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Starter spins on bench but won’t crank bike

2050 Views 25 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Tim.catherwood
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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Thanks for the quick reply. I will try those two ideas this weekend and report back!
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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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.
That is very much appreciated
Thanks so much for checking!
Ok great. I really appreciate the efforts and the update.
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?
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…
Engine spins over quite easily from crank bolt with plugs out. I tried a couple of batteries to be sure and also load tested them and they tested acceptable.
I think I need a new starter armature or a new starter but they are hard to find and not supported in the aftermarket
Oh that is terrific news!! I can’t ask you to take time out of your busy life and meet me. What do I owe you for it?
You have no idea how much I appreciate that. My 2022 riding season was looking to be in jeopardy! How can I get in touch with you to lock down a place and time? You are in London area?
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