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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Help! strange electrical problem left me stranded

I stopped for gas about 250 miles from home. The ex wouldn't start. It made a low humming sound so I thought it was just a dead battery and pushed started it and continued.

I was going down the interstate. I turned on the left turn signal. The bike seemed to lose power a fraction of a second. I thought maybe i had hit the clutch or let off the gas without realizing it--until I hit the turn signal again. This time the power loss was more pronounced. I had just enough time to think, "Hey, this may be more than a dead battery" when the bike started slowing down rapidly. The tach needle began bouncing up and down violently. I managed to pull over into the emergency lane. The bike continued to lurch, then shut down completely. Wouldn't start back up, but instrument panel lights up as though there is power.

I called for a tow (insurance covers it.) The only place the tow guy knew to take it was a local kawasaki dealership. The place gave me a bad vibe (but then most dealerships do, so the place may be fine). Anyway, there is a 2 week wait before he can even look to give me an estimate, and that is just as well because it will be at least a few weeks before I can return to the town where it is anyway. I took a rental car and continued on to my destination. Looks like I'll be taking a bus back home.

Before I have to deal with the dealership mechanic, I wanted to check with you guys and be as informed as impossible. What would cause the bike to behave that way? How can I prevent it from happening again? It was pretty scary, losing power that way on the highway.

Thanks
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 12:19 PM
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Just so you know...the charging system supports the ignition system...if charging system is unable to provide adequate voltage, at a certain point (around 10.5 volts?) the ignition system fails to produce spark = dead bike.

Sure sounds like a battery or charging system fault...possibly a combination of both. Is the battery a wet acid type? If so, on the road, did you check the fluid and that battery terminals were tight? How old is the battery?

The shop will likely need to test the integrity of the battery, followed by a stator output test, followed by a voltage regulator output test (the charging system)
A busy dealer will charge by their hourly labor rate. And a 2 week lead time to boot. Depending on their findings, this could be expensive.

Options include retrieving the bike and testing on your own, if you are comfortable and able.

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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 1:26 PM Thread Starter
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thank you, though for discouraging news! The battery is a gel type. I am fairly certain it was new when I bought the bike one year ago. I cleaned the terminals and put on dielectric (sp?) grease about .... 4 months ago? Maybe 6. The cables are nice and tight. I have never done electric tests before. I don't have any tools for that. And what's more, I don't have a truck to haul it anywhere, not an easily accessible truck anyway. This town is several hours from where I live and where other people i know live too.

Any additional advice on how best to handle this situation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 1:42 PM
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u haul motorcycle trailer, affordable , inquire in your area

https://www.uhaul.com/Trailers/Motor...ler-Rental/MT/

2 options, no? Leave it there...let the dealer do it OR get it out of there...DIY.

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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 2:01 PM Thread Starter
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thanks. I will check into the u-hauls. He said he would call with an estimate in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks, and would not do anything until I gave the ok. I'm kinda hoping he'll have done the tests and he can tell me specifically what the problem is and how much he will charge. I can decide then. But I kinda doubt he'll be that specific.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 2:07 PM
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another option....find a local member in your area to help diagnose and repair? Would still entail retrieving the bike, though.
where are you located?

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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 3:54 PM Thread Starter
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I live in central florida. The bike is in Brunswick, Ga. First I'm going to wait to see what they dealership says. (Maybe they are not as bad as they seem to be). Then I can leave it there 19 days after diagnosis without having to pay a storage fee. So it may be over a month before I do anything. In the meantime I'm going to read up on the stators and such things and try to see how big a deal this is to fix by myself. If there is someone in the area willing to help me out i would be grateful. If not I will keep posting here and get help that way. You guys are always a huge help! Thanks again.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 6:27 PM
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hi mate. classic signs of a fried regulator, bike runs fine, as it should then the RR packs up. bike continues to run as it is running on battery power, as the voltage goes low. more and more issues rear there head. lights fade. misfire. drop in power revs die down.
if stopped won't restart as there's not enough juice to operate the starter. but will jump as there is enough to fire the plugs.
then the voltage gets below 10.5 volts and it stops altogether. as there is now no longer enough power to run it.

sounds about right. for the symptoms you describe. could be expensive at a dealer and their prices. I would find some way to get it home charge battery [chances are it will fire right up] stick a meter across the battery terminals with the engine running about 3k should be above 13v if it's not the regulators gone. time for a Mosfet replacement.

