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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys,
My Kawasaki GPZ 500S 1997 now refuses to start normally with the start button.
When I press it nothing happens besides a "clicking" sound that seems to come from somewhere under the saddle, around the battery.

Here is a video of the problem:

Does anybody knows what is this issue?
What is this thing that is clicking down there?
Why isn't the bike even trying to start like it should?


The battery is most likely fine, it was changed not so long ago.
I can turn on the headlights, high beams, blinkers, rear light and brake light as well and they show no sign of lack of electricity.

Before not working completely like now I noticed that giving a little bit of momentum (just one step forward) and putting it on first or second gear "unlocked" it and I could then start it with the start button, but now that little trick doesn't work anymore.
It felt like there was something "gripped" that needed to be unlocked before using the ignition.

Thank you for your help guys, hopefully this can be easily fixed.
Thank to this issue I am now a master at push starting the bike :D
Have a good ride.
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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Ooooh, I hope you report back if our suggestions work because this sounds like a good entry for our "motorcycle won't start" thread.

It sounds like the starter solenoid isn't working correctly. What happens if you short the posts on the starter solenoid? If the bike doesn't try to start, I would look into replacing that part.
 
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Ooooh, I hope you report back if our suggestions work because this sounds like a good entry for our "motorcycle won't start" thread.

It sounds like the starter solenoid isn't working correctly. What happens if you short the posts on the starter solenoid? If the bike doesn't try to start, I would look into replacing that part.
Miss M, you took the words right out of my mouth -- or, um, off of my fingers. Never had the situation with a motorcycle, but when I was in highschool I had a hotrod '55 Chevy that for some reason never diagnosed ate starter solenoids. I never left home without a big, long screwdriver to short the solenoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow thank you for your super quick replies @Miss Mercedes and @oldenslow !!

I had to Google what is a solenoid first :D
So if I understand correctly, you want me to remove the saddle, turn the key on the ON position as if I was going to start it normally, then instead of pressing the button I short the solenoid with a screwdriver which should make the bike trying to start.
Is that correct?

I will read the bike manual to see where is the starter solenoid because I don't see I have seen it.
Any tip on how and where to find the starter solenoid on this bike?

Thank you so much once again !!
 

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Starter solenoid is usually close by the battery (which explains why the sound is coming from that area. It'll be a small cylinder looking object with two posts coming out of it. Yep, what you'll want to do is turn on your bike, then short those two posts together. If the bike starts, your issue is likely somewhere else. If it doesn't and the clicking sound doesn't appear to be coming from somewhere else, the solenoid is probably bad. Also check the fuse in the solenoid as well.

IIRC, you should be able to follow the leads from the battery to the solenoid.

This is apparently what your solenoid should look like:

 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again @Miss Mercedes I have found the solenoid in my bike.
First: The clicking noise comes from that thing, 100% sure.
When I put my finger on it and press the start button I can feel that something is budging in it that makes the clicking sound.
I have gently pushed away the plastic covers that were on the two nuts as shown on the following photo:



I then used a screw driver to electrically connect the two nuts which should short the solenoid.
Unfortunately absolutely nothing happens when I do this, it doesn't try to start in any way, not a sound, not even the clicking noise...
I tried several times, making sure that I touched both buts with my metallic screwdriver.
Could it be that my screwdriver is made of a non-conducting metal?
Otherwise if indeed nothing happens when shorting the starter solenoid, what does that mean?


Thank you for your time and expertise !!
 

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It's possible your screwdriver is a non conducting metal. When I did it, I used an old wrench. Either way, if it does turn out that shorting this doesn't work, you'll either need to replace the fuse in it or replace it entirely. :)

And you're welcome! I'm no expert, but had a very similar issue while working on a problematic scooter. lol
 
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If you have a key ring that'll also do the trick. Basically any conducting metal will do. :D
 

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Knowing that the only commonalities between a '55 Chevy and a motorcycle are that they are both internal-combustion-powered conveyances that have electric starters, I will say that no response to the old short-the-solenoid trick means getting a new solenoid. In fact, a positive response means getting a new one, too!
 

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I would like to know how many volts the battery has, and how many volts it has when you turn on the key, and how many volts it has when you press the start button. And if it starts, I would like to know how many volts it has. Other than the key switch, and the wyring with all the other related switches, you have a battery, relay and starter motor. But volts first. If you have 12.75, then try another relay, then remove the starter motor and check it. It could be the battery is too low, the relay is toast, or the starter motor is drawing too many amps.
It could also be the connections in some or all of the silly switches, are draining amps. That is why you check the volts.

UK
 

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I would like to know how many volts the battery has, and how many volts it has when you turn on the key, and how many volts it has when you press the start button. And if it starts, I would like to know how many volts it has. Other than the key switch, and the wyring with all the other related switches, you have a battery, relay and starter motor. But volts first. If you have 12.75, then try another relay, then remove the starter motor and check it. It could be the battery is too low, the relay is toast, or the starter motor is drawing too many amps.
It could also be the connections in some or all of the silly switches, are draining amps. That is why you check the volts.

UK
I was thinking the same. That shot of the light did not look like a bright light as would be seen from a good well charged battery.
 

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--

An easy way to make sure your problem isn't your battery, or battery post connections, is to watch your headlight when you hit that starter switch. If your headlights go dim, you may have a bad battery cell or poor post connections. You need to check those post connections periodically anyway, but few do.

--
 

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If a weak battery is suspect you could connect jumper cables to a known good battery, like the one in your car.
Just DO NOT have the car running when you do it. < That's important. :wink2:
 

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But seriously, what is wrong with buying a decent volt meter and measuring the volts. It is not rocket surgery, and costs less than ( thinking ) 4 beer.
So the headlight went dim, a good sign BTW, but knowing the volts would be soooo much nicer.
You can play guessing games if you want, but sometimes a bit more info is nice.

Hey, what did you score? Lets see, tee shot into the rough, lose ball, chip out, hit tree bounce back, 2 or 3 more whacks towards the green, 2 chips and a 3 put. Give me a 5.

UK
 

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UK,

A volt meter could run you 8 ~ 20 bucks. Then you gotta read the instructions and everything.

BTW, I don't do golf so ?
 

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I don't go the whole voltimeter route if I don't have to. Easy things first!

I assume battery isn't an issue as the OP says they replaced it not long ago.

Though on second thought there could be some parasitic drain somewhere. Best way to test is to hook the bike up to a car and try to start. If you still just hear that click and no start after shorting, probably the solenoid. If it starts, your battery is weak and you'll need to tear through the electrics to figure out why it got drained.
 

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Harbor Freight has decent meters for under $10. I have seen them less than 5 on sale.
 

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At Harbor Chinese freight, I see them given away for free all of the time.

A BAD but fully charged battery may test okay (13.5 Volts) but immediately when put under a 'Load,' the voltage drops precipitously to around 8 volts, enough to feebly honk the horn and energize the lights but not enough to start the engine.

It is probably a bad cell (S) in the battery.

Sam:nerd:
 

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Pull the battery... take it to Interstate Battery, AutoZone, or some other shop. Have them test the battery "UNDER LOAD", to ensure the battery is good, before you start buying parts. They probably won't charge you, unless it's super busy... or you're a super A-hole. Had a year old battery die on me after a cell or two crapped out. I pulled the old girl apart TWICE and bought $50-70 worth of stuff, before I tested the battery under load.
That battery died in the summer.... but, I always thought it was the cold winter that snuffed out batteries. When I checked my spreadsheet, 70% of my batteries in the heat of summer. Keep that BatteryTender plugged up.
 
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