Help, my bike won't start! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 41 Old Sep 30th, 2006, 9:05 pm Thread Starter
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Help, my bike won't start!

Hi,

I hope someone will be able to help me with this problem. After stopping at a gas station last night for a quick fill up, I tried to start the bike but it didnít fire up right way. Just as I was about to let the ignition go for a quick pause and retry, it fired up. I rode for the next 2 miles to my apartment without any problems except for the fact that the turn signals wonít stay on, unless I keep my thumb pressed against it. This morning I tried to start the bike again, but this time I wasen't so lucky (except for the fact that at least I'm in my garage instead of somewhere in the midle of nowhere . It didn't even make that cranking sound as it normally does when trying to start it up. First thing I did was to check the battery but the voltmeter shows 12V, so no problems there. Then I checked all 12 fuses under the front seat. Again everything seemed fine. The front light turns on, the signal lights wonít, the radio/CD player works, windshield moves up and down when activated without any problem, the kill switch is off. On the dashboard the following light are turned on: Neutral, Oil, ABS (flashing), Water temperature. The bike is a K1200LT year 2000, 47K miles. Just a week earlier I had the local BMW dealer here in Daytona Beach put new tires and they fixed a flashing ABS light problem I had been experiencing lately. They told me it was a faulty sensor in the hydraulic unit, which they changed it and it fixed the problem. They also topped all the fluids as well.

I was hopping someone has a solution to this problem. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
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post #2 of 41 Old Sep 30th, 2006, 9:37 pm
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Does your bike have the BMW alarm system? If so it sounds like the immobilizer is enguaged. which kills the start relay.

Jim Davidson
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post #3 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 12:12 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hp1bmw
Does your bike have the BMW alarm system? If so it sounds like the immobilizer is enguaged. which kills the start relay.

Hi Jim,

thanks for replying. No there is not any alarm installed on this bike.
Could it be the starter, since there is not a cranking sound present when I try to fire it up?

Best regards,

Eno
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post #4 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 12:19 am
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Eno, how old is your battery?
If old and cannot hold much of a charge you will experience "strange" phenomenons with the electrical and electronic systems.

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post #5 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 8:01 am
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Eno,
A fully charged battery should read 12.6 - 12.8 volts depending on the type of battery. A battery that is .2 of a volt lower than that is only 85% charged. If you only have 12.0 volts it sounds like your battery may have given up the ghost.

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post #6 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 8:05 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
Eno, how old is your battery?
If old and cannot hold much of a charge you will experience "strange" phenomenons with the electrical and electronic systems.

Good morning Gilles,

come to think of it, I've not changed the battery since I bought the bike on June 2004. So even though the voltage is 12V the battery might not be able to deliver the required amperage to start up, right? Do you know what that amperage is suposed to be? I'll try to mesure it and I might as well buy a new battery. I'm hopping you're right Gilles since that would be an easy fix.

Thank you!

Eno
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post #7 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 8:20 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Wheelroadtrip
Eno,
A fully charged battery should read 12.6 - 12.8 volts depending on the type of battery. A battery that is .2 of a volt lower than that is only 85% charged. If you only have 12.0 volts it sounds like your battery may have given up the ghost.

Hi,

I just mesure it again and it shows 12.47V. I didn't realize such a small diference makes a big diference. It looks like you guys are pointing to the right direction. I guess I need a new battery. I'll get one tomorrow when the store opens and I'll let you guys know how it went.

Thank you guys! This site rocks!

Eno
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post #8 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 9:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Hi,

I just mesure it again and it shows 12.47V. I didn't realize such a small diference makes a big diference. It looks like you guys are pointing to the right direction. I guess I need a new battery. I'll get one tomorrow when the store opens and I'll let you guys know how it went.

Thank you guys! This site rocks!

Eno
I'm not convinced it's the battery yet -- the fact that the turn signal controller isn't working is strange; while this could be the result of low voltage, 12.47V isn't near low enough to cause flaky controller response.

First Q: Have you checked your battery and alternator connections? A loose or corroded connection can cause a signficant voltage drop, even if the battery is showing good voltage.

Second Q: With the kill switch in the run position, what happens when you press the starter button? Does the headlight go off while the start button is depressed?

Mark Neblett
Fairfax, VA
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post #9 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 10:15 am
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You should perform one more test. Check the battery voltage with a load, such as the headlights on. A battery can develop a very high internal resistance, and will read over 12 volts with no load on it, but drop drastically when loaded down. Also, put the meter on the battery and press the starter switch to see if there is any change in voltage. Unless your 2000 has had the new starter relay upgrade it should try to start, and on these early relays low voltage would often weld the relay contacts closed, so it would try to start any time the battery is hooked up.

