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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping someone can help me figure this out. I'm not a mechanic but I can read the manual and troubleshoot.

Here's my problem. When my 97 Vulcan 1500 Classic gets warm it stalls when idling and won't start back up until it cools down. The battery dies quickly when I try to start it again. After about 20 or 30 minutes it starts right back up.

At first I thought it was running too hot so I changed the thermostat. That didn't help at all.

So, reading the manual I did some troubleshooting. I found that the front cylinder wasn't getting any spark. I didn't check the rear cylinder. I checked the coil and the resistance on primary side was good and the secondary side was at 32,700 ohms. Thats about 4,000 ohms high. So, I checked the rear coil and that one also was 4,000 high. I also checked the pickup coil and its good.

The battery is new and checks good.

Question: Is it possible that the coil malfunctions when it gets hot and then works fine when it cools down? I'm beginning to think this might not be a coil problem. Am I missing something?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Trying to avoid a costly trip to the local dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also the bike has 25k mi.

I'm hoping someone can help me figure this out. I'm not a mechanic but I can read the manual and troubleshoot.

Here's my problem. When my 97 Vulcan 1500 Classic gets warm it stalls when idling and won't start back up until it cools down. The battery dies quickly when I try to start it again. After about 20 or 30 minutes it starts right back up.

At first I thought it was running too hot so I changed the thermostat. That didn't help at all.

So, reading the manual I did some troubleshooting. I found that the front cylinder wasn't getting any spark. I didn't check the rear cylinder. I checked the coil and the resistance on primary side was good and the secondary side was at 32,700 ohms. Thats about 4,000 ohms high. So, I checked the rear coil and that one also was 4,000 high. I also checked the pickup coil and its good.

The battery is new and checks good.

Question: Is it possible that the coil malfunctions when it gets hot and then works fine when it cools down? I'm beginning to think this might not be a coil problem. Am I missing something?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Trying to avoid a costly trip to the local dealer.
 

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Need to be a little more clear on a few things. You say that the battery dies when you try to start it hot. Is this because you grind it too much or it's just dead? If your charging system is not working, that could cause some problems. Make sure that your battery connections are very clean and tight.......I mean shiny clean. You say that the rear cylinder gets no spark........is this all the time or just when it gets hot? How does it die? Does it just stop like you turned off the key or does it stumble and die a slow death? You say that the battery is new?.......how new? Some think 2 years is new.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for answering! The battery turns the engine over but slowly. I assume that is because of lack of spark on the front cylinder ( i didn't check the rear for spark ) After about 20 seconds the battery charge weakens and fails to turn over the engine. It is a brand new battery.

This happens only when the bike is hot. On cool days (less than 72 degrees) it happens after riding for an hour or two. On warmer days it can happen after 30 minutes.

Sometimes it dies when I pull in the clutch to stop the bike. Sometimes it just dies in neutral. I tried turning up the idle and that seems to help but when it does die it is hard to start again, if it will start at all.

Its hard to say if it stumbles or dies a slow death. It just quits running as if you hit the kill switch.
 

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Check the spark when it is cold. Check both cylinders. That is a symptom of a failing coil, to an extent. When a coil is starting to go bad, a lot of times they will run when cold and die when they get hot.

The thing that concerns me most though is the battery life issue. If the charging system is not keeping the battery up, it will eventually weaken to the point where it can't deliver a good spark to the cylinders. Then the engine will die as you have discussed. There are a couple of things to do to check the charging system:

With the engine turned off, take a voltmeter and place the positive lead on the positive battery terminal and place the negative lead on the negative battery terminal. The reading should be around 12 volts, give or take a little bit.

Start the engine, rev it up to approximately 2500-3000 RPMS and repeat the process. The voltage reading should jump up to 13-14 volts. If it does not, then you have a problem with the charging system. If the voltage decreases, your charging system definitely isn't placing a charge into your battery. If it goes any higher than that, you more than likely have a problem with the regulator/rectifier, which limits the voltage delivered to the battery. Overcharging the battery can cause it to heat up, not hold a good charge, and ultimately cook the battery.

If you do find evidence of a charging system problem, you will likely find more detailed procedures to help troubleshoot and find the exact problem. One of the first things I would do though is go through and clean all of the electrical connections with electrical contact cleaner and some fine emery cloth or a wire brush. Corroded terminals can cause problems like this.

I would also take the battery to an auto parts store and have them load test it. Even though it is new, it could still be bad. If it has been overcharged, you may need to replace it.
 

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Check the spark when it is cold. Check both cylinders. That is a symptom of a failing coil, to an extent. When a coil is starting to go bad, a lot of times they will run when cold and die when they get hot.

The thing that concerns me most though is the battery life issue. If the charging system is not keeping the battery up, it will eventually weaken to the point where it can't deliver a good spark to the cylinders. Then the engine will die as you have discussed. There are a couple of things to do to check the charging system:

With the engine turned off, take a voltmeter and place the positive lead on the positive battery terminal and place the negative lead on the negative battery terminal. The reading should be around 12 volts, give or take a little bit.

Start the engine, rev it up to approximately 2500-3000 RPMS and repeat the process. The voltage reading should jump up to 13-14 volts. If it does not, then you have a problem with the charging system. If the voltage decreases, your charging system definitely isn't placing a charge into your battery. If it goes any higher than that, you more than likely have a problem with the regulator/rectifier, which limits the voltage delivered to the battery. Overcharging the battery can cause it to heat up, not hold a good charge, and ultimately cook the battery.

If you do find evidence of a charging system problem, you will likely find more detailed procedures to help troubleshoot and find the exact problem. One of the first things I would do though is go through and clean all of the electrical connections with electrical contact cleaner and some fine emery cloth or a wire brush. Corroded terminals can cause problems like this.

I would also take the battery to an auto parts store and have them load test it. Even though it is new, it could still be bad. If it has been overcharged, you may need to replace it.
I agree.....do this first.
 
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