A problem waking up after 4 months of winter hibernation.

lootzyan

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Like every year, last November I winterized, in my garage, my two motorbikes (one of them is a scooter). As always, I keep the batteries at home throughout the winter and regularly charge them with the YUASA charger. (Smaller, 6Ah battery, refused to be charged in mid-January - after 10 years of use. After 3 days I received a new YUASA battery).
Yesterday the temperature jumped to 75 F so I decided to wake up my bikes from hibernation, as usual every spring. There has never been a problem with this. But this time, for the first time, my CTX ND refused to start. All controls on the display where normal and you could hear the fuel pump pressurize the fuel, but no start - just a starter relay click, nothing more. I checked the battery voltage - 12.1V and it increases, which is normal. I gave the battery a little rest until it reached 12.4V (before the start the voltage was normal 12.65V for a 5-year battery). I tried to start it again with the meter connected to the battery. It did not start but the voltage dropped to 11.9V. Now I knew that the starter relay contacts are good, current flows through the starter motor circuit and the start circuit fuses also are good. No reason to suspect that the starter motor is broken at this point. I could only suspect that the engine puts too much rotational resistance. So it needs some help. It's easy for NCX: engage it into a higher gear (3-rd and up) and push the bike. It's enough for the crankshaft to turn a little. For NCXD, remove the crankshaft hole cap (in the alternator cover) and using a socket wrench turn the crankshaft clockwise about 1/4 turn. That's all. In my case, the engine started without a problem. This can happen again if the bike is left at low temperatures for a relatively long time.
 

Griff

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Even outside the winter period I have often felt that the starter motor almost struggled to turn the motor over after a couple of weeks of a layoff. It never fails to start though. The fact that I have a tracker drawing off some voltage doesn't help of course.
 

greenboy

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I have a practically uninsulated shed for snow blower, lawnmowers and motorcycles. I don't remove batteries but I swap battery maintainer output between rider mower and NC every day or two (and keep Sta-bil Marine in my fuel tanks at appropriate level). No problems so far. Almost 8 years on my NC battery, and more than that on my EarthX in my WR250R. Might start my motorcycles a few times to ride if the weather gets up to freezing and there are some roads that allow, just to keep from jonesing.

Even during riding season for the past couple years I usually plug the battery maintainers into the SAE pigtails on my motorcycles after rides.
 

670cc

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Sorry but 5 years - you could use a new battery!
How would you know? Many factors influence battery life, and we don't know the circumstances with this one. In one environment they may last 3 years and in other environments easily last 8 years.
 

lootzyan

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Sorry but 5 years - you could use a new battery!
After 2-3 weeks of inactivity, the battery voltage drop, due to self-discharge, is around 0.1-0.2V.
I don't think I have to worry that this battery will "suddenly die" for the next 2-4 years.
Even if it happens, I will not hesitate to buy another YUASA battery.
 

Klap

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The battery in my ST1300, which is about the same size ( in fact, interchangeable) as the one in my NC, lasted 7 years. I only replaced it due to a long trip I was doing soon. It still started the high compression ST very well, and never reset the clock. It was about 50$ at the time, and was a Scorpion brand ( read: cheap ) battery. I do use a Battery Minder, which claims to desulphate the battery.
YMMV. The battery in my Helix was 12 years old when I replaced it, and may have been older- it was in the bike when I got it.
 

itsmenc700

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Yep expected those responses.
I live in the cold area of the US.
I've had a few batteries, car and bike, just suddenly stop and give a no start condition.
If my car battery is 7 years old and winter is coming I replace it so that I know my car will always start even if its -30°F out.

Car batteries are around twice the size of a bike battery. So if you can get 3-4 years out of a bike battery, I think I've done well. And if you have very hot summers, you've done very well with that time period. So I just dont understand the happiness you post that you can get 6 or 7 years out of your bike battery and are not concerned with no start issues. I am concerned about that, and that is why if strange things start happening, like what you originally posted, I would not hesitate to get a new battery if mine was older. Yes I read that the voltage only drops a bit, BUT If I can get 3-4 years out of a battery I feel I've gotten a good life out of it. The savings I would get from extending to 7 years as apposed to 4 years is minimal and not worth the time or effort.

So we can agree to disagree, I just suggested a new battery since it is NOT a big thing to try and not something that is just throwing money at a problem since you have an older one!
 

670cc

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Yep expected those responses.
I live in the cold area of the US.
I've had a few batteries, car and bike, just suddenly stop and give a no start condition.
If my car battery is 7 years old and winter is coming I replace it so that I know my car will always start even if its -30°F out.

