Trouble starting - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble starting

Hey guys, just trying to confirm my diagnosis of the problem before I buy any parts:

Symptom
Bike does not want to start after it has been sitting more than about 20 minutes

Notes
  • Battery shows 13.3V with ignition off, 13.0V with ignition on
  • When pushing the starter, the bike immediately sounds like it's out of power
  • The lead that goes from the (+) terminal to the starter solenoid shows evidence of overheating (the side cover is making contact with it and has melted some)
  • Bike starts up immediately with a push start
  • Volt meter shows 13.6V at battery when running @ 3K RPM
  • Bike runs with no problems once started

Diagnosis?
I'm going with the starter solenoid is failing.

Reason
I cannot find any shorts or loose connections. The fact that it runs and the charging system seems to be putting out 13.6V when running and the battery is fully charged prior to trying to start the bike is what leads me to this conclusion.

Do you guys agree or have another diagnosis?

'95 Vulcan 750 - Purchased 8/2003 w/ 21,124 miles - passed 50K 9/3/15
* VN900 seat * Daytona handlebar * Converted ACCTs to MCCTs * Relocated R/R * Drilled clutch basket * Coastered * Repainted *
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 04:56 PM
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Question, how low does your voltage drop when you push the starter?

1986 Kawasaki Vulcan 750
NGK Iridium Plugs #7803/DPR7EIX-9
Duralast Gold ETX15 AGM Battery
Coastered & Shaved
TOC MCCTs
Metzeler ME880 [110/90-19, 170/80-15]
Balance Dampers Replaced
Tuxedo Mod
Rebuilt Forks w/ Progressive Springs
V&H Cruzers
VN750.com Grill Cover
Meanstreak Seat
Emgo 23-92411 Handlebars
MOSFET FH012AA R/R


1990 Kawasaki Vulcan 750

1998 Honda VFR800 FI

2014 Honda VFR800F

1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have to recharge the battery again to check. I just went to look and it was registering 12.7V with the ignition off, but then dropped to 11.9V when I turned the ignition on. Didn't even bother pressing the starter at that point.

And I don't think it's a battery issue. It seems to be taking/holding a charge just fine, but then it's getting drained when I try to start the bike.

I'll post again after it recharges on my battery tender.

'95 Vulcan 750 - Purchased 8/2003 w/ 21,124 miles - passed 50K 9/3/15
* VN900 seat * Daytona handlebar * Converted ACCTs to MCCTs * Relocated R/R * Drilled clutch basket * Coastered * Repainted *

Last edited by DaveT319; 06-10-2013 at 07:52 PM.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Diagnosis?
I'm going with the starter solenoid is failing.
Quote:
Battery shows 13.3V with ignition off, 13.0V with ignition on
When pushing the starter, the bike immediately sounds like it's out of power
The lead that goes from the (+) terminal to the starter solenoid shows evidence of overheating
I would lean toward the starter dragging, pulling too many amps. But the voltage drop would tell more.

Could be the battery no longer has enough cranking amps. How old and what type?
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Shaved w/UniPK92+Stock Jets-TPE/MOSFET-Shinko Tires-AGM batt-bags-chrome-LEDs...more
__________________________________________________ ____________
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Battery is about 2 months old. It's a maintenance-free battery, but can't remember the brand.

So I charged it last night. Was showing 13.45V 15 minutes after I disconnected the tender. Left it alone all day. Just checked it now. Registered 13.1V with the ignition off. Turned the key to on and it dropped to 12.0V. Wow, didn't expect that. Didn't even press the starter button as there was really no point.

So now it's looking like there could be something wrong with the battery? This seems hard to believe though. Like I said above, it's only about 2 months old. AND I got this battery after the previous one developed a bad cell after about 4 months or so. Could I really have THAT bad of luck that I got two bad batteries back to back? Well, yeah, I suppose I could...

So battery, starter solenoid, or a power drain somewhere?

'95 Vulcan 750 - Purchased 8/2003 w/ 21,124 miles - passed 50K 9/3/15
* VN900 seat * Daytona handlebar * Converted ACCTs to MCCTs * Relocated R/R * Drilled clutch basket * Coastered * Repainted *
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 12:38 AM
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what kind of charger are you using? how many amps is the charger... how did you condition the battery when it was brand new out of the package? All of these could lead to a premature battery failure, but not 2 months quick.

even with the battery at 12.0 volts, try bypassing the starter solenoid by taking a screw driver between the two large posts. if the starter turns over normal then you have a problem in the start button, the solenoid, or the harness between the two.

Check for resistance in the start switch to make sure that the start button is not a culprit.
Next check the resistance between the two small terminal to make sure that the coil isn't broken (resistance here should be fairly high). An easier way to test the solenoid is to hook one small terminal straight to the battery positive, and the other to the negative, and then test resistance between the two large terminals. (Multi Meter should read 0.0 Ohms)
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 12:46 AM
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Does sound like you could have a bad cell on the battery.
I'd pull it off the bike and take it to your local parts store to be tested.

Also, to test if it's the starter solenoid, try jumping the two terminals across it to see if the starter kicks in. this will in effect bypass the solenoid and should start right up if that's the problem. If that doesn't do it then it could also be an issue with the starter itself as stated above.

However, I'd still get the battery checked. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be dropping voltage that quickly unless you have a parasitic drain somewhere.

Edit: And it looks like Slim beat me to the punch :-)

......I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere then in any city on earth.

*2014 VN900 Custom (16,200 miles and counting)
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 12:07 PM
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just wanted to throw this out there......check your frame grounds....you never know
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 12:23 PM
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I'm with Ndr, take the battery in to have it load tested before replacing any parts.

Same brand battery as the last one? Let us know the brand if the battery is defective again. Dropping from 13.1v to 12v just by turning the key on is not a good sign for the battery.

New batteries can, and do, fail. It sounds like this brand is having a bad run of batteries, or is just no good overall.
*
*
*

2003-21k mi
Shaved w/UniPK92+Stock Jets-TPE/MOSFET-Shinko Tires-AGM batt-bags-chrome-LEDs...more
__________________________________________________ ____________
Repair Manual: http://www.mediafire.com/file/mj7z81..._Catalogue.pdf

Owner's Manual: http://www.mediafire.com/file/nscb5f...ers+Manual.pdf

Last edited by Spockster; 06-12-2013 at 12:25 PM.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc2dgq View Post
just wanted to throw this out there......check your frame grounds....you never know
Thought of that right away too. Checked them, they're fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spockster View Post
I'm with Ndr, take the battery in to have it load tested before replacing any parts.

Same brand battery as the last one? Let us know the brand if the battery is defective again. Dropping from 13.1v to 12v just by turning the key on is not a good sign for the battery.

New batteries can, and do, fail. It sounds like this brand is having a bad run of batteries, or is just no good overall.
*
*
*
Yeah, I think I'll go ahead and get it checked first. I'll update once I get that done.

'95 Vulcan 750 - Purchased 8/2003 w/ 21,124 miles - passed 50K 9/3/15
* VN900 seat * Daytona handlebar * Converted ACCTs to MCCTs * Relocated R/R * Drilled clutch basket * Coastered * Repainted *
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