Starter spins but won't catch... - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 06-06-2009, 04:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Starter spins but won't catch...

I'm the proud owner of a '96 Shadow ACE 1100 with 31k miles on it. This bike has been awesome, and maintanence free, until now. Last week, after 2k trouble-free miles this year, I couldn't get my bike to start one morning. The temp was in the 40s, so I attributed it to cold or I had possibly flooded it when trying to start it. It happened again the next day while the temp was in the 60s, but this time I couldn't get it started before draining the battery. I thought it could possibly be out of gas, so I filled it up, but the issue persists.

To further describe, when the ignition is on, the lights are on bright (horn works, too), and it seems juiced and ready to go. When I hit the start button, the starter motor spins just like it always has, but the engine doesn't turn at all. Well, it makes one quick pop or grumble at the start, and then nothing at all. It does this about 80% of the time (the other 20% of the time, it catches right away, and gives me trouble-free riding until I turn it off). I don't know if it's a fuel issue, or a spark issue, or maybe even a starter issue. Any advice? It pains me greatly to have the bike sit in the garage on an 80 degree day.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think its a fuel or spark issue if the starter spins but the motor doen't turn. It sounds like a starter issue or at least a starter clutch. I'm not familiar with bike starters but hold on. Someone who is will be along soon to put you in the right direction.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like the starter clutch. I am not familiar with your particular bike but I just replaced one on the wife's Rebel 250. On some bikes (like the Rebel) it is mounted outside the crankcase under a cover plate. On some models it is mounted in the crankcase and will require the crankcase halves to be sepeated (MAJOR bummer). Get a good manual and read up on your bike. What will shock and amaze you is the reason the starter clutch has stopped working. It is because of three tiny springs in the clutch that have become too weak to hold engagement. People have actually replaced the factory springs with springs from a ball point pen and it worked as well as the factory springs. Good luck. The is a thread detailing the job on a Rebel 450 on the Rebel forum. That would be one where the clutch is mounted inside the crankcase. You may get lucky and just find a bad starter connection. Check all of the wiring real good before you do anything else.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starter spins but won't catch...

Quote:
Originally Posted by two_wheeler_healer
When I hit the start button, the starter motor spins just like it always has, but the engine doesn't turn at all. Well, it makes one quick pop or grumble at the start, and then nothing at all.
Based on previous experience, we need to make one VERY important clarification first.....which is a little fuzzy from your description:

Is the engine REALLY not turning or is it just not FIRING?
If the starter is making a whine that is higher pitched than normal and you don't feel or hear a little poof-poof from the exhaust, then you likely have a starter of starter clutch problem.
BUT
If the engine IS turning over, but just not firing, then that is a WHOLE different ball game and we need to start over.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I do think it putt putts a bit. Occasionally, when I first hit the start button, it will chug a few times. If I really get on the gas at that point, I can make it start. This morning, it took me about 40 minutes to get it going (30 minutes on a battery charger as I killed the battery in the first 10 trying to start it). The thing is that once it's started, it runs like a raped ape. I really don't see it being a fuel or spark issue, as it probably wouldn't run that good if it was.

Right now, my guess is either starter or ignition of some sort. I picked up some fresh plugs for it, and some wires, as these were due to be replaced anyway. I'm going to put a spark plug into each wire and see if I get spark and try to rule out the ignition. Otherwise, I'm back to square one if the hard starting continues. I also plan on removing the gas tank and checking hoses and replacing the fuel filter, as again, these things are cheap and should have been done in the past anyways.

Not saying it is, but if it is the starter, does anybody know if the '96 ACE's starter requires tearing apart the crankcase, or is it accessible? Also, does anybody have any better ideas as to what could be causing a bike to be such a hard starter but smooth runner when it does get going? Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two_wheeler_healer
I do think it putt putts a bit. Occasionally, when I first hit the start button, it will chug a few times.
OK, entirely different problem than what your original post sounded like.

What we have, it would appear, is: It turns over but won't fire.

You are on the right track with some routine things that need to be done anyway....and you might add a new battery to the list if it is over 2 years old.

What you have is very likely NOT a starter issue; the starter is doing it's job of turning the engine over.

What happens next depends on whether it is carbs or FI and since I'm not familiar with that model, it is time for someone ELSE to pick up the ball.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I hate to ask the obvious, but are you using the choke?

Mine won't start the first time even on a 70 degree day without using the choke. I've put nearly 14k miles on it in the past 12 months and every day I have to choke it on the first start. If it putt-putts and dies, that sounds to me a bit like you either aren't using the choke or the choke isn't working.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm curious if you can push start your bike when you can't electrically start it as normal. Push starting is nearly the same as a kick starting but since there's no kicker on a shadow you might try push starting and see that works. After all, It could just a wimpy starter problem.

But from everything you've said, I'd conclude that you need either a new starter, starter solenoid or battery. It sounds like all you hear is the starter motor turning but not engaged. Usually, starters and solenoids are all in one unit. But since I don't have a manual on that bike I can't say. Then again, it might be a weak battery since what you have now might not have enough amps to engage the relay in the starter motor.

Of course, there's always wiring! Are you sure you didn't nick a wire from your ignition switch to a solenoid/starter and THAT'S all the problem is? Again, a shop manual would help.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Choke works fine. Engine revs appropriately when bike is running. I typically try starting once without choke, and once with choke (only if it is needed). I'm positive the problem does not lie within the choke. I'm giving her the tuneup tomorrow, and we'll see if something magically gets fixed. Otherwise, a trip to the surgeon, I mean mechanic, is in order. I do like the idea of trying to push start it to see if the problem persists though. I might have to try that.
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two_wheeler_healer
I typically try starting once without choke, and once with choke (only if it is needed). I'm positive the problem does not lie within the choke.
No disrespect intended but "I'm positive that XXXX is not the problem".....often ends up that XXXX really IS the problem. Famous last words and all that !!

On every bike I have ever owned, the "right" amount of choke has always been about HALF on the first start of the day and none on subsequent ones (unless it's winter time, where more is required).

[edit] Just noticed Minnesota. If you have been getting it started in that part of the country without ANY choke, you have been extremely lucky.

In addition to that, if your battery is just beginning to get a little weak, that first round "without any choke" might be just enough to make it turn slower on the next run with choke.

I would encourage you to try half choke when cold and see if it doesn't fire right up. A tiny bit of throttle after the first revolution sometimes helps too. That last bit is important if your normal idle speed is LOW.

And after all that.....and your tune up......a dose of carb cleaner might be in order.

Good luck !!
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