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Was riding the bike yesterday and after 30 minutes the entire cluster went dead and the bike began to stall. Pulled over, turned the key, and LCD displayed a strange alien language. Managed to get it started with my portable jump pack, and again the cluster pooped out and bike began stalling. I made it three miles back to the house by riding the clutch and throttle. Put the bike on a charger and left it be for the night.

Today I had to go somewhere. I turned the key and the bike started right up and idled fine for 20 minutes. The cluster was working normally. I jiggled the harness in all the right places, but couldn't recreate the problem. I made the assumption that it had been caused by a dead battery, since my charging mod failed, and now that it was fully charged the problem was gone. I was wrong.

About 12 minutes out the cluster died and bike began choking again (in traffic sitting at a light no less). Finally puttered out a couple miles down the road. After a few minutes I turned the key and the cluster came back to life. And that's when the LCD revealed the problem... Check Oil.

You'd be forgiven for assuming it was an electronic failure, because after all what would oil have to do with the cluster, right? But sure as shit I checked the sight glass and it showed empty. It appears the shitty stock Clutch Cover has warped again causing the oil to weep out into the belly cowl undetected over time.

I'm now walking back to the bike with a quart of oil. Hopefully it's enough to get me several miles to the house.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, turns out the oil is A problem, but not THE problem. Put a quart in and the cluster died again after a couple minutes and the bike stalled just as I made it to a parking lot. So it must be electrical after all. I pulled the battery and walked it back to the house and put it on the charger. Showed 22%. It was fully charged prior to taking it out.

I'm leaning towards the battery/charging system being the culprit, but I'm not confident in that assessment. The charging Mod failed months ago, but I never experienced this issue until now. So why now?

Could there be a correlation between the oil leaking and the electronics? Maybe. Won't know until I get it apart and check the loom. Is the failing cluster a symptom of the stalling or is it due to the engine being starved of oil? I don't know that yet either. The quart I added didn't even register in the site glass, which means that engine was bone dry. For how long I don't know. I do know that I never would have discovered the leak without the electronic failure and stalling, so if the two are not related then the one problem may have saved my engine. If it's not already damaged that is.

Just waiting for the battery to charge and then I'll walk it back to the bike and see if it makes it home.


NOTE: I also placed a VOM on the battery last night after disconnecting the charger, and the voltage steadily dropped one volt per second. Not sure what it means yet, but it's interesting.
 

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I'm leaning towards the battery/charging system being the culprit, but I'm not confident in that assessment. The charging Mod failed months ago, but I never experienced this issue until now. So why now?
I agree. It seems to be a charging problem. You are experiencing charging issues now, because without the charging mod the oem loom offers a number of obstacles to the charging current. After time, with heat cycles, road grime, and the general stress that the OEM charge circuit is under, something is bound to fail.

Also, given the typical performance of the OEM charging circuit, a battery's lifespan will be shortened because it is constantly undercharged by the system. It could be that your battery is now at its life limit due to the poor performance of the charging system.


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Could there be a correlation between the oil leaking and the electronics? Maybe. Won't know until I get it apart and check the loom. Is the failing cluster a symptom of the stalling or is it due to the engine being starved of oil? I don't know that yet either. The quart I added didn't even register in the site glass, which means that engine was bone dry. ......
I don't see how there would be any correlation between the wacky gauges and the low oil level. In fact, on a positive note, your oil light did actually function, which means that the oil pressure was fine up until that point, even though the oil level was very low.
The strange behavior of the instrument cluster is simply a byproduct of the low system voltage as the battery was dying. I have experienced the same condition on my TLR.


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NOTE: I also placed a VOM on the battery last night after disconnecting the charger, and the voltage steadily dropped one volt per second. Not sure what it means yet, but it's interesting.
I suspect this note contains a typo on your part. Otherwise, given the rate of discharge you describe, the battery would be dead in 12 seconds.

In any case, a fast discharge rate when the battery is unloaded is a strong indication that the battery is toast.
 

