Cold weather, no start, check engine light?! - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cold weather, no start, check engine light?!

I suspect I can guess the answer to this question, but I'll pose it anyway.

Tried to start the XR this afternoon. It's been parked in the garage for about 6 weeks (between the cold weather and lots of stuff going on, she's been pretty neglected). Bike cranked fine, and sputtered, but wouldn't start. I should mention it's about 12 degrees today.

After trying to crank the bike for several minutes, I noticed the check engine light came on. It would go back out after a bit, but would come back on again when I tried more to start it.

Battery was weak by the time I pulled it so I put it on the charger. It was still producing 12.2 volts, tho.

Bike was parked with pretty fresh oil, and a full tank of fresh gas with Stabil and StarTron added. Should add that the wife's carbureted shadow started, tho it made me work for it.

Should I keep trying to start the bike with it this cold? Is the check engine light (no trouble code, just Ck Engn on the MFD) significant? Should I put a heater in my garage if I insist on trying to start this bike?

Thanks in advance guys.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 07:44 PM
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From what I've read, Vic's don't care for cold weather.
I may be totally off base, but did your fuel pump kick in? The last brand and model I had would spin the starter like a champ with 12.5 volts, wouldn't work the fuel pump though. A battery should show > 13V for cranking. Yea I know, why call it a 12 v? I have no idea.
The heater might help, but if you aren't going to allow about a 30 minute run, Why start it? Condensation will take a toll as well as contaminates from the run.
Hope someone will chime in for you.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 07:48 PM
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Did you have it on a battery tender for the 6 weeks?

You may have to toggle the mode button until “Err” displays in the clock area to see the code.

Batteries turn chemical reaction into electricity. As it gets colder the chemical reaction slows down which is also part of the reason its harder to start a car in the cold. Victories, at least as far as I have seen, are also cold blooded and seem harder to start in the cold.

My guess is "After trying to crank the bike for several minutes" you drained the battery down and the engine light is for a low voltage. Charge your battery up and try again. It wouldn't hurt to heat up the garage first but you shouldn't need to.

If I am going to let my bike sit more than a couple of weeks in the winter I always connect it to my battery tender. Also I would avoid letting a battery get below freezing temperatures. Obviously car batteries do but it's hard on on them.

Here are some winter battery tips from Interstates' website
Of particular note:
Quote:
Your vehicle’s battery loses 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and over 50 percent of its power when the temperature falls below zero.

Charge It. Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition. According to Kimbrough, a fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F; however, a fully discharged battery could start to freeze at 32°F.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 09:47 PM
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Yeah. I agree with the above. Vic's, especially the Cross bikes, are sensitive to low batteries. They can cause all kinds of havoc with how it runs, or maybe in this case, on how it starts.

I would start with the battery and move outward from there. Clean the connections really well and use some dielectric grease on the Eye connectors and terminals to reduce issues in the futures.

After doing that; please come back and let us know what you find so others can benefit from it.

Thanks much,

B
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 11:33 PM
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+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
+ In cold temps, place a space heater aimed at the left side of the engine for about a half hour. That's where the clutch is and most of the oil and doing that will make the start up a lot easier on the battery and engine.
+ A fully charged 12 volt battery will read 14.2 volts. At 10 volts, a battery is considered to be depleted.
+ Do take the above advice a keep it on an automatic trickle charger, such as a Battery Tender, etc..

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 04:23 AM
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I would also pull the plugs out , blow air into the cylinder to dry them out, and buy new spark plugs before you continue.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RICZ View Post
+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
I've heard this before, but think it's prolly an old wise tale. Say that over the winter I start the bike 5 times and run it for 2 minutes each time. My neighbor starts his 5 times too, but runs his for a half hour afterwards. Both bikes will still undergo at least 10 minutes of running with thick uncirculated oil.

The benefit I see to running longer is to heat up the oil enough to burn off condensation. Depending on how long the "winter" lasts, this may not be much of an issue.

In any case, I will agree that if you aren't going to ride, it really makes no sense to start the engine. If you just must hear an engine idle, find a Youtube video and crank the speakers.




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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RICZ View Post
+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
+ In cold temps, place a space heater aimed at the left side of the engine for about a half hour. That's where the clutch is and most of the oil and doing that will make the start up a lot easier on the battery and engine.
+ A fully charged 12 volt battery will read 14.2 volts. At 10 volts, a battery is considered to be depleted.
+ Do take the above advice a keep it on an automatic trickle charger, such as a Battery Tender, etc..
I think you are off by 1 volt there. It will read 14.2 when fully charged and running. If I remember right myself; it will read somewhere between 12.8 and 13.2 when stopped and not charging.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlebag View Post
I've heard this before, but think it's prolly an old wise tale. Say that over the winter I start the bike 5 times and run it for 2 minutes each time. My neighbor starts his 5 times too, but runs his for a half hour afterwards. Both bikes will still undergo at least 10 minutes of running with thick uncirculated oil.
My understanding is the damage is not because of the thick uncirculated oil, but rather due to the acidic build up of combustion byproducts and moisture. If you run the engine long enough to bring it up to operating temperature then you burn them off. If you only run it a short time then you leave them in your oil and they damage your engine's internal workings. I'm not a mechanical engineer nor do I have a huge mechanic's background but the theory seems sound to me.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 10:08 AM
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Same trouble with my KP last winter Changed plugs fired right up Guess they foul real EZ when its cold

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