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Discussion Starter #21
"Removing the top box" is not as easy as it sounds. As suggested above, I would take out the half dozen screws and remove the bottom cover from the trunk - it encircles the trunk and pannier latches. That's going to give an idea of what's been messed with. Also above, the small cover covers on the bottom rear of the panniers may hide some surprises.

No one has mentioned checking the starter button. Known to get sticky and cause starter and headlight issues.
Just an update folks. This afternoon I removed the top box to access the trailer wiring and, to my surprise, found that this was wired directly into the existing loom. No isolation relays etc.. I have now disconnected this completely but the problem still remains. I have noticed that just the side saddlebag lights illuminate when the ignition key is turned to the first position, extinguish at the next position and then illuminate again with all the other lighting at the next position. This is a Canadian spec machine but I have to say I have never noticed if this was occurring previously.

I will investigate further tomorrow. Firstly, I will take the battery to my friend at our local car spares shop and get him to put the 'drop tester' across it. If all is well I'll start checking further and carry out some of the test suggestions that have been made.
 

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There are a couple tests you can do wile the battery is out. And that is to test for a short. If you have the pinout for you trailer connector plug, you can use you VOM in either ohms or continuity mode and check the resistance between each pin. I don't think you have a short to ground. However, you may have to wires shorted to each other. Start with one lead on your running light pin then hold it to each of the other pins. You should not get a reading because the wire that energizes the running lights should not energize the turn signals or brake lights. Likewise, the left turn signal should not energize the right and so on. If you find continuity between two pins, note what they energize and see if that is what you get by observing the lights when the battery is in. At least you will have reduced your search down to two wires.
 

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I have noticed that just the side saddlebag lights illuminate when the ignition key is turned to the first position, extinguish at the next position and then illuminate again with all the other lighting at the next position. This is a Canadian spec machine but I have to say I have never noticed if this was occurring previously.
I wonder if that is not normal? The first position (farthest left) is park and those might be considered parking lights. The next step would be off and they are off, right? The last step is run and all should come to life. Maybe you are struggling with an issue that isn't an issue at all Chris???? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
I wonder if that is not normal? The first position (farthest left) is park and those might be considered parking lights. The next step would be off and they are off, right? The last step is run and all should come to life. Maybe you are struggling with an issue that isn't an issue at all Chris???? :)
Hi redwing

I understand what you're saying but this doesn't detract from the fact that this problem only began once I started to test the trailer connections at the socket? It could easily be the battery? But of course, it could easily be something else entirely?

My last 'Wing was a European spec model and the lights only operated at a switch under the horn button. This being a Canadian spec model the lights operate a bit differently. In other words they are on all the time, as far as I'm lead to believe?

You could in fact be right about the saddlebag lights being 'parking lights', but if this is the case, shouldn't the front side lights also come on with these at the same time? Maybe someone with a similar spec machine could validate this? Just to confirm, the first position on the ignition switch (farthest left) with the steering unlocked is park, the next position to the right everything is off and the next position to the right is run and everything does in fact come to life.

I have now isolated the trailer wiring altogether so should the battery discharge rapidly now it can no longer be related to this. Maybe there isn't a fault? Maybe the battery, although almost brand new, could be shot? I will have that tested today.

Jlaframboise, I was testing the trailer socket voltages at the pins with a multi-meter. I located the earth pin (white - number 3) where I attached the negative (black) probe and then inserted the positive (red) probe into the corresponding circuit I was testing. For example: number 1 is yellow for the left hand indicator which I remember was working properly, and so on until this issue occurred.

ADDENDUM

I have had the battery tested and although the output voltage drops very slightly, all is good. I don't have much faith in the Optimate chargers, which I have been using to keep it topped up, so they are going to charge it to full capacity and test again, just to be sure! It's looking more likely to be a problem with the wiring somewhere now?
 

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I have now isolated the trailer wiring altogether so should the battery discharge rapidly now it can no longer be related to this. Maybe there isn't a fault? Maybe the battery, although almost brand new, could be shot? I will have that tested today.
What do you mean by "discharge rapidly"? Do you get a lot of sparks when you connect the battery or does it only discharge rapidly after you turn the ignition on?
 

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The lights on the side of the panniers are not factory installed. They could be Hondaline or an aftermarket manufacturer. Either way they have been added and it sounds like they are wired to an Accessory (ACC) hot circuit.

Key switch has an ACC selection between OFF and RUN. This should allow you to operate the radio, air compressor, expresso machine and such without providing power to the ignition system or headlights.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
What do you mean by "discharge rapidly"? Do you get a lot of sparks when you connect the battery or does it only discharge rapidly after you turn the ignition on?
Hi Dave

No there isn't any 'sparks' when connecting the battery it discharges rapidly after turning the ignition on.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
The lights on the side of the panniers are not factory installed. They could be Hondaline or an aftermarket manufacturer. Either way they have been added and it sounds like they are wired to an Accessory (ACC) hot circuit.

Key switch has an ACC selection between OFF and RUN. This should allow you to operate the radio, air compressor, expresso machine and such without providing power to the ignition system or headlights.
Andy

That's a thought? Now the top box is removed I'll investigate further. They really need to be wired into the lighting circuit then?
 

