If you are a biker, then it’s happened to you too. Your motorcycle refuses to crank hard enough to start. You push start and the dashboard lights are dim, then they flicker. When it comes to electronics, my knowledge is limited. The good is that electricity principles haven’t changed over the years. The checks that worked with the 60’s classics or the 80’s muscle bikes still work with the latest superbikes.
But that hasn’t stopped me from rewiring my bike which is a big mistake. I have ripped off the bike’s wiring and other electrical components only to realize I have no idea what to do next. A motorcycle expert will tell you that this gives you a 5% chance of having it running again. If you are successful, it will cost you more than the bike’s worth.
So, what do you do?
Don’t harm your bike
Checking the battery is the first thing to do if your bike refuses to crank up several times. If it’s an old bike then you can physically remove the bike put it on a flat surface. Then check the acid level in each cell. If the acid level is low, top it up with battery water or distilled water. Not acid. If there is furring on the terminals, pour a cup of build water to dissolve the buildup.
What happens if you have a sealed battery? Well, it’s still prone to furring that can make the voltage to drop so the boiled water trick comes in handy. Ensure your terminals are spotless before reconnecting them.
Check the earth strap and braided wires
Each electricity volt goes back to the battery through the earth strap. The strap and the frame are prone to corrosion at the point of contact. You can easily unbolt the strap and use kitchen steel wool to clean where the lug touches the frame. Clean up both sides of the lug on the strap using the same technique. When bolting it, cover all exposed metal with grease, chain wax, or Vaseline.
In some bikes, the earth strap isn’t insulated and the braided aluminum or steel wires remain exposed. Over time, corrosion takes place and electricity doesn’t get through the wires. The same can happen to the electric ignition control unit. If this happens simply replace the earth strap.
Replace the battery
If the 2 simple steps haven’t helped, then it’s time to get yourself a new battery. Go to any OEM motorcycle parts dealer and get the exact fit for your bike.
That’s it! Hit the starter button after turning the key and bask in the sweet sound of success.