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I have a 1990 GL1500SE that has been stellar for years. We ride her all the time. Last week I went to ride her and she acted like she had a dead battery. I put on the charger all night and the next day tested the battery. It was good. Still, the headlights and none of the guages/dash lights worked (save the cruise control "on" light on the dash). She wouldn't crank-not even a click. The radio works, the clock works, blinkers work, brake lights work. I reviewed several threads on the forum. I have checked the starter button and cleaned it (it seemed fine but I couldn't check any voltage going through because there was no voltage getting to it. I assume that it was good.) I checked the on/off switch. The cruise control light on the dash would go out when I switched it off so assume that it is working. I checked the main fuse connected to the solenoid-it was good. The "dogbone" fuse by the battery was good. The "dogbone" fuse behind the fuel tank was good. The fuses in the fuse box were all good and tested good when the key was "on". The two "reverse" fuses were good. So I moved to the "reverse switch". The switch itself seemed fine. It made good connection and "clicked" when activated. I checked for voltage going through any of the 3 wires going to it-nothing. I checked the "pigtail" feed leading up to the switch. I didn't find any voltage coming out of the pigtail. So my question is-- should there be voltage going to the reverse switch and if so what do I check next? Could a relay be bad, which one, and how can I check it? Thanks for the help.
 

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I would suspect the #3 relay or it's connection in the fuse box.
 

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don't trust the battery- charging it does not mean squat!
Need to take to a bike shop or parts store and have it `load tested`= the ability to return to normal after load is applied- like using the starter
Batts can look good, and have an issue from low cell fluid- that's a killer for sure,
being overcharged from alt issues, that also boils out the fluid which is needed to operate!


pull it out- put on your charger again, then to the store for testing
If your battery is 3-4 years old don't be surprised it its failed, AGM style batt is suggested for replacement- the no hassle battery!
Even 1-2 years old can fail if the fluid gets low in 1 section, happened when cheap HFT charger never stopped!! ooops
Now on a real Battery Tender Jr. when not riding~
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I will hook up another battery and check the #3 relay--and then get back to you.
 

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+! for what Dave said especially if the neutral light won't come on when in neutral. Just flip flop #3 with any other relay to test it. If no luck then look at the reverse switch. Most likely #3 relay though.
 

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Redwing52-I did just that and voila the lights came on, neutral light and all. I went to start it and it just clicked-now I suspect the battery (which is five years old). I am looking to replace both. Question--could I use a car battery hooked up to the bike just to test a few things and see if I can get it started without causing any harm? Thanks guys! It looks like she blew up or at least a tupperware truck exploded in my shop. I love a challenge but really need to go ride somewhere.:)
 

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You can jump a bike with a car battery. Just be careful with the cables so you don't short the + to the frame.
 

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Hmmm, well I hooked up a car battery (which I knew was good, 3 months old) and the lights and everything came on real bright. I had previously pulled out the #2 relay and switched for the #3(bad) relay. Tried to start her and I just got a click (coming from the relay). Any ideas? Thanks for your time and expertice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I should also add that when I hit the start button the headlights dimmed quite a bit.
 

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You SHOULD be able to jump start from a car battery, though it does not work all the time I found out about a week ago myself! LOL
Once I finally changed the battery the bike started instantly on just a bike battery!

Turned out my only issue was the battery was junk when trying to start my 82 1100 after it sat a year. KNOWING the battery I put in it was good and starting my 1500 just fine a week or 2 earlier before I replaced it I did not suspect the battery to begin with.
Nothing worked to run the starter on that little 1100 engine!

Battery showed high volts like it should (could not find my load tester at first ) starter would not turn, no clicks, and tail light and dash lights, barely dimmed when hitting the starter button.
Charged battery over night and with charger on still same thing, basically nothing.
Connected HEAVY jumpers from large truck battery to bike battery, still nothing when hitting starter button.
Connected jumpers to a GOOD ground on frame and hit the POS direct to starter and she barely turned with heavy truck battery.
Pulled plugs, still barely turned hot jumping starter.
Engine was clean free and nothing in it like any fluids hydro locking it.
Yes, I was getting pretty baffled about then and really starting to think starter issues, probably gummed up stuck brushes or something from sitting so long.

