It was a little after 1.30 in the morning, warm but foggy. I’d just had a hot drink and bite to eat while reflecting on the 138 miles covered and 1,200 yet to cover. The Capo was running fine but my eyes were already beginning to sting from riding with the visor up because of the fog – hopefully that would clear by the time I hit Switzerland.
So I saddled up and hit the starter ……. In an instant the early morning optimism bubble burst. The starter rolled over, then stalled. The dashboard went dark and as I turned the ignition key off I realised the starter was still trying to turn the motor over. Suddenly it began spinning the motor rapidly, so I turned the ignition back on and the motor fired up and the dashboard lit up like normal. but the battery charging was only showing 12.2V because the solenoid was stuck and still powering the starter motor. As quick as possible it was off with the seats (handy having the spare key in my jacket!) then whack the starter solenoid with a 1/2″ ratchet – and the voltage jumped back up to 14V as the solenoid released.
Now the dilemma …… carry on, turn around and head home or wave the plastic card of defeat and get recovered. In for a penny in for a pound as they say …. soldier on! Today I’m typing this up in warm and pleasant Oxford reflecting on the choice I made. As it turned out a good call, the Capo never missed a beat or hesitated once when starting for the rest of the journey. Fixed? Of course not, maybe that was a warning of things to come, so today a 150A starter solenoid has been ordered along with a replacement YTX14-HBS battery.
My thought is that the stuck solenoid was a symptom not the cause …… the question is, why did the battery voltage fall through the floor as soon as a load was placed on it. Thinking it through, if it were a short at the starter then a huge amount of power would have been grounded and yes the solenoid contacts could weld, however I’d expect the battery to get hot and that didn’t happen. So that leaves the possibility of an internal problem with the battery …. maybe a year of bouncing over a dirt and stone road has caused a crack to develop between plates. All I know is I don’t have confidence in it or the solenoid anymore so out they go!
As well as these two new parts I’ve also bit the bullet and ordered a new set of power/ground cables from John Walker in the UK and figure the old girl could well do with a spruce up of the wiring.
Meanwhile on with the show! 😀