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Thread: R100RT sudden starting problems

  1. #1

    R100RT sudden starting problems

    I have a 1995 R100RT Classic that has suddenly won't start; the bike was running perfectly one day and the next...crank crank crank click click click. The battery is fine, lights on, voltmeter at 12v, etc. I have read that this could be the starter relay, wiring, etc. Has anyone out there experienced this situation and what is the best troubleshooting path?

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    Ted -

    Welcome to the forum! I would say that many, from time to time, have experienced this. You should start at the battery, using a separate digital multimeter. Monitor the voltage at the battery terminals while cranking. Does it stay at 12.5v or so while cranking? Then it's not the battery and something upstream, like the relay or corrosion somewhere. If the battery reading plummets, say to 9v or so, it's the battery.

    You say the battery's fine, but you have to but verify! In most cases, it usually is the battery that's the problem. If you suspect the battery, take it out and to a local auto parts store...they can load test it for you.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #3
    You say,"....crank, crank,crank,click,click,click...".

    Does the starter motor turn at all?, or just a few rolls and then to the clicking?

    If such as above, it screams weak battery to me, but be sure to check your cables at the terminals to make sure they are tight. A few hours on a charger should reveal much. Remember, a bad battery is like an electrical 'Black Hole".

    When you get to the place where you KNOW the battery is good, (load test) then move on to the relay, connections, and wiring.

    If you get to where the motor turns over reliably and no start, check for these;


    I'd look at spark first, then fuel.
    best of luck...

  4. #4
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Walnut Creek, CA
    You didn't say where you live. There are a bunch of us around here that would love the opportunity to hop on our bikes and give you a hand. I agree with James A. The crank, crank, crank, click, click, click sounds like low battery juice to me. Another good way to determine if it's the battery is to jump the battery with a known good one.

    Best of luck, and report back what the cause is.
    Jeff in W.C.
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
    "I got my motorcycle jacket but I'm walking all the time." Joe Strummer

  5. #5
    #4869 DennisDarrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Sugar Valley, Ga
    If it turns over REALLY GOOD before the click click of the starter solenoid then I would do regular trouble shooting methods. YOU DO HAVE A GOOD BATTERY?

    An engine needs fuel, fire, and compression........Did you have your gas turned on? Is gas in the carb bowls? Did you pull a plug and ground it to see if you have fire?.........on and on.......No mystery here just mechanical common sense. When you have isolated that no it isn't perhaps not getting fuel, then work on THAT system instead of everything else..........Good luck and God bless.......Dennis

  6. #6
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    It's the battery.

    Lights on is meaningless.

    12V at the battery isn't enough.

    It's always the battery.

    A good test: jump start it from your car.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  7. #7
    Thank you everyone for the advice. This gives me the opportunity to open up the bike and learn systems, diagnostics and problem solving. This could have happened on some rural back road in the rain rather than my garage where it's wheels up for the winter anyhow. I'll let you know what happens next.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Tularosa, NM

    Jumping . . .

    It's OK to use a car battery for jumping. . .


    BTW, in my direct experience, "it's the battery" is true about 9 times out of 10, as others have indicated. Without a load test -- you can screw around for days and days chasing gremlins, only to find. . ."it's the battery." (DAMHIK)

    +1 for Odyssey, but that's just me. Don't mean to start a fight, nor a battery thread!

    Walking Eagle

  9. #9
    Registered User krpntr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Mt Vernon WA

    trouble shooting electrics

    Before you start digging around the bikes electrics it is important to start with a fully charged battery. If it refuses to take a charge, its the battery.

  10. #10
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Pismo Beach, CA
    If it's over two years old, replace it. I've even had a brand-spankin' new battery prove defective, so don't assume that it's okay.

    NAPA stores usually have a battery load-testing set up.

    It never hurts to have a fresh battery, imo.
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  11. #11
    My son & I had the exact problem with his 95 R100RT.
    It was the starter relay.
    We replaced the relay and the bike has been fine since.

  12. #12
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Fairbanks, AK
    I had a similar experience and it turned out to be the starter relay as well. Except mine was usually click, click, click, crank, run....
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
    2012 Ural Patrol
    Airhead #10576

  13. #13
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Chicago, IL
    In my limited experience, click, click, click, is almost always the starter relay (specifically, connections on the relay). I've seen this happen several times as the weather starts to turn. Interestingly, the dash idiot lights also get a little wonky when the weather gets cold. Disconnect, clean, a little crimp with the needle nose pliers and all is good!

  14. #14
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    In my not as apparently limited experience, click, click, click is a dead battery.

    If you can jump start the bike, it's not the relay. It's the easiest, nothing taken apart test.

    This bike's a '95 and not a '75 so unless the owner lives on the seashore it's had lots less time for corrosion and other wiring and relay problems to occur.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Planet Earth
    Relays fail in a number of ways. Since these are not sealed relays, rain water will cause them to fail over time. I have had to replace starter relays in all my airheads.

    It is important to remember that the starter relay will always have a diode or resister to quench the voltage surge.

    Testing the battery would always be my first option. Then I would test the relay. And finally look at the starter unit.

    If you decide to replace the starter relay, make sure you get one with a diode. Otherwise, you will be replacing the starter at a later date.

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