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Discussion Starter #1
I saw the other thread, but think my issue is different.....

Low temps last 5-7 days in Texas.. below freezing. Bike has been in garage under an electric blanket set on low the whole time.

6 am Went out yesterday morning, started bike. Took 5 tries, but bike turned over after choking several times. Temp 28 f

9:30 am break time went to start bike to ensure no problems. Bike will not start. Stopped trying when battery began to lag. (Battery is not issue..brand new use float charger). parked in open air. no cover. temp 30-32 f.

12:00 lunch went to start bike.. two tries started right up.

Son says I need engine block warmer if I am going to ride in these temps...

Any thoughts on why bike wouldn't start and/or engine block heater necessary/pros/cons?
 

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I run 15/40 for oil and since I replaced my stock r/r with a MOSFET r/r, went with Iridium plugs and got a much better battery(more CCA) my bike will start at any temp and I can let my bike sit for a week or a month and it will start right up. On most of the bikes that I've seen with starting problems, the MOSFET r/r and a better battery will do wonders for the bike.

We went on a overnight ride back in Nov. and when we got out to our bikes it had warmed up to 25 deg. F and out of seven bikes my bike started the fastest and I had to jump start two of the Shadow's and a Yamaha that the bikes battery would not start. Their battery would turn the engine over but it would not get enough volts to the coils when the starter was engaged. Same problem my VT1100-T had for 14 years till I got the new MOSFET r/r, Iridium plugs and the better battery.

ROD
 

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I have never used a blanket heater on the bike. It is -2C now so about 28F. Make sure you use NO throttle and full choke. My 2 year old AGM battery will crank fast for several minutes (but don't need it) without float charge so I still think you have a battery or float charger issue if you are quickly draining battery. During colder temps I use a 5W or 0W oil that may help. Do you use a block heater for your car? We don't have them here but when I lived in a very cold climate we only used when -10 -20 which would be about 0-10 for you.

If your bike runs well and is well tuned/maintained the other item may be starter motor going but I would try a freshly charged battery first. Maybe take that battery for a load test if you are not getting enough crank.
 

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With the old style r/r the battery never gets fully charged. So you start off with a low battery and with it being cold outside it just compounds the problem. You need to see how many volts your r/r is putting out to the battery, it should be between 14 and 14.7 volts.

ROD
 

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I agree with rrounds that a good r/r, plugs, and battery would make a lot of difference but I think the cheap and simple solution would be the engine block heater. But position it in such a way that it keeps the engine and battery warm. Batteries do not perform well at cold temps. It's possible that the cold engine isn't actually the problem but it's the cold battery, which I guess is rrounds point. In any case, keeping the battery warm should definitely help.

I don't think there's anything mechanically wrong with your bike, it's just the cold weather. My 83 is like a grumpy old man. At around 40F, he'll fire up on the first try. If it's around 30, good luck. I should try heating my battery and put this theory to test. :)
 

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what engine oil do you run... heavier weight oils and cold don't mix well.

Cold battery will not perform like a warm one

run hotter plugs for winter

I haven't read above but those are the first things I would look at :)
 

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what engine oil do you run... heavier weight oils and cold don't mix well.

Cold battery will not perform like a warm one

run hotter plugs for winter

I haven't read above but those are the first things I would look at :)
"Hotter" plugs have nothing to do with either starting or cold weather. OP has a battery problem. A functioning battery should start the engine at those temps. If its on a float charger either the charger is not working or a cell or 2 are dead and the float charger cannot charge. Only other case is the engine is so out of tune it has difficulty starting.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have a brand new (less than a month old) agm battery. And I use a float charger regularly. I just went through having a weak battery, struggling to start sometimes, sometimes start fine. I am positive that is not the issue. As far as being out of tune. Not likely...I bought the bike in April, took it to the local dealer and had it checked top to bottom. Everything was perfect the mechanic said....very sound machine...... In October, my son took it home for a week and again went over it head to toe. He's rebuilt a couple bikes, so he's a reliable source. Again very sound. I am unsure about the Oil weight, would have to ask my son.

