Boiling battery


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dwight007fchr
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Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:19 pm



Hello. I am hoping to get some tips/feedback regarding the problem I have been having with my 1983 GL1000 Interstate. I discovered that the battery will continually lose electrolyte, even on just short 15 mile trips. I first noticed the battery getting a bit weak and found the battery half empty. At first I thought that perhaps it had a crack and was losing fluid that way. But the battery is solid. I added more distilled water and ran it occasionaly for another month, and once again it had lost 1/3 of its fluid.....this time the small overfill hose had come off and some drops landed on the nice chrome exhaust pipe.....baking soda to the rescue on all metal parts from the battery downward.

Upon futher investigation, I found that the battery makes a bubbling or boiling sound if you get close enough and listen (after turning off the engine). I tried again when she was cold, let her basically idle for about 5 minutes, with a small amount of revving to 2-3000 rpms. Turned the engine off, and the battery was making those bubbling/popping noises if you listened closely. So, is the battery supposed to make those noises after the engine has been running?

Upon reading the shop manual, I checked the charging output as directed. I was using an old scientific instrument voltage meter and a cheap ammeter to do the testing, along with a cheap analog ohm/continuity meter.

I placed the voltmeter leads on the battery's negative and positive terminals as the engine was idling and got 14 - 14.5 V. I then revved the engine up to 2000, then 3000 rpms, and the volt meter reading did not change.....stayed at 14 - 14.5 V.

As the engine was idling, I removed the positive lead to the battery, causing the engine to act just a bit annoyed...but she kept running until I hooked the ammeter inline on the positive terminal. It appeared to be around the 3 amps when idling as the shop manual reccomends. However, when I upped the rpms to around 2000, the ammeter needle would flicker violently in the 0 to 15/20 amp range. I expected a constant reading, not this flickering action. (Again, this was an el cheapo ammenter with a scale of 0 -40 amps....a bit large for this test).

I then tested the stator......all 3 yellow leads showed correct continuity, and also all the same amount of 4 - 5 volts.

Then I tested the Rectifier/Reg. I got an ohm reading the same on all wires in the "normal direction", and got no reading in the "reverse direction". This test was confusing, so I am not sure what the meaning of this test was.

Based on the overcharging of the battery, I assumed it was a bad Regulator/Rectifier....so I just replaced it with a different one and conducted the same tests as above. The results seem to be the same as before. I ran the engine about 5 minutes and did the test and shut the engine off.....and once again heard the bubbling/popping noises from the battery.

So, are these battery "noises" normal, or a sign of overcharging? Can someone listen to their battery after running the motor a few minutes and let me know if you hear these noises?

Is there a way to test the Rectifier/Reg with it removed from the bike?
Is there any other electrical component which could be causing the battery to overcharge? I am thinking that maybe my original regulator/rectifier was OK, and that the problem is elsewhere.

Any help/ideas would be appreciated.
dwight
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Regulator/Rectifier is the box on the left of the air intake box
Regulator/Rectifier is the box on the left of the air intake box



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littlebeaver
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:36 pm

Hey dwight, I'm not much of a mechanic especially when it comes to electrical stuff but it's my understanding that the charging system is working fine, if you have 14 volts at idle, it's usually a little lower at idle but as long as it doesn't go over 15 volts at any point it shouldn't be over charging...Personally I got rid of that stupid freakin water battery and got the maintainance free gel type, because I'm lazy and I got tired of screwing with it..I also got rid of the silly charging system all together and put in a alt. from a automobile instead..Never had any more electrical issues since...Now someone that knows more about you're problem should be along shortly, thank you for bareing with me.. good luck sir..

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:54 pm

LittleBeaver......Thanks for the rapid reply. Boy, ripping out the existing charging system and installing a car alternator sounds like a major undertaking.....but seems like a fix for alot of problems.

I suppose the gel battery doesnt make those "boiling/popping" noises I was describing. Did you ever recall hearing those noises before you made your changes? But I imagine a gel battery would have big issues with too much juice being delivered to it.....maybe would get hot and crack. I would surely rest alot easier when driving knowing my poor ole battery wasnt boiling.

