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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A number of owners here have reported a problem with the battery cover not fitting right after taking it off, or even from day one of picking up their bikes. I also have this problem but I was able to get the panel to at least fit right with a little extra care with a flat screw driver to hold the rear tab on the middle cowl up while snapping in the battery cover. This tab is what I think is the whole problem with that area. Honda did not design it strong enough to withstand the forces needed to snap the battery cover back in.
Here is a photo of the broken tab:
100_4362

I contacted my dealer at Storm Lake Honda and they ordered and sent me (on warranty) a new panel that just arrived today. They also included a pre-paid return UPS label to return the bad middle cowl. :)

Well, I opened the box and unwrapped the part and found that the "new" part also has a broken tab, exactly the same as the original! :eek:

Using the pre-paid label to return their "new" part and asking to try again. Maybe this time inspect the part before sending to ensure that tab isn't broken from the factory? We'll see what happens next.

I like that they were willing to send the replacement part with a return label considering the size of the box. But, then again, I would expect that of a good dealer. I know the broken tab is not the dealer's fault so will continue dealing with this dealer even though they are 2-1/2 hours away. Makes for a nice ride if I have to go there. Was considering delivering the returning part personally if they had not included the return label. Hoping Honda is watching this and considers beefing up that tab. :mad:

Most of the problem is that the battery cover gets pushed down from the top and nothing is under the tab to support it so the cover never really snaps in to stay put as it should. I used a standard screw driver but could also use a thin narrow pry bar to hold the tab while snapping in the clip and then it will stay as it should... until the next time.

I am considering that if Honda cannot provide an unbroken part, and even if they do, I might coat that tab with JB Weld on both sides to reinforce it and still use a thin pry tool to help snap in the clip there. There are 2 tabs on the outboard side for the cover and the problem tab is the rearward one. The front tab seems to be well designed to hold when the cover is snapped in.

The Storm Lake Honda service tech was certain the problem was with the middle cowl and he is right. I think that tab just needs a redesign.

Here you can see how my panel fits (just below the GPS)
100_4374
 

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I had the mechanic line up all of my plastic yesterday while he did the 4000 mile service. My mirrors look better now, but the battery cover is still riding up.

The service manager says all of the touring bikes are getting like this. It makes his job harder.
 

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I have the same issue, but my dealer wasn't aware of it being a common problem. I am going to have them order a replacement part in time for my 4000 mile service. It seems like it is bound to happen again, though, considering how common the issue is.
 

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I definitely had this issue after I opened the cover to install some electrical stuff. It did not get fixed until I took the bike into the dealer to have the taller windshield installed. The tech managed to get the cover back on so that it fits properly. I was REALLY upset that it stuck up above the surface about 1/4" and looked terrible. Now I am afraid to open that cover again. Personally I think they should do a recall and replace all of those covers with ones that have reinforced tabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They need to redesign the middle cowl and specifically that tab. The problem isn't the battery cover but the tab it snaps into. Once I held the tab up with a slender lever that would slip between the cover and storage box while snapping that clip in place it will stay just fine. The problem IS that most service techs don't realize this is how it needs to be done and just push the cover on, and that bends the tab even more, possibly breaking it even more.

Since the new part I received had that tab broken from the factory I really wonder what is going on with that. I don't believe the techs are breaking the tab initially but that maybe a few are compensating for an already broken tab, those would be the ones fitting the cover so it stays right.
 

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Discovered this same issue with mine upon returning home from AR with the new bike. Contacted the dealer and they sent me a whole new piece as well.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Received email from Cory at Storm Lake Honda today. They received another new middle cowl from Honda and they inspected it before sending it to me. It also had the broken tab same as my original. They contacted Honda about it and have yet another on order for me. That part is currently on back order until after June 17. I guess Honda should be realizing about now they need to do something about that part... I hope.

In the mean time I am OK with it as long I don't take it apart very often so I am waiting on installing a few things until I get a good panel to put on the bike. The battery cover is staying put for now so don't want to disturb it.
 

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I have this issue but not the same.

When I took off the inner panel (as its called) to disassemble the bike, when I put it back on, I couldn't get it to stay flat. Thats the same issue YOU guys have but there is an exception:

My tabs (on the middle cowl) are NOT broken and the inner panel snaps into these just fine.

The little teeny tabs on the edge of the inner panel arent seeming to 'catch' correctly to the edge of the middle panel, even when encouraged by a small plastic jewelers flat tool.

