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1997 Honda vt600 electrical problems

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by philmydang, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. I'm convinced that the reason my bike isn't starting is due to an electrical problem. I don't think i was clear in my earlier post so i'll try to give a consise rundown.

    Got my bike about 3 months ago - rode it on short trips daily, never had any troubles whatsoever.

    After the first month, left it sitting in the garage for about 3 weeks. After which, the bike would not start. Starter motor would make some noise but engine would just not turn over. Charged battery - problem solved.

    After a week of more short trips, bike started to lose power whilst riding - very jerky throttle response and eventually died. Managed to get it started with electric start, but after idling for 30sec-1min it just died. (After trying many times, the electrics started to die - dim lights/indicators + no noise from stater motor)

    Same deal with jump/push starting. Idle sounded quite sick - possibly misfiring?

    Next day i decided to try my luck and push started - everything worked fine. Throttle response was good, idle sounded fine. Electric start was working fine. I drained the fuel and filled up with some fresh gas just to be safe.

    Rode her daily for about another week with no dramas. Till one day after a ride I tried to start and nothing happneed. I could hear a click when i hit the start button (im assuming thats the starter relay?) but nothing else. I noticed the lights, indicators and horn were all really dim.
    Figured i'd give it a few hours and try my luck again - but no such luck. However i did notice that the lights were brighter on my second try, but on each subsequent try they just got dimmer.

    Another hour I decided to push start. Engine fired up well - no strange sounds/misfiring. Gave it a quick ride around the carpark - throttle response was smooth. Stopped the engine and decided to wait till peakhour cleared up before riding her home. Electric start was still not working.

    A few hours later, another push start and she sounded sick again. Idles very poorly then dies.

    Someone please correct me if i'm wrong in thinking but if it was a fuel or ignition problem I wouldn't be experiencing strange things with my lights and horn.

    Could i have fried the battery from one too many push starts?

    I've also tested the stator and regulator with a multimeter and readings are within the ranges specified in my manual. Could they still be faulty?

    ps: battery is currently reading 11.something volts
  2. It sounds electrical as the lights dimming seem to indicate. Battery is a little low, you may have a collapsed cell. If the voltage comes up to the 14.4 volts or so when you are running and rev the engine then the Regulator is probably Ok. I have seen thermal issues with regulators where they seem fine but when they get hot they fail. Push starting will not damage the battery.

    I would say probably faulty battery. How old is the battery?
  3. Regulator or brushes in the alternator.
  4. No idea how old the battery is - could possibly be as old as the bike? How long do they usually last?

    I checked the voltage across the regulator and it was normal (zero i think) - Could it still be faulty?

    ibast could you explain what brushes in the alternator you're referring to? and how to test/replace them?

    Also, I've found some cheesy stuff that looks like tartare sauce covering the connecting pins. Does anyone know what that is?
  5. Batteries it depends on what kind of life it has had, lots of short commutes with frequent starts will give it a shorter life than long rides and infrequent starts. If it is the original battery that is a good life. About 5 -7 years on average.

    This "tartare sauce" stuff, where about is that? If it is around the battery terminals then it is probably lead sulphate and is a further indicator the battery is in poor condition. It is corrosive and mildly toxic so be careful. Use a mild mixture of BiCarbonate of Soda and water to wash the area down. The BiCarb is a mild Alkali and will neutralise the acids on the battery that cause this substance to form. Then clean the battery posts with some fine sandpaper and re-attach the leads.
  6. re: tartare sauce, the battery terminals are clean. I find it covering the connecting pins when i unplug the wire harnesses from the reg and stator.
  7. Sounds like the regs cooked itself. I think there are ways to test them with a multimeter.
  8. I think the tartare sauce might just be some kind of anticorrosive grease.

    Charged the battery and it was reading 13.8v whilst sitting on the table. Less than 5 minutes later it was down to about 13.0 - is that normal?

    Connected it back up and the bike started first go. Revving the engine brings the voltage up to about 14.5.

    My question is now - is it a faulty battery which doesn't hold its charge, or is something still wrong with my alternator/reg

    I suppose i could just trial and error till she stops dying on me
  9. That drop after charging may not be a problem. Leave it on the bench over night. If it continues then it is the battery.

    Back to the alternator, I'm not sure of the setup with you bike, but if it is a separate alternator then you can often get to the brushes fairly easily. You can probaly get replacements from any parts shop.

    they are just a couple of magnets on springs. They do wear.