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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi friends,

First time posting to the forums. I was hopeful someone can share some insight or at least point me in the right direction.
I recently bought a 1995 Honda Shadow VLX VT600CD as my first motorcycle. She's in great condition and had a good chunk of work done prior to the purchase (the paperwork was provided). My concern is the battery, maybe? The bike is constantly hooked up to a tender and when checking the voltage prior to starting it reads around 13.9. However, once I just turn the ignition switch on, not even start it, it drops to around 10v. Sometimes it takes a couple of times to start it, and then once it starts the battery goes back up to 13.8. The voltage meter also says the alternator is in good condition.

The bike seems to struggle until I hit 20mph and then kicks in strong. Spark plugs maybe?

I have a feeling it's really not the battery, and maybe that's just a side effect of something else going on. I can provide any details needed to help diagnose what's going on.

I appreciate it in advance. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If the battery can't hold up when under load it is bad internally - maybe a weak cell. Replace it first then see if the running problem is any better.
I remember many times testing car batteries that the ones that stayed over 12.9 volts at rest, after getting a good charge seemed to be the ones that failed the load test afterward.

Sorry, I failed to mention that I just put a new battery in it. I did so because the same thing was happening with the old battery and I assumed the battery was bad, but now that this is happening again I'm assuming maybe it's time to look elsewhere?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Really appreciate your responses. I'm going to do all of that as soon as I get a chance.

On a side note, not sure if this is related but probably can't hurt to mention. When I first bought the bike, I made a big party foul of starting it and kicking it into first gear without turning the fuel on. I did this about 3 times, all in the same sitting. Obviously the bike died immediately and I realized my mistake right away. But it started good before that. Maybe the mistake was bigger than I thought it was?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So to clarify, you had the fuel valve off, started the engine and then put the bike in gear? This will not hurt anything and will not cause the engine to die unless the carb is out of fuel. But then you could restart the engine so carb was not out of fuel, Sounds to me like engine died due to improper use of throttle or clutch when engaging a gear. Reading your other sympoms I suspect the battery is weak and Swifty has suggested a test.
Correct.
Thanks for touching upon that.
I am going to check the things swift said and go from there.
Really appreciate the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did you give the battery a good charge @ 2 amp. rate before using it? Is it a wet cell or a AGM battery?
This is the description of the battery I bought.

Chrome Battery YTX9-BS Maintenance Free Replacement Battery For ATV, Motorcycle, and Scooter: 12 Volts, .9 Amps, 8Ah, Nut and Bolt (T3) Terminal

It said it came completely charged. I have a NOCO Charger and Maintainer that I put it on when I got it and it said it was at 100%. One of the things I'm noticing is that the tender will say the battery is at 100%, I will take it off and start the bike, let it idle for 5 minutes just in the garage and when I put it back on the tender it says the battery is already below 75%. My voltage meter says the alternator is in good condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can have these issues with a good battery that is charged. As swifty mentioned check all connections. You also need to check where the ground wires (yes there are more than one) connect to the frame.

Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
For sure. I'm going to look into everything swift mentioned. My headlight and turn signals also dim when I'm hitting the start button and brighten back up when the bike starts up. So if there's any other recommendations for connections I should/could check I would appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The reason I asked the battery style is, a lot folk go to Walmart and buy a flooded cell battery which don't provide very good service/quality.

If you used the NOCO 1 amp. Genius, it's more a maintainer thus not a good 2 amp. charger. I used my .75 amp. Deltran maintainer as a charger on my new battery and got about one crank and the battery started slowing the starter. Applied the 2 amp. setting on my regular for 8 hrs. and never had an issue again.
That's the exact charger/maintainer I have been using. I will look into getting a 2amp charger. Thanks so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I took some notes of what was happening when I tried to start the bike up yesterday - I'm not sure if they'll be any help. When taking the tender off, the battery voltage reads at 12.91. As soon as I put the key in the ignition and turning it to on without starting the bike up, before doing anything else, it drops to 12.02. It took multiple tries for it to start. I left the voltage meter on it while doing so and the battery dropped to the lowest at 9.77, and when that happened the alternator meter dropped from good to dead for a second. Once the bike is on and I let it idle the battery goes back up to 13.9 and the alternator light stays at good. I let it idle for a couple of minutes and then revved it up as suggested and the battery dropped to 11.9 and then the bike starts to putter and then stalls out. After that the battery only goes back up to 12.5.

