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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

My 83 GL 650i is sidelined for a problem I'm having trouble tracking down.

When I hit the starter button, the engine turns over very slowly. It did this for a few days, and then stopped starting altogether. I was far from home at the time, but it bump started in second gear fairly easily (for a bike this size). A few hours earlier I had what may be a related problem: the headlight fuse blew. A replacement fuse also blew. I mucked around and removed the headlight from the fairing and replaced it again. It fixed the issue but I never found the source of the short. The headlight is still fine. Towards the end of the ride, engine seemed to be hesitating a little on acceleration. Idle and highway running is fine.

The battery was a few years old and not well maintained, so I replaced it: no change.
I used a booster cable to jump the starter at the solenoid: no change.
I used a boost pack for boosting cars to jump the starter at the solenoid: no change.

The FSM suggests:
1. Low Battery (I think I've ruled this out)
2 Excessive resistance in circuit. (The booster cable trick should have ruled this out?)
3. Binding in starter.

I've pulled the starter and it seems to turn by hand with no problems.

While it's been down, I've changed the oil and filter, plugs (they had 20,000 kms on them) and air filter. I also replaced a leaking clutch shaft seal. The old oil looked a little sooty, but so sign of water or metal particles.

The bike recently had a quad bypass and I've run ~1000 km on it since with no issues except a very small drip of coolant from the metal tube where it seals at the water pump. The bike has been running at normal temperature.

I'm running out of ideas? Anyone?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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My first thought was a faulty stator or regulator not charging the battery. But, if the battery is full, I'd suspect a poor ground connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Easy to check.

You did remind me of one little quirk since I put in the new stator. The first indication I had that the old stator was failing was an aftermarket idiot light in the fairing. Normally green. Sometimes amber at idle. Then flashing red, then red is the worst. The in fairing voltmeter mirrored the decline.

With the new stator, the volt meter shows a solid ~14.5V while running down to about 13V at idle, but the idiot light has never gone back to green. I have no idea if that is related to anything.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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That voltage light could also be depending on a good ground connection. Do you read any resistance between the negative battery terminal and the starter mounting bracket?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm seeing no resistance with the ohm meter. There is also a separate ground cable to the starter. The terminal could have been a little cleaner, so I'll tidy that up. I'm getting ready to go in to work, so further investigation will have to wait until tomorrow. While the starter is out, I'll take it apart and inspect it as per fsm. I think the next step is to clean the ground connections up, put the starter back in and see...
 

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The LED voltage indicator is only powered when the ignition switch is on. It will indicate voltage drop in the wiring from the battery to the ignition feed, switch resistance, and drop associated with any load after the switch is energized.
As far as slow cranking, poor internal ground, worn commutator etc in the starter, and solenoid resistance need evaluated.
 

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Pull off and disassemble the starter motor. You will likely find the commutator is carboned up a lot. Polish the commutator with emerory cloth to a shiny copper color, some will scrape (gently) out the grooves betweem the commutator segments., then polish a little more to remove any scraping burrs. Check that the brushes are not so short they need replacing. Reassemble exactly as it came apart, the shims were factory set correctly (pay attention or take pics during disassembly. Optionally, research the starter ground upgrade and do it. Your starter will work much better. 500 cc motors demand less of the "same" starter, they're cheap enough to buy used, so optionally obtain a CX/GL500 starter and install that.
 

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Also, clean out all the carbon dust inside, and I put a drop of oil on each bearing (one each end, but go lightly!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looks like a wire broke off between one of the brush wires and the positive post.
Besides not passing inspection as per fsm, it smells burnt in there.


Sent from my Redmi 7A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The FSM says replace starter. They seem to be made of unobtanium. Can I take the field coils out and fix it? Any Canadian cough-Sidecar Bob-cough sources?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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It looks like the positive terminal post has been twisted, breaking the internal connections.
 

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It looks like the positive terminal post has been twisted, breaking the internal connections.
The OP has classic 650 starter motor symptoms which are easily fixed.

If we are looking at the soldered terminal where the field coils join i would agree that could be the cause of poor cranking performance. Folk tend to do up/undo the positive cable fixing nut on the starter without holding the nut underneath the cable which twists the whole terminal and fractures the soldered join.
That join can be repaired by soldering again - it`s difficult to get enough heat into that large mass of metal but it can be done. I`ve done it several times.
Definitely do the starter mod which fixes the poor earth that afflicts these starter motors (especially 650`s) and you will have cranking speed that you`ve never seen before!
There`s no need to source another starter - these starter motors are nuclear-proof and i`ve never seen one that i have been unable to recover to 100% good health to as good as the day it left the factory condition..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took the stud out of the starter and tinned it using a torch. After that, it was easy to solder the copper tabs back on.

It's fixed now. Thanks everyone! I don't know if I could keep this bike running without this forum.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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BTW: I have only 2 spare starter motor left and one is stick (couldn't turn it with pliers). I would have been willing to lend the good one to you if I'd seen this in time (really busy the last couple of days, catching up today) but I would have wanted it back in case I need it.
Come to think of it you were here when I sold my last extra working one last summer.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As it turns out it was better that I was forced to solve the problem and get er done.

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