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What is this starter sound?

3469 Views 46 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  JeffOYB
I have a 1979 custom 12k miles runs great. Its cold now. I've been getting weird sound from my starter. The sound comes and goes. It usually comes on after like a minute of trying to start. A hard start. I got the bike this fall. Never made the sound. Once it got below freezing and I didn't ride it for weeks at a time, it would make the sound during the longer times it took to start. Once it started, the sound would go away on warm restarts. But when cold some machinery definitely changes, and there's a very different bad sort of sound after a minute or so.

[REVISING TO ADD INFO ON THE HARD START: Whew, it took like 5 minutes of cranking to start this last time. I vary all the options. Is there a standard way to hard start in the cold? I try choke out, choke in, throttled a bit, twisted a couple times, no throttle. Sometimes it starts turning over with starter still engaged then it quits when I release the button. In the warm weather it often only takes like a 1/2 second to start -- touch the button, bang. So nice.]

Can you tell me what's happening with this sound? Here's a link to the Youtube....

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Mine also does that, and has done it for years, and not every time I expect it to.... It's not the starter motor, and it only does it when it's being turned over for more than a few seconds on a cold start or a 'wake up' after a layover, and obviously not when hot, same as yours. I can only assume it's the starter clutch rollers slipping, but I've not yet taken the motor apart to investigate.
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What I hear sounds more like running the starter with the spark plugs out and I can't imagine what could make it sound like that with the plugs in.
It certainly doesn't sound like a bad starter clutch and nothing like what mine sounds like when I start it after it has been sitting for a few days in the winter.
The plugs are most definitely in! It always starts even if it makes that noise or not.
The odd sound does not start immediately with the starter motor turning which is interesting. It almost sounds like you're holding the throttle open. Any chance this could be a sticking valve? The loss of compression would make it hard to start.

I take this back ^ It sounds different on my laptop, it does sound more like an electrical motor sound.
In the past, I took the starter motor out and bench tested it - all it did was just whirr without any screeching sounds at all, even when left running for quite a good many seconds. Admittedly it wasn't under any load at all, but when it is refitted, it doesn't do it every cold and/or wake-up start up after a long idle period. I will replace the starter clutch components when I have the motor out to replace the camchain, when that is required, but whether that will cure it, it will just have to wait until then...
It's not my video...
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