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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tried to start the bike yesterday, 1981 GL500i. It normally starts easily and runs fine. It took 2 or 3 tries this time. As the starter would disengage, I heard a fairly loud metallic clunk. It eventually caught and ran fine, started and stopped with no issues. I probably rode it 40 or 50 miles total. Does anyone have any thoughts on what this might be?
 

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There are far to many things that could have been
Watch for metal glitter in the oil.
 

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From what I have read on this forum, it sounds like it could be the starter clutch. It may not be too serious but if it starts to do it more frequently it will need to be fixed.

I have never had a problem with one yet but apparently it is more common with the 650 than the 500.



It might not hurt to remove the starter and clean it if you have not done it already. There are threads here covering how to do it.
 

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Tried to start the bike yesterday, 1981 GL500i. It normally starts easily and runs fine. It took 2 or 3 tries this time. As the starter would disengage, I heard a fairly loud metallic clunk. It eventually caught and ran fine, started and stopped with no issues. I probably rode it 40 or 50 miles total. Does anyone have any thoughts on what this might be?


My '83 GL650i does the same thing, and I, too have heard that it is likely the starter clutch. It sounds REALLY scary, doesn't it?!



Doesn't seem to be of any consequence so far, but I suppose I really should tear into it. I also note that I have a less intense/severe knocking noise at idle, which disappears when I pull in the clutch...suspect this is related. I wouldn't worry about it for now, just don't spend lots of time creating the noise! :)



Dan
 

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I only have 500s but a number of the fellers on the Oz forum reckon that leaving the killswitch off until the motor is spinning helps.



Also, maybe Stitch or somebody can give you a link to the starter motor earth mod and service as this will help also.
 

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This is usually caused by worn Starter Flywheel gears



Parts 2 and 4 on here,



http://www.donandroys.com/fiche_sec...ry=MOTORCYCLES&make=HONDA&year=1981&fveh=3509



or worn/weak Starter Clutch rollers,



Parts 16/7/6



New parts may be hard to find.As I think yours is a TAI(Transistor Advanced Ignition) engine you can use the flywheel from a CX500 as well as the same gears.Note:When removing the rear cover you have to remove the Advance and retard unit on your type of engine and you should read the notes in the manual for this.



HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is usually caused by worn Starter Flywheel gears



Parts 2 and 4 on here,



http://www.donandroys.com/fiche_sec...ry=MOTORCYCLES&make=HONDA&year=1981&fveh=3509



or worn/weak Starter Clutch rollers,



Parts 16/7/6



New parts may be hard to find.As I think yours is a TAI(Transistor Advanced Ignition) engine you can use the flywheel from a CX500 as well as the same gears.Note:When removing the rear cover you have to remove the Advance and retard unit on your type of engine and you should read the notes in the manual for this.



HTH



Shep- Thanks for your assistance on this. The link brings up a parts diagram to the alternator. Is this correct?
 

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Yes as it's part of the Starter Flywheel assembly as far as diagrams are concerned and the Starter Flywheel contains the magnets that supply the induced coil field collapses required by the Stators for the charging system.The Starter flywheel sits inside the Rear of the engine inside the Stator assembly.
 

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I only have 500s but a number of the fellers on the Oz forum reckon that leaving the killswitch off until the motor is spinning fast helps.
CXP,has nailed it on the head......try it




plus,anyone starting their bike for the first time in more than 4 days
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, all, for your responses. I've been starting the bike with the kill switch on then flipping it off. The bike has been starting smoothly, firing up immediately every time. I think I'll go with this for now and think about starter repairs possibly when I'm able to find parts. I'll post again if I begin to hear clunks again while using the kill switch method, but all seems to be about as good as it gets with this fix.
 

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Thanks, all, for your responses. I've been starting the bike with the kill switch on then flipping it off. The bike has been starting smoothly, firing up immediately every time. I think I'll go with this for now and think about starter repairs possibly when I'm able to find parts.


So would this be pointing to a poor ground as eluded to earlier? Physically, in my mind this method would be like keeping a valve on a water hose closed to build up pressure and then open the valve...



Are there any chances of arcing inside the starter switch which could cause damage to the contacts when the switch is closed, even fuse or weld them together?
 

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A poor internal ground inside the starting motor could contribute to sluggish cranking. I experienced this on my 650 when I first acquired it. It would kick back several times before the starting motor would engage and crank properly. Since I had the rear cover off for a stator replacement, I checked the flywheel for problems. Turns out one of the Torx bolts was loose on the starting clutch. I went ahead and replaced the 3 rollers and springs while I had it apart too.



I then did the ground modification on the starting motor to take another variable out of the loop. When I got everything back together, I also noticed then ground cable was arcing on the mounting while cranking. Cleaned that up and now she cranks perfect every time. I have noticed that the battery condition will contribute to reluctant cranking. A partially discharged battery just doesn't have the omph to spin the clutch mechanism quickly enough for positive engagement.



