belt for the alternator, the light goes on. (obviously, don't remove belts with the engine running)

My advice to JollyGQ is carry spare fuses. I keep an ordinary retail fuse box with one of each the the fuses my bike uses taped under the seat. It's easier than pennies and safer than .22s.
 
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