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Discussion Starter #1
1995 Vulcan 88(1500).
This bike has almost been completely overhauled at this point.
In the process the battery is pretty much shot. I keep in on a battery tender Jr. It’ll give me two or so good cranks then die. But I haven’t purchased a new battery because the bike hasn’t been roadworthy just yet. However about a week ago I finally got the bike back together. Started it. Just fine. Took it on a ten mile road trip. The old air cutoff diaphragm ruptured and leaked fluid and the clip holding the coolant hose to the radiator rattled apart. Both replaced. Took about three days. Neither of these problems should have effected starting or running the bike.
When I went to start the bike (assuming that it should start and run well at this point. I turned it on. Pressed ignition and got One click from the solenoid. This happened over and over again. Nothing more than ONE click.
I put the bike in gear and moved it forward. It did move. Still just one click from the solenoid afterwards. Finally I hit the posts with a screw driver. The starter turned. I didn’t do this any longer than to hear the starter engage and turn as it should. But still only one click from the solenoid when using the ignition switch.
So I order a new one on eBay. Installed it.
Pressed ignition switch and the starter ran away. By that I mean it kept turning. The starter wouldn’t disengage. I hit the killswitch. It kept turning. I turned the bike off and pulled the key. Still turning.
I quickly pulled spark plug wires to avoid it starting with the starter still engaged.
I then disconnected the positive battery terminal (easiest to get to in a hurry). Starter stopped.
I reconnected battery, nothing. Turned bike on. Hit the ignition and boom. Starter started going again and didn’t stop, not after hitting kill switch, taking out key again. But finally stopped when battery disconnected again.

Did I receive a shotty starter solenoid? Or do I have a short, crossed wires? Where do I start on this one? I’ll order a new solenoid tonight if that’s the case. But only if I believe that’s the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Unfortunately I no longer have the old one. But I contacted the company. They are shipping a new one. I suppose I’ll know in 3-5 business days if it’s a faulty starter or something else.
 

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Same company sent me a replacement starter solenoid.
I placed it and pressed the ignition. It turned over properly. But didn’t start immediately. Fuel was off and bikes been sitting for a week or two.
When it turned over properly and ceased to start when I took my hand off the ignition.
I turned fuel on and pulled the choke attempting to start. After about 4 rotations I released the ignition and it took off again. Starter was still cranking until I pulled the battery again.
Does the company just sell bad starter solenoids? This is now the second from them. The third one that doesn’t work!
Is it maybe not the solenoid?
 

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So lesson learned, dont throw out the old parts UNTIL you know the new ones are good.

You could also bypass the solenoid.
By that I mean turn the key on, dont use the starter button, set choke if needed, and using a screwdriver or two jumper the two bigger terminals on the solenoid. Dont worry you wont get shocked.
This should keep the solenoid out of the picture since you are not using it to start the engine.
IF the starter acts correctly you will know the solenoid is crap.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’ve done that with all three starters. The starter functioned as it should through all three.
But for three starter solenoids to malfunction coincidentally? There has to be something else. I also bypassed the ignition switch and the kill switch separately. And nothing has changed.
It has to be the solenoid. But three bad ones in a row?
 

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I would think a better way of testing the solenoid would be to disconnect the starter, attach a positive lead from a VOM to the starter lead, attach the negative lead of the VOM to the battery negative, turn on ignition switch, press start button and release. All the while monitoring the VOM for results. If the VOM shows battery voltage after the start button has been released, take the positive VOM lead and probe the yellow w/red wire at the solenoid for voltage. If voltage is found there with button released, advise and we can go further. If solenoid functions properly several times with starter disconnected. Starter is probably going to need rebuilt as it is drawing too much start current causing solenoid terminals to arc weld together.
 

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Are you sure the replacement solenoids you purchased are exactly the same as the original? Replacement solenoids for my mid 80's Hondas are widely available but many of them (particularly those on eBay), although they look identical, have the main terminals reversed.

Here a perfect example of one that's sold on eBay as fitting a CB1100F. It will work but the main power terminals are reversed (Note the "B"attery and "M"otor markings) compared to an OEM solenoid and since the main power connection for all electrics splits off these terminals .....

 

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This I dont understand -
"I’ve done that with all three starters. The starter functioned as it should through all three."

Do you mean that you jumpered the solenoid posts and the starter functioned like it should???

If this is not the case follow post #8.

This is just a relay and as in post #8 the starter could be drawing a LOT of current damaging the solenoids.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, that is correct. I have jumped the solenoid posts and starter functions appropriately. Yesterday I was even able to start the bike and allow it to run for a few minutes successfully by jumping the posts on the solenoid.

As for the solenoid posts being reversed, the picture you uploaded is almost identical to the one my bike uses. To include the “b” and “m” designation. Which I hooked up properly, or so I believe.
The solenoid will fit into the sleeve with the wire connector on either side. But the battery wire and the motor wire will not reach across it to the other side. The 4 prong wire connector will not stretch to fit across the solenoid if I turn it around to switch the battery and the motor side. So reversing the wires would be complicated if that is what you’re suggesting.

I will follow the VOM instructions tonight and see what I can deduct about that as well.
 

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I did quite a bit more searching on this issue...solved.
This is info for future reference.
After falling into some Ducati forums. And even a mustang and year one forum. I found out that lack of battery power actually causes an arc within the solenoids. The magnet doesn’t fully engage, but power physically jumps/arcs the gap which cannot be disengaged unless power is cut (disconnecting the battery). If left to long it can actually spot weld and ruin the solenoid completely.
My battery had enough power to fake it. But not enough to make it. Causing this issue.
Purchased and charged a new battery. Problem has been resolved.
 
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