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Thread: Valeo Bits the Dust

  1. #1
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Salem Oregon

    Valeo Bits the Dust

    Ol' Red, my 92 R100GS wouldn't start the other day. It has 52,000 miles on it. All the starter could manage was about one revolution and a grunt. After checking that the battery was fully charged and that the engine was not bound up, I pulled the starter and pulled it apart. When I opened the started motor it was full of a black "soot". As I pulled the armature out, all four magnets came with it. One of the magnets was broken into three pieces. The armature showed significant wear at two places, front (gear end) and back on oposite sides. It this typical of a Valeo failure? Given the condition of the starter I was surprised that it would even turn at all.

    Obviously it is junk and I'll call Motorrad Elektrik in the morning and get a Nippondenso starter headed this way.

    I had to put a new alternator rotor in 'Ol Red 500 miles ago. Hmmm..... I wonder what will be next? A diode board maybe?


  2. #2
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Portland Oregon

    Replacement Parts

    The link above is for Motoradd Elektrik. They are one of a few companies that have upgrade starters and electric bits for airheads.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Registered User PHMARVIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    El Paso, TX
    Hi, All,
    Rick at Motorrad Elektrik is good. I used him a few times back when I had airheads and hadn't yet turned to the Dark Side. I've heard good things about his Nippondenso conversion. HOWEVER, Tom Cutter says the Valeo is much improved and the new ones no longer give the problems (magnets coming unglued) the older ones did. And they are considerably less expensive than the Nippondensos. Tom also sells them (
    Ride Safe,
    Phil Marvin - El Paso, TX
    '94 K75A/3
    '95 K75RTP

  4. #4
    I've also had the problem with the glued in magnets becomming unstuck on the Valeo starter. Several options exist.

    Go to an automotive junk yard. Ask for the "short" Saturn starter. You do NOT want the Delco starter. You want the Valeo starter. The body (not the nose piece) is an exact match for yours. Costs may run $40 - $65. Use your nose piece with the car Valeo to get going again. This is likely a temporary fix as the thermal cycles that the Valeo starter sees on your bike are likely more severe than seen on a car (no cooling air moving past the bike starter). So eventually the magnets will become unstuck again. I don't know about the improved Valeo.

    Next option is to find an old Bosch starter. The magnets are mechanically attached, but the starter turns the engine over more slowly and draws more current. You may be able to find a Bosch starter for $150 to $200. New bushings may be needed - the bushings are relatively inexpensive (less than $10).

    Finally, as mentioned get a Nippondenso starter from Rick at Motorrad Elektrik (or Bob's BMW) for $350. This uses magnets that are mechanically attached but draws less starting current.

    Bump starting of airheads is not recommended by a number of the airhead "gurus". The reason being that the impulse reverse torque applied from bump starting could cause the tapered fit driveshaft to become decoupled from the transmission output shaft. If this happens, removal of the transmission is necessary.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Howell MI

    Smile Velero starto fix

    I agree with robsmoto on using the short Saturn starter. The one I got had the magnets held in with metal clips like good starters do. Changed mine before the magnets became unglued. Starter has been working great for about 10K.
    Stuck the old part in the cabinate on the million to one odds a call would come from the anonymous book. Two Sundays ago the call came because of another Velero starter failure. Glad I was able to help him keep going for a while.


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