If the battery checks OK, then you must have something failed in the starter circuit. That could be anything from a loose wire, to a bad switch, to failed starter motor.

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post #10 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 10:23 am
 
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It's A Battary Problem

Yes I Have This Prpblem Once If The Baterry Is Just A Litel Tyaired It Will Not Start The Engin Yhe Lhgits Will Work But The Bike Will Not Start
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post #11 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 11:12 am
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I had similar gremblins, turned out to be a loose negative battery terminal.

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post #12 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 11:21 am
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
I'm not convinced it's the battery yet -- the fact that the turn signal controller isn't working is strange; while this could be the result of low voltage, 12.47V isn't near low enough to cause flaky controller response.

First Q: Have you checked your battery and alternator connections? A loose or corroded connection can cause a signficant voltage drop, even if the battery is showing good voltage.

Second Q: With the kill switch in the run position, what happens when you press the starter button? Does the headlight go off while the start button is depressed?
What Mark says! And David as well! Meanwhile, just to reinforce what Mark says about the loose connections, these can really cause all kinds of problems. And you will not be able to detect them with a voltmeter since they can still allow the microamps required by the meter to flow. But as soon as you demand any substantial current flow, like a light or a motor, the loose connection will drop a majority of the volts and not allow that larger current flow to pass. The loose or corroded connection basically acts like an in line resistor. I would double check all the connections I could get to before just changing the battery.

HTH,
John

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post #13 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 11:25 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaFish
I would double check all the connections I could get to before just changing the battery.
Yep -- the fact that the ABS work has just been done is what made me think of this -- the battery had to be disconnected for this work, so it's very possible complete retightening was missed on final reassembly. Worth at least checking before spending the $$ for a battery.

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post #14 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 11:37 am
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Lightbulb Push start

Just jumped in , did not read all posts. Jump start it in second gear then check charging..

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post #15 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 11:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
then check charging..
A possibility, but I'd check this only after looking at the above items -- the fact that he's at ~12.5V still after a week+ suggests to me that the charging system is functioning. A good "well, that didn't work, what's to check next" item.

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post #16 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 3:51 pm Thread Starter
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Hello guys,

just did some more testing according to your suggestions and here are the results:

To answer Markís first question: ď Have you checked your battery and alternator connections? A loose or corroded connection can cause a significant voltage drop, even if the battery is showing good voltage. ď - I checked the battery connections and retighten them. Everything seems fine.

Second question: ď With the kill switch in the run position, what happens when you press the starter button? Does the headlight go off while the start button is depressed?Ē - Yes, the first couple of tries and then after 10 sec of trying the headlight wonít come ON again.

Strangely, the turn signals did work too those first 10 sec, this afternoon, and then stopped working together with the headlight. It looks as if the battery is getting tired.

The reading now with the ignition OFF is 12.32V. After turning the ignition ON I get 12.15V. If I turn the radio or CD ON, I get 12.05V.

I also hooked the air compressor to the bike and I noticed the reading to be 11.88V.
Is that a significant drop?

Is it a good idea to jump start it with a car battery to see if it is a battery problem or that would be to much juice for the bike to handle it?

Thanks,

Eno
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post #17 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 4:20 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Is it a good idea to jump start it with a car battery to see if it is a battery problem or that would be to much juice for the bike to handle it?
No need -- the problem isn't the battery, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
The reading now with the ignition OFF is 12.32V. After turning the ignition ON I get 12.15V. If I turn the radio or CD ON, I get 12.05V. I also hooked the air compressor to the bike and I noticed the reading to be 11.88V. Is that a significant drop?
Sounds like a normal, healthy battery to me -- especially given it's performance under the compressor load.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Second question: ď With the kill switch in the run position, what happens when you press the starter button? Does the headlight go off while the start button is depressed?Ē - Yes, the first couple of tries and then after 10 sec of trying the headlight wonít come ON again.

Strangely, the turn signals did work too those first 10 sec, this afternoon, and then stopped working together with the headlight. It looks as if the battery is getting tired.
The reason I asked this question is I was suspicious as to whether the load relief relay and/or starter relay was/were failing. The other possibility is a loose connection at the starter -- something that gave Randy fits during a trip a couple years ago, and is my current "best guess" for your problem.

Next Q: Do you see a voltage drop when the ignition is on and you press the starter button (even if the starter does not turn over)? I'm guessing probably not much.

Background on the load relief relay/starter relay interaction: When you hit the starter, the 12V+ from the starter relay goes to both the starter and to the load relief relay's coil. This 12V turns the load relief relay *off* for the period the starter is engaged, to reduce the electrical demand by non-essential loads (headlight, etc.) to maximize the power available to the starter.