I took a video of the battery meter while I revved up the bike to see if the sounds it's making sheds any light. It won't let me upload it, so if anyone knows how, or if that's possible, please let me know.

Again, can't thank you all enough for helping me out with this. It is greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Find the connector for the famous 3 yellow wires, on the wiring that goes from the stater to the regulator, and look of an overheated connector. It may be that the charge system is going low when you rev it.
The 3 yellow wires can cause that if one or two of the 3 phase alternator has bad connections.
If it is burned, we cut it out and solidly connect them.
Unplug and reconnect all the other connection points on that system to see if that helps the connections.
Thanks, swift. Really appreciate all your responses. I'm not well versed in bikes yet, is there anything specific I should be looking for to tell if any of those connections are bad? Rust? Burn mark? Etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It may be discolored from heat or be really obvious= View attachment 298887
So I think you're onto something here. There's no melted plastic like in your photo but I'm sure this isn't good. There's definitely some corrosion and a lot of grease build up. I saw on YouTube that they just cut off the connectors and connect the wires themselves. I'm assuming that's what you were referring to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
So I think you're onto something here. There's no melted plastic like in your photo but I'm sure this isn't good. There's definitely some corrosion and a lot of grease build up. I saw on YouTube that they just cut off the connectors and connect the wires themselves. I'm assuming that's what you were referring to?
Azure Fluid Automotive lighting Nail Aqua
Blue Gas Electric blue Jewellery Fashion accessory
Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Hood Automotive exterior Bumper
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
It may be dielectric grease put in there.
Otherwise yes cut out the connector and splice directly for the best connection.
Hey Swift,

Thanks so much for all your help so far. I think splicing the wires is my best bet. I picked up a digital multimeter and checked the stator connection. All three lines beeped for a continuity test, and none came back grounded. While I was doing the test, I noticed the two vertical prongs moved pretty easily and there was a serious amount of gunk built up inside. Also grabbed a 2amp charger/maintainer as suggested.

Really appreciate you all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
So I went ahead and connected all the wires directly. The bike still takes a couple of tries to start, but I'm hoping maybe that's a factor of the cold weather. The battery still drops in voltage a bit when starting the bike, but goes up into the 13v when revving. Took her out for a quick 20min ride today and at the end the battery was at 12.77v. She still seems to hesitate in first gear, but that could be me. This is my first motorcycle and I'm questioning whether I'm shifting too soon/too late. If there are any follow up tests or things I should check on I'm open too any suggestions.

Thank you all again. Huge help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
That sounds like the battery performance you’re looking for. Test it a few more times over the coming weeks to make sure those numbers stay consistent, and you’re good. Your hesitation could be completely unrelated! As for your shifting, it all depends on how much gas you’re giving it, uphill/downhill, etc… If you don’t have a tach, a good rule of thumb is about 4-5 seconds of ‘normal’ acceleration in every gear. Don’t worry too much about short-shifting. These engines are made more for torque at the low-end, so not much sense revving them out unless you really want to hurry! You’ll get to know it by ear.
Hey Troy,
Thanks. I will keep an eye on the numbers for sure. Would you mind explaining your torque on the low end statement? When I accelerate it seems to be working really hard from 0-15mph, then struggles at 20mph everytime, but once it hits 25 it takes off and sounds and feels a lot better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Shaft driven vtwins need a little more winding out so to speak compared to belt/chain driven variants. They don't like to be lugged down on rpm. You just need to get some time riding and learn its nuances.
Okay, thanks. I assumed it possibly had more to do with me than it did with the bike itself. I really appreciate the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
So I have one last battery question if anyone is game.

