starter problem

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by nascar7613, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. nascar7613

    nascar7613 Active Member

    1995 Softail, sometimes it will start normally, but most of the time I hear the starter make a clunk and not turn the engine over. When it does not start, it makes the clunk noise and the lights dim. I have tried jumping it with a strong jump box and it does the same thing. The battery tested good. Either solenoid or starter, not sure if it would make the clunk noise with a bad solenoid. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    You said the battery tested good - does that mean you had it load tested? If not, do that.

    Once you know the battery is good, inspect the battery cables themselves to make sure they are OK. See here:

    If they are good, then clean both ends and securing points of both battery cables. Reinstall battery if removed for testing and hook up cables (positive first, negative last).

    See if problem still there. If/when problem shows up, try jumping from the positive terminal to the starter solenoid (make sure tanny in neutral). See if it starts. If it does, suspect starting circuit - debug (relay, start switch on handlebars, wiring, etc.).

    If it doesn't start, then it is in the starter or solenoid. With stuff this old, I suggest just replacing it. Your call though. You can try fixing the solenoid and see if that does it, but it may be a flat spot on the starter.

    Let us know.

  3. nascar7613

    nascar7613 Active Member

    Switched the starter relay with a relay from a bike that starts and she fired right up. Put the old relay back in and she starts right up. For now I'll replace the relay and keep my fingers crossed.
  4. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    With the lights dimming when trying to start it would suggest that there is insufficient power at that time if the battery is good then I would suspect a bad ground connection battery to frame

  5. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    Don't overlook the cables at the starter as well. All good advice in above posts.
    HDDon likes this.