Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Evening all.
After some help. Had the bike a month and been running great. Went to go for a spin tonight and it stalled (not enough juice on the steep driveway) and now won't start. I get rapid clicking from the lhs which with a bit of research is the starter solenoid but no full turn over. Occasionally I get almost a full turn (or so it sounds) and then back to clicking. Only tried a couple of times as don't want to make the situation worse.
If my quick 10mins on Google (which eventually brought me to this site) is right then I think the starter solenoid is goosed? I had a quick look online for replacements but many seem to be round whereas mine is rectangular?
Bike is 99 european model with approx 6800miles (of which I've done maybe 500 as the 3rd owner).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Nick, it seems unlikely that at 6800 miles the starter or the solenoid would have passed over to the great parts bin in the sky. Possible, but unlikely.

What does seem likely is the battery was neither changed nor kept consistently on a trickle charger by those first two owners. I'd check battery first. Do you happen to have access to a voltmeter? If so, we can walk you through some quick checks. If not, do you have a trickle charger? Charge it overnight and see if it gets well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I dug my old voltmeter out but that has definitely gone to where ever good electronic kit goes.
I agree it seems odd that the solenoid would go, however it is the only thing which seems to make sense. Battery was good-starts instantly every time. Odd how this all started after I stupidly stalled going up a slope. I've checked all connections, and another forum (based on the Ninja 500 equivalent engine) which led me to the solenoid, a mechanic had said to put a short across the solenoid to see if it starts - which it almost did but I pulled the short off quickly as don't like shorting anything (I am a comms technician by trade).
I need to get a charger anyway so I'll get one tomorrow at the same time as a voltmeter and run some tests.
If you could please advise on what should be coming out where and I'll get the results to you tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,075 Posts
Nick,

Your symptoms point to a failed/failing battery or loose connection to the battery. Check the 'sticky' at the top of this forum for more info on the battery adapters. If the battery is more than a couple of years old replace it. If the battery's history is unknown, replace it.

Regarding the solenoid/relay, yes it is rectangular, not round. The 'main fuse' is attached to it as well.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Did the engine turn over when you jumped the solenoid? (That's a task best done with a hefty and preferably cheap screwdriver, by the way; that's a lot of current going to the starter. And you're not really shorting it, you're just taking the relay out of the picture. He just meant "short the terminals.") If it did, that does rather argue for the solenoid being the culprit.

To test the battery: Measure the battery voltage with the key off. Assuming it's showing something in the over 12v area, leave your meter hooked up, turn on the key and hit the starter button -- note how much voltage drop you get. If the voltage drops below 9.5v, the former battery is now an unattractive doorstop.

Unless you dropped the bike when you stalled it, I suspect this is all a coincidence, btw. A quite convenient one, really, since you were already home!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
BikerBill-thanks for the solenoid info-
I've got a potential replacement if required. Checked all the battery and subsequent connections and all good. I'm waiting on a response from the shop I got it through as it has a warranty from them so will also get them to fit a new battery as I don't know the history although it looks relatively new. Although going off the mileage neither previous owner used it much so if it wasn't maintained correctly it is potentially for further issues down the line. As I said before though while I've had it, it starts immediately even after a week of not using it so I doubt the battery is an issue.

Trainermb-When I shorted the terminals (with a hefty screwdriver) the engine did turn over but as I said I removed the short quickly as like you said that's alot of current and I didn't want to cause further issues. No the bike wasn't dropped, just rolled backwards down the hill to the flat to try again which is when it wouldn't start and I got the rapid clicking from the solenoid. As you said-convenient I was home!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
So as an update. Popped out to get a voltmeter and trickle charger-got the voltmeter but the bike shop has closed for their holiday so no luck with that for now. Anyway
Got home,put the voltmeter across the battery-key off 12.42 -happy,battery is good!!
Turned the key bike and press start-bike fires up - wasn't expecting that. Because I wasn't expecting it to turn over I hadn't given it any choke so it ran a few seconds and cut out - poor girl is cold. Gave some choke and tried again - solenoid does the same rapid clicking thing as yesterday and battery is showing as 7.4 - not happy.
Put everything back together and thought I'd give her a bump start,charge the battery that way and see what happens. Rolled down the drive in 2nd to bump-great, went for a 10min spin in the local area (sufficient to push home if required)-runs great. Got home,turned off and rested for 30mins - she fires straight up.
So - new battery or something else? Maybe where I stalled it yesterday it took the juice from the initial start and there wasn't quite enough to try again - although why did it try turning over when I bypassed the solenoid?
I've checked what connectors I can get to without pulling too much off and all good
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
It really sounds like new battery time. 7.4v under load is not a pretty picture. I'm what they call thrifty, so I'd probably leave it on the trickle charger overnight and hope the battery gods were kind to me, and some sort of lead/sulfur based miracle occurred, but if you're counting on that thing for dependable transportation it's probably time to bite the bullet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
I'm not sure.

It seems unlikely to me that a failing battery would show it self mid way through a ride after a stall - particularly if it later ok after a 10 minute spin around the block, that suggests that the battery is taking and holding charge at least in the short term.

I wonder if you have, or had, a dodgy connection somewhere.

