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Kenny O.
Kenny O., Motorcycle, ATV, Mules, Side by Side's Product Specialist. All Brands
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 995
Experience:  Worked for Kawasaki Motors as a Product Support Specialist (Factory Support) for 24 years
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1998 Sportster 122 Custom. Won't start after winter. Battery

Customer Question

1998 Sportster 122 Custom. Won't start after long winter. Battery seems ok at 14 VDC. Turn key to accessory get odometer lit but no horn or turn signals. Try to start and get clicking noise. What needs to be replaced? Thanks!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 1 year ago.

Hi David, my name is ***** ***** you have a multi-meter, (volt meter) ? and can you give me an idea when the battery was replace last ?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
New Interstate battery last year. Was on a trickle charger all winter. yes I have a multi-meter.
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 1 year ago.

Awesome David, I going to have you test your battery, please do the test I have listed below and get back to me.


You’ll need a multi-meter and set it to VDC, and since we are only testing the battery (12 volts) you can set it on the scale accordingly.

  1. Key off, we need to establish “battery” voltage, take a measurement and record it.

  2. Key on, observe the voltage drop with the key on, and record it.

  3. Key on, now while observing your meter, attempt to start the engine and observe the voltage drop, and record that. If your meter doesn’t have a peak voltage setting, you might have to do this a few time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Kenny, thanks, ***** ***** to do this test when I get home. I will reply again to this e-mail with the results. Is that OK?
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 1 year ago.

Thanks David !

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Voltage at battery (just off charger) 16.55VDC (seems a little high to me)
with key in ON position 8.6 VDC
While trying to start bike it drops to < 1.0 VDC
This could be the battery Yes/No
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Above should be ..While starting bike it drops to less than 1 VDC
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 1 year ago.

Thanks David, 16.55 ??? that's not right, should be about 12-13 volts ?

Then it drops almost in half ?

Looking at what you have (and we'll assume that the 16.55 was about 12.55) your battery is no good, this a what I call a battery load test when you don't have a load tester, we use this a lot on JA to get a idea of the state of the battery, I'm sure if you have it load tested with a load tester it will fail, you need to replace your battery, it appears that its shorted internally

Let me know of you have any questions

Thanks David