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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning guys, just bought a 2001 vstar 1100 with 12k Miles a week ago and Sunday morning (3am, I’m a bouncer) it started having some issues. Well big issue, it won’t start. To get home I had to push start it in 2nd, once it started it ran fine. Symptoms:
—check engine light is on and blinks 3 times, break, repeat. Manual says tps sensor?
—it seems like a dead battery but I hooked it up to a charger for about 12 hours and it made no difference.
—when I bought it, the owner said it has to be in nuetral to start. I thought this was just how the bike was manufactured but the more I read the more this seems not the case.
—when I try to start it, the starter sounds like it’s starting up then stops. Every 3 or so tries it cycles 2-3 times. Sometimes the solenoid just buzzes.
—it did see some rain but bikes are generally waterproof, no?
—I realize the first couple times before I found this forum, starting the bike I gave it some throttle, but only a couple times. Shouldn’t be enough to blow the starter clutch already right?

I was just reading another thread about starter magnets coming loose and tanking the starter. A possibility?

Thanks in advance!
 

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1st thing to do is get a volt meter, put it on DC volts, and put the leads right across the battery while you crank the starter. Even a $10 meter from walmart or harbor freight will do for this.

If the voltage is dropping down below 10V while you are cranking, you battery is old and weak. Charging an old battery wont bring it back to life. They normally last 3 to 4 years.

If the battery voltage is holding up, check the cables to the battery connection, and follow the black wire down to the frame connection. Make sure those connections are all clean - get out the wire brush or dremil with a sanding drum if you need to.

I dont have an 1100 but from what I have read you have to give the throttle gas more than 3 times (while cranking) to break the starter clutch - if you keep doing that all the time you will kill it eventually.

I think there was a very narrow window on starters being made with weak glue on the magnets - its not a very common issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I’ll grab a voltmeter from work and try it tonight. If the battery turns out fine, where do I put the nodes to test the starter relay and starter? What resistance/voltage should I look for? I’m great with mechanical issues but absolutely clueless on electrical.
 

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If the voltage is good at the battery terminals while its cranking, but the starter is spinning slower than it should, the next step would be to put the meter on the starter terminals and see if the 12V is still there while cranking, or if you are losing it somewhere between the battery and the starter.

Im dont know where those terminals are on an 1100 - someone else will have to jump in with that info.

check engine light is on and blinks 3 times, break, repeat. Manual says tps sensor...
I forgot to mention, if your battery is going dead to the point that it wont crank the starter, the tps sensor fault code could just be from trying to run on low voltage.

If the bike runs ok when you push start it, and you dont get that check engine light, then your tps is ok.

If your battery checks out ok, then the tps is something to look into - because the ECM changes the timing based on where the TPS is. Its a simple thing to check.

This is a good time to mention: the factory service manual for most vstar bikes is on the internet somewhere in pdf format. If you dont have one google Vstar 1100 service manual, and you might be able to download it for free. There is a page for checking the TPS with a volt meter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies! The light stays on and was on before battery issues, to clarify. Also, I found a YouTube video where this guys bike sounds just like mine if it helps.

https://youtu.be/A6NHB9bTADU

He said the problem turned out to be his battery, so I’m definately starting there! If I need to replace it, what’s a good one with the proper specs that will start in any weather, if that even exists?
 

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Your bike will run fine on any lead acid AGM (glass mat) battery that is the right size for your bike.

You can goto someplace like battery shark, they will tell you what battery you need for your make and model motorcycle

use this for your reference: https://www.batterysharks.com/Yamaha-1100CC-XVS1100-V-Star-All-1999-2009-p/xvs1100vstar_m12-12-135-k.htm

you can also get batteries locally from interstate batteries, some at walmart, any yamaha dealer - but the dealer might try to sell you a 'hi performance' battery for $200 that you dont need.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a ton guys, I’ll test the battery this afternoon and if that’s the issue there’s both a batteries plus and autozone and multiple advanced auto parts that have glass mat batteries nearby. Should be back on the road for the few days I have before this hurricane hits!

If lord forbid that’s not the issue, I’ll reply here.
 

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Thanks a ton guys, I’ll test the battery this afternoon and if that’s the issue there’s both a batteries plus and autozone and multiple advanced auto parts that have glass mat batteries nearby. Should be back on the road for the few days I have before this hurricane hits!

If lord forbid that’s not the issue, I’ll reply here.
Where are you located since you mentioned hurricane? If you are on south east - check this thread and join us. Stay safe!