That being said a new battery is quite an inexpensive exercise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'll definitely investigate a new battery as I don't know the history of this one, but post ride (only 10mins), I checked it 30mins later before starting and it was sat happy at 12.4v, so I'm really unsure if the battery is faulty. Especially as between last night and today it was sat in the bike with nothing charging it, and started instantly. The 7.4 reading was just after starting it when the engine stalled as wasn't warm enough and no choke so the battery probably hadn't had time to settle after the initial start. Although I'm no mechanic or expert in the field.

I'm inclined to agree with Greg that there is or was a dodgy connection, which leads me back to the starter solenoid, which is essentially a switch right? Is it meant to click rapidly, or as soon as it is receiving power do the internals connect making the circuit through to the starter? If it is faulty and rapidly clicking therefore the internals aren't making the circuit and allowing enough juice through to the starter. But at the same time if the battery isn't pushing enough juice out then the low voltage might be enough to initiate the solenoid but not enough to feed through to the starter?

I'm off on holiday for a couple of days tomorrow (unfortunately in 4 wheels not on 2) so will do some more testing when I get back to see how the battery is then (again without a trickle charger).

Thanks for your help so far
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
A battery can fail any time, any where and most likely in the rain, in the dark and 200 miles from home.

Take the battery in for a load test to be SURE of its condition.
That's true but as I go on to say, if it failed having being used it is unlikely a quick spin round the block would have it showing a good voltage and enough supplying enough current to start the engine.

Not dismissing it as a possibility, just think those two scenarios don't add up to the same conclusion.

Did you take a reading with the engine running?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I did take a reading while the engine was running but didn't write it down-it was around 12.5 though hence I didn't write it down as seemed good.

As said it's strange that it seems the battery was low, yet following no charging it starts the engine and following a 10min ride round the block started instantly 30mins later after everything had settled again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,075 Posts
I'm not sure.

It seems unlikely to me that a failing battery would show it self mid way through a ride after a stall - particularly if it later ok after a 10 minute spin around the block, that suggests that the battery is taking and holding charge at least in the short term.

I wonder if you have, or had, a dodgy connection somewhere.
Been There, Done That!

Sometimes the bad connection is inside the battery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,753 Posts
1. Does not sound like a solenoid fault. Low voltage makes them machine gun, not much else.
2. 12.5v is NOT good. Do a charging system voltage check and post what you find.
3. A meter is your friend here. Use it and trust it.
4. Do not ride any farther from home than you care to push back if you do not trouble shoot this issue correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Nick a solenoid is just a beefy relay. Energize it, a coil tries to pull a conductor bar snug against two contacts while a spring tries to pull the bar away. If not enough oomph, the bar might make it to the contacts but --- urrrrggghhhh! Can't! Resist! Spring! But as the spring pulls it back there's less tension so the thing just cycles up and down (or in and out, choose your mental picture) making that clacking noise you hear. It's "trying" to close, but not quite making it, which is why we're pointing to insufficient drive to the solenoid rather than a bad solenoid. When a solenoid goes bad it either goes "click" and nothing happens, because the contacts are kaput, or it just sits there looking at you sullenly while you push the starter button because the coil has gone bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,753 Posts
Nick a solenoid is just a beefy relay. Energize it, a coil tries to pull a conductor bar snug against two contacts while a spring tries to pull the bar away. If not enough oomph, the bar might make it to the contacts but --- urrrrggghhhh! Can't! Resist! Spring! But as the spring pulls it back there's less tension so the thing just cycles up and down (or in and out, choose your mental picture) making that clacking noise you hear. It's "trying" to close, but not quite making it, which is why we're pointing to insufficient drive to the solenoid rather than a bad solenoid. When a solenoid goes bad it either goes "click" and nothing happens, because the contacts are kaput, or it just sits there looking at you sullenly while you push the starter button because the coil has gone bad.
Not quite correct.

1. Rider pushes start button.
2. Solenoid sees 12v and armature pulls.
3. Once contact is made, battery sees starter.
4. Battery now outputs a lower voltage because of starter load.
5. If battery voltage drops below voltage to hold solenoid pulled, the solenoid drops out.
6. Now solenoid sees 12v again (starter load has been removed) and solenoid pulls again.
7. Once contacts are remade, battery voltage again drops and solenoid drops out.
8. As long as the start button is held down, repeat steps above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
I chose to leave out the voltage drops for simplicity --- but sfair's explanation is way better and clearer.

"Props," as I believe the cool kids either say or perhaps used to say. (?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks all for the info. So as an update:
Went away for 4 days, bike locked up tight. Come home and tried the bike on the 5th day-started straight away,Great! Took it for a quick ride to the supermarket (couple of mins away and pushable should the worst hapen), 10min stop over,fired straight back up.
Following day fires up great, went out for 45min ride with my daughter on the back up to a local viewpoint with plenty of tight switchbacks and bumps to rattle anything loose (had my road recovery docs ready). 15min stop at the top, and ride home. No issues. Fires 1st time everytime.
Think there must have been something loose/bad conection which in my checks I have tightened/cleared.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
That's one possible explanation, sure. It seems more likely that it was ANOTHER VULCANFORUMS MIRACLE MOTORCYCLE HEALING(tm). :grin2:

(Glad it is back on the road.)
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top