See ya.
dwight

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:08 pm

I only recall having to fill the battery and such, no no no :D , id didn't rip out anything :shock: , the stator is still in place and so is the reg/.rec. I just unplugged it, You can see Roadrogues post on the subject in the how too's section on this site, I think you just have a strange battery but, I'm no expert.. It don't sound normal...Shouldn't be bubbling like that I don't think..viewtopic.php?f=11&t=14362 I think this is Todds post[Roadrogues]

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:14 pm

Little Beaver......Hey, maybe someone poured that bubbly champagne into the battery, and thats the problem. Maybe not too far past New Years to go try a sparkling glass of it.

On second thought, I better not.

Ha ha
dwight

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littlebeaver
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:19 pm

Dwight, please don't get me wrong I'm not trying to sway you to do the conversion or anything but it's always a treat to read about it.. I followed Todds advice and went with it, 55 amps of juice my friend, the freakin 1500 don't have but 40 amps I think... :lol: We've got the Power... I worry no more.. :D By the way Todd's a pretty cool Cat man... :lol: Now can someone please help Dwight with his bubbling issues...

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:30 pm

Littlebeaver......Man, those 55 amps is enough to make Tesla crack a good smile. Too bad you cant rig up a way to sell some back to the utility as you cruise down the freeway!

Not at all.....wasnt taking you the wrong way.....Im just taking in the ideas and tossing in some humor here an there.

But seriously....do our Wings really need that many amps (55) pulsing into our wee little batteries? Ohhhhhh.....you mean the gel battery has 55 amps.....I follow you.....yea, that must surely give the starter alot of punch in turning over those 4 cylinders. Have any idea what the limit is on the starter motors? 55 amps safe?

You will laugh at this one......I have a pull behind trailer, and was sporting around an extra car battery just in case my Wing battery decided to up and kick tha bucket, and there were no sloping roads around to roll-start. (I sure wish these Wings had kick starters). Anyway, how safe is it to jump start using a car battery?

See ya.
dwight

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby thrasherg » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:06 pm

Dwight, jump starting with a car battery is perfectly safe (If done correctly) the problem is getting a good contact onto the wing battery terminals with the jump leads!! There is not a lot of room around the battery on the wing!! so you risk touching the frame or other parts and getting a private firework show when the leads short on something conductive!! Remember when a battery discharges, it produces hydrogen (Hydrogen is highly flamable) so you want to keep sparks away from the flat battery. This means that you get your jump cables and connect them to the dead battery first and then to the good battery so any sparks when you connect are near the fully charged battery (With no hydrogen around!). You connect the positive lead first (this avoids sparks at the positive terminal which is where any hydrogen will be generated) then connect the negative!!

Gary
Last edited by thrasherg on Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:15 pm

Gary.....Yep, you are so right about lack of room to do a safe jump-start with cables....that positive terminal is way too close to the frame and the saddle bag supports.....I got a nice little arc just doing my testing the other day....hate when that happens!

Will look for an incline in the road first,
Then maybe some nice-looking chick to give me a manly push,
Then when all else fails, grab the jumper cables.

dwight.

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:59 pm

It could be the regulator sense wire. It's happened to several people here, including myself on my GL1100. Have a read through these threads:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14052

viewtopic.php?t=10347&p=50468

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby guitarlos » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:09 am

While you are at it, follow the negative lead to where it grounds to chasis and ensure that it is tight! It may not be the issue, but its a quick check. Ive had issues with mine coming loose. Best of luck.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:02 am

WingAdmin wrote:It could be the regulator sense wire. It's happened to several people here, including myself on my GL1100. Have a read through these threads:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14052

viewtopic.php?t=10347&p=50468


Thanks Wingman.......Maybe you are right.....I have never heard of this "sense wire". Since it is acting the same with the replacement regulator/rectifier, this could be the problem. I will dive into this information today

Many thanks.
dwight

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:03 am

guitarlos wrote:While you are at it, follow the negative lead to where it grounds to chasis and ensure that it is tight! It may not be the issue, but its a quick check. Ive had issues with mine coming loose. Best of luck.



