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How can I test the starter while it's in the bike?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Uglies, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    I'm having some issues with a 81 xs650 , the battery is new and when I go to start it the relay clicks. The lights and speedo all work and when I took the starter cable and touched the positive side of the battery it didnt spin.

    Is there a way to test the starter with it still on the bike?
     
  2. DogBunny

    DogBunny Motorcychologist Top Contributor

    You just did. Direct cable form the terminal on the starter to the battery positive. If nothing happens, starter is bad.
     
    GLJ likes this.
  3. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    Damn that sucks, but thank You I'm on to trying to take it out and buy a new one then
     
  4. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Check your grounds, especially the battery to frame strap. I find about 1/2 of them are junk. Frame to engine connection also matters, oddly 6 bolted connections aren't always enough. :unsure: We've a seen a few times where the starter attempted to ground through the small black ground wires, that gets ugly fast.
    I'm a fan of "grab a big screwdriver and short the large solenoid terminals" test.
    Other gotchas are the cable to starter connection and occasionally, the starter gets filled with motor oil. That usually exhibits as slow starter action and a distinctly "liquid" sound during operation.
     
    GLJ likes this.
  5. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    Yea checked them a few times
     
  6. DogBunny

    DogBunny Motorcychologist Top Contributor

    What Gary said. When you get the engine out of the frame, test it again to make sure.
     
    gggGary and GLJ like this.
  7. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    I have to take the motor out in order to take the starter out? Damn I have three bolts of four out already and that would explain why I couldn't get to the last one
     
    gggGary likes this.
  8. DogBunny

    DogBunny Motorcychologist Top Contributor

    My bad. Yeah, I forgot, you do NOT have to take the motor out of the frame.
     
    gggGary likes this.
  9. DogBunny

    DogBunny Motorcychologist Top Contributor

    You do need an offset wrench to get that last bolt out. The one in the set from Harbor Freight works. There are two different styles of bolts that hold the starter in, so note where they go.
     
    lakeview and gggGary like this.
  10. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    Whew lol I need to figure out how to get the last screw out it really wedged between stuff
     
    gggGary likes this.
  11. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Not fun but doable, I bent up a cheap 12mm wrench with a propane torch for that last bolt.
    Hint when reinstalling the 4 mounting bolts should be in before the starter is fully in place.
    Think chainsaw juggling. :lmao:
     
    GLJ likes this.
  12. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    These bolts all seem to be 13mm so far, I have a few of them I'll try to bend up in a vice, good idea
     
    GLJ likes this.
  13. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Then it's a 73 or earlier. ;)
     
  14. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    Got it in on a trade for building a lady a bike the title says 1980
     
  15. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    You may not need to buy a new starter. It could be just crusty, rusted, and/or oil got past the seal, etc. You may be able to rebuild it. Taking it apart isn't too difficult, and while I haven't done it in a while, but pretty sure you can get seals for it still.
     
  16. Uglies

    Uglies XS650 Enthusiast

    Cool I'll try cleaning it first and see what happens thanks
     
  17. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge, is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Did you pull the dust cover off the power terminal? Here's what mine looked like. If yours looks like that, I'd try a new cable before you remove the starter.

    1.5.jpg
     
    arcticXS, timbeck, Mailman and 3 others like this.
  18. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    18,829
    9,635
    688
    Yes, that was the issue with mine when I got it, that cable connection on the starter motor was all corroded and the starter didn't work. The rubber boot covering it was split so water was able to get in (and obviously did, lol). I cleaned it all up and it's worked fine for many years now.
     
    arcticXS and timbeck like this.

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