Starter Problem

Discussion in 'Other Service and Maintenance' started by rigidscoot, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. rigidscoot

    rigidscoot Member

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    Howdy,
    I have been battling a starter problem for some time. My starter free ran on a trip several states away. I disconnected the battery and got the bike, which is a 1987 FLHT, to a dealer who installed a new solenoid. Next day bike slow cranking and had battery replaced at another dealer. Next day slow cranking and barely started, headed home, didn't shut off for fuel ect.
    I have changed battery again, changed starter, changed relay, resoldered connectors, changed starter shaft and related parts.I took it to a bike shop where the solenoid was changed again and a couple of starts trashed the contacts in that solenoid. The solenoid stud contacts arc on the copper washer (not really copper it seems) and both the washer and the contacts get arc pitted and trashed. I did not change the plunger or its runout spring. I have ohmed the battery cables and added a second ground from the starter mount to the frame. I am about to order new cables just to rule out a hidden resistance with one of these, and get yet another solenoid. All the solenoids have been from HD dealerships, something better available? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks....Rigidscoot
     
  2. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Hi Rigidscoot and welcome to HDTalking...there is plenty of info in the Self Help tab near the top of the page regarding charging system and starter. There will be plenty of help available shortly.

    First thing you should do is STOP throwing money and hardware troubleshooting the symptoms in the order you randomly consider to be the culprit and not the problem. The key here is to methodically troubleshoot the likely problem which by now by all the exercise you have gone thru is likely NOT the starter/solenoid portion now (may have been the initial problem, but laid waste to other stuff) in the process.

    Before changing cables were they hot after the bout of starting that would indicate bad cable (also check near the ends for heating).

    Did you check the charging system for 14V charge output...when running the throttle up at a modest RPM above idle?

    Did the dealer "really" change the solenoid the first time (remember to always ask for the old parts back that you are entitled to) and the rest of the parts? Obviously you have parts now, check the date codes or rev # of the part to see if they are the OEM ones you had...
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  3. whatyardwork

    whatyardwork Banned

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  4. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Since the solenoid contacts are pitting for a 2nd time it sounds like the starter is drawing excessive current. But since you have already replaced the starter, I will rule out the starter for now as the reason it is drawing a High amount of current. (the amount at this point is unknown correct?)

    Wish I knew what the starter draw in amps was but without knowing that I would test the Torque required to rotate the engine. It just may be that the electrical system is all OK and you have something mechanical that is dragging against the engine.
    Going through as many parts as you have tells me your spinning your wheels. Test to see what the current draw is on the starter. Test to see what it takes to rotate the engine by hand. Take out both plugs and jumper the start relay in the fuse panel just to see how easy the engine spins without compression.
    Without compression the engine should really spin.
     
  5. rigidscoot

    rigidscoot Member

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    Thank you for the replies. I will get an ameter and check th amps to the starter. This bike has well over 50k on it and most of the components I replaced had wear but I agree I need to trouble shoot the system and go from there. I have put in a new charging system and regulator since I had the primary cover off anyway. The starter did spin the engine well with the plugs out. When I get the meter and and put the cover back on I will check the charge to the battery. Thanks...Rigidscoot
     
  6. whatyardwork

    whatyardwork Banned

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    At 50k you may want to do the stator while you're at it.Just saying you're already 80 percent commited to having a completely rebuilt charging system.Odds are if the VR was bad the stator isnt far behind.
     
  7. Hooligan

    Hooligan Member

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    do you have any electrical accessories on the bike? more lights? air horn? cb, radio etc? if so while youre checking the charging system do a voltage draw test, a good charging system wont do a bit of good if the bike is using more power than your charging system can make, if thats the case harley makes a high output charging system that is a breeze to install. also do a bleed test and make sure somthing is drawing voltage while the bike is turned off and. good luck
     
  8. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Never knew of any such item. How does it work & what does it consist of.
     
  9. Hooligan

    Hooligan Member

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    its a 32amp kit, i believe the harley one comes with a new stator and rotor with much stronger magnets and a primary cover gasket, its been a while since i have installed one so i dont remember if thats everything that comes in the kit, i know there are after market kits that come with stator rotor gasket and a voltage regulator, in my experience the HD one has done the trick just fine every time.
     
  10. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    10/4. Interesting. Yep 32 would be a nice boost.! Tks!