Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

She's Just Not That Into Me!?!?

Oy Vay!
Admittedly I am at the point of no return with my bike who's name I think I need to change from Serenity to something more appropriate...perhaps 'Lil Bitch' will suffice nicely?! I am beginning to feel like she is just plain not that in to me! Maybe it's because I moved things along too quickly with us. Maybe I should have taken things more slowly, gotten to know her better and vice versa. It just felt so right when we found ourselves, hand in grip, so to speak, that well, the excitement and thrill of being with such a purty lady after so many years left me feeling not unlike a school boy at his secondary school dance?! Everytime I get one thing fixed something else happens and now I am beginning to feel resentful and rejected by my baby despite the fact that this is obviously a ridiculous emotion to feel towards a motorcycle.

Why just three days ago I managed to get my headlight working again by simply changing out all of the fuses for new ones. Despite the 10A fuse looking pristine, with no discoloration or blackness, it was nevertheless blown. I was delighted that after having changed them all and turned the key that everything was finally working, headlight and all. "Job done!" I said to myself feeling rather pleased.  However, the last two days has found me either unable to get the bike started at all or simply stranded on several occasions because she stalled and couldn't be turned on again. I did not touch the wires inside the bucket and as mentioned already, she has an entirely new set of fuses. Nevertheless, I spent the afternoon yesterday with a battery jump-starter strapped to the back of my bike as every time she was shut off or stalled she just didn't have any juice left in her battery to get her started again!

I have noticed that there are several hundred thousand (I exaggerate, sorry) people online who have experienced this very thing yet despite going through several pages of responses to this problem, nobody seemed to have a proper answer, at least nobody except the kind folks from Intruder Alert and a friend of mine from my riding group! Thus, armed with my Haynes Manual and most importantly, the above mentioned I found myself on a quest once again to uncover the mysteries as to why my bike is giving me ulcers at this point.

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These lovely folks have been instrumental in helping me figure out what is wrong with the bike and it is because of their advice that I have some kind of clue. In so saying however, the Haynes Manual lists several possibilities with regards to the battery which include the following:
  1. Battery Faulty.
  2. Battery Cables making poor contact.
  3. Load Excessive. Caused by addition of high wattage lights or electrical accessories.
  4. Ignition (main) switch defective. 
  5. Regulatory/rectifier defective.
  6. Alternator stator coil open or shorted.
  7. Wiring Faulty. Wiring grounded or connections loose in ignition, charging or lighting circuits. (Haynes, 2009: REF.34)

Canadian Tire has practically reserved a parking spot just for me these past two weeks as I seem to be spending more and more time, and money, there trying to bring this bike back to a like new condition again. On the advice of Yo, Criag, Pow 2K, Navigator, & Woodburyhl, from Intruder Alert and Beakster from Dragon Riders I bit the bullet and I went out this morning and purchased a digital multimeter and some eight foot booster cables. I never intended to get to know what makes my bike electrifying but alas, if your looking to buy an old motorcycle it is an inevitability I am afraid. I shouldn't sound disappointed, I am really just being lazy. Truth be told its been exhilarating and yes, even fun, trying to uncover what makes my bike happy or sad. Though, as in any relationship, I didn't appreciate the silent treatment she has been giving me the last few days!

Beakster and I spent the early afternoon going through everything that could be gone through with the volt multimeter. The battery read as charged and when the motor was revved it read as charging! Equally, the stator was fine and the voltage regulator/rectifier is new, so no worries there. The battery is new too by the way, hence the perplexing situation to begin with. More to the point, thanks to everybody's help I figured out the problem and it is one that might surprise all of you! When I installed my new headlight I added a brand new High Intensity 55/100 Watt bulb! As you can see above, the Haynes manual list Load Excessive as a cause for weak or dead batteries. I swapped the new bulb out for a new and standard 55/60 watt bulb and voila, the battery is no longer being drained excessively!

