Author Topic: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?  (Read 537 times)

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Offline cyclobutch

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’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« on: June 15, 2017, 12:55:01 AM »
Yeah, me again. Issues are maybe backing up now I’m using the bike.

I think I’ve probably got a problem brewing with my electric start (no kicker on the early Evo – but you knew that). Even with a good battery (and I do have a good fresh one fitted right now) the bike has always had that clunk – hesitate – spin that I think is probably common to most Harleys.

I guess for some time now, on occasions, that clunk has been a more pained sound of, kind of graunching just a for a moment. After which the motor spins up and starts fine. I figured maybe if I took to sticking the bike in gear and pushed back into a preceding compression stroke before going back to neutral and thumbing the button, that would help. It doesn’t.

This momentary noise is real bad, real loud. Like a sudden quick tear of calico right up against your ear. So far the starter has never failed to then spin up the engine and start it as usual. It doesn’t do it every time, and I think mostly when the bike is cold, but there must be something bad going on in there, and I guess before long there will be some kind of horrible failure.

Does that explanation make any sense? Has anyone any experience of this?
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Offline xlfan

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 07:45:07 AM »
Try to log voltage drop over solenoid when starter is activated. You might need a solenoid end cover drilled over solenoid to starter contact, to gain access to contact with probe. My guess would be worn and/or pitted solenoid contact points.

Offline Dan89flstc

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 05:52:53 PM »
I think you have a starter clutch going out.

Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 01:40:10 AM »
Further thoughts; as I was talking to a pal down the pub on this one last night. He was suggesting I pop the primary cover and have a look at how the starter pinion engages on the ring gear around the clutch drum. Not a bad idea, but that then got me thinking further – I had cause to swap out the clutch basket just a couple of years ago after the magnets started to break up in back of the original. Though I’m not sure if the onset of the ‘problem’ doesn’t pre-date that. Also, having put the bike back on the road this week I found I had to adjust the clutch cable – there was just a little too much slack at the lever. That is odd – apart from whenever I’ve had that primary cover off, I’ve never had to adjust the cable when in service. Maybe something is moving in there?

Anyway, I’m going to take the bike off the road for now pending attention on this. It will be some weeks before I can pull it down but I will then report back. Thanks for the suggestions so far, I’ll be working on those also.

One last question - am I going have enough access to the starter itself without pulling the rear exhaust header?
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Offline hogpipes1

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 09:19:13 PM »
DIS -the battery before you pull pri- off, The starter -sol  is  alive and hot   with key off. Fingers , ring gear , starter gear  don't mix.

Offline Panzer

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 01:42:18 PM »
DIS -the battery before you pull pri- off, The starter -sol  is  alive and hot   with key off. Fingers , ring gear , starter gear  don't mix.


 :agree: unless you want to be called "lefty".  :emsad:
You don't have to shovel sunshine ..... let's ride.

Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 05:40:03 AM »
Ha - a good tip; thanks.

Had the bike up on the table and pulled the primary this weekend just gone. All looks good. Found some degree of wobble on the clutch drum so pulled that off to look at the bearing at the back - seemed OK. So it's all gone back for now.

Knowing that at least it's OK in there I have it pressed back into commuting duties this morning. Next job will to be a closer look at the starter itself. It looks impenetrable to me right now.
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Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 05:25:19 AM »
Had a suggestion my VOES or the pipe to it might be U/S. Gonna check that too.

(All these years and I'd never heard of a VOES until yesterday)
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Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 05:07:03 AM »
Update;

As they weren't whole heaps of money I'd bought a new VOES switch anyway. Finally had the bike up on the table on Saturday and swapped it out. The old one seemed to still be working when I sucked on the tube, so I wasn't so confident on this one.

Road tested this morning on the commute. Started OK on a fairly deflated battery. I was also able to maybe imaging that the low speed running was a little better too. Not much of a test yet as the problem was somewhat intermittent, so we'll see ...
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Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 04:26:17 AM »
Problem persists. And I've since been advised that the VOES acts more as a rev limiter anyway and I should just throw it away.

Bike is being pulled down in a few months for hard tailing anyway so I'll investigate further whilst everything is out on the bench then. As has been pointed out here - I should just stop screwing around and look closer at the starter itself.
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Offline Hossamania

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 08:33:08 AM »
Rather than remove the VOES, leave it installed and make sure you have no vacuum leaks. It is not a rev limiter, your ignition is. The voes changes timing under load to prevent detonation and really has nothing to do with starting.
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Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 05:41:35 AM »
Update;

Nights are drawing in here. First evening commute with the lights on – OK. Second evening and I have a mis-fire; just when the light are on.
So I’ve take it off the road – you declare SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) here in the UK and got the rest of your road tax back.

Next up I’ll test the charging on the bench. Then the bike is being hard tailed, which will probly take me a year or two.
So I’ll expect to check the motor and starter over whilst it is all out anyway.   

Any further issues/stooped questions I’ll raise under their own sections as they arise.

Thanks all.
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Offline farmall

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2017, 12:04:52 PM »
Starters aren't immortal so a commutator inspection and cleaning, and brush inspection would be wise. I replace the fecal stock cables with light gauge welding cable and lugs from my local welding supply. I've never seen an aftermarket cable match welding cable which is fine strand (high ampacity and easy flex) and has high temp insulation. Battery terminal lug holes need to be quarter inch. I get those lugs off Ebay. Crimp lugs, cover with the heat shrink you remembered to slide over the wire before crimping the lug, done.

Good earth connections are as important as sound hot connections.

Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2018, 07:16:21 AM »
Hard tailing on hold - lack of funds.

Swapping the starter out ...
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Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 10:24:23 AM »
New starter installed.

Misfire turned out to be ignition module. Also replaced.

Now destitute. Send funds.
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Offline PC_Hater

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 11:08:25 AM »
New starter installed.

Misfire turned out to be ignition module. Also replaced.

Now destitute. Send funds.

What you should have done is installed the Led Sled Customs kickstart kit. It would have made a man of you and would have found the fault earlier!  :wink:
1942 WLA45 chop, 1999 FLTR(not I), 2000 1200S

Offline cyclobutch

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Re: ’88 XLH1200 – Bad Starter?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2018, 10:41:35 AM »
Yeah that would have been win/win I guess.

I've got other bikes on kicker only, but probly nothing quite on that scale.
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