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My '81 wing had been sitting in the garage since March and this weekend I tried to start her up. She was definitely having hard time, coughed up a few and smoke came out of the exhaust couple of times. So I kept cranking her (stupid, stupid) until starter motor gave up -- I tried too hard. Starter motor at this point was very hot to the touch.

I recharged the battery over night and this morning starter motor won't crank the engine. Actually, it won't spin at all. Basically, I hear starter solenoid click when i press start button and then there's loud grinding noise coming out of the starter motor and i can feel starter casing shaking a bit. I removed the starter motor off the bike, and connected it on bench to a 12v battery and it spins just fine. I also connected it through the solenid (without putting it back into the engine) and it spins ok which means my start switch/solenoid/battery connection is ok. Then i put it back into the engine and same story: grinding noise coming out of the starter motor.

So I am puzzled... is it still possible that starter motor is not ok although it spins just fine when not installed in the engine? Brushes maybe? Or am I looking into something more serious, e.g. starter clutch is broken?
 

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I'm not sure if this will help, the grinding noise is NOT good. My starter worked fine for about 15 revolutions when i got mine back together and tried starting it. After that it was good for 3 and then the battery was tapped. I took it out, cleaned it up and re-greased it and it works great. The stock grease had basically turned into tar and was bogging it terribly. These starters are amizingly simple, if theres something broken in there it will be obvious.
 

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Welcome to the forum mikula! :waving:

My starter did something similar a couple of months ago. It started right up in the morning when I went to work and ran greatthe35 milesto work, showing a good charge. When I got to work I parked it by the shop door and made a 5 minuteadjustment to my highway pegs, then went to start it and move it to where I normally park it. I hit the starter and I heard a "click" and that was it! I got a couple of very low groans out of it on a couple of tries. I made some voltage checks and couldn't find any obvious problems. I tried jumping straight from the battery to the starter and still no joy. I ended up push starting it (not easy to do on a dirt parking lot) and parked it where I usually do. When I tried to start it 13 hours later at the end of the day, I was hoping the starter was just hot and had cooled down, but I still had the same problem. Push started it again and rode home. Charging system looked good thew whole way.

The next morning I tried again with the same results. I measured voltage across the starter relay and only showed a 1 volt drop,which should be good. I tried jumping direct to the starter again from another freshly charged battery but still no joy. So like you I pulled the starter (I had rebuilt it about a year ago and put new brushes in) and bench tested it. The starter spun right up! I opened it up anyway expecting to find a broken brush or excessive dirt and dust inside. I was surprised at how clean it still was. Brushes looked good and there was hardly any dust at all. I disassembled the starter and cleaned it anyway with electrical contact cleaner and compressed air, put it back together and bench tested it again. As expected it spun right up!

The only sign of corrosion I found on the whole system was a tiny bit on cable lug on the starter itself. I cleaned it up with a wire brush, cleaned the cable end with some sandpaper and put the starter back in the bike. I hit the button and she turned over like new! I tried it several more times with the kill switch on kill and it spun the motor just fine. Still working fine to this day and I ride it almost every day!

So in conclusion to this long drawn out story, I suggest you pull the starter, open it up and clean it with electrical contact cleaner. You can get some good spray cleaner at Radio Shack or an auto parts store. You may want to put new brushes in while you're in there, they are only about $15.00. Clean all the connections and try it again.

If you do a search at the top of the page on "starter" there is a ton of info. I even posted some pics and info of when I did mine last year.

Let us know the results!

Bob :11grey:

Another thought is;

Do a voltage checkon both sides ofthe starter relay. The voltage should not drop more than about a voltwhile you push the start button.If it does the problem may in the relay.
 

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Bob is right, sometimes the starter gets clogged up with dust from the brushes and this causes problems. A good blow out with an air line works wonders.
 

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mikula wrote:
My '81 wing had been sitting in the garage since March and this weekend I tried to start her up. She was definitely having hard time, coughed up a few and smoke came out of the exhaust couple of times. So I kept cranking her (stupid, stupid) until starter motor gave up -- I tried too hard. Starter motor at this point was very hot to the touch.

I recharged the battery over night and this morning starter motor won't crank the engine. Actually, it won't spin at all. Basically, I hear starter solenoid click when i press start button and then there's loud grinding noise coming out of the starter motor and i can feel starter casing shaking a bit. I removed the starter motor off the bike, and connected it on bench to a 12v battery and it spins just fine. I also connected it through the solenid (without putting it back into the engine) and it spins ok which means my start switch/solenoid/battery connection is ok. Then i put it back into the engine and same story: grinding noise coming out of the starter motor.

So I am puzzled... is it still possible that starter motor is not ok although it spins just fine when not installed in the engine? Brushes maybe? Or am I looking into something more serious, e.g. starter clutch is broken?
mikula, it's possible you had a high resistance starter ground with the starterin the bike & it improved when you disturbed the mounting by removing it.

Those 1100 starters also had problems with the brush plate not grounding correctly (inside the starter).. It pays to add a regular grounding wire from the brush plate to the starter housing (inside the starter) as the original rivets are prone to having high resistance & causing either a slow starter or no starter..

Twisty
 

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twisty wrote:
Those 1100 starters also had problems with the brush plate not grounding correctly (inside the starter).. It pays to add a regular grounding wire from the brush plate to the starter housing (inside the starter) as the original rivets are prone to having high resistance & causing either a slow starter or no starter..

Twisty

Thats right on the nail advice. Also the rivets often came loose and caused burnt spots on the plate, resulting in similar slow starting problems.
 

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I've repaired a couple of these straters where the rivets were loose. I used small nuts & bolts and loctite on the threads and they stayed put after that.
 

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Well -- finally got to open up the starter today, as everyone suggested. There was 2-3oz of black tar/dust from the brushes in the cap. Brushes still had 8-9mm so I didnt see the need to replace them. Used compressed air to clean everything over and over. Removed brush plate and cleaned everything with brake cleaner. I also added (as two folks suggested) an extra grounding wire for the plate as I saw burn marks on the plate -- I drilled trough the starter casing and put an extra screw for this ground wire. Put everything back together, installed the starter -- and voila!! It worked. Thanks guys a lot for your help.
 

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Just a word of caution in using brake fluid to clean the starter. Do not get brake fluid on the windings, in time the varnish could dissolve and short out the armature or even the field windings.
 
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