Guitarlos.......Got it......I will double check that too....Thanks.
dwight

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:04 pm

WingAdmin wrote:It could be the regulator sense wire. It's happened to several people here, including myself on my GL1100. Have a read through these threads:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14052

viewtopic.php?t=10347&p=50468





Re: A Big thank you!

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:59 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Steady ol boy.
The fine gentleman did loose his wing in a fire just recently.
This post was about his bike back from last year....However the content here is still of interest to some who have charging issues on there gl1100/gl1200's.

For anyone still interested in the content

....You can attach the black wire direct to the battery while running for TESTING ONLY.
If left there,the switched ignition would be on all the time.Like leaving the key on.
The method to bypass a poor sense circuit(low voltage) is to add a relay into the circuit.
The relay gets volts direct from the main power wire(red) and sends it to the regulator.
The existing black wire from the harness is used to operate the relay.
Here's a post where I soldered all the wires and added the relay.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12522

My bike,at 900 rpm shows 14.1 volts on the battery and peaks to 14.4.
This made it the most stable charging system I've seen on any Wing of this design.
I attribute that to soldering every connection related to the stator and regulator.





Reposting this here under the Boiling Battery thread:


Anyone willing to give some advice:

Now back to the electrical problem......boiling battery/overcharging. As I was burning out the ethanol in the carbs, I checked the charging volts. At idle of around 900 rpms, she was reading right at 14 volts. But as soon as I began to increase the RPMs to around 1100, the charging rate went up to about 14.8 Volts, and stayed at this level all the way past 3000 RPM (did not increase anymore). Once the RPMs went back down to 1000 or less, the reading went back to 14 volts.

I was under the impression that there should be no noticeable charging increase until around 1800 RPM, and thus the reading should be about 14 Volts to about 1800RPM, and then the meter should start seeing an increase as RPMs increase past 1800. Is this true, or should the Volts increase as soon as RPMs increase past the idle range?

The other BIG QUESTION that I have, and which I would GREATLY appreciate someone to answer is this: After running the bike for 5-10 minutes, and you cut the engine off, IS IT NORMAL TO HEAR A BUBBLING OR "POPPING" TYPE NOISES FROM THE BATTERY?
You probably cant hear just by sitting on your bike, but need to bend down right beside the battery and listen......should you hear those bubbly noises, or should it be quiet?

Another note: Right after a 15 minute drive, I cut the engine off and immediate took a Volt reading accross the "bubbly" battery terminals......I got 13 Volts. Is this normal, or should it have read only 12 volts?

Also: Right after the 15 minute drive, I put my hand on the Regulator (that has the cooling fins), and it was warm. It wasnt "hot", but definately had a good warmth to it. Is this also pretty normal?

Tomorrow I will do more testing on that black wire coming out of the Regulator.
Thanks for all help and suggestions on this.

dwight.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:52 pm

I'll share some info that I've seen on my bikes.
Some bubbling is normal.It's a normal process with lead acid batteries and can happen with charging at currents as low as 3 amp.
Severe boiling or a warm battery is a indication of overcharging or a bad battery.
The normal temp of my regulator module operating at peak efficiency on a new battery runs around 165°.
More heat than I could hold on to..
While running,the first 5 minutes or so, the battery is drawing up to 15 amp from the system to recharge then tapers off to around 3 amp so any voltage measurements within the first 10 minutes will be constantly changing.
So when measuring volts,I usually see 13-14 Volts at 1000rpm and increasing to 14.3 when above 2500rpm.
After shutdown,a battery can measure from 12.8-13.2 normally.

Voltage and current developed by the system is constantly being adjusted by the regulator.So some stability can be expected.It should keep the volts within the 13.8-14.4 range.

This is done by the black wire .
The reason it needs to have the same volts as the battery post.
When corrosion sets in and the voltage goes a little low,even a few tenths of a volt,the regulator just starts pumping out more power to compensate.
You end up with the output at 14.8 volts and the black wire is showing 14.2 volts.
This is where it's bad for the battery, over voltage and over current,boiling battery.
We really want that black wire to be exactly the same volts as the battery.
Every tenth of a volt lower means another tenth the regulator puts out above normal ,including the current that goes with it.

