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Discussion Starter #1
New to riding this season, looking for some insight about what may be going on. I have a few theories but given my lack of experience hoping to get some other thoughts. My bike won't start. I've checked the battery, no issue there, I've checked the fuses, nothing I could tell there. A friend helped me get it running with a temporary solution, it seems like the starter is sticking. A couple taps with a hammer on the starter got it to turn over. That worked for a couple weeks, but is no longer doing the trick. I'm not sure if the starter needs to be replaced entirely or if it can be taken apart, cleaned and lubed. I'm also not 100% sure that is the cause/only cause of the issues starting. When I try to start it gives a single click. Just looking for some ideas of what it may be and the best way to resolve. Also I'm up in northern NH, any locals have suggestions of a good shop to bring it to if the work is beyond my skill level?

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New to riding this season, looking for some insight about what may be going on. I have a few theories but given my lack of experience hoping to get some other thoughts. My bike won't start. I've checked the battery, no issue there, I've checked the fuses, nothing I could tell there. A friend helped me get it running with a temporary solution, it seems like the starter is sticking. A couple taps with a hammer on the starter got it to turn over. That worked for a couple weeks, but is no longer doing the trick. I'm not sure if the starter needs to be replaced entirely or if it can be taken apart, cleaned and lubed. I'm also not 100% sure that is the cause/only cause of the issues starting. When I try to start it gives a single click. Just looking for some ideas of what it may be and the best way to resolve. Also I'm up in northern NH, any locals have suggestions of a good shop to bring it to if the work is beyond my skill level?

thank all
Sounds like you need to rebuild the starter. I haven't done it, but others here have, @Phreon did recently if memory serves me correctly (and it doesn't always).

However, you need to make absolutely sure it's not the battery. Go get it tested.


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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like you need to rebuild the starter. I haven't done it, but others here have, @Phreon did recently if memory serves me correctly (and it doesn't always).

However, you need to make absolutely sure it's not the battery. Go get it tested.


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I put it on a charger overnight, showed that it charged completely. Is that not sufficient?

You're thinking that taking the starter out entirely, taking it apart, and cleaning it will fix the problem? I'm sure cost-wise but effectiveness, this will be as good as replacing?
 

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I put it on a charger overnight, showed that it charged completely. Is that not sufficient?

You're thinking that taking the starter out entirely, taking it apart, and cleaning it will fix the problem? I'm sure cost-wise but effectiveness, this will be as good as replacing?
No, that's not sufficient. You'll need to take it to an auto parts store and have them do a load test. A battery can check out good, show the right voltage when charging, then crap out under load. Start with the easiest thing first. I probably preemptively jumped to rebuilding the starter. Get your battery tested, and we can go from there.

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Discussion Starter #6
And no, if there's an issue with the starter, taking it out and cleaning it won't do much of anything. You don't have to replace the whole thing, you just rebuild it with new internal parts.

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I'll bring it in for a load test, then your next thought is replacing the starter?
 

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I'll bring it in for a load test, then your next thought is replacing the starter?
No, not replacing it, rebuilding it. I doubt you could find a starter very easy, but you can find the internal parts to replace any worn parts to make it like new. But like I said, start with the battery, and we can check the simple stuff before we go jumping to rebuilding starter.

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No, not replacing it, rebuilding it. I doubt you could find a starter very easy, but you can find the internal parts to replace any worn parts to make it like new. But like I said, start with the battery, and we can check the simple stuff before we go jumping to rebuilding starter.

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Sounds good, I'll update once i get the battery on a load tester.
 

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See if the battery passes a load test, but if you hear the starter relay, see no voltage drop and hear the starter do nothing, it might have worn brushes. The fact that it started after tapping with a hammer means there's a HIGH chance you have worn brushes. My starter acted exactly the same way - the brushes were toast.

Unless you want to spend several hundred dollars, just rebuild the starter. The replacement brushes are about $40 from Partzilla plus about 10 more for replacement O-rings and the positive terminal cap. Rebuilding the starter really isn't hard; you just have to pay close attention to the order various washers and shims come apart (pictures are great). It's mainly just disassembling the starter, cleaning out the mess in the motor, replacing the brushes, relubing the gear drive, replacing the O-rings and reassembly. It's quite unlikely any of the bearings need replacement.

