Author Topic: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?  (Read 4116 times)

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Offline Allmendinger

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Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« on: July 21, 2016, 10:45:40 pm »
Sat morning wanted to ride. Bike (95 1000 w/ 24k mi) fired right up and ran beautiful. I stopped for about 1/2 hr, get back on bike turn on key, push starter button and.........click. I tried multiple times, and all but one time it just clicked. One time it clicked and whined for a second. No idea where the whine originated.

The bike is showing early Jbox symptoms. I've had to tap the left side a couple times to get neutral & oil light to come on. Always fires right up when the lights are on.

I'm thinking starter. I talked to the mechanics local Kawi shop that's been there 20 yrs and a local independent guy that has been around for ever. neither can recall ever having to replace a starter on one.

What Ive done so far.
  1. charged battery fully. click

  2. took battery to work to load test in our truck shop. 12.8V 541CCA.

  3. tried the screwdriver across solenoid. click.

  took the housing on handle bar off to try to clean starter button. got it all apart nicely except the switch itself.  Am I supposed to get that little pin out that holds the switch in the little white bracket? If so, what's the trick to it?

What i did over the winter (in case i did something wrong?)

  1. removed carbs and sent to steve in FL

  2.Adj valves and replace plug well seal & valve cover gasket.

  3.replaced thermostat & O ring

4.Steves free power mod per his video.

 5. basic maintenance.

Where do i go next?  any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 11:47:01 pm by Allmendinger, Reason: edit »

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2016, 09:31:58 am »
When I cleaned the horn switch/button I took some 150 grit sandpaper, folded it and ran it between the coils of the little spring and the two contacts on opposite ends of the spring.  For me doing this and cleaning the starter relay (sandpaper again) helped some, but did not fix the issue.  A new battery completely resolved my starter problems.

Not one issue since installing the brand new battery.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 10:37:52 am by GKreamer »

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 04:02:46 pm »
First check your gremlin bell and make sure one isn't hanging on to the clapper. Clean the area where the battery cable grounds to the frame.  Then disassemble and clean every connection in the starter circuit. If you know the J box is going funky now is a good time to order one. That's what I would do/have done....
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Offline WillyP

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 05:12:28 pm »
Seems like most starter problems end up being battery problems.


  2. took battery to work to load test in our truck shop. 12.8V 541CCA.

I'm not familiar with load testing but 12.8v is on the low end for a fully charged battery. Is that the voltage under load, or fully charged no-load?

However, first thing first, clean all the connections... from the battery to the solenoid, solenoid to starter, and battery to ground. If they look clean, clean them anyway, and be sure they are tight.

If the screwdriver across the terminals didn't crank the motor, it's not in the starter button circuit. The purpose of the screwdriver trick is to by-pass all of the wiring to the handlebars and the push-button itself.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 05:19:22 pm by WillyP »
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Offline RWulf

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 07:31:57 pm »
Send the J-Box off to Larry Buck. While your waiting look at the
terminals in the plugs for the J-Box. They like to be clean so
they can make good contact. Light brushing with a Scotch bright
pad. With your volt meter, test light what ever clip it onto the
starter terminal. While pushing the starter should see voltage,
light or maybe smoke. If nothing exciting has happened, like
smoke check eather side of the solenoid. One of the big wires
should have voltage all the time the other only when start
button is pushed. If all this works start looking at what is wrong
with the starter, be first one I've heard of going bad.
Oh test after J-Box is re-installed.

Offline dboogie2288

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 08:27:55 pm »
Hang on....541 CCA?????  :-\

Do you have a truck battery in there or something, because that seems waaaay high.
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Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2016, 11:08:42 pm »
thx for all replies. I haven't had much time to look at it, we had a major plumbing malfunction over the weekend. I figure I'll  send the jbox out fist as the little tinkering i did the jbox symptoms got worse. will update

Offline Daytona_Mike

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 01:26:13 am »
If the screwdriver across the terminals didn't crank the motor, it's not in the starter button circuit. The purpose of the screwdriver trick is to by-pass all of the wiring to the handlebars and the push-button itself.

