How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Bike-Doc Your Own Question
Bike-Doc, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I have fixed & modified bikes for 35 yrs I'm now THE Mobile Bike Mechanic for S.LONDON since 1990
Type Your Motorcycle Question Here...
Bike-Doc is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Have an 89 Honda transalp I went to start it a couple of

Customer Question

Have an 89 Honda transalp I went to start it a couple of days ago & when I turned the ignition switch on, the lights on dash & headlight came on like usual, but when I pressed the start button, everything shut off.
I put sm charger on batt the voltage now read 16.7. Charger also indicated 92% charged. I tried starting it with same batt a few more times, but nothing.
Next, I took a good, similar size batt from generator & hooked it up. Same thing happened. 16.7v etc. I hooked battery back up to generator & all I get is a quiet fizzling sound for a second or two.
I'm afraid to hook up any more batteries to the bike for fear of ruining them
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.


Welcome to JustAnswer

Sorry to have to ask what may seem like stupid questions, but it is obviously difficult diagnosing problems remotely, I cannot see, hear, touch or smell anything & I have only what a customer tells me to make a correct diagnosis.
Also I dont know how proficient a customer is or what they may have done already. So I need to ask stuff which may seem obvious or unrelated

Has your Honda been laid-up for more than a couple of months, or at all, before this problem occurred?

Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

What do you mean by 'generator' pls

When the charger indicated 92% was the battery connected to your bike?

was ignition on?

are batteries 'maintainance free'?

If so is the charger a 'trickle' charger or especially for MF batteries?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had loaned the bike to a neighbor for a few months & I'm not exactly sure when he had rode it last. However, 2 days prior to this happening, I did take the bike out for a short 25 mi ride and everything appeared normal
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

16.7volts is much too high - the bikes charging system shd only be putting 15 to 15.5v MAX back into the battery

Is the charger dial reliable? Can you check with a multimeter pls?

Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

OK weve eliminated lay-up problems

Awaiting your answers

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just checked both batts with multimeter one reads 16.5 & the other 20.6 or so both readings are constantly fluctuating.
As I previously mentioned, my gen batt will no longer start my batt
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Are those readings with the batteries hooked up to anything or not?

I'm not sure what you mean by generator & gen battery

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Honda generator is where I got the the 2nd batt from to try on bike it WAS a good working batt. Now it will no longer work to start the gen.
92% refers to %charged
No batts were not hooked up to bike
I have a couple of chargers one is the mc trickle type the other a Schumacher with a few different settings this one shows % charged as well as volts
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Oh good you sound like you know what your on about, that will make this easier, but

I will be AFK for a while now (dinner date) so I'll check for your replies when I'm back & ponder this meanwhile

Hope that's OK

When you give a rating it reflects directly

on the individual experts feedback score &

not on / or their

Please do not rate my service low without

giving me a chance to rectify any problem

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not a problem.
For what it is worth, it is possible that someone may have tampered with the bike to cause this to happen. I'd like to believe that this is not the case, but I don't completely rule it out.
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Sounds like 1 of the bike is burning out the batteries by over-charging or did the gen batt go on a charger?

Is the fluid level too low? or are they MF?

MF batts need to be trickle charged or regulated low charge

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The generator battery is a maintenance-free battery. It is always on a trickle charger. I'm confident that if I hook up another battery to it it will also get zapped
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

That should say 'like the bike' not 'like 1 of the bike'

Charging any battery at too high a voltage or amperage will burn it out

but its the 'constantly fluctuating' that I find odd

Can you check the regulator/rectifier & /or output of chargers pls

Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Just got that

Yes another MF batt will be zapped

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just to clarify when I put the new battery on the motorcycle it never actually starts up to get charged. You get zapped as soon as I press the start button
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Then it must be a dead short (strange about high volts thO)

Where do the batt leads go to pls?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Negative cable goes to engine block and positive cable I believe goes to what I think is a starter relay
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
After charging my mr batt w Schumacher charger for a while, voltage reads 12.9 & it indicates batt is charged 100%. However, when I hook it back up to gen, it does not start it.
It's as if the batt is damaged
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

Sounds like both are fried-! is there still liquid in the non MF batt?

Do you know if any electrical work has been done recently or anything replaced?

Can you check the startor solenoid, check that the terminals for the batt & start motor are not shorting to the normal electrics or ground & that +lead isnt grounding, nor the lead from solenoid to start motor, pls?

Also check staart motor positive terminal is not grouded

Can the solenoid be wired wrongly?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believe I know what is causing the problem. I recently r&r ignition switch to have a new key made. I think the r&r was ok but I'm thinking the key was not cut properly. It does not turn smoothly. Is it possible that this could be causing the problem?
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

no not the actual turning of the key as this just turns the tumbler

Its the end of the tumbler that turns an internal electrical switch

But having that replaced may well have caused the problem

Is it a genuine Honda unit for that model?

Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

I'm following up on my unresolved Q&As to see if I can help any further

Did you resolve the problem ? Was my diagnosis correct ?

Feel free to pose any further question on this subject & I will do my best to help !!

Most of my patients get cured & live to run again !
Help improve the health of future biking by posting an update or helping with innovative new treatments


Ride Safe

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I called the guy who cut the key for me & he informed me that the prob would not be with his work but more than likely would be in the lower elec portion of the switch. It did need some cleaning, but that was not the prob.
As I cleaned the switch, i was remembered that just before this prob occurred, that I had hosed down the bike. I recalled that the previous owner had told me that for some reason, when it rained, the bike would not always run. I could see some corrosion on m/f start switch plug. So when water would get in plug contact points, I guess it would send mixed signal. Caused both ends of plug to hopefully avoid any future problems.
Thanks for your help
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

So does she start now?

If not try drying out the CDI box on a radiator or something warm

Some CDIs can be unscrewed, as I found out when working on V-MAXs. They suffer the same malady of not starting when power-washed but the symptoms were completely different (no battery problems)

PLease take the time to rate my service to you, I hope it has been favourable

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yup, she's all good.
Expert:  Bike-Doc replied 1 year ago.

PLease take the time to rate my service to you, I hope it has been favourable


Ride Safe