Jack.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 8:49 PM
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brucewood- Orlando?

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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 9:50 PM Thread Starter
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Close, Ducatiman, Deland, just north of Orlando.

Thanks, Union Jack. It sounds like you are right. If I wind up doing this myself (which is likely) knowing it's probably the regulator will be a huge help. It will also help me deal with the mechanic if I decide to deal with him. I will investigate mosfet and try to get that.

Can you all give me a rough idea of how much time it should take a professional mechanic to do this kind of work? For example, if it is the regulator, how much time would it take him to put in a new one for me? 1 hr? would a mosfet take more time? I can look up prices for the part and get an idea of what it should cost, but I have not done this kind of work before and i would like to have a rough idea of the time it should require to make sure the mechanic isn't giving me a worse-than-usual deal on the labor. If he charges me 1 hr labor at $90/hr, for example, I will come better than renting a truck/trailer and paying for the gas etc.

Thanks once again.
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 3-31-2017, 10:18 PM
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provided you do your homework and the diagnosis IS, in fact, the regulator

fs EX MOSFET CONVERSION KIT plug and play!

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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-1-2017, 5:13 AM
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hi again mate. there are unfortunately different levels of competence to consider. a main dealer should be at the highest level though.
it is just the prices they charge for parts and labour. as a rule they will only fit genuine parts and have to go through a laid down procedure for diagnosing the fault. this takes time.

obviously the battery is now flat. so will have to be charged fully. then checks done on it to eliminate a battery fault. then all the connectors
before starting the bike. the logical next step would be the charge system. if it is the RR. a charge rate test will confirm it.

then add the cost of a new Kawasaki regulator. further checks that it now all works. before signing it all off. maybe 2hrs from the time the battery is charged. but there is no guarantee. they will charge it. if time is a factor they could just fit a new battery. straight off. then do the checks.

I would surmise you could be looking at a new battery. new OEM regulator and about 2hrs labour. if the fault is just a simple RR swap.

the rub is even after this is done the bike will just be as it was before. with a standard RR and a [probably not needed] lead acid battery.

if you can get it home. and give the gel battery time to recover and a good 12hr charge. the cost of a cheap multimeter, $5 from Walmart [if you don't have one] a few checks the members here can run you through, and a Mosfet regulator [if required] [Ducatiman does them plug and play] at a reasonable cost. if you need one and the bike will be better than it was before.

it your choice and your bike but i know which way I would go.

Jack.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-1-2017, 8:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucewood View Post
Can you all give me a rough idea of how much time it should take a professional mechanic to do this kind of work? For example, if it is the regulator, how much time would it take him to put in a new one for me? 1 hr? would a mosfet take more time? I can look up prices for the part and get an idea of what it should cost, but I have not done this kind of work before and i would like to have a rough idea of the time it should require to make sure the mechanic isn't giving me a worse-than-usual deal on the labor. If he charges me 1 hr labor at $90/hr, for example, I will come better than renting a truck/trailer and paying for the gas etc.
Thanks once again.
Remember we are "diagnosing via keyboard" here. Any estimated financial guesses are just that...only based on your descriptions, could vary wildly from the dealer.

At this point, unless you intend to retrieve the bike...you need to contact the service manager at the dealership and pose your questions directly to him. If he's competent and reasonable, your questions should be fully answered, gaining a rough estimate is not an unreasonable request. With the serv manager you can also "set a limit"......don't go over an hour, 2 or 3.

Basically...how much time ($) for them to test/diagnose the battery and charging system components. Keep in mind, associated wiring and connectors should be inspected as well.

IMHO..an experienced, savvy tech would likely have the fault narrowed done within minutes.

Even so, most dealership service departments have a "minimum" bench charge. Incumbent upon you to ask and probe.

PS...expect them to decline using any other parts than their own, new, OEM Kawasaki. To be expected, its a dealership after all. They'd likely laugh at using some "EX forum members" Mosfet conversion. Fully understandable.

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-1-2017, 9:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to you both.

I will definitely talk with the mechanic, but my expectations are not very high. I've done a little research (not much) and I see that the official kawasaki parts alone will be a lot more expensive (and they will be the same type part that failed on me). If he can do it with minimal labor, I may still work with him. But i am going to arrange to borrow a truck and trailer.

Ducatiman, I'm very interested in that regulator. If i wind up doing the work myself, which now seems more likely than ever, I will contact you as soon as I can get the bike and do the tests and see if that is in fact what I need.

