2012 won't start!... sometimes - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-05-2016, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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2012 won't start!... sometimes

Hey guys,

Sorry, this is gonna be wordy, but I want to be sure I fully explain my situation.

Like the title says, my bike is having intermittent starting issues. It began 4 days ago when I went to start my bike in the morning after sitting overnight. I followed my normal start up procedure. With the bike in neutral, kickstand up I pressed the starter, but all I got was a faint clicking noise. It sounds similar to the piezoelectric lighter on a gas stove. I switched it off and removed the key turned it back on and then tried to start again. Still no luck.

Ended up taking the car to class instead; didn't want to risk being stranded at school. Later that day I pulled the battery out to check the fluid level, and noticed a small amount of battery acid (a few mL) had dripped onto the battery cover screw and one of the passenger footpeg bolts. Upon inspection the acid level in the battery seemed to be normal, I had topped it off a while back and there seemed to be no perceivable change in fluid level.

I reconnected the battery and was able to bump start it. I went for a 20-30 minute ride to test the battery/stator, and from what I can tell the battery is in good condition and the stator is charging. When I got back I shut off the bike. After a few minutes I tried to turn it on and it started right up. Next morning it started up again perfectly, but after class it wouldn't turn over anymore. Again, I was able to bump start it, ride home, shut it off, and turn it on again with no problems.

So this is my question: what could be wrong with my bike that would make it have problems starting after having been run earlier in the day, but not when I start it up at 8 in the morning after sitting all night?
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-05-2016, 09:57 PM
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Sounds like intermittent charging.

Check ALL connections before buying anything. On the positive side, stators
rarely go out. Batteries are much cheaper and easier to do.
Mine was a coin toss also once the battery reached 4 years old.
I replaced with the Harley AGM unit as it's designed to shake. A lot.

Got tired of parking on a hill for two weeks wondering if it would fire or not
on it's own.

Hope it's that simple for you too. 56 bucks and good for 5 years roughly.
There's many other batteries available too in the lightweight division.

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-05-2016, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CheapBassTurd View Post
Sounds like intermittent charging.

Check ALL connections before buying anything. On the positive side, stators
rarely go out. Batteries are much cheaper and easier to do.
Mine was a coin toss also once the battery reached 4 years old.
I replaced with the Harley AGM unit as it's designed to shake. A lot.

Got tired of parking on a hill for two weeks wondering if it would fire or not
on it's own.

Hope it's that simple for you too. 56 bucks and good for 5 years roughly.
There's many other batteries available too in the lightweight division.

I'm going to check the wiring tomorrow. I will also check the battery, but I doubt that's the problem seeing as I just replaced it less than a year ago. Of course, I've been wrong about that stuff before.


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post #4 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 07:50 AM
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I would replace the battery. That's the same sound my Harley made when it was the battery. The charge didn't seem to be that low if I remember correctly. Think it was 12.3 instead of 12.7. But that was apparently no enough and my manual conferred. Replaced the battery and all was good. Ya only get like 3 years out of a Harley one.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 08:00 AM
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I would certainly check all connections as Cheap noted, but I'll bet it's your battery. If you happen to have the battery out, swing by an auto parts store or tire place and have them load test it for you. It will most likely fail.

I would also agree than AGM battery is the way to go if you're going to replace it.



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post #6 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 09:49 AM
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Starting?

You should get a cheap VOM meter. Harbor Freight has them for under $5.00 ( Sometimes for free )

Next you said you rode the bike for just a short distance. Probably not enough time for "The-Bike" to fully charge the battery. Before you spend money on a new battery, get it fully charged up. When you install it, make sure your terminals are clean and no corrosion on them, and tightened properly.

Put the VOM on the battery, and measure the voltage of the battery before you crank the starter. Watch the voltage while you try to start the bike. It should not drop below 12 volts. (Most CDI units require at least 10.8 volts to work.) After the bike is running, at idle, you should see at least 13 volts or more.

The clicking sound you heard, sounds like a bad connection to the battery, or low voltage. Also make sure you don't have something that's draining your battery after you shut down. Lights, alterations to the wiring? A short somewhere.

Personal story:
I had a 1986 Suzuki Cavalcade that went 5 years on a original battery. I put a new one in and it went bad after 1 year. Another new one, and only got about a year on that one.
Finally I was out for a ride one morning, stopped for coffee, and donuts along side the road. (I had started the bike 4 times that morning before this happened.) After finishing my coffee, I went to start the bike, and "Nothing"!
A guy came along and offered to jump start me. He crossed the cables and .... "Smoke" coming from my faring! Well I had to trailer it home. After repairing the burned wiring, I started to check out if there was any more shorts. I traced a short to a wire to my running lights held to the engine guards with a tie-wrap. That tie-wrap had been on that bike for over 7 years. It had finally wore enough insulation away to short the conductor to the frame.
That "intermittent" short must have been there killing my batteries for several riding seasons. After fixing that, and getting a new battery, I never had another battery failure again. Expect the unexpected!

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry31 View Post
Watch the voltage while you try to start the bike. It should not drop below 12 volts. (Most CDI units require at least 10.8 volts to work.)
Good tips and a relevant anecdote, larry31!

One small detail: Picking a nit, but . . . Generation 2s (despite Kawasaki's erroneous marketing specifications) don't have no stinkin' CDIs (although Generation 1s have AC-powered CDIs). The igniter of a Generation 2 may indeed require 10.8 volts DC to function, as you indicate.

Generation 2s have DC-powered inductive discharge ignitions, "Fully-Transistorized Breakerless Ignitions."

As I said, good post with useful information for the OP; don't mean to detract from its value with my nit-picking!
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planalp View Post
I would certainly check all connections as Cheap noted, but I'll bet it's your battery. If you happen to have the battery out, swing by an auto parts store or tire place and have them load test it for you. It will most likely fail.



I would also agree than AGM battery is the way to go if you're going to replace it.

I'm going to take it to the PepBoys down the street if I can get it started today. When you say the battery will fail, is there a specific voltage I should be looking for to indicate failure?


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post #9 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 12:13 PM
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Seems about nine out of ten times on these bikes a no crank condition is caused by a bad battery, that's definitely the first thing I would check.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-06-2016, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BenJ View Post
When you say the battery will fail, is there a specific voltage I should be looking for to indicate failure?

Unfortunately, no!

While persistently low voltage isn't encouraging, sometimes a surface charge indicating sufficient voltage masks a cell failure occurring when the battery is placed under load.

As in, unstressed battery voltage reads o.k.; apply a load and . . . the dang thing crashes. Thus, a thorough battery check involves a device testing the battery under load.

Sealed, AGM batteries are the minimum I'd consider, today; actually, I have a LITHIUM (Cycle Gear's recommended size) battery; works great, keeps trick headlight, heated jacket liner/gloves/pants toasty warm.

Bet you've got a battery whose cells break down under load.

And, just in case, Cycle Gear has its teeny-tiny lithium booster battery (about the size of a deck of playing cards, but putting out 200 cold cranking amps) on sale right now!
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Last edited by Damocles; 03-06-2016 at 03:28 PM.
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