As far your starting issue - I'm with KCW (he is our "walking encyclopedia") - it is very likely the battery. I had similar issue on my wife's 650. Battery even checked good when I took it to Autozone and Advance Auto Parts. I kept messing with the starter and wires and fuses until I decided to check the voltage on the terminals while cranking and it was down to 1.5 volts. Went to the store, put new battery in - started right up and no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok I’m at a loss. The battery test went from 12.42 no load to 9.9 load. So I went and got a brand new one recommended in another thread in this forum and it’s still doing the same thing. I pulled the starter off and tested it, it works, which means so does the relay. The stator is fine otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to push start it and make it 35 mins home. All of the fuses look fine. I made sure there was no corrosion anywhere. I guess this forum doesn’t allow for videos 😞
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With the new battery, it’s reading OL regardless if loaded or not. It did this the first time I tried to test the old one but not the time after.
 

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You can upload video to YouTube and post. Did you check the ground cable at frame. If loose or corroded it will allow power to starter with no load and reduced current under load. Also, test voltage at starter while trying to start, what's the reading?

 

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I dont know what you mean by showing OL?


Did you set the meter to the OHMS scale by mistake - then it would read OL for open leads.

is the meter displaying "OL" when set to volts? That means you have it set to a voltage range too low to read 12.4V -

meters will usually auto range, or you set them for 4V, 40V, 400V... something like that.
 

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Ok I’m at a loss. The battery test went from 12.42 no load to 9.9 load. So I went and got a brand new one recommended in another thread in this forum and it’s still doing the same thing. ...
to be clear:

you had the volt meter on the battery terminals, it was 12.4V.
you cranked the starter and the meter dropped to 9.9V, still on the battery terminals.

was the meter on the battery terminals themselves, or on the lugs on the ends of the wires? If you have the meter on the wire lugs, put the meter right on the battery terminals and see if the voltage is being dropped at that connection point to the wires?

was the bike cranking normally or cranking slow?

If the starter is cranking too slow to start the bike, and pulling the battery down to 10V, then the starter is overloading the battery (maybe your magnets have broken loose)

or something in the engine is loading the starter up too much. But if you can push start the bike I cant think of anything that could be wrong with the engine that would load up the starter.
 

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With the new battery, it’s reading OL regardless if loaded or not. It did this the first time I tried to test the old one but not the time after.
OL is continuity, check meter setting, needs to be volts.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok so the voltmeter was set exactly as I had it in the picture, on volts with a range two decimal places over. Yes, I held the nodes on the terminals and it read 12.42 and as I tried to start it it dropped to 9.9. I tried moving the nodes on the meter on different spots, all yielded the same results. I checked the ground that’s deep between the engine casings, I think the larger wire, and it looked relatively clean and was tight. With the new battery, set on the same settings, i put the red node on the positive terminal, no black load. It reads around 8v, then if I put the black node on the negative terminal the voltage spikes until it says “OL”, meaning over load.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have the battery plugged up to my battery tender and the light is red, meaning it is charging and is below 80%. Could I have bought a dead but rechargeable battery? My engineer neighbor who works on old aircraft seems to think this is possible, he also double checked everything.
 

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when you buy a battery it sometimes needs to be topped off with a charger before you use it

Even the ones that come with the acid in a bottle, that you pour into the battery cells, you still need to charge it up the rest of the way.

Its unlikely that your new battery is not good - let it charge up and try it again.

I assume the starter was doing the same thing: spinning slower than necessary?

With the electronic ignition on newer bikes, once the battery drops below a certain voltage (definitely below 9V) the electronic ignition circuit does not have enough voltage to work at all - you get zero spark and the bike will not start, even though it is cranking slow.

Im not sure why you got an OL display while measuring on the volts scale, unless you inadvertently pushed the range button, and knocked the meter down to a 2V, 6V... or even a mV scale. For example if the meter is set to the 2V range then 12V is out of range - over load OL ...
 

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With the new battery, set on the same settings, i put the red node on the positive terminal, no black load. It reads around 8v, then if I put the black node on the negative terminal the voltage spikes until it says “OL”, meaning over load.
Not doubting your reading but meter might be malfunctioning. Our bikes operate on a direct current electrical system. With only one lead hooked up there will not be a reading, or it will read zero. It takes the second lead to complete the circuit for a reading. If both leads were hooked up with the setting being below a 12 volt threshold it could read OL. Has anyone ever experienced anything different?, please chime in.

 

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Something else to watch for on the meter: make sure you always plug the leads into the V,OHM and COMMON jacks.

That meter has an amp function which always has a separate jack for the red lead when you are measuring current. If you put the leads in the A and COM jacks can put them on the battery terminals, it will send a couple hundred amps thru the meter and blow out the internal fuse.

To measure current you have to disconnect one of the wires in the circuit you are measuring, and put the meter in series with that wire.

Just about every other meter I pick up at work has the amp circuit fuse blown out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I made a video of all the pictures and videos I took earlier and was sending to a friend. Him and my neighbor are saying that the battery just died on the shelf. It’s been plugged up for 3 hours and it’s still red, not sure how long it should take to charge. Here’s the link:

https://youtu.be/z2zr-fcfjIM

Thanks for all of you guys’ help so far. Fingers crossed they’re right about the battery. Again, when I test the current battery, no matter where I put the leads it says ”OL”.
 
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