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Old 10-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #1
photorider OP
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Location: Chicago and Guatemala
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Intermittent starter

I'm having a little issue I hope you guys can help me diagnose.
I searched through old threads and I know similar issues have been covered but I'm still a little stuck.

Bike is a '76 R60/6. Stock except for Dyna ignition and Enduralast alternator. Battery load tested and in good shape.

Bike runs like a champ. Idles beautifully, pulls hard through all the gears, starts instantly (when the starter turns) and now that it is a little cooler I am even running low octane gas with no pinging whatsoever. It's dialed in nicely.

The problem is whenever I ride more than about 10-20 miles and shut her down, the bike doesn't want to start again. All I get is clicking at the relay. If I let it sit for a while, it fires right up. I live in Chicago so 99 per cent of my riding is short trips in stop and go traffic. Under these conditions, no problems. I run around all day stopping and starting without issue. It's only after a longer run that it won't start. Last weekend I went camping in WI. Bike ran great the whole way up. Got to camp, started unpacking and then went to move the bike and it wouldn't start. An hour later, she fires right up.

This has been going on for a while. I took off the starter relay (less than 2 years old) and cleaned all the connections but still have the same symptoms. I inspected the wire to the starter solenoid and cleaned terminals at the starter also. No change. Test lamp lights up when when relay clicks.

Also, when it doesn't want to start, I can easily bump start it to get it going.

Could a problem with the solenoid be intermittent like that?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
Warin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photorider View Post
Could a problem with the solenoid be intermittent like that?
Yes.

As could starter motor brushes...

Options:

Dismantle starter motor - clean, examine, replace worn components

Exchange starter motor.

Replace starter motor.

=======================
Assume test of start relay was done when fault was present. Thus starter motor fault.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
SOLO LOBO
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It could be the starter, but it could also be the battery, wiring, soleniod, etc...

The first thing I would do is to try and jump the bike from another motorcycle when it is clicking and not starting.... just because the battery load tested good doesn't mean it really it.

I would also inspect that battery wires, as well as the starter to make sure all are clean and tight.
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your bike is suitably dirty. Well done.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
Plaka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photorider View Post
I'm having a little issue I hope you guys can help me diagnose.
I searched through old threads and I know similar issues have been covered but I'm still a little stuck.

Bike is a '76 R60/6. Stock except for Dyna ignition and Enduralast alternator. Battery load tested and in good shape.

Bike runs like a champ. Idles beautifully, pulls hard through all the gears, starts instantly (when the starter turns) and now that it is a little cooler I am even running low octane gas with no pinging whatsoever. It's dialed in nicely.

The problem is whenever I ride more than about 10-20 miles and shut her down, the bike doesn't want to start again. All I get is clicking at the relay. If I let it sit for a while, it fires right up. I live in Chicago so 99 per cent of my riding is short trips in stop and go traffic. Under these conditions, no problems. I run around all day stopping and starting without issue. It's only after a longer run that it won't start. Last weekend I went camping in WI. Bike ran great the whole way up. Got to camp, started unpacking and then went to move the bike and it wouldn't start. An hour later, she fires right up.

This has been going on for a while. I took off the starter relay (less than 2 years old) and cleaned all the connections but still have the same symptoms. I inspected the wire to the starter solenoid and cleaned terminals at the starter also. No change. Test lamp lights up when when relay clicks.

Also, when it doesn't want to start, I can easily bump start it to get it going.

Could a problem with the solenoid be intermittent like that?

Thanks in advance.
Yes. Carry the meter and check voltage drop when it just clicks. You might actually have a battery issue but isn't obvious. You can run it low and it will recover some when it sits.




I'd pull the starter and just go through it. You pretty much covered the rest. Make sure bushings are cleaned and greased, commutator in spec and undercut, brushes correct. Also go through the solenoid assembly. You want the big contacts in the bottom clean and bright and the linkage clean and lubed. it's a smaller project than it seems, and easy bench work.. Most of the work is getting it out.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
Warin
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I'd think you'd get a relay rattle with a faulty battery .. that or the warning lamps would go out/very dim...

So OP what happens to the warning lamps when it goes faulty ? Sill on and no significant dimming?
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:51 PM   #6
Plaka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warin View Post
I'd think you'd get a relay rattle with a faulty battery .. that or the warning lamps would go out/very dim...

