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Discussion Starter #1
Hello world,

I have a problem with my 1989 883 sportster starter motor. It all worked well until the other month. I dismantled the chain case and removed the starter motor and gave it a good clean and check out. All resistances are good. Everything spins as it should while on the work bench, actuator works well. When I replace the starter and take the plugs out the engine spins as it should when I press the starter button.

But when I replace the plugs back in the engine - it will not turn over when I press the starter button. Nothing seems to happen. No obvious sound of anything happening.

So I deduce not enough power to turn the engine on full compression. Which means a dead/malfunctioning motor?

Before I pay for a new one - is there any common wisdom as to what might be worth checking again. All the coils look good, brushes look good, all clean and nicely reassembled. All resistances within tolerances set by the manual. Just no real power to turn the engine. WTF!?!

All (useful) comments welcomed. :0)
 

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Check your battery voltage.

Sent from my SM-A102U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hello - I have rechecked/charged the bike battery and have also tried using a car battery with jumper cables. Both ways I can spin the motor without the plugs and not when the spark plugs are screwed in. It seems the motor lacks torque. It seems that the coils have the right resistance and all connections - and cables - seem good. Checked for resistance and continuity. I have had this problem for some time and have done most of the simple things. I have even disassembled the starter and actuator and checked that is all as specified. Its a bit weird... Anyhow I have now found a sale priced replacement starter motor so lets see if that makes any difference. It should at least tell me if the starter or the electrics are faulty.
 

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Hello world,

I have a problem with my 1989 883 sportster starter motor. It all worked well until the other month. I dismantled the chain case and removed the starter motor and gave it a good clean and check out. All resistances are good. Everything spins as it should while on the work bench, actuator works well. When I replace the starter and take the plugs out the engine spins as it should when I press the starter button.

But when I replace the plugs back in the engine - it will not turn over when I press the starter button. Nothing seems to happen. No obvious sound of anything happening.

So I deduce not enough power to turn the engine on full compression. Which means a dead/malfunctioning motor?

Before I pay for a new one - is there any common wisdom as to what might be worth checking again. All the coils look good, brushes look good, all clean and nicely reassembled. All resistances within tolerances set by the manual. Just no real power to turn the engine. WTF!?!

All (useful) comments welcomed. :0)
I had the same issue with my 04 sporty, i disassembled cleaned and inspected the starter blah, blah,
ended up with same scenario.
However, my second and more thorough "autopsy" revealed that one of the crescent shaped copper contacts in the solenoid ( the one on the battery cable side ) was burnt down to half of its original width due to arcing etc. which prevented the contact ring from making a good solid connection. So, i removed the lug, cut 15cents worth of copper wire from a piece of romex, broke out the brazing tip, built it up, dressed it up with a file and, . . . . now if you even think about hitting the starter button, that Blucksucker fires right up.
Then you can immediately resume cruising around, beating up old ladies, and snatching their handbags.! 😉👍
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yes -- a good suggestion, so I followed it up. But the little crescent contacts seemed OK. A little pitted which was cleaned with some fine emery cloth and wiped with a lightly oiled tissue. When all reassembled and bolted up - it still didn't turn the engine. Grrrr. I was quite hopeful this might be the problem but it seems not. I now have a replacement motor smaller but more powerful. So they say. I will remove the faulty unit and fit the new one over the weekend. Here's hoping.....
 

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I'm hoping one of the guru's (or at least one of the electrical engineer brainiac's) will help you out.
IMO you got your money's worth out of that starter if it was an original.
If you are looking for a replacement, my indy friend told me to never buy used electrical parts. There is a reason you can't return them to a parts store. Buy new.
 

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try a starter relay first.... 5h3n make sure the relay is grounded...
make a test cable from 14 or 12 gauge wire,,, qligator clqmp on 1 end.. put the bike in neutral,,, clamp the jumper wire you just made to the small terminal on the selenoid,,, now touch the other end to the just recharged battery,,, make sure to test 5he battery for 12.6-13.2 volts standing,, when you touch the end to the battery it will spin indication an issue with the low voltage side,,, ,if it does not spin,, cables, relay, battery, or internal contacts in the selenoid or starter...

i swear, im not rewriting these instructions again. ive probably done son a dozen or more times,,, and most of those having issues always think their starter is different than all that were made that year,,, like a cvo has a different starter,,, lol!! lol..
 

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With a fully charged battery (12.6 volts or above),put a volt meter on the battery posts.Take note of the voltage.Hit the starter button and ee what the voltage is.If the voltage takes a LARGE drop then the battery is toast.If it only drops a few volts then the battery is good.
 

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I replace the contacts on any Denso I remove (about twenty bucks online, they're used on millions of cars and trucks too). The same OSGRs are sold aftermarket with end housings for American V8s. Your local auto starter shop works on heaps of them for Hondas and Toyotas (among others) and can load test and quickly repair them for you (OP already replaced his but this may help other readers). Contacts wear (especially due to weak batteries) but they're cheaper than buying conventional solenoids. Starter clutches fail sometimes but are easy to swap. Many bike shops just replace malfunctioning starters because the bike shop labor rate to sort them out isn't worth it but any mechanically inclined owner can overhaul them easily. All my Densos get a pushbutton end cover to bypass the entire control circuit as backup and for conveniently "bumping" the engine for maintenance. Check the car starter videos on Youtube as there are several that cover overhauls.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Weird and weirder still, said Alice....

Thanks for the various suggestions. They at least prompt me back to the task to see what can be done. Its easy to get depressed with no bike in sunny weather! :0)

I have bought a new starter motor (an "improved" new part) and fitted it. If the spark plugs are out the starter turns the engine. So the wiring is in principle OK.
When I replace the plugs the starter does not turn the engine. I had a dream that my plugs were too long and holding the piston crown - but it obviously is not that!

If the starter motor is new/working and everything does turn when the plugs are out, then the problem must be down to supply of current. The motor cannot draw enough current to turn the engine seems to be the most obvious reason So I am buying a new battery and trying that. Fill it, charge it and then fit it. The old battery was not bad (tested at 14.2V out of circuit and 13.1 in place). But it is the thing that supplies the current and I have no instant way of testing cranking amps. So best eliminate that variable form the equation.
I'll let y'all know how it goes... :0/

...now lets go find that caterpillar.
 

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The "improved" part is an upgrade (the older style is out of production) and can take the aftermarket pushbutton solenoid end cover because it has the later much more common shape. With a known good starter and battery what remains is the cables (which being ancient I replace, I make mine from light gauge welding cable). Ensure good connections including ground (which means disconnecting, inspecting and cleaning).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hello All,
My thanks to "casement" who made the right suggestion just as I discovered it myself. I made some new cables up - in the manner suggested. The engine turned over and fired up fine. and And now "we have potatoes - "Potato, Potato"
So it was definitely the cables!
And the point that the new body will take the emergency push button is also a good thing to know. At least I have an "Old style" spare now! :0)
My thanks to all the people that made suggestions. We got there in the end.
 
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