Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I own a 1998 Kawasaki Ninja 500EX. About 3 weeks ago I replaced a spark plug and changed the oil. Everything ran great up until this week. I had trouble starting my motorcycle (I forgot to turn up the choke...my own fault). So I thought the problem lied with the battery. I took the battery out and had it checked. It is 100% healthy. I put the battery back in and started the bike that night, but did not ride it. The next morning I started it and took it to work. About 2 miles down the rode it died...it sounded "rough" and accelerated slower. It was getting low on gas, but I have since filled the gas tank.

The electric starter now only "clicks" once, even when I am holding it in. And I noticed the postive battery lead smoked after hitting the electric starter a few times. I cleaned the leads since. I checked all the wiring and it doesn't look like anything is disconnected or a fuse blew. I am really baffled.

Anyone have any ideas/suggestions about this problem and how to fix it?
 

·
Member Map
Joined
·
23,911 Posts
Try charging the battery on a charger first to see if it will hold a charge. If the terminals are smoking or getting hot, it's either a bad connection or a short.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Positive Battery lead smoked

The bike is pretty new for this,but if it sat around a lot with an old battery,the fine wires inside the battery cable can really get corroded.This happens more often on positive leads than negative. The few strands of cable that are actually trying to conduct the power get hot and smoke. Perhaps there is a long enough cable there to cut off the ring connector and crimp or solder on a new one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The cables leading to the positive cable got so hot that they melted the plastic tube over. Under the tube cover there is some white residue (some white, hard material)...but I can't tell if it is corrosion or part of the crimping. I will try to recrimp/solder the positive lead back on but I don't have the tools right now so it may take a day or two.

any ideas why the starter motor doesn't seem to wind up ("click" more than once) anymore? do you think this is because the electricity from the battery never gets to it?

my understanding is the electric starter is connected to the starter motor. the starter motor's neg (-) terminal connects to the neg (-) terminal of the battery. then the pos (+) terminal of the batter connects to the pos (+) terminal of the starter motor. sound about right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
So I bought a voltmeter today and tested the battery. It sits at 12 V. When I press the electric starter it jumps down to ~5 V and stays at that voltage with the electric starter is held down. Also, after holding the electric starter down the positive lead on the battery became hot. Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
So I bought a voltmeter today and tested the battery. It sits at 12 V. When I press the electric starter it jumps down to ~5 V and stays at that voltage with the electric starter is held down. Also, after holding the electric starter down the positive lead on the battery became hot. Any ideas?
Sure,Read post#3 again and replace the cable. Cable corrosion does show up as a white residue...
If I am wrong about the cable thing,you need to test the starter. Do this by using a known good battery like a car battery or one from a riding lawn mower and hooking the starter cable directly to the + battery post. You then can use a jumper cable to connect the negative post to the engine to ground the battery and spin the starter. If the bike turns over,use your bike battery in place of the other battery. If the bike still turns over,your battery is good and you need to make sure your solenoid works.
Of course,I am assuming that you have already cleaned all the connections from the + battery post to the starter and checked that they are bright and tight....
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
2,120 Posts
I'm with these guys, I would replace the cable. If that cable is bad, it will have resistance. So put your volt meter on Ohms and measure from one end of the cable to the other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I looked at the cable again and it seemed to be fine. The white residue was actually the inside lining of the black tube around the cable. It was just melted so it looked funny.

I wish I would have checked this thread earlier and read about changing the voltmeter to Ohms to check the cable. It is late now so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Another thing I noticed is my front headlight doesn't turn on with the key turned. I remember before it use to be on, and if I flick the highbeam switch to on the headlight still doesn't come on...

One last thing, I held in the electric starter longer this time and it started making clicking sounds...not the sound of the engine trying to start though. It was just "click, click, click, click..."

This problem is bugging me out b/c the last few days have been so nice and all I want to do is ride my motorcycle. Any ideas with the new info provided?

