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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright...so to vent, this bike is really starting to annoy. Bought it brand new, 0 miles, and so far it's given me more problems than the '06 I sold for it.

I've searched and found multiple threads regarding this, but I'm specifically looking for any quick info on where the battery terminals run to?

Basically, my bike starts right up every day if the engine is cold. But once I ride, even if it's a mile or two down the street to fill it up with gas, when I try to start it back up, 9 times out of 10 it just cranks and cranks, but it won't turn over.

What makes my situation a bit different than other threads I've read is that my gauges literally flash on and off when it's cranking, as if the battery terminals are loose. But my terminals are quite snug and clean. I'm really hoping there is just a loose connection somewhere, but I'm not even sure where the cables route to on this bike.

For T/S purposes, I just took the following readings at the battery:

-Bike off, key in 'off' position: 12.81V
-Bike off, key in 'run' position: 12.46V
-Cranking: Lowest I saw was 10.6V
-Running: 14.34V

I understand that resistance can build up in electrical components as they heat up...so I guess where would you start looking? The bike now has a bit over 8k miles. I don't see how anything could be failing already...stator, plugs, battery. I know it's in the realm of possibility, but again, the bike starts without any issue when it's cold. I really hope I don't have to start testing every freaking sensor.

As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Shaun
 

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Remove and disassemble the starter. Magnets glued inside can come loose, which leads to increased current draw and a flickering dash even if the starter appears to be cranking. I had a similar issue with hot starts and flickering dash and found shattered magnets inside.

Bike has trouble firing up because the starter is causing such a large voltage drop that there's none left for spark or fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Remove and disassemble the starter. Magnets glued inside can come loose, which leads to increased current draw and a flickering dash even if the starter appears to be cranking. I had a similar issue with hot starts and flickering dash and found shattered magnets inside.

Bike has trouble firing up because the starter is causing such a large voltage drop that there's none left for spark or fuel.
Thanks Blade. So I have the shop manual, and it seems, at least for my bike, there is an additional bolt not shown in the manual holding the starter in place. This bolt is on the 'back', or rather, in the center of the bike, behind the starter. I think I'll have to remove the tank and/or airbox to get to it from the top, PITA.

I dont suppose there is a way to test the starter itself?
 

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Lift the tank. No need to remove the airbox. Two 10mm bolts hold the starter in place. Unfortunately, the only way is to visually inspect it.

What you describe is exactly how my bike behaved. It would start fine cold, but when it gets hot it will struggle. Then one day, it didn't start up at all when I accidentally stalled the motor and got stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Link to original thread: Is your bike slow to crank? Do NOT ignore the issue...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh yes I remember that thread, I actually commented in it haha.

I tried just lifting the tank when I was messing around with it. With the tank lifted up (i.e., leaving the two 'pivot' bolts in), there is next to no space between my tank and the airbox, certainly not enough to get a hand and wrench down there.
 

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Sorry, I should've clarified. By lift the tank, I meant remove it so it's out of the way. On your bike, the charcoal canister is mounted above the front sprocket. You may need to remove that temporarily so you can pull the starter back and out once the two bolts are loose.
 

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I have the same issue, definitely not the starter motor, I have changed the battery but that didn't help either. It felt more like an immobilizer issue but I swapped keys and it way still the same. To double check I push started it and it fired immediately so it's not the immobilizer
 

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I have the same issue, definitely not the starter motor, I have changed the battery but that didn't help either. It felt more like an immobilizer issue but I swapped keys and it way still the same. To double check I push started it and it fired immediately so it's not the immobilizer
The results you describe after a new battery and push start strongly suggest the issue is the starter. How did you confirm it's "definitely not the starter motor"? Did you visually inspect the internals?

If the factory starters have a high failure rate, then just replacing the starter with new unit wouldn’t resolve it, right? Better to rebuild the starter?
It appears to be an issue related to the adhesive coming loose inside. Can't truly rebuild it, as the magnets and cylindrical housing have to be replaced.
 

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It appears to be an issue related to the adhesive coming loose inside. Can't truly rebuild it, as the magnets and cylindrical housing have to be replaced.
Got it. And it seems the only starter parts Honda does not sell individually are the housing/yoke and armature so we are forced to get a new complete unit unless a known working used one is available... and we can't be certain if the brand new yokes have failing adhesive or not.
 

