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Bassman
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During a ride yesterday, I stopped for a break and turned off the bike for about an hour. When I went back to crank it, nothing happened. The lights were very dim then flicker and go off. I called for a jump start and the bike would crank fine while the jumper cables were connected. I would disconnect the jumper cable and it would complete die again. Basically, it would crank and run ONLY with the jumper cables connected. Any ideas? Bad battery, alternator or something else? I was hoping the alternator would keep the bike running until I got home. Not so. Thanks.
 

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Bassman
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not the battery. Had it tested by 2 sources. It was low but I charged it up and put it back in the bike today. Hooked everything up and not a peep. Lights won't burn...nothing. I checked all the fuses and they are good. Strange thing though....I turn the key on and nothing happens. I turn off the key and the speed odometer needle goes over to about 100 and comes back to zero. That's the only sign of life. If the battery is charged and it's doing this, what's wrong? Thanks.
 

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Registered
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237 Posts
Try removing both the battery cables at both ends, and cleaning the bolts, where the bolts go, asnd the threads in any bolt holes.

Pull the battery and slide out the rectangle nuts, clean them, the underside for the battery terminals where these go. Use wire brushes, and sand papers.

Re-install and see if this helps. I have the feeling you will find a bad cable end connection. If not a bad ground elsewhere. Be sure to check the main fuse under the seat and the rest of them. But the speedo is working backwards, showing it had juice but not going to ground till you switch off.

This sort of problem can be a pain.
 

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Every day is a good ride
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1,895 Posts
If it was a bad ground wire would that not also affect the bike when on jumpers?
 

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Registered
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237 Posts
E-J, Maybe. One way might be that the act of clipping cables on, bumps a poor connection, another could be the increase of available amps, so arching, might burn hotter, and create a temp better connection.
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OT: never use a running auto engine to jump bikes.

You can turn the bike OFF, put the keys in your pocket, and fast charge a very low bike battery with the car running.

BUT before you turn the bike key ON, the car must be OFF. The jumpers may remain shared.

The reason is cars today normally amp out around 55 AMPs and a hell of a lot more. These bikes rate out around 40, which is very high for bikes, but still well under the AMPS a car will dump in the bike charging system.

The over load is too high and something will fry, usually the rec/reg(s), or the stator(s), and of course 18 dead diodes are not going to be any fun, or help on the wallet. (18 diodes on a Nomad Alt. There are more diodes else where too, some in line.) Really no FUN. :icon_frow
 

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Bassman
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Geeze, Mac Muz!! Wish I had known that before jumping off the bike. The car was running when I cranked the bike. Did that a couple times but the bike went dead each time I disconnected the jumpers. Could be that I helped fry some things and that's why it reacted differently after I charged the battery and put it back in. Just my luck. My bike has 2 stators. Dealer quoted $422 each! I may have to put a chain on that thing and pedal a while...
 

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Nobody Home
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1,768 Posts
If it starts when jumped it should start on a fully charged (good) battery, even if the charging system is dead. How did you test the battery?
 

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Registered
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ecstag, you probably have 2 rec/regs too My Nomad does. These are pretty beefy systems, but they can be killed. I sure hope not.

First things first the bike needs to run... That means a load test must be done to the battery.

One way to do that is to ser up a volt meter right on the batt, then attempt to start the engine reading the battery while cranking.

With in 5 seconds or so cranking the battery should not read lower than 10.5 dcv, and if it drops to real low numbers, then that battery can't take a charge or hold a load, no matter how much you charge it.

What bothers me is the backwards reading of the self check system. It could be a weak battery doing that, or it could be a bad ground, and it could be a fluke, and or bad other.

The engine will run with good clean wiring and a good battery, even if the charging system is toast.

Once the engine is running a meter hooked straight to the battery will prove if the charging is system is good or not. I wouldn't worry about that yet.

With a big car battery a test you can try is to run jumpers with out the bike batter in line... If the bike engine runs then the bike battery is highly suspect.

Just don't have the car running!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Bassman
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The bike is an '03. I bought it used and I've had it a couple years so I have no idea how old the battery is. If I can ever get some time off, I'm going to buy a new one this week and give it a try. Thanks for the help and I'll let you know what I find.
 

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Registered
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Better to drop 17 bucks on a multimeter first, which you can get at walley world. The yellow cased GE is ok... I bought one for times like this, so I could have the same meter as anyone. If you go for one, get a ice pick looking test light, for around 4 bucks too.

Speaking as a x foreign car tech, I never could guess my way thri wiring issues. Knowing the facts is the cheapest way out.

With these 2 tools, any savy wiring guy can tell you tests to do and there will be no more guessing about batterys that cost 100 bucks and more.

basicly I am begging you to buy these 2 tools and not to buy a battery ...yet.
 

