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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a way to test the starter solenoid on a 1980 GL1100? Here is my situation: I took my bike completely apart to replace oil seals in the engine and to paint the frame. I am in the process of reassembling it, and am to the point of testing the engine. Unfortunately, when I hit the start button, the solenoid clicks, but does not turn the engine over. I've slow charged the battery to full capacity and even tried using a jump-start box, but the results are the same. I've replaced the solenoid with another (used) solenoid, but the results are still the same. If I jump over the bolts on the solenoid, the starter will turn the engine. I've searched and found many threads addressing my problem and most say that the solenoid is bad. What I have not been able to find is a way to test the solenoid and confirm it is bad.
 

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Jumping the terminals on the solenoid is the test, and you already did that. You may be unlucky in that you have two bad solenoids.
 

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Not necessarily..if the starter button is bad or wiring from the starter button to the solenoid is bad so you should test the voltage at the wires to the solenoid when the starter button is pushed..if good then back to the solenoid, if not the starter button or the wiring is bad..not making good connection. Do you hear a click at the solenoid when you push the starter button? If so mostly the solenoid means there is v's getting to the solenoid.
 

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Not necessarily..if the starter button is bad or wiring from the starter button to the solenoid is bad so you should test the voltage at the wires to the solenoid when the starter button is pushed..if good then back to the solenoid, if not the starter button or the wiring is bad..not making good connection. Do you here a click at the solenoid when you push the starter button? If so mostly the solenoid means there is v's getting to the solenoid.

Did you read this thread before you posted to it?

I would double check all the connections between the solenoid and the battery, and between the solenoid and the starter. If they are all good then the solenoid is the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm at my wits end on this. I've tried my third (granted, used) solenoid with the same results. I've cleaned and shined all the contacts from the solenoid to the battery to the ground to the starter motor. I cleaned the handlebar starter button. I can't imagine that ALL the solenoids I've tried are bad, and I'd hate to buy a new one just to have it do the same thing.

Grasping straws here, but I found one of the coils was cracked during the reassembly process. I replaced both coils with those off of my parts bike--which is an 83 (main bike is an 80). They are slightly different in appearance. Could this possibly have an effect on anything?
 

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Starter relays are one of the least complex electrical items on our bikes. And still a lot of people have problems with them.
They are simple to diagnose once you understand the operation.
12 volts is supplied from the starter button to the relay. The neutral switch or clutch switch provide ground. It's DC voltage, so it doesn't matter which way current flows, just that the circuit is complete.
Once the solenoid receives the start signal and ground, the relay contact is drawn closed by the electro magnet in the solenoid. Power is then transferred from the battery to the starter. Again, it doesn't matter which terminal, it's DC voltage.
Check for continuity on the small wings for the solenoid. Check for continuity on the large poles when the solenoid is energized.
The only real caveat is the amount of amperage the relay contact can pass due to being burned or corroded.
Generally speaking, if the relay "clicks", the solenoid windings are okay, and it's a contact or corrosion problem, either in the cables or the relay internal.

 

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Have you tried jumpering around the solenoid?? Take a pliers and hit both large terminals. That should either make the starter turn, or you've a fried starter.

Alternatively (and a trifle safer, but less fun...), a test light?? Starter solenoids are, as stated, quite simple. The Honda uses a solenoid much the same as that on most of my old Fords. A bit smaller, but quite similar. Diagnosis is the same.

Cosmo
 

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Have you checked your polarity?

Also check the switch in the clutch lever and the neutral safety switch.

I wish you were local so I could give you some hands on assistance.
 

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Granted, my starter button has seen way more starts than most, but it will sometimes click the solenoid and not spin it. Sometimes just a slightly sideways push is needed to get things spinning.
The great thing about this is, it doesn't cost the price of a new relay to test. Wiggle the button and see if it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the responses. I found this test in the Haynes Manual (when all else fails, read the manual):

Take the solenoid off and check the resistance across the field coil tabs. It should read between 3.4 and 10 ohms. Mine passed.

