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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-10-2018 04:47 AM
JimmyMac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knifemaker View Post
I'll say this one time for you. Have been on this forum for 14 years. Was on the Yahoo Group one for over 2 years. It's been the overwhelming concensus of everyone who owns or owned a Vulcan 750 that a wet cell battery is crap for the bike, regardless of how well "it tests" and that the bike absolutely works better with an AGM battery. That is why it's at the top of the list on what to do when you buy one of these bikes.
So you can experiment all you want with your two batteries, but you're never going to convince anyone here a regular wet cell battery is "fine" for this bike.
There's a reason why an AGM is recommended here. Installing one in my less than a year old 2002 completely solved any hot start problems I had. This has been echoed here for almost 2 decades.
That's why this forum is here, so you can get useful information on improvements for your bike without wasting time and money trying out stuff on your own.
If you don't want to pay attention to what we tell you, that's too bad...
Knifemaker is exactly right. I followed his, and others, advice when I bought by '03 VN750 a couple years ago. There's a gas station literally 6 blocks from my house, and that was a long enough ride to have the "warm" starting issues. I spent the money on an AGM with 220 CCA, installed the iridium plugs, and I've not had a single hot or cold starting problem since.

Much respect for these men. They KNOW what they're talking about. From troubleshooting, repairs, or mods it can probably be found in this forum in the wealth of knowledge they've contributed over the years and thousands of threads.

So, Knifemaker, Spockster, OleDirtyDoc, and everyone else who've chosen to share your knowledge here.....HAT TIP AND THANK YOU! You've saved me many headaches!

JimmyMac
07-09-2018 02:10 PM
readparse
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spockster View Post
Your ride this morning was with the wet cell or the AGM?
The AGM. As I said, I still have some remaining curiosity about what the volt meter would show on the wet cell during a real ride, but I'm not so curious that I'm going to try it. The bike started up better with the AGM, and there is very strong advice in the community about not running a wet battery. So I'll keep what I've got.

I'm probably going to not even use the trickle charger, just to make sure I can maintain a good charge by riding the bike regularly, as I do. I've been riding for 30-45 minutes per day. The previous owner did mention that the trickle charger was necessary if you went a few days without riding it, which is indicative of the problem that I was having. He also mentioned that he had trouble starting the bike after a stall. I asked him what advice he had about it, and his advice was "don't stall the bike." Well that's all fine and good, but it's good to have a bike you can start away from home, if you ask me
07-09-2018 12:49 PM
ubertalldude
Quote:
Originally Posted by readparse View Post

Thanks again for the help. I think I'm out of the woods for now.
That LITERALLY happened to me on an aging AGM that I wanted to believe wasn't going bad... Left me damn near stranded in the forest until I managed to push-start it.

Even AGM's do go bad eventually, just like my Deka did (included with the bike, was 4.5-5 years old when it was unable to start the bike anymore despite sitting on the tender rather often.) It started with the occasional slow start where the starter motor would hang, eventually got to the point it would barely do the job, until one morning it didn't fire up in the garage.

I still have that old one after replacing it with a Yuasa that I filled & charged myself and now I use it to power 12v electronics projects and toss it on my battery tender every now and then to make sure it doesn't die. It still holds 12v+, but just doesn't have the juice to get the motorcycle running.

You should be good on that battery for at least 5 years, more if you keep it well tended in the winter and ride it often in the summer. I'm like you with all the testing you did, though. I can hear the advice, but I want to KNOW from my own testing that it's definitely the problem. Glad you figured out the issue!
07-09-2018 09:51 AM
Spockster Your ride this morning was with the wet cell or the AGM?

Well, I picked up a new test in this thread.

In the early 80s, before battery prices dropped and core prices rose, I reconditioned and sold car batteries, that test wasn't around then.

One of the signs of a shorted cell, during the load test, the shorted cell produces smoke.
07-09-2018 09:39 AM
readparse OK, good news, and I guess I can finally summarize this thread -- at least from my perspective as a new guy, and you guys are welcome to correct any assumptions I've made. I went on a ride this morning. Two thirds of the way through it, I made a stop and shut the bike off. It was off for a few minutes and, before starting it again, I checked the voltage. It was a little over 13. That sounds fine, obviously. I started the thing up with no trouble. Hooray. Then I got home, shut it down, measured it again (still over 13), and started it up again. No trouble. Hooray.

I initially reported this as a problem starting my engine when it's warm. That was what it seemed like, because I assumed my battery was fine (mistake one), I hadn't replaced it yet with an AGM (mistake two, though I had been meaning to), and I also didn't really understand basic motorcycle mechanics well enough to interpret it as a battery issue. Just because you eventually get it started doesn't mean you don't have a battery issue. Just because your lights work fine doesn't mean you don't have a battery issue.

