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Troubleshooting Motorcycle Battery Problems | Honda VTX 1800 | Partzilla.com


Hello, John Talley here with partzilla.com. I know plenty of ya’ll have gone out to the
garage, turned on the key to your bike, getting ready to ride, got your helmet on, hit the
starter and– you hear that. So, here’s the question: does the battery
need to be recharged or does it need to be replaced? Well, I don’t know yet. But what we’re going to do is go ahead and
pull the seat, go ahead and hook a tester to it, go through a couple of testing techniques,
and maybe try recharging it and see what happens. So if you’re ready, let me go grab a couple
of tools and we’ll get started. Before we get started let’s go through the
tools you’re going to need to get this little project done. Going to need a hammer, a decent 3/8 wrench,
a 6mm allen for that, a #2 Phillips, flat blade, a couple of pairs of needlenose pliers,
and then on the specialty side you want to have a voltometer and some type of smart battery
charger and you’re probably not going to have this piece here. this actually tests the health of the battery
so I’d recommend running down to the dealership with your battery and have them test it. Certainly they can do that for you. Once you’ve assembled all this, we can get
started. Alright first things first: to access the
battery, this one happens to be under the seat as it is on most other motorcycles. Only a couple of bolts holding it on on either
side. Then we’ll get the seat out of the way. Alright, it looks like they’ve got a power
commander hooked up. That’s just velcroed in. Lay it out to the side. Next, let’s go ahead and lift out the ECM. And, I’m one of those that likes to keep it
plugged in. Reason being, these little connections are
pretty fragile, so I’d just rather pull it up and out of the way than disconnecting it
because basically you just have to get these three Phillips screws out. And then this upper plate can be removed and
then that will expose the battery. Well let’s just do an initial test just to
see what the battery voltage is. I mean a typical healthy battery should be
around 12.8, 12.9. One that’s in real trouble is going to be
under 12 volts, so let’s see where this one ends up. She’s actually reading 12.48, but that is
real close to fooling me. So, what I’m going to do is leave this connected,
and we’re actually going to try to start it and we’re going to see what kind of voltage
drop we get. Alright, that dropped down to around two volts,
so this battery is in serious trouble. It may have an initial voltage that’s where
it’s supposed to be, but I’m betting that the tester’s going to verify what we just
saw. There’s no way it can start this machine dropping
with that kind of loss. So, let’s get it taken out and tested. Alright let’s go ahead and get this battery
out. A little tip from me: you want to disconnect
the negative first, and that’ll be the last thing that you connect. Reason being is if this is disconnected and
you short our this side, guess what? It can’t go anywhere. But if this is already connected, well you’re
going to complete a circuit right there. So, we’re going to do the negative side first. Then let’s go ahead and get that positive
side. A little trick because this thing is so embedded
in there. If you have two pairs of needlenose pliers,
grab it by the posts to get it out. Alright, let’s carry it over to the bench. Alright, let’s get it hooked up to our load
tester and see what kind of shape this battery’s in. Alright with a tester like this, this is actually
battery-specific. So I actually have to bring up YTX-20L. Alright yeah I realized on the front of it
it says GTX but I guess that’s their particular model number for a knock off, you know because
this machine actually came with a Yuasa, and that’s the battery that I’m actually going
to test for. So that’s what we’ve got in place. Imagine that: it says to replace the battery. Let’s see what kind of health. Alright, the health is zero percent, and its
charge was you know, right at 80. So yeah, you can charge this battery to death
and it’s not going to come back. I did have the charger up here and I was going
to go ahead and do that just to see what happens, but I guarantee you it’s just going to test
the same. When you have a zero health on it, it is done. So, we need to serve us up a new battery,
which I just happen to have already out on the bench. Like I said earlier, this is the OEM, this
is what Honda uses. This is a YTX-20LBS. This is the battery you want to use. We can sell you the battery, the trick is
we cannot ship you the electrolyte. So if you order one from us, it’s not going
to be ready to go. you’ll have to go and pick up a bag of electrolyte
to get it filled. But I’m going to go ahead and show you the
