free website stats program Starter Trouble Shooting | Harley Davidson Forums

Starter Trouble Shooting


BOT Machine
The two most important tools you can buy are the service manual and parts books. These provide in depth guides and illustrations and schematics that are extremely important in proper trouble shooting.
If the engine isn't turning over, it is unlikely it is an ignition problem. If it is making a "whirring" sound it might be the starter clutch inside the starter. Time for some basic trouble shooting here.

First, you need the service manual or a full copy of the schematics or you need to fully understand the starter circuit

Second you need a fully charged serviceable battery. No guess work, make sure it is fully charged.

Third, you will need a multi-meter analog or digital and last a piece of #10-12 gauge wire that is fairly flexible about a foot long. We want to begin at the starter and work backwards. We need to determine if there is voltage at the solenoid and at the positive terminal of the starter.
Use the multi meter to measure and note the battery voltage then, check for voltage on the battery post of the starter. You should have full battery voltage with no or very little drop from the battery. Have someone press the starter switch while you test for voltage on the lead from the relay to the starter.
It is the smaller of the two leads on the starter. If you do not get voltage then go to the starter relay and check it by using the meter or you can jump it to test. If the starter button is pressed and you hear a sound stop and listen to it. Is it a click, chatter, click type noise, or a whirring screeching type noise from the starter? Or is it a sharp metallic grinding noise? Each of these indicate different problems. The click-chatter usually indicates a bad solenoid or bad contacts if the noise is from the starter area. If it is up by the seat or not easily located by ear, check the relay. The whirring-screeching noise usually means a toasty starter clutch which can be replaced. The loud sharp metallic grinding sound is usually a torn up ring gear or pinion gear. If you get no noise, click, boom or bang go to the relay and test it. Make sure you are getting voltage to the positive side of the normally open contact and when the starter button is pressed you get voltage on the coil contacts. If you do not get voltage to the relay, go to the starter switch and check for voltage across the kill switch. If you look at the schematic, you will see that there are multiple points that the starter circuit can be jumped.
The relay can be jumped for example or the solenoid can be tested using a fairly heavy gauge wire and jumping across the two large terminals.
If you press the starter button and the voltage take a big dive and the starter and battery wires get hot, pull the starter as it probably is shot.