1998 Heritage Died While Riding

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by haroldt, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. haroldt

    haroldt Member

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    1998 Heritage lost all power while riding. Short version – while riding the bike, I lost power - after tightening battery cable I’m riding again, but then it occurred a 2nd time. Below is some history and a more detailed outline of the problems that have incurred and hope that someone can give me some thoughts as to what the problem might be.

    Several weeks ago I had starter problems. While in the shop I had them remove my pipes to have them rechromed. When I got the bike back the starter worked fine, however the bike made high pitched popping sounds when I would come of the throttle. Having a trip to NY planned, I did not have time to bring it back to the shop and I trailered the bike north from Florida. The first time I brought the bike out of the trailer, the started did not work. I found a mechanic and replaced the started (called my mechanic in Florida about the popping noise and was told it was most likely an exhaust leak.) While in NY the bike (except for the popping) rode fine and once I got back in Florida I brought it to my mechanic for the leak.

    I got the bike back, drove off, and it died a half mile down the rode. Glided over to the side of the rode and tried to restart – nothing. The lights and horn work but absolutely nothing happened when I tried the start button. My mechanic came out and “tightened” the battery cables and off I went. I rode the bike on 3 separate occasions since, putting about 100 miles on it since with no problems.

    TODAY… as I rode I noticed a bit of hesitation, it “missed” tree times and then about 10 miles down the road, it shut down and I’m on the side of the road for a second time. Again, I have lights but no response from the start button. Remembering what my mechanic did, I pulled off the seat, poked around the battery (as if I knew what I was doing), the cables all seemed to be tight, I could not tighten them any further.. however the bike started and I was able to ride home. Any ideas? Thank you - Harold
     
  2. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    Perhaps the connection at the starter is not fully secure and any movement at the battery end is giving you a good connection at the other end
    or the battery cables are internally corroded and movement of them is giving a good connection
    replace the battery cables and ensure correctly fitted at both ends

    Brian
     
  3. R. Lewis

    R. Lewis Senior Member Retired Moderators

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    pull the codes on it.
     
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    I suggest removing the cables (negative first), cleaning BOTH ends and both mating surfaces at each end with a wire brush and reinstalling the cables (positive first). If you still have the problem, I would begin to suspect the cables. You said the bike is a '98, and if those are the original cables, they are getting a bit long in the tooth. You can carry a jumper with you, and the next time you have the problem, put the jumper on from the battery connection to where that bike cable goes (starter or starter mounting bolt). Try the negative side first, and then the positive. If it fires up when you do this, it confirms that the cable is going. Replace them as a set if that is the problem.

    If that doesn't help, I would start to suspect the starting circuit and would take the switches apart on the bars and clean them (probably lots of green corrosion salts on the copper). Scrape off the stuff on the contacts, spray with electrical contact cleaner, let dry, spray with a lubricant (WD40 like stuff), reassemble and see if that does it. That was the problem on my '91 when I had similar symptoms to yours.

    TQ
     
  5. haroldt

    haroldt Member

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    Thanks guys for all the thoughts - ya just gotta love this web site - active and always helpful. I'll give it a try and will report back. TQ - I woke this morning with simular thoughts regarding the starter connections. Hope I can do this work with my Swiss Army Knife, as I have no special tools (or knowledge!!!)
     
  6. B-1B_Guy

    B-1B_Guy Junior Member

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    Had very similar problems with my '97 Heritage. Bike left me stranded on the interstate one time and then would seem to start intermittantly. Sold the bike to my Dad (thought I had it fixed) and it left him stranded as well. I pointed him to the battery connections and he discovered that the tightening and retightening the battery cables all the time wore out the little threaded block that sits inside the battery terminal. You can replace the cheap piece of junk or do what my Dad did. Drill through the back of the battery terminal and put a locking nut on. Problem solved, battery terminals never ever loosen up again. If I ever own another EVO, I'm going to do that right away as the vibration always seems to loosen those terminals up.

    I think your mechanic either didn't change the exhaust gasket in the head or didn't torque the exhaust flange properly.
     
  7. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Ahh, the immortal Victronox Swiss Army Knife, rarely leave home without it and I use it to scrape the lead/copper connections until shiny and then use dielectric grease, preventing water intrusion/corrosion to protect the 3 pairs of primary connections: Battery positive and negative battery leads and the Starter terminal leads, (don't forget the fuses and starter relay connections). :s
     
  8. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    A little more than a Swiss Army knife, but not much more. On my bike, I use a 3/8" combination wrench on the battery terminal screws on the cables. The starter post nut is 1/2", and the starter mounting bolts are large Allen wrench type bolts (officially, socket head cap screw) that I think are 3/8" Allens. Thats all!!

    TQ
     
  9. MWGB

    MWGB Member

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    Ahhh yessss! The automotive school of hard knocks has taught me to always suspect the battery and ground cables as the problem, if the battery itself has been ruled out and the cables are older than 6-8 years. Even though tightening the connections can get it to work "one more time", underneath the insulation is oxidized copper. Slit open the insulation on an old cable sometime and the white powder is your evidence.

    I spent way too much money on automotive starting systems back in the day of nursing all useful life out of a car/truck. Now, when I get the first sign of starting problems and the cables are 6+ years old, I replace them. And with 1 in college and two more to go, the days of "nursing all useful life out of a car/truck" have returned. :panic
     
  10. haroldt

    haroldt Member

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    As promised... am reporting back. Sunday I took the battery out and inspected the cables. The battery is only 3 months old (I change batteries every two years regardless) and the cables are new too. All looked fine - no corrossion.

    In removing them, I found the negitave side to be a bit lose, so that may have been the problem. With my limited tools and knowhow, I could not get get to the positive lead to the starter. So far 55 miles later, no problems, pray that continues.

    Thanks again TQ for the heads up on the order of removal and replacing of the battery cables - did not know there to be a right way to do so. However, you failed to mentioned that a large spark and BOOM would occur if one drops the negitive cable across the positive post! That was shocking!! My pretty new battery now has a chunk of lead out of the positive post. :)