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Starter solenoid for 6th gen stuck energized


ShipFixer
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Filing under "stuff I will try to fix later today..."

 

I just tried to start my bike for a quick grocery-getter trip, and the solenoid for the starter stuck on.  As in turning the kill switch and ignition key to "off" or "lock" did not stop it.  I had to pop the saddle off as quickly as I could to unplug the battery, and when power was reconnected the starter kept running.

 

Assuming I need a new starter solenoid here, but is there anything else I should or could look at?  As for why it happened, aside from age and electrical weakness (I just replaced the RR at 40K+ miles, had the original till now), I think I bumped the kill switch in the middle of hitting the starter.  Probably shouldn't have killed the solenoid but...oh well.

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I have seen a similar situation with an aircraft heavy duty relay many years ago where the arcing of contacts with the high current caused the contacts to weld themselves together.

 

Hitting the Kill Switch accidentally should not cause any issue as it's just the same effect as releasing the Starter Switch.

 

The other thing you should check for is the starter relay wiring connector making sure you don't have some kind of short from your Main 30amp Fuse A to the Yellow/Red wire. This would have the same effect of a permanently energized relay.

 

Either way I wouldn't hesitate in replacing the Starter Relay. Hope your Starter Motor survived the ordeal!

 

You can run some operational checks of the Stater Relay on the bike by disconnecting the main heavy lead from the Relay that goes to the Starter Motor. Checking voltages, continuing and operation, it just won't be powering the Starter Motor in this state.

 

If the Relay continues to remain in a closed state with the 30amp Main Fuse A removed then that would be a good sign of welded main contacts, or even a broken internal return spring.

 

Keep us posted with what you discover ShipFixer as this is a rare situation you have.

 

 

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Yeah, measure continuity between B and M terminals of solenoid to verify if contacts are welded.

 

Also make sure you don't have any power on Y/R trigger line to solenoid. 

 

I had similar issue several decades ago that fried starter. Turned out issue was