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Thread: Starting Woes

  1. #1
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    Starting Woes

    I have an 04 R1150RT and have been having starting issues which I had been attributing to a weak battery and cold temps.
    It is now to the point where it won't rotate the engine at all.
    I have tested the 2 year old battery for voltage and load testing which it has passed both tests. When trying to start the engine the voltage across the terminals drops from around 13 to around 5.
    I removed the starter tested it on the floor using the battery in the bike. It seems slow and weak to me but I have nothing to compare it to. I also hooked it up to the battery in my truck and got identical results. So, I don't feel the battery is the issue.
    I realize this also leaves the starter relay, but I wanted to rule out the starter before I replace the relay. All connections look good and corrosion free.

    Here is the link to the video I made of testing the starter on the floor.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM4hMQF0jro
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  2. #2
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Good video. It seems like your starter needs to be rebuilt or replaced. There are some common things that go wrong:

    --Magnets break free and jam the rotor.

    --Planetary Gear cover inside the starter drops on to the rotor, jamming it (happened on mine)

    If you can open it up, you may find the problem. These guys have a lot of starter parts: http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Assuming the battery tests are valid, the starter is dragging significantly. The probable cause is one or more of the carbon magnets coming loose and dragging on the armature, being ground to magnetic chunks with every turn. This is a very common problem on those starters. Occasionally a worn nose bushing can cause similar symptoms but far and away loose magnets are what kills these starters usually.

    The newer Valeo starters seem to have eliminated that problem. The Enduralast starters are also more robust than the old Valeo units.

    If you take the starter apart you will quickly find the problem.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  4. #4
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys.

    I opened the starter up to find the magnets still firmly attached to the housing and no signs of abrasion on the armature. Nothing appears burnt either. The one thing I did notice is uneven wear on the outer surface of the bushing in the armature housing. It indicates to me a worn nose bushing.

    The brushes measure 0.667" and 0.675" long.

    The planetary gears seem smooth and free as well.

    I guess I will order a tune up kit from euromotoelectrics.com and replace the bushings.
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  5. #5
    Lucky MotorradMike's Avatar
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    Best of luck to you Jim but my guess is that you're going to end up buying a new starter.
    You have enough time before Spring to try the bushing first but if that starter drops a good battery down to 5V it's wasting a pile of current.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  6. #6
    2-up and havin' fun sugarhillctd's Avatar
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    Had the same thing last fall with my Boxer Cup.

    Starting became slower over time. New battery- no change.

    Hello Beemerboneyard. http://www.beemerboneyard.com/12412306700nc.html

    FIXED.
    John & Cathy
    '92 K100RS (gone- '04 R1100S Boxer Cup)
    '12 Suzuki DRZ400
    ("kid's" bikes) '02 Kaw ZX6R- Jen's '07 Duc 800ss- Johnnie's

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    What is the difference between the Enduralast starter and the new Valeo? Anything besides the $60-$70 price difference? Any advantages of one over the other?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  8. #8
    Registered User NavyDad's Avatar
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    I just bought a new aftermarket starter for my 04 RT. From what I understand the Valeo is rebuildable and the cheaper one isn't. I installed the new one and I am having the original rebuilt. There is a guy in my area that rebuilds starters and alternators mostly for large equipment and he is doing it for less than I can buy the kits and mess with it myself. I plan on putting it on the shelf and I will have it for later use if need be.

  9. #9
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    Latest update

    I bought a new starter and that did nothing for my situation. I then bought a new starter relay, again with no change. So I did the only thing left I know to do and that was replace the battery, again with no change. I have run jumper cables directly from the battery to the starter to eliminate the possibility of battery cables but that makes no difference either. I have even removed the primary spark plugs to remove compression from the equation and the motor rolls over but very slowly. I'm really stumped here.
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  10. #10
    Lucky MotorradMike's Avatar
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    Hi Jim:
    I'm stumped too.
    You've posted an answer to every question I can think of.

    Here's what I'd do:
    a) If you haven't already, verify the new starter rotates in the same direction the old one did. Not the core problem but let's get that out of the way.
    b) Measure the voltage at the starter while cranking. At the starter meaning between the big bolt on the back of the starter and the starter case.
    We need to know the voltage the starter is seeing without any of the voltage drops between it and the battery.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  11. #11
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    Here's the info I gathered today;
    Battery voltage:13.09 (ignition off), 12.5 (ignition on for 10 seconds), 6 (starter engaged, main spark plugs out)

    Voltage at starter (measured from lower lug and starter housing) is also around 6 volts when cranking.

    Removed starter and battery from bike - starter spins in a clockwise direction (as seated on bike) and voltage across battery terminals is 11.55.

    I guess my next course of operation is to look for something internal causing excessive drag. Any suggestions on where to start? I really can't think of what would cause this behavior internally under these circumstances.
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  12. #12
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    I pulled the bottom spark plugs out and each was filled with what is pictured below. Is it possible that the combustion chambers have filled up with carbon? The odd thing here is that I replaced the plugs after it died. The plugs that were filled with that crap have never been fired. The old plugs that I took out were not filled with that. So the heads are coming off, and as I am trying to remove the bolt that holds on the timing chain gear my socket explodes so I'm done for the day.
    Left Cylinder.jpg
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  13. #13
    Lucky MotorradMike's Avatar
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    I'd wait for others to chime in before you pull the heads.
    Have you rotated the engine by hand?
    When was the last time it ran and how well did it run?
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  14. #14
    Brick Pilot der ziegelstein's Avatar
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    I tried rotating it with the rear wheel but it doesn't want to budge.

    The last time it ran was January 19th. I rode it to work and everything was fine. It was when I went to leave work that it acted like the battery was bad. I pushed it inside to warm up and put it on the battery tender for about an hour. It still cranked slow so I grabbed a jump start unit we have at work. The engine cranked good but would not fire. I gave up and called the wife to bring the truck. I changed plugs mainly because they were due, they didn't look bad.
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  15. #15
    BMW Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Ziegelstein View Post
    I pulled the bottom spark plugs out and each was filled with what is pictured below. Is it possible that the combustion chambers have filled up with carbon? The odd thing here is that I replaced the plugs after it died. The plugs that were filled with that crap have never been fired. The old plugs that I took out were not filled with that. So the heads are coming off, and as I am trying to remove the bolt that holds on the timing chain gear my socket explodes so I'm done for the day.
    Left Cylinder.jpg
    This may be a stupid question but if this junk did not come out when you removed the original plugs are you positive it came from inside the motor and not some type of accumulation around where the plug gets screwed in? Were the replacement plugs longer than the ones you pulled out? It's difficult to tell with certainty but this looks like rusty tidbits and grime in the picture. In my 45 years of riding I don't think I've ever seen anything like what you're holding come from the inside of a motor. More so if you didn't notice any unusual noises when cranking the engine over. I've seen meltdowns occur but in the end you're looking at aluminum pieces. The stuff in your hand doesn't appear to be that.

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