Won't start...battery?

Grayscale

Scooter
hey all, I've got an 09 t100 w/ 4,700 miles on the clock.

It's been rather cold here lately, (a few nights below freezing) and I finally had a good day to ride after about a week. This afternoon, the bike wouldn't even turn over. All the lights were strongly lit, but no starter movement. So, I threw it on a charger and it fired up. I rode around for 15 minutes or so, thinking this would charge the battery sufficiently. Stopped for gas and tried to restart. Nothing again. Jumped it again and rode for a good 40 miles around town. Came back and can't get it to start again.

Put it back on the charger for a good 2 hours now and it still won't turn over. Lights are still bright, so it's not like it has no charge at all. Is it possible to have a bad battery that can run the lights fully but can't turn the engine over?
 
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Bonafide

NBR founder
I'm just shocked that you've managed to put 47,000 miles on a 2009 model.

But yeah, it's probably the battery ... how bout running a voltage test on it? If not, you're still under warranty ... take it in and let the dealer sort it out.
 

Mofles

Scooter
sounds like an issue with the starter. Is there a way you can pull the starter and hook it directly to the battery? If it wont spin with 12 volts then the problem is the starter.
 

Speed3Chris

I like Dick
Grayscale,
What you describe is quite common on '09 bikes. The EFI bikes have an ECU cutoff below 11.6V and even though you will get a strong headlight, the ECM will keep the starter relay from engaging. This threshold has a tolerance and some bikes are more susceptible than others. Cold damp weather generally exposes a weak battery and so more of this issue is seen as we approach winter. There is a simple wiring workaround for this to take the ECM out of the starter circuit but first what you need to do is charge the battery and measure battery voltage. A trickle charged battery should measure about 13.1-13.3 VDC or so. Remove the seat and then take a multimeter....get one if you don't one...invaluable for any electrical work...then ride the bike and check the battery voltage and see if it has depleted which sounds like it is. My bike off the trickle charger even if not ridden for a week will stay at the 12.5-12.8 VDC range. Likely your culprit is a weakening battery but can be a confluence of things as well like a stator that isn't charging as it should. You can check this with the bike running btw. You will note if your idle is set low that the stator on these bikes doesn't charge the battery below 1K RPM. Therefore a further note is set your idle a hair above 1000 rpm which is not only good for top end lubrication for prolonged idling at the stop light but won't drain the battery down if riding in stop and go traffic.
For reference, I set my EFI bike around 1.1K RPM or so at idle which works well for shifting as well..

Let us know what you learn. If you or others are interested in the wiring strategy for bypassing the ECM effectively making the wiring closer to the carbed bike (failsafe wiring btw between the two bikes is completely different as the ECM changes everything), let me know and I will post a schematic.
Hope this helps.
PS: I am as astounded as the dude that you have 47K miles on your '09 bike. Maybe you meant 4.7K miles but maybe not. ;)
 
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ssjones

750cc
Great advice Speed3. I typically bump my idle speed during the winter, but never really knew why. It just seemed like it would be for what are mostly very short rides during the cold weather season.
Grayscale,
What you describe is quite common on '09 bikes. The EFI bikes have an ECU cutoff below 11.6V and even though you will get a strong headlight, the ECM will keep the starter relay from engaging. This threshold has a tolerance and some bikes are more susceptible than others. Cold damp weather generally exposes a weak battery and so more of this issue is seen as we approach winter. There is a simple wiring workaround for this to take the ECM out of the starter circuit but first what you need to do is charge the battery and measure battery voltage. A trickle charged battery should measure about 13.1-13.3 VDC or so. Remove the seat and then take a multimeter....get one if you don't one...invaluable for any electrical work...then ride the bike and check the battery voltage and see if it has depleted which sounds like it is. My bike off the trickle charger even if not ridden for a week will stay at the 12.5-12.8 VDC range. Likely your culprit is a weakening battery but can be a confluence of things as well like a stator that isn't charging as it should. You can check this with the bike running btw. You will note if your idle is set low that the stator on these bikes doesn't charge the battery below 1K RPM. Therefore a further note is set your idle a hair above 1000 rpm which is not only good for top end lubrication for prolonged idling at the stop light but won't drain the battery down if riding in stop and go traffic.
For reference, I set my EFI bike around 1.1K RPM or so at idle which works well for shifting as well..

Let us know what you learn. If you or others are interested in the wiring strategy for bypassing the ECM effectively making the wiring closer to the carbed bike (failsafe wiring btw between the two bikes is completely different as the ECM changes everything), let me know and I will post a schematic.
Hope this helps.
PS: I am as astounded as the dude that you have 47K miles on your '09 bike. Maybe you meant 4.7K miles but maybe not. ;)
 

Grayscale

Scooter
Sorry, screwed up on the typing try 4,700 miles. I have to work, so I can't ride that much :)

Anywho, took the battery up to Autozone this morning and they said it needed to be replaced. Strange that it was only a year old, but I don't have a garage, and it may have been one of the light freezes that killed it.

