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Old 11-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #1
Comanche
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New to the forum and to Vulcans. Have had HD's in the past, enjoyed motocross when I was young and now also own a 1967 Triumph T-120 650 Bonneville Hardtail.

This is not really a question in so much as it is a request for specific detailed information since I am not a master electronics tech or electrician. Sure, I know some things but not all so that being said, I was given this current 98 VN800 Classic as "some" payment for work I performed on a home for some people.

When I took ownership of the bike it was stored with the negative battery cable connected for a period of what they said was at least approximately five months. Knowing that it is best to simply remove a battery I asked why they did not just remove the battery or at least disconnect the negative lead and was told they didn't expect it to sit so long but things happen and time goes by.

Well, living in Arizona there are violent thunderstorms during the Monsoon season. My question: Is it possible that the CDI, Starter Relay, Rec/Reg or Fuse Box could be destroyed if this was done and the bike had sat this way for this amount of time during this time of year? I suppose anything is possible but just wondering what damage could result. The bike was running the day it was stored albeit sputtering due to what I assumed was the CDI and carburetor based on what I already knew about the bike just by looking at it then.

I haven't had time to get back to the bike yet after towing it away recently so I haven't had more time to troubleshoot it. I am only going off of what a family member told me was still happening when I first tried to get it running again which is there is NO POWER coming OFF the left side of the bike. New battery with full charge, horn works, jumped radiator fan and it also works, tail lights work, brake light works but NO JOY from the Start Switch and all left side. Neutral switch and kickstand switch also check out OK. These people also had the disgusting habit of using copious amounts of Dielectric grease on all electrical connections so that has now been remedied.

I am not asking for troubleshooting. Yet that is. Haha! I just want to know from a professional point of view what the consequences are for storing a bike like this with the positive battery cable connected for such a long time.

I will post a new question when I get the chance to test continuity, resistance and current to the requisite components for a thorough troubleshooting. However, the manuals do not give a very good troubleshooting plan. Anyone out there with suggestions as to a detailed and good troubleshooting plan for this bike?

Last edited by Comanche; 11-06-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comanche View Post
New to the forum and to Vulcans. Have had HD's in the past, enjoyed motocross when I was young and now also own a 1967 Triumph T-120 650 Bonneville Hardtail.

This is not really a question in so much as it is a request for specific detailed information since I am not a master electronics tech or electrician. Sure, I know some things but not all so that being said, I was given this current 98 VN800 Classic as "some" payment for work I performed on a home for some people.

When I took ownership of the bike it was stored with the negative battery cable connected for a period of what they said was at least approximately five months. Knowing that it is best to simply remove a battery I asked why they did not just remove the battery or at least disconnect the negative lead and was told they didn't expect it to sit so long but things happen and time goes by.

Well, living in Arizona there are violent thunderstorms during the Monsoon season. My question: Is it possible that the CDI, Starter Relay, Rec/Reg or Fuse Box could be destroyed if this was done and the bike had sat this way for this amount of time during this time of year? I suppose anything is possible but just wondering what damage could result. The bike was running the day it was stored albeit sputtering due to what I assumed was the CDI and carburetor based on what I already knew about the bike just by looking at it then.

I haven't had time to get back to the bike yet after towing it away recently so I haven't had more time to troubleshoot it. I am only going off of what a family member told me was still happening when I first tried to get it running again which is there is NO POWER coming OFF the left side of the bike. New battery with full charge, horn works, jumped radiator fan and it also works, tail lights work, brake light works but NO JOY from the Start Switch and all left side. Neutral switch and kickstand switch also check out OK. These people also had the disgusting habit of using copious amounts of Dielectric grease on all electrical connections so that has now been remedied.

I am not asking for troubleshooting. Yet that is. Haha! I just want to know from a professional point of view what the consequences are for storing a bike like this with the positive battery cable connected for such a long time.

I will post a new question when I get the chance to test continuity, resistance and current to the requisite components for a thorough troubleshooting. However, the manuals do not give a very good troubleshooting plan. Anyone out there with suggestions as to a detailed and good troubleshooting plan for this bike?
Is it possible it was just sputtering due to bad fuel? Try dumping some seafoam in the fuel tank and cleaning the carbs.

I've ridden my 900 in all sorts of thunderstorms, several inches of rain, had it parked outside a restaraunt during a torrential downpour that lasted for 45 minutes. That poor thing gets wet all the time. Never had an issue. They can take the rain. A power washer directed at electronics? Maybe not. But the rain? Even an Arizona monsoon? Certainly. BUT, it's still quite possible something got damaged.

Wouldn't hurt to hit exposed switches, fuses, etc. with contact cleaner, though I suppose you did that or something similar when you said you 'remedied' the use of di-electric grease.

