First, I should explain the difference between most motorcycle batteries and the car batteries that people are more familiar with.
A car battery is usually a "lead-acid" battery, a design largely unchanged, except for the composition of the lead plates, since the turn of the century. The battery is composed of alternating plates of lead and lead dioxide in an acid bath. Adding plates increases the electrical capacity, dividing groups of plates into "cells" increases the voltage available. It's a very basic battery that has worked in stationary and vehicular applications for centuries.
A motorcycle battery is usually an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery, differing from the car battery in only one respect; the space between the plates is filled by a porous, fiberglass-like material that has been saturated by acid. The advantage of the AGM battery is that it is less susceptible to damage from the increased vibration experienced in a motorcycle or high-performance car.
New motorcycle owners are frequently tempted to use the same battery charger they're accustomed to hooking up to the family sedan, but this can, and usually does, cause premature failure of the battery. Because the motorcycle battery is smaller, it requires less current to charge it, and the excess current generates heat. Because the acid does not circulate between the plates of the battery and distribute the heat and gas generated during charging, the battery heats much more rapidly than the car battery. Heat interferes with the chemical processes the battery performs during the charging cycle, and may cause plates to bend, buckle or crack.
Now, you've probably seen "battery tenders" advertised in motorcycle magazines, at Radio Shack, in Walmart and Sears. This is what you should be using - look for a MAXIMUM charge rate of 2 amperes/hour (it's typically described as "amps"), and a reduced "trickle" charge rate (usually automatic) of 1/4 to 1/2 "amp".
To get to the battery, look under the operator's seat (either side) 1"-2" behind the back of the fuel tank; you'll see a nut holding a threaded shaft into tabs protruding from the frame. Loosen and remove the nuts on both sides, lift the seat up until the threaded shafts are completely free of the tabs, then move the seat straight forward. That will free a catch, molded into the underside of the seat, from a loop in the frame that holds the back of the seat down and keeps the seat from moving side-to-side. The seat may then moved out of the way.
Now you will see the battery in the frame; hook the red lead of the battery tender to the battery terminal with a red insulated boot over it, and hook the black lead of the tender to the opposite battery terminal. The battery tender may be left connected for days, weeks or months at a time, but unless the bike is well protected from the weather, it should probably be disconnected after 16-24 hours and the seat reinstalled.
Reinstallation of the seat is the in reverse order of its' removal (above): there is a specification for the nuts - 5 ft.-lbs. (7 nm) - but it's usually sufficient to tighten the nuts snugly on both sides.
Unfortunately, you can get noise from the transmission, clutch basket,
drive shaft, pinion gears or rear wheel on the Royal Star. No way to
tell which you have so:
Barring a failure of the clutch basket,
a change to a multi-grade synthetic oil THAT DOES NOT HAVE AN
ENERGY-CONSERVING SEAL ON THE BOTTLE will quiet gear and clutch noise.
Energy-conserving oils tend to make a wet clutch slip. Try Shell
Rotella-T (T6) synthetic, available at Walmart for about $19.00 a
gallon, I've got 111,000 on a Tour Deluxe with it, and it just keeps
The drive shaft on the Royal Star can also make noise
if both ends are not properly lubricated; tourers have found that Honda
Moly 60 paste on both ends at about 15,000 mile intervals will
eliminate that aggravation.
Hypoid gears in the final drive can
also be noisy. Short of having the drive disassembled and replacement
shims installed, changing to a good synthetic 75W-140 lubricant will
quiet or eliminate the whine.
Splines and pins in the final
drive and rear wheel assembly can also cause noise. Remove the rear
wheel, put a thin layer of Honda Moly 60 paste on the pins, dampers and
in the drive spline, ditto with the mating spline on the final drive. I
relubricate all of these every time I change rear tires, probably more often than necessary, but it's convenient to do when the wheel is off.
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Before doing either of these jobs, you'll have to run the engine for 8 to 10 minutes to warm up the engine, oil and water.
