Intermittent no crank issue - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
DL650 and DL650A - 2004 to 2011 DL650 from 2004-2006 (K4-K6) and DL650 or DL650A from 2007-2011 (K7-L1)

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post #1 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Intermittent no crank issue

2011 DL650A with 70k on the clock.

No prior electrical work done to the bike -- I say "electrical" because I did the SV650 cam upgrade and valve adjustment when bike had 64k on it. It started good, no issues, so buttoned it back up and all was well.

Here in CA it has been getting cold lately....for CA, it's been very cold, upper 40's, low 50's...not sure if its related, but still. This issue has been ongoing for about....two weeks? Three weeks? Basically for about 1000 miles ago.

Put key in, turn, all lights and accessories turn on. Flick kill switch, fuel pump runs. Pull clutch and hit starter, light shuts off but no crank.

Thought maybe a bad kickstand switch, so I pull it up and do it again. Same thing.

Release clutch and pull it again, same thing. Flick kill switch and put it back, sometimes fuel pump runs, sometimes it doesn't. I thought maybe this was the issue, so open it up and clean it real good and put it back together.

Starts good....then next day later does the same exact thing. Did percussive maintenance on the kill switch, sometimes work, sometimes doesn't.

If I keep playing with the clutch, turn key off and on, put up and down kickstand multiple times, sometimes that does the trick and it cranks and starts again. Sometimes it doesn't, and I keep playing with kill switch on and off until I hear the fuel pump running. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes if I pull the clutch up and then in, it works.

To make a long winded post short....I have basically gone about it completely unscientifically and now am more lost than ever. Is it the clutch switch? Is it the kickstand switch? Is it the entire killswitch assembly? If I play with all three, eventually I can get it started and all is well.

But I get the feeling that I'm on borrowed time. There will be a time where I'll be 200 miles from home and it'll die for good, and knowing my luck, I'll be at the bottom of a hill and it'll be basically impossible for me to push start it.

What should I do to finally narrow it down? I have the clutch switch and kill switch on my shopping cart, but I really would like to know how to narrow it down without wasting money. Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope!
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post #2 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 06:36 AM
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I had an old car where the starter engine had some burned contacts so sometimes it would not kick in. It was random and I would hit the starter with a small hammer to make it change its mind. I was a poor student at the time but finally bought a new starter which fixed the issue.
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post #3 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 07:44 AM
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From what you describe, either the starter brushes or starter solenoid is bad. Starter brushes are replaceable items. A 12v test light or multimeter can be used to troubleshoot both or they can sometimes can be narrowed down by holding in on the starter button and giving the starter or solenoid a light tap to jar it back to life.
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post #4 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 02:05 PM
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A few years ago, my bike started showing the same symptom, without being highly repeatable. Somehow, (perhaps motivated by desperation), I discovered that if I pulled the clutch lever upward while pulling it back, the bike would start every time. And if I pulled it downward and back, it would never start.


You may want to see if that is the situation with your bike.


BTW, I never fixed the "problem". Instead, I consider it an unreliable anti-theft device.
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post #5 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demorative View Post
2011 DL650A with 70k on the clock.....edited......To make a long winded post short....I have basically gone about it completely unscientifically and now am more lost than ever. Is it the clutch switch? Is it the kickstand switch? Is it the entire killswitch assembly? If I play with all three, eventually I can get it started and all is well............................edited again
Most likely it is the starter switch. The strom has a screwy starter switch that kills the lights when you hit the starter. This creates a large current across the starter switch. Look up threads on this forum (the best one by Black Lab) that details how to clean the starter switch contacts. You might consider putting the headlights on a separate relay to protect the switch. I just cleaned the starter switch on mine and it was fine.