So, thanks to some helpful feedback from Spockster, Knifemaker and others, it seemed pretty clear that I should get a new battery, so I did. Along the way, I still think I got lied to by the guy at BatteriesPlus, and the wet battery that I just replaced doesn't really need to be condemned. But it's not going to be useful in a VN750 anymore. It might be useful for somebody, somewhere, but not to me. I might as well take it to AutoZone and get my $10 for the core.

I also learned a little bit more about batteries. I got a nice new multimeter (maybe a little too nice, but it will probably pay dividends, given how much electrical troubleshooting goes on with these bikes). I even dipped my toe into the stator threads again last night, fearing that this new battery might not solve the problem (just assuming the worst, for no particular reason). The one repair the previous owner specifically mentioned, though, was the stator, so I might call him up and ask him to remind me what he said. I'm pretty sure he said that the original owner (who had it until about two years ago) already replaced the stator. Perhaps I'll be looking soon for evidence of that replacement, but I will definitely confirm soon that the stator is putting out the AC volts that it should be.

So, this is great news. I was actually nervous about going out this morning, and was already having bad feelings about having to do a stator replacement -- just based on the fact that the cranking voltage of the AGM and the wet battery were about the same, at least in my garage (for what it's worth. Not much). I'm a tiny bit curious what the wet battery would look like in the middle of a comparable ride, but I don't care enough about that to risk struggling to get it to start (and at this point, I'm pretty sure that's what would happen). But that's just my normal excessive curiosity.

Thanks again for the help. I think I'm out of the woods for now.
07-09-2018 08:31 AM
Spockster
Quote:
Originally Posted by readparse View Post
I have a little plug sticking out from under my seat, for the trickle charger, so I don't have to remove the seat to do the trickle charge. I think my leads will go into that fine, though it might require a gator clip. I'll figure that out before the ride (which I don't think is going to be tonight, actually).
Should be fine, been checking mine that way since I got the tender.
07-09-2018 12:24 AM
readparse I have a little plug sticking out from under my seat, for the trickle charger, so I don't have to remove the seat to do the trickle charge. I think my leads will go into that fine, though it might require a gator clip. I'll figure that out before the ride (which I don't think is going to be tonight, actually).
07-08-2018 11:34 PM
Spockster Thanks for the video, never saw that test before, very good.

Could leave the right side cover off to read voltage on the battery side of the start solenoid. Or just use a quarter to remove it each time.
07-08-2018 11:03 PM
readparse Knifemaker: Thanks for that response, but please don't misunderstand me. I value the forum as a whole, and that short list of must-haves in particular. Nothing that I said about today's battery experience should be interpreted as me saying that I don't think AGM is the way to go. Not just for the VN750, but it's obviously a superior battery technology is general. I was mostly talking (a lot... I do tell long stories) about the experience of finding a battery today, and mostly how pissed off I was that Batteries Plus told me my existing battery has a bad cell, when that is plainly false. Whether it's good for the VN750 or not wasn't the point. And my weakest moment today was when I almost traded in my conventional battery for another conventional. That was a really dumb idea, and I'm glad I didn't do it. But I was getting tired of running around town and, believing I had a dead cell, I just wanted something fresh that would get me going again.

As far as me keeping the old battery to do some testing on it, that was just for educational value. I have this new tester, and I wanted to see, with my own eyes, the low cranking voltage on the old battery, and see the improved voltage on the new battery. I'm curious and I want to learn as I go. Please don't interpret that as me not valuing the lessons that have already been learned.

Spockster: Yes, the guy at the battery place uses a little tester. He held a button for several seconds, and then he just told me a cell was dead. He didn't show me his results, or show me which cell was dead, so that I could confirm it myself. He just said it, and I believed it.

The single cell test was just done with my multimeter. You just open up the cells stick some conductive material down into the acid. The guy in the video that I saw used pieces of coat hangers. I used nails.

I'll post that video down below.

Oh, you mentioned that there are cheaper multimeter options. Yeah, I was tempted to just buy a cheap one, which is what I usually do with multimeters, but there's something about this Fluke meter. Maybe I'll regret it, but I like it so far. I haven't used it for anything that a cheaper meter couldn't do, I guess.

I still haven't taken a ride since I replaced the battery. I'm going to do it sometime in the next couple of hours. I'll be sure to take the same length of ride I took yesterday, and then I'll try to fire up the bike when I get back home. I'll also take the multimeter with me, in case the bike shuts off for any reason. I'll want to measure its voltage while I'm trying to crank it.

Anyway, here's that cell testing video:
07-08-2018 08:47 PM
Spockster I've seen car batteries that wouldn't show a short until they were load tested. Was the Battery Mart guy using a load tester? Could be analog or digital, but to test it he would've pushed a button and held it for several seconds.

I'm curious about the single cell test. Was that done with a hydrometer?

Riding the bike makes things a bit hotter than idling in neutral.

Lowe's has a selection of meters in the $20-30 range.
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