Using the kill switch to delay the firing of the plugs will not damage the starting switch, or any other part. You are simply stopping the coils from firing with the kill switch off. It has nothing to do with the starting circuit. And this method does work, but I would prefer to resolve the issue in other ways.
 

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Using the kill switch to delay the firing of the plugs will not damage the starting switch, or any other part. You are simply stopping the coils from firing with the kill switch off. It has nothing to do with the starting circuit. And this method does work, but I would prefer to resolve the issue in other ways.


This was the main point of my post.Anything other than addressing the real issue is only putting off what needs to be done and endangering the engine by possible metal debris F.O.D being introduced into the engine thus causing catastrophic engine failure.
 

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I also had it in my head that you were talking about a 650 as this behaviour is considered reasonably 'normal' with the 650s but is unusual for a 500 so Shep is right, a new starter clutch is the go and I'd still do the starter motor earth mod while you were at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK. So where do I go to find parts and what is this starter motor earth mod? Does all this require dropping the engine out of the bike?
 

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1st:

If you are satisfied that there is no clunk using the Kill switch and are happy with the starting then you can still use the bike,with care and perhaps leave the jobs until the end of the season.Do pre-emptive oil and filter changes to keep the oil really clean.



2nd:

As stated getting new parts is not easy(BUMP<Bring Up My Post>).



If it were me I'd look for a low mileage starter clutch assembly off Ebay or the buy and sell section.



3:

Yes the engine has to come out but if you are going to do this you may as well set out for a good rear end service as well.That way you can kill several birds with one stone and set the machine up for around 50k Plus miles before requiring any other engine work.



Bookmark this thread and give it a read,



http://choppercharles.com/cs/forums/126066/ShowPost.aspx
 

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only a couple of questions for the gurus on this thread.

after reading the op. again.......

1/would a tired battery not have the similar effect.....

and

2/could it be a touch of pre ignition...perhaps a little unspent fuel

 

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dthurk, You may not have to get into the starting clutch inside the engine. I would first clean up the starter and do the ground modification. There is a couple of threads on doing this in the General Discussion heading, then the Quick Reference section.



Removing the starting motor is not difficult, it is only held on by 2 bolts and a large wire coming from the solenoid. Follow the tread on cleaning, don't use steel wool inside the motor, remember where the thin spacer washers go on the armature, check that you re-install the gear the same way it came off, and polish the commutator bar with Scotchbrite.



The method used in the second thread on the ground modification seems a awkward, finicky way to get a positive ground from the bare brush terminal to the motor case. I have been using a 2" piece of braided copper wire and two ring terminals to transfer the ground. I crimp and then solder the terminals. Be careful when soldering braided wire, the solder will want to wick it's way up the wire and then you lose the flexibility of the braid. Braided wire can be hard to find. I found a coaxial cable with a copper braid that I doubled up. Other sources would be old or discarded starting motors or other electric motor brushes.



When you have the braid made, find an appropriate spot on the rear motor cap that is less seen and more importantly has a flat spot on the inside of the cover. Drill a hole thru the case and insert a 8-32 or so machine screw thru the braid ring and poke thru the hole. Install a machine nut on the screw. Then attach the other ring to the bare brush terminal if you have not already done this. Make sure there is no interference with the braid and the commutator shaft and install the two long bolts holding the case together. Note: There are index marks to show alignment of the case halves, or use a Sharpie to make your own before you take the case apart. Cut off the excess of the screw past the nut and peen the end just a bit.



Hook everything back up and you should be OK for another 29 years. The whole process the first time will probably take 3-4 hours. The next time you can probably do it in 2 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The suggestions here are terrific. Sounds like I might take Shep's advice, see if I can get through the season and the do a tear down on the bike over the winter. That'll give me time to find needed parts and learn more. I just changed the oil and filter. Should I do it again to check for metal?



Just as a moment of clarification to make sure we're all thinking the same way...this bike has about 17,300 miles on it. I bought it 14 months ago with 13,400 miles on it. I didn't really start riding it consistently until about July last year, as that's when I finally got my license. I've had no issues with the starter. It seems to engage immediately and without a problem. I've experienced this loud clunk sound at the point that I decide the bike isn't going to fire up and I release the starter button. I don't like to run the starter for more than 5 seconds or so without the bike staring. The clunk occurs as the starter disengages, and is only one clunk. This has only happened over the last few days and happened with the bike cold. It hasn't been long enough to tell if it would happen hot. I've only heard it on cold starts at this point. If everyone's been commenting given this scenario, then we're all thinking the same way. It seems to me like some might be thinking I'm having problems with the starter stalling out or not operating correctly. If I'm misinterpreting some of the response, I apologize. But I do want to make sure everyone understands what I'm experiencing. These things are hard to describe online, sometimes.



Anyway...thanks, all!
 
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