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Harley Davidson Forums - Model Discussions and Technical Discussions @ HDBitchin => Sportster Models Forum => Topic started by: AbueloBill on January 24, 2020, 07:51:52 AM

Title: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: AbueloBill on January 24, 2020, 07:51:52 AM
Have a 2016 1200C Sportster purchased new.  Have 22k+ miles on the chassis and 13k+ miles on the engine (warranty replacement).  The original battery replaced after 2.5 years, the current HD battery was the replacement a year prior to last October.  Mechanically it is bone stock with the only mods done for comfort and convenience.

Possible issue is in starting, when cold or when it sat unused overnight.   When I press the starter button there is a clicking sound, presumably the solenoid engaging, a pause for at least a half second, then the starter activates and the bike starts.  Once warmed up and run for awhile then parked, like after stopping for lunch and restarting, there is no pause or delay.

Voltage after sitting overnight is 12.78 to 12.85, drops to 12.35 when I turn on the key, and 13.94 to 14.00 once running.  These number are consistent over three tests over time.  I do have a cycling charger, replacing a Jr. Battery Tender that failed.  I don't always use it, only when I know I will not be riding for a couple days or more.  If just overnight, I do not connect it.  When I do connect it, takes 5 minutes or so until the full charge light comes on.

Do I have a bike problem here, or am I seeing normality and worrying unnecessarily?  (I tend to do that, btw.)  I also suspect now that I did not need to replace the battery, although I am seeing the odometer switching from whatever I had it set on (usually range) to the total mileage, the same issue I posted about just before the battery replacement.  I also halfway suspect a parasitic electronic draw somewhere but haven't put an ammeter into the circuit.  I also checked the Service Manual and there is no trouble shooting advice about this.

Thoughts and opinions?



Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: maniacmac on January 24, 2020, 09:13:49 AM
Clean the terminals on the starter relay or replace. Very common problem on that model. If you choose to replace go to your local automotive parts store, it's use in a lot of auto app. and will cost your a lot less money
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on January 24, 2020, 11:02:20 AM
I think what Dennis said above is the very best advice to follow but I would also add to be certain that the positive and negative battery cables are clean and tight? Very basic advice but seems to be a fix often times.

You mentioned the Range display selection reverting to Total Miles during your startup. I am firm believer when the Fuel Range to go feature is reverting during a start to Total Miles in these digital speedometers it is an early indicator of a weak battery. You talked about that in your earlier thread (https://hdbitchin.com/index.php?topic=5531.0) when you replaced the battery and you linked the thread with my theory on the Early Indication Of Battery Going Bad on Speedometer with Fuel Range Function  (https://hdbitchin.com/index.php?topic=3280.0). If your Fuel Range to go display is reverting still then maybe that isn't always such a good indicator of a weak battery.

What value is the battery voltage dropping (sagging) to during the start? If it is dropping low I can see it possible that the speedometer Fuel Range selection might be lost during that low voltage period. Then when voltage comes back up the odometer display reverts to the top level function of Total Miles.

Your battery values that you have shared above are good numbers but maybe a load test at the local auto parts store would be another good step in establishing that the battery is indeed in good shape.

Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on January 24, 2020, 01:58:25 PM
Here is some info on the location of the start relay which comes from a 2008 Sportster manual. Probably no different on your 2016 Sportster.

Behind left side cover is the Start relay in the relay/fuse block which is forward of the battery on motorcycle's left side.

Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on January 24, 2020, 02:16:20 PM
So the question might be where is the click that you hear coming from? The starter relay or the solenoid on the starter? The below attachments should help chasing down the issue in either case.

Attachments cover the relay clicking and the solenoid clicking troubleshooting.
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on January 24, 2020, 02:19:18 PM
Here is the typical starting circuit wiring.

Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: bc45 on January 24, 2020, 08:15:04 PM
I would do like Dennis said make sure the battery connections are clean and tight. Also check that the ground on the frame is clean and tight.  Hook a meter to the green wire at the starter and see what voltage you have there when you hit the start button and it wont crank and just clicks. also what is Battery voltage when you hit the starter button and it clicks.
If you can get a meter on the cable at the starter what is the voltage there when problem happens, Also measure the voltage going to the starter motor the post will be on the opposite side that the cable is hooked to and covered with a black rubber cap see photo I am pointing to the cover with a screw driver this is on a 2018 883 sortster.
(https://hdbitchin.com/gallery/4/329-240120201155-44962409.jpeg)
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: TD on January 25, 2020, 07:37:37 AM
I'm no auto electrician by any means, but I'd agree with above. Check all your earth points. Clean them if necessary, add a spot of Vaseline or similar.
It's also the cheapest option.
Best of luck! ;)

TD 8)
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on January 27, 2020, 12:32:20 PM
Behind the scenes Bill and I have been talking about the issue. Some of the below has already been accomplished and eliminated as the root cause. But for the sake of having a complete understanding I am adding this as additional information...

Static Battery Voltage Test

Prior to conducting this test, make sure the battery has not been recently charged. You must wait at least one hour after charging your battery to conduct this test.

Place voltmeter leads to the battery terminals. (positive to positive and negative to negative)
Read voltage and refer to the chart below.

State of Charge
100% Charged  12.80v
75% Charged   12.40v
50% Charged   12.10v
25% Charged   11.90v
0% Charged.     11.80v

Starting Load Test

Adjust voltmeter to DC volts (20 volt range).
Place voltmeter leads to the battery terminals. (positive to positive and negative to negative)
Watch the voltmeter as you start your motorcycle.
If the voltage drops below 9.5 volts, the battery has very low capacity and should be replaced.

