No start - then smoke from wiring harness while boosting battery
Well I finally got my bike moved to a spot behind the side doorstep where I can wheel around on an old office chair to do some maintenance on it. I haven`t ridden it since a year ago in June when I broke my leg while riding. I put a little seafoam in it late last fall, (too little according to posts that I read later here on the forum), and dumped in another 3 or 4 ounces into half a tank of gas a few weeks ago. At the first seafoaming I started the bike with no problems and let it run for 10 or 15 minutes, then shut it down.
The battery came in the house for most of the winter, but may have been outside still, in the bike for one extended cold period. Not positive about that though, can`t remember for sure, but I think the battery voltage was about 10 or 11 volts when it came in. After warming up in the house for half a day, I put it on a small charger, and revived it to about 12.7 V. It is a non MF battery, and was put on the charger 3 or 4 times over the past 6 or 8 months. I installed it in the bike yesterday and hit the start button, and got a single click with no sound at all from the starter. I checked battery voltage with a digital meter and got ~12.17 V. I know that I need one, but I don`t want to spend the money on a MF battery until I`m able to ride again. I just want to get the bike started to get more seafoam into the carbs, and warm the engine a bit before dropping the oil out of the crankcase.
After charging it back to 12.7 volts yesterday I tried to start again, and got multiple rapid clicks from the solenoid/relay, but still no sound from the starter. I got a spare battery from my truck, that I use for boosting, and tried again assisting with it and using the m/c booster cables that I made using 16 gauge lamp cord. Still no start, just multiple rapid clicks from relay.
So I put the battery charger on the big battery and hooked up the little booster cables from it to the m/c battery which was also sitting on the concrete step. I left them both to charge for several hours while pulling, cleaning, painting and reinstalling the battery box, and removing the R/R for relocation.
Upon trying to start the bike yet one more time I still got only multiple rapid clicks from the solenoid, with not a sound from the starter. However when I hooked up the booster cables, I noticed a small wisp of smoke coming from the left side of the battery box about 15 seconds later and immediately removed the booster clamps, whereupon the smoke ceased. I gripped the thick bundle of wires in the harness where the smoke had appeared and it was warm to the touch.
I had plugged the r/r connector back in, but had not yet bolted it to the frame. After feeling the warm wires by the battery I caught sight of and grasped the 3 yellow stator wires just before the point they enter the r/r, and they felt warm too. I grasped all other wires that I could find to compare, and all others were cool to my touch. I peeled off ~5 inches of black tape around the wiring harnes, but can discover no obviously burned or melted wires.
There are however a few indvidual wires inside that big bundle that are wrapped with pale blue tape, at what appears to be a joint or splice. Is this a normal factory practice, or has the previous owner been mucking about in there? I have seen no other evidence that either of the 2 POs have made any mods, except attaching a windshield.
The last test I performed was hooking the negitive booster clamp to the bike battery and touching the positve clamp from the booster to the cable going directly from the relay to the starter, still at 12.7 V. I got one anemic little turn from the starter, and that was it.
So my questions are:
-1. Does this rapid multiple clicking of the relay indicate it is faulty, or just needs more volts to operate properly?
- 2. Is my 16 gauge booster wire too small?
- 3. Is my next best step to remove the starter from the bike, dismantle, clean and check its guts and bench test it?
-4. Which wire is likely to be the one that got hot and smoked in the harness?
I just thought of one more thing that I need to check. I never pulled or cleaned the engine ground cable that is on the backside of the engine. Time to quit for now, it`s 2:50 am and I need sleep.