Battery advice required

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by English Mike, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. English Mike

    English Mike Active Member

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    I jumped on the ol girl this morning, the sun was out, I was all togged up and switched on the main switch, waited fro the red light to extinguish, turned on 'run' waited for the oil pump to do its thing and pressed start and nothing:wall

    Jumped off, took the seat off and pressed start with my finger resting on the grey starter relay and it clicked each time I pressed start but nothing else happened. Switched it all off, put it in gear and rocked back and forth in case starter was stuck, no difference, starter relay still clicked in time with pressing start, took out the relay and replaced it, no difference, so put in gear pulled the clutch in and tried to bump start down the drive, because she was cold it was dragging far to much and would not turn over enough to start up. Packed her away and went off to the dealer in the car.

    He immediately diagnosed the problem as a duff battery, he gave me a brand new one and when I get home I will try it; it is under warranty for another 5 months so whatever the trouble it will be fixed.

    Questions is; does anyone think that it may be the starter, the lights were bright and I have an optimise fitted which puts a trickle charge in when not in use so I was a bit mystified really as it was fine the day before yesterday, no problem at all.

    Any thoughts? And do I need to do anything before disconnecting the old battery and putting the new one on?

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Mike

    I'll bet when you get home, if you removed, wire brushed the battery cable ends and also the terminals on the battery and reinstalled the cables on the origional battery it would start up.

    If you had bright lights like you say, it's a starting circuit problem, not the battery itself. The relay operated but no start.

    Remember thou that there are two ends to each cable so cleaning the battery end doesn't mean both ends have a good connection.

    Bad / loose battery connections are the biggest cause of no start conditions than anything else.

    Also before you go nuts with this problem, remember that bad cables can also cause the same no start condition too. Look at the cable itself near the end terminals and see if you see any green in the copper itself.
     
  3. English Mike

    English Mike Active Member

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    Now you have me all of a quandry. Do I bother to put this brand new battery on?

    How easy is it to find the two ends of the terminals from the battery. I don't actually know where they terminate on the Heritage Classic/:33:
     
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    I would try cleaning the battery terminals ends first just so you know where the problem lies. You can then install the new battery and find a use for the old one being it was not bad at all ??

    You will find the other two ends of the cables (not the battery ends) :D one on the starter itself (positive) and the other can be either on the inner primary or to the frame near the battery. Different locations on different bikes. You'll see it coming off the battery and going to a lug (threaded stud welded to the frame) on the frame just in front of the battery usually on the softails .

    I really think it is a bad/dirty/loose connection at the battery end of the cables where it hooks up to the battery. By dirty, I mean a bad electrical connection and not so much dirty to look at it. Connections that look just fine can be a bad electrical connection and cause this problem.

    Try putting a 10 MM wrench on the battery terminals and tighten them a bit if they are loose and see if it starts then before doing anything.

    If the battery end terminal cleaning and replacing doesn't do the trick, then explore the other ends of the cables or just install the new battery and try it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2007
  5. HarleyHarry

    HarleyHarry Banned

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    Can I add that it's a good idea to put a thick layer of vasiline around the terminals after the problem has been fixed. That will keep them trouble free for years
     
  6. English Mike

    English Mike Active Member

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    Mike is a happy bunny. The dealership have given me a brand new battery and I did as Glider suggested and checked the tightness of all connections; HH I have popped some lovely Vaseline over all the new connections put her all back together turned starter, then run waited for oil pump light to go out and ................:cry exactly the same, click click went the relay. Grrrrr, glider was right, the battery was not the cause. Just getting ready to phone the dealer to pick her up. many finger marks all over oil tank and exhaust from groping around then....I looked at a photo of me dear departed mum and I said to her "what is it mum? help me out here" and I went back to the bike and for some reason I stuck my fingers deep under the oil tank (well, as far as you can) and I felt a cable with a plastic connector on the end. Got my LED torch out, really bright, and useful for such occasions and found this plastic connector had a female area where it should plug into which surprisingly was on the starter motor. Search for long nose pliers, and fiddle for simply ages hoping beyond hope that this did actually go there and finally I managed to pop it in.

    I used a thick long screwdriver to push hard and make sure she clicked.

    turn starter, switch on run....hold breath......................press start with eyes shut (oh c'mon we have all done it before) fingers and legs crossed, squinting out of one eye looking at Mums picture (she is always with me) and press...YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, fired up a treat.

    Tugged on it to make sure it was in tight so tomorrow I shall clean up and refit seat on, (give her a clean in those regions)

    So there we have it; the moral is if anyone else ever has a starter problem it might just be worth checking that the lead is plugged into the starter motor. In fairness it may have been loose since new.

    Alls well that ends well.

    Mike
     
  7. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Great news Mike.:glasses

    That lead you speak of comes from the starter relay and goes on to the starter solenoid (green I think). It's the wire that activates the solenoid when you press the start button to supply 12 V to the solenoid so it can pull up and connect the major contacts in the solenoid to give the starter the juice directly from the battery.

    Main thing is it's fixed. See you can do more than you think.

    Those clips on that particular wire are a very tight fit and clip in so I agree with you about it being loose from the start. They are very difficult to remove most times.

    I'll bet you didn't read this post.

    http://www.hdtalking.com/electrical_and_lighting_systems/836-how_to_check_a_starter_solenoid.html

    Just for you Mike.
    http://www.hdtalking.com/electrical_and_lighting_systems/1251-engine_does_not_start.html#post5500
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2007
  8. Last Time I Had This Similar Problem I Had To Replace The Starter Solenoid On The Starter.
     
  9. HarleyHarry

    HarleyHarry Banned

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    Just checked the forecast for the weekend Mike. Looking good..... Enjoy it.
     
  10. English Mike

    English Mike Active Member

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    Yep, just back from a 200 mile saunter round the countryside of Somerset 7 Devon. It was glorious Harry!

    Take care and thanks all.:ap

    Mike