Apply 12 volt battery power to the aforementioned tabs. You should hear a loud click. Mine passed this also. While power is applied, check for continuity between the two bolts. All of mine failed this test.

So apparently the odds beat me, and all three of the solenoids I had on hand were bad. I feel better ordering a new one now. My only fear is that something on the bike is somehow blowing them out.

Edit: I only just now saw Glhonda's post, in which it recommends to do exactly this. Thanks, Glhonda!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
New solenoid came in, then the starter went out. :lash: I replaced it with the one off my parts bike, but it is very sluggish. It will barely turn the engine over even while jumping it with another battery. I guess now I need to rebuild it. What a pain in the ass.

That being said, I did get the engine cranked and running for the first time since I took it apart.
 

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In the event of a messed up starter, go here!!

Search for stockersstarters.com talk to Chris or Jay, especially if you have an original Mitsuba starter, you'll know if you have, it takes a lot more work to get it out.

These guys are out of W Virginia and will not rip you off, they rebuilt my old unit, abused though it was, for less than $100 including shipping both ways, and had it back within a week.

This included total replacement of the center piece - the stator, (which was toast, just look at the comparison photo of the nut I took off of it), new bearing and carbon brushes.

I cannot recommend these people highly enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:claps::claps::claps:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Fortunately for now, my luck with starters was not the same as the solenoids. The third one I tried works like a charm.
 

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sorry, new at this, but i have an '83 aspencade, and im pretty sure i have a bad solenoid, 13.48V at the main terminals with dead battery and charger wired in on DCV20 setting, and measured at starter, 0.03V same setting, same tester with same electrical hookup, jumped terminals, saw sparks and instrument cluster went black, stopped jump, cluster comes alive, my main concern because previous owner seemed to be a drunk redneck mcgyver S.A.M., when i hit start button, solenoid sounds like a pissed off arc welder gone minutely wrong, is this normal or a sign of worse things to come? BTW, also removed fairing, and some (previous owner) home down wiring, 9 pin is hanging loose and it seems to have an extra wire (green). thanks, just don't wanna blow money on wrong problem
 

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Praitor, welcome to the forum.
You should start a new thread on this. You'll get more help.
If it were me, I think I'd just replace a suspect relay with an aftermarket (read cheap) one. If that cured my problem, I'd go on the hunt for a new, or lightly used OEM unit.
 

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thanks; my locals either have to order something in, or they want an arm for it. generic fit was almost $50.00, and honestly, people skills matter. the guy either didnt care or was too stoned to notice.
 

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Not to jump your thread but I have similar issues. My bike has not been run in about two months, was out of town for several weeks and before Christmas I tried to start her up but all I got was a clicking of the solenoid. I keep a battery tender on it so I assumed it wasn't a battery issue. I replaced the starter withing the past 2 years. I'm certainly not an electrician but obviously after thinking about it think maybe the battery may not have enough power to turn the starter over. This is a 1983 GL1100, I bought a new solenoid off eBay which shipped from SHanghi, has a smaller fuse but is doing the same thing as my old solenoid. Just clicks when starter switch is pressed. My battery is about 4 years old. From what I can tell all my connections seam to be clean. My old solenoid was corroded and that is why I figured it was toast and replaced. Any suggestions?
 

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Not to jump your thread but I have similar issues. ....... My battery is about 4 years old. From what I can tell all my connections seam to be clean. My old solenoid was corroded and that is why I figured it was toast and replaced. Any suggestions?
With a battery age of 4 years I would seriously consider its useful life has passed on . Possibly try using jumper cables to an auto battery . If you try this leave the automobile turned off . Remove your bike battery and connect directly to the bike battery wires .
I think you might read voltage on your bike battery but under load it fails to provide any current . Put a volt meter across your bike battery when trying to start it likely will drop to zero or only a few volts .
 
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