I agree with Willie.  You have a bad relay OR a bad battery  or loose wires to the battery/relay and/or bad ground wires   
Your diagnostic procedures do not indicate anything else.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 01:29:19 am by Daytona_Mike »
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Offline goatmar

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016, 03:49:03 pm »
Hang on....541 CCA?????  :-\

Do you have a truck battery in there or something, because that seems waaaay high.

The bike spins when it starts.  :D
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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 05:36:14 am »
So that's where the term "spin 'er over" originated.      :lol_hitting:
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Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 11:29:28 pm »
thanks again for the replies. having a bad run of luck lately, just spent 4 days in the hospital. if any of you go to the bathroom and it black (I know TMI but it was bad) get your but to the Dr ASAP.  I waited too long and almost paid dearly for it. my wife says I'm stubborn. guess she was right this time.

back to the bike. prior to my unscheduled time off, I had the battery checked at work and advance auto results were basically the same at both places. I took the starter switch off to clean it (having a hell of a time getting it back together). I also took the solenoid out for close inspection. it was nasty. bought a new one. during all this jbox completely died so it left for rebuild yesterday.

I'm hoping the relay that was mentioned is in there. I'm in holding pattern until it gets back next week. hopefully I'll have the starter button/throttle assembly back together by then and I'll plug the box in and it will start. if not, part of the reason I was in the hospital was stress. I need to ride. I stopped into the dealer go get the solenoid and was offered an amazing deal on a leftover '15 versts LT which I might go for depending on test ride when I'm healed up a bit.

if the relay mentioned above is not on the jbox , I'm all ears

Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2016, 07:25:38 pm »
update: rec'd jbox back from Larry replaced solenoid with new. plugged in jbox, turned key, everything lit up. good. push starter button......... click. and a short faint whir sound.

While waiting for the jbox, I cleaned all battery & solenoid/relay connections

What next ?starter?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 08:34:22 pm by Allmendinger »

Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2016, 12:10:16 pm »
Sanded the starter button no change. tried jumping the bike with my mower. nothing. I want to take the main ground, from battery to block off and clean it. it looks like the Sunoco has to come out. is there any tricks to do this? any other grounds that could be likely culprits? 

Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2016, 12:13:24 pm »
sorry no idea how spell check got Sunoco from air box

Offline Catrinus

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2016, 12:17:11 pm »
I'm no mechanic, but it seems to me that a good clue was in an early post.  You said it fires right up when the neutral light is on, and doesn't when it's off. Why have you not replaced the neutral safety switch?  It's a cheap, easy to replace part!  And since it's right where dirt and grime get at it, a pretty likely culprit!
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Offline Thud300

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2016, 12:21:52 pm »
I read where you sent the carbs to SiSF, so I presume there are overflow tubes installed?

Will the engine turn over by hand?

One thing to try first, at the left hand coil is a very critical ground wire... make sure that is clean and tight. Although I do see where the free power mod was done, it's worth a check.

Hope that helps.
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Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2016, 01:19:02 pm »
the reference to it not starting when the neutral light was off, I think, was jbox related. that and the oil light weren't coming on before jbox repair. now both come on.

yes overflow tunes are installed. prior to this the bike ran great. no smell of gas. just shut it off and it hasn't started since.

tried to jump it with my lawn tractor this morning. click.

did the valves while SISF had the carbs. will pull the tank in a bit and check the left coil. I've read a few posts about a main ground on the frame to the right of the battery. mine doesn't seem to be there. it is directly under the air box.


Offline connie_rider

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2016, 01:36:05 pm »
Almindinger, it is sounding more and more like the culprit "is" the starter.
I think you installed a new starter relay?
If jumping the starter relay doesn't get the starter to turn,, I think you need to pull the starter and check it out.

The only thing I haven't seen you mention is,,, "what" is clicking when you try to start the engine?

