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Old August 3rd, 2015, 02:46 PM   #1
BrianATX
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Start Issue

I have attached a video showing what was occurring and is now occurring again. I have tested the battery and the levels are fine it does not drop below 12v on start. I also jumped the bike from a car battery and still experienced the same issue. At the end of the video I tore apart the bike and replaced the main gear for the starter (the one behind that magnetic rotor). That gear was missing about 7 teeth which it must have slowly been chipping away. I also replaced the smaller gear that went between the main gear and the starter. After replacing those two gears the bike started smoothly. However the next day it was back to doing the same thing as before which caused the sheared teeth on the gear. If the bike is warmed up it will start smoothly every time. It only appears to happen after the bike has been allowed to completely cool. I have also purchased a new used starter and will replace it shortly in hopes it may fix this issue.

Any advice on what is happening for this to occur and recommendations on a fix would be greatly appreciated.

Link to original page on YouTube.


Last futzed with by BrianATX; August 3rd, 2015 at 03:29 PM. Reason: YouTube Link
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 03:11 PM   #2
csmith12
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Looks like a starter clutch issue Brian.

To make sure, next time it does that. Engine off, put the bike in 2nd gear, let out clutch and roll it backward until it catches. Not hard.. but enough to feel it. Then start as normal, should help it catch and fire up. I do this with dirt bikes and 4wheelers from time to time.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 09:08 PM   #3
BrianATX
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Thanks for the reply Chris.

I think I know which part you are saying is malfunctioning but I don't understand how or what needs to be replaced to fix it.

To review the starter clutch is between the stator rotor and the final gear of the starter. When the starter turns over it locks that final gear and begins to turn the rotor assembly and the engine over. I have locking and it is shearing off the teeth of that final gear but the motor is not turning over. And now that I have replaced the gear I still have locking but it is not turning the motor over and I am concerned that repeated attempts will result in more shearing of the teeth of that final starter gear. Which is what had occurred at the end of my video when the starter would spin but never engaged the final gear.

It would seem like my starter clutch is locking properly but something is preventing it from rotating. While I have a strong battery I thought it might just be a worn out/weakened starter. However that does not explain how it sheared off the teeth on the final starter gear I replaced. In my mind it would seem like that starter clutch would be bad if it kept the starter motor engaged after you removed your finger from the start button. Or if like in my final video clip it just spun and never locked. But the reason the starter spun in the final clip was because that final starter gear was missing about 6 teeth and there was nothing there for it to turn.

I tried your tip with putting the bike in gear and backing it up till it rested on the drive train/engine. When I pulled in the clutch and hit the start button it made no change. The starter engaged and tried to spin but it was frozen immediately like before and took several presses to eventually turn over the engine. Exactly the same thing that was happening in the first few clips of my video.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 10:04 PM   #4
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Ok, I am at a computer vs a phone.

The free spin of the starter without engaging the engine is a sign of a starter clutch or you could already be missing a tooth or two already. I would check it out.

Also, when the starter tries to turn the engine over and then it suddenly stops. I STOP immediately and ensure the proper oil level. If too much fluid is in the crankcase it can cause this and cause other worse issues. So check that too.

Next would be alignment issues. Starter bolts still tight and everything secure? Loose bolts or missing washers may cause binding and torque problems with the starter gears.

Lastly, electrical gremlins. You eliminated the battery already by testing it and still questioning it, tried jump starting off a cage. That only leaves 2 items left; starter solenoid and starter brushes. You can bypass the starter solenoid with a screwdriver or jumper wire. If your starter has good torque, then it's unlikely your brushes are worn but still a questionable item.

So....
1. Check fluid level in case. (oil + gas = non functional petcock or carb issues)
2. Check starter bolts and general installation.
3. Batteries and electrical components are tricky sometimes. Even though your battery tested "good", it still may be the cause. Insufficient power to hold the start gears in place while turning over the engine. Can you try a known good battery?
4. Bypass starter solenoid.
5. Check starter gears for missing/worn teeth (again )
6. Now you can start thinking about the starter clutch.

If I was a betting man, I would put money on your problem being a battery issue.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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I just watched the video again. Yea... almost for sure battery. Notice in the night start attempt, your dash also went dark, that is a power problem. Batteries that don't work right cause all kinds of strange issues with bikes so much more so than cars. lol
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:06 AM   #6
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Sounds like a dead battery to me too.

Check the voltage - before and during cranking. Should be 12.7 before and around 11 during cranking.