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Hi Dave

No there isn't any 'sparks' when connecting the battery it discharges rapidly after turning the ignition on.
If there were a large enough draw to drain the battery quickly it should blow a fuse. Or the battery is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
If there were a large enough draw to drain the battery quickly it should blow a fuse. Or the battery is bad.
Would you agree the battery is bad even though it may be holding a full charge? Will confirm this a little later when I pop into the shop
 

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Would you agree the battery is bad even though it may be holding a full charge? Will confirm this a little later when I pop into the shop
Yes, I have seen many batteries that will hold a charge but will not hold up under load. Bad internal connection between the cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Yes, I have seen many batteries that will hold a charge but will not hold up under load. Bad internal connection between the cells.
Okay Dave. I must admit I was thinking that myself hence my reason for having battery checked first. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Right. Have had the battery fully charged and confirm that initially it is around 13.2 volts, but when the battery tester is applied the voltage drops, and remains steady at around 12.3 volts. Probably not enough to turn the engine over. Maybe, as Dave suggested, the battery is in fact on it's way out? Looks like saving some cash and investing in another gel battery! :frown2::frown2:
 

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ADDENDUM

I have had the battery tested and although the output voltage drops very slightly, all is good. I don't have much faith in the Optimate chargers, which I have been using to keep it topped up, so they are going to charge it to full capacity and test again, just to be sure! It's looking more likely to be a problem with the wiring somewhere now?

Optimate makes different models of chargers, I am sure...


but the only ones that " I trust " are branded Battery Tender, which come in several different current capacity models... the 2 models I choose are the 1.25 amp, and the 0.75 amp versions.


Either will keep your bike's battery topped off at 13.6ish all the time.
they turn on, charge, then turn off and monitor.
that way, there is not the problem of boiling a battery dry.


I have one dedicated to every battery equipped vehicle here.

  • RV deep cycle
  • Piaggio MP3 scooter
  • GL1800,
  • Lawnmower tractor ( this is the worst of the lot, if not on Battery Tender )

and one with Alligator clips that gets moved around during sub-freezing long term weather.... it goes on the Suburban and the Pontiac Vibe because we are recluses in Cold Weather, and don't get out of the house.
 

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Right. Have had the battery fully charged and confirm that initially it is around 13.2 volts, but when the battery tester is applied the voltage drops, and remains steady at around 12.3 volts. Probably not enough to turn the engine over. Maybe, as Dave suggested, the battery is in fact on it's way out? Looks like saving some cash and investing in another gel battery! :frown2::frown2:
What sort of tester is being used? I don't trust electronic testers, they are pretty good most of the time but they don't apply enough load to really be sure. I used them quite a bit when I was working and found them to not be reliable. Usually showing good batteries bad but sometimes showing bad batteries good. The one in my 94 chevy tested bad 4 years ago, it's still in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
What sort of tester is being used? I don't trust electronic testers, they are pretty good most of the time but they don't apply enough load to really be sure. I used them quite a bit when I was working and found them to not be reliable. Usually showing good batteries bad but sometimes showing bad batteries good. The one in my 94 chevy tested bad 4 years ago, it's still in there.
The tester I always preferred to use when I worked at our local tyre and exhaust company many years ago was the Durite Tester, but these are now illegal to use in the UK has they spark and have caused injury in the past. Really good and shows dud cells etc. Most shops now use an equivalent tester the Ancel with crocodile clips. Both of these are shown in the images
 

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The tester I always preferred to use when I worked at our local tyre and exhaust company many years ago was the Durite Tester, but these are now illegal to use in the UK has they spark and have caused injury in the past. Really good and shows dud cells etc. Most shops now use an equivalent tester the Ancel with crocodile clips. Both of these are shown in the images
Chris,
There is a real easy no nonsense backyard battery test. Connect your voltmeter to the battery and set to DC volts. With the voltmeter connected try to start the bike. Does your voltmeter read 10 volts or better while the starter is cranking? If not you either have a starter issue (not likely) or the battery is junk. Voltage in and of itself is inconclusive. If the battery reads 13.2 volts at rest and drops to 7 volts while cranking under load, it is no good. If the battery reads 13.2 volts and 10.5 volts while cranking under load the battery is not the issue. The question is how does the battery stand up to a load. Static voltage does not mean much.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Chris,
There is a real easy no nonsense backyard battery test. Connect your voltmeter to the battery and set to DC volts. With the voltmeter connected try to start the bike. Does your voltmeter read 10 volts or better while the starter is cranking? If not you either have a starter issue (not likely) or the battery is junk. Voltage in and of itself is inconclusive. If the battery reads 13.2 volts at rest and drops to 7 volts while cranking under load, it is no good. If the battery reads 13.2 volts and 10.5 volts while cranking under load the battery is not the issue. The question is how does the battery stand up to a load. Static voltage does not mean much.
Redwing. I have just refitted the battery and can tell you the multi-meter read 12.4 volts, which remained steady, whilst the bike was switched off. When I turned the key to the first position the reading dropped to around 11.5 volts, which I assume is due to the saddlebag lights illuminating? Under starting conditions the reading dropped to around 9.4 - 9.8 volts until the engine fired. Just though I'd post my findings. I've ordered another Motobat gel battery just as a matter of course!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
The lights on the side of the panniers are not factory installed. They could be Hondaline or an aftermarket manufacturer. Either way they have been added and it sounds like they are wired to an Accessory (ACC) hot circuit.

Key switch has an ACC selection between OFF and RUN. This should allow you to operate the radio, air compressor, expresso machine and such without providing power to the ignition system or headlights.
Andy. You say the lighting on the side of the saddlebags are not factory installed? I'm a little confused here. All 'Wings I've come across, including the one I previously owned, have these lights??
 

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Andy. You say the lighting on the side of the saddlebags are not factory installed? I'm a little confused here. All 'Wings I've come across, including the one I previously owned, have these lights??
Saddlebag and trunk lights were not installed on 1988 - 2000 Gold Wing's at the assembly plant.

Honda did have saddlebag lights (see attached) that could be installed by owners.

There were a couple aftermarket companies that made saddlebag and trunk lights that could be installed by owners.
 

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