Bad regulator? Starter clicks, why?

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by rehmax, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. rehmax

    rehmax Member

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    This is a two part post. The second part of my post led me to the question I have for the first part of my post.

    Do I have a bad regulator? I was having some on again/off again problems with my bike starting. Thought the battery was dead. It was an aftermarket battery, so I bought and HD battery. Was stilling having some starting problems. So I thought maybe the regulator was bad. Printed out the regulator check list from this website. Everything looked good, except check number 2. It says unplug regulator and check each pin with a meter while the other lead is on the battery negative. It says I should have no voltage. I am getting 11.5 on each of the 2 pins. Bad regulator? It puts out the 14.2 at the battery when the bike is running. and the battery is at 12.7 when off.

    Second thing that led me to checking the regulator is that from time to time I have where I push the start switch and the bike doesn't turn over. The volt meter on my dash goes way down while I have the switch pressed and when I release the switch the starter selinoid just clicks. Sometimes I can push the switch again and it will start. Other times I can push the switch ten times and nothing but the starter selinoid clicking. Not sure if I have a bad start switch, or starter selinoid, or starter relay. The bike was not starting today (doing the clicking thing) so I put a meter on the battery terminals and hit the start switch. The volt meter on the dash of my bike went way down to nothing, but the meter I hooked up to the battery stayed at 12.4. Figure there would be a drain on the battery to match the volt meter on the dash. Nope.

    So, I am wondering if my voltage regulator is bad, and what is the problem that causes my bike to sometimes not start and just click.
     
  2. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    What you are describing in the first paragraph is called the "bleed-back" test. Let's make sure you are doing this correctly. You have unplugged the wire that connects the VR to the Stator. Then with all the switches off, you measure the potential to ground from each pin on the VR side of the plug you disconnected. If you have any voltage here, the VR is shot. So if you were getting 11.5 volts from each pin to ground (one at a time), the VR is definitely shot.

    TQ
     
  3. rehmax

    rehmax Member

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    TQ, thanks for the reply. Yes I checked the VR just as you described. I thought the VR was bad, but thought I would double check my findings on this forum.

    Now, I am trying to figure out if the bad VR is causing my second problem, or if this non-starting/clicking problem is something different or unrelated to the bad VR.

    Just odd that when I push the start switch and the bike doesn't start, the volt meter on the dash of the bike goes way down to nothing. When I release the switch the volt meter comes back up to around 12. The starter selinoid gives out a "click" sound like it wants to work, but doesn't have enough juice to kick over.

    The problem of the non-starting bike doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough where it gets annoying. Sometimes I cross my fingers when I hit the start switch hoping it will start and get me home.
     
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    I suggest doing four things:

    1. Replace the VR
    2. Remove and wire-brush clean both ends of both battery cables
    3. Charge the battery with a low amp (2 or less) charger until fully charged
    4. Get a battery TENDER and keep it plugged in when not riding

    See how that does before swapping out a bunch more stuff.

    TQ
     
  5. BOBFLHTC

    BOBFLHTC Active Member

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    I see you are riding a older bike. My Starter quit a few years ago on a trip. A HD dealer took the starter out and said it was full of dust and grime from 20 years of use. He cleaned it up and I was able to finish the trip but encouraged me to get it rebuilt when I got home. I found this guy on Ebay that rebuilds them for a reasonable price.
    JEBCO STARTERS AND ALTERNATORS
    I also mounted a Kuryakyn LED Battery Gauge on my brake master cylinder to give me a heads up and revisit how to properly start your bike as outlined in the owner’s manual. I know it helped me - Bob
     
  6. fisherman124

    fisherman124 Active Member

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    my old shovel used to do that ,i would hit the button ten times before it would srart . i replaced the starter relay ,starts all the time now. it was a lite clicking sound and if u flicked the relay it would start, my local guy sells the relays for ten bucks . they are actually a antena relay . i cant find the part # he gave me for it .but he was cheaper than auto zone , they wanted 20 dont fiqure bike shop cheaper
     
  7. gunnut

    gunnut Junior Member

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    I was getting similar trouble a few weeks before my regulator fried itself!Hope your problem is a lot simpilar and cheaper!
     
  8. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    What TQ said is a Great Plan. You have to establish some baseline before you start throwing parts at it. Get your charging system up to par, then see what happens with the starter situation.
     
  9. rehmax

    rehmax Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Going to get a new regulator.

    Anyone know a good place to buy a regulator?

    I need the high output regulator cause I have the Ultra with the EFI.

    Harley wants over $200.
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Hard to beat OEM JMO