Thanks for the input. I'll throw a new battery in there tomorrow hopefully and see if that fixes the problem.
 

Mike M

Scooter
I'd try charging you're existing battery and raise you're idle , Auto Zone sure isn't where I'd go for motorcycle advice or assistance. All the want tot do is sell you a battery, also some tachs read a little different than you are really turning over. That battery, or charging issue is something that you should check with you're dealer about, as it may be a warranty issue. If you don't have a good dealer, find one.
 

Grayscale

Scooter
Or maybe 4.7 miles? Oh hell, I just walk the bike around the block a few times ;)

I put a battery charger on it overnight before taking it to the auto parts store for a diagnostic. I'm going to run the battery up to the dealership in the morning to see what they say on that one.
 

Speed3Chris

I like Dick
Gray,
You can either load test the battery, or measure voltage after charging/riding to see if its holding its charge. Never a bad idea to check the running voltage at different RPM's.
Many guys just check the box and buy a replacement battery...some needlessly but the batteries do fail on these bikes from time to time and never a big deal to replace the battery but one year in is early.

There is also a further nuance about the EFI bikes and batteries in particular worth mentioning. Some of the batteries were preordained to fail. We've all heard about soaking a new battery. If the dealer just pours acid in the battery and installs it in your bike, you'll have issues with it later. After being filled with acid, the battery needs to sit for an hour before it's sealed. After that, Triumph recommends charging a fresh Bonneville battery with a Yuasa 12v automatic charger until the green light comes on, which usually takes about 30 minutes."

If this subtle procedure isn't adhered to, you likely will never have the battery life you need to coexist with the ECM cutoff in particular. I have been lucky on my EFI bike and the battery has been very robust holding its charge.
Some further thoughts. Me personally...new bike....I would take your battery failure up with your dealer as they may have prematurely sealed your battery....common.
Good Luck.
 
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Grayscale

Scooter
Speed, that's good advice. Right now, I'm trying to avoid towing the bike up to the dealership if it is indeed just a battery that I can drive up there. If they do tell me it's a faulty battery, then they should replace it under warranty. If it's not a faulty battery, then I'll jump-start or tow the bike up to the dealership.

The battery charger I bought is a bit on the el cheapo side, but from what I can tell, the battery is holding way low (0-0.5 amp) even after an overnight charge.
 

Grayscale

Scooter
Well, no dice. New battery from the dealer (who said it failed the load test), but still won't engage the starter. I put the new battery on the charger all day today in case it was sitting on the shelf for a while, came back tonight and won't start again.

I guess it's a trip to the dealer then to get it sorted out.

I have been prone to doing bonehead things, so just to make sure I'm putting it on the charger correctly: I should put the positive clamp on the battery and the negative on the shock mount bolt, set to 12v, 2amps correct?
 
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Speed3Chris

I like Dick
We're all prone to do boneheaded things because we are guys and ride motorcycles. :) I'm gonna give you a few more options as this issue plagues many EFI bonny owners.
First, buy a multimeter Gray. Arguably the most important tool in your tool box. They are sold everywhere. Can get a nice one at Radio Shack, Sears, on line etc. Flukes are my fav and drop the hint for Christmas with the Mrs. ;) You don't need the MacDaddy, the baby Fluke is adequate. It will help you across the board...everything runs on batteries...house wiring is helped tremendously if you are a DIY'er etc.

You need to know the static and running voltage of the bike to understand what is going on. Yes, + is red and our bikes are negative ground. You need a good ground however. A multimeter insures that the charge was complete which I suspect it wasn't if the bike won't fire. Also as mentioned previously, the battery won't last if the dealer sealed it too early...nature of the beast.

I am going to provide you with two more workarounds for this issue. I haven't been plagued by it but there is a long list of those with new bonnies that have. Triumph knows about it. Ask your dealer if they have an "urbane tune" available which they should. Triumph developed this tune as a response to this issue. It is more than urbane legend. ;) This ECM reflash changes the battery disconnect to the ECM and/or revises the no start threshold. There is a notable downside with this tune. If you have aftermarket pipes and one of the optional tunes loaded on your bike then you will lose the associated A/F map of that tune. You can address this with your dealer and see if you want to go this route.

