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Just Hangin Out
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So yesterday I was out riding with a group of guys. We were making our 3rd stop of the day and hanging out awhile. When I went to fire the bike back up I got nothing except a clicking noise. Jumped the bike off of a guy's truck and the bike fired right up, but died a couple minutes later. Jumped it off one of the other bikes and it again it fired right up, but died within a few minutes. We then let it charging off one of the other bikes for about 20 minutes. This time I was able to ride to the next town about 5 miles away, but it again died and wouldn't restart. I then called my wife to go buy a new battery and bring it to me. Installed the new battery, bike fired right up and I was able to ride the rest of the way home with no issues (about 20 miles).

My concern is whether this is simply a case of a really weak battery that simply could not hold a charge or do I have a much deeper issue and possibly something is wrong with the charging system? I was surprised that there was absolutely no warning. The previous stop the bike fired right up with no issues, After the last stop though I got nothing except the clicking sound. I am flying to Texas on Wed so I haven't bothered taking to my local bike shop. Have some of you guys experienced this and if so was it just a battery or the charging system?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Have you got a voltmeter you could that you could use to test with? If you do I would suggest checking the voltage across the battery then starting the bike and see what change there is. If there is no increase then your running off just the battery
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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1,189 Posts
You probably have a two-fold problem. The battery getting very weak over time due to the charging system not supplying enough voltage to charge the battery.

On the other hand, your regulator/rectifier may have just gone out and drained your battery between stops. That would in effect stop the battery from charging and you will wear your new battery down quickly.

Follow bosscat's advise and check battery voltage at rest (should be 12.6v). Your voltage should be between 13.5v and 14.5v when revving the engine, if all is well with the charging system.

Good luck!
 

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Politicians' Nightmare
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1,871 Posts
Since your ride is a VN900 the original battery probably isn't more than a couple of years old, and you don't have to deal with freezing weather starts, unless there is a charging problem the original battery should have been OK. The OEM batteries have a good reputation. Could be that there was some corrosion on the battery cable terminals and the battery posts which could have caused the problem. When you installed the new battery that likely broke any insulating of the battery terminals from corrosion.
 

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Just Hangin Out
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291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't have a voltmeter, but sounds like a good time to go out and buy one. The bike is a 2006 which I bought used back in March so I am assuming it was still the OEM battery inside which would put it at about 3-4 years old. It actually looked pretty good coming out with no corrosion at all. I'll get the meter tomorrow and check it out and report back with my findings.
 

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Politicians' Nightmare
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That's interesting. The battery in my '07 is a Yuasa. I used to work in QA and RMA for a battery manufacturer and we comparison tested Yuasas - generally great quality and endurance. In my previous bikes Yuasas usually lasted for at least five years. Maybe quality has deteriorated lately. About terminal corrosion - it's often invisible. I had the the same problem with a car as you had with your bike - cleaned the posts and terminals, problem solved. I couldn't see any corrosion even though it was present. But a voltmeter test on you bike as suggested should tell whether there is a charging problem. Keep us posted.

Followup - Two weeks after posting this my OEM Yuasa battery made a liar out of me as it wouldn't start my VN900 unless I put a charger onto it for a few minutes. I have voltmeter on the bike, and it reads in the 13.5-14V range with the engine running. I pulled the Yuasa and checked it according to the shop manual, and it failed to hold the proper charge. I ordered a new dry charge battery via Ebay and it just arrived - needs to be filled, and I'm going to give it a charge before using it. Hopefully the new battery is the answer.

Yuasas used to be made in Japan, the one I pulled from the bike says that it's made in China. Possibly the quality is lower now.
 

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Vicrory is Mine
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2,489 Posts
I just had my stator and voltage regulator replaced... I was having basically the same problems.
 

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Well, the first thing you should have done is cleaned your connections and tightened them fully. You can have the problems listed with just a loose positive. Clean, attach firmly and put some protectant on the connections. Either use a canned product or melt some Vaseline and pour it over to keep the air and corrosion away.
 

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Deeppurple52
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Don't panic and start changing parts. Contrary to popular belief, motorcycle batteries do not last very long. For peace of mind, take the battery to any auto parts store and have them test it under load. Testing it with a voltmeter is meaningless. When a load is applied, that 12 volts will quickly drop to zero.
 

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Just Hangin Out
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291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, the first thing you should have done is cleaned your connections and tightened them fully. You can have the problems listed with just a loose positive. Clean, attach firmly and put some protectant on the connections. Either use a canned product or melt some Vaseline and pour it over to keep the air and corrosion away.
We actually pulled the battery out at one point and reinstalled it so I was sure the connections were nice and tight. Now I didn't apply any kind of protectant to it because the terminals looked really nice and clean.

I just had my stator and voltage regulator replaced... I was having basically the same problems.
If you don't mine me asking do you remember how much this cost you to have done?

Don't panic and start changing parts. Contrary to popular belief, motorcycle batteries do not last very long. For peace of mind, take the battery to any auto parts store and have them test it under load. Testing it with a voltmeter is meaningless. When a load is applied, that 12 volts will quickly drop to zero.
Not panicing yet, the main reason I came on here was hopefully to get advice from some of you more knowledgeable folks. :D I am hoping it was simply a case of the old battery being old and simply dieing on me. I have a local Autozone that does the battery testing so I'll try your advice once I get back from my trip next week.