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Offline JDM

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2016, 02:11:53 pm »
 Make sure the bike is on the center stand and in out of gear, pull the dust cover up out of the way on the starter relay, take a screw driver and just touch both the big poles on the starter relay and see if the bike turns over. If the bike does nothing you could have bad starter, or a bad connection at the relay or starter.  If it does turn over then check to see if you are getting fire to the small post on the relay when you push the stater switch. If you get fire to the relay on the small post you have a bad relay, easy fix and much less $$. Another way to check the relay and starter is take a jumper wire from the Hot side of the battery and just touch the small post on the relay and see if the bike turns over the. By using the screw drive  you bypass the starter relay, but be careful, you could get some sparks. If you use the jumper you are checking to see if the relay will energize when you apply fire.  If you do not get fire to the small post on relay it is in the wiring. Check the 30 amp fuse to make sure you have good contact in the fuse holder. HTH JD   
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 02:36:39 pm by JDM »

Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2016, 02:30:10 pm »
the clicking is from the new and old solenoid.

I just pulled the tank and cleaned the ground wire to left coil. nothing

I noticed some rust on the ground from the battery to the motor under the air box. doesn't have one to the frame as I've seen noted in other threads. can't seem to get a wrench on it. looks like I'm going to have to remove the air box to get to it. we know what that means

can I make a new wire and ground it to the frame instead. if so would regular car ground wire work. if so where is best to connect it.

I agree it's looking like the starter. at first glance it looks like the carbs have to come out to do it. true?

I have not checked to see if it will turn over as it was running fine when I shut it off. no strange noises or smells

I know there is a lot of love out there for these bikes, but I'm not feeling it


Offline JDM

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2016, 02:39:07 pm »
the clicking is from the new and old solenoid.

I just pulled the tank and cleaned the ground wire to left coil. nothing

I noticed some rust on the ground from the battery to the motor under the air box. doesn't have one to the frame as I've seen noted in other threads. can't seem to get a wrench on it. looks like I'm going to have to remove the air box to get to it. we know what that means

can I make a new wire and ground it to the frame instead. if so would regular car ground wire work. if so where is best to connect it.

I agree it's looking like the starter. at first glance it looks like the carbs have to come out to do it. true?

I have not checked to see if it will turn over as it was running fine when I shut it off. no strange noises or smells

I know there is a lot of love out there for these bikes, but I'm not feeling it
PS Please reread my post again,  as I am a old fart and i was not very clear on the test. HTH JD

Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2016, 03:00:55 pm »
to save some reading. I'll condense what I've done to date.
bike ran fine, no strange noises or smell of gas. shut off. won't restart.

jbox redid installed.

new relay installed

load tested battery 2x both times 12.8v 540 cca

tried to jump bike with mower

tried to jump old and new relay/solenoid with screw driver

sanded/cleaned starter switch at handlebar

cleaned sanded all connections at battery and relay/solenoid

cleaned sanded ground wire left coil

I'm not real good at electronics but with battery at 12.8v I get same on post from relay to starter when button is pushed

Offline connie_rider

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2016, 03:05:31 pm »
Allmendinger, what you can do to eliminate the concern is, attach a cable from negative post to any good ground on the frame, and a cable from the Positive post to the starter relay.
NOTE: Cable's would have to be relatively large to carry the amperage.

Thinking about it, may be easier to use another battery and a set of std jumper cables.
Leave the stock battery in place and jump from second battery to a good ground (not the battery negative post) and directly to the starter relay. (or better yet, directly to the cable that attaches to the starter).

If that doesn't turn the starter, pull the starter.

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Offline Allmendinger

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2016, 03:44:42 pm »
connie_rider, just did as you described with my mower battery. connected ground to big bolt on frame right by handle to put bike on center stand. pos to post on relay to starter. I heard something turning (not the engine). I could feel it with my finger on the starter. it only made the sound for about 2 sec. tried it a couple minutes later. same thing.

toasted starter?  and bad ground?

thx again for all the replies

Offline WillyP

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Re: Starter trouble or electrical gremlins?
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2016, 04:15:26 pm »
If you are hearing a whirring sound, or feeling vibration from the motor spinning, the starter is spinning but not connecting to your engine.

There is a clutch and a chain drive from the starter motor to the engine's crankshaft.
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