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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought my first 95 vulcan 800 from a dealership yesterday with only 5800 miles on it. It's in great condition, started up right away at the dealership and before I took delivery, they showed me the new battery had a charge of 13.9. However since I hauled it back to WI, it won't start. The engine turns over a few times and then stops and there's a loud clicking sound that seems to be coming from the battery. I left it in the truck overnight and it's currently sitting in an unheated storage unit waiting to be winterized. Id like to get it to start so I can put some Stabil in the tank and run through the carbs. Its currently sitting on a full tank of gas in an unheated storage unit, could the cold be why it's not starting? Sorry if this is a rookie question, I'm still learning the ropes!
 

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The battery may be dead/bad/both.

Do you have a meter and know how to use it?
No meter, we can help there too.

Post back.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I can get a multimeter and I think I remember how to use it based off high school science years ago lol. Just touch the pins to both terminals and it gives you a reading. My understanding is a battery that reads anywhere from 14-16v is in good shape. It shouldn't be a bad battery, the dealership put in a new one, (or one that read 13.9 a couple days ago.) My other question too is if I can't get it to start, (and I don't want to try too much while its cold out so I don't damage the engine) should I still put Sta-bil in the full gas tank? I wanted to get it running to get into the carbs but I'm not sure how I'm going to do that if it's too cold to start. Also real quick, would any type of battery tender work on the battery or is there a certain voltage I need?
 

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Make sure the voltmeter is on DC setting when you check the battery. I would recommend a pulse type msart charger which desulfates the battery as it charges it. This type of charger extends battery life. A trickle charger can damage the battery as it does not know when to shut off.
 

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Open circuit voltage reading is almost useless for batteries.

If you can get the meter, post back with make and model number and we can help you with it and some quick tests.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds good! I'm probably going to pick this one up http://www.walmart.com/ip/Voltage-Meter-10729W/14521542 along with a 12v battery tender from walmart today. For winterizing, I'm plan on putting my bike on boards, pour some Sta-bil in the tank, and hook up the battery tender and let it sit for about 3 months until I can ride. Should that be good enough or do you guys have any other reccomendations for me?
 

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I recommend you buy a digital meter. Although an analog meter has many uses, for battery work, a digital is better. Tenths of a volt count when measuring battery voltage and that can be hard to see with an analog.
 

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No one mentioned it, but did you pull out the choke (enricher) knob when trying to start? If you did, did it stay out? If really cold, unlikely it will start without doing so. Dont mean to offend.


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No, no worries! I did try the choke fully out but still no luck. I'm thinking the battery is just too cold to turn over the engine. Still not entire sure since I'm new to this but any tips would be very helpful!
 

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Cold temperatures (sub 40F) will hinder any battery's ability to provide the instantaneous current needed to turn the starter motor.

Age and other factors (high/low temperature storage) also affect the battery's ability to hold charge for any amount of time. So if the dealership charged it up with a battery charger right before those two times (shady) then it might be able to start, but due to battery age the charge did not hold for hours/days/however long it was. You can take the battery to an auto parts store (or Batteries plus store) and they can load-test it. If it is the original battery (20 years old) it should be replaced anyway Even at 10 years I'd question it.
12V12Ah motorcycle batteries are only $30-40 on amazon.

If the battery checks out OK once charged, then you probably have an electrical drain or short causing it to die.
 

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The original battery in my 05 800 lasted about 7-8 years when I had to replace it. Most auto parts store will charge and test free. If in doubt, have it tested.
 

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Charge the battery first, then check the voltage, should be 13v +. If you still hear the clicking sound when trying to start it, come back and tell us. (Could be a few things.)

If it starts after charging, then later on it does the same thing, something is either draining it (time to troubleshoot), or the battery is not charging (time to troubleshoot), or you have a bad battery. I'd buy a new battery and be done. At least you know then it's not the battery when you start troubleshooting--especially if your battery is not new.
 

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Charge the battery first, then check the voltage, should be 13v +. If you still hear the clicking sound when trying to start it, come back and tell us. (Could be a few things.)

If it starts after charging, then later on it does the same thing, something is either draining it (time to troubleshoot), or the battery is not charging (time to troubleshoot), or you have a bad battery. I'd buy a new battery and be done. At least you know then it's not the battery when you start troubleshooting--especially if your battery is not new.
Battery open circuit voltage means almost nothing.

Why buy a new battery if the old one is still OK?

The best route is to troubleshoot as is, determine what is bad and remedy that issue only.
 

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If the battery is OK, I agree; not what I was talking about. I thought the OP was talking about troubleshooting a questionable battery and a clicking sound when trying to start the bike. So battery voltage is everything. I still stand by what I said. Too many times in my life, whether it be a car battery or a motorcycle battery, it has been diagnosed wrong. They said it was good, and was found later to be bad. They said it's bad, then found it to be good. If the battery is NOT new and will NOT come up to full charge, and hold that charge, replace it and be done.

Tires, battery, fluids, keep 'em fresh. Just me, not arguing with anyone.
 

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I just this year bought a battery tester for under $50. Kind of tired of replacing when it could be a good battery too. They just keep getting more and more expensive. So easy to clip on the tester, squeeze the trigger and it tells you what's going on with it. My Harley was not charging (my fault), the tester saved me from spending needlessly. It can tell you where it is at in it's life cycle, ie.. if it's getting to be time to replace.
 

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If the battery is OK, I agree; not what I was talking about. I thought the OP was talking about troubleshooting a questionable battery and a clicking sound when trying to start the bike. So battery voltage is everything. I still stand by what I said. Too many times in my life, whether it be a car battery or a motorcycle battery, it has been diagnosed wrong. They said it was good, and was found later to be bad. They said it's bad, then found it to be good. If the battery is NOT new and will NOT come up to full charge, and hold that charge, replace it and be done.

Tires, battery, fluids, keep 'em fresh. Just me, not arguing with anyone.
And I'll stand by what I said. A battery that reads 13v means nothing.
What it reads under load is what counts.
A battery that reads good open circuit can go to zero as soon as a load is put across the terminals.
A load test is the only way to go.
 

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And I'll stand by what I said. A battery that reads 13v means nothing.
What it reads under load is what counts.
A battery that reads good open circuit can go to zero as soon as a load is put across the terminals.
A load test is the only way to go.
Good info, thanks!
 
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