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  #1  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
Greasyman Greasyman is offline
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Default '74 XLH starter and primary question

I've had an issue with my starter turning very slowly. My battery is fine. I tried hooking the battery directly to the starter terminal, and it cranked over a little faster than usual, but it wasn't a dramatic change. This was with the spark plugs out, it probably would have been quite slow with them in.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the starter shouldn't have turned the engine if I bypassed the solenoid like I did, since it's the solenoid that engages the starter with the clutch basket. Am I right, or am I missing something? If I'm right, what might the problem be?

Also, if I take the primary cover off, do I need to do anything to the clutch mechanism, or do I just remove the cover and leave it alone with the cable attached and everything?

BTW, here's a very good video about the starter and solenoid mechanism on Ironheads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7LBlru5BkQ
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You shouldn’t really need to do anything with the clutch ball and ramp system or cable. I leave it all together whenever I remove the primary cover. If it comes apart, it’s nothing to put back together.
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I'm working from a 1971 iron head perspective but a couple of things to consider;
If you pull the primary cover, make sure you don't lose the support of the bearing in the cover. That'll let the bendix drift out of alignment and can cause binding. Also make sure the flat thrust washer is in place when reassembling.
If you can isolate the starter motor on the bench, power it up and see how it spins. If it's still turning slow you may be in need of brushes; now's a good time to check brush holders and their tension, maybe clean the commutator too.
If the bearings/bushings are bad the armature could be dragging on the fields or windings. Bright spots or scrape marks on armature or fields are an indication of that.
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Ironhead Refurbish and Bench Test Starter Motor
http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1718915

Re-installing Starter Brushes & Holder
http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1576871
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Disconnect the battery if your going to be in there messing around with the bendix ect.
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the starter has a wormed shaft that engages with the bendix. it is true that the solenoid does throw out the bendix to avoid gear clash but if you engage the starter directly, it spins the worm shaft and the engine will roll over, when the engine speed exceeds starter speed, it will force the bendix back.
these era starters are shinola and do not perform with stellar action both the prestolite and hitachi. my 74ch has the hitachi setup and yep, sluggish. might check the starter armature and brushes, a good high amp battery is needed also, the hd-12 battery sucks, i use a converted lawn tractor battery with 400+cca, the hd-12 is 1/2 half that.
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Default

I think there is a company that makes a conversion for a Nippon starter that is mo betta.
But that won't fix bad cables or a weak battery.
Any starter diagnosis starts with a fully charged good battery, a battery charger on boost will not help much and may blow up electronics (regulator, ignition).
Jump start off a car battery, if you must.

Often batteries are allowed to discharge too far (they will self discharge to the point of destruction if left un-tendered) they never come back fully and will gradually get worse.
Batteries must be stored on a float type charger, and are best charged on such overnight to bring the battery up to full potential and NEVER discharged below 12 volts. A battery that comes back from an excessive discharge NEVER comes back to "full new" potential.

If the bike will crank with a jump start the battery is the first suspect. Charge it overnight on a float type charger and load test it 3 times. If the battery passes this test it is likely good for service and any problems are elsewhere.

If the bike will not crank on a jump start replace what ever is getting hot.

If the starter motor runs fine and the bike does not crank well the starter drive kicks out the first suspect is the (starter bendix) one way clutch gets metal in it from the primary, trans, and clutch, and there is no way for it to get out. But getting that metal out won't fix them once they are damaged.

The other problems I have seen are bent forks that shift the drive gear into the ring gear.
Guys installing the jack shaft will often bend the fork to short cut installing the jack shaft and drive gear into the cases.
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