Car batteries are around twice the size of a bike battery. So if you can get 3-4 years out of a bike battery, I think I've done well. And if you have very hot summers, you've done very well with that time period. So I just dont understand the happiness you post that you can get 6 or 7 years out of your bike battery and are not concerned with no start issues. I am concerned about that, and that is why if strange things start happening, like what you originally posted, I would not hesitate to get a new battery if mine was older. Yes I read that the voltage only drops a bit, BUT If I can get 3-4 years out of a battery I feel I've gotten a good life out of it. The savings I would get from extending to 7 years as apposed to 4 years is minimal and not worth the time or effort.

So we can agree to disagree, I just suggested a new battery since it is NOT a big thing to try and not something that is just throwing money at a problem since you have an older one!
Now I remember having had this exact same battery conversation a short while ago.
 

lootzyan

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...I just suggested a new battery since it is NOT a big thing to try and not something that is just throwing money at a problem since you have an older one!
It was not my intention to start a discussion about batteries.
At the beginning I indicated that my battery was checked and fully charged (up to its capacity) before installation.
The suggestion that with a new battery I could avoid similar problems is incorrect. Batteries don't work that way. First of all, the battery is a device for storing energy. The amount of electricity received depends on the recipient, in this case the starter motor and the entire ignition system (Ohm's law presents it in a very simple way). A battery (of the same voltage) will not give you more electric current just because it is larger or newer. You will take as much as you need, provided you do not consume the available energy too drastically. And this is the task of the designer to adjust the battery capacity to the needs of the system for starting the engine. After this, the alternator takes over the power supply task.
 
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Car batteries are around twice the size of a bike battery.
Not sure that's a relevant comparison. The load on the car battery is likely in the realm of 2x during starting, too. I'm not sure if you're talking physical size of the battery, or Ah rating, but the applications are just too different for that comparison to mean much. To put it into perspective, I can generate enough (kinetic) energy to push-start my bike on a level surface. It's going to take a hell of a bigger push to get my car started (hence, more energy) so the starter battery is going to see a similar difference in load. Without further data or testing, I would think that the life of each battery would be pretty even, but that would be purely speculation because, again, I think the two applications are just too different to compare.
To point, the battery in my NC is the original one from 2012. Never had a slow start. My Ninja has the original battery from 2015, starts just as quick as she did the day she rolled off the showroom floor. My car's battery is suspected to be from 2011/2012 and starting to show her age. Operating and storage conditions are going to have a significant effect on life, too.

The suggestion that with a new battery I could avoid similar problems is incorrect. Batteries don't work that way. First of all, the battery is a device for storing energy. The amount of electricity received depends on the recipient, in this case the starter motor and the entire ignition system (Ohm's law presents it in a very simple way). A battery (of the same voltage) will not give you more electric current just because it is larger or newer. You will take as much as you need, provided you do not consume the available energy too drastically.
The only caveat to this is that an aged battery will have a higher internal resistance, therefore more of the available energy is "consumed" by the battery while cranking. A static voltage test will not show this, because the open circuit voltage of the battery could still show 12.6V, but once you get all them amperes flowing to work the starter, the battery internal resistance could eat up a few of those volts. As you mentioned, yours dropped to 11.9V, so it would suggest your battery is fine, but I've had voltages drop below 9V on cranking with older batteries. A newer battery will generally give you more power output by having fewer internal losses. Less than a V drop is unlikely to give you any trouble though, so in your case a new battery would probably not make too too much of a difference.
 

lootzyan

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... A newer battery will generally give you more power output by having fewer internal losses. Less than a V drop is unlikely to give you any trouble though, so in your case a new battery would probably not make too too much of a difference.
First of all, there should be zero discussion about the battery. The battery was not a problem.
Specific conditions must be taken into account. Low temperatures and long storage without startup.
Not directly guilty, but the starter motor, in such adverse conditions, is not strong enough to overcome the resistance of the engine and the gearbox connected to it to move the crankshaft.
It doesn't matter if the battery is "full" or "half-full". It will not give more current than the starter motor wants. But the starter motor rotor cannot move. The generated electromagnetic field will quickly increase the internal temperature, the insulation on the wires will start to burn and ... Bye-bye-Bernie.
We should discuss whether I did enough to prepare the motorcycle for winter storage. I poured some oil into the cylinders but, this time, I did not start the engine, e.g. after a month.
 

Penguinsfan82

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I have always practiced never letting any engine sit more than two weeks without starting it....thank you for giving me a reason why! ha Never knew why I felt the need, so it's good to know there was a reason.
 