The fact that the headlight goes off, the starter motor was semi-intermittant before and is now inoperable, yet the load relief relay still functions, makes me strongly wonder whether the starter's positive cable is loose. A pita to reach, but a "must check" item.

Mark Neblett
Fairfax, VA
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post #18 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 4:36 pm
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If the starter positive cable is contacting the starter something should happen.
Another question are either the + or - battery terminals warm or hot to the touch with testing? If so this may help confirm a loose connection or bad ground.
Good Luck

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post #19 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 4:55 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
If the starter positive cable is contacting the starter something should happen.
Not necessarily -- there may be a minimal contact which would be enough for small loads, but would not be sufficient to support the couple hundred amps that the starter motor requires to turn over (hence the above Q re: voltage behavior when the start is depressed -- little or no drop=good indication that the starter is not drawing a lot out of the battery, i.e., both no connection *and* poor connection are possibilities).

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post #20 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 8:37 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
Not necessarily -- there may be a minimal contact which would be enough for small loads, but would not be sufficient to support the couple hundred amps that the starter motor requires to turn over (hence the above Q re: voltage behavior when the start is depressed -- little or no drop=good indication that the starter is not drawing a lot out of the battery, i.e., both no connection *and* poor connection are possibilities).

Hi Mark,

I forgot to mention that when I depressed the start, the voltage went from 12.15V to 12.11V. So I guess that's not a significant drop. Therefore, you are suggesting that there is either a poor or no connection at all at the starter, right?

So I guess the batery is fine and I shouldn't rush to buy a new one tomorrow until I check the starter connection first. How long would it take to get to it?

Even though riding to work every day is the first choice for me since I moved down here in sunny Florida 6 months ago, I'm in no rush since I have a back up "cage" I guess the old Jeep would do for a couple of days.

Thanks a lot guys for your support, very much appreciated!
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post #21 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 9:45 pm
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One thing that caught my eye in the first post you made was the lack of the battery light being on when the key is turned on. I seem to remember that someone had a problem with a loose alternator wire that caused those symptoms a long time ago. I think David Shealy knew something about that. It caused lots of unusal electrical problems.


HTH,

Ron


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post #22 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 9:46 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Hi Mark,

I forgot to mention that when I depressed the start, the voltage went from 12.15V to 12.11V. So I guess that's not a significant drop. Therefore, you are suggesting that there is either a poor or no connection at all at the starter, right?
Yep -- either at the starter or at the starter relay. The fact that there is some drop, but not much, sez to me that there's some current going to the starter relay, but little or none to the starter.

The starter can be checked with a flashlight, but it's a pita to reach with a wrench. Lift the seat, then look down under the rear of the main frame toward the center/left (the alternator is on the center/right, higher than the starter). The connection is at the rear of the starter -- see the cable/boot at the rear of the attached engine pic.

If that's not loose, the bad news is the primary relays (starter/load relief/etc) are well buried -- inside the electrical box, under the gas tank.

That said, given the recent ABS work, I'm still thinking a problem with the starter connection -- the ABS unit is so close to the starter connection that the possibility for an accidental bump to the cable (starting the lossening process) is too great a possibility to ignore.
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post #23 of 41 Old Oct 1st, 2006, 9:52 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellenbenz
One thing that caught my eye in the first post you made was the lack of the battery light being on when the key is turned on. I seem to remember that someone had a problem with a loose alternator wire that caused those symptoms a long time ago. I think David Shealy knew something about that. It caused lots of unusal electrical problems.


HTH,

Ron
If the charge light on the dash does not come on when you turn the ignition switch on, there is a problem in the circuit for the light. The alternator depends on the small current through the light to "boot" itself into charge mode. Without this current, it may or may not start charging when the engine starts, and you won't know one way or the other, since the light is not working. It can be a burned out bulb, but the more common cause is the small connector on the rear of the alternator is either loose, or off.

However, that will not cause the non starting problem except for a battery being too low, but his battery voltage is pretty good according to his tests.

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post #24 of 41 Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:34 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellenbenz
One thing that caught my eye in the first post you made was the lack of the battery light being on when the key is turned on. I seem to remember that someone had a problem with a loose alternator wire that caused those symptoms a long time ago. I think David Shealy knew something about that. It caused lots of unusal electrical problems.


HTH,

Ron
Hi Ron,

I'm sorry I forgot to mention the battery light too. I does come on actually. As Mark suggested Iíll check the starter connections. Is it on the left side? Iíd like to know before I start to tear the plastics down.