To change the oil - prop the motorcycle so that it's as close to level as possible, but will not tip over in either direction. Remove the oil fill cover on the back crankcase cover on the right (brake pedal) side. Look directly beneath the cylinders, you'll see a large hex-head bolt (drain plug) in the center of the crankcase. Make sure that you have a container with a capacity of in excess of one gallon under the bolt. Loosen and remove the drain plug (very quickly, the temperature of the oil will be sufficient to cause blisters if permitted to remain on the skin), but do not, if possible, allow it to fall into the pan. Permit the oil to drain fully; while it's draining, clean the plug carefully - you'll find a magnet protruding from the center of the plug, with metal filings collected on the surface - remove as many as possible before reinstalling.
Turn the plug back into the crankcase until oil ceases dripping, move the pan to the front of the engine. Behind the radiator, low on the front of the crankcase, you'll find the filter - it looks very much like the filters you're used to seeing in your car. If you're at the front of the bike, turn the filter counterclockwise to loosen and remove; remember that the filter holds about a half-pint of oil as hot as that you drained out of the crankcase, so keep your hands out of the way as much as possible. When the oil stops dripping, and the filter has been removed and disposed of, put a thin film of oil on the rubber ring on the bottom of the new filter, turn it clockwise to mount it on the crankcase, and tighten as firmly as you can with your hands.
Go back to the drain plug, remove and let whatever oil has collected drain out, then reinstall, tightening to 32 ft.-lbs (43nm).
Pour about 3 1/2 quarts of oil into the crankcase, replace the oil fill cover, start the engine and check for leaks at both the drain plug and the filter, tighten as necessary. To check the oil level, look for a glass window on the right side of the crankcase marked for high (max) and low (min) levels. Get on hands and knees and look under the front crankcase cover directly beside the right operator's footrest; you'll probably need a flashlight to read it. Once the oil level is between the minimum and maximum markings, tighten the oil fill cover, and return the bike to its' normal parking position on the kickstand.
To change the coolant - remove the driver's seat, fuel tank, all four cylinder side covers, and the right side cover (color-matched cover under driver's seat). Prop the motorcycle so that it's as close to level as possible, but will not tip over in either direction. Place a 24"-30" drain pan slightly forward of the center of the engine - if you do not have a large drain pan, a small one placed under the drains individually, IN THE ORDER LISTED, will work. Siphon all coolant from overflow reservoir under the side cover OR remove the center cover, remove bolts holding the reservoir to frame, invert the reservoir to empty, and reattach the reservoir to the frame.
Now, remove the radiator cap and the drain plug at the bottom of the radiator, allow the radiator to empty. Remove the plugs at the lower portion of each cylinder in no particular order, drain fully, then remove the drain plug from the bottom of the water pump (the large protrusion beside the front right driver's footrest). Once all drains have ceased dripping, reinstall the radiator plug (torque to 18 ft.-lb., 25nm), all four cylinder plugs (seat firmly in the drain holes), and the water pump plug (torque to 32 ft.-lb., 43nm). Fill the reservoir in the rear, then fill the radiator as much as possible, cap, and run the engine for 3-5 minutes to warm. Remove the radiator cap, check the radiator and refill, repeating until there is no air beneath the radiator cap when it is removed.
Reinstall the body panels, tank and seat, and return the bike to its' normal parking position on the kickstand. If additional coolant is needed it will be added to the reservoir - check frequently for about the next 100-150 miles.
Note on oil - I've always warned people away from oils that were labeled "energy conserving", but lately I've noticed that those same oils no longer carry that label. I've been seeing a new seal on them; on the outside of the seal are the words "American Petroleum Institute" on the top, "Certified" on the bottom, and in the center of the seal are the words "For Gasoline Engines", and - surprise, surprise! - they ALL contain molybdenum disulfide, the stuff that makes clutches slip. Check the bottles of the oil that you're considering for use in your motorcycle. If you see the API seal, keep going. Unfortunately, a member named "rasolheim" is learning the hard way how expensive an error like that can be; I hope that I can warn others before they make the same mistake.
Note on coolant - using an "extended-life" coolant makes good sense; it'll extend the interval between coolant changes and do a better job of protecting the aluminum cylinder block and heads. It does NOT, however, free you from the responsibility of checking the coolant level and color frequently. Periodic checks (I do it every day, before and after a ride) are your best protection against leaks and corrosion.
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4.8-gallon, teardrop-style fuel tank (including a 0.9-gallon reserve)
It has a cruising range of more than 170 miles (273.58848 k)