Sfair is the local electrical guru and he'll likely jump in and let you know where to go from here. But I just wanted to give you my experience, as I've been a wet dog on my bike more than once, and I've never had an issue. I also don't have anywhere sheltered to park my bike, so it gets parked outside under a cover, where it still gets wet in heavy rain.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:06 PM   #3
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If and when you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, post back and we can help.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:34 PM   #4
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Thanks, Romans and C50T. I appreciate your input and willingness to help. My apologies to you both are in order because I was so caught up in watching the presidential election results while I was posting earlier that I forgot to mention that a newly rebuilt properly jetted and tested carb was also installed and the fuel has been intentionally drained to perform the following repair:

The threads on the rear head needed a little bit of thread chasing with a 10mm rear tap to clean them up a bit due to the previous owner's act of slightly cross-threading a spark plug. The rear plug is out with a new plug in the front head and no plug in the rear plug wire. I chose to repair it this way to avoid having to remove the rear head completely.

Thus, the goal is to try and quickly turn it over for a few seconds without any fuel so that the rear cylinder's compression can expel the small amount of remaining residual metal particles through the empty spark plug hole and which fell in during the thread cleaning process. I already cleaned out the cylinder with a shop vac and tube attachment and removed as much as I could but by using the engine to try and turn it over for a few seconds that should expel everything else out so that the new plug can then be installed.

What is interesting is that the bike was running on the day the previous owner messed up the threads and then let it sit with the positive battery cable connected as I have previously described. It was also sputtering previously due to a few other non-related fuel issues since this is an electrical/electronics issue.

To be clear, there is no mechanical seizure or damage of the engine nor remnants of the old plug in the rear head since it was removed entirely and the top threads were all that were slightly cross-threaded and had a few pieces of aluminum off the old plug embedded and which were also removed during the thread cleaning process. All in all there was not a lot of metal particles but I am meticulous when it comes to doing a job right.

So, the problem is that now it doesn't turn over at all and there is NO CURRENT on the left side of the bike which is why I had asked what problems or damage could result by allowing the bike to sit for at least 5 months with the positive battery cable connected (especially during violent thunderstorm lightning activity)?

As I stated, I will thoroughly troubleshoot when I next get time but for now I wanted to know what problems could occur because of storing it like that and if someone could provide a better troubleshooting layout and plan than the sparse specifics that the OEM manuals provide.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:17 AM   #5
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I would test the battery 1st , mine was running fine , stopped home for 20min went to leave again click click then not even a click. Lights came on , horn , signals , just not enough juice to engage the starter. Luckily it happened in my drive way and I went and got a new battery , that was it , took right off and has been fine since.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:37 AM   #6
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I may be learning something here Comanche, but I would not turn over that engine until I removed the head and made sure there was no metal left in that jug.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:57 AM   #7
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I may be learning something here Comanche, but I would not turn over that engine until I removed the head and made sure there was no metal left in that jug.
I wouldn't worry too much about that. Any metal left from thread-chasing will only be aluminum. If you're really anal about it (like me, lol), you can bring the piston up part way on the exhaust stroke so the exhaust valve is open, remove the rear exhaust, and stick a shop-vac hose against the exhaust port, while you blast some compressed air throughout he plug hole.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:56 AM   #8
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Do not worry about the battery cable being connected, no harm done.
Get the battery load tested, or if you have a meter, we can do a quick and dirty load test at home.

Post back.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:50 PM   #9
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Thanks XCR600, battery is new and fully functional

Markstep, like PacoMutt said this is a quick efficient easy way to clean out the head after a simple thread chasing repair and I learned that trick which is why I passed it on. Thing is PacoMutt stated the second part of this approach which is the best way but only IF a person has an air compressor handy which I do not so unfortunately this is the only way I can do it. I will however remove the rear exhaust so that the small remnants of aluminum debris will purge. Thanks for you help also PacoMutt!

SFair, I apologize for mis-stating which battery cable was left connected for at least 5 months. It was NOT the POSITIVE cable when in fact it was the NEGATIVE cable that was left connected for five months as I originally stated. That being said is there any difference in what problems could occur with a bike since it is recommended that the negative battery cable be left disconnected if the battery is left in? I personally remove the battery completely but to each his own. I'm just trying to learn here and become more knowledgeable so I can also help others when the time comes.

SFair, I tested resistance of the REC/REG today according to the VN800B Classic OEM Service Manual (see attached images). On Numbers 1 thru 3 I got 1.84; 1.74 and 1.76 respectively. On Numbers 4 thru 12 I got nothing. Looking at the chart I do not understand what the infinity sign means and what 1/2 scale or less means nor the readings I obtained. SFair, can you please interpret this for me and explain so I can fully understand what I am looking at here?

PacoMutt, what is the procedure to bring the piston up part way on the exhaust stroke so the exhaust valve is open?

Will continue testing other components and harness tomorrow and post results since daylight ran out on me this evening and I couldn't see anymore. Like I said, the OEM Manual does not have a very good plan, layout or description of a good electronics and electrical troubleshooting process and the reasons why it is important so a person learns effectively.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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I think that you are jumping ahead of yourself with testing the reg/rect.
Have to make sure the basics are in place first.
See post number 9.
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