How To Disconnect A Motorcycle Battery – Removing the battery is a simple process on a motorcycle, but it can vary from motorcycle to motorcycle. Having a little background knowledge will help you better understand the process before you begin.
The most important tool in your toolbox lives between your ears. People have this idea that good mechanics “don’t” have to use a manual. That’s a stupid idea. Of course, there are times when the work is so familiar that the book is unnecessary, but those times are not the first time. Buy a factory service manual and read it. An aftermarket manual like the one we sell is a great supplement to the factory manual, but the factory manual always has the final say.
How To Disconnect A Motorcycle Battery
This should be well covered in your service manual, but you need to know where to find your battery. I’m going to talk about a few places I’ve found batteries over the years. Ducati Multistrada and Yamaha FJR1300: Inside the upper right fairing. Yamaha YZF-R6 and FZ6: under the fuel tank. Harley-Davidson Sportster: Under the seat. Harley Shovelhead: hangs on the far right side of the bike. And the custom? Forget it. In the tail section, hidden between the main pulleys, under the motor – whatever, and I found a battery hiding there.
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Under the seat, under the side covers and under the tank are good first guesses, but the manual will tell you for sure. If you need to remove things like the fuel tank, seat or side cover, now is the time to do it.
It’s a safe bet to find a battery on a modern sports bike under the seat or fuel tank. photo.
Sometimes visualization helps. Look at the ends of the negative battery cable: All this serves to connect the negative side of the battery to the bicycle frame, allowing the entire frame and the conductive elements attached to it to serve as a grounding point. Lemmy’s photo.
When removing the battery, always disconnect the negative cable first. (It is usually black and the corresponding battery terminal is usually marked with a “-” sign). If you change this order, nothing bad will happen – if you do not make contact between the positive side of the circuit and ground. Many bicycles use the frame as a ground, which means that any metal part near the positive terminal can be a path for electricity to pass through.
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By working on the negative side first, you minimize the possibility of “grounding” the battery. If your removal tool should fill the gap between the bezel and the positive post of the battery
Negative cable removed, nothing affected. If you fail to prioritize the negative side and inadvertently bridge that gap, chances are you’ll blow a fuse and burn yourself out, and hopefully that’s it. However, if you’re working on a bike that isn’t properly attached, you’re at risk of getting burned.
Tuck or tape the cable to the side so it doesn’t accidentally come back into contact with the battery terminal.
Once the circuit is broken, remove the positive cable. (This wire is usually red, but not always. The battery should be marked with a “+” on this side. )
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Rubber style handles are usually easy to remove. Inspecting them for cracks and dry rot is wise. photo.
Remove all battery retaining clips. It can be a rubber band, a shaped piece of metal, or even some foam blocks that hold the battery. In any case, you have to remove them to get the battery. Be careful when removing the battery because many batteries have “hollow” terminals with lead nuts where the bolt that holds the cables is inserted. They can fall off, and if you don’t have a spare set handy, Murphy’s Law says they will fall into a crack on your bike, making it impossible to recover.
Step 6. Install the new battery (or the charged one if you took yours out to charge it)
The first part of the installation is a test. If you use a different battery (new), make sure the physical size is the same. Also, make sure the battery is similar in wattage to what the motorcycle needs. Finally, check the terminals – make sure the positive and negative terminals are not interchanged!
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If your battery needs to be filled with acid, fill it before putting it on the motorcycle so you don’t risk the acid breaking your bike. Note that some batteries are acid free. If you have one of these, it’s best to go to your local motorcycle shop and have them fill it for you, as the acid usually sells for a lot more than you’d need for a standalone battery. Some batteries contain acid. Some are just one big container and you have to fill each of the six cells per mesh. Some have six separate chambers containing the required amount of acid. Tip: If you have this type of acid pack, turn the battery over and place it on top of the pack, making sure it closes. Once the battery and acid are “locked” together, turn the entire match upside down and let it drain. By doing it this way, you prevent the possibility of acid spillage if you don’t pierce the pack nozzles evenly.
Follow the battery manufacturer’s filling instructions, be careful, and handle the job in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. The hydrogen gas produced as a byproduct of the chemical reaction is actually flammable. You also need to charge the battery. If you don’t know how to do this, we have a great guide to the process. And be careful with acid; can cause bad chemical burns. Baking soda, soapy water, and other bases should be on hand to neutralize any stray acid.
After it loads, install it again. If you’re installing a battery with a different “footprint” than the factory design, be prepared to do some creative engineering and manufacturing with foam and rubber to position the battery in such a way that it won’t move. (Most lithium batteries require this because they are smaller than the lead-acid batteries they replace, and often have foam spacers for this purpose.)
Put these lead nuts back into the terminal “holes” and put the battery back in place. Then reconnect the cables. Brush it off if it is rotten or has white or blue dust on it. A wire brush can help here. If it is badly rotted, it should be replaced.
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Assembly is the opposite of removal and order is important here too! Attach the positive cable, then attach the negative cable. Triple check that you have the correct cable in the correct terminal. Failure to do so can lead to fried electrical components, blown fuses and general heartache. If you’re not sure, stop and ask because this is a potentially expensive mistake.
Here’s a neat trick that I bet some of you thank me for. Take a small piece of old battery vent hose (or a new one if you have enough length, or just a piece of regular vinyl hose) and cut a small piece about an eighth of a inches long … pic.
If you want to protect your investment, a little spray on the battery terminal will prevent corrosion from forming. Make sure the terminals are nice and tight, but not too tight! The lead (the terminal material) is very soft and the wires cut easily on it.
…and slide it into the terminal so that it grips the terminal nut near the top of the terminal so that the hardware can easily “lift” it. photo.
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Here’s a quick tip. Sometimes the small bolts that secure the cables are too short to “catch” the lead nuts they tighten. Other times the battery needs to be tilted sideways to install and the nuts will fall off. (I know it’s confusing, but you’ll understand this problem if you’ve had it.) In this case, take either a piece of old battery vent hose (if your battery has one) or similar vinyl tubing and cut a small piece. to act as a spacer to raise the nut above the battery terminal. The pressure will also keep it from falling if you need to tilt the battery sideways.
Here is a set of Yuasa spacers. This works well and prevents Harley riders from re-engineering the OEM battery cables to work with a different aftermarket battery terminal design. photo.
And here’s another tip for some of you who ride Harleys: You may find that the terminals on your new battery are slightly “off” at the edge of the battery, but they should be flush. Don’t panic, it’s not the “wrong” battery – you just need to take an extra step. Better battery manufacturers will include a copper bundle or
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