I am confused by the 2 differing pieces of advice though. One says the voltmeter will tell me and the other telling me a voltmeter won't tell me. I will be the first to admit though I am definitely no mechanic and I ride'em and let others fix'em.
 

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Here is a quick and dirty battery/charging system test:
1. Ensure battery is full, add distilled water if necessary.
2. Charge for 24hrs. with a 1 to 1.5 amp charger.
3. Let stand for a few hours.
4. Check battery voltage at terminals, should be "at least" 12.4v.
5. Turn on bike but do not start. Continue to monitor battery. The voltage will start to drop but should level off at a value above 12v. If it continues to sag and goes below 12v, the battery has one or both feet in the grave.
6. With a good battery, start bike and continue to monitor. Voltage should go up above non-running voltage. Rev bike and voltage should be between 14 and 15 volts.
7. If it passes the above tests, should be good to go.
 

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just cruzin by!
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1,398 Posts
Hawaii??? Humid,hot and a 4 year old battery?? Get the battery load tested and then check you plug connector on the r/r for any corrsion.Do you ride close to the water??? Sea air has a lot of salt in it.
 

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Just Hangin Out
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291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hawaii??? Humid,hot and a 4 year old battery?? Get the battery load tested and then check you plug connector on the r/r for any corrsion.Do you ride close to the water??? Sea air has a lot of salt in it.
I occasionally ride near the water on my weekend rides, but not on a daily basis.
 

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We actually pulled the battery out at one point and reinstalled it so I was sure the connections were nice and tight. Now I didn't apply any kind of protectant to it because the terminals looked really nice and clean.



If you don't mine me asking do you remember how much this cost you to have done?

Not panicing yet, the main reason I came on here was hopefully to get advice from some of you more knowledgeable folks. :D I am hoping it was simply a case of the old battery being old and simply dieing on me. I have a local Autozone that does the battery testing so I'll try your advice once I get back from my trip next week.

I am confused by the 2 differing pieces of advice though. One says the voltmeter will tell me and the other telling me a voltmeter won't tell me. I will be the first to admit though I am definitely no mechanic and I ride'em and let others fix'em.
First off, let me make this real easy for you. Ignore all these other people but me. I'm the guy that knows everything. All the rest of these bumpkins know bupkis. That outta get someone started, but mostly I think they'll laugh.

If you removed and re-installed then you probably did my check. The connection is notorious for not being tight and being corroded and it causes all sorts of weird running problems. It's possible that you didn't have enough charge in the battery after re-installing but I've had my battery dead (used the kill switch, left the bike on), jumped it and charged just fine on the way home never to have a starting problem again. I think by voltmeter he meant something like the Kuryakn Voltmeter which will display your voltage while riding. If your charging system is functioning you should have 13-14 volts or 1 or 2 green lights on the Kury unit. Not charging and you'll have an ever decreasing number of amber lights until the bike stops working. FI needs 11 something volts so it's not a loss of too many lights. Now, if you have a bike that has lost cell capacity, it'll display 12 volts on a regular voltmeter but if you put any kind of load on it the voltage will drop off rapidly. Your starter may turn over slowly but if you don't have that minimum voltage your bikes going nowhere. This is why the owners manual tells you not to start a dead bike by rolling it down the hill and popping the clutch. No voltage, no go nowhere.
Autoparts stores, walmart and the like usually test your battery for free if you take it in. I know O'Reilys does. Heck, they check your alternator if you bring it in for free AND will read the codes out of your cars computer.

If you've replaced the battery and run the bike several times more than likely you had a bad battery. Remember to get some protectant on the terminals to keep from having corrosion problems and enjoy yourself. But I do like to have the riding meter just so I know I'm charging.

Remember, you only need know ME. These other rubes, sheesh!
 

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just cruzin by!
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and the KING has left the forum!!!! LOL:mrgreen: :mrgreen: .Mr.Clean we have got to go riding sometime!!!
 

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Vicrory is Mine
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2,489 Posts
First…. Charge the battery up.

If the charging system is working well the bike will run without the battery connected once it is started. If it dies when you disconnect the battery you have a charging system problem.

Stator problems seem to be common on the VN900.

As a simple diagnosis to see if your problem is the stator you can pull the rectifier plug and see if there is any voltage coming from the stator. Voltage should be somewhere in the range of 50VAC at 2,000 RPMs. I had nothing, nada, zip coming out of mine when I tested it.

I took it to the dealer... it was covered under extended warranty. Total job would have been $702.78 for a new stator, rectifier, and install.
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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First off, let me make this real easy for you. Ignore all these other people but me. I'm the guy that knows everything. All the rest of these bumpkins know bupkis. That outta get someone started, but mostly I think they'll laugh.
:eek: :lol: Now that's FUNNY!
I think by voltmeter he meant something like the Kuryakn Voltmeter which will display your voltage while riding. . . .
No, the voltmeter I was referring to was like a FLUKE or other brand of handheld diagnostic equipment (sheesh-:smile: )

A load test will definately be better than just the voltmeter, but you don't even have the voltmeter (double SHEESH!). :oops: :shock: :p

Start with the basics-do you have battery voltage? Oops, get the voltmeter.

You need to get off the forum now and go check . . . . we'll wait . . . . . .
 

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Well obviously he doesn't NEED a Fluke or even a cheap Radio Shack kit voltmeter. The bike has a new battery and is running.

Golly. We're going to be waiting a long time before he comes back and asks again.
 
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