Is this the battery or the ignition switch? - The Jockey Journal Board

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Old 07-29-2014, 12:35 PM   #1
124hunter
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Default Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

I am getting conflicting opinions on this issue and wanted to get a little input. I rode my 47 EL about 75 miles this past Saturday to the end point of the kickstart classic,Cyclemos in Red Boiling Springs. Temps were in the low 90s and I had no issues. Left there Sunday morning around 11 for the trip home.

After about 50 miles I notice my headlight is not working but the bike is running fine. Less than a mile from our destination the bike stumbles for about 5 seconds and dies. Turn the ignition off and on a couple of times,no head light and will not start.

I haul it home thinking dead battery due to generator not charging. I put the charger on and it instantly shows a full charge. Turn the key on,head light comes on. Kick it once and starts right up and idles smooth. Tried it again a couple times over the last couple of days and still charged and starts. Any ideas? I have been told bad battery,ignition switch and neither.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:38 PM   #2
bobberadam
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

what kind of battery? I had the same issues, inside the battery the positive terminal had broken but would "reconnect" and then after some riding would die again. maybe throw another battery in and see if it helps. Just a thought.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:00 PM   #3
124hunter
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

It is a lead acid 6 volt from the local Harley store,put it in new when I got the bike. It has about 400 miles on it over the last couple of months.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:00 PM   #4
govmule84
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

I think it could some other items, too... I would be checking my ground(s), for sure.

Like bobberadam there, too, I also have had battery terminals and grids break and reconnect as he describes.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:09 PM   #5
akchopper
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

I recently went through the same issue with my 46 FL. Initially it would start cutting out like I was running out of gas, then die completely. If I let it sit for a while it would start back up and run fine. The 32E generator was a little weak so I sent it off for rebuild and while I was waiting rewired the bike. I also replaced the points and condenser. When I got the generator back the bike was doing the same thing, only now it would run rough and then blow a 30 amp fuse. So I sent the generator off again to be checked (just to be sure), replaced the ignition switch, and because I'm a glutton for punishment, I rewired the bike again. All of the above didn't fix the problem. It was still blowing 30 amp fuses. Finally I replaced the coil. So far that seems to have fixed it, although I'm still staying close to home until I'm 100% sure.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

Thanks for the input guys. I will check all the grounds and connections first. The headlight gets brighter when I rev the motor so I assume I can rule out the generator. It does seem strange that the headlight would go out but the bike still ran. If it is a broken plate or connection in the battery is there an alternative to the lead acid version that might last a little longer than 2-3 months and 400 miles?
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

The only way to find those electrical gremlins is to troubleshoot when they are acting up. I carry a test light or a small volt meter about the size of a pack of smokes if I'm experiencing one. Without fail I always carry about 3 feet of wire with alligator clips. One soldered on each end. Accessory doesn't work, test for voltage. If there is voltage, test for grounding. You can use the wire with the clips to bypass the power or the grounds. Doesn't take long even by the side of the road. There have been times I've found a problem with my test wire and just left the circuit bypassed while I rode her back to the barn. Beats the hell out of hauling her home, that's embarrassing and time consuming.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is this the battery or the ignition switch?

Do you have a breaker in the electrical loop? If so, it could be going bad, or bad only when it gets hot. Even when they test good on the bench, they can have internal damage. which would explain running fine, and then, after getting hot, loosing all power. Later it will start, because the breaker is completely cool. Take it for a ride, and take a short peice of wire long enough to go from the battery to the key switch. If it quits, bypass the switch, and the breaker(if you have one), and see if it starts. You will know as soon as you bypass it, the headlight should come on.
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