URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Rambozo
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Rambozo »



You really need to check out your charging system. Your battery should be recovered from starting in less than a mile. Do you have a crap ton of additional lights or something?


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ct1500
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by ct1500 »

You most likely need an alternator that will charge 14V or so at an idle which if OEM is likely not doing. With a test meter what charging voltage are you getting to battery at idle? And then test again with brake lights on and fans running.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

I don't have any extra lights at all. And I converted the headlights and fog lights to LED so they draw way less power.

It is an original OEM alternator (that I know of) but it will get up to 14v at idle. But I'm on the road for only about 10 minutes each way. (to/from work)

So far, she hasn't failed to start, even at 11.9v. (assuming the voltmeter I have is accurate... it was a cheap LED from china, but I figured it should be good enough. The main reason I got it was so that I could tell while on the road if the battery was being drained so I could make proper arrangements.

God bless,

~Mark
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Rambozo »

That is more than enough time to charge your battery. Some weeks I do nothing but trips to the store and back, less than a mile and my battery stays fully charged. Are you measuring the voltage right at the battery or somewhere else on the wiring? Have you done a load test on the alternator?
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

The voltmeter runs directly off the battery.

No on doing a load test. I haven't found anyone nearby willing to do one on a motorcycle that didn't charge a fortune.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by MikeB »

zeoran wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 1:14 pm This new commute, less than 5 miles, is a definite blessing. But it's definitely having an effect on my poor battery. It started off with it being around 12.3-12.4 in the mornings, by the end of the week, it's down to 12.0, 11.9. It's still starting, thank God. But it definitely needs help. Unfortunately, unlike my old apartment, I don't have electrical power here. I'm still checking to see if I can put solar panels on the top of the shared garages.

If I can't get allowed to put solar panels up, is there another option? Can I buy a car battery and somehow use an old car battery to keep it topped off? Something stand-alone that doesn't require any external parts?

God bless,

~Mark
Try one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/MOOLSUN-Maintain ... 6HEKSAS9P6
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by ct1500 »

Without reliable accurate numbers from a meter and load test of the battery everything is speculation.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

MikeB wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 2:49 pm
zeoran wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 1:14 pm This new commute, less than 5 miles, is a definite blessing. But it's definitely having an effect on my poor battery. It started off with it being around 12.3-12.4 in the mornings, by the end of the week, it's down to 12.0, 11.9. It's still starting, thank God. But it definitely needs help. Unfortunately, unlike my old apartment, I don't have electrical power here. I'm still checking to see if I can put solar panels on the top of the shared garages.

If I can't get allowed to put solar panels up, is there another option? Can I buy a car battery and somehow use an old car battery to keep it topped off? Something stand-alone that doesn't require any external parts?

God bless,

~Mark
Try one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/MOOLSUN-Maintain ... 6HEKSAS9P6

Wow...cool. That's not even expensive! I'm going to order one right away. At first I was thinking that it would be a problem still because I couldn't think of a way to use this while my bike is in the garage, but then it dawned on me that the best way/time to use this would be while the bike is sitting out in the sun at work during the day. I sometimes put the cover on, but I could still feed this to the outside. Amazing... THANK YOU!!!

God bless,

~Mark
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by WingAdmin »

MikeB wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 2:49 pm
zeoran wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 1:14 pm This new commute, less than 5 miles, is a definite blessing. But it's definitely having an effect on my poor battery. It started off with it being around 12.3-12.4 in the mornings, by the end of the week, it's down to 12.0, 11.9. It's still starting, thank God. But it definitely needs help. Unfortunately, unlike my old apartment, I don't have electrical power here. I'm still checking to see if I can put solar panels on the top of the shared garages.

If I can't get allowed to put solar panels up, is there another option? Can I buy a car battery and somehow use an old car battery to keep it topped off? Something stand-alone that doesn't require any external parts?

God bless,

~Mark
Try one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/MOOLSUN-Maintain ... 6HEKSAS9P6
I would only hook that thing to your battery if you want to buy a new battery. It is a dumb "trickle" charger that will continue pushing charge at the battery even when it is full, which is a really good way to destroy a battery in very short order.

If you're going to go solar, use an intelligent charger. Battery Tender makes a solar charge controller that you can plug any solar panel into - like the one mentioned above. That way you charge your battery, but don't OVERCHARGE your battery.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

I didn't buy the exact model that was linked in the image, since it didn't have any overcharge protection. I'm probably going to get a Battery Tender Solar module to put in between this and my bike, but I'm going to see how the solar charger I did get works out first. I also finally picked up a 6-fuse block to get all these connections off my main battery. That should clean things up considerably. I'll let you know how things work out. This morning, the battery was only at 11.8 and it barely turned over. Got scared for a minute that I might have to jump it again. The new toys should arrive tonight and I might be able to install them tonight, if not maybe tomorrow night.

God bless,

~Mark
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

I picked up a 10wattt charger and a 6-fuse block. But before I could properly install anything and find out just how well it works, Murphy's Law struck again. I noticed with my TPMS that my rear tire was dangerously low. Turns out, there's a bloody nail dead center in tread. It leaks about 10lbs every 24 hours.