Word of caution - I have made this repair to 3 stroms now. All at about your mileage. It requires patience and paying attention to how the switch comes apart. Take photos, go slow, do it somewhere where you can find the pieces if you drop any (springs may fly out). It is a free repair that just requires a little attention to detail. Hide your hammer before you start.
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Last edited by STCorndog; 01-04-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 05:21 PM
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What STCorndog said plus make sure the battery connections are clean and tight. Also might be the clutch switch going bad.
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post #7 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 06:39 PM
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Google "Automotive Voltage Drop Test".
If you master voltage drop testing, you can rule your electrical world.
All you need is an inexpensive multimeter.
What you are doing is putting the meter in a low-voltage scale, and placing the negative and positive leads on both sides of a connector, switch, splice, eyelet to ground, terminal to battery, relay, etc. Youre looking for voltage going through the meter instead of going through the intended circuit path. 0.1V-.2V drop may not be enough to stop a circuit from functioning all the time, but it IS an indication of high-resistance contacts in a switch, a loose or high-resistance to ground, a battery terminal or cable issue, you name it that could be intermittent.
Voltage drop testing sure beats spending time, effort, and $$$ on parts hoping to somehow stumble upon a fix.
Unless of course, that is what you want to do.
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post #8 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 07:40 PM
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I do not see a likelihood that the starter switch is at fault here. Problems with that switch generally are with the contacts which are made to handle and interrupt headlight current, not the contacts which energize the starter relay. (That switch does not carry the starter motor current!)

An intermittent problem was described. The starter switch uses a sliding spring contact style. That kind of contact is unlikely to fail in an intermittent way. This does not rule out the possibility, but for me this consideration would put it nearer the end of things to check than the other possibilities mentioned above.
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 08:00 PM
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When you guys are done going round in circles, search for what I suggested on this forum and see what you find.

Yes, the starter switch goes to a solenoid (basically a relay) and the starter motor current comes from the solenoid. That is not the issue. The starter switch has a second set of contacts inside it. When you push it, the contacts open on the headlight circuit and close on the starter. The switch carries the full headlight circuit amperage (and where many install a relay to correct this design error) which is too many amps for the contacts and with time a deposit of carbon fouling will build up on one side of the contacts. Remember, I have done this 3 times, I have an ink pen eraser to buff the contacts in my toolbox for this repair now.

One way to test the switch, have the bike ready to start. Instead of pushing the start button all the way in until it bottoms out, push it part way in and put some side load on the button (wiggle button) just before you sense it is going to bottom out. If the starter kicks....you have the problem. When this issue starts, and it is common, the starter will kick a fraction then quit as button goes through its travel.

OR I COULD BE COMPLETELY WRONG

"If its not broke yet, it can still be fixed"

Last edited by STCorndog; 01-04-2019 at 08:06 PM.
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post #10 of 44 Old 01-04-2019, 08:28 PM
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The starter switch can fail in an intermittent way, particularly when it's dirty and then gets wet. The plate on the spring hangs up, and doesn't sit flat against the contact block. With 70k on the bike it's the first thing I would check after cleaning the battery contacts and making sure they're tight.

Quote:
One way to test the switch, have the bike ready to start. Instead of pushing the start button all the way in until it bottoms out, push it part way in and put some side load on the button (wiggle button) just before you sense it is going to bottom out. If the starter kicks....you have the problem. When this issue starts, and it is common, the starter will kick a fraction then quit as button goes through its travel.
^ This is a good test as well. Sometimes you can free up that contact by pressing in the button with a fingernail and letting it snap back out into place.

In cases where it doesn't start, does the relay click when you press the button? If it clicks solidly but doesn't crank, the problem is somewhere between the starter relay, the starter, and ground - most likely the starter brushes worn out. If it doesn't click, it could be the solenoid, a safety switch, the killswitch, ignition switch or some other gremlin. If you hear a sound like a buzzing popping or fast sequence of clicks, look at the battery and its terminals.

In order of likelihood, I would be eyeing the battery terminals, starter switch, clutch safety, killswitch. I've seen all but the killswitch fail on both my bike and a friend's bike. I also had the starter fail, but it gave more warning in the form of some hesitation and grinding noises.

It's pretty easy to jump the clutch safety as a test, see
(skip to 1:20).
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