I eventually got it to sit flat but I think the 1st bump I hit, the rear side (facing the gas cap) will pop back out.

So, my issue isnt the broken tabs as Bob showed but something else.
The teeny tabs arent broken..so Im not sure whats going on.

The new inner panels are like $14 each so I might just get another one and try it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
New panel arrives

Received a new middle cowl from Storm Lake Honda this week. This one does NOT have a broken tab.
Finally unpacked it and applied JB Weld to reinforce the tab... hopefully. I really coated it on both sides with the goop. Tomorrow I plan to install this and also a few other electrical changes while I have the panels off.
Here is one side:


And here is the other side:


I tried to be careful and not get any inside the slot. Hopefully I won't have any problems with this tab again.
 

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Today I ran a power cable up to the left pocket area to power my phone when it is in the RAM mount (more details on that in another post). I am so afraid to take off the cover panel again that I just loosened up the left pocket, pulled away a side panel and carefully snaked the cable up to the right place using a wire to pull it through. It works great, and I can tuck the end of the cable into the otherwise mostly-useless left pocket when it's not being used.

I sure hope that stuff you put onto the tab keeps it in one piece, Bob! Thanks for being the guinea pig on this issue.
 
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This is sad to have to do on an $18k brand new bike.

Honda should be ashamed. Has anyone involved a district Manager over this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I'm sure the unbroken tab will perform ok IF I don't push the battery cover on too forcefully. The JB Weld is just extra insurance. I agree this is shameful that Honda would put such lack of good engineering into this part since it is clearly intended to be accessed somewhat more often than, say, the top shelter or even the front garnish.

As I've mentioned before this is a warranty replacement issue and part. If you have a broken tab and you've notified your dealer about it right away that it was a problem at time of pickup then you need to get it replaced under warranty! Otherwise mother Honda will continue to ignore it. They have to be replacing this part on a great many bikes to know there is a real issue that needs to be addressed. I suspect there are a great many bikes with this problem that are not being reported and parts not being ordered on warranty to fix. Don't wait and see how this works for me. If you have a broken tab get in to the dealer and get the middle cowl ordered on warranty to replace it. You should be able to keep what you have until the new one arrives. Just the fact that my dealer had to order 3 to get ONE with a good tab indicates a major design/quality problem to me.

It would be best if Honda were to have a voluntary recall on this part to inspect and replace if needed. But that is very unlikely. This is the kind of issue that customers have to push through their dealers. Anyway, I have a good part now already.

I still intend to use a slim flat lever to hold the tab when I snap on the battery cover but I don't want to HAVE to use one.
 

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My tab isn't broken but the cover seems to wander. It really needs three tabs to stabilize it rather than two. But in all honesty folks, this is minor. I almost bought a Triumph Trophy SE. If you want to see problems, lots of major problems, go check out that owners forum. If I'm not mistaken, not a single CTX owner has yet written about a major mechanical issue...knock on plastic.
 

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My tab isn't broken but the cover seems to wander. It really needs three tabs to stabilize it rather than two. But in all honesty folks, this is minor. I almost bought a Triumph Trophy SE. If you want to see problems, lots of major problems, go check out that owners forum. If I'm not mistaken, not a single CTX owner has yet written about a major mechanical issue...knock on plastic.
One big reason why I had no problem jumping on a brand new model is that most of the moving parts have already been battle-tested for 11 years in the ST. Plus, it's a Honda, after all. Geez, even the Thunderbird in its third production year was still plagued with a rear wheel bearing issue. I would honestly be shocked if there are any widespread problems with this bike. :)
 

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Is this mass production, we're looking at?
The reason I'm asking is, when my dealer replaced the battery cover (the black part covering the battery), because this little "nose" at the left lower side, which is supposed to snap beneath the left cover (the one with the broken tab here), was almost gone after several tries to put it in place. He took this part from the other CTX he just received and you can see a difference in color of this part to all the other ones. :350x700px-LL-66dd6d
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here is the result with the "new" middle cowl installed. Seems the battery cover does fit better, more snug to the middle cowl. The "pin" on the battery cover slips snugly into the reinforced tab just fine and stays there with no suggestion of slipping out. And also the edge of the cover fits closer to the cowl panel edge so the small tabs along the edge engage the cowl edge better to hold it in place. I consider this issue solved for my bike.

