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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, everyone! This is my first post here. I hope i'll get some help with my problems so here goes:
A few days ago my bike (1993 Kawasaki EN500A - Vulcan 500 ) wouldn't start. All i could hear when pressing the Start button were some clicks in the Junction Box containing the starter relay circuit (as the manual said).
First i thought it was the cold weather (0 to -5 degrees Celsius) but after eliminating the bad battery possibility I ended up assuming it was the starter relay. When i tried jumping the starter relay the starter motor would start spinning. So before I'd order a 120$ new starter relay i took it home for testing/repairing. I opened the starter relay metal case, cleaned the metal parts, assured the moving metal piece had free movement, closed the case. Then i put a voltmeter on the starter relay's small contacts and got continuity (so the coil inside was OK). Then i thought of putting it to the test so I got 12 V from the recharged motorcycle battery and fed them through the small contacts. And the starter relay clicked and did it's job of connecting the two big contacts, thus letting current flow to the starter engine.

I took the starter relay and put it back on the motorcycle. But it still didn't work. So i went on measuring the voltage fed to the starter relay through the 2 wires to the 2 small contacts. I got 10V when pressing the "Start" button.

So what is the problem? Are the 10V not enough to power the starter relay? Is it a bad contact problem (maybe the 2 small contacts on the starter relay). What else can i check before taking it to a mechanic? Could it still be a bad starter relay problem even though when feeding it 12V directly from the motorcycle battery it clicks and does what it is supposed to do?
 

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My first suspicion would be the battery, even though you say it's good. (You should see 13.7 volts when the battery isn't under load.) When you try to start the bike, the starter takes a lot of juice, and the battery may not be up to it. If you can, try borrowing a known good battery, or jumping it from a car that is not running. A car alternator can supply too much electricity and potentially fry the electronics on the bike.

If it still won't start with a known good battery, I'd start checking the connections going to the starter motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i tried jump starting from a car. no result(hopefully nothing got fried on the bike, as i did the jump starting with the car running)
as i said, when jumping the starter relay (putting a screwdriver between the 2 big contacts of the relay) the starter motor spins.

i don't know much about relays so let's say it properly gets the 10V, could it be possible it doesn't get enough amperage? could there be a "leak" in the electrical system? or should i go directly to the small contacts' wire connector, have it properly cleaned and then check for anything else?
 

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Trouble Shooting

While everything is mounted in the bike, as it should be disconnect the two black wires at the connector and connect 12Volts to the two wires going to the starter solenoid. The solenoid should trip the switch and put power to the starter motor. If it does then reconnect the two little black wires. The next thing to check is the start / kill switch on the handle bar. You may need to clean the contacts in this switch. Use contact cleaner and then dielectric grease when you reassemble the switch..
 

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Vintage bike addict
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Did you remove the cable from the starter and clean the contact area? Did you try loosening one or two starter mount bolts and retighten? A little corrosion under those bolts can reduce voltage flow to ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i will start checking everything you told me, and come back with results.
by the way, is it ok to use WD-40 as a contact cleaner?
 

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as i said, when jumping the starter relay (putting a screwdriver between the 2 big contacts of the relay) the starter motor spins.
If the starter motor spins, (and the motor spins too) but the motor doesn't start, you have a problem with actual spark, ignition timing, or fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Problem SOLVED!!!
i used WD-40 in all the connectors around the starter relay. i sprayed it also in the Run/OFF button and the Start Button. did my best at cleaning all the contact pins. now the starter relay engages whenever i press the start button. the starter engine also spins. i'll get the dielectric grease and treat all the connectors with it. hopefully this kind of problems will be avoided.

the engine doesn't crank though. i suspect it's a spark plug problem.(just before it got very cold, i took the motorcycle on a spin through heavy rain. i suspect the spark plugs haven't dried yet). i will have them checked but i am very happy for solving this electrical problem.
thanks to all that tried to help. Have a Happy New Year!!!!!!
 

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Vintage bike addict
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Check all your fuses. Pull the plugs and check for fouled condition. Happy New Year!
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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i suspect it's a spark plug problem.(just before it got very cold, i took the motorcycle on a spin through heavy rain. i suspect the spark plugs haven't dried yet).
Hmmm.... hard to believe something as hot as a spark plug wouldn't vaporize the water.
 

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Make Mine Pure BHP
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the engine doesn't crank though. i suspect it's a spark plug problem.
Harder yet to believe is the spark plugs having something to do with the engine cranking. If everything is working as it should, the engine should crank over regardless of whether you have plugs installed or not, good or bad.

So then I'm assuming that the engine is cranking but not starting?

:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
it was a confusion created by my lack of mechanical english :)
so when i press the start button i can hear the starter engine spin but the engine doesn't start. so this probably means that it's cranking but not starting.

could another cause to this be the destabilized fuel? i have heard that when you store your motorcycle for the winter you should put some fuel stabilizer in the fuel so that it will not loose it's properties over time. i have already kept the same fuel in my tank for about 4 weeks.

though i suspect that the main reason for the engine not starting is that there's coolant in the oil. see this thread for details:
http://www.kawasakimotorcycle.org/forum/mechanics-corner/63089-coolant-engine-oil-how-bad-can.html
 

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Make Mine Pure BHP
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I scanned your other post, and BountyHunter provided some good advice. Since it appears you have blown a head gasket I'd perform a compression check. This will verify if you have blown a head gasket.

If the compression check turns out OK, then there are a few things to consider in my experience:

1) Fuel - your above comments are correct - you should add stabilizer when storing. At this point I would drain the tank & carbs and start fresh if you haven't already.

2) Electrical - all sorts of things could be the cause, from the coils going bad, blown fuses, to the CDI heading south. Not really my area of expertise to be honest, but they can be eliminated one-by-one once it is determined the motor is mechanically sound.

:cool:
 
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