I had planned on getting new tires for my baby, but I had planned on doing it about a year from now, there was plenty of tread on my existing tires and my commute is down to less than 5 miles now. I bought a tire patch kit and I'm going to take a crack at hopefully plugging the hole this weekend, along with installing the fuse block and solar charger.

But at this point, I'll also need to start looking for a new tire set. I know there are now specific brands making tires for Goldwings, I have no interest in going darkside and I don't really need rain ability, since it's Southern California. I'm just looking for something relatively inexpensive but still really good with good handling/cornering. The harder trick will be finding a shop to install the tires for me. Most bike shops around me don't work on bikes older than 10 years and it's not something I can do myself.

God bless,

~Mark
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

I managed to get a rope plug set from Amazon and used that to plus the hole in the rear tire. It's holding well so far.
I got the fuse block installed and it's working ok for now.
I'm not sure how well the solar charger is working...

The week that the bike was down with the bad rear tire, the voltage on my battery went from 11.9v to 8.4v. SOMETHING is draining my battery, with it off and the key out. No lights were on, I've converted all my lights (except the rears) to LED. The only thing with a direct connection to the battery is the LED voltmeter which draws in the mA, so there's no way it could take the battery down 3v in 4 days. My USB charger is only tied into the ACC line.

What could possibly be draining the battery? The alternator is working normally, the new battery seems to be performing ok, other than the drain on it.

Any ideas?

God bless,

~Mark
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

If you have a test light or other bulb that you can connect between the battery and one of the two cables (recommend the positive, it's easier to get to) and if there is a draw on the battery the light will be on. Pull fuses one at a time till the light goes out and you at least know what circuit the problem is in. The keep alive memory for the clock and cb if you have one will draw some power so you may need to pull the 5 amp fuse in #9 slot first to prevent that from misleading you. Once you know which fuse shut the test light off we can see what things could be causing your battery drain.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

So you're saying to connect a test light (LED/bulb) to the positive of the battery and then pull fuses out of the block on the other side until it goes out?

Sounds interesting... I'll see if I can give that a try this weekend. I do have a CB, although I've never used it. I don't think truckers in SoCal use CB anymore. I do keep a headset packed in my saddlebag so I can access ch 9 for emergency if I'm ever out in an area where my cell doesn't work.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

Yes, connect the light between the battery post and the cable, if there is any current going through the wire then the test light will light up, no current no light. If you have a multimeter you can do this even better by checking the voltage drop across each fuse. That would tell you not only which circuit was active but also how much amperage was going through the fuse.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

I do have a very good (but old) Fluke DVM.

Do I just check the voltage going across each fuse to see what it's running at? And if it's above 0, then that's my focus area?
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

Fluke has been a good meter since forever and yes the resistance of the fuse will give a voltage in proportion to the current flow, unfortunately I can't find a copy of the charts that indicates how much but no flow = no voltage indicated.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

Bingo! This will help a little:

https://www.powerprobetek.com › ...PDF
Web results
Fuse Voltage Drop Chart -JCase Cartridge Style - Power Probe

The idea is that if you know how much current is flowing through the fuse when it shouldn't be you can guess a little closer as to what component might be using that juice. If it's a large draw it's likely a large consumer.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

Ok, that link didn't work right, lets see if this one will:

https://www.powerprobetek.com/wp-conten ... charts.pdf
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Rambozo »

Swagonmaster wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:28 pm Ok, that link didn't work right, lets see if this one will:

https://www.powerprobetek.com/wp-conten ... charts.pdf
Thanks for that link. Using a fuse as a current shunt is a great idea. I'm sure it will come in handy someday. Especially for low currents where the clamp on meter doesn't do so well.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by WingAdmin »

I have something like that. It's not this one, but it looks pretty close to it:

https://www.amazon.com/SEADEAR-Digital- ... ref=sr_1_8

You plug it in place of the fuse (up to 20 A) and it works as a current shunt, displaying the current being drawn across that fuse circuit.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Swagonmaster »

At $23 that's a choice tool! Only does the one size fuse but that could be dealt with and no chart needed.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by WingAdmin »

Swagonmaster wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:31 am At $23 that's a choice tool! Only does the one size fuse but that could be dealt with and no chart needed.
Actually it comes with an adapter to let you use it for the smaller mini fuses as well.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by Rambozo »

The one downside is that for some things, especially intermittent issues, I would like to take measurements, before disturbing anything or pulling a fuse. Probing a fuse to measure current is less invasive and would likely detect bad fuse connections, where if you pull it and replace with a meter, that could be enough to clean up the contacts, then you never know why the problem went away. That is one of the many things I dislike about most of the new box type fuses, that they don't have holes to probe through. :(

Still it's a nice tool. I seem to remember having something like it, but have not used or even seen it in a very long time.
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Re: URGENT: Bike SUDDENLY won't start???????!!!!!!!!

Post by zeoran »

Considering it drained over 3v in 4 days, are there any areas/systems that are more likely than others?
I can't actually think of anything off the top of my head that would drain that much, that fast that wouldn't have an external show to it. (headlight, taillights, etc)

God bless,

~Mark


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