No start - then smoke from wiring harness while boosting battery - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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Question 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.

Gordon

1991 VN 750 -"Cosmic Lady" or "Bad Girl"?
Purchased May 16, 2008
Approx.19,300km (12,000 miles)

H-D windshield
Relocated R/R
MF-AGM battery
Fiamm Freeway Blaster horns
F&S luggage rack and engine guard
Kury Offset Hiway pegs
July 13, 2016, Riding on the DARKSIDE now, Classic Radial 165/80-15


TOP TEN THINGS A NEW RIDER/OWNER SHOULD DO. Click on link.
https://www.vn750.com/forum/11-vn750-general-discussion/9127-top-ten-items-you-would-suggest-new-owner-do-his-new-ride.html
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 06:13 AM
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Check your frame and engine ground. Wken you charge your battery, let it set for one hour. If it does not hold a charge of 12.6-12.7v the bttery is no good and you will need to replace. I would say the starter is good, but your battery is shot.

A battery can read 12.4v but not have enough amps to turn the engine over.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 07:06 AM
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I'd buy a new AGM battery and never charge it on the bike or use the start-feature of a battery charger to start the bike. The electronics on this bike are sensitive enough, they don't need this jolt (how's that for non-technical terminology?). I had similiar starting issues even with new wet-type batteries, but after switching to an AGM-type with a trickle charger I have had absolutely zero issues!

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lance328 View Post
Check your frame and engine ground.
x2 Also check that your neg battery terminal is snugly connected. Can't tell you how many times I've thought that I had a starter issue and it was just a loose connection. Gets me every time.

C
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlHossCanada View Post
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.
I always heard that sitting a Battery on Concrete will drain the Battery.

So I always sit mine on a Rubber mat (like out of a car) if I have to sit it on Concrete.


If that is true or not I don't know But, If it is you could of been draining the Battery as fast as you was Charging.

JaY



"Veronica"
2002 VN750 Vulcan
Rebuilt Engine
ACCTs lubed w/TOC Springs
Pick-up Coils Gapped at .018"
Splines Lubed
Deka MF AGM EXT15L Battery
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R/R Relocation Fix
New Rear Rack
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jthill524 View Post
I always heard that sitting a Battery on Concrete will drain the Battery.
Used to be that way. Not any longer....
This is from CarTalk.com...
Quote:
Ray: Thirty years ago or so, most battery casings were made of hard rubber. And because of the porosity of that material, battery acid would sometimes seep through the rubber and create a conductive path through the damp concrete, draining the battery.

Tom: But that can't happen today with plastic-cased batteries. That's because molded polypropylene (a k a plastic), is not porous at all.

Ray: So today, you can put your battery on a concrete floor for as long as you want. And here's the interesting thing, Clay. The cooler the temperature, the slower a battery's rate of discharge. And because concrete is often cooler than its surroundings, leaving a modern battery on a concrete floor might actually make it last LONGER.


OldHoss...I'd guess a loose connection somewhere.


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Last edited by hyperbuzzin; 07-20-2009 at 03:34 PM.
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