So OP what happens to the warning lamps when it goes faulty ? Sill on and no significant dimming?
Never figured out why the relay should buzz under low battery. Hit the starter button and you energize the relay coil, it goes click and stays energized. No further sound. But then the starter over draws the low battery and then entire system voltage drops so low the relay coil releases? Then the voltage rises, coil clicks again because your finger is still on the button, starter tries, voltage drops, etc?????
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:46 PM   #7
Warin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaka View Post
Hit the starter button and you energize the relay coil, it goes click and stays energized. No further sound. But then the starter over draws the low battery and then entire system voltage drops so low the relay coil releases? Then the voltage rises, coil clicks again because your finger is still on the button, starter tries, voltage drops, etc?????
Yes, one way of it happening. Or a series resistance - too small to effect the relay but too large for the starter current... same effect.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
photorider OP
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm pretty sure the battery is fine. I have a digital volt meter attached to it and it shows a full charge. It barely budges when the starter clicks.
When it does spin the starter it does so very well.

I guess I'll double check the wiring and dig into the starter. I had it apart less than a year ago and everything looked fine. I replaced the brushes, cleaned up the terminals on the solenoid and it worked fine for a while then started doing the same thing. Maybe my soldering wasn't so great??

I don't know. It's pissing me off, though. Lately it only does it when I really need it to start!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
Plaka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photorider View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I'm pretty sure the battery is fine. I have a digital volt meter attached to it and it shows a full charge. It barely budges when the starter clicks.
When it does spin the starter it does so very well.

I guess I'll double check the wiring and dig into the starter. I had it apart less than a year ago and everything looked fine. I replaced the brushes, cleaned up the terminals on the solenoid and it worked fine for a while then started doing the same thing. Maybe my soldering wasn't so great??

I don't know. It's pissing me off, though. Lately it only does it when I really need it to start!
Check the mounting bolts. If they are loose and it's gears aren't engaging the flywheel properly....??
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photorider View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I'm pretty sure the battery is fine. I have a digital volt meter attached to it and it shows a full charge. It barely budges when the starter clicks.
When it does spin the starter it does so very well.

I guess I'll double check the wiring and dig into the starter. I had it apart less than a year ago and everything looked fine. I replaced the brushes, cleaned up the terminals on the solenoid and it worked fine for a while then started doing the same thing. Maybe my soldering wasn't so great??

I don't know. It's pissing me off, though. Lately it only does it when I really need it to start!
have you bypassed relay by putting 12v directly to solenoid when problems shows up?

what's the voltage readings that you consider show full charge?
what's the voltage reading at battery with engine at 3,000 rpm?

all short rides may not allow enough time to charge battery back up. especially if charging voltage is too low.

Testing an AGM Battery
How to test an AGM Battery

1. remove AGM from bike and/or charge in place with cables removed.

2. use a normal size PB charger without desulfate mode, then charge to full. (don't use battery tender which can take several days to charge to full). don't exceed 14.8v for AGM

3. allow AGM to rest overnight after full charge. then measure resting voltage.

4. resting voltage should be 12.6v to 12.8v fully charged. if say your AGM resting measures 12.8v, then starts your bike strong for load test. odds are your AGM is good.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:23 PM   #11
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from the Simple Stuff Files: check your magic starter button up on the bars. Dust/mud/old grease in the contacts etc can make them half-conduct when pushed, and makes the starter engage fitfully & intermittently. Mine's doing it now so will blow out w/ air and add some lube this weekend
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:10 PM   #12
Warin
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Mugwest - In the first post hes says the relay is clicking - so the starter button is ok.

IF the battery were faulty or there is a bad connection to the battery then
the warning lights will dim ... he has not stated what happens to them so I have assumed they don't change.
OR
the relay will click multiple times (rattling).

=========================
If your going to suggest something .. read the OP posts containing the fault information .. it may eliminate some suggestions.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:25 PM   #13
photorider OP
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Just a quick update in case this helps someone.
It was the starter.
I took it apart, cleaned up the contacts and replaced the bushings (one had quite a bit of play). The brushes were fine. Problem solved.
Thanks for all the responses.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:23 PM   #14
Warin
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Originally Posted by photorider View Post
Just a quick update in case this helps someone.
It was the starter.
I took it apart, cleaned up the contacts and replaced the bushings (one had quite a bit of play). The brushes were fine. Problem solved.
Helps me. Thanks for the actual fault, some don't bother providing the solution but is handy to know for any future fault. And for those looking at a starter motor overhaul.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:14 AM   #15
RayB
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I just rebuilt the Bosch starter on my 82 R100 last week or so.
The symptoms it had were sluggish turning even with a good battery and full charge.

Inspection upon disassembly were a cracked brush and the nose bushing pretty well worn. Replaced brushes and bushings. Used 60/40 solder on the brush leads. Cleaned The solenoid contacts even though they looked pretty good.

What a difference. Acts like an actual starter again. I guess those little bronze bushings can really drag down the torque if worn.
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