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Engine Warning Light

TheIronWarrior

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Twice now, I've tried starting my bike after leaving it sit for ~1 week, and the engine turned over slowly and it took a lot more cranking before it started.
How old is the battery? If it's more than, say, 5 years, you likely have an aged battery that just can't hold a good charge.
The OEM battery on my 2012 lasted about 7 or years I think it was, but different conditions can shorten or lengthen that lifespan.
 

yojimg

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How old is the battery? If it's more than, say, 5 years, you likely have an aged battery that just can't hold a good charge.
The OEM battery on my 2012 lasted about 7 or years I think it was, but different conditions can shorten or lengthen that lifespan.
The previous owner only had the bike for a few months, and said he replaced the battery. It’s got a “Bike Master” brand battery installed now. So I’m guessing it’s less than 6 months old….
 

TheIronWarrior

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The previous owner only had the bike for a few months, and said he replaced the battery. It’s got a “Bike Master” brand battery installed now. So I’m guessing it’s less than 6 months old….
It's possible, but I don't think likely, to have a bad battery off the shelf. There should be a manufacture date code on the battery somewhere (top?) maybe check to see that it's a newer one? I think Bike Master uses a letter for year, then 4 digits for month and day. There's a longer code for manufacture date (not sure what the extra characters/digits mean) and a shorter code for activation date.
Sounds like you might have a parasitic drain of some sort going on. If there are no aftermarket accessories, you could be chasing an elusive electrical fault which may or may not be easy to find.
The only other thing I could think of would be old/contaminated oil getting sticky/sludgy? Sitting gives it time to really gum up, where once it's been moving and warmed up it's less sticky? I'm still thinking battery/electrical is the most likely.

For reference, my 2012 (with a 2 year old battery) sat outside unstarted for at least a month and a half in Nova Scotia fall weather and then started first crack, no sluggishness, a few days ago to get put away for the season.
 

yojimg

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It's possible, but I don't think likely, to have a bad battery off the shelf. There should be a manufacture date code on the battery somewhere (top?) maybe check to see that it's a newer one? I think Bike Master uses a letter for year, then 4 digits for month and day. There's a longer code for manufacture date (not sure what the extra characters/digits mean) and a shorter code for activation date.
Sounds like you might have a parasitic drain of some sort going on. If there are no aftermarket accessories, you could be chasing an elusive electrical fault which may or may not be easy to find.
The only other thing I could think of would be old/contaminated oil getting sticky/sludgy? Sitting gives it time to really gum up, where once it's been moving and warmed up it's less sticky? I'm still thinking battery/electrical is the most likely.

For reference, my 2012 (with a 2 year old battery) sat outside unstarted for at least a month and a half in Nova Scotia fall weather and then started first crack, no sluggishness, a few days ago to get put away for the season.

Today I started the bike in the morning for my commute to work, and again it turned over sluggishly and the MIL came on. The bike was in neutral and I put the side stand down - there was no blinking of the MIL. I turned the bike off, restarted it (it started normally), and the MIL stayed on. I drove to work, shut the bike off, restarted it, and the MIL did not come back on.

I will remember to check the battery voltage tomorrow morning before I start the bike up again.

The engine oil & filter were supposedly recently changed, and the oil does indeed look very fresh. However I have noticed that -- especially when the bike has been sitting for a day or two -- that when the bike is in gear and the clutch is held in, it is very difficult to push around, almost like the brake is engaged on the rear wheel. Shifting to neutral frees the wheel up. That said, I've noticed something similar on my other bike. It is "winter" here in San Francisco, which means temps are 45-50 degrees F, I'm not sure if that's really cold enough to affect things...?

Thanks!
-Jim G
 

bigbird

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At 45-50 F a 10W-30 oil should not cause excessive clutch drag.
Any possibility a heavier grade oil was used for the last oil change?
Other than too viscous oil, the battery and its cable connections are the more likely culprit.
 

yojimg

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Today I started the bike in the morning for my commute to work, and again it turned over sluggishly and the MIL came on. The bike was in neutral and I put the side stand down - there was no blinking of the MIL. I turned the bike off, restarted it (it started normally), and the MIL stayed on. I drove to work, shut the bike off, restarted it, and the MIL did not come back on.

I will remember to check the battery voltage tomorrow morning before I start the bike up again.

The engine oil & filter were supposedly recently changed, and the oil does indeed look very fresh. However I have noticed that -- especially when the bike has been sitting for a day or two -- that when the bike is in gear and the clutch is held in, it is very difficult to push around, almost like the brake is engaged on the rear wheel. Shifting to neutral frees the wheel up. That said, I've noticed something similar on my other bike. It is "winter" here in San Francisco, which means temps are 45-50 degrees F, I'm not sure if that's really cold enough to affect things...?

Thanks!
-Jim G

UPDATE: I checked the battery voltage this morning before heading out to work, and it was 13.0V. I also checked the battery connections, and those seemed good & tight.

When I started the bike, I tried something I read about elsewhere in this forum -- I held the clutch lever in. That seemed to help, the bike turned over easily and started normally!

-Jim G
 

670cc

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UPDATE: I checked the battery voltage this morning before heading out to work, and it was 13.0V. I also checked the battery connections, and those seemed good & tight.

