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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I was curious if anyone might have any insight or thoughts about why my motorcycle may not be starting (2016 Kawasaki ninja 300)? I rode it very consistently for about 2 years, but it’s been sitting unridden for about 1 year. Occasionally (every few months) I would start it up just to make sure everything worked but I would never ride it anywhere, the last time was about 2 months ago (end of March) and it turned on.

Currently: the bike has a new battery, starter relay solenoid, and spark plugs. The bike turns on with the key (as it should with the new battery), but when I push the ignition switch, nothing happens, there is no sound at all, no attempt to turn over as far as I can tell. As best as I can see, the connections/wires look good and all the fuses seem to be intact.

Does anyone have any suggestions about where to go from here? Any help is greatly appreciated,

thank you in advance.

worst case I’ll bring it into a shop, but I would prefer to try and figure it out first. I also currently do not have a way to transport it there.

Ke1ra



Some background in case anyone wants to see my initial thought process and where I started:

About 2 weeks ago I went to turn my bike on and absolutely nothing happened, nothing turned on. My first thought was the battery, which ended up being dead and was replaced. After replacing the battery, the bike turns on instantly, but it will not start when the ignition switch is depressed. My next thought was that the bike is getting power but it’s not reaching the starter motor, and I thought maybe it was the starter relay solenoid, which I ended up just replacing as the readings on the multimeter were very inconsistent However the engine will still not start or even attempt to turn over as far as I can tell: there is silence when I press the ignition. I also replaced the spark plugs at one point because I thought maybe they were worn out and unable to ignite the fuel. Wiring and fuses all seem ok, I’m not sure where to go from here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just wanted to add that when I did attempt to start it, the kill switch was off, the kickstand was up, the clutch was pulled in, the bike was in neutral and also tried it in 1st.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have not tried yet, unfortunately I’m not sure there’s a big enough incline to even really try. But I will see what I can do, thank you.
 

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2015 custom/ modded Yamaha R3
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Let me know if it will jump or push start so we can start ruling stuff out ok?
 

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2021 YAMAHA MT-03
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You check your ground? I know it seems silly but Ive had a few things not happen due to improper grounding after battery replacement. Electrons move in reverse within wires(to push protons forward), oddly enough, and you need a stronger ground connection than you do a positive connection. That was not explained very well(NOT a PhD, only BSC). But anyhow we clearly know that it is an electrical issue so start there. Check every wire possible at every unit connection.
 

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First confirm the battery's state of charge. Often times new batteries aren't fully charged. Its possible it could have enough to run the lights but not enough to do anything with the starter.

if that doesnt work, I would make 110% sure the bike is in neutral, and then if its easy to get to the starter, you can touch a wire from the positive terminal of the battery to the terminal on the starter for a second and if it cranks at all you've ruled out starter. Make sure its in neutral or the bike will take off. Thats the easy stuff. After that I'd probably be looking at a problem with the switch or trigger button on your controls. Maybe some corrosion on the contact points inside the switches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You said all the fuses "seem" to be intact. They either are or are not. DId you pull each one to check them?
Sorry, I see that was a little vague. To clarify, yes, I did pull them all and all the inner wires are connected and intact.
Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Let me know if it will jump or push start so we can start ruling stuff out ok?
Thank you for the suggestion, I was able to push start it going ~7mph and in 1st gear. It took me 4 attempts, and 7mph seems to be about the max speed I can get with the incline I have available. I rode it up and down the street a couple of fo times, shifting gears, and currently I have the bike running. I have not turned it off or attempted to try to start it with the ignition switch, but I assume that if it wasn't working beforehand it's not going to work now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
First confirm the battery's state of charge. Often times new batteries aren't fully charged. Its possible it could have enough to run the lights but not enough to do anything with the starter.

if that doesnt work, I would make 110% sure the bike is in neutral, and then if its easy to get to the starter, you can touch a wire from the positive terminal of the battery to the terminal on the starter for a second and if it cranks at all you've ruled out starter. Make sure its in neutral or the bike will take off. Thats the easy stuff. After that I'd probably be looking at a problem with the switch or trigger button on your controls. Maybe some corrosion on the contact points inside the switches.
Thank you for the reply and advice. The new battery was greater than 80% but less than 100% (I just got a battery tender and it flashes green when greater than 80% and is solid when completely charged...it was flashing green when I connected it). The bike was definitely was in neutral. I had briefly looked at those connections but probably not as close as I could have, I will take another look. Also, just want to add that I was just able to push/bump start it on the 4th attempt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You check your ground? I know it seems silly but Ive had a few things not happen due to improper grounding after battery replacement. Electrons move in reverse within wires(to push protons forward), oddly enough, and you need a stronger ground connection than you do a positive connection. That was not explained very well(NOT a PhD, only BSC). But anyhow we clearly know that it is an electrical issue so start there. Check every wire possible at every unit connection.
Thank you for the reply. I checked the ground and the connection looks solid, but tbh I'm not 100% confident I could identify a bad ground. The bike immediately turns on when I turn the key and all the lights, horn, display all have great power...I assume that would not happen with a bad ground or battery connection?
 

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A bad battery might have enough charge to power the lights and horn but not have enough to crank the engine. It's the same for electrical connections. A "bad" connection might be good enough to power lights, but not good enough to allow the amount of current required by the starter motor.
 

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It can all be tested with a meter, play with the meter until you understand how it works, then relate that to the wiring diagram so you know where to test things and what values to expect with the correct meter settings in place. It's not easy but it is worth it.

Your voltage readings at the relay were likely all over the place because you were not applying the test meter correctly. You need to disconnect the starter motor to test the voltage going to it and make sure it is same voltage as at the battery terminals.

Your meter is sensitive enough to test the resistance in your skin! Figure out how that works and now you have the meter on the most sensitive ohm setting. That is how you are going to find bad grounds.
 

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Based on everything you've said, I would start with the starter button and the wires going to it. That includes the safety switches on the clutch lever and the side stand. If any of that is not right the starter button won't energize the solenoid.

This all sounds familiar, I think I said all of this not too long ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A bad battery might have enough charge to power the lights and horn but not have enough to crank the engine. It's the same for electrical connections. A "bad" connection might be good enough to power lights, but not good enough to allow the amount of current required by the starter motor.
Ah ok, thanks, makes sense. I will be sure to check the connection again
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Based on everything you've said, I would start with the starter button and the wires going to it. That includes the safety switches on the clutch lever and the side stand. If any of that is not right the starter button won't energize the solenoid.

This all sounds familiar, I think I said all of this not too long ago.
Ok, thank you for the feedback, I will be sure to check all of that and post an update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It can all be tested with a meter, play with the meter until you understand how it works, then relate that to the wiring diagram so you know where to test things and what values to expect with the correct meter settings in place. It's not easy but it is worth it.

Your voltage readings at the relay were likely all over the place because you were not applying the test meter correctly. You need to disconnect the starter motor to test the voltage going to it and make sure it is same voltage as at the battery terminals.
Ok, thank you. I might have to brush up on that, I don't use one all that often.
 

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Forrest Mims wrote the best beginner electronics books ever, Radio Shack use to sell them. Many careers have been launched by those books.
 
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