Starter problems - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Pasadena, Texas
Posts: 36
Starter problems

I have almost 172,000 miles on my 2008 Vulcan 900, and i am getting an intermittant problem w/my starter. About every 20 times I try to start it, I push the starter button and only hear the selanoid engage but starter does not turn over. I then have to push my bike to try and get it started, but after the first push of my bike and engaging the clutch/1st gear the starter button will work and start the bike. I am told if the starter selanoid is bad, it's bad everytime not just periodically. Yet I am told the starter may have a bad spot, and just won't engage when on the "bad spot". Until trying to push start the bike moves it off it's bad spot, maybe. I believe I will just replace my starter before I am left stranded, but don't know if I want to go OEM for $400 or rebuilt for $175(found on ebay). I'm thinking go OEM so if the new one has a problem it's under an easy warranty vs mailing back a bad one rebuilt and having to deal with more labor costs. I guess I am looking for verification my starter possibly has a bad spot and, whether I should go w/OEM vs a rebuilt starter
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 01:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: West Virginia
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First off - that's a crap ton of miles for an '08. Well done. Second, I've had car starters get a bad spot and freeze up. You can usually get the starter to turn by giving it a solid but not too hard whack on the side or end if that's the case. It will continue to intermittently freeze up unless you replace the starter if that's the case, though. It could be something else, however, and I'm not much of a mechanic. You could see if there's somebody local to you with a good reputation who rebuilds starters and have yours rebuilt.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Pasadena, Texas
Posts: 36
at first I thought it was the starter solenoid, but I can hear it engage(click) when I hit the starter button. Being told by Kawasaki thee are only a few areas to check with a starter problem. First the connections, then the solenoid, then the starter. I would just get mine rebuilt, since they sell a rebuid kit on ebay, but I use my bike so much I feel an OEM one would remove alot of doubt about it not working later.
on a side note, I have a feeling I am due for my 4th stator. Starting to hear the "whirring" on the left a little more than usual. I also lost something in the rear mount of my headlamp. It shakes up and down alot now, and I can't seem to get the nut/bolt tighter to stop it.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Tampa Fl.
Posts: 86
The brushes may be worn out.Take it to a local starter/alt rebuilder shop and you should get it fixed for a lot less than the $175 on ebay. I was in that trade for 20 years. There is not much to it.Bushings,brushes,armuter.The feilds are magnates.The drive gear is the costly part if you need one.But in all should be less than $100 to fix.Hope this helps.I am retired no and just spend it rideing my 900 LT.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 04:02 PM
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wow 172,000 miles? for real... not a typo? even in a fairly warm state like Texas that is a crap load of miles in a short period
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 04:17 PM
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1. Kawasaki starters give little to no problems.
2. If it actually does have a dead spot, rebuild kit will not help.
3. Troubleshoot the problem in order to find and repair only the fault that is present.

If you need help to troubleshoot, post back.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Pasadena, Texas
Posts: 36
Not clear on troubleshooting the problem, as I am not a mechanic. I am just a driver.(lol) Nope, not a typo, I have over 172,000 mi on her now and growing. Kawasaki took notice of my mileage and sent some corporate guys down to check out my bike at the 157,000 mi mark. My starter problem began when I started my bike, after several prior starts during a start and stop day. Bike was warm already. When I started her, I heard a loud pop, kinda like a fire cracker, as the starter kicked in when I pushed the start button. The bike started, but I noticed the odd pop. Turned her off, and she started back up no problem. But now, periodically when I go to start her and I push the button I only hear the selonoid click when engaging but nothing else happens. So, I try to push start her. After the first push, I can push the starter button and she fires right up. I start and stop by engine about 10 times a day during my use. I can go several days with no trouble. Sometimes she won't turn over first thing in the morning. After a few pushes on the button on those instances without moving the bike, she will start up. So far this is very intermittant. Since I drive my bike daily, it's not practical for me to have the starter removed and rebuilt as I can't have the bike down as long as it would take to rebuild. It would be easier to just buy a starter and replace it and only be down a few hours.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 11:33 AM
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That is an amazing amount of miles for 5 years! I salute you sir!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 01:22 PM
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You mentioned a popping sound. That can sometimes be a bad/dirty/loose battery connection. Check connections at both the battery and the far end of each battery cable for being clean and tight.
To go any farther, you will need a meter and know how to use it. No meter and/or knowledge? We can help you there too!
Do not spend any money until the problem has been nailed down if this is something that you want to tackle yourself.

Post back.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 02:39 PM
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Location: Salem, Or
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First is as Sfair suggested, check the battery connections and battery condition. The next two problems most often causing this is the safety switch at clutch and or the kick stand ! The rubber wears allowing grime to contaminate the switches and they do wear due to the voltage spikes with use. I have found that sometimes if I hold starter and move clutch a little it kicks in and starts.

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