When I hook up my voltage reader to the battery, as soon as I turn the ignition to on, the voltage drops a bit, but still stays over 12. However, when I turn the bike on and go to hit the start button, there's no reaction at all the first two times I press it, not a noise, nothing. Then it will try to start and it is still taking a couple of times to do so and the headlights and turn signals dim and the battery will drop as low as 9.v

Is there something other than the wires or battery I should check? I have read a bit on these forums and others suggested replacing the r/r all together and others mentioned checking other connections. Is it normal for the bike to take that much from the battery to start up?

Thank you all again so much for the help. It's been huge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
If you have a electric fuel pump it is most likely running to pressurize the system the first couple of times you turn the key on. Then by the third time the system is up to pressure and the pump does not come on.

The voltage dropping like you said could be caused by the age of the equipment, extra resistance in the wiring due to age, or a small capacity battery.

Not much you can do for the age of the parts other than replace everything.

You could clean all the connections from the battery to the starter if you have not already done so. Also find all the ground wires that attach to the frame and remove and clean those.

You may want to see if you can find a higher capacity (Ah rating) battery that is the same physical size as the one you have now. Also note the terminal locations. I would spend money on this before replacing the starter, relay, or wiring.

As for shifting,,,many answers depending on the situation. As a general rule for “regular” acceleration I shirt out of 1st around 10-15 mph then around 10 mph for the rest of the gears.

Eric


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Hey Phant,

Super appreciate your response. I will look up some wiring diagrams to find all the wiring suggestions you made. As well as look into better batteries than the basic one I have now.

Thank you again
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
The R/R is not connected to the starting circuit other than it's output goes to the battery. I'd suspect a dirty start button contact problem. several pushes rubs a spot clean enough to work?

Edit: look at the switch cleaning sticky post
Hey Oldie,

I took a look and read through that whole thread. I'm going to pick up some contact cleaner and grease. Thanks for the suggestion , I really appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
You could also try connecting a non-running car battery using booster cables, and see if the bike tries to start right away. That would point the finger at the battery for sure. Always worth cleaning the switches, though!

I’ll have to watch it a little as my bike has both more power AND a tachometer compared to yours. One stupid question. Are you SURE you’re in first gear? A member of a sports car group I belonged to had that same problem. ‘No power in first until it’s up to speed.’ I helped him figure out that his first gear was really third, since he’d put the wrong bracket on his shift cables! Because in first gear, twisting the throttle at anything beyond walking speed should give you all the power you need. It’s not a ton compared to other bikes, but it should be enough that you don’t consider it ‘bogging’ to 25mph. So if the bike is idling, you give it a little less than 1/4 turn of throttle and let out the clutch to get it rolling, with the clutch fully out at around 5mph you should be able to give it 3/4 to full throttle (watch out in front!) and the bike should GO. If it doesn’t, if it hesitates or bogs, then you’re in the wrong gear, or you have an air/fuel mixture problem. I would say the engine should be turning 3,000 rpm or so in first at 5 mph?
Hey Troy,
I tried the booster cables. It still took a couple of tries to get the bike going, so I'm going to assume the battery might not be the main problem.

I've been reading around online and wondering if my next stop should be the starter relay under the seat? If I'm understanding properly, it seems that if those connections are no good that it can cause some of the similar issues I'm experiencing.

As for gears, I'm pretty positive I am in first gear. I did order a gear shift indicator but haven't connected it due to the starting problem. I didn't want to demand more power from the battery in case that was my issue. If I shift to second before 20mph, it seems to struggle there, and if I rev it to 20mph and then shift to second, it sounds like it's overworking. Regardless, once it hits 25mph there is a definite change in the way the bike runs, it picks up torque immediately and takes off.
 
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