I happened to find my load tester and tested that GOOD battery I had just removed from the 1500. Great Volts sitting, dropped to near 0 with a load! Went to Junk sitting on a shelf in 1-2 weeks!
Tested the truck battery and perfect, then I even tested my jumper cables later by connecting them to truck battery and load tester on other end, yep fine there also, cables carry a heavy load fine!

Really made no sense that nothing worked to start that little 1100, most I could ever do was get it to spin really slow! Once I took another battery out of a 1500 I been riding and installed it to the 1100 the bike spun perfect and tried to start right away.

Really made no sense since I do this type of thing all the time starting cars and trucks that sit for long periods and have weak/bad batteries for sure.
Even when the Relay A went bad on my 1500 I could jump hot from bike battery to starter wire on Relay B, basically a direct to starter, and 1500 would spin correct and start right up, till a got a new Relay A soon as I could.

Anyway, for some reason it did not work for the 1100 at the time. Maybe if a tried again it would?

So YES, you SHOULD be able to jump from a car battery fine, but don't pull your hair out looking for problems if it don't work. I hope mine will grow back. LOL
 

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The lights turn off when you try to start the bike. That's normal. Are you in neutral or got the clutch in. (I know it sounds dumb) When you say clicks are you talking about the little relay in the relay under the seat or the starter relay. (solenoid)

EDIT: Did you remember to put the reverse lever back down?
Edit#2:
If the starter relay (solenoid) clicks check the 5 amp inline fuse by the battery under the right side battery cover. There are 2 so check them both.
 

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Hmmm, well I hooked up a car battery (which I knew was good, 3 months old) and the lights and everything came on real bright. I had previously pulled out the #2 relay and switched for the #3(bad) relay. Tried to start her and I just got a click (coming from the relay). Any ideas? Thanks for your time and expertice.

I should also add that when I hit the start button the headlights dimmed quite a bit.
Sounds normal, Headlights should go off when pressing starter button on a 1500.
First thing I would do is install a new battery in bike, buy one or borrow one if you can. May be the only issue still.

Like the 1100 story I just posted, nothing worked to jump it (like it should have ) and turned out nothing was wrong at all other than the Bike battery I was using was shot.


Where in MO. are you, if not too far I could maybe drop by with a good battery to try. I'm near MO, AR state line, West Plains, MO and south depending what house I'm at.
I like to ride so 100 miles or so ain't too far. LOL
Maybe 200 miles depending where at.
 

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The lights turn off when you try to start the bike. Are you in neutral or got the clutch in. (I know it sounds dumb) When you say clicks are you talking abot the little relay in the relay fuse box or the starter relay. (solenoid)
It don't sound dumb.
Sometimes we do forget about the safety switches.
Good idea to have side stand up, in neutral, kill switch checked to be ON/Run, and clutch pulled, and double check reverse lever all the way down.

Sometimes it's the little things that get us, especially if we are already frustrated. It may not be any of that stuff but it don't hurt to do it that way anyway to be sure.
 

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Hmmm, well I hooked up a car battery (which I knew was good, 3 months old) and the lights and everything came on real bright. I had previously pulled out the #2 relay and switched for the #3(bad) relay. Tried to start her and I just got a click (coming from the relay). Any ideas? Thanks for your time and expertice.
Disconnect the motorcycles battery and jump directly to the cables, I've seen a lot of times a bad battery foil a jump start.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was checking one of the wires that goes off the top of the solenoid next to the battery. It was a ground wire that was snapped in half. I soldered it back together and the bike started up. It doesn't seem like a wire so thin should keep the bike from starting. I still don't know where the wire goes. Oh well. I really appreciate the help from you guys. I never would have found the bad relay without you. Happy riding!
 

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Oh, and Chromo, we live about as far from you as we can and still be in Missouri. We live in the NE corner, but it's only a 7 hr drive from you. So why ain't we riding? I'm envious of the great rodes you have in Arkansas. Keep safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Redwing52. When I went to check the fuse you suggested that is when I noted the broken wire. I think I would have eventually found it by Christmas. :)
 
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