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1983 GL1100 Starter not enough torque

130 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  OnMoto2
I recently got an 83 gl1100 and it runs fine. The problem is the starter. I have read through all of the posts about fixing it here and on other forums but just haven't had any luck.

The issue is that the starter just doesn't have enough torque to spin over the engine for some reason. It is drawing about 70A from the battery, and supposedly it should be around 100A. I have tried it with the original starter and a new one I just purchased, same result with both. I've attempted to improve the connections inside of the motors but that hasn't helped at all. I have also replaced the solenoid.

I have checked all of the wiring and ground points, everything is below 0.4Ohm. I have also tried just going straight to the starter with the same result. The only thing I haven't checked is the resistance on the motor windings. Does anyone know what those are supposed to be? The battery is plenty good, drawing 60-70A and it drops from 13V to 12.5V. (It's a Li-ion battery, same result with a lead battery)

I have tried to improve the grounding on both motors by bending the little tabs on the brush holder disc so that it for sure is contacting the rear cap of the starter, but that hasn't helped. Commutator on both has been cleaned thoroughly and there isn't any visible damage to the windings. Bearings are also still in good shape.

Have I just gotten unlucky with both of these starters, or is it possible there is something else stopping it from turning the engine over? I'm not sure if 70A is adequate or if it really needs the 100A+ to get it to spin. They currently just barely turn it over, maybe a couple of rotations and then it stalls. It spins fine with the plugs out, although maybe a bit slower than I'd expect. If it really does need the 100A, can you think of anything else that may be causing the extra resistance to not allow that extra 30A to go through?
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I have no idea what those starters normally draw. Does it get hot? Do a voltage drop test. Connect a meter to the battery + and the starter terminal and see if there is a voltage when cranking, it should be very low. You can also test the ground circuit the same way, meter to the starter housing and battery -.
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What is the voltage when cranking? Measured at the battery as well as at the starter.
Starter windings will be way under 1 ohm and require a four wire milli-ohmmeter. A better test is to use a growler.
.4 ohms on a starter circuit is way too high. I'll chalk that up to an inaccurate meter. If you really had .4 ohms the most current you would get is 30 amps.
Have you load tested the battery? Can it output 150 amps or better with at least 11 volts?
Are those OEM Honda starters or aftermarket? Many have complained about aftermarket starters.
If it spins fine without the plugs, sounds like nothing is binding, but you can confirm by turning it over by hand.
I had a 1983 1100 Aspencade that was doing the exact same thing. Had starter, opened up, cleaned out and polished slip rings. Worked good for awhile, then went back to hard starting again. Seems liike I later learned after selling the bike problem could have been bearings the armature rides on were worn, allowing armature to drag on field windings. Replace armature bearings then. I think will be your cure. (If they are still available).
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Alright, I've managed to fix the issue. Turns out it's because I've been using jumper cables this whole time. I guess that was increasing the resistance enough to not give the starter full amps. I got my new battery installed today and it started really nicely, almost spins too fast, frankly. It was definitely something to do with the cables and not the other two batteries I tried. Maybe just the small contact points on the connectors? Oh well, at least it's starting now, thanks for the help.
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