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What makes it such a deceptive issue is the magnets do not come loose all at once. There are several magnets glued in a circle in the cylindrical shell and there's a small gap between the magnets. It starts off as one magnet coming loose, and you don't notice it much but over time more and more magnets come loose until the starter is so inefficient that it draws enough current to make the dash flicker, most noticeable on older bikes if you look at the green neutral light. Then the dash will start to reset on/off and eventually the starter is unable to start the bike even when cold.
Fluid Gas Automotive tire Liquid Plastic


Funny thing is, if you upgrade to a lithium battery, the extra current will let the starter work for a bit, until the magnets shatter for good and leave you stranded. On a 2009+ with a slipper clutch, you cannot even push start the bike.
 

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I had a similar problem. It would start fine cold. Then I would ride 5-10 miles and stop for gas. Not everytime, but maybe 50%of the time it would not turn over fast enough to start and the voltage would jump all over the place. I’d crack the throttle just slightly, try again, and it would start. Then I ride it 70 miles or so and it’s fine the rest of the day.

I checked the battery voltage a few times and saw nothing of concern. After a few months of this I finally put a new battery in it about six weeks ago. It’s been fine ever since. I should point out that it’s a 2018 that I bought new in 2020.
 

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For T/S purposes, I just took the following readings at the battery:

-Bike off, key in 'off' position: 12.81V
-Bike off, key in 'run' position: 12.46V
-Cranking: Lowest I saw was 10.6V
-Running: 14.34V
Good charging system. First 3 measurements points towards weak battery. Here's what I usually like to see:

  • right after ride, everything off: 13.5-13.8v
  • sit overnight everything off: 13.2-13.5v
  • key ON, RUN: 13.1.13.4v
  • during cranking: > 11.5v

Do test using jumper cables:

1. startup bike cold just fine.
2. ride around for mile and come back
3. try starting bike and having it fail
4. connect it with jumper cables to KNOWN GOOD auto battery (one that starts car just fine, leave car off, we're just borrowing its battery)
5. wiggle jumper cables to ensure good contact.
6. start bike, does it start Ok? might be good to monitor voltages before/during/after to compare to before
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I still havent even gotten mine out to tear it apart. This is such a hassle, but I'm kinda glad I'm not the only one. Interestingly mine hasn't done the flashing dash once since I made the OP...there was one instance where it almost did, but it did start a split second later. The bike idled really low like it wanted to stall for about 3 seconds, then it was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What makes it such a deceptive issue is the magnets do not come loose all at once...
Alright, I've got mine off the bike now, and snapped some photos:

Gas Auto part Nickel Metal Machine


Automotive tire Rim Auto part Automotive wheel system Circle


Finger Gas Circle Wrist Button


Finger Gas Circle Button Metal


I know it's actual condition is a bit ambiguous from these photos. I'm not at all sure how to disassemble it further. On the main shaft that has the gear on the end (the bottom photo above with the yellow stuff) there is a c-clip (or whatever it's called). I don't have the requisite tool to remove that clip, so if that's what's needed to get everything out of the tube, I'm SOL for the time being.

I did use a flashlight to inspect the magnets as best as possible, and there isnt anything glaring that suggests it is faulty. They all appear to be intact without any damage.

Anything you can gather just by looking at the photos? Or anything else I can test while I have this pulled out (sensors, etc)?


Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The entire core can be pulled out. It's only held in place by the magnets. Inspect for any cracking/melting of the epoxy used to seal the copper coils.
Okay, got it out. More photos below. Everything looks new as far as I can tell. If anything, the magnets and the yellow stuff are dirty....looks like old oil maybe, but no melting or cracking. The photos all look the same, but I did rotate the cylinder to get them all. Should these be oil-free? If so, what would be an appropriate cleaner to use?

Automotive tire Finger Thumb Circle Rim


Automotive tire Finger Household hardware Rim Gas


Automotive tire Finger Thumb Wood Household hardware


Circuit component Auto part Cable Passive circuit component Electronic component
 

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Starter appears to be in excellent condition. You've effectively ruled out a starter issue. The only other factor that could cause such a voltage drop in the battery voltage is the battery itself at this point. At this point, I would attempt to replicate the issue by starting the bike, riding around as you mentioned, then try to replicate the issue. When it refuses to start, hook up a portable jump starter and see if it cranks.

Alternatively, swap in a different battery. It's very unusual for a new OEM battery to fail after only 8k miles, but at this point it's the most likely culprit.
 
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