Charging System Test

Adjust voltmeter to DC volts (20 volt range).
Place voltmeter leads to the battery terminals. (positive to positive and negative to negative)
Start your motorcycle.
Bring engine RPM's up to approximately 3,000
Compare the voltage reading to the specification in your owner's manual.
(Note:the voltage reading should be approx. 13.8 - 14.5 volts to properly charge an AGM battery.)
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: Nowhereman on January 28, 2020, 08:27:33 AM
One of the most overlooked things, specially in cold weather is this.
WHEN YOU RIDE, RIDE FOR TEN MILES OR MORE.
Short trips do nothing in terms of charging that battery and in cold weather the issue is aggravated even more.
Take a long ride somewhere for a good hour or more and see what happens the next day.
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: AbueloBill on January 28, 2020, 09:36:23 AM
One of the most overlooked things, specially in cold weather is this.
WHEN YOU RIDE, RIDE FOR TEN MILES OR MORE.
Short trips do nothing in terms of charging that battery and in cold weather the issue is aggravated even more.
Take a long ride somewhere for a good hour or more and see what happens the next day.

All good advice.

The Sporty has sat overnight and I'll be taking a couple hour ride this afternoon.  Will take all the voltage readings and report back.  Tried yesterday to take the voltage reading when starting with a higher quality analog meter but she started quicker than the needle could complete its move.  The cheapie HF digital gives jumpy readings, nothing I could pin down.

Appreciate the inputs.

Bill
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: AbueloBill on January 29, 2020, 09:37:06 AM
Report:

Checked the battery at 2:30 pm.  Had a full charge from the battery maintainer the prior day at 4:00 pm. 

Cold voltage was 12.73 
Key inserted:  12.15 
Key on:  12.04 to slightly higher
Starter: 6.40, 8.50 and started

Shut off, let sit a minute

Starter: 6.30, 9.00, 9.50 and started
Running at idle:  13.95

The speedometer always resets to the odometer reading regardless of what optional setting, like trip or range, I left it on.

Stopped at Desert Wind HD near me and talked with the service writer and mechanic.  Sounded like a weak battery to them. but they did not listen to the bike.  Right now I'm inclined to just ride and keep using the maintainer until the battery dies.  Doubtful that I will replace with another HD sealed battery but will ask for advice on what other options are out there.  The maintainer lists a whole series of battery types it works with so that should not be an issue.

Appreciate everyone's input.  Being here in the desert moisture and corrosion are not issues, and every connection I could get to was tight.  Having an issue with this relatively new and low mileage bike bugs me.

Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: bc45 on January 31, 2020, 09:49:04 PM
Report:

Checked the battery at 2:30 pm.  Had a full charge from the battery maintainer the prior day at 4:00 pm. 

Cold voltage was 12.73 
Key inserted:  12.15 
Key on:  12.04 to slightly higher
Starter: 6.40, 8.50 and started

Shut off, let sit a minute

Starter: 6.30, 9.00, 9.50 and started
Running at idle:  13.95

The speedometer always resets to the odometer reading regardless of what optional setting, like trip or range, I left it on.

Stopped at Desert Wind HD near me and talked with the service writer and mechanic.  Sounded like a weak battery to them. but they did not listen to the bike.  Right now I'm inclined to just ride and keep using the maintainer until the battery dies.  Doubtful that I will replace with another HD sealed battery but will ask for advice on what other options are out there.  The maintainer lists a whole series of battery types it works with so that should not be an issue.

Appreciate everyone's input.  Being here in the desert moisture and corrosion are not issues, and every connection I could get to was tight.  Having an issue with this relatively new and low mileage bike bugs me.




@AbueloBill (https://hdbitchin.com/index.php?action=profile;u=26)   where at the starter are those readings at? the green wore or at the motor post?  or the sterter post that the batt cable is hooked to.
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: AbueloBill on February 04, 2020, 08:39:13 PM
Solved the issue, purchased a new Interstate battery this afternoon.  On charge right now.

Had met @RiderRon for coffee Monday morning.  The battery was showing full charge but was slow to start, turning over several times before firing.  It was also slow when it was time to leave, and again after a stop on the way home.  Sort of a last straw.

Per the rep at the Interstate store, a maintainer should only be used until the battery shows full charge.  Mine has a light that comes on.  At that point, remove the maintainer.  He does not recommend using a trickle charger, like my Battery Tender Jr, on a AGM battery or to leave any charger attached after reaching the full charge. The HD Owner's Manual also says not to use one.  Would like to have known that before now.

Thanks for all the input.

Bill


Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: maniacmac on February 05, 2020, 09:31:30 AM
Solved the issue, purchased a new Interstate battery this afternoon.  On charge right now.

Had met @RiderRon for coffee Monday morning.  The battery was showing full charge but was slow to start, turning over several times before firing.  It was also slow when it was time to leave, and again after a stop on the way home.  Sort of a last straw.

Per the rep at the Interstate store, a maintainer should only be used until the battery shows full charge.  Mine has a light that comes on.  At that point, remove the maintainer.  He does not recommend using a trickle charger, like my Battery Tender Jr, on a AGM battery or to leave any charger attached after reaching the full charge. The HD Owner's Manual also says not to use one.  Would like to have known that before now.

Thanks for all the input.

Bill
Use a smart charger it can be left on the battery if its a true smart charger
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: NoSuperSlabs on February 09, 2020, 10:54:41 AM
Good discussion!
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: HDBitchin on February 09, 2020, 12:38:54 PM
Good discussion!
Agree!
Title: Re: Opinon needed on a possible Sportster starting issue
Post by: bc45 on February 10, 2020, 10:38:55 PM
Glad to hear you got it fixed