You guys have been an enormous help.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-4-2017, 7:32 PM
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Brucewood, had any communications with dealer?

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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-4-2017, 8:12 PM Thread Starter
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None, Ducatiman. It is difficult to get these people to talk at all. (I could barely get the person at the desk there to write down what was wrong with it.) The only clear thing was that they would not be looking at the bike any time soon.
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-4-2017, 8:21 PM
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Unfortunately, under those conditions, i'd urge you to get the bike the hell outta there quick. Prioritize and do it.

I take it your thread about strapping the bike down is directly related?

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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-5-2017, 8:08 PM
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I have stored up a couple of spare regulators from late EX500s, '05-'09 that I got on eBay for cheap. What, $15 or so? I have spare ICUs and clutch cables in each tank bag and now I'm thinking to throw a regulator in there as well. Still, I must be the luckiest SOB on earth, as both '87 and '89 are charging fine on the originals. Until they don't.

Still, you are a single eBay regulator and jump (or bump) start away from probably solving the problem enough to get you back to the Sunshine State. There are five voltage regulators on eBay for $20 or less right now. You might also check the ground wires while you're at it.

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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-5-2017, 9:42 PM
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Late to game...
I got about 3 sentances in and quit reading.

Replace the battery.
Thank you, $20 diagnostic fee.

O_E_M
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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-5-2017, 9:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one_evil_monkey View Post
Late to game...
I got about 3 sentances in and quit reading.

Replace the battery.
Thank you, $20 diagnostic fee.

O_E_M
Splash!!! Look who's no longer MIA! Been busy?

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post #21 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-5-2017, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PO18GUY View Post
Splash!!! Look who's no longer MIA! Been busy?
Like a mother....
Damn concession trailer project.... customer driving me nuts.
Pics when all done... in its own seperate thread.
Teaser in Post Whore.

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post #22 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-6-2017, 4:25 PM
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As advised earlier in the thread, in view of OP's interstate travel breakdown, he'd be well served by checking beyond the battery, the integrity of his charging system.

If his long distance travel is done frequently...a mosfet rr upgrade is fully justified.

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post #23 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-7-2017, 4:21 PM
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Mine was just doing the same as yours. Random dying and erratic tach function. I have a $4 voltage meter wired in ( I highly recommend this to anyone) so I knew my rr and battery were ok at 13.9v. I started it and started wiggling wires until I could make it die by wiggling the hot cable to the starter solenoid. When I looked further, it was loose. I tightened it up and things are peachy again. Any voltage meter is great for keeping an eye on your electrical system. It doesn't have to even be that accurate, it just gives you a benchmark. I think mine is wired into the parking/running light wire to the original front turn signals (I never had them so I'm guessing) so it is switched to avoid any parasitic drain on the battery. I'll also encourage you to get your bike out of the clutches of that dealer. These bikes are super simple to work on and your problem almost has to be just a bad battery, rr, or a loose/dirty connection. You can buy a new battery, a new rr from the duc man and check all the connections when you are installing them for a lot less than any dealer will charge you, and you will know your bike better, good luck

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post #24 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-7-2017, 5:29 PM
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Voltmeter is a great addition...ty for mentioning Mischief. I'm using Signal Dynamics LED voltmeter on both o' my bikes.

VFR's infamous for charging difficulties...imperative to have, green LED indicates normal voltage, in the event of discharge the LED first trips to amber giving early warning, then red as voltage drops dangerously low.

I'm entering 7th season on both bikes with Mosfets and LED voltmeters....the only way to fly.

The green LED visible under the 170 MPH on the speedo.
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post #25 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-10-2017, 8:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to you all for the information, and sorry for the delayed reply.

O_E_M, could a bad battery alone be the cause for the type of break down I described? I've never heard of any vehicle behaving that way because of nothing more than a dead battery, but then I'm new to the ex500 and street bikes in general, so I don't have a clue.

po18guy, thanks for the tips on the ebay regulators. I'm going to try to get one of the mosfets fr, om Ducatiman as soon as I get the bike and test it, but I may get one of the ebay regulators for a temporary solution/spare until I can get the mosfet installed.

And the voltage meter is a good idea too. i'm going to do a search on those and how to wire them up.

I should be able to at least speak with the dealer tomorrow. They left a message over the weekend. And unless they surprise me with really good new, or really bad news, I'll be taking the bike back to Florida on Fri.
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