My starter is mad at my battery but I cant get them to talk it out

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My starter is mad at my battery but I cant get them to talk it out

This is a discussion on My starter is mad at my battery but I cant get them to talk it out within the General Mean Streak forums, part of the Kawasaki Mean Streak category; HEY GUYS!!! ... been a really long time since i checked in here. I am super desperate and this is my absolute favorite midnight regret... ...

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Thread: My starter is mad at my battery but I cant get them to talk it out

  1. #1
    Supreme Being kerrdj's Avatar
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    My starter is mad at my battery but I cant get them to talk it out

    HEY GUYS!!! ... been a really long time since i checked in here.

    I am super desperate and this is my absolute favorite midnight regret...

    For about 2 months my starter had been hesitant to get going. It was never a problem, i just gave it a second and a little gas and i had no issues. I think it was about 2 weeks ago that I went to start it and it was turning slowly and i noticed white smoke coming up from what i would assume is under the seat. it looked to me to be under my left leg. The bike started and it hadnt happened again so i did my usual "i'll regret this once i am hours away from home but it is fine now"... Last weekend I was 6 hours away from home camping in the rain and the starter was getting worse each time i started the bike. As I hit the starter with the bike fully loaded with all the camping gear... nothing. I had some rally friends get me pushed fast enough (on a mud road even) to pop the clutch and she started right up. Left her running for 9 hours to get her home (was with a woman that has only had her own bike for a few months and i got a wasp stuck inside my shirt. dont judge my time). I am not going to claim that my brain immediately went to the logical answers. My brain went to seized starter... but thankful Colin is much smarter than me. I have spent this entire week trying to find the problem and I am at a complete loss. I will accept any suggestion.

    Battery Voltage - Good
    Fuses - All good (accessory fuse was blown but it has been replaced with no difference)
    Clutch switch - (didnt actually test it but starter relay doesnt click without the clutch pulled in
    Continuity between posts on the starter relay - Good (tested the low side, high side and made sure they arent crossed)
    Voltage at low side of the relay - Good
    Voltage at high side of the relay - nothing unless the starter button is pressed and then it gets full 12v
    Voltage at the positive post of the starter - 11.8v
    Continuity between starter frame and battery ground - Good

    Here is where everything gets confusing...

    If i "hotwire" the starter and apply 12v from a separate battery, the starter turns perfectly and if i press the starter button on the bike at the same time, it starts up perfectly.

    In my head there are only 4 possible answers -
    1. I tested something wrong and that is the same place that my issue is
    2. The bike is sabotaging itself and holding the motor still so the starter cant turn
    3. The starter is tired of the bike battery... after getting used to the car tire, it now wants the car battery too. It's a dangerous slope of desire
    4. WHAAT THE ACTUAL F..... PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
    Last edited by kerrdj; 06-05-19 at 10:45 AM.
    rcannon409 likes this.
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  2. #2
    Site Elder JustAJ's Avatar
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    When you say battery voltage was "good" can you replace the word good with a numerical value? Voltage cold, bike off, voltage after running, bike off, voltage while running. Following the KISS methodology, if you've jumpered the starter to another source and it worked great then the battery is the likely culprit. A bad abttery can be notorious for making a motorcycle do really weird things, like making the gauges go crazy or stop working while the bike is on, and not working when it was just doing fine 2 seconds ago.

  3. #3
    Supreme Being kerrdj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAJ View Post
    When you say battery voltage was "good" can you replace the word good with a numerical value? Voltage cold, bike off, voltage after running, bike off, voltage while running. Following the KISS methodology, if you've jumpered the starter to another source and it worked great then the battery is the likely culprit. A bad abttery can be notorious for making a motorcycle do really weird things, like making the gauges go crazy or stop working while the bike is on, and not working when it was just doing fine 2 seconds ago.
    Oh yeah, that was the plan. I just wanted to get that all typed out and in front of eyes in case someone said "it's this easy fix". Since I have been working on it all week I didnt have exact numbers but I am spending today starting from scratch with a multimeter that didnt come from harbor freight when i was in high school =X
    '07 SE
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    Titanic - "That boat is LEANIN!"

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    Supreme Being kerrdj's Avatar
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    well i found the reason the starter wont kick... now i just have to find where the issue is.

    If you look at the original post, I had started to edit it to include numbers. I started with what was still hooked up which was voltage to starter pos with starter button pressed... As soon as i unhooked the lead from the starter, i realized that when i took the resistance measurement between the starter case and battery ground, i had trouble getting the lead to stay. Without realizing it, I hooked the lead to bolt on the frame and it wasnt actually the starter case. Instead of taking a measurement I connected the starter case directly to the battery ground and tried to start the bike. It started easier than it has in 3+ years. I checked the connections at the neg post of the battery and didnt see any issues so i will either be tracing resistance backwards until i find the problem, or I'll rig a ground to the starter.

    I really hate the times that i can do the work 100x or i can say it out loud just fine... but when i type it out, i nitpick it better and can solve my own problems lol
    B46 likes this.
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    Site Elder scottmac99's Avatar
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    I had pretty much the same issue (or similar anyway) with my ZR7. The starter would make a 'click' sound (or maybe it was the solenoid) but do nothing. If I put it into gear, then rocked it back and forward a little, that would usually get it to work. I checked everything just as you did. But in the end, I thought I should take the starter motor out and have a look at it. That was a brave decision, because one thing I am not is a mechanic. But it turned out to be easy-peasy. Or it did, once I realised there are 4 bolts holding it in and not 3. The fourth one is kind of hidden at the bottom in an inset near the clutch lever. Once I got the starter motor out, and disassembled, it was blindingly obvious what the problem was: brushes virtually worn away, plus black sh*t everywhere. I tried sourcing a new one on the net, but it was looking like around $AUD600. So I did a bit more searching and was lucky enough to find one at a wreckers way over in Adelaide (I'm in Melbourne). He said he wouldn't post but I asked nicely and said I was happy to pay whatever the freight cost was. So I ended up paying $AUD75. Fitter the replacement into the housing, tightened everything up, and it started perfectly.
    2000 ZR-7 (red, faster)
    2002 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (black, definitely slower) ... yep still got 'em both


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  7. #6
    Site Elder JustAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerrdj View Post
    I really hate the times that i can do the work 100x or i can say it out loud just fine... but when i type it out, i nitpick it better and can solve my own problems lol
    This is because most of us can't type anywhere near as fast as we can think, so we have to slow down and make sure we are listing everything out, and that usually triggers the "AHA!" moment. BTDT never got the t-shirt though.

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