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Discussion Starter #1
Are starter relays more or less universal? I may need to replace mine but it could either be the wire between the relay or electric starter.

I believe this to be the case because when i used cables to bypass the electric starter button by clipping them into the relay it causes the bike to start.
However, I tried to do this again later the next day and it got no response. Also pushing the electric starter button down yields no response at all.
 

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If you're asking whether you can substitute a non-OEM solenoid, yes, you most likely can if you're willing to fudge things a bit. I often use very generic lawn tractor solenoids when I build a bike - I just think they're easier. You will need to know whether you have a 3 or 4 post solenoid and substitute the same. I don't know what type of bike you have, but usually this works.

That said, OEM is best - it will bolt right in and connect as it should.

You should also determine whether the solenoid is actually the problem. Pull the smaller wire (or wires) and connect a voltmeter or test light, then see if you're getting voltage when the starter button is pressed. Some bikes have safety switches which disable this circuit with the side stand is down or whatever. It could also be any number of wiring faults if you're not getting voltage.
 

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Voltage dropping starter circuit

Vixxen, you need to either diagnose, or have someone diagnose your starter problem rather than throwing part$ at it. Sometimes you can get lucky, but most times you'll end up buying part$$ you don't need.

Do you know how to use a multi-meter to check voltage? Start by checking the battery. A fully charged battery is essential to all testing. You should have 12.6 volts or more. 12.3 volts is a 50% discharged battery.

(When the bike is running, and above idle, it should be 13.8 volts or thereabout --- alternator output has to be at least 1.2 volts above battery voltage to force it to charge..)

Loose battery terminals and main ground strap cause all sorts of problems. Check them, clean them if they're corroded. Tighten them if they're loose.

Next, check the voltage at the starter WHILE cranking. It should be above 9.0V

If it won't crank, then try hotwiring from B+ (battery positive terminal) to the start terminal on the solenoid --- be sure bike is in neutral!) If it cranks, then the problem is in your ignition switch, starter switch, fuses, etc.

If it doesn't crank, you could have a bad solenoid or a bad starter. At that point I usually take the starter off and test it on the bench with a car battery and pair of jumper cables. Or take it down to the auto repair store for testing on their machine.

Some older bikes have external solenoids, some the solenoid is built into the starter itself.

Voltage DROPPING is the right technique to determine if your problem is in your starter switch, ignition switch, wiring, fusing, etc.

Put your meter black lead on B-
Put your meter red lead on the start terminal on the solenoid.

Now press the starter switch (ignition must be on, kill switch, neutral, etc...)

Lets say you only see 7 volts. You've got a voltage DROP of 5.6 volts! 7V might not be enough to pull in the solenoid.

So you backtrack, trace the wire from the start terminal back to the starter switch. At the output of the starter switch you test voltage again, and it's STILL only 7 volts.

So the wire from the start switch to the solenoid is ok

Now probe the OTHER side of the start switch --- wait, youve got 12.5 volts!

So your starter switch is worn out, contacts, dirty, whatever, and putting a 5 volt voltage drop in your start circuit.

Take the switch apart, if you can, and see if you can clean the contacts inside it with a wire brush,etc. Reassemble and test.

If it's not the starter switch, then you need to backtrack to the ignition switch, etc. until you find the:

damaged wire
corroded connector
dirty contacts
corroded fuse holder
loose connection..

That's causing the problem. YOu probably need to get on the Internet and download a schematic, so you can see how your starter gets power:

for example, your bike's start circuit may be;

battery to main fuse
main fuse to ignition switch
ignition switch to starter switch
starter switch to neutral safety relay
NS relay to starter solenoid...

If your starter AND starter solenoid aren't getting at least 12.3 volts off a 12.6 battery then you've got to find the cause of the voltage drop.

Wade
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Vixxen, you need to either diagnose, or have someone diagnose your starter problem rather than throwing part$ at it. Sometimes you can get lucky, but most times you'll end up buying part$$ you don't need.

Do you know how to use a multi-meter to check voltage? Start by checking the battery. A fully charged battery is essential to all testing. You should have 12.6 volts or more. 12.3 volts is a 50% discharged battery.

(When the bike is running, and above idle, it should be 13.8 volts or thereabout --- alternator output has to be at least 1.2 volts above battery voltage to force it to charge..)

Loose battery terminals and main ground strap cause all sorts of problems. Check them, clean them if they're corroded. Tighten them if they're loose.

Next, check the voltage at the starter WHILE cranking. It should be above 9.0V

If it won't crank, then try hotwiring from B+ (battery positive terminal) to the start terminal on the solenoid --- be sure bike is in neutral!) If it cranks, then the problem is in your ignition switch, starter switch, fuses, etc.

If it doesn't crank, you could have a bad solenoid or a bad starter. At that point I usually take the starter off and test it on the bench with a car battery and pair of jumper cables. Or take it down to the auto repair store for testing on their machine.

Some older bikes have external solenoids, some the solenoid is built into the starter itself.

Voltage DROPPING is the right technique to determine if your problem is in your starter switch, ignition switch, wiring, fusing, etc.

Put your meter black lead on B-
Put your meter red lead on the start terminal on the solenoid.

Now press the starter switch (ignition must be on, kill switch, neutral, etc...)

Lets say you only see 7 volts. You've got a voltage DROP of 5.6 volts! 7V might not be enough to pull in the solenoid.

