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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a '99 Ultra Groundpounder with an S&S 113" motor. The battery has a charge of 12 or 13volts when cold, when I try to start it, the battery voltage goes to around 4 volts and obviously doesn't crank the motor. The battery is only 2 weeks old, not on a tender. If I jump it from my truck, it starts immediately. If I turn it off and try again by itself, it won't start. This is a curse on this damn bike, this is my 6th battery in 3 years. Any ideas?
 

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Yep, I agree with simple solutions first. The battery cables are tight. I've replaced battery cables, the starter is 6 months old, stator was checked last summer for similar problems and it was okay. I'm so frustrated at this point, I think I'm gonna see if a 12 gauge will fix it...

It's gotta be something simple, maybe something in the wiring that is discharging the battery or something? At this point, I'm just trying to sell the bike and it's kinda hard to do if it won't even fucking start and I can't/don't want to put it in the shop cuz the labor to fix it adds up quick. Where's my sledgehammer...
 

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sounds like you have a battery with a dead cell. See it all the time. Even the new ones have it happen. I'd have it load tested.

Jeff
 

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.....or your battery won't hold up under the load. Is it a sealed battery? I've had good results using H-D sealed batteries over some of the others (Odyssey, Big Boar, etc.) with bigger engines. Another consideration would be a voltage drop through the starting circuit, something you can test. Another try would be a start button on the solenoid end cover of the starter, this would eliminate the wiring associated with the start circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
baggersport said:
.....or your battery won't hold up under the load. Is it a sealed battery? I've had good results using H-D sealed batteries over some of the others (Odyssey, Big Boar, etc.) with bigger engines. Another consideration would be a voltage drop through the starting circuit, something you can test. Another try would be a start button on the solenoid end cover of the starter, this would eliminate the wiring associated with the start circuit.
Yeah, it's a sealed battery. I've had about 4 batteries in 2 years, a different brand every time. Wonder if it's the starter circuit, that would make sense. Just checked under the dash and noticed 4 relays, one is kinda crispy looking. Does the circuit that the start button run through include going through a relay, it does right? This can't be that hard, there's not much to troubleshoot here. That's what makes me all the more frustrated.

I may try the button on the end of the starter, I've entertained that idea before. The question I have is what to do when it's hot as hell and I've been riding all day. The last thing I want to do is stick my hand down there and get burned trying to start it. How do you accomplish that task? With your boot? I'll have to start wearing kevlar gloves... I guess whatever gets it started at this point.
 

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Voltage drop testing requires a meter and maybe a bit of help from springer- ... You can remove the solenoid cover on the starter and push the plunger in manually to make the contact, I'd do it after it wouldn't start with the button you normally use. This way you'll see if it starts and know if the button on the solenoid cover is what will fix it now. You may also find that tracing the circuit and cleaning all related connections, (yes there should be a solenoid), will solve the problem if it is a voltage drop issue.
 

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Big Ruckus said:
Yeah, it's a sealed battery. I've had about 4 batteries in 2 years, a different brand every time. Wonder if it's the starter circuit, that would make sense. Just checked under the dash and noticed 4 relays, one is kinda crispy looking. Does the circuit that the start button run through include going through a relay, it does right? This can't be that hard, there's not much to troubleshoot here. That's what makes me all the more frustrated.

I may try the button on the end of the starter, I've entertained that idea before. The question I have is what to do when it's hot as hell and I've been riding all day. The last thing I want to do is stick my hand down there and get burned trying to start it. How do you accomplish that task? With your boot? I'll have to start wearing kevlar gloves... I guess whatever gets it started at this point.
The starter button on the handle bar activates a relay that applies power to the starter solinoid on the starter. The starter soliniod then energizes appling power to the starter motor and turning over the bike.

If you have a "crispy" relay, I would start there. You can eliminate the starter circuit and test the battery and starter directly. On the starter solinoid there is a single wire. If you unplug that wire and then use a jumper wire to go from the battery positive terminal to the terminal on the starter, this will bypass the starter button and relay. Remember this is going to try to start the bike, so make sure you are in neutral. If this works, then you have a problem in the starter circuit.

If you do the test above and the starter turns the bike over, your starter is fine. If you do the test and your starter doesn't turn the bike over, get a different bike battery and try again. If it still doesn't turn the bike over, replace the battery with a car battery. If that turns the bike over but the bike battery won't you have starter problems and the starter is trying to draw way too much current for the bike battery.

I use a starter button on my starter and have not had a problem with burning anything but your bike may be different.
 

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ampmeter

If you have an amp meter then disconnect the positive terminal and place the meter between the battery and positive cable and turn off everything on the bike and see if you have current flow to something that shouldn't be there. If you have a clock or security system it may draw some current but not very much. If there is current flow then start pulling fuses until it goes away then see whats going on.

As far as the 12 or 13 volt charge, a battery can be dead and still show 12 or 13 volts and not supply enough amps to start the engine. A good battery when under load (starting engine) should not drop under 10 or 11 volts and should be able to maintain that for at least 10 to 20 seconds as a minimum.

When the bike is running it should be charging at about 13.5 to 14.5 ish.

I should throw in that I not a mechanic, I'm an electronics tech but batteries and charging circuits should all be pretty much the same.

Unless you have a very LARGE amp meter don't try to start the bike or anything like that through the amp meter. If it isn't fused you will let all of the smoke out of it.
 

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