Think I will look at r/r and plugs.
The first couple times I tried to start it. Didn't seem like it was getting gas. I I always turn my petcock off. This particular time I left it open after it was unable to start and thought that may have some relation??? Later when I came back it did start, but the weather was 10-15 degrees warmer as well. I used full choke, but I also turned the throttle repeatedly. Someone suggested I try no throttle, which I will.

Starter motor........guess it is simply a process of elimination. Battery is eliminated.......

anyhoo........thx for all the thoughts..............
 

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A block heater is meant to mildly warm the engine but mainly to warm the oil so that it flows better and is not like thick syrup. There is no place on your bike to place it so it works properly. Change to a lower temp oil, change your plugs and make sure your battery is charged. You could also stop riding when temps are so cold. You're electric blanket approach while novel, is a waste of energy. All that heat is doing nothing as it will try to heat the garage as well as the bike and will just keep running.

Dingo.

2010 Honda Shadow
Phantom Custom

This posted from my 'droid device.
 

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when its that cold out you should run a thinner oil, and vice versa when its hot.
also, these bikes are set to run lean for the EPA (evil patronizing a**holes). that may have something to do with it as well.
instead of wasting electricity with the blanket, you might want to look into how you could make an easily removable insulating jacket or something along those lines. fiberglass pink stuff might do the trick
 

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It's the part that gets the right volts to the battery. On a lot of bikes the r/r only puts out from the low 12's to the low 13's and it should be 14 to 14.7 volts. Also the older r/r will sometimes put out less volts as the rpm's go up and that is the opposite as it should be. The new style MOSFET r/r will make sure your battery is fully charged and that is the best way to make the battery last longer and give you more starting power.
Here is where I bought mine
Shindengen FH020AA Mosfet Regulator/Rectifier
Before you buy anything I would check to see what the volts are from the battery when its not running and what the volts are at idle and at around 4000 rpm's. It should be 14 volts or higher(nothing over 15 volts) when the rpm's are at 4000 rpm's, if it's under 13 volts then I would get the new MOSFET r/r if the stater checks out OK.

ROD
 

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Lets clarify this a bit more since you have 2 situations: cold weather and bike won't start. Cold weather should not be a problem in itself unless the oil is really thick. Any spec multigrade 10W or 20W should be OK but if you don't know I would change it and use a spec multigrade 10W. Next you indicate you believe the charger and battery are OK so they should spin the starter just like on a warm summer day. If not then one of those 2 are not working.

If starter is spinning fast and engaging and stays spinning for the 5-10-15 seconds you might need, and you are using NO throttle and full choke then you have a fuel, or spark issue. If you have not filled the tank in a while go get some fresh (winter grade) gas and use a bit of seafoam you may have a fuel line frozen (but not likely). Next easiest thing is to pull spark plugs and examine.

G.
 

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It's the part that gets the right volts to the battery. On a lot of bikes the r/r only puts out from the low 12's to the low 13's and it should be 14 to 14.7 volts. Also the older r/r will sometimes put out less volts as the rpm's go up and that is the opposite as it should be. The new style MOSFET r/r will make sure your battery is fully charged and that is the best way to make the battery last longer and give you more starting power.
Here is where I bought mine
Shindengen FH020AA Mosfet Regulator/Rectifier
Before you buy anything I would check to see what the volts are from the battery when its not running and what the volts are at idle and at around 4000 rpm's. It should be 14 volts or higher(nothing over 15 volts) when the rpm's are at 4000 rpm's, if it's under 13 volts then I would get the new MOSFET r/r if the stater checks out OK.

ROD
Thanks
 

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I originally posted with the same issue. I pulled my battery first to make sure that had a good charge and it did. Next, I pulled my old plugs and put the new NKG Iridiums in, gapped at .028. Bike wasn't starting on cold mornings (below 32) and it has since started every morning down to 24 degrees! All good bits of information you guys posted!!
 

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Make sure your choke is actually "choking." I could move the slide to "choke" on my bike, but unitll I dissassembled and freed up the needles going into the carb from my choke, I wasn't actually richening the mix. Got that fixed and smooth sailing ever since. Just wish this freeking snow would let up....
 
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