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1982 CX500C
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello new member here and would appreciate any assistance. I live in Guelph Ontario Canada which is about 45 ride from Toronto. My 82 CX500 Custom was my daily driver all season and after sitting for just a couple of weeks won’t crank.
I tried a few known good batteries and even load tested them but wouldn’t crank. Solenoid just clicks. I have full voltage >12V through solenoid (power side). I pulled the starter and cleaned everything, replaced brushes and performed ground mod. On the bench it spins with power but in the bike it doesn’t. I can spin the engine over easily with a small rachet on the crank bolt.
The engine isn’t seized and plugs are out. Could I have a weak starter? I can’t seem to locate a new one online. Any suggestions?
 

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Try taking a jumper lead straight from the positive terminal of the battery direct to the power input terminal on the starter motor to bypass everything else and see if it cranks.

If not, use the jumper to go from the aluminium rear body of the starter back to the battery negative terminal and attempt to start with the button to rule in or out a grounding fault.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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I don't have anything to add until you report back after those tests but welcome to the forum from someone an hour or so the other side of the big smoke near the water.
Please add your location and your bike's model and model year to your profile so that you don't have to remember to tell us every time and we don't have to keep asking when you forget (see Forum Settings link in my signature).

And welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and may or may not have had all of the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. If you haven't already done it, check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). If your bike still has the original rubber brake line (should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes = 5 or 6 years) I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).
 

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You might want to check the cables from the battery to the solenoid and solenoid to the starter, it's not unknown for them to go bad after a long time on the bike due to internal corrosion. CXPHREAK's advise will check this issue, just make sure you use a jumper that's the same size or larger (lower AWG number). I'd also check the ground wire from the battery to the frame. Also don't forget the battery terminals as well.

I've had issues with DC motors before with the commutator being dirty and not getting full current to the windings. Check to make sure that the slots between the copper bars of the commutator aren't full of carbon or the bars are worn down to the insulation. You can use a firm plastic brush or a plastic knife to clean out the carbon of the slots. If you have access to an Amp Clamp (clamp on ammeter) you can check to see if you're getting full current through the motor. Power is Volts times Amps so even if you have Voltage the motor won't turn if there isn't enough Amperage.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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The most common problem seems to be an insufficient ground connection. I'll be very surprised if that's not the culprit.
 
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Testing on a bench for operation is in no way an indication that it will perform well when installed in a bike with the extra load involved.
I was working on a starter motor the other day and had my first ever failure of a component - the armature.
After servicing and doing the ground mod i tested it hooked up to a battery, although the motor spun over at what seemed like an OK speed i knew from previous experience that it was not operating at its full potential.
I swapped over the armature from a spare motor and full performance and speed was resumed.
There were no visual indications that the armature was faulty.
 

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1982 CX500C
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions and warm welcome. I was able to get out the garage this morning and perform some of these tests/inspections.
I tried both putting battery positive to the starter lug without success and also tried applying a ground to the case. Same result. I did do the ground mod and I have a 0 resistance connection from the starter case to frame and also to the ground cable. I also measured 0 ohms resistance from battery positive cable all the way to the starter connection.
I did take the starter apart again and checked my work. A few things were observed. The armature did have a bit of rust so I cleaned that but I saw a separation in the armature laminations. I will try to attach pics. I also saw some what appears to be burn marks close to the commutator.
The motor turns free and does spin when out of the bike. I am thinking I need a new armature. Any help is appreciated.
 

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1982 CX500C
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was hoping someone close was going to spare armature or spare starter. Or maybe some advice on an after market one that could be modified to fit.
 

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I nned to check what spares I have. May be a couple of days.
 
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I had a look in the garage today. I have a starter that I can give you. I do need to test it though. I'll let you know how that goes.
 

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The starter turns OK. I'm fitting it to my bike to see if it will start the engine. Got too cold so haven't quite got the starter installed. Perhaps I'll have it in tomorrow.
 

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2021 Benelli Leoncino - 2017 CSC RX3 - 2017 SSR Buccaneer 250i - 1979 CX650 Street Scrambler
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Chances are good the problem is the starter solenoid, not the starter.

Also, what's this "ground mod" for the starter?

Charles.
 

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1982 CX500C
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The ground mod I was referring to was adding the short jumper wire from the negative brush rigging to the starter motor casing. Just to make sure a ground connection is good since the plate seems to be a common failure point for the negative side.
Are you saying the problem with the starter solenoid on your bike testing your spare starter or you think that’s my issue?
Thanks
 

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2021 Benelli Leoncino - 2017 CSC RX3 - 2017 SSR Buccaneer 250i - 1979 CX650 Street Scrambler
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I think that's your issue. I don't have any issues. Well, okay I have plenty of issues, but some girl will have to deal with them in the future.

Charles.
 

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1982 CX500C
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
When I remove the solenoid from the circuit and put battery power and ground to the starter it does the same thing as when the solenoid is actuated. Therefore I don’t think the solenoid is part of my issue. At least that’s where my troubleshooting has take me…
 
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