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Thread: Starter not engaging 2003 Rockster

  1. #1
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    Starter not engaging 2003 Rockster

    I am not sure if I need a new battery, starter, or some elbow grease cleanup/lube. The starter on my new Rockster only engages some of the time. Is this a 'clean it up and re-lube the drive' fix, or am I in for some new parts?

    My boat starter did the same thing and a lot of WD40 and physical work cleaned out the dried grease and grit that was hindering the engagement. Can I be that lucky twice?

  2. #2
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    i'll bet you can figure out how to do the.. "there's only one way to find out".....
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  3. #3
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    Yes, you can certainly be that lucky again; and it is probably easier to remove the bike's starter. Please disconnect the battery first.

  4. #4
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandparipper View Post
    I am not sure if I need a new battery, starter, or some elbow grease cleanup/lube. The starter on my new Rockster only engages some of the time. Is this a 'clean it up and re-lube the drive' fix, or am I in for some new parts?

    My boat starter did the same thing and a lot of WD40 and physical work cleaned out the dried grease and grit that was hindering the engagement. Can I be that lucky twice?
    When it doesn't engage, is the starter motor spinning? I bet it is. You could need a new battery but it's hard to tell from the symptoms.

    As you describe it, it sounds as if it needs cleaning and lubricationÔÇömy 2004 which I bought last year did. The grease was dry and stiff so the starter took a while to disengage.

    If you search around the site you can find some pictorials if you need them.

  5. #5
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    just remember the starter has bronze bushings, do not use high moly content grease. just use regular sort of translucent grease.

    Rod

  6. #6
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    In another thread you said you just acquired this bike. Whenever I buy a used bike I always replace the battery. I don't care what the PO tells me about it. That way I eliminate one maintenance variable. FWIW I have an 03 R1150R that has never had any starter problems. Actually the bike has never had any problems of any kind.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  7. #7
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    It could be a faulty starter nose drive but I suspect a more insidious problem. Here is why. On those starters power is directed to the big lug on the solenoid. When the solenoid engages fully it closes the connection to supply power to turn the motor. The starter ought not start to turn until the nose drive has been pushed fully forward by the solenoid.

    It might be possible for a very dirty, gritty drive to not go fully forward by the time the solenoid is fully engaged but I'm not sure of that. What I suspect you have is one or more damaged teeth on the flywheel. Usually when the engine stops turing it is at about the same position - when it runs out of inertia as one or the other pistons is approaching the top of a compression stroke. So most of the time the same few teeth are by the starter when the engine stops.

    I would remove the starter and thoroughly clean and lubricate the sliding starter nose drive. BUT, I would also very carefully examine every tooth on the flywheel to detect any sign of abnormal wear or a broken tooth. You will need to turn the flywheel all the way around to do this. The easy way to turn the engine is to remove the front cover and turn the engine clockwise viewing from the front with a wrench on the alternator pulley bolt on the end of the crankshaft.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  8. #8
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    Thank you so much!

    I appreciate the ideas and input, not to mention your speed in your responses. I will remove, inspect, clean, and check the starter and the battery. Yes, I will disconnect the battery first.

    What happens with bronze and moly grease?

    I took it out for a 75 mile ride yesterday and it only spun once without engaging. That may point to a marginal battery that was temporarily stronger due to charging up more while on the ride.

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