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It was a typo. Meant .1 volts per second. I have the charging Mod in place, but it stopped working. I may have an answer for that though. I'll follow up once I confirm.

Also, my oil light never came on, so it can't be functioning correctly. I'm telling you, the engine was dry. Unless 1 quart is enough to sustain the engine.

Yesterday and today the battery was fully charged, but yesterday it lasted 30 miles and today it only lasted 10. That makes me think something mysterious happened yesterday. When your cluster died did the bike also begin choking and stall out?

I find it unusual that the charging system at 12.8 volts isn't keeping the battery leveled during operation. I understand it draining more and more during startups because it's not charging, but why would it drain while riding? The bike can't be using more than 12.8 volts can it?

I guess I'll know once I put the charged battery in it. If it makes it home without issues, then that must be the problem.

NOTE: You guys are very familiar with my electrical testing methods, and this poor battery has suffered just about every zap and drain you can think of, so I wouldn't be surprised if it finally decided to cross over into battery heaven. Hell, I honestly think it's earned eternal peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I managed to get the bike back on a fully charged battery (12.9 v). I also put the VOM to it while it was running and got 11.5 volts (at any RPM) so I guess that confirms the battery / charging system as the fault.

In another turn of events, the fast idle no longer works. Worked two days ago, before the electrical issue started, and now nothing. It's adjusted properly, and the tension on the lever hasn't changed, so it's not broken. Tell me that's not a strange coincidence.

More to follow on the miserable life of Clyde.
 

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Yesterday and today the battery was fully charged, but yesterday it lasted 30 miles and today it only lasted 10. That makes me think something mysterious happened yesterday. When your cluster died did the bike also begin choking and stall out?
Nothing too mysterious here. The battery is giving up, so its ability to hold a charge, its capacity, is quickly decreasing. Tomorrow it will be even worse. Eventually it will just be a lump of lead and plastic.:laugh

Yes, when my charging system failed, the wacky instruments were the first clue. Within a minute or so the engine developed an erratic idle. Then it would not take throttle. Then it died.
Remember, as the system voltage decreases, the ECM can no longer do its job properly. Eventually it shuts down, because that's the way it's made. :)



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I find it unusual that the charging system at 12.8 volts isn't keeping the battery leveled during operation. I understand it draining more and more during startups because it's not charging, but why would it drain while riding? The bike can't be using more than 12.8 volts can it?
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Think of your battery as not just a voltage source, but a power source. In electrical terms, POWER = CURRENT x VOLTAGE, or P = IE. (The acronym PIE is a memory aid. :))

So then, it's not that the bike needs more than 12.8 volts, but automotive batteries are designed so that 12.8 volts is the baseline charge. It's a chemical reaction thing.:laugh
Following that, automotive electrical systems are designed around that voltage level. The components powered by the battery, as well as the charging system work together so that they do not exceed the POWER limits of the battery.
The loads in the electrical system (lights, ECM, ignition) will pull current from the battery. This diminishes the battery's charge. In order to replace that current, or restore the charge, the charging circuit is designed to supply a current to the battery. In order to do this, the charging voltage must be higher than the battery voltage. Otherwise, no current will flow between the R/R and the battery. That's why most motorcycle charging systems are set up to generate 14 to 15 volts. This one to two volt difference in voltage allows current to flow into the battery, and thus replace the 'power' that the components in the system are using.

On the other hand, since your system was only generating a charge voltage of 11.5 volts, the battery was constantly fighting a losing battle. That is an unhealthy condition, and the battery's lifespan is shorter because of it.

:ytiller
 

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Weird things can happen when the reg/rec unit dies. I wouldn't bother trying to debug it. Just slap a new one in. They have them for as little as $30 on Amazon. You probably want to go a bit more upmarket than that but it's not going to break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As always, I appreciate the shared knowledge. I have a couple spare R/Rs kicking around (OEM of course), so I'm just gonna take your recommendations and replace the battery and regulator.