Thus far it's the only explanation... which sounds ridiculous but alas, after taking a spin for an hour or so with Beakster I returned home and stopped and started the bike repeatedly with no difficulties. We took meter readings again and everything checks out just fine. I guess it's often the most implausible of explanations that sometimes turn out to be the most logical. It's also a reminder of just how delicate new relationships can be. Although its been a rocky start between Serenity and myself, the fault can be traced back to human error on all accounts... which is unfortunate really as for once I would like to be in the right. Alas, is there ever such a thing as being right when arguing with your motorcycle?! Hopefully now she and I can return to the matter of courting one another without any further arguments... though that won't stop me from carrying jumper cables and a volt meter during future rides!


  1. I can only say, you would have to ride around on main beam for a very long time before charging problems got the better of your charge system/battery.
    Not fully convinced that your culprit is indeed the culprit.
    But if it works for you and the problem is sorted then thats good enough for me.
    Just remember the low beam on the 55/100 watt bulb is exactly the same wattage as stock.

    Could it possibly be that when you changed the bulb out for a 55/60w. You inadvertantly made good, a faulty or partially shorted connection in the headlight shells wiring ???

    V Steel Rider

  2. Hi,

    That is a good point! It wouldn't take much really would it?! I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point! However, the problem only ever started to occur when I changed the fuse and got the headlight working. It was literally an immediate problem!

    I dunno what else to do though, I even had a buddy come down (mechanic) and have a look at the bike today with me. We tested everything and unless the battery itself is faulty and is just playing mind games with me (which i have read is quite possible) I dunno what else to say.

    By removing the new bulb and swapping it for the proper wattage bulb she seems to be operating normally now... though I am willing to bet anyone here that I will be back in an hour so saying that I was stranded once again. However, this time at least I have the proper equipment!


  3. I will keep fingers crossed for you. Fault finding intermittent electrical problems can be a real pain in the proverbial.
    Take heart that even should the problem return, it does look as if changing that bulb along with disturbing the cabling and connections in that headlight shell, do seem to have sorted something.
    I will be honest with you though, A 55w 100w bulb wont drag your charge system and battery down.
    As said you simply wont be running on high beam for long enough for it to be an isuue.
    I just hope that you have managed to frighten that gremlin off for good.

    V Steel Rider

  4. At this point, I need all of the luck I can get! So keep those fingers nice and crossed! LOL...

    Maybe there is a wire that needs to be changed out entirely but perhaps more likely you are right, I inadvertedly got some wire to connect properly when I went back in. Who knows... for now I ride, tomorrow I cry...

    carpe diem, right?!

  5. from the mouth of your five year old son...daddy, vehicles can't hate...remember that when you feel down!

    1. Ah, aren't you a darling! Thanks babe!

      Our son may be wise but he has never had a motorcycle seemingly and openly mock him in front of hundreds of people by refusing to start in the middle of town!

      Still, next to you she will always be my number two girl... ;-)

  6. Mario,

    "Little Bitch", (or any variation of) is something you never call the bike you love! At least not in front of her or in front of anyone that may tell her you've said that about her!

    Once you go down THAT road, you may as well just get a divorce because she will remember that for ALL time and NEVER let you forget it!

    You MUST be gentle with her. Tell her she's beautiful even if she's gained a few pounds of problems of which you're not completely understanding of. You must explain to her that the things you do are for her own good even though she may not see it in the same "light".

    Eventually, she'll begin to understand that you really are doing her a favor by taking care of the things that you'd like to see her improve upon.

    As you do these things for her, she'll begin to understand that that nasty "volt meter probe" is not so bad after all and even become to enjoy it when you when you administer a touch of treatment.

    Of course, arguments are going to arise as does with any relationship. Don't be discouraged with this. It's all just getting a better understanding of what it is that works best for her.

    The best medicine to help cure ailments for her are those of prevention in keeping her well to start off with. This just goes hand-n-hand with the way things are.

    Neglecting the bike you love is certainly not the way to keep her impressed. I'm not saying that you DO neglect her by any means. After all, you ARE giving her a very fair amount of attention.

    You and your bike are going through a few growing pains at this point. Every relationship has them, without doubt!
    As long as you keep vigilant with her, she'll begin to respond with that which you seek and she will reward you positively indeed.


