solenoid sticking?

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Har-D, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Har-D

    Har-D Member

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    My 1986 Softail Custom has intermittent starting problems. When it does not start it has the single 'relay click' and that is all. I get voltage through to the small post of the solenoid, but nothing past this. I figure it may be sticking so I gently tap on the solenoid with a screwdriver butt while holding in the starter switch, and it then starts!!

    1. Is it that the solenoid is sticking? 2. Is it that there is borderline juice coming through that is not enough to fire the solenoid without a nudge? 3. Is it a bad ground from the relay or somewhere?

    Can someone please let me know, and also how to fix it?

    Thanks for your help everybody!
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Sounds like the contacts in the solenoid could use some attention. Over the years they will pit from the arcing of the power going through them when they operate and if it pits enough it will not pass the current to operate the solenoid.

    This will give you an idea of what is involved.

    Starter Solenoid - Harley Davidson Community

    You can open the solenoid and clean/burnish the contacts or just replace the solenoid being it's an older model.
     
  3. Har-D

    Har-D Member

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    Thanks Glider! So you do not think it just sticks huh? Plus you think the juice is enough, etc?
     
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Usually your type of problem is just a maintenance thing with the contacts, occasionally the plunger itself will hang up too.Don't be surprised if you open it up and find some crud in there too. The solenoid is mostly overlooked as far as maintenance and only gets attention when it no longer works.
     
  5. Har-D

    Har-D Member

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    Do I have to take off my primary cover etc. to take apart the solenoid, or can I just get to it from the front? I have an older solenoid I took apart and saw the contacts were pitted and not so smooth. So I sanded the contact washer and even flipped it over to the nice side, and cleaned up the post contacts to shiny coppery finish. I was going to switch out solenoids, keeping one as a spare, clean and ready to swap again when needed. Anyway, can I just swap them out without getting into the primary case? Thanks as always!!
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    You should be able to do what you have to do just removing the 3 bolts on the back cover of the solenoid.
     
  7. Caper

    Caper Active Member

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  8. Har-D

    Har-D Member

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    I assume that is to get to the contacts, and clean them up. What I wish to do is change out the solenoid completely. Can I do that from the outside without getting into the primary case? Thanks!
     
  9. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Easiest way is to get the new solenoid assembly, but most just reverse the washer (contact) and burnish the contacts...there will be a time when you need to replace the starter/clutch and do a complete job at that time, JMHO...which is what I did when the starter clutch went out...the solenoid kit is only about $25 and the clutch (revision "B") was guess what...HD...'bout $100. :newsmile025: What is the starter assy you have now but "used" parts...why replace before their time?
     
  10. Har-D

    Har-D Member

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    I want to replace only the solenoid (the outer silver/chrome casing with all its internals). Can I do this completely from the outside, without going into the primary case?