Bitten By Neglect - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 05-23-2014, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Bitten By Neglect

My tale:

Went to start the KLR this past Monday after it sat for a week and a half or so. Just got a buzzing from the starter relay when I pushed the button.

Put it on the Battery Tender and in about 8 hours it was fully charged again. I thought this was unusual. I should have trusted my instincts, but kind of chalked it up to a battery going bad since mine is 3 years old.

Rode it to work and back (about 60 miles) on Tuesday. No problems.

Rode it to to work today. It fired right up this morning. It sat in the parking lot for 9 hours or so. Started right up when I went to leave. Rode it about 2 miles to another place and it sat there for about an hour and a half.

Came out to start it and nothing: no buzzing from the starter relay; no lights of any kind.

Shit. By now I'm starting to believe maybe there's a problem with the battery. The wife is still in town, so I call her and she drives over there and I try to jump-start it. With the cables connected, bright lights again but nothing but a buzzing from the relay. Leave the cables on for about 15 minutes: no improvement.

By now I'm into full Worst Case Scenario Mode because I can't really leave the thing where it is, and even if we go get the Toyota and ramps, I don't think my wife and I can get it up in the back of it unless it's running and moving under its own power.

I decide to call around town to see if, by any slim chance, anybody has a battery that's at least somewhat charged. So, I pull the battery out so I can read the part number and call about 4 places. One of them carries the battery, but they're all still dry in the box.

I'd looked at the terminals while waiting on the wife and checked to make sure they were tight. I now started looking at them more closely and they seemed to have a slight bit of corrosion: nothing glaring but there was kind of a film on them.

So, before the night really starts to suck, I decide to take a flat-tip screwdriver and scrape the terminals and connectors, then try it again. So, I scratched them up all up with the flat tip and put the battery back in.

Near-disaster when I hooked up the negative cable to the wife's battery and was greeted with sparks and yanked it away real quick as the wife got all excited that we were making progress and yelled, "Hey! It didn't do that before!"

I then realized that I'd gotten flustered and was trying to hook the cable that was attached to the KLR's positive battery terminal to the negative terminal on the Durango. Mucho Stupido, there. I'm probably damned lucky I didn't burn up some wiring or at the least blow a fuse.

Switched the cables back to the proper polarity and tried it again and, voila, the KLR fired right up.

So, in the end, while I like my little pigtail I keep attached to the battery I use to hook up the Battery Tender, not removing the battery on a regular basis led me to neglect the terminals. Just because there's no corrosion on the outside doesn't mean there's not corrosion between the battery post and the connector where you can't see it.

My theory is that the corrosion prevented the KLR's rather anemic charging sytem from getting a good flow of electricity into the battery and it gradually degraded to the point where it didn't have enough oomph to trigger the starter relay. The start when I left work today was probably its last gap and I was doomed when I shut it off at my next destination.

After I charged it with the Tender on Monday, it was okay for awhile, but it caught back up with me again today. There was obviously enough corrosion there that it prevented a good jump-start from the wife's Durango that was not running. Once the corrosion was removed and a good contact was made, things worked as advertised.

So, this weekend I'm going to pull the battery out again and thoroughly clean the posts and connections and treat them with some spray I've got for the car batteries.

Lesson learned. Completely disconnect the battery terminals at least a couple of times a year to check for corrosion between the flat connector and the top of the battery posts.

Actually, I think the problem originally started due to another facet of my lack of smartness. The screws I use for the battery connections are a little short so I took some steel washers and put them under those damned little square nuts that go inside the posts so I could get the screws to engage threads on the nuts. I noted those washers still under the terminal nuts were white with corrosion so think they're the culprit that started all this.



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post #2 of 31 Old 05-24-2014, 06:28 AM
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Location: New Hampshire
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Battery terminal care

I know your pain!
Many years ago, my Suzuki Cavalcade's battery quit out on a ride.

Here's my sad tail of woe:
Went for ride. Stopped & started 3 times. Stopped along side of stream to eat my donuts, and drink my coffee. Went to start the Cavalcade, "Nothing". A guy stopped to see if he could help. By luck he had jumper cables. I connected the last cable connection, and "sparks"!
I pulled the cable off right away, but it was to late.

To make long story short, I got my trailer, and took the bike home, where I found a ground wire burned up.
As I was repairing the wires, I found a wire powering my running lights had a "pin-hole" (compression type) insulation short to the engine guard frame.
( I had ty-wraped the wire to the engine guard ) Over time the insulation had worn away, creating a short to the wire inside.

Now I have a volt meter on all my bikes. My favorite is the kuryakyn, led battery indicator. It's waterproof, easy to surface mount, and accurate.
http://www.whitehorsegear.com/review..._date&sort=asc

A small amount of dielectric grease on the terminal connections help keep oxidation from forming. I just use ordinary white lithium grease on my battery terminals, and even on the base of my trailer light bulbs. The trailer sits outside and the bulbs were always getting oxidized. since treating them with grease, I haven't had a failure.

Ageing Gracefully



2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..http://www.powers31.info/2011_KLR650.htm

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
Doo-Hicky
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post #3 of 31 Old 05-24-2014, 08:43 AM
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Larry31 beat me to it but dielectric grease is the way to go for fighting corrosion. I use it on all my battery terminals and any exposed connectors.
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post #4 of 31 Old 05-24-2014, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I need to get some of that stuff. Thanks, guys. I should have been using it all along.



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post #5 of 31 Old 05-24-2014, 08:56 PM
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Glad you got it solved!
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post #6 of 31 Old 05-24-2014, 09:40 PM
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I guess that's one advantage of winter as I remove my battery from the KLR and store it in the heated garage. But thanks for the warning because the Goldwing lives in the garage and the battery hasn't been out for 5 years.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #7 of 31 Old 05-26-2014, 07:22 AM
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Dielectric Grease

Quote:
Originally Posted by fradsham View Post
Larry31 beat me to it but dielectric grease is the way to go for fighting corrosion. I use it on all my battery terminals and any exposed connectors.
Works good on interlock switches, like clutch, and side stand.

Ageing Gracefully



2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..http://www.powers31.info/2011_KLR650.htm

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
Doo-Hicky
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post #8 of 31 Old 05-29-2014, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
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planalp,
I do hope that you did not fry a diode or two in the Voltage Regulator, when you cross the jumper cables.

Best to connect a volt meter to the battery, check nominal voltage, start the bike check for increasing voltage, rev the engine to 4000rpm and check to see if charging voltage increases to 14.2-14.5 volts.
If Not, you may need to purchase a New Voltage Regulator!

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #9 of 31 Old 05-30-2014, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
planalp,
I do hope that you did not fry a diode or two in the Voltage Regulator, when you cross the jumper cables.

Best to connect a volt meter to the battery, check nominal voltage, start the bike check for increasing voltage, rev the engine to 4000rpm and check to see if charging voltage increases to 14.2-14.5 volts.
If Not, you may need to purchase a New Voltage Regulator!
Yeah, I guess I can figure out my multimeter enough to do that. It offers too many choices and intimidates a simple man like myself with all those numbers and mysterious symbols. It would be nice to confirm whether or not I'm getting a good charge to the battery.

I did get so far as to recharge the battery and thoroughly clean the battery posts. I'm thinking of adding some kind of voltage meter.

I'm kind of like this when it comes to electrical systems:




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post #10 of 31 Old 05-30-2014, 03:44 PM
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Pulled the battery out of the Goldwing today. Terminals weren't too bad but gave everything a good cleaning. Found that all the cells need to be topped up too so this post was timely. All good now. Monday we ride.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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