OK, now here is a workaround I devised. Keep in mind the ECM cutoff wasn't meant for Triumph to shoot themselves in the foot by creating disgruntled owners of their new bikes but rather to protect owners against stator failures and poor driveability with a low battery. The reasoning behind this is your bike will likely start with a battery EMF of 11.0 VDC or so without a cutoff as will a carbed bike. The downside here is now the stator has to work real hard to recharge the battery. This can and does burn up many a motorcycle stator. You may recall stator failures on carbed bikes isn't that uncommon. They don't inadvertently fail but rather fail prematurely do to running the bike will low voltage. The second reason is, for EFI bikes, ECM sensors do not provide the proper signal with lower than spec voltage. Resistance is proportional to voltage. So that is the reasoning behind this issue. IMO Triumph did slightly miss the window for the cutoff and were too aggressive which has left a lot of new bonny owners stranded. Some out of state while traveling....not good.
Below is the wiring workaround. It is simple and also incorporates a kill switch as a theft deterent. What you want to do is generally ride the bike with the stock wiring or the switch set to standard routing through the ECM for the starter relay. Use the bypass when you need it. If you find yourself needing the bypass quite a bit, likely your battery or stator, regulator etc are marginal or need attention.
Let me know if I can help further and hope this helps:

BonnyNoStartWorkAround12-14-09JPEG.jpg
 
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Grayscale

Scooter
Sorry, the mileage was a typo. Should be 4,700 miles, not 47K. Clumsy fingers.

Speed, thanks for the insight. Actually looks like not a difficult mod for most folks. I'm sure people will like your solution. I was thinking that it seemed odd that Triumph would set the threshold so low that you could get stuck out in BFE without a warning. I'll talk to the dealership about the alternative tune when I get it to them this week. I want to make sure that the battery is indeed the issue and not something else like a bad starter switch or kickstand cutoff etc. While it's possible that a new battery could be bad, I figure that's a rare occurrence.

I'm still expecting this thing to act more like a car as that's what I'm used to working on, I suppose :)
 

Shorty

Two Stroke
I've had a similar issue on my "02" (not an EFI therefore this might not apply to your bike) which included the bike starting sometimes, but no headlights and then not starting at all.
I replaced one of the relays under the left side cover and it fixed the problem (I think it was the one towards the front, but can't swear to it...maybe it had arced contacts and was loading down the system somehow).
Autozone had the relays for about $6. My notes say that it's a GP Sorensen MR78. Take the relay with you though because they will try to cross reference the model number. The first time they gave me the wrong size (same pin-out but physically larger and it wouldn't fit in the socket).
I now carry a spare in my tool bag.

Shorty
 
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ssjones

750cc
I also had a problem starter relay. Mine wouldn't do anything when the starter button was pressed, plus it was intermittent. The relay, bought the factory Hella at our local "Trick-Trucks" was only $7. That was after I replaced the $70 starter solenoid.....
For less than $10, I'd give it a shot.
From my file:
Hella 12V 40a - , $5.95


I've had a similar issue on my "02" (not an EFI therefore this might not apply to your bike) which included the bike starting sometimes, but no headlights and then not starting at all.
I replaced one of the relays under the left side cover and it fixed the problem (I think it was the one towards the front, but can't swear to it...maybe it had arced contacts and was loading down the system somehow).
Autozone had the relays for about $6. My notes say that it's a GP Sorensen MR78. Take the relay with you though because they will try to cross reference the model number. The first time they gave me the wrong size (same pin-out but physically larger and it wouldn't fit in the socket).
I now carry a spare in my tool bag.

Shorty
 

Speed3Chris

I like Dick
Yup relays can fail to be sure especially if the bike is washed with a hose or ridden a lot in the rain. Before changing the relay, a simple check should be performed however. Ensure that power is getting to the relay. The relays for all intents are the same between carbed and EFI bikes. They also aren't generic in that they have an integrated headlight interrupt circuit and why they are five leads total...how you ID which is the starter relay under the left side cover. Also the cover can be popped off the relay and the terminals can be cleaned with #600 sandpaper which will generally restore function although they won't have the life moving forward of a new relay because contact surface has been compromised. A note on the EFI bikes which are new and still under warranty...the issue is generally the ECM cutting off the circuit to the starter relay and not the other failsafes which run through the ECM and not around the igniter like with a carbed bike. The wiring diagram as shown above it completely different than a carbed bike. All this stuff can be verified with a multimeter including the status of the battery before and after charge, running etc. Best to diagnose the root cause before changing parts as the root cause of any part failure can easily be checked.
The reason to do it yourself is because sadly a lot of techs don't sweat the due dilligence for a variety of reasons. Have them change the parts since the bike is under warranty of course.
As to generic replacement versus paying the high dealer cost...a good tip on the relay replacement if it has the headlight interrupt feature which if you magnify the above schematic you can see imbedded in the starter relay. Also 80 buxs for a starter solenoid relay is ridiculous. If every there is a generic relay it is the starter solenoid. You can use any 5 dollar relay from any passenger car sold in that position. Cheers.
 
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