process, get it charged, get it tested, and we’re going to get it back in the machine. Pretty simple process. Pull this upper cover. You want to pull of this cap, but do not throw
it away. Because this piece right here is actually
what seals it back up. So, what we’re going to do is plug that in
and let it fill. Don’t be tempted to try to rock it back and
forth or punch a little hole in the top to get the acid to flow in quicker because it
will overflow. Because what it’s doing right now is filling
up all those voids inside of this glass matte and that takes a little while. So give this a couple of minutes, then we’ll
throw it on the charger. Alright, all the electrolyte has been poured
into our battery and just want to make sure that you let it sit for about 20 minutes so
it actually gets absorbed into the glass matte, because that’s actually what this is is an
AGM type battery, which stands for absorbed glass matte. Alright, with that done now we need to charge
it up. Alright a couple of different options here. AT our shop we’ve got this really nice smart
charger made by Christie. What you can use is just a small smart charger
like this one from Battery Tender. BikeMaster makes one, and I believe that Honda
also makes one. And we sell them all on the website. So, if you just type in the word “Chargers,”
punch up a bunch of different ones will come up. If you really did want a commercial grade
one, I know that Yuasa makes one as well. but it’s on the website as well if you want
to go that route. Alright, I’m not going to use the small charger
because I have this one here and I’m in a bit of a hurry. So what we’re going to do is go ahead and
set it up for this particular battery. Alright, yours might be different, but what
we have to do is actually set what the size battery it is, go ahead and connect up our
cables, then set our time for the size battery. We’re going to go about an hour. So with that set up, get around to 60 minutes. Flip it on and away she goes. So, in about an hour we’ll get everything
sealed back up and tested and then get it back on the machine. And I’ll bet you it will start this time. so, see you in an hour. Well, she is finished charging. So let’s go ahead and disconnect. Next step, go ahead and get this cap back
on– or on period, because I didn’t mention at the beginning but you definitely want to
charge it with this off. You don’t want to install this piece until
it’s completely charged. Alright. At this point, this battery is sealed back
up. so you’ll never have to take this off again
because this is what they call a maintenance-free battery. Alright just for kicks let’s hook it up and
see where we ended up. 13.10 volts, so I’d say this one is pretty
hot and ready to go. And this is actually before delivery. YTX-20, ready to install. Alright, well that tells me everything I need
to know, so let’s go ahead and get her in there. Down she goes. I’d already put those little threaded inserts
in the posts before I laid it in there. Alright, let’s go ahead and get the positive
on first. Get is snugged down with a screwdriver and
if you really want to make sure, just give it a little bit more with a quarter-inch drive. Because you don’t want to put too much because
you could actually rip that post off. So just a little bit more, maybe a quarter
of a turn will secure it. Now, we can go ahead and do the negative side. And on this particular one we’ve got this
aftermarket power commander. so don’t forget to put the ground back on
it if you have that or any other accessories on your machine. Same thing, tighten it down. Then just about an eighth or a quarter turn
just to make sure it’s tight. And we can get in this upper cover which actually
holds it in place. And if you remember there’s just three Phillips
head screws that hold it down. Now swing our ECU back in. Now, all that’s left is to get the seat on. And it’s just those two 6mm Allens, one on
either side. Alright guys, let’s flip it on and see what
it does. Well, as we could have predicted, she fired
right up and had some pretty good authority behind it. Had no trouble spinning this one over. Well listen, if your battery is in good shape
and it’s still not starting up, why don’t you follow me over to another video that we
did that kind of addresses what I call a no-start condition and maybe we can help you out with
that. Well listen, if you need any of the parts
or the tools that we used, maybe one of those chargers, why don’t you come see us at partzilla.com
and we can get you taken care of. If you have any questions or comments, just
leave them in the section below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Until next time, we just want to say thanks
for watching.

Bernard Jenkins

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