When I started the bike, I tried something I read about elsewhere in this forum -- I held the clutch lever in. That seemed to help, the bike turned over easily and started normally!

-Jim G
I’m glad you found a way to improve starting performance. As a comparison, however, I always start my cold NC in gear with the clutch pulled. That should be the hardest on the starter motor, but it starts just fine.

13.0 volts is excellent battery voltage, even higher than I would expect possible for an AGM battery that has rested awhile. Still, since the engine oil type and viscosity is unknown, you may still consider changing it. Leave the filter if you want, just change the oil. You can do it quickly without even removing the lower cowl.
 

yojimg

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I just posted this in another thread, but it's relevant here too. On 2016+ bikes, you can no longer read the DTC codes via the blinking MIL WITHOUT using the SCS connector (or shorting the pins).

 
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TheIronWarrior

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I’m glad you found a way to improve starting performance. As a comparison, however, I always start my cold NC in gear with the clutch pulled. That should be the hardest on the starter motor, but it starts just fine.
How should that be the hardest on the starter?
With the clutch in, the transmission is disconnected from the engine. Starting with the clutch out, but transmission in N, the input shaft of the transmission spinning, so wouldn't that be a harder start? More moving parts?
 

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How should that be the hardest on the starter?
With the clutch in, the transmission is disconnected from the engine. Starting with the clutch out, but transmission in N, the input shaft of the transmission spinning, so wouldn't that be a harder start? More moving parts?
Short answer: That condition makes the starter work the hardest because the manual multi-plate wet clutch plates stick together when the bike is cold and has sat for awhile.

With the transmission in neutral, clutch in or out, the transmission input shaft will spin fairly easily in cold oil, presenting little drag on the starter. With the transmission in gear (and the brake on) starting with clutch engaged is not an option, of course. With transmission in gear and clutch disengaged, the starter has to spin the sticky clutch plates against each other. When a bike has sat awhille and the oil is cold, this can initially be a lot of drag.

My NC exhibits some drag on the starter in this condition (cold engine,1st gear, clutch lever pulled in). My Goldwing is even worse in that the bike will lunge forward unless the brake is held very tightly. I had a Kawasaki in the past that could not start this way at all unless you first put the bike in gear, pull the clutch lever, and manual push the bike forward to break the clutch plates free.

You might ask, why start the engine this way? Well, I would like to have the starter motor break the clutch plates free gently, rather than slam the bike from neutral to first and make the transmission gear dogs absorb the jolt with the well known CLUNK you hear when first engaging first gear.
 

TheIronWarrior

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Short answer: That condition makes the starter work the hardest because the manual multi-plate wet clutch plates stick together when the bike is cold and has sat for awhile.
That's fair, I was (inadvertently) ignoring the impact of the oil dragging on the plates. Which is silly, since I know with the rear wheel off the ground, the bike in gear, and the clutch in, the rear wheel will still spin since some engine output is still transferred with the clutch disengaged.
 

davidc83

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Yojimg: according to the manual for my 2013 Nc700x, you may need to check the continuity between the ECP/PCM 33P connector of the wire harness side and ground (when bike is turned off). The wire may be a brown ground wire ....If there is continuity, short circuit in the brown wire is causing the MIL (engine) light to be on. If there is no continuity, replace the ECM/PCM with a known good one and check for the MIL light to come on.
 

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Harvey

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The timing of this post is very helpful. I thought I'd be staying through old posts.
Today I've taken my 2012 NC700S for the first ride in a good while. Lockdown in Australia certainly cuts down your riding. Anyway, after about 265kms, the light came on. It's never done this before. I pulled over to check the owner's manual and it tells me to "reduce speed and take to a dealer as soon as possible".
The bike started fine this morning and had travelled well on the ride, so I don't think it's a battery issue.
Connections? Possibly.
I'm still about 50 KMs from home.
Let's see how we go.
 

Harvey

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The timing of this post is very helpful. I thought I'd be staying through old posts.
Today I've taken my 2012 NC700S for the first ride in a good while. Lockdown in Australia certainly cuts down your riding. Anyway, after about 265kms, the light came on. It's never done this before. I pulled over to check the owner's manual and it tells me to "reduce speed and take to a dealer as soon as possible".
The bike started fine this morning and had travelled well on the ride, so I don't think it's a battery issue.
Connections? Possibly.
I'm still about 50 KMs from home.
Let's see how we go.
Turns out that my problem was no more than a loose connection on the battery. A small problem that raised a lot of concerns.
Fixed now.
 

rudivb

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Turns out that my problem was no more than a loose connection on the battery. A small problem that raised a lot of concerns.
Fixed now.
I had the same couple weeks ago, I bought the bike recently(second hand) and they replaced the battery for the sale. After the warning light came on, first thing I checked was the connections on the battery and yep that was the issue, warning light gone and hasn't come back since. :)
 

yojimg

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Just a quick update: I dis- and re-connected the dash/gage cluster, plus tightened the battery connections using a wrench (not a screwdriver), and the bike both seems to start better and I haven't gotten a MIL since. Not sure which thing fixed the problem, but hey I'll take it! :)

Thanks!
-Jim G
 
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