670cc

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I have always practiced never letting any engine sit more than two weeks without starting it....thank you for giving me a reason why! ha Never knew why I felt the need, so it's good to know there was a reason.
Everyone is different. I have multiple engines that routinely sit for six months or more without running. I have never found any reason to start them periodically. At last count I had 24 engines so it would not be practical to regularly run them all anyway. The engines all work when I want them to work, and none have ever worn out.
 

lootzyan

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In practice, we have never known what is the long-term effect of exposure of metal parts of the engine to oxidation and what effect it has on the life of the engine. And that the oxidation of parts occurs is certain. I don't know what piston rings are made of today. They used to be made of cast iron that is not very resistant to rust. You can't see it with the naked eye but at the molecular level it occurs. Especially during a cool period, the air inside the engine may be subject to periodic condensation. Usually, a film of oil on the surface gives some protection, but the most exposed are those parts that are touching, e.g. piston rings with the inner surface of the cylinder, where there is almost no protective layer.
 

670cc

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In practice, we have never known what is the long-term effect of exposure of metal parts of the engine to oxidation and what effect it has on the life of the engine. And that the oxidation of parts occurs is certain. I don't know what piston rings are made of today. They used to be made of cast iron that is not very resistant to rust. You can't see it with the naked eye but at the molecular level it occurs. Especially during a cool period, the air inside the engine may be subject to periodic condensation. Usually, a film of oil on the surface gives some protection, but the most exposed are those parts that are touching, e.g. piston rings with the inner surface of the cylinder, where there is almost no protective layer.
We may not know the long term effects of storage, but I have a 35 year old Honda lawn mower that sits in an unheated building every winter and starts right up in spring. If engines are still going strong at 35 years age, I guess it really doesn’t matter to me what happens at the molecular level. I think some people worry about their engines too much (not you, lootzyan). I’ve owned and ran various engines for 45 years and never worn one out. Even the junk made by Briggs and Stratton still runs.
 

lootzyan

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... I think some people worry about their engines too much (not you, lootzyan). I’ve owned and ran various engines for 45 years and never worn one out. Even the junk made by Briggs and Stratton still runs.
Between us, I can't afford not to take care of the engine. Is it a difference whether my lawn mower, for $250, still mows the grass after 10 years, and whether my car, for $25k, after 10 years will still be able to overtake the big track on the highway and escape its stench or whether I have a safe acceleration when joining the traffic. After 22 years I can already see the differences in my Altima.
On the other hand, how can we compare the work of a 1-cylinder mower engine with the work of a 4-cylinder car engine? 10 years of mowing. Will it be equivalent to 1 month of running of car engine? I don't know.
 

lootzyan

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...it really doesn’t matter to me what happens at the molecular level. ...
Rusting begins at the molecular level. What rust does to the piston ring surface and what effect it has on the compression of the cylinder, just talk to those who are rebuilding the engine. At least it used to be this way. Today I really don't know if anyone cares about it. Just buy a new engine or vehicle. Repairs are not worth the cost.
 
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lootzyan

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... (not you, lootzyan). ...
As a principle I can't say otherwise. Imagine saying to the doctor: Hey Doc, I smoke 40 a day, I feel great and I am 80. And the doctor would say: Don't worry, I also smoke a lot and I'm fine ...
 
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First of all, there should be zero discussion about the battery. The battery was not a problem.
I wasn't saying the battery was the problem. I was saying the opposite, in your case the battery was not the problem. However, I was noting that some no-start conditions are from an old battery not delivering the required output to the starter, even when showing 12.6V OCV.

It doesn't matter if the battery is "full" or "half-full". It will not give more current than the starter motor wants.
I'm not talking about charge level at all, if that's what you mean. What matters is the battery's ability to deliver the power required to the starter. As a battery ages (which is influenced by many different factors) this ability decreases until it can no longer provide the required output. Specific factors such as temperature, etc. will affect each start event as well, but all else being equal, at some point an "old" battery won't allow for a start when a "new" one would.

We should discuss whether I did enough to prepare the motorcycle for winter storage. I poured some oil into the cylinders but, this time, I did not start the engine, e.g. after a month.
As a single data point, I've left my bike outside, uncovered, unwinterized, old oil, etc. for a whole Nova Scotia winter (parked it as normal after a ride, then winter came). When spring thawed the snow and ice that encased most of the bike, she started perfectly first try. I wouldn't recommend it, and it's definitely not something I plan on repeating, but about 5 months in a snow bank with no preparation had no real effect on starting for me that time.
I've never put oil directly into the cylinders and never had a start problem. I'm wondering if that oil might have contributed to your sticky engine. I know many people do with no issues, and many people don't with no issues (and many people do or don't and have issues). I'm just considering the possibility now that the oil in the cylinders over time has a bit of "stick factor" to it.
There's significant debate over starting during storage regarding condensation in the exhaust and oil systems, oil not reaching all the moving parts, etc. depending on how long you start for and what RPM you run it at. Probably as many opinions on that as there are on which oil, tires, or insurance company to go with.
 
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