(slumlord - I will try what you suggested but it might be a day or two)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Test the starter

I was not very clear on how to test the starter,so here goes To test just the starter,simply hook the long heavy cable to the battery post.Ground the negative post of the battery to the bike engine. You may need a spare piece of heavy wire for this. I made mine by cutting 3 feet off an old heavy extension cord and twisting all the strands together . Of course just touching this from the battery to the bike will ground the engineand spin the starter. The only other place to look then is the solenoid,which Honda calls a starter magnetic switch, or the starter button itself [or poor wiring from the starter button]
Remember that your bike started OK before you took out that battery.Taking out that battery probably changed something. Caused the corrosion to break some wires,broke a post on the solenoid switch. Loosened a connection on the little wire that activates the solenoid switch---- Something close to that battery probably got broken or loose
Take a close look,test the solenoid,clean and check your wiring connections--probably something simple
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
slumlord - Still did not get a chance to test the starter b/c it is dark out...but I did test the solenoid. I placed a screwdriver on both bolts of the solenoid (essentially bypassing the solenoid) and saw some fireworks. Except, nothing happened after that. I put in the key ('on' position), placed the screwdriver across the bolts, and hit the electric starter. The only thing that happened was that the lights on the dash got dimmer.

So, I am making a direct connection from the positive lead of the battery to the starter motor, bypassing the solenoid by using the screwdriver trick. I would imagine the starter motor should at least turn even without holding down the electric starter. Does this spark any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,633 Posts
Do you have a friend with a known good battery.....Ive had a few batteries test good and actually were bad. In fact the last on was on my ZX6 Ninja and it was good enough to test good....but bad enough that it didnt have enough output to spin the starter.....the solenoid would just click.

Cheapy battery from WalMart later and I was tooling down the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
The starter motor might be bad. I pulled it out of the bike and hooked it up to my car battery (with the car not running). I hooked up the negative terminal of the starter motor to the car batteries negative lead and then the positive car battery lead with the positive terminal of the starter motor. When I touched the positive end on the starter motor for a quick second all I saw was sparks. The motor did not spin at all....

So it seems the starter motor is dead and needs to be replaced. But why did my motorcycle die while it was running?

The starter motor only gets engaged when you start a motorcycle, correct? I was sitting at a traffic light when my motorcycle died. I am so confused as to why this would happen.
 

·
Member Map
Joined
·
23,911 Posts
Most starters don't have a negative terminal. They ground through the body of the starter. The sparks you saw were probably a short circuit. If it wasn't fried before, it may be now. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
The starter motor might be bad. I pulled it out of the bike and hooked it up to my car battery (with the car not running). I hooked up the negative terminal of the starter motor to the car batteries negative lead and then the positive car battery lead with the positive terminal of the starter motor. When I touched the positive end on the starter motor for a quick second all I saw was sparks. The motor did not spin at all....

So it seems the starter motor is dead and needs to be replaced. But why did my motorcycle die while it was running?

The starter motor only gets engaged when you start a motorcycle, correct? I was sitting at a traffic light when my motorcycle died. I am so confused as to why this would happen.
So is the starter now on the bike or off the bike? if it is OFF the bike, hook the starter cable to the + side of the battery. Run a jumper wire--a heavy one from the - post of the battery to anywhere on the outside of the starter case that is bare metal and just touch it on there. It should spin. Be careful that it does not get away from you as it will spin fast.
If this test is successful,re-install the starter to the bike and follow very carefully the instructions in post #10.
Repeat these 2 tests using your motorcycle battery. At that point,you will have tested both the starter and your battery. Good luck and keep us posted.
Let's hope the starter is not fried:frown:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Been away on business travel...sorry for not replying in awhile.

Yes, the starter is off the bike now. I hooked the starter up to the positive lead of the battery and then grounded the negative lead of the battery to a metal part of my bike. Nothing happened, the electric starter did not spin or anything.

So, I am guessing the electric starter motor is dead. I am going to try and compression start it tomorrow.

I am so confused as to why this happened...it doesn't make any sense. I am probably going to have to dish out $500 to get it fixed including labor and getting my bike to the shop :(

Any other ideas? I appreciate everyones help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Your bike may have shut down originally because you have the wrong spark plugs. I just had this problem and fixed it by getting hotter plugs. Found out about a service bullitin that said to use hotter plugs than what the factory installed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
well, I took the bike to the shop and they said the motor completely seized up. They cannot even turn it over manually. Looks like I am going to sell it for little to nothing now...

This bike was so great when it was running and now it shattered my dreams. I think I just learned my lesson not to buy an older bike. Next time I will stick within 3 years old.

Thanks for all the replies.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top