Thanks,

Eno
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post #25 of 41 Old Oct 8th, 2006, 4:01 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
Yep -- either at the starter or at the starter relay. The fact that there is some drop, but not much, sez to me that there's some current going to the starter relay, but little or none to the starter.

The starter can be checked with a flashlight, but it's a pita to reach with a wrench. Lift the seat, then look down under the rear of the main frame toward the center/left (the alternator is on the center/right, higher than the starter). The connection is at the rear of the starter -- see the cable/boot at the rear of the attached engine pic.

If that's not loose, the bad news is the primary relays (starter/load relief/etc) are well buried -- inside the electrical box, under the gas tank.

That said, given the recent ABS work, I'm still thinking a problem with the starter connection -- the ABS unit is so close to the starter connection that the possibility for an accidental bump to the cable (starting the lossening process) is too great a possibility to ignore.

Hi Mark,

I got the bike naked as you can see from the pictures. It seems very dificult to acces the starter conections so I was wandering if I could check the starter relay first, since I got as far as taking the gas tank off. The conections to the starter relay look preaty solid. Is there a way to test the relay itself? Maybe by mesuring the internal resistance? Just to make sure the conections were good I even mesured the voltage at the starter relay. It reads 12.11V.

Regards,

Eno
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post #26 of 41 Old Oct 9th, 2006, 6:51 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Is there a way to test the relay itself? Maybe by mesuring the internal resistance?
Hi, Eno -- if it were me, I'd remove the relay and apply 12V across the pull-in coil terminals (simulating the pressing of the starter button), while checking for continuity across the main terminals -- all to verify that when the relay is actuated, the main terminal contacts are being connected to allow current to flow from the battery to the starter.

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post #27 of 41 Old Oct 15th, 2006, 10:01 am Thread Starter
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Problem solved!

Hi guys,

just wanted to give you an update. I tested the starter relay as Mike suggested
and it seemed fine. Frustrated, I decided to use my car's battery to tray to start it. And it did right way. I shut it off immediately since I was afraid of frying something . So I just bought a new battery and problem solved!
Lesson learned: if a battery is at least 2 years old, replace it at the first symptom even though it might show correct voltage. I suspect it doesn't provide the needed amperage to crank the starter, which is the most critical moment for a battery. Thank you all for you replies.
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post #28 of 41 Old Oct 15th, 2006, 8:12 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Hi guys,

just wanted to give you an update. I tested the starter relay as Mike suggested
and it seemed fine. Frustrated, I decided to use my car's battery to tray to start it. And it did right way. I shut it off immediately since I was afraid of frying something . So I just bought a new battery and problem solved!
Lesson learned: if a battery is at least 2 years old, replace it at the first symptom even though it might show correct voltage. I suspect it doesn't provide the needed amperage to crank the starter, which is the most critical moment for a battery. Thank you all for you replies.
Thanks for updating.. It is good to know the final fix..

Jack D. (Southern Connecticut)
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post #29 of 41 Old Oct 15th, 2006, 8:14 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Hi,

I hope someone will be able to help me with this problem.
I was hopping someone has a solution to this problem. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

I know it;s late

but here is a solution


R1200GSA
K1200GT

<grin>

ok ok i really am just itching to get my GSA, plus the wife said well that gt really looks nice and since my bud here bought one, ............

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post #30 of 41 Old Oct 15th, 2006, 9:10 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchero
Hi guys,

just wanted to give you an update. I tested the starter relay as Mike suggested
and it seemed fine. Frustrated, I decided to use my car's battery to tray to start it. And it did right way. I shut it off immediately since I was afraid of frying something . So I just bought a new battery and problem solved!
Lesson learned: if a battery is at least 2 years old, replace it at the first symptom even though it might show correct voltage. I suspect it doesn't provide the needed amperage to crank the starter, which is the most critical moment for a battery. Thank you all for you replies.
Hi Eno, I am glad you got this solved . I suspected the battery too after reading your original post on Sept. 30th as I have ran into weird behavior on the electrical and electronics when my original unit got old.
This reminds me that I am almost due for a new battery as well - going on 3 years now - so at the first sign of trouble I'll install a gel battery.
Good to know you are back on the road!

