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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All,

Every couple of weeks I'll go out to start the bike for my morning commute and it won't start. The bike lights up fine, fuel pump primes, starter turns over strong, but battery (brand new) nearly drains long before the bike starts. Once I slave it to my truck it fires right up. I ride it for about 20 minutes to the workplace (high rpms) but when I get there the battery is still nearly drained and the bike won't start. At that point, sometimes the fuel pump primes and sometimes it doesn't.

Please bear in mind that my question is focused on the TLRs charging capability and not the root cause of the random starting issue. You're free to suggest likely culprits if you like, and all help is appreciated, but I don't want the title of this post to be misleading. I can research this site for previous starting solutions at a later date. For now, I'm mostly curious why my pathfinder's 8 year old battery, when jumped, will charge enough within a few miles to start a 6 cylinder engine the next day, but the TLR won't charge a brand new battery enough to power a flashlight immediately after riding much further.


FACTS:

1. Both batteries are brand new. Starting/charging issue occurred with both
2. Bike always fires up instantly, hot or cold temps, for days/weeks at a time, then doesn't
3. I have a wire bypassing the clutch switch, but fuel pump always primes
4. My TLR is Yellow

[Battery Specs]
 

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I'd say you have regulator rectifier problem.

it may be draining the battery when its parked.

and not charging it when its running

there are a heap of threads on how to test your electrical charging system

use the search button.

Do NOT do the charging mod until you have it all sorted .
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd say you have regulator rectifier problem. it may be draining the battery when its parked. and not charging it when its running...
So you're saying a jumped battery should be charged enough to start the bike after a hard 20 minute ride?
 

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If the charging system is functioning properly a 20 minute ride should be enough to put enough into the battery so it starts next time of asking.
I'm with Ring-in on this one. I'd definitely be looking at the reg/rec. Stick a meter across the battery when its running and let's see the voltages.
 

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The other thing I notice is those PowerSource batteries seem to have very mixed reviews. They vary greatly from "excellent" to "lasted a day then it failed".

Something else to check I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The other thing I notice is those PowerSource batteries seem to have very mixed reviews. They vary greatly from "excellent" to "lasted a day then it failed"...

I noticed that as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I purchased a battery charger, and because I know that's not enough, a portable NOCO Genius boost power pack, which I seriously doubt will even work when I need it most. Although, it did manage to cause the engine to crank, but sadly it didn't start :(

1. I removed my Starter Relay and noticed that one of the pins is charred, and the matching wire doesn't seat to it securely anymore, but I thought I had rectified this a few month ago with electrical tape :) The bike always cranks, so I assume the relay is working as designed. Far as know, the relay is a (work/don't work) component, so if Clyde's cranking over, then it's good? I don't see how it could be the culprit for the bike not actually starting.

2. As I mentioned previously, I do have a jumper on the clutch switch, which I have recently learned causes the ECU to select a different fuel map and is therefore known to foul out plugs. Given that the bike normally fires right up though, I can't figure why it would be a random and intermittent issue.

3. I haven't done this yet, but given that the issue all began after I started tinkering with the bike, it's likely I screwed something up with the wiring. Not so much that something is hooked up wrong, but because the harness goes all over the place, and previous owner had some shitty integrated tail light hack-job going on, that I may have left something exposed some where during the fix. Anyway, I am very tempted to pull the entire harness, clean it, label it, and reinstall it. I'm chicken though, so I probably won't :)


Tested at battery terminals:

BIKE OFF = 13.8 volts
BIKE ON = 12.4 volts
CRANKING = 10.5 volts
BIKE IDLE = 13.8 volts
5000 RPM = 13.1 volts
 

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OK Josh, I'll to keep my posts in your primary thread here. But don't dangle any other carrots in front of me. :)

For some reason, I was thinking you already had the Charging Mod installed. My mistake. But that's a good thing, because it explains a lot of what you are seeing.


....

1. I removed my Starter Relay and noticed that one of the pins is charred, and the matching wire doesn't seat to it securely anymore, .... The bike always cranks, so I assume the relay is working as designed. Far as know, the relay is a (work/don't work) component, so if Clyde's cranking over, then it's good? I don't see how it could be the culprit for the bike not actually starting.
When using a starter relay strictly as a starter relay, you are right, it either works or it doesn't. However, Suzuki has opted to make their starter relay multi-task. Not only does it relay power to the starter motor, but it also houses the main fuse and is the primary link between the battery and the entire electrical system.

The charred pin you found on your starter relay belongs to the solid RED wire. That wire commonly overheats because it is carrying nearly all the current required by the bike when in operation. The load that puts it over the edge and causes failure is the headlight current. When the starter relay connector is kept pristine and tight, it performs admirably. But that is not the case with most TLs. Vibration and atmosphere cause the terminals to loosen and oxidize, which results in resistance at the terminal. Resistance causes heat, and in time, the wires and terminals overheat and burn as yours has. Those terminals are really too small for the application Suzuki decided to use them in.

So then, the reason your TL cranks OK but doesn't start may be largely due to that poor connection at the starter relay connector.