As for the oil leak, it's proving more difficult to locate than I thought. Oil is all over the front and bottom of the Outer Clutch Cover and bottom of the pan. All the bolts are tight. I did notice a small hole in the cover that wasn't there before, but can't tell if it penetrates all the way through. And I can't risk removing it, because I can't afford a new one w/ gasket. Guess I'll just clean it up, add some oil, and run it until it until it leaks. I bet my 2 MPH tip-over in the driveway last month was the cause of this. Hard to confirm since the fairing appears unscathed. One thing at a time I suppose.

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NOTE: I know the OEM R/R isn't the preferred recommendation among the group, but this one did last 20 years, and it's a free, so my poor as will be using it 🙂
 

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Josh, I have a spare clutch cover you can have. Just reimburse me for the shipping cost, and you can have it. BTW, when my bike dies, it did exactly what your did. The gauges went wonky and then the bike died. I have yet to figure it out as we are moving, so it will have to wait until I get to the new place. I hope you get yours figured out. Tony is lots of help!!!
 

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I appreciate it Ricky. If I confirm the cover is in fact shot I may take you up on your offer.
 

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Even more interesting now...



I threw the bike up on the stand to start cleaning and diagnosing the oil leak and guess what I found? The bike is not only full it's overfilled, from where I added the extra quart the other day. And there's no sign of oil in the cowl. So how that small bit of oil ended up on the front and bottom of the Clutch Cover and Oil Pan I may never know. It must have come from riding in the rain (oil on road) and or tipping the bike over in the driveway last month. Either way, it's good news for me <img src="http://www.tlzone.net/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />

Now the million dollar question remains... if the bike is a quart heavy, then why does the sight glass show bone dry on the kickstand? And why did the lcd say check oil? Y'all can look at yours and see that it shows oil in your window on the kickstand. Interesting yes?

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If mine's on the kickstand, it shows empty. The sight glass is on the opposite side of the bike. BTW, that's not intended as a smart remark.
 

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Discovered an electrical problem. A wire (from small black connector going into the engine is melted into the kickstand safety wire. Not sure it's the source of my problem, but definitely a future problem in the making if it's not.

What does this black two-wire connector control?

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*Update* I discovered the inline 30amp fuse from my charging Mod is cooked on one side. Swapped it out with a new and now I'm getting 12.8 volts at idle and 13.4ish volts at around 3000 RPMs.

Here's the thing, the Mod wires are getting pretty warm, and after 2-3 minutes of idling the R/R gets so hot I can't touch it. I never noticed this before. Is it normal?

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*Update* I discovered the inline 30amp fuse from my charging Mod is cooked on one side. ......

Here's the thing, the Mod wires are getting pretty warm, and after 2-3 minutes of idling the R/R gets so hot I can't touch it. I never noticed this before. Is it normal?
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A bad fuse holder is the same thing that caused my charging system failure on the tlr.
The OEM SCR regulator normally gets hot during operation. However, the wires should not be that hot. If the fuse holder has not been changed out yet, that poor connection is likely causing some of the heat in the wire. It will fail again, so be sure to replace it with something better.
 

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A bad fuse holder is the same thing that caused my charging system failure on the tlr ...
Confirmed. I temporarily removed and bypassed the inline fuse all together and I now get 13.4 at idle and nearly 14 at 3000 RPMs. Tomorrow I will get some more 14 gauge wire and a mini 30amp fuse for my new inline fuse box. R/R appears to be running cooler as well, so I guess the burnt fuse was acting as a resister.

Any issues with me using a mini fuse?

NOTE: Wire nuts are da bomb!
 

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It looks like the connector for the vacuum control solenoid valve (VCSV). You certainly don't want that orange/white wire shorting to anything. It is the switched 12 volts that powers the ignition circuit.
Josh,

Have you done the air box mod on your bike? I know you like OEM so I'm guessing no. If you have however, that plug can be isolated and taped away. But like Tony said. It's a hot 12.
 

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Tony,

Isn't that burnt up wire in the foreground the ground spade that you suggest completely eliminating?

Josh,

Right above the front sprocket is a bolt with a big ground strap. You should remove the bolt and clean it and the ring terminal area and reattach. I know you love cleaning!
 
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