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When to replace the battery?


Jerry_75_Guy

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Jerry_75_Guy

I have this mild paranoia regarding the eventual demise of my battery.

When the unavoidable finally takes place, I'll buy an Odyssey 680, as many

here have recommended, but I'm a bit fuzzy on when to expect this.

I have a service due in about 1.5k mi, which would be a good time to change out the batt, that's why I ask now.

 

Here's the deal; I have a '01 RT with what appears to be the original batt (I

purchased it in '02 as the third owner).

 

I've always kept it on a battery tender, and have always ridden it year 'round,

so it has rarely had any significant down time. I haven't checked the specific

gravity of the fluid (I know, 'bad Jerry'), but the fluid level is, and has always

been slightly above the "full" marking; I've been careful to monitor this

despite the difficulty of seeing through the milky colored battery case.

 

It has never shown any indication of weakness, it turns the engine over just

fine, and the ABS seems happy and doesn't act up. The only exception is that

it occasionally takes 3 to 5 min. for the light on the Tender to go from red to

green.

 

Am I pushing my luck given the age of this battery (I don't want to get stuck

during any of my trips this summer), and therefore should I pursue a

replacement before real symptoms start to show?..

 

or am I just being paranoid?

 

It seems silly to get rid of what might be a prefectly good

battery prematurely.

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Jerry,

If it's the original battery it 'could' be going on 6 years old. I'd replace it.

I replace mine every 4 years but I'm using the Panasonics.

 

Mick

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Jerry_75_Guy

If it's the original battery it 'could' be going on 6 years old. I'd replace it.

 

Yep, I'm assuming this is the best way to go as well, particularly since it's

really not that expensive a proposition, but I am curious what applicable

experiences everyone has had.

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Jerry, once my factory battery died, I went with the Odyssey. I waited until the factory battery died, and I doubt I will go that route again. Of course now I am in a better position to recognize battery failure as I have a battery monitor. Once I get a hint that my Odyssey is going bad, I'll replace it.

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Jerry_75_Guy
Jerry, once my factory battery died, I went with the Odyssey. I waited until the factory battery died, and I doubt I will go that route again. Of course now I am in a better position to recognize battery failure as I have a battery monitor. Once I get a hint that my Odyssey is going bad, I'll replace it.

 

I don't have a battery monitor, but for educational purposes (that's really

what lead me to start the thread) what specific values are you reaching when

you say "ok, time for new battery" ?

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With absence of a kick-starter, batteries become a necessity. Summer is least likely time for a battery to die but you only need a few cold mornings to really make it work hard.

When the battery gets old, it's a game of chance to know when to replace it. If yours is 6 years old, it owes you nothing more. It might well be time to replace it.

 

At least when you choose to replace it, it will be at your convenience. If it fails when you're off enjoying a ride in the remote hills..... frown.gif

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Can I have the old battery?

 

BMW batteries only die on the hottest day of the year a hundred miles away from a dealership when you need the bike.

 

JON

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Yours sounds like it is fine. I would charge it at a higher rate than the tender (about 1 A/Hr) for about one hour. This can increase internal resistance thereby allowing the battery to deliver even more current.

 

Your battery is fine. Don't waste money on an item who's disposal has such environmental impact (lots of lead).

 

Mine is original, as well ('01 GS) and shows no signs of failure.

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Jerry, I just replaced my original '00 RT battery with a PC680. It was working perfectly but it was 6 years old. I had lost my faith in it. A MoTow would be more expensive than the PC680. A precious day of fun ruined for a $90 battery also factored into my decision.

 

Just go order a new PC680 and don't look back. Life is too short to over analyze a battery. Not that I am thinking that you are over analyzing anything. Just being philosophical.

 

p.s. Same goes for tires. Why wait for the cord to show?

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It is only a matter of time... You know with batteries, you are effectively only renting a service, and that service does not last forever..

 

I got 5 years and 9 months on my stock battey... I changed it out with an Odyssey last month when I had the plastic off doing major maintanence (36K, alt belt, brake bleed, etc). Mine was functioning just fine at the time. Unless you like fooling with the plastic and rounding up a battery unexpectedly, hopefully at home... Do it now. Get out in front of the problem and don't make it a contest..

 

 

Especially if you have a trip planned!!!!!

BK

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I've found a good rule of thumb is to think about replacement when you start to get consistent ABS faults on startup. In my experience this will happen a good while before the battery won't start the bike so you will have plenty of warning before having the potential of being stranded. So regardless of battery age if the ABS system is happy, I'm happy. Been through a few battery replacements with this method and never been stranded yet.

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Jerry_75_Guy
I've found a good rule of thumb is to think about replacement when you start to get consistent ABS faults on startup.... regardless of battery age if the ABS system is happy, I'm happy. Been through a few battery replacements with this method and never been stranded yet.

 

That sounds like a useful technique.

 

Off hand, do you know what values the

battery is performing at when this problem starts expressing it's self?

 

Just curious.

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Jerry, My dealer just told me it was 10.5 or lower will cause the abs to fault..... I replaced my battery and the faults stopped.

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I think that the 'ABS test' is effective because it is essentially a test of the battery voltage under load, which is a far more accurate means to detect impending battery problems than static voltage tests.

 

I'm not saying that battery age isn't a factor in determining replacement interval, but it is only one factor. In the specific application of oilheads with ABS, if the battery can hold sufficient voltage under starting load to prevent an ABS fault then it is probably in reasonably good condition, regardless of age.

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On my 02 RS, I believe I have the stock battery. The ABS is fine, but I definitely feel a subtle lack of cranking power if it doesn't fire up right away. Also, if I have to crank it for more than a couple of seconds (as might be the case if it's cold and I forget to hit the fast-idle), the clock sometimes resets to 0:00.

 

Do these two symptoms also indicate impending battery failure?

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>Summer is least likely time for a battery to die<

 

Unless you live in the desert in which case it always dies in the summer.

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Paul Mihalka
On my 02 RS, I believe I have the stock battery. The ABS is fine, but I definitely feel a subtle lack of cranking power if it doesn't fire up right away. Also, if I have to crank it for more than a couple of seconds (as might be the case if it's cold and I forget to hit the fast-idle), the clock sometimes resets to 0:00.

 

Do these two symptoms also indicate impending battery failure?

To avoid confusion: Using the ABS lights going on blinking as a battery check works ONLY on the R1100xx bikes, NOT on the R1150xx bikes. The ABS setup is very different from 1100 to 1150. The clock resetting to 0 is indication of low voltage at start-up.

On the R1100 bikes the ABS lights going to alternate blink is not always a indication of battery getting old. It happens too easy. On my '99 R1100RT I was getting it often, mostly in cold weather (under 40) starts, until I switched to the Odyssey battery. A aging starter motor can also cause low voltage at start-up.

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Lets see, You know for sure the same battery has been there since 2002, and at that point it appeared to be orginal... And maybe it is, because for the last 4 years it has performed fine. So it is believable that your bike has never had a battery or a charging problem. I truley believe that I could of gotten 6 years out of my OEM battery, but I chose to replace it when it was convient FOR ME..

 

It is very nice to know the symptoms of a failing battery or charging system... Your charging system and battery seems to be above average...

 

Being on a nice trip waiting for the battery to crap out is up to you.

 

I hope you enjoy your trip, I hope the debate ends and you replace the battery...

 

If you are going to keep the bike, change the battery, If you are going to trade it tomorrow on a new bike hopefully it will start when they test ride your bike for the trade..

 

End the debate, save the electons and the bandwidth buy a new battery, enjoy your trip!!

 

BK

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