The single most important point is that while running( 2500-3500 rpm) the battery is charging near 3 amp and holding close to the 14.3 Max voltage.
Harbor freight does have a digital amp meter.It's used in place of a fuse and measures up to 30 amp.
Usefull for testing but I'll bet If you get the wiring FIXED or modified all your weird stuff will go away.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:33 pm

Virgil....thanks for the info. I will spend tomorrow experimenting with that black wire.
I am now rethinking your comment ".....or a bad battery". This battery seems to have plenty of cranking juice, but it is probably 3- 4 years old, and I have refilled 2-3 times with deionized water when the battery was discovered 1/3 to 1/2 low of electrolyte. Perhaps all the problems are coming from internal issues within the battery. Guess I will pull out the battery and check the electrolyte readings on each cell.

I still hope someone will put their ear close to their Wing battery and just confirm if they hear a good amount of bubbling going on after they shut off the engine.....just want to know if thats normal.

Regulator temp.....165. Ok, thats good to know. Today it was only 50 degrees out, and thus it had better cooling and thats why I was able to hold my hand on it after shutting down the engine.

Good to know the battery can read 13 volts at shut down and be normal.

Volts.....So, your volts only increased to around 14.3 above 2500 rpm. Not much increase from idle to 2500 rpm?

Black wire testing tomorrow should answer alot.

Thanks.
dwight

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virgilmobile
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:00 pm

It dosen't stay fixed at 14 and then jump to 14.4 When to hits a certain rpm.
It does climb but I'm not concerned How fast as long as the current stays steady and the volts stay below 14.4 volts as I run the throttle up and down.
Fluctuations of a few tenths are normal as the bikes demand on the system(turn signals,brake lights,etc).the accuracy of the meter and it's display refresh time.
Also about the temp.being relatively cool,that indicates that the power that should be shunted into it that creates the heat... is instead going into the battery.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:02 pm

When this is running normal,that regulator should get very warm.Even on a cool day.

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:17 pm

Also about the temp.being relatively cool,that indicates that the power that should be shunted into it that creates the heat... is instead going into the battery.[/quote]

Regarding the temp of the Regulator......now thats a real good point you just made, indicating not enough juice is being shunted into those Regulator cooling fins, but ending up in the battery.

Hopefully I resolve this real soon. I want to get the tank and trim back on and have her running properly. Today I had to sport her around with no false tank, no side covers, no rear trunk, etc.....but I did clamp the seat on half-way and wasnt sliding around too much in those turns.

Another related question: If the Regulator is sending too much power to the battery, are the Stators producing more than usual, and the extra electromagnetic load actually causes more load on the engine, and therefore poorer gas mileage? Or is the stator output fairly constant at the various RPM ranges, and all extra amperage should be shunted at the Regulator?

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:48 pm

The stator Power output is directly proportional to RPM.It runs At it's max all the time as there is no way to regulate it's output.That's the job of the shunt type regulator.As the voltage reaches it's cutoff level a circuit actually shorts one of the wires to ground.
If you do the math.1 horse power =746 watts and the charging system at full output is 300 or 350 watts(depending on which Wing).
So even if you go from a no load to a full load your only talking about 1/2 horsepower change.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:16 pm

Virgil.......Man, you know your stuff! 1/2 hp loss at full power from stators is not a whole lot.....maybe gain 1-2 mpg if we were able to put a clutch on the stator and manually turn it on/off. Too much work.

I have an old 27 Nash that I have been rebuilding, and that generator is the old "3rd brush" type, which you can adjust to allow more or less current flowing to the battery. Has a built-in contact that will shut-down if it gets too warm (over charging), and also the 3rd brush will shunt extra power away as rpms increase. Pretty amazing stuff for 1927. But they still did not know to use a "cut-out" switch on the genny to prevent battery current from being sucked back into the genny when you turn the main Ignition Switch off.