Bear in mind, however, that Kawasaki in all their wisdom, put fasteners in insanely stupid places. To get the starter out, You need to take the left footpeg off, disconnect the forward shifter linkage, remove the shifter, remove the generator cover (tie it out of the way so it doesn't hang by the wires) remove the flywheel, remove the chain guide - this will allow you to release the starter chain drive and get the starter out.

In the process, you need to scrape the old generator cover gasket off and replace it with a new one when you bolt the cover back on or the engine will leak oil.
 

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Just before you open up that case -- has anybody bypassed the starter relay to see if it's the relay, not the starter? It's an awfully easy test, even though it would seem to have low odds of being the actual problem....
 

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Just before you open up that case -- has anybody bypassed the starter relay to see if it's the relay, not the starter? It's an awfully easy test, even though it would seem to have low odds of being the actual problem....
Not yet trainer, waiting on results from battery load test before doing any further troubleshooting.

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Just before you open up that case -- has anybody bypassed the starter relay to see if it's the relay, not the starter? It's an awfully easy test, even though it would seem to have low odds of being the actual problem....
If the problem was the relay, smacking the starter with a hammer wouldn't get the starter to run.
 

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From the first post -
"I'm also not 100% sure that is the cause/only cause of the issues starting. When I try to start it gives a single click."

I'd guess battery is shot.

But post back load testing results and we'll lead you further on in testing for problem, BEFORE you remove starter!
 

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From the first post -
"I'm also not 100% sure that is the cause/only cause of the issues starting. When I try to start it gives a single click."

I'd guess battery is shot.

But post back load testing results and we'll lead you further on in testing for problem, BEFORE you remove starter!
If it was the battery, it wouldn't start no matter how much he tapped the starter. And typically it's pretty obvious with dim lights, a clattering relay...
 

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I put it on a charger overnight, showed that it charged completely. Is that not sufficient?

You're thinking that taking the starter out entirely, taking it apart, and cleaning it will fix the problem? I'm sure cost-wise but effectiveness, this will be as good as replacing?
Keep it on a battery tender, bike batteries can a pain.

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Discussion Starter #17
Battery showed 12.23 V. But I haven't had it on a tender for a bit. I tried that before, also tried a conventional battery charger. Battery isn't the issue.
 

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Did it pass a load test?
+1 on that.

A no-load voltage reading of the battery voltage means very little. Hook up eight AAA batteries in series and you'll have about 12 volts -- but that's not going to come anywhere close to starting your motorcycle. Those AAA's can't deliver the current needed. (Power = volts x current. You can have 1,000,000 volts but if there's 0 amps, you still have 0 power.)

Load test: Best performed with the aid of a trusty assistant. Connect voltmeter to battery, read value. Key on, read voltmeter. If voltage drops big time at this stage, problem isn't in starter. Have trusty assistant press starter switch, read voltmeter. If the voltage drops below about 10 volts with starter switch pressed, battery is kaput. If it doesn't drop at all, there's no electrical circuit through the starter.

Understand, you're probably right -- it's probably the starter. We're just trying to help you eliminate the easy-and-cheap-to-diagnose-and-fix stuff before you get to the hard-and-expensive stuff.
 

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+1 on that.

A no-load voltage reading of the battery voltage means very little. Hook up eight AAA batteries in series and you'll have about 12 volts -- but that's not going to come anywhere close to starting your motorcycle. Those AAA's can't deliver the current needed. (Power = volts x current. You can have 1,000,000 volts but if there's 0 amps, you still have 0 power.)

Load test: Best performed with the aid of a trusty assistant. Connect voltmeter to battery, read value. Key on, read voltmeter. If voltage drops big time at this stage, problem isn't in starter. Have trusty assistant press starter switch, read voltmeter. If the voltage drops below about 10 volts with starter switch pressed, battery is kaput. If it doesn't drop at all, there's no electrical circuit through the starter.

Understand, you're probably right -- it's probably the starter. We're just trying to help you eliminate the easy-and-cheap-to-diagnose-and-fix stuff before you get to the hard-and-expensive stuff.
Ahh, it seems I did a standing voltage test. So redo, but just click the electric starter to see if that changes the voltage a lot? I will do the load test when I got home from work tonight.

And I appreciate that, I'd love if it ended up being a dumb easy fix.
 
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