In a nutshell, here is possibly why -

  • Your battery is statically at 13.8 volts. That's pretty good.
  • When you key on, the voltage drops to 12.4V. Not bad, but what you can't see is that the RED wire terminal at the relay connector is already heating up because the headlight current is flowing through it.
  • When you press the start button, the relay works fine because the relay coil is energized with the Yel/Green and Yel/Blk wires. Their terminals are fine so they keep the relay engaged as long as you hold the button. Plus, the relay coil doesn't require a full 12V to perform, so it won't care if the system voltage sags below 10V or 9V, it still does its job.
  • While cranking the engine over you reported the battery voltage drops to 10.5 volts. That's still not bad, many TLs do the same. However, remember that charred terminal on the RED wire? Well, the battery is also supplying 10.5 volts to the relay-side of that connection. Meanwhile, all the lights, the ECM, and the ignition system are pulling current through that same RED wire. Since it now has a poor connection at the terminals, a voltage drop occurs across it. That means some voltage less than 10.5 volts is what is now available to the rest of the system.
  • We all know when ignition coils have a reduced input, their output is also reduced. That means a weaker spark, which equals harder to start.
  • If the voltage gets low enough on the RED wire (around 8 or 9 volts, I think) the ECM will shut down. After that, it may still be cranking over, but the system is effectively 'brain dead.'



2. As I mentioned previously, I do have a jumper on the clutch switch, which I have recently learned causes the ECU to select a different fuel map and is therefore known to foul out plugs. Given that the bike normally fires right up though, I can't figure why it would be a random and intermittent issue.
The jumpered clutch switch is not directly causing difficult starting. However, because it encourages fouled plugs, it is not helping the condition either.




3. I haven't done this yet, .... Anyway, I am very tempted to pull the entire harness, clean it, label it, and reinstall it. ....


Tested at battery terminals:

BIKE OFF = 13.8 volts
BIKE ON = 12.4 volts
CRANKING = 10.5 volts
BIKE IDLE = 13.8 volts
5000 RPM = 13.1 volts
No need to pull the entire harness, at least not until you get things to a known state.

Your voltage numbers are typical of the OEM charging system. The reason the voltage drops to 13.1V at 5000 rpm is because the charging current increases with the higher revs. At the same time, however, the higher current has to flow through the many connections and small wires in the OEM loom, and these many obstacles generate resistance to the charging current. In turn, that resistance effectively steals voltage that should be getting to the battery. That's why the Charging Mod works so well, because it bypasses all those obstacles in the OEM loom.

If the R/R is still good, you should be able to measure a higher voltage directly at its output connector (at 5000 rpm). Measure between the red wires and black/wht wires in that white connector from the R/R. Then again, the R/R may be bad, but you won't know until you test it. You have the "Definitive Charging Mod" thread from D'Ecosse, and a multi-meter, so you're set. :) For comparison, my TLS is still using the OEM R/R (with the charging mod) and it is putting out 14.1V at 4000 rpm.


From what you have noted, your primary problem is the starter relay and its connector. Fix those and you'll be able to troubleshoot the rest of the charging system.

FYI - if you eventually install the Charging Mod, you will also need to install the Headlight Relay Mod to keep the starter relay connector from doing a repeat performance. Fortunately, D'Ecosse has posted the reason for the headlight mod also, so you won't have to listen to me ramble.

:ytiller
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Two things Six5...
1. I am very appreciative of the time you took to provide me with that outstanding write-up. A ton of useful information there. :thumbup

2. I am blown away by the fact you knew exactly which wire was the culprit. I ran right out and confirmed that it is in fact the red wire that is charred. Also, thanks to your focus on the relay, I am now almost certain that it was soon after I removed the relay to perform additional maintenance that this issue began manifesting itself.


I could order a new relay, so that the red wire can lock securely in place, but because the coating on the red wire is melted away exposing the copper it would only solve half the issue. The only options I have are the Charging Mod or splicing a new copper line. I have no idea where to purchase the proper female connectors, so it looks like the Charging MOD is the clear winner.
 

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You can also get a new replacement starter relay connector, complete with properly crimped pigtails, from Brainless on TLPlanet. It can be easily spliced into your loom.

Or you can build one yourself with parts sourced from Easternbeaver.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll throw a +1 on top of that :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You can also get a new replacement starter relay connector, complete with properly crimped pigtails, from Brainless on TLPlanet.
Contacted Brainless. Replacement connector on its way. Looks to be very good quality to boot.
 

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Contacted Brainless. Replacement connector on its way. Looks to be very good quality to boot.
:thumbup
Yeah, Brainless has been making those connector kits for quite some time now. I'm sure he has nearly perfected his technique. :laugh If a poll could be taken, you'd be surprise by how many members on these forums are using his starter relay connector pigtails. :)


And it looks like you have updated you avatar photo from the last time I logged in. So, the yellow R (2000?) is your current ride and the silver R was a previous bike?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
:So, the yellow R (2000?) is your current ride and the silver R was a previous bike?
Correct. My bikes are listed on my profile in the order they were owned.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not sure why I never closed this thread out. Sorry about that :blush


I swapped out my old OEM connector with the one Brainless shipped. Both the poor charging\random battery drain and the cranking strong but not starting issues were resolved. VIP sticker goes to Six5 on this one. :hail

Also a big :thumbup to Brainless for providing us with a top notch Relay Connector replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No. I did not do the charging system MOD, so I will not be touching the headlight relay. All I did was cut the four wires to the damaged connector, then connected the wires from the new connector to the wiring harness. Straight up swap.


 
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