    1. LMAO!! :-)

      Fear not, I'd never call her that in person nor did I mean it... it was a suggestion based on the contemptuousness of the situation at hand after several months of poking and prodding... like I said, I think she thought she was getting a weekend warrior, not a crazed maniac that can't keep his hands off of her! ;-)

      I think too I might of hurt her feelings. I have changed her basic looks in a matter of a few months and maybe she feels I never appreciated her for the way she looked to begin with. This is of course, not true. I have admired her, even swooned over her for a year now. Any cosmetic changes were meant to improve both of our comfort levels together for those long rides.

      Admittedly, I don't tell her how beautiful she is openly, but surely she must see it in the way that I look at her... the way I hold her warmly and gently in my hands. Why, just the other day she threw herself forward onto me (literally - side stand gave out...) and I caught her in my arms...held her up gently and managed to right the situation. I consoled her, whispered sweet nothings to her and even gave her a sponge bath! If that isn't love, I dunno what it is! :-)

  7. This is really amazing because I started doing a search to find out what the problem with my bike may be. I have a '99 VS 1400 and I just bought a new battery, changed the fuel pump (after getting stranded) and replaced the oe headlight for a 12v 60/55w super white bulb. Since I made the change, the bike has left me unable to start it on more than one occasion to the point where I've started leaving it on a trickle charger at night. I rode 25 miles this morning and then 25 miles back home and then when I was ready to go out to the boat, it wouldn't start. I took the old battery out and jump started it and then proceeded to leave the house. I needed gas so I reluctantly stopped and when I tried to start it back up, it wouldn't start. Fortunately, I brought the spare battery in the saddlebag and the cables in the other and jumped it again. When I left the marina a few hours later I had to repeat the process so I started looking for the cause and stumbled upon your post. I really believed that it was the alternator and was looking to see where to buy one and exactly how to install it. By the way, my bike is now in the garage with a trickle charger connected to it and another connected to the spare in the saddlebag. If changing back to the old bulb is the solution that would weird, but great. This is one of those times where I would have preferred that your post was from the past and that you had provided an update stating that that was in fact the problem but alas, this appears to have been written today. Please keep us updated as I’d really like to keep the new bulb, it looks so much nicer.

    Thanks, Michael

    1. Hey Michael,

      I feel your pain! This actually all began a few days ago and was discussed via the following thread (towards the end of page 2 and most of page 3 but have a read of it all just in case!): Help: Discrepancy in Haynes Manual Regarding Wiring Diagrams

      The guys here have been phenomenal with their knowledge and help and I did complete all of the tests they suggested that I do yesterday. However, as stated in both threads at this point, the Haynes Manual does list Load Excessive as one reason why the battery would be drained. I know Steel uses the bright high wattage lights with no problems, but I also have learned since buying my bike that not all 1400 Intruders are the same. Gremlins may be the cause, I dunno. My other thread also indicates that despite owning a 96 I have a wire in there that is dated for a pre-92 model, just to give you an example.

      I am taking the bike out daily so it won't (shouldn't be long before the problem either happens again or she continues on as happy as she has been. I found similar if not exact issues on the net via other websites but as stated, nobody ever offered any logical or reasonable solution. The only help has been from Intruder Alert (thanks boys, again!).

      Try putting in a standard 60/55 bulb and see if that helps! I'll up-date this soon!

    2. Thanks Bugs! If the baby stops yelling in the background, I will attempt to change it back to the OE bulb in a little while.

      I hope your next post states that everything remained okay and that this was simply a minor hiccup in an otherwise beautiful relationship.

      "The hotter the chic, the tighter the straightjacket..." looks like yours is a supermodel


  8. I changed back to the OE bulb this morning and have not had a problem since. I'll let you know if that changes. Thank you for posting.


    1. Excellent! I am happy to hear that things worked out! Still, I would love to know why some bikes work fine with this bulb whilst others like yours and mine do not? A question to be answered another day when I have recovered from the last two weeks of headaches.