1150 starter randomly spinning w/o engaging - The fix

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by MassiveLee, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    So I had this intermitent problem for the past week. 2 out of 3 times, the solenoid would not engage the gear when cranking the starter. Starter spins but not engaging the flywheel. I knew it was something simple. All it took is a relaxed two hours of a sunny afternoon, a few basic tools, some solvant and lub. After the clean-up, the starter spins smoother, faster and engages all the time.

    I didn't disconnect the positve wire at the battery as it would have required to pop the filled GSA gaz tank. I simply put some duct tape at the connector after unbolting from the starter. Attention must be given to cleaning up old gunk from the solenoid, reduction gears and the sprocket. Just be carefull with the dowel pin when you reinstall the starter. You want the starter to be perfectly seated.

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    #1
  2. estlerd

    estlerd TXRider

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    Nice writeup. What lube did you use during re assembly?:1drink
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  3. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    I used diff oil in the reduction gear because it is lighter than grease and will not rob power. While I was there, I also used the same diff oil in the splined shaft at the engaging gear. What diff oil? Whatever I had on my shelves. ;-) And you are free to use grease if you prefer. If you live in a warm part of the country, grease will stay thin because of the heat. if you live up North and rride the bike near freezing temps, then maybe oil is better. ;-)

    If you have an air compressor, I suggest you get rid of some of that clutch dust in the bellhousing. Just don't breath it. I also used compressed air to get rid of solvent/WD40 after I degreased the gears. Anyway, all the process is common sense.

    BTW The starter now makes a nice sound when it engages. Not the usual clunky one. Maintaining the starter is easy and something you can tackle when you are bored. Tools are very basic. Torx sockets. A swivel extension. A medium sized ratchet. A rubber mallet to help separate the strater's halves (it has two aluminum rivets). That's about it.:clap

    Here's the list of bolts. Always use the proper size of Torx bit.

    2x 8mm bolts w/ torx head on the starter. They attach the starter unto the bellhousing. You will have to gently pull and wiggle the starter because the dowell pin is a tight fit.

    3x small torx between the aluminum housing and the motor. Plus a tiny one into the solenoid.

    Once the aluminum cover is off, look for 2 x tiny torx into the solenoid.

    Break the two tiny alu rivets.
    #3
  4. SeaBass

    SeaBass Long timer

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    Thanks Lee
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  5. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Lee,

    My only comment is the use of duct tape....I'm not sure but I believe that stuff is electrically conductive?

    :dunno
    #5
  6. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    In my case,the duct tape proved to be a proper insulator. and just to make sure, I applied two layers, then tucked the lead away. red or yellow duct tape works too ;-) I racing, techs want the positive pole to be protected, and duct tape is an approved way to comply.
    #6
  7. cele0001

    cele0001 Instigator

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    From my understanding of starters, in order for the starter motor to begin spinning, solenoid must kick out (or pull in , depending which side you are looking from). The electrical connection for the starter motor is triggered by the solenoid . When the solenoid is pulled in, it kicks out the gear, and at the same time closes the contact and the motor spins. Starter spinning without solenoid kicking out should not be possible (electrically), under normal circumstances
    #7
  8. cantupshift

    cantupshift Adventurer

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    I had the same problem with R1100R, 82K on the clock.

    I cleaned the Solenoid and relubed it with lithium grease, regreased the planetary gears, and did a rebuilt from EME (great folks by the way). One oddity I found was the DE bushing was too small. I contacted EME they found one for me and shipped it no charge.

    Anyways, still had the intermittent issue where it wouldn't engage, I'd hear the starter spinning in air. Other times it would turn the engine, and then I'd hear spinning as if the solenoid disengaged. It still did this even after I cleaned it.

    I opted for a new solenoid, instead of replacing the whole starter, and I still get the same symptom from time to time.

    Not quite sure where to look next, I don't want to go ahead and replace the whole starter, anyone seen anything like this?
    #8
  9. GS Addict

    GS Addict Pepperfool

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    A short chunk of rubber hose (2") pushed over the lug is more rugged than duct tape as an insulator.
    #9
  10. GS Addict

    GS Addict Pepperfool

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    At higher voltages yes, at 12v it is not an issue but it lacks thickness.
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  11. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    The splined shaft under the long sprocket might be full of clutch dust and not allowing free movement of the sprocket. Also, maybe the Lithium grease has hardened over time, keeping the plunger in the solenoid to move freely.

    The starter is often forgotten within the maintenance process. It took me 2 hours the first time I did the job, and probably it will take 30 minutes the second time around. I think it is time well spent (especially in winter with the bike idling for 3 or 4 months) to look at the starter yearly.
    #11
  12. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Which is why I used to layers of duct tape. Which was overkill ;-)
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  13. Mr.JAJA

    Mr.JAJA Long timer

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    As long you are not use the AC Aluminum tape, every plastic tape, masking tape,Rubber ore plastic hose will work Common sens Insulate the + Contact.

    :clap:clap:clap
    #13
  14. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Somebody correct me here if I'm wrong.

    The wire to the solenoid terminal is hot 100% of the time. You disconnect a live wire to insulate it, because it is too much work to disconnect the negative terminal at the battery? :hmmmmm

    If you should happen to touch ground, you will quickly wish you had taken more time. The Arabs have a wonderful expression for this type of action....

    "It is like licking honey from the edge of a razor"
    #14
  15. roger 04 rt

    roger 04 rt Long timer

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    Although I've removed the wire hot and used a rubber band to hold it back out of the way (yes, those rubber band that break because they've been sitting in the garage for a year), your point is very well made. Lately I've been removing the battery ground first.

    Massive,
    Nice set of repair photos, well done.
    #15
  16. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    On the 1150GS, the battery is under the fuel tank. Fuel tank holds 30 litre of fuel or roughly 55lbs. Puttig a piece of tape on the wire near the starter is easier.
    #16
  17. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Appreciate the photos. Had the dreaded starter squeal so last winter i did a slight clean without the total disassembly. Solved the problem but your job looks like a better way of doing things.
    #17
  18. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    You're not wrong and that wire to the solenoid is capable of carrying lots of current...enough to weld with.

    But, in defense of Lee, he seems to understand the danger and took precautions and no battery or motorcycle was harmed in the making of the post.

    But, Bill, I agree with you....we would have disconnected the negative (-) at the battery.

    Now, about that oil...does anybody change viscosity from winter to summer?
    #18
  19. cele0001

    cele0001 Instigator

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    First I would like to say that I also disconnect the wire at the starter, but saying this is easier after mentioning that there is 55lbs of flammable liquid right above possible source of (big) sparks will not bode well for the safety crowd.
    #19
  20. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    It is easier. It is safe. And it is no risk. People who doubt their mechanical abilities should keep away from wrenching ;-)
    #20