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Discussion Starter #1
I was on the way to my parents' place today when I stopped for fuel. When I went to restart, I got only a click from the starter relay, and it didn't turn over. I bumped it in third, finished the trip and gave it another try the driveway. The starter made an unhappy sound, but it started. I turned it off and tried it again, and it made another unhappy sound, and hung up, didn't turn anymore.

I'm thinking it's unlikely to get a new starter shipped here in time for my trip home, but I can bump start it down the driveway for the trip home.

I've read PTRider's excellent thread (http://www.stromtrooper.com/maintenance-tech-products/165857-case-reluctant-starter.html) and I think it might be a brush hanging up from grime. I plan to remove it tomorrow and have a look. Is there anything to be particularly careful of, or any way I could make it worse? Any other potential fixes that wouldn't require replacement parts?

Thanks in advance
 

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I would try jumping from a car battery to make sure it wasn't just a battery problem.
 

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A clean up will probably get you home but you may want to check the rest of the system, i.e. relay, battery condition/charge, handle bar switch, etc.

I bought rebuild kit 79-85114 for my K7 650 from Motor City Reman which was $30 shipped and had everything I needed to rebuild my starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would try jumping from a car battery to make sure it wasn't just a battery problem.
Great suggestion, will try this tomorrow. What's weird is that I get a really solid click from the relay and the dash lights stay bright, where the end-stage of my last two batteries had lights fading, slow crank and the relay sputtering during attempted cold start in the very cold.

A clean up will probably get you home but you may want to check the rest of the system, i.e. relay, battery condition/charge, handle bar switch, etc.

I bought rebuild kit 79-85114 for my K7 650 from Motor City Reman which was $30 shipped and had everything I needed to rebuild my starter.
Thanks a lot for the recommendation. It'll be good to save money on a replacement if I can. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll just be a worn or grimy brush after many thousands of starts.

This winter has been brackish so far, and I would not be surprised if something upstream of the starter corroded. So it's a good opportunity anyway to go through all the connections now and not outside when it's 20 degrees. Just wish I had my deoxit and multimeter.

Thanks again, happy holidays.
 

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Yeah it sure sounds like a bad battery. And i second suggestions of going through the charging systems. Good luck and happy holidays!


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Discussion Starter #6
I removed the starter this morning and found a very large amount of carbon dust, dry bushing / washers, and a severely worn brush (pictured).

I'll see if I can maybe bend the spring a tiny bit to get another week or so out of that carbon piece while I'm waiting on the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I put the cleaned up and lightly greased starter back on my bike this morning, and it started up with only a little hesitation. Awesome! Should be able to get me home, where I expect the new brush assembly is waiting for me.

Then, I noticed that the bike was leaking gasoline profusely - the second time I've had this happen, and like the first it was very cold, 15F.

So I shut it off, removed the tank in the driveway and sat it in a convenient pile of snow, and chased the leak down to a barb just past the external fuel filter. I loosened each hose clamp and re-tightened closer to the barb, and for now there's no leak. I plan on replacing the fuel lines, since they're about 5 years old at this point. Any suggestions on a brand? Maybe one well-regarded for not turning into crystal when it's cold?

The tank output, which as I understand it shouldn't leak, dripped quite a bit while disconnected. I am curious if that represents an issue.

Overall I'm glad I now understand the way the starter works and confident that I've tracked down a longstanding issue (hard starting in cold) with my bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If anyone finds themselves needing starter parts on short notice, I was able to find the following on Amazon for $14.31 with cheap fast shipping:

https://www.amazon.com/DB-Electrical-SMU9120-Motorcycle-Motorcycles/dp/B0081SBMYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1514151067&sr=1-1&keywords=SMU9120

"DB Electrical SMU9120 Starter Kit For Honda Motorcycle CBR600F4 99-06 /Kawasaki ATV KLF220 96-02, KLF250 03-11 /Suzuki Motorcycles DL650 04-09, SV650 99-09 /Yamaha Motorcycle FZ6 04-09, YZF-R6 99-05"

This one is (currently) available from another seller for $12.91 and free shipping, and includes brush assembly, orings, seal, and brass bushings. There are plenty of other listings under 'SMU9120' as well, but they vary in what they include so make sure you pick the one that has what you need.

As an update to my leak... I arrived home from NJ to find that no more gasoline had leaked, but that my bike had developed a significant coolant leak on the way. I guess serious cold causes serious issues with rubber stuff.

PSA to those who ride in extreme cold: keep an eye on your bike to make sure liquids are staying on the inside where they belong. Looks like I may be replacing some radiator hoses and maybe o-rings.
 

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Valuable set of postings. Cold weather induced issues and a good reference to replacement parts. Neat!
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Valuable set of postings. Cold weather induced issues and a good reference to replacement parts. Neat!
Thank you.
Absolutely, I'm glad to give a little back when I've gotten so much out of the collective knowledge here.

One last update: Even though I haven't installed the new brushes yet, the bike started reliably last week in frigid temps. It was 13F one morning and it caught on the second turn. Unlike before where it cranked slowly in the cold and wouldn't fire unless I opened the throttle a little bit, it now starts best if I keep it completely closed while cranking and gently open as it's catching. Just a theory, but I think the starter previously had trouble spinning the engine fast enough (and maybe competed with the ignition for amperage), and opening the throttle relieved a bit of resistance.

So, if you experience slow cranking and hard starting in the cold, it may be your battery, and it may also be your starter. I think I may have wrongly accused and prematurely retired at least one battery in the past.

In other good news, no more gas or coolant leaks.
 
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