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Thread: No-start Situation Solved

  1. #1
    Yarddog
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    No-start Situation Solved

    Hey, folks...there seems to be a lot of no-start threads asking for help, so I thought I'd share what happened to me this week so that it might help someone else...talkin' about a '78 R100/7 here, BUT...that doesn't really matter...it's a general sorta deal...

    Went for a little 200 mile ride on Sunday, no problems...when I tried to fire it up for the Monday commute, I initially got the dreaded clickin' noise from the starter solenoid, then it caught and the starter spun slower than usually, BUT...it did start. I thought it might be a loose connection somewhere, put it on my mental to-do list...same thing when I fired it up for the return trip home...

    So, as I was breezing down the 101 from Santa Barbara, I decided to take the PCH bypass to enjoy some better scenary...the engine quit at the bottom of the off-ramp, and the starter wouldn't spin at all now...pulled over and called the tow...in the ensuing two hours (initially supposed to be 45 minutes!), I tried starting it again...I noticed that sometimes I'd get nothing, then I'd get it to click, no spin, and it actually started normally one time...also, I noticed that sometimes the headlight would be fine, then it would dim, and get dimmer...

    All of this led me to believe that there might be a battery problem due to the intermittent nature of the signs...however, when I started the trouble shooting process, I went back thru everything, checking the connections, various relays, all the usual suspects...I had put the battery on the Battery Tender overnight, and I noticed that I got the solid green light right away, indicating that the charger sensed that the battery was fully charged...

    But when I tested the battery after disconnecting it, I got an initial 13+ volt reading, then it went down to 12.8, then it would vary around the 12 volt area. Then it went into the 10 volt range, back to the 12 volt range, into the 11 volt range, and back to 12.56 volts...again, intermittent readings...this pretty much led me to the conclusion that what I was reading, and what the Battery Tender was sensing, was a surface charge only, and a more appropriate test at this point would have been a load test to confirm what I suspected...but, seeing as how this wasn't my first rodeo, I had seen enough...

    I went to Walmart and got one of their AGM personal watercraft batteries...it fit the tray almost perfectly, the terminal orientations was correct...and if anybody is curious, I can post the part number back here, it's just not right at hand at the moment and I am too lazy to go out and get it... I installed the acid, charged it on the Tender all night, and when I hit the pickle button in the morning, all was well!

    This is one of those things that if one doesn't know what one is really observing, could be an elusive solution... If you have an intermittent starting situation like this, and you are testing the battery voltage and either find it intermittently reading out good and bad voltages, or even not, suspect the battery. This is true for an older battery, but it's been my experience that even the newer batteries can do this...

    Hope this helps someone...

  2. #2
    Registered User ebeeby's Avatar
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    I had a Westco do that to me in the middle of West Texas - in July. I did not have my trusty $20 Harbor Freight load tester with me and a VOM showed good voltage.

    But it was a danged shorted battery. It would light the dash but nothing else. 'Course I thought I had a good battery because the VOM showed good. So I boiled in the sun of West Texas (nearest shade was like 50 miles) and checked EVERY danged other possibility with no effect.

    As I learned then, when trouble-shooting electrics step one is to throw the freakin battery in the Mississippi River.
    1973 R75/5

  3. #3
    Yarddog
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    Mine was also a Westco...ironically...or maybe NOT so ironically!!!

  4. #4
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    WestCo

    I had a WestCo three months old let me down on a trip. I took it to dealer, he charged it, did a load test. He said it was bad. Next day they charged it, call me and said battery was fine and I should bring back the one they gave me the night before.
    15 minutes latter they called again, they installed in on a bike, started it. Tried to restart it, and it was dead. I for one will not buy another, when this one dies, and get different brand.
    Tom
    '84 R100RT '04 CLC(gone) Honda NT700V
    BMW
    Beer Motorcycles Women

  5. #5
    Yarddog
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    Quote Originally Posted by insertdisk View Post
    I had a WestCo three months old let me down on a trip. I took it to dealer, he charged it, did a load test. He said it was bad. Next day they charged it, call me and said battery was fine and I should bring back the one they gave me the night before.
    15 minutes latter they called again, they installed in on a bike, started it. Tried to restart it, and it was dead. I for one will not buy another, when this one dies, and get different brand.
    Well, I hear ya...when I got ahold of the usual Wesco battery source in my neck of the woods, they were out of stock but would have one next week! And it would cost a hundred bucks! Wrong!

    That's when I went to Wally World and got an AGM for $65.00...in stock... And if I hadn't got it there, I'm certain someplace in my area woulda had something that would have worked just fine!!!

    Nothing against Wesco, all brands have bad ones come thru...but when you need a battery, you don't need it next week! That's the problem I have with my local brick and mortar sources...almost nothing for airheads in stock, and if they have them, you can depend upon them being at least 50% over internet sources... Yes, I do expect to pay more at brick and mortar stores, and I will do so gleefully, IF the service matches the extra price...

  6. #6
    James.A
    Guest
    Great story, be creative, the only people who can help us is us.

    I've been thru this many times. I had a 2 year old Oddysey battery that wouldn't roll the starter. They are supposed to last 5 years. I went through the tortures of the damned. It was the battery.

    The minute you have an electrical problem and the battery is not new, it's probably the battery. The first time I went to crazydrummerdudes shop, he had dis-assembled his bike chasing a failed battery problem.

    Regarding his broken starter thing, I have consulted friends in the heavy equipment field. The concensus is that the ring gear on the fly-wheel is out of round or otherwise loose. We'll see.

  7. #7
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    When needed a battery for my RT, the local brick-n-mortar nondealer looked up the battery, and first came up with a Westco part number. He didn't want to sell me a Westco (!), so he poked around a bit more. He came up with another brand, in stock, which was actually specified for a Harley sportster. It fit, and continues to work.

  8. #8
    James.A
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by jforgo View Post
    When needed a battery for my RT, the local brick-n-mortar nondealer looked up the battery, and first came up with a Westco part number. He didn't want to sell me a Westco (!), so he poked around a bit more. He came up with another brand, in stock, which was actually specified for a Harley sportster. It fit, and continues to work.
    That's what I'm talking about.

  9. #9
    warredon
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    Hey Yarddog, can you give us the brand and number of the battery that you bought at Wally World? Inquiring minds want to know.

  10. #10
    Yarddog
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    Quote Originally Posted by warredon View Post
    Hey Yarddog, can you give us the brand and number of the battery that you bought at Wally World? Inquiring minds want to know.
    It's an Everstart ES16LBS...apparently, Wally World's house brand...something to keep in mind is that the farther back in the row that you are able to grab one, the fresher it will be, and the less chance that someone has robbed the box of parts... since you have to activate the battery with acid, the freshness of the battery might not matter as much, but still...

    I probably should have included this info in my original post, sorry... it's a bit narrower than the original battery but it fits the tray very well...

    If I hadn't of found one otherwise, I was planning to stop in at my local Harley shop, it's amazing how many Harley batteries will fit a lot of other brand scooters...

  11. #11
    warredon
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Yarddog View Post
    It's an Everstart ES16LBS...apparently, Wally World's house brand...something to keep in mind is that the farther back in the row that you are able to grab one, the fresher it will be, and the less chance that someone has robbed the box of parts... since you have to activate the battery with acid, the freshness of the battery might not matter as much, but still...
    ...
    Thanks!!

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