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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend dumped his bike going about 10mph. The bike slid into the bumper of a car. The only mechanical damage was to the left side crank case cover (covers the generator). That was fixed and put on.

It doesn't start. Battery measures just over 12vdc. When you push the start button, the starter relay clicks, that's it. The gauges also reset and go through their normal initialization (sweep through the full motion) each time the start button is pushed.

Is there something that has to be reset? Magic button to push?

any help is appreciated,
Kevin
 

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If the system clicks and doen't rotate I'd imagine that there was damage to the actual starter. I'd check that first. Maybe also look for some wires damaged during the crash.
 

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I do not know what the problem is, but I have a few ideas that I might check in this order.

1. The battery may have lost some paste. Battery plates inside the battery are coated with a lead paste. In a collision, some of that paste gets knocked off, and depending on the design of the battery, may contact the next cell or may fall to the bottom of the battery. Either one can contribute to a weak or dead battery. If your battery has 12V when the engine is not running, the battery is very, very weak. A new battery has about 12.6V. If you think 12V is "good enough for a 12V system," just check your voltage when you hit the start button. You'll see it drop dramatically. If you start out at 12.6V, then you probably have a lot more cranking amps, and the voltage will drop a lot less. Moral of the story: take the battery to a battery shop and have them check the cranking amps. Most shops do that for free. If it is significantly lower than spec, buy a new battery. Based on your description, I will say there is a 95% chance that this is the problem.

2. The engine may be seized up. You had a dent in the crankcase, so this is a possibility. Take off that crankcase cover to see if it made contact with anything). Remove the spark plugs (you might as well get a look at them while they're out). Put the bike on it's center stand, put it in sixth gear, and try turning the rear wheel to force the engine to turn. It may be hard, but that's okay. On a car, you can put a socket wrench on the flywheel bolt to turn the engine. I'm not sure that you can do that on a motorcycle, but you probably can. At any rate, all I want to check is that the engine is not seized up. If the engine is seized up, the first thing to check is the "generator," since you said there was damage there. Try taking it off, and then see if the engine will turn.

3. There may be something wrong with the starter. It may be the relay, or the solenoid, or something internal to the starter. No matter what it is, you can take the starter off, and take it to a shop for an evaluation. Most shops do that for free. They can tell you not only if it turns, but how it works under load.

4. If all of those check out, then I would think that the problem is wiring. Try to trace the big starter wire back to the battery to make sure it looks good all the way. Try to trace the smaller one through the ignition and back to the battery to make sure it looks okay. Trace your negative cable at the battery, too. For every one of these, make sure your connections are clean and tight.

In summary, if you have power (battery) and a working motor (the starter) and acceptable load (the engine), then the system should work. I can't think of anything else that it could be.
Curt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. I wasn't around much this weekend to read them right away though. My friend did end up getting it running. He took the battery in and it tested fine. Apparently it tested higher (more cranking amps) than it should have.

Now, I didn't get a look at it, and didn't put the cover back on, but when my friend said there were some gears that weren't quite lined up when he put the side cover back on. The gears connected the starter to the motor. This is how it was explained to me, I wish I could have seen it.

Thanks again.
Kevin
 
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