Monday, June 11, 2012

Seriously Pi$$ed Off

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Max is down and I am determined to determine once and for all what this little starting problem is all about.

Max's battery is at the battery store for an overnight test. The battery passed a quick test 2 days ago, but had been on the trickle charger for 2 hours. The long term test will either confirm or deny whether the battery is good. The battery is only about 2 months old, but I remain suspicious.

The starting problem is electrical. If the starter cranks, Max will start and run flawlessly, but more and more, when the starter button is pressed, I get nothing. Not a click, just nothing, even though sometimes he'll crank and start like nothing is wrong. This has gone on for a really long time, 2 years or so. At first, only very occasionally, he wouldn't start. Now it seems, only occasionally, he will start. I am very upset. I am not the most patient person with these kind of things. I have no close dealer to rely on.

So, first we are going to get a definitive ruling on the battery. I'll know about that in a couple of days.

If it isn't the battery, the list of possibilities is long. It could be simply a loose connection somewhere. Tomorrow I hope to spend some time taking some of the body off and tightening and inspection every bolt I see that might have a wire attached to it. It could be the starter motor. It could be the alternator, but I doubt that. It could be the starter switch, or the ignition switch or even the neutral switch attached to the brake levers.

I wish I could tell you that on Tuesdays, with a southern breeze, and one foot on the ground, and preceded by a fart of epic proportions, that Max would start every time. But I have been unable to determine a pattern. Very frustrating! Have almost no idea why he starts sometimes, other times not.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet on the brake levers being the problem, but have no scientific evidence, just a gut feel. I also don't want to assume the worst, I've done that before. I am hoping it's just a loose connection somewhere, and not hard to find. I am tired of not riding.

Looks like a Multi-Tester may be in my future.


  1. I had a similar problem a couple of years ago, press the start button and just hear a relay click. I figured the relay worked since I could hear the "click". I finally replaced the relay and lo and behold, it started up every time. Broke open the sealed relay and saw that the contacts were really burned.

    Is there a starter relay so the full current to the starter selenoid doesn't go through the switch?

  2. Richard,
    That's very helpful. I have a repair manual for the scooter and the starter relay appears to be an easy thing to check out. Have to wait to get my battery back tomorrow to check, but.....

  3. cpa3485/JimBo:

    a multi meter would be a good thing to have. I suspect the Brake interlock switch.

    When you turn on the ignition, do the gauges cycle ? does the headlight come on ? does your fuel gauge register ? if so, the I would eliminated this switch.

    You forgot your kickstand switch, most likely dirt causing bad ground. Next time it doesn't start try:

    a) Pull left brake lever, and try
    b) Pull Right brake lever, and try
    this should eliminate the brake levers

    c) turn engine KILL switch on and off a few times, then try.

    d) kick stand switch, would be better to have a meter to test if it is electrically, opening or closing, do continuity test

    e) as above, could be starter relay. There should be a click, when you HIT the starter button.

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

  4. Bobskoot,
    Yeah, me thinks a multi-meter is in my destiny. Gauges, lights, everything comes on just fine. There is no kickstand switch. There also is no "click" if it doesn't start. I'm sort of liking Richard's idea the best so far, but can't check until tomorrow.
    Thanks very much for the suggestions.
    I'll keep posting


  5. Sporadic issues are the worst kinds. +1 re investigating the relay, they're not expensive, try a new one and see.

    Does yours have a kickstart?


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  6. Dom,
    I'm with you. There's a couple of things to do after I get the battery back, but I'm just about ready to order up a new relay.
    Thanks for the input.