Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

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Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:21 pm

Last week, I ran by new battery out by forgetting my key in the bike, lights and everything else on. Tried to roll start her. Nope. Trickle charged at deep cycle, 2AMP, and no real take in the time I had.

Tried to jump using the trickle charger when I ran out of time using the 55AMP jump setting. No go, but regretted doing it.

It's not nothing, it's the grunt of a starter. A lame grunt. Afraid I fried something using the jump mode.

Next day, trickled it on 2A normal and it got some charge.

Called Khanh Nguyen at EUBMW for some help. He's a new dad! A 2nd boy! Mazel tov! He said I didn't do anything wrong and an overnight at 2AMP trickle should make it all right.

The building manager told me I needed to move the bike. Folks pushed me and I got started. Rode 80MPH+ around 495 for around 45 minutes (Columbia Pike to 395S to 495 inner loop to GW Parkway, got hope, parked, tried starting her.

Same lame starter grind, it feels like she didn't take any charge. :( :o :shock: :x :emb: :cry: :evil: :twisted: :roll: :!: :?: #-o

Wondering if I fried anything (I didn't jump with a car) or if the battery is shot or if I did something else stupid.

In the perfect world, I would just need a new battery (even though this one is only months old).

Any advice? Any insight?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby Chiba » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:59 pm

Sometimes a battery can just discharge so far it's useless. Can't hurt to try a fresh one, right?
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby Georgeinva » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:25 pm

My vote is dead battery. Like Wes said if you discharge it too far it might not recover.
Be grateful you did not fry the starter relay. On older K bikes if you hold the starter button for more than a few seconds you run the risk of sticking the starter relay. If that happens the starter will crank until either the battery is completely dead or the wires melt.
As for the alternator a dead one will not effect starting. (For those of you who like to nit pick, a frozen alt would stop the engine from turning over. Since the bike still runs when bumped the alt is not an issue) When you turn the key on (bike not running) you should see the battery light light. After starting the light will remain on until just above idle. If it does not come on with the key or stays on above idle you might have a charging system problem.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:04 pm

Thanks a lot -- that's very reassuring. I appreciate it. I have learned something. All those lights get pretty confusing after a while.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:11 pm

Another questions:

How about a Lithium Ferrous battery as a replacement. Much more expensive but maybe much more durable, too.

An EVX20L-24 Battery by Ballistic or something like that? Trickier but maybe more forgiving for someone who parks outside, doesn't trickle charge over the winter, and who sometimes forgets to do simple things like actually turn off the bike.

Might be $369.95 well spent and piece of mind.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby vacommuter » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:53 pm

I've had extremely poor cold weather performance on my high speed small size lithium something or other battery. Had it replaced once under warranty after being towed home in a snow storm by hillbillies. I ride year round.


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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:37 pm

I ride year-around as well. Isn't that what BMW riders do? Lucky we're Mid Atlantic, eh?
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:40 pm

This is what I'll do: the moment Khanh Nguyen is back from being a brand new father of a baby boy (he was at the hospital when I called his cell), I'll roll-start my baby and ride straight down to 3025 Colvin St, Alexandria, VA, 22314, and visit EUBMW for a brand new battery and some face time.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby jeffeaby » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:26 am

testing the charge output is easy. when off, the battery voltage should be around 12.2 for a healthy battery. less for a discharged one. if it's below 11, it's dead and MAY be permanently dead. check for ample fluid inside (if possible), top off with distilled water.

Use jumper cables to get it running, just like on a car. check the voltage across the battery at 2500 RPM and it should be around 14+. if not, the charge system is not working.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:43 pm

She started up right away this morning. Rode down to EUBMW anyway. Khanh checked and the battery is at 60%. Will replace it and get an oil change in a couple weeks. Weird. I'm grateful though. Replaced my brake light. All's well.

jeffeaby wrote:testing the charge output is easy. when off, the battery voltage should be around 12.2 for a healthy battery. less for a discharged one.


When Khanh tested at the battery, the battery was 12.5, so what you're saying is that the battery is still healthy enough.
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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby Shane R1100GS » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:22 pm

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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby eap » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:58 pm

Georgeinva wrote:My vote is dead battery. Like Wes SSNIP.



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Re: Dead Battery or Fried Alternator on my '95 K1100LT?

Postby chrisabraham » Sun May 24, 2015 5:33 pm

The battery was fine. The problem was the starter sprag clutch ... I changed the oil, replaced it with higher viscosity Mobil 1 oil and then also ran some oil detergent through it -- here's an excellent discussion about such a crazy thing I could not ever anticipate: Starter Sprag Clutch problems in Classic K bikes
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