Gilles & Kathy
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post #31 of 41 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 5:18 am
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This reminds me that I am almost due for a new battery as well - going on 3 years now - so at the first sign of trouble I'll install a gel battery.
Hey Gilles, Just thinking out loud here, but why would you wait to the first sign of a problem when you already know how old your battery is? There are more things than just starting issues that can happen. Your ABS can go into fault too. DAMHIK If that happens you're off to the dealer to get the ABS reset. YMMV

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post #32 of 41 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by Steve_R
Hey Gilles, Just thinking out loud here, but why would you wait to the first sign of a problem when you already know how old your battery is? There are more things than just starting issues that can happen. Your ABS can go into fault too. DAMHIK If that happens you're off to the dealer to get the ABS reset. YMMV
I may do it this week before Ft. Bragg. I have taken the day off today to perform my 36K service and install additional lights.
And you are right, an ounce of prevention...

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86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



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post #33 of 41 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 9:42 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_R
Hey Gilles, Just thinking out loud here, but why would you wait to the first sign of a problem when you already know how old your battery is? There are more things than just starting issues that can happen. Your ABS can go into fault too. DAMHIK If that happens you're off to the dealer to get the ABS reset. YMMV
I'm reading this with some angst.. I still have the original battery in mine..

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post #34 of 41 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 9:56 am
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OK, having read all the posts, my initial reaction was to suggest to first try another battery before doing anything more complicted, but as my knowledge of the bike is minimal compared to most of you others, I preferred to keep my mouth shut and just listen.

BUT my question is: could a car battery do any damage to the bikes electrics ?.
My opinion is no, but would prefer more experienced answers to confirm this.
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post #35 of 41 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 11:16 am
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Quote:
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BUT my question is: could a car battery do any damage to the bikes electrics ?.
My opinion is no, but would prefer more experienced answers to confirm this.
No, unless you hook it up BACKWARDS. It is the same type of battery - just bigger. It is capable of a great deal larger current so if you have any unprotected circuits added they are at risk.

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post #36 of 41 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 3:14 am
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John,
In other words you reckon that a car battery ( donīt forget that in Europe we have small cars ) will not do any damage for testing purposes, unless I have installed something that is not standard, such as a GPS, and not wired it through the fuse box.
Simon
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post #37 of 41 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 9:21 am
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John,
In other words you reckon that a car battery ( donīt forget that in Europe we have small cars ) will not do any damage for testing purposes, unless I have installed something that is not standard, such as a GPS, and not wired it through the fuse box.
Simon
Anything that is wired correctly should not be an issue.. The only problem I have with using a car/truck battery to jump start the bike is the tremendous amount of current potential that the larger battery has to give the lower capacity M/C battery that already has problem.. Remember when the alternator charges the battery it has a max rate determined by the engineer that designed the charging circuit. When you put a real battery on top it delivers what the source wants up to it's available cold cranking rating.. The two of those are nowhere near one another.

I think that jumping a M/C battery is not a good idea unless you are buying a new battery.. Always with excessive current and a battery there is potential for an explosion.. because of sparks and gasses that a battery can produce... so you must beware.... is it worth it?

In this case where the battery appeared healthy it is probably not much of an issue. If the battery is compromised and/or shorted there could be excessive current flow...

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post #38 of 41 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 1:21 pm
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Jack,
What you are recommending then, when jump starting the bike, is to by-pass the bikes battery altogether ?.
Simon
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post #39 of 41 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 3:11 pm
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Jack,
What you are recommending then, when jump starting the bike, is to by-pass the bikes battery altogether ?.
Simon
Actually, I don't recommend jumping a M/C battery..

I know people do it and it works. If I had to I guess I would evaluate if I really needed to do it. In this case, I might have tried because the battery appeared to be at the same potential as the booster battery.

Remember if you bypass the battery you need to disconnect it and you get other issues... if you have an alarm ... throttle recalibrate.. and probably some other things...

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post #40 of 41 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 3:44 am
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If you have to jump start the bike using a car battery, you can minimize the exposure to high current. Don't start the car (use only its battery and not its alternator too). Hook up everything except the bike's positive jumper connection first. Hold the starter button down and then touch the positive cable. Watch out for sparks. As soon as the bike catches, release the positive jumper cable and starter button.

That should get you going in a side-of-the-road emergency. Otherwise, replace the battery if necessary and then use the correct battery charger to get it up to proper voltage before starting.

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post #41 of 41 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 8:49 pm
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If you have to jump start the bike using a car battery, you can minimize the exposure to high current. Don't start the car (use only its battery and not its alternator too). Hook up everything except the bike's positive jumper connection first. Hold the starter button down and then touch the positive cable. Watch out for sparks. As soon as the bike catches, release the positive jumper cable and starter button.

That should get you going in a side-of-the-road emergency. Otherwise, replace the battery if necessary and then use the correct battery charger to get it up to proper voltage before starting.
That is pretty good technique but you know that you should be getting a spark and if you were not quick and deliberate you would get a few.. You must be in a well ventilated area.. especially if you were charging the battery

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