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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
smac74 smac74 is offline
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Default starting characteristics

I'm just wondering, but is it normal that my bike will almost always take 2or 3 stabs at the starter button before turning over? I completely re-wired my bike during a recent rebuild, and I installed an aftermarket controls wiring kit/harness. I've had to replace the aftermarket starter button with the original after the new one failed. With that button, it was obvious that the button was no good- the bike did absolutely nothing when I hit the button. At least now with the original button, the solenoid clicks, the dash lights flicker for a sec, but that's it. I have to hit the button several times before it will turn the motor over and start. After the first time it turns over, if it doesn't start right then, it will turn over again the next time I hit the button. It's almost like the motor is stuck and needs to free up, and once it does, it turns freely. It runs fine, but I haven't been able to take it out for extended rides, mostly just 15-20 minute jaunts around town.

I only have 12V at the battery, and that's even while its turning over, but I've read here that that should be closer to 14V. So, is my generator not charging the battery, or am I not riding it long enough to have it fully recharged, or is this just a characteristic of this bike? Seems weird that it would turn over fine after a few attempts but not beforehand. I would think that it will either have the juice to crank or not.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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The button should not be connected to the starter.
The button and the wiring harness will not pass enough juice to operate the starter directly.

A starter relay of some type is connected between the button and the starter to handle the heavy lifting.

like this best Generator-Solenoid-Starter-Relay-For-Honda-GX160-5-5HP-GX200-6-5HP

or this Starter-Relay

The XL charging system is marginal at best and may not fully charge a discharged battery. (avoid high power headlights)(think LED)
I use a Battery Tender to keep my battery topped off.
Any testing or diagnosis should be done with a fully charged battery.
Load test a battery after overnighting on a Battery Tender if you are not sure it is good.

Then you can go after the charging system if needed.

If your battery is toast,
AGM batteries are best for your HD, avoid trying a Lithium unless you have disposable income. (and can push start it)
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  #3  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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you can get some weird starting issues if the contacts in the solenoid are burned up, too. just to clarify, you're talking about getting 12v while it's running, or turned off? even turned off 12.00 volts is low. if it's only putting out 12.0v at the battery while running you need to test the gen out put before the regulator to see which component isn't working right.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
smac74 smac74 is offline
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I'll have to check the voltage when its running, but I also thought that 12V was a little low. I just thought it strange that the 12V would crank the motor over after a couple attempts- if it was enough to bump it on the third try, why couldn't it do it on the first try?

I'll put a fresh charge on the battery- it's a relatively fresh battery- and see what that does and I'll monitor it from there I guess. And now that I've got most of the other issues sorted out I'm gaining confidence in being able to go for longer rides and see if that will help keep the battery charged properly.

RR, I think I'll take your suggestion and get a battery tender. Do you hook that up after each ride?
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Default

Most often, the motor will come to a stop on one of the compression strokes - Meaning that you will be trying to compress the cylinder from a stand-still condition with the next start...

But - as doodah man says - bad contacts in the solenoid, the relay or the handlebar switch can give erratic results with it working fine one time but intermittent at others...

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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac74 View Post
I'll have to check the voltage when its running, but I also thought that 12V was a little low. I just thought it strange that the 12V would crank the motor over after a couple attempts- if it was enough to bump it on the third try, why couldn't it do it on the first try?

I'll put a fresh charge on the battery- it's a relatively fresh battery- and see what that does and I'll monitor it from there I guess. And now that I've got most of the other issues sorted out I'm gaining confidence in being able to go for longer rides and see if that will help keep the battery charged properly.

" if it was enough to bump it on the third try, why couldn't it do it on the first try? " What Appears that you are discribing,Is a small short..Like a gap,between contacts..there enough space for currant activity,Its sparking in the Gap..when the currant gets HOT Enough it Grabs ,and compleats the circut..like and Arch weld Spark then Grap..compleats the circut...In my day ,tho not correct,It work this way..take the hot and ground from the start button...connect those two If the circut connects..It's the switch..If it acts the same way..takes two or three times befor it connects..The short is futher down the wiring system.. And the starter cranks from AMPS..Not Volts...So I guess your Amperage is up to spec. Good Toolin Around..to you
RR, I think I'll take your suggestion and get a battery tender. Do you hook that up after each ride?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Default

OP's description is vague.

If you push the button and hear nothing, probably the button or related wiring.

If you push the button and hear a small click, that is usually the starter relay.

If you push the button and hear a clunk, that is usually the solenoid.

If the problem is the motor starts to turn and stops, the problem is likely the spark timing.

Disable the ignition and see if it cranks well.

Bad battery or cables or starter motor can be the cause here.

Intermittent or random cranking issues are usually solenoid contacts or the starter relay.

Always test before buying parts.

You can Use a Battery Tender any time the bike is not in use, use it especially when the the bike is not ridden frequently, or as a supplement to the HD charging system.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
smac74 smac74 is offline
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I think I've determined that its the fact that the battery only has 12.5-12.7V that keeps the engine from turning at first. After a quick charge, the bike turns over first time I hit the start button. I guess my confusion came at the fact that the motor wouldn't bump over until a 3rd or 4th hit at the button. I hear the relay and solenoid click, clunck, and the motor try to turn over, but it wouldn't turn until after a couple attempts. I figured that if the battery couldn't turn the motor the first time, why would it be able to turn it the third or fourth time. The battery tender should help me confirm that, then I can sort out the reason for the low voltage.


That should just leave me with one nagging problem to square away, but I'll start a new thread for that. Thanks for all the help.
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  #9  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Always start testing the starter or charging bits with a fully charged battery.
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Start System Testing
http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1610248
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