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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Default Battery hooked up backwards

Hooked battery up backwards for about ten seconds. Smoke came from the starter. Tipped me off polarity was backwards. Anyway, hooked it up right and smoke still comes from starter. Hooked it up again (even though smoking) and it started right up. Something looks to be oozing out of starter. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Deathdog View Post
Hooked battery up backwards for about ten seconds. Smoke came from the starter. Tipped me off polarity was backwards. Anyway, hooked it up right and smoke still comes from starter. Hooked it up again (even though smoking) and it started right up. Something looks to be oozing out of starter. Any ideas?
could be gravy!...sounds like you cooked it

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 06:41 AM
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So you just connected it right? Never turned the key? If that's all you may not be too bad.

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 06:51 AM
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Fried... but maybe not completely cooked. The insides are coated with a varnish and sounds like you melted some... if it didn't expose any of the coil, you may be ok.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 08:04 AM
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Replace starter or worry about premature failure. Starters operate near their capacity on V twins to begin with. Stressing it will affect its life expectancy.
Hopefully the price of a starter replacement will be ample reminder to not put yourself through this a second time.
The battery too took damage. Likely boiled off some electrolyte solution. Could result in shorted plates, loss of charge capacity, reduced cranking amps. Good news is you can test for battery health. Testing starter health is an option but a good battery test result indicates where it is in its life cycle. A starter test can report good results on a starter that will fail tomorrow.
Good luck.

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I won't make that mistake again. Still curious though. Why is the starter smoking? It still works. What is causing it to smoke? I checked it late last night. It glows there where the varnish is oozing out. What's glowing? Why so hot? Aside from the temperary reverse polarity of course.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 10:55 AM
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What Pop says. You've obviously melted some of the varnish off of the wiring in the starter. Even if it measures fine now, the insulation has been weakened and you can get shorting which will at the least decrease efficiency. That means increased heat and possible further melting until it fails altogether. The battery needs to be load checked for damage as well. If you are used to taking short trips no more than two blocks from home you should be fine until one of the pieces fails. At least you can push it home. If you take longer trips and don't want to be deserted someplace inconvenient, replace them.

PS Hooking up the battery backwards in a bike with electronics may degrade other components as well. Don't be too surprised if strange things start happening in the future.

Last edited by 53canuck; 04-20-2014 at 10:59 AM.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 11:23 AM
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Deathdog

What year and model is it. Check all your fuses. Once you have it running with a volt meter check the battery to see its being charge.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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It is a 2000 standard cruiser. I have not started it for more than just a second to see if it started. Then in hooked cable. While it doesn't smoke any longer, where the varnish is leaking out it still glows red. So I'm afraid to to leave it hooked up long. I am tempted to hook up battery and start it to see if there is any further damage. Speedo, gauges etc.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 11:48 AM
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In the old days you would have fried your fusable links (I did that in the 80s to a Suzuki GS450 and it was never the same.

Sounds like your starter is living on borrowed time as the battery has a large gauge connection to the battery. Another thing to check is the quick disconnect for the starter.

I wouldn't be surprised if you also toasted your alternator and some electronics. Would have been MUCH worse if you keyed the bike on with the reversed polarity.
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