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:09 pm

virgilmobile wrote:
While running,the first 5 minutes or so, the battery is drawing up to 15 amp from the system to recharge then tapers off to around 3 amp so any voltage measurements within the first 10 minutes will be constantly changing.
So when measuring volts,I usually see 13-14 Volts at 1000rpm and increasing to 14.3 when above 2500rpm.
After shutdown,a battery can measure from 12.8-13.2 normally.

Voltage and current developed by the system is constantly being adjusted by the regulator.So some stability can be expected.It should keep the volts within the 13.8-14.4 range.

This is done by the black wire .
The reason it needs to have the same volts as the battery post.
When corrosion sets in and the voltage goes a little low,even a few tenths of a volt,the regulator just starts pumping out more power to compensate.
You end up with the output at 14.8 volts and the black wire is showing 14.2 volts.
This is where it's bad for the battery, over voltage and over current,boiling battery.
We really want that black wire to be exactly the same volts as the battery.
Every tenth of a volt lower means another tenth the regulator puts out above normal ,including the current that goes with it.

The single most important point is that while running( 2500-3500 rpm) the battery is charging near 3 amp and holding close to the 14.3 Max voltage.
Harbor freight does have a digital amp meter.It's used in place of a fuse and measures up to 30 amp.
Usefull for testing but I'll bet If you get the wiring FIXED or modified all your weird stuff will go away.


Virgil.......Well, as I should have expected, you were exactly right. Today I did the test on the black wire coming out of the Regulator as you suggested. My testing is as summarized:

1. Before starting engine, Battery volts were reading 12 Volts.
2. Before starting, I ran a jumper from the Regulator's Black Wire (at connection joint) to the Battery Positive Terminal. Here I also got a reading of 12 Volts.
3. Started up engine, and had a Voltmeter alligator-clipped to the Negative and Positive terminals of the Battery. Meter was reading 14 Volts at 900 RPM. Just a small increase in RPM to 1100 gave a reading of about 14.9 Volts. Revving to 3000 RPM made very little difference....still at 14.9 - 14.99 volts.
4. Then, I placed a small jumper wire from the Regulator Black Wire to one of the Regulator Red/White wires. (This was done at the plug connector of the Regulator/Rectifier). At Idle I was now getting about 14.1 Volts, and when I increased RPMs, the Volts actually dropped a bit to about 13.9 - 14.0 Volts.

So, this solves the problem. I must have a bit of corrosion/resistance in some of the connectors from the Ignition Switch all the way to the Regulator. That is why the Volts dropped to around 14 Volts at higher RPMs (when using the jumper cable from Black to Red/White) as opposed to the initial reading of close to 15 Volts (when no jumper cable was used).

My next step is to study your instructions on installing the Relay on the Black Wire to solve the problem.

I did get a small surprise when I was putting my Wing away.....I put the kick stand down and turned the Key to "Off", but the engine kept running.....had to use the Kill Button by the accelerator. Then I remembered that I had left the small jumper wire running from the Black to the Red/white wire. You were right.....without the Relay, the ignition would remain on, and the battery would drain down.

Thanks for teaching me all these little tricks regarding the Wing's charging system.
I hope these posts will help others in the same predicament.

dwight
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83 GL 1100 Interstate
83 GL 1100 Interstate

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virgilmobile
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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:58 am

Sounds like you got it under control.
Every mechanical connection you can bypass with a soldered joint will help.Even bypassing the Dog bone fuse is a good idea.

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby dwight007fchr » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:11 am

virgilmobile wrote:Sounds like you got it under control.
Every mechanical connection you can bypass with a soldered joint will help.Even bypassing the Dog bone fuse is a good idea.



Well......Im on my way to getting her under control. Now Ive got to figure out where that "dog bone" fuse is you are referring to......perhaps you illustrate it in your detailed write up/pictures in the How To Section on installing the relay. Thats my next project this week.

Thanks again.
dwight

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Re: Boiling battery

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:24 am

The 4 wire plug that attaches to the starter solenoid,unplug it and open the plastic door.You'll see the fuse link there.
I cut both red wires off at the plug,soldered a LARGE fuse holder to both of them and attached the other end to the stud that comes from the battery.
I'll try to illustrate the relay mod today and post it.




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