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Electrical woes on '52 FL

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awander
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Electrical woes on '52 FL

#1

Post by awander » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:21 pm

I have a 1952 FL with a 32E 3-brush and stock cutout relay.

A couple of days ago, while riding to work, I had gone about 25 ,miles, when the bike suddenly started to run badly-it would stall if I opened the throttle wide. I had had this happen before, when my battery was low, and so I did what I usually do, turned the lights off. I noticed that the voltmeter I have clipped to my windscreen was reading "0", which meant below 5V(it is an electronic voltmeter, and requires at least 5V in order to work).

The bike ran OK for another 10 miles, and then started coughing and stalling if I got on the throttle hard. This time I pulled over, and connected a cliplead from my battery + to the coil terminal-it ran better, but still not great. I managed to make it to work, and I hooked the battery up to a small 9VDC 1A wall wart(it was all I had) to try and charge it. I left it hooked up to the wall wart for about an hour or hour and a half. Then I rode home. This time I started out with the lights off, and had to do the cliplead thing right away. After about 30 miles, the bike was doing pretty bad, so I disconnected the "wiring harness" cable from the coil. It seemed to do a little better, and I made it the remaining 20 miles home, running badly the whole way.

Last night I checked the battery voltage, and it was around 4.5V. I hooked up a 1Amp charger and charged the battery for about 4 hours.

Then I worked my way through the wiring from the battery to the ignition switch, cleaned all the contacts, actually "rebuilt" the switch using a contact deck from my old switch off my '64. I found some corroded contacts, and also found that the horn + wire was frayed and partially shorted to ground, so I fixed those things.

Today I charged the battery some more on the 1A charger, and after about 4 hours, i went out to see how things stood.

The voltmeter read about 7V with the charger in place. Turning the ignition on dropped the voltage to 6V, and turning on the lights dropped it below 5V.

I started the bike, and it was not charging(Gen light on) I discovered that the relay is not pulling in. If I push the relay closed, the bike does charge at about 2A and 7V. Turning the lights on reduces the charge rate to about 1A or less. But the relay won't stay closed.

Any ideas what this could be? The wires to the relay and to the generator look ok-no fraying, etc.

I am wondering if I need a new relay, or if something else is up.....



FlatHeadSix
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#2

Post by FlatHeadSix » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:02 pm

Andy,
It sounds like your diagnostics are thorough and all your "fixes" were on the right track. 1950Panhead just went through a very similar problem, here's the recent thread:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9204

his problem turned out to be a bad relay.

mike

awander
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#3

Post by awander » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:37 am

yeah-but I still see the battery going down to 4-4.5V when I put the lights on(engine not running) I checked the battery with the "floating balls" type hygrometer and all 3 cells float all of the balls-so why am I not able to draw 10A out of it for at least a few seconds without having the voltage drop so drastically? I wonder if the battery itself has failed in some way?

awander
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#4

Post by awander » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:07 am

Looks like this battery is just bad-it measures as fully charged, but won;t take any load without dropping pretty quickly to 5V or so.

I put last year's 6V Harley battery back on, and the bike is doing great!

james
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1952 FL
Location: Wrightsville Pennsylvania

Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#5

Post by james » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:13 am

Batteries are like light bulbs. One day they work
the next day not. Not easy to explain, it just happens
that way.

Jim

james
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1952 FL
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#6

Post by james » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:19 am

I was around Lake Nokamixon, down River Road and even on the Jersey side of the river.
Never saw a black 52 pan running around.

Jim

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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#7

Post by james » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:20 am

Today

awander
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#8

Post by awander » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:24 am

On my first test ride, I took Ridge Rd West past 313, then snuck back up and ended up taking Ridge Rd back to 611. Headed home and did some work on the relay rebuild. This was around 1AM.

Then I went back out around 3:30, took 412/212 to 313 up to Quakertown(had to return a video to the Library), then cam back via 313 and 563.

Wish I'd known you were out there; I was wondering who I could get to ride with....

awander
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#9

Post by awander » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:25 am

Jim:

I just noticed we both have '52 FL's......Is yours foot or hand shift?

james
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Re: Electrical woes on '52 FL

#10

Post by james » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:12 am

I was all over 313 then headed east on Ridge road towards river road.
Yes I to have a 52. My engine is out for repair. I have a tank shift.
Today I was ridng a 2003 Road King with my wife. Super weather and a lot of people out there. Dillys?? What a business they do. Apple Jacks were sponsoring a poker run.
My wife says I still can't believe we went to Apple Jacks back in the 70's and made it home alive.
Jim

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