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This is my first post other than the “Hello” one. I have been reading this forum for the past few months and getting some great information and help. This is a rather long post but I have tried to lay out the issue in detail and in the light of the other similar threads that I have read and followed up on so we are not running rabbit trails. I found this forum after encountering a cranking/starting issue with my 98 (SE, Aspencade? Can’t determine) trike and was looking for answers.

I purchased this bike from the original owner a year ago with 75K miles. It now has 84K. So far, I have not found the answer to my problem. There have been many discussions about similar situations but none just like the one I have. I have pursued the fixes/cures suggested in these other discussions but they have not cured my problem. Until July of this year (2011) I had no issues with cranking or starting. The first instance happened after I had ridden about 40 miles on a very hot day to a destination. The bike sat there in the hot sun for about 45 minutes, not running. When I was ready to leave I pushed the start button and, nothing. The lights went out but nothing else happened. I went through all the checks for neutral, kill switch, etc. This is my first Wing and the first bike in 30 years so I was at a loss of where to look. Another Wing rider came along, a little better prepared and versed than I, and he began to help check voltages, etc. We had fooled around with one of the start solenoids (solenoid B?), the lower one behind the lower/forward right side cover, the one without the 30 amp fuse mounted. The bike started. Twice more during that day I had the same issue and fiddling with that solenoid got it started. I ordered and replaced that $olenoid.

That did not solve the problem and it continues to occur intermittently. Took the old solenoid apart and it looked perfect, not burnt/pitted, not dirty or sticking, etc. Holding the start button and lightly tapping the solenoid always gets it started. It has evolved to occasionally a slow crank for a few seconds and then picking up and firing right off. I should mention here that I have a Compufire alternator and gel battery that is kept fully charged. Cranking speed is not the issue once it begins. I have also installed Rudy’s Smart Light and that has not indicated any charging issues, even at idle with all lights (about 80) and accessories turned on.

We just returned from a round trip through SC back to PA. I discovered during this trip that when the bike is hot, as in running for long periods in hot weather, it would never crank without the tapping help but always with the tapping help.If it was cooled off it would always crank although sometimes starting slow for a few seconds and sometimes making a crackling/arcing sound. I cannot pinpoint the cause of these sounds and all connections that I can find are clean and tight. Maybe starter brushes?

I had, before discovering/realizing the heat factor, come to assume the starter was the issue and planned to look into it this winter. Now I’m not sure and cannot explain why it would be the starter if tapping the solenoid gets it started (without slow cranking and crackling/arcing sounds) and what the heat factor has to do with it. The one thing I haven’t fully explored is the 5 amp fuse in the circuit to this solenoid that was discussed in a previous thread because I can’t determine where it is located. If someone can point me to it I would be grateful.

I know there are a lot of smarter and more experienced people than me on this forum and am hoping I can find the answer to the problem here.
 

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If it is starting intermittently, a good place to look would be the starter itself. The same happened to me as one of the segments on the commutator (little copper strips) that connect to the brushes.
One of mine got burnt. I replaced the starter and everything worked great.

:18black:
 

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First I would clean all the electric connections in the area of the solenoid that you are tapping. Be sure to make the ground connections clean and secure. If that don't help there are a lot of experts here and someone will have an answer.
 

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Given that the cure is to "tap the solenoid", it sure sounds like there's something loose in the vicinity of it... something physically Small enough to be moved by a tap...

Have you tried replacing the Main Dogbone Fuse that sit's just forward of the battery? It may be either loose, or slightly cracked... They are known to develope very small cracks that can't readily be seen.

Might also try replacing the 30amp fuse that sits atop the solenoid... they also can go mechanically-bad, without actually having blown. While you're there, clean the connections that the fuse plugs in to.
 

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Mel53 - If it is the starter I'm hoping it will last till winter. Too much riding to do till then. Thanks Larry. I'm hoping that the smart people on here can help. Ok Alex - I will check the fuses again tomorrow. Did not see issues with them the first time around. Thanks
 

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Yes Ben, I have checked and cleaned the start button. In fact, it was the first thing I did.



Thanks.
 

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I came across a similar problem some years back on a CB900F. Like your bike there was an 'arcing' sound when the starter button was pushed. To make a long story short it was a dirty connection at the ground cable where it attached to the engine cases. Although the bolt holding the ground strap was tight and visibly clean there was some corrosion that had built up UNDER the cable between the cable and the engine cases. I removed the cable, filed the cable clean with a wire brush and wire brushed the area where it mounted on the cases. POOF…. problem solved.

The same may be true with the cables that attach to the solenoid. Try removing the the cables, wire brush the cable ends and brush clean the solenoid where the cables mount. Keep your fingers crossed that it's really that easy.
 

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Ray, I went through the cleaning, scraping, wire brushing that you describe. If it is not the starter, and my pocketbook hopes not,then I must have missed something so I will go through the process again. Hopefully, I will find what I missed and my problem will go poof. Thanks :cheesygrin:
 

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Milliesdad - Did that, didn't fix it. :thumbsdown:
 

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Voltage drop tests? Use your multimeter to test every connection between the frame and starter for voltage when the start button is pressed. Any voltage between them means a poor connection.
 

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Thanks Ken. I haven't tried that. My friend just dropped off his Fluke meter it's a little higher quality than mine. I'll try it.
 

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Replaced the relay and it still occurs, lets rule the relay out for now. With the wooden spoon from the kitchen, next time it happens gently push and pry on the wires in the general area of where you are. One at a time in different places. If still no good, give the starter itself a rap.

JD
 
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