 

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To add to the complaints list, I opened that cover today to check things out. The female tab on the middle left cowl is broken (looks just like in Mainous's photo above) but there was some silicone goo put on it so that it would stay there and not show its real condition. This (in my case) is a dealer ****-up, I can't wait for Tuesday morning to pay him a visit and have a straight talk about it.

Looking closer at the plastic behind the goo (luckily, it is high-quality goo that just unstuck itself from the plastic leaving no residue), I'm inclined to believe it's a molding error rather than the tab actually being broken. Compare to all other female tabs on the bike: the outer side is as thick as the other sides, only this one has it very thin and maybe the plastic doesn't reach all the way in the mold when injected resulting in a very fragile or half-molded outer edge.

Also, looking in perspective, that particular corner is rather crowded (left inner panel, left middle cowl, left pocket, fuse boxes and battery positive wire) and I spent about a half hour today sticking my fingers around and trying to measure what could be the root cause of the problem. I found that the battery positive wire is the culprit: there is little space for it and it really has to go through that space, otherwise it pushes on the bottom of the pocket and that transmits as a leverage on the poor tab and breaks it.

It's a large gauge wire, it's short, there isn't much space but it has to go through that small space set aside for it (and we all know dealer mechanics have no respect for details), If you take the time and massage it so that the battery contact aligns with the long side of the battery (mirrors the negative connector), bolt it down in that position and then massage the red (and black) wire so that they sit behind (i.e. towards the tail of the motorbike) the smaller fuse box, then the pocket fits freely with nothing pushing it up from below and the overall panel joint has a much better chance of also fitting without any stress.
 
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Later edit, one picture = a thousand words.

Silicone goo as a chicken attempt at hiding the truth (hi-res):

(also note weird position of positive battery connector, another dealer screw-up (pardon the pun), can't wait to beat him over the head with it)

[hr]

In the hope that it helps others reading this in the future, let me indulge in some more blowing in the wind and explain how this plastic joints are supposed to work, for the average (i.e. so dumb couldn't spell their own name) mechanic:

  • plastic doesn't like shock. Tempting as it may be, don't hit it. Not even with your bare hand or fist. It doesn't work that way, dammit!
  • plastic is elastic. You can bend and pry it a bit without doing any damage. Sometimes the seam will, by design need a bit of prying to align/snap in properly.
  • plastic is weaker than any metal, therefore do not use any metal tools to work on plastic. A handful of guitar picks may come very handy if you don't have specialist tools (like the spudger common in laptop/mobile phone repair shops)
  • when you have two plastic parts with a long seam between them, secured by many small tabs, start at one end and work slowly towards the other end, gently prying the halves open to pop off (but not break) every tab in turn
  • since plastic is flexible, you don't necessarily have to push/pry at the very place you need halves to align/snap in. Look at the shape of the part and try to find the point of maximum leverage. Think of holding a piece of paper from the ends and making it bend upwards -- the middle moves up but your fingers are far away from it -- and apply to the plastic parts in question
  • since plastic is flexible, when you have more parts brought together, it may help to try and push the whole construction around to seat the last few pieces of the puzzle. This is especially true of the top shelter on the CTX1300 whose front side moves quite a bit, allowing the free play needed to set things in nicely.
Now, about the tricky cover, specifically:

  • the manual says you should remove the left middle cowl from its rear grommets before taking the left inner panel all the way out. It should be obvious that you should do that only after all the other steps have been followed, otherwise you'll surely break that tab.
  • the most important step in the procedure is the second one: release the panel from the pocket (rear) and speaker (front)
  • the most important step not in the procedure (probably the Japanese assumed it would be common sense) is, obviously, to hold the inner panel slightly upwards as you gently remove the middle cowl's rear end from the grommets
  • now, assuming you got that far and everything is good, there are small tabs along the entire seam between the panel and the middle cowl so it's not a good idea to force the two halves to separate. Use the picks to gently pry the inner panel up from the middle cowl until all the small tabs are free. Then you can massage the big tabs out.
  • assembly is much more relaxed with a spudger: install the cover from top, easing the large tabs in until it's almost aligned but the small tabs stick out. Then use the spudger starting in the middle of the seam and gently work all the small tabs in. Then push below the speaker to set that tab in, then push near the pocket to set the last one in. Re-install the pop rivets and you're done.
 
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