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I'm NOT the boss
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929 Posts
Had a yamaha Royal Star......same thing....turned out to be a bad battery....(spent 3 days mucking with it before i towed it to the dealer...so embarrresed when they told me the battery was no good. good thing was...all they charged me for was the battery and nuthin else...labor time..nuthin..that was a surprise!!) if its an 03 its probably due for a new one anyway....
 

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Bassman
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey guys....I called almost every battery dealer around and found m/c batteries must either be a hot item or they can't get them. Muz...I broke down and bought the battery. Was the last one Batteries Plus had for the week so I got it. Installed it, wired everything back up and guess what....she cranked and ran like a champ!! Yee ha!!!! I'm telling ya, I thought I was about to drop some big bucks on some electrical items. Autozone and Advance faked me out saying the old battery was good. Guess I learned a lesson about m/c batteries and car battery testers. Just can't trust them. Everyone...thanks for all the comments and advice. I sure learned a few things with this experience. Hope it helps others too.

Muz: you're right about those testers. I have on packed away in storage somewhere (I'm about to move again) but I'm going to get another one anyway just to check things out. Good to have. I love this forum and it's surely helped me get back in the m/c game after many years.
 

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Registered
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237 Posts
A GE walley world mulitmeter costs 17 bucks. I bought one to match anyone else. Please buy one and tell me when you have. It would be nice to test this battery and to test the charging system.

The tools at auto zone are not the bad part. The guys testing the battery are.

I am a x foreign car tech of 28 years as a pro. I can tell you not all techs are created equal. The 30 something wanna be tech at my local NAPA car parts store is worthless testing electricals... He is a brain dead fool when it comes to understanding this, but he sure don't think so..

I still work on a very limited amount of cars for customers I get along with well, ones who trust me. I get paid a hell of a lot more than a friggin store clerk too.

I don't do this all the time, and not even for what customers I have. I do what no one else can do. While i don't know every single 12 system from memory I have worked on many, and with a vehical on hand and a BOOK, I can figure out any of these systems.

I am really hoping I never need to figure out the twin stator twin rec/reg Vulcan systems, but if i do i will.

LOL that MUZ.... My real nick Name is Mac... It is short for McKay. That Muz if because all mac's are taken on line and shooting flintlocks is one game i play. Call me what suits you though....

All I am saying is in a few easy on line lessons as tests, and you can diagnoise stuff with out autozone clerks messing up your life. probably i can't teach you well for a real odd ball problem that might even stump me for a while hands on even, and that has happened.

Sometimes it is emabarressing when i create a brain problem when the fault is simple.

I did that on a Saab 900 my wife used to own. That car accted up all over the boards doing the strangest stuff I have seen to date. Sometimes there was no problem and then instantly it was going bonkers with lights working when OFF, not starting, when the key was turned, and it should and all instrments were all wacky.

I dug in deep too, just trying to get some clue..

All it was, was the negitive battery clamp which looked great by eye, was all under cut and eatten away, and that clamp made a fool of me, because from the top where i could see it looked clean and shinney.

Now most of the time when a guy who knows his way around is cracking a book I run with a ice pick test lamp, and most of the time i find the fault first.

Then there are times i have to work and maybe with no book. A paint buddy of mine painted a 48 Willeys, and the dash was custom stainless steel. That dash looked like it belonged on some wild indutrial dish washer if you ask me. There was guages all the way from door pillar to door pilar, and for not normal things either.

Every single wire and cable in that thing was bright yellow, not one other color and no number codes no nuthin.

With a good battery a 'known' good battery this would draw and over night it woul draw enough the starter didn't have current to run in the morning.

I pulled all the fuses, and made sure everything was OFF, and it still showed a draw on an amp meter crossing the battery?????????

One item at a was next.... I found it... There was a powered wire not fused to the tach to turn the tack ON, which should have been wired thru the key to be on with the engine and off the same way, but it wasn't wired that way and was ON 24/7.

Took 3 days to find that, but then it was just another yellow wire....
 

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Registered
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237 Posts
+1 for ignoring Mac "I am begging you to buy these 2 tools and not to buy a battery" Muz and replacing the battery. Happy riding.
Like that makes any sence..... I guess guessing your way thru wiring issues, and buying parts you don't need is the best way to go eh?
 

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Rebel Rider
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3,646 Posts
With any PM common sense at all, your going to be 90% sure that the problems he was having was the battery. An 03 model with probably the OEM battery, it's a no-brainer. Even if it was replaced at the 2 year recommendation, it's still a 5 year old battery.
 

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Nobody Home
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1,768 Posts
Like that makes any sence..... I guess guessing your way thru wiring issues, and buying parts you don't need is the best way to go eh?
The battery dying made sense based on the symptoms as described and the fact it started when jumped and died when the jumpers were removed. It also made much more sense than your rant about '48 Willeys wiring.
 
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