New Battery Install: Send It To The Grave

The first thing we did was confirm that the battery truly was dead. Sitting, the battery had a charge of 10.1 amps. Then, when we hit the start button, all it did was click, and the volts dropped down to less than 6.5. It was sad, but the battery was dead. So we planned to replace the battery with the new Drag Specialties 310 cold-cranking-amp high-performance battery. We also decided it was time to replace the cable as well.

After removing the old battery, we checked the cables and found that the ends were starting to crack. The first one we replaced was the positive (+) cable. We connected the cable end with the smaller bolt hole to the post on the starter, then routed the cable up through the box to where the positive side would be with the battery in the box.

Next, we placed the new battery in the battery box with the positive side to the left and connected the cable using the supplied hardware and a 10mm open-end wrench. Safety tip: We have a 10mm wrench that has a tape-covered handle in case it touches the frame or the positive side of the battery so it won’t ground out.

The next order of business was the negative (-) side, or ground cable. The bike had an old mesh cable; they work well, but man, are they ugly-and they can scratch up your frame’s paint. We routed the cable to the battery and connected it with supplied hardware and a 10mm open-end wrench. Lastly, we connected the other end of the cable to the ground mount on the frame. With the new battery, the bike started right up. We checked and found a running charge of 14.3 volts. The cost of the battery was about $89, and the cables were about $30-not a bad price to pay for peace of mind.

These days, when a battery is dead, it’s dead. Back in the day, motorcycle batteries and most car batteries had fill ports, so if the battery had lost its charge, you could open the fill ports, add a little distilled water and electrolytes, put the battery on a charger, and save it from death, thus avoiding having to buy a new battery. However, almost every battery these days is sealed, with no way of bringing it back from the dead. The only thing to do is replace it. And when replacing your battery, you should also always check the battery cables at both ends, since they can come lose, or worse, break.

We talked to Drag Specialties and asked the experts there about batteries. The first thing that came up was what size is needed for your bike-how big is your battery box and motor? Then they wanted to point out that not all batteries of the same size have the same cranking power. If you have a big-inch motor, you will need a battery to handle the size of the motor. Also keep in mind that you get what you pay for; a less expensive battery may not do the job on a big-inch bike, and most likely won’t last long on a stock bike (for the most part). In this article we’re concentrating more on what you should check and do, rather than which actual battery to purchase, so check out the Drag Specialties website to get the right battery for your bike.

We have a 95-inch Softail that sat in a garage over the winter and hadn’t been started and run for quite some time, so when we did try to start the bike, the battery was dead. We put it on the charger, but after one day (a full 24 hours), the battery was still dead. It was a sealed battery, so the best thing to do was replace it.


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