EDIT: Sorry - I re-read your post and noticed you did that - I'd still check it again though. I've had similar issues in the past where the starter relay was bad, and was creating resistance and dropping voltage to the starter. Jumping the relay or applying power directly to the starter pinpointed the problem. Also check all of the battery connections, cables, and grounds.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 08:17 AM   #7
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^^^ yea

If everything tests ok just sitting there, then get a friend to press the starter button for you while you meter the battery under starting load, I bet you will find your problem. Other than that, take the battery to a shop where they can do a proper load test (sustained load voltage test), to see if your battery has a dead cell or some other problem. Maintenance free battery or are you low on acid maybe?

Good luck!
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Old August 4th, 2015, 01:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. The battery has been thoroughly tested and is in perfect working order. It was also replaced with several other batteries that were also in perfect working order and the same results are produced every time. The current battery was checked on three different load test machines from two different shops. I'm not going to go into further details but a lot of testing was performed on this battery and several other batteries with the same results. I am concerned with the relay but I have also wired the starter directly to this and a few other batteries and experienced the same issue.

Chris I think your first suggestion is the fix. I had checked everything else you mentioned several times over.

1. Check fluid level in case. (oil + gas = non functional petcock or carb issues)

The oil level is fine I double checked this after replacing oil and checked again this morning and levels are nominal. However I had not pulled the carbs for awhile and when I did I noticed the left cylinder intake was wet. So I feel certain this cylinder was probably filling very slowly with fuel at night. The fuel petcock did not drip when turned off. Not sure how else to see if it is working properly when in the on position.

I assume this is more than likely a float bowl issue. I readjusted the bowl level reducing the fill volume. I am hopeful that by the end of today it will be dry and that is the fix and its not a petcock issue.

Thanks again for your suggestions. I will update again if it is fixed. If anyone else has suggestions I would still like to hear them just in case. Please trust me when I say that suspecting the battery is like beating a dead horse.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 02:28 PM   #9
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I'm leaning toward csmith12's hydro-lock idea. Had similar experiences with two cars and a lawn mower in the past. (Cars were due to coolant, however).
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmith12 View Post
Notice in the night start attempt, your dash also went dark, that is a power problem.
Agreed. I'm not saying that it's a bad battery (as you seem to have thoroughly tested it), but everything going dark like that means it's not getting power for some reason. Starter motor/solenoid shorting out or something?
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Old August 5th, 2015, 02:01 PM   #11
BrianATX
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Thanks for the suggestions. In the last 48 hours I have had no issues repeat so it was definitely a hydro-locking problem from a poorly adjusted float. I have not had a chance to check my cylinder compression yet to see if there is damage. I have no idea why all the lights cut off when the starter is brutally stopped but that apparently happens in this situation. Or I have another problem related to the starter relay. I'm going with there must be some sort of cut off on it to prevent the overloading of the starter in a situation where it cannot turn over.

I have a new question related to this now however. My initial problem was that I was shearing off teeth on the main starter gear when my bike was not turning over. With all the battery problem responses I am curious if this is a problem that can also occur when a weak battery is used to start a bike? It seems unusual to me that a battery not able to turn over the bike would be strong enough to shear the teeth off a starter gear trying to do so. Anyway I know my battery is fine but I would be worried about trying to start my bike on a weak battery now.

Thanks again for all your suggestions. Specials thanks to Chris for thinking about the carburetors. I feel foolish for not checking them now; it is probably the only part of the bike I did not look at trying to figure this one out.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 02:18 PM   #12
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Batteries not having the juice to keep the starter engaged (going in and out making a clunking sound) is an old tech problem that is kinda rare on modern hardware, but still creeps up from time to time. My gut tells me you shouldn't have a repeat of the shearing teeth issue because of a low battery. Normally, batteries go dead without causing issues or damage, I wouldn't worry unless you feel there is a legit reason too.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 05:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianATX View Post
With all the battery problem responses I am curious if this is a problem that can also occur when a weak battery is used to start a bike?
Just because a bad battery was suggested several times as a cause of the problem doesn't mean it's really a problem. If a battery is really weak, it won't crank the engine over. In your case, the battery was plenty strong enough to shear off gear teeth because of the hydro-lock condition.

With respect to the dimming of dash lights in your case, it was not because of a failing battery. Rather, your stalled starter motor was allowing the closest thing to a dead short your battery will hopefully ever experience. The "battery voltage shouldn't drop below 10 or 11 volts during cranking" rule of thumb applies to an engine that can be cranked over in a normal fashion. You had a seriously abnormal condition and the battery voltage dropping (causing the dimmed dash lights) was not unreasonable.
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