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Starter issues

2047 Views 36 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Sidecar Bob
I tried to crank over my GL500I for the first time today. Hit the button, the lights dimmed, heard the solenoid click, but no cranking. Checked for output voltage from solenoid... it's good. Pulled the starter and connected a ground. When I hit the button, I got smoke from the ground connection, but the starter did not spin. I disassembled it, but couldn't seem to tell what the problem is. Perhaps sharper eyes than mine can see it! here are some photos.


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Honda starter motors have always been incredibly dependable for me but it's a remote possibility a field coil could have shorted. To test I'm thinking touch ohm meter to brush connections and starter case and it should be open. Commutator looks clean, brushes plenty long. I've never had one fail in almost 50 yrs of electric start Honda bikes,,,
Dan how long has the bike sat? Does it turn over easily using a socket on the front crankshaft bolt?
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Also make sure the battery is good and fully charged. I've recently replaced the battery on my vt1100 and thought I had starter problems as it did what you experienced. The battery showed voltage but not enough, had some internal problem. New battery fixed it.
A lot of auto parts and battery stores will do a free load test on your battery.
The bike has been sitting for a long timeand the engine will turn by hand, but it is a little stiff. No noises heard. But the starter would not spin even with no load.
Make sure the positive brush lead isn't touching the inside of the case. It's been a while since I last had one apart but you might want to rotate it so that the wire points upward instead of out toward the case.

Also, did you maintain the battery while the bike wasn't being used? For a standard lead acid type that means either leaving it connected to a battery maintainer or charging it every 4-6 weeks; If you didn't and it has been more than 6 months there's a very good chance that the battery can no longer hold enough charge for starting.
Now I'm really confused. When I was checking my starter motor, I simply pulled it out of the engine and connected a ground wire, leaving the hot lead attached. When I hit the starter button, I got some smoke off the ground wire and stopped. The starter did NOT spin. I was trying to see if it would spin without a load. I failed to notice at the time that after that, I got no lights. Everything worked up to that point. The strange part is that some of those lighting issues are independent (like my 4 -way flashers and ground effects) and do not required for the ignition switch to be "on"and they're not working either. My first thought was the main fuse, but that's good. I get power to the fuses at the handlebar fuses with the key "on" and all the fuses are good. I put an ohmmeter on the starter from the hot terminal to the case and got a dead short. Pulled the cap off on the end with the brushes & it still showed a short. Then I pulled the armature out, and the short went away. Sorry for the long post. Any ideas out there?
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Is the armature in contact with the magnets in the shell?
Bobs answer may be the one you are looking for. The positive brush lead contacting inside the end cap.
Is it really a dead short or just less than 1 ohm?
I think I have it figured .... maybe.

When tightening or loosening the nut that holds the solenoid lead to the starter if you allow the shaft to rotate there is a bus bar that also rotates and either contacts the case or the field windings and of course it shorts.

I have seen this a couple of times now.
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After several disassemblies and reassemblies, I am happy to report that the starter is installed & working! Thanks to you all for your ideas and suggestions. I think Bob was correct and the wires to the brushes were contacting the case. I added some additional insulation on the inside to prevent that from reocurring. Also, BTW, all the lights are working again, too! I cranked the engine until the oil pressure light went out, then installed the new plugs. Going to get some gas tomorrow and see if this thing will fire up!
Happy Camper Dan!:giggle:
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Put some fuel into the carbs today. Cranked it over a few times for oil pressure to build. Turned on the kill switch, pulled out the choke, and hit the start button...It started immediately! Doesn't sound great at the first start and I heard a bad noise, so I shut it off. Started it briefly once more and I did not hear the sound again. I had my wife take a video of the startup, but I can't seem to attach it here. Suggestions?
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Post it on youtube and share to your post.
This is the first startup of this engine in over 15 years! I inadvertently mentioned the carbs were Murray's carbs... They were, in fact, rebuilt by Larry. Sorry, Larry.
Here is the link for the video:
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I wonder if your starter clutch stayed engaged by some chance. Hopefully just a fluke since it only did it the once.
Doug, you may be right. It did sound something like that and it hasn't done it again since.
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We had that happen on a friend's resurrected Yamaha. It released after a little tapping and oil circulation.
No more noise. Tweeked the balance on the carbs slightly and she's running great! I do have one new MOSFET regulator is putting out 18V. Should I be concerned about overcharging?
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