So you backtrack, trace the wire from the start terminal back to the starter switch. At the output of the starter switch you test voltage again, and it's STILL only 7 volts.

So the wire from the start switch to the solenoid is ok

Now probe the OTHER side of the start switch --- wait, youve got 12.5 volts!

So your starter switch is worn out, contacts, dirty, whatever, and putting a 5 volt voltage drop in your start circuit.

Take the switch apart, if you can, and see if you can clean the contacts inside it with a wire brush,etc. Reassemble and test.

If it's not the starter switch, then you need to backtrack to the ignition switch, etc. until you find the:

damaged wire
corroded connector
dirty contacts
corroded fuse holder
loose connection..

That's causing the problem. YOu probably need to get on the Internet and download a schematic, so you can see how your starter gets power:

for example, your bike's start circuit may be;

battery to main fuse
main fuse to ignition switch
ignition switch to starter switch
starter switch to neutral safety relay
NS relay to starter solenoid...

If your starter AND starter solenoid aren't getting at least 12.3 volts off a 12.6 battery then you've got to find the cause of the voltage drop.

Wade
Thank you so much! I will do all of this tomorrow or day after when I get a chance. What I did (which I am a rookie. The whole point of this bike is for me to learn) was took car jumper cables and grounded them and hooked one positive jumper cable to B+ and the other to the starter and and the starter immediately tried to start, though it did not start. I then stopped and have no done anything else.
 

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took car jumper cables and grounded them and hooked one positive jumper cable to B+ and the other to the starter and and the starter immediately tried to start,
Ok, for me or anyone else to understand you, we have to agree on a few terms.

An engine STARTS. Vroom, vroom! Put it in gear and go!
A starter either spins or CRANKS.

So do you have a no-crank situation or a no-start situation ?

It sounds like you've confirmed you have a good starter, and a good battery, so...if you turn the ignition on, put bike in neutral, set the parking brake ;) and then hotwire the starter, does the engine start?

Next you hotwire the solenoid. Does it (the starter) crank?

A solenoid could be wired several different ways. It might require 12V to crank, or it might require B- (ground). It might also have inputs from the neutral safety switch, kickstand switch, clutch lever....so that it won't allow the starter to crank unless you're either in neutral or have the clutch pulled in, and kickstand up. A broken switch or wire on any one of those could prevent the solenoid from energizing and engaging the starter.

The solenoid has a little terminal for the wire that comes from the starter SWITCH. Pull that terminal off, put your meter on it, turn the ignition on, press the switch and see if you get 12V .

If not, you need to check and see if there is 12V at the switch, and if it comes out the other side of the switch when you press it.

If the switch is good, then the wire from the switch to the solenoid is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, for me or anyone else to understand you, we have to agree on a few terms.

An engine STARTS. Vroom, vroom! Put it in gear and go!
A starter either spins or CRANKS.

So do you have a no-crank situation or a no-start situation ?

It sounds like you've confirmed you have a good starter, and a good battery, so...if you turn the ignition on, put bike in neutral, set the parking brake ;) and then hotwire the starter, does the engine start?

Next you hotwire the solenoid. Does it (the starter) crank?

A solenoid could be wired several different ways. It might require 12V to crank, or it might require B- (ground). It might also have inputs from the neutral safety switch, kickstand switch, clutch lever....so that it won't allow the starter to crank unless you're either in neutral or have the clutch pulled in, and kickstand up. A broken switch or wire on any one of those could prevent the solenoid from energizing and engaging the starter.

The solenoid has a little terminal for the wire that comes from the starter SWITCH. Pull that terminal off, put your meter on it, turn the ignition on, press the switch and see if you get 12V .

If not, you need to check and see if there is 12V at the switch, and if it comes out the other side of the switch when you press it.

If the switch is good, then the wire from the switch to the solenoid is bad.
Ok I will try and keep to the terms.
The engine STARTED the first day I bypassed the solenoid and put B+ cable directly from the battery to the starter terminal. When the engine did start it was immediate. However,The next day I tried it, the bike would not START. It would just crank. The crank sounded strong and constant but it just would not start.

It may be that i ran the battery down and the starter had enough juice to crank but not enough to start.

I will try to test as you said tomorrow and see If i can further narrow it down.

thank you!
 

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However,The next day I tried it, the bike would not START. It would just crank. The crank sounded strong and constant but it just would not start.
You probably just hotwired the starter but forgot to turn the ignition on the second day. Bikes don't break sitting in the garage overnight.
 

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startor relays

one of the biggest problems that i have had in the shop is the starter relay. They are kind of delicate, and usually they are designed to last or the life of the machine, but I have found that some people just hook them up backwards sometimes, or try to jump across the terminals to try and start it without the key. The arcing causes the terminals to gauss, and then when you hit the starter button, the power jumps across to the grounding lugs on it instead of going through it and firing the solenoid.(path of least resistance...remember tesla!) Try to start the machine and wuickly feel the relay to see if it is hot. If the relay is hot, you have an electrical problem that you need to fix right away. some where in your starting circuit, you have a gaussing or a bad insulation, or something arcing to ground. usually, you can find a way to take them apart, and once you are inside there, you can clean them up and make them work ok...but there is no replacement for a new replacement. I would say, clean all your terminals, and your contacts with a points file. replace that old clunker with a new one made for the machine. no they aren't all the same, no they are not interchangable. If you know the specs, adhere to them.
 
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