Subject: Testimony for the Unbelievers
I've read numerous posts over the past months attesting to the merits of a battery upgrade. Yet, with degrees in physics and electrical engineering, I couldn't bring myself to concede my need to shell out $70 when the bike turned over fine each morning.
I've been using a battery minder daily on the old battery, and still saw it charging for several hours after a normal day's commute. Couldn't understand why the bike's R/R wouldn't charge the battery under normal (>1 hour)commuting. Also, I would notice a significant dimming of headlights when applying the brake. Apparently the extra load (how much could a rear brake light load be?) dropped the battery bus voltage enough to be noticable. I had cleaned all accessable electrical contacts with sand paper as posts advocated too and saw a slight improvement in the starter RPM. Proud as punch, I continued in unbelief.
Then winter came... In cold weather, the bike began to be hard starting. She would turn over fine, but it would take many attempts to start - and the back firing was scaring the neighbors. Seemed I had to be exact in choke selection (which of course was a function of temperature, so it was different every day) or the bike wouldn't start. Too little and nothing would happen. Too much, and the neighbors think I'm shooting the dog. That's in the morning after being on the battery temder all night. After work, I'd have to cross my fingers. A few days, she barely started and my boss too thought I had a gun. So I bit the bullet, still half convinced the whole matter was over rated. I bought a WestCo. - Now, she starts INSTANTLY under all conditions. - Now, there's no more back firing. - Now, there's no voltage drop from brake light application. - Now, the battery charges for about a minute on the tender each evening. - Now, I can't understand why I waited so long. Have a great day,
Mearaman Atlanta, GA 94 VN 750
Yes the gel cell battery is much better. I don't think anyone in this group would disagree and many of us have fixed numerous problems just by changed to the Westco or Yuasa batteries.
you can also add, a Maintenance Free battery has no vent tube to vibrate off and spit acid all over the bike's paint and then seep inside the back the Junction box to render the bike's battery powerless after shorting the cooling fan relay inside. You may not have had this problem. This problem will get you stranded somewhere on the road, usually you find out when coming back to the bike again and trying to start it, or after the bike is shut done, the fan will continue to run and run and run.
Note: it appears if you get the Westco, you will have to get a longer strap to hold down the battery in the bike. I do not yet know if that applies to the Yuasa, but I will know soon as I just ordered one today.
Last month I missed the perfect day for a ride due to a dead battery. I ordered a sealed one a put it in last week. When I pulled the old battery I noticed corrosion all over the place. I took a closer look and pulled to battery box out and the battery had been venting and the acid was eating every thing in sight. It appeared to be in the begining stages (electrical wires black, R/R corroded, battery box had a hole in it). While I had the battery box out I relocated the R/R and found that it was very easy to relocate. Some times things happen for a reason and maybe my dead battery saved me a ton of money in the long run. As long as my bike started I never inspected the battery. Tracy in Orlando
As you found out, Tracy, these are dangerous words! Thanks for another testimony on the sealed, maintenance-free battery. If any newcomers are surprised at the battery advice they receive right along with their hearty welcome to the group, this is one of the reasons. So let me make this perfectly clear: Please GET RID OF THE STOCK BATTERY. Get a Westco or Yuasa sealed maintenance-free battery, and save yourself many future headaches. Jim "Pick" Foster
Well, folks, count me as another endorsement for dumping the stock battery and getting a new sealed battery. Jim installed the new battery last night when he got home, and the bike fires up right away and purrs like a kitten now. It's certainly a great improvement over the way it used to work, where the bike would backfire and refuse to start for about 10 minutes when cold. Not exactly a reliable quick getaway vehicle before. Cindy
When you get rid of your stock battery keep the vent tube. It works perfectly when you want to drain your carbs. I just did that this morning. Since the tube is clear you can see what comes out.
When you pull that old battery out, look for acid deposits inside the box and underneath at the junction box. If you see any, clean it right away. The deposits should look like white powdery stuff. Clean with a mixture of baking soda and water. When you think you have it all clean, CLEAN IT AGAIN. Also check all cables for corrosion and tightness.
Q: I figured I'd put this question to the group. My battery, a West Coast sealed battery, keeps dying. The problem is it doens't do it consistantly. I can ride for a week or so, then I come back to the bike, and it's dead, then I jump it and it's fine. The battery is brand new, I've also de-goated my bike, and put on cobra exhaust. The bike has always done this since I got it. I was thinking it was heat or just the battery was old, but now that doesn't seem the case. Any ideas? Chris
A: The fact that it happened before and that adding the new battery does not fix it means you are probably looking for a short or bad ground somewhere. Recently a bad radiator fan motor was found to be the culprit on one bike. Look for frayed or melted wire coverings, corroded connections. If there was a wet cell battery in there before, check the battery case area and under for signs of corrosion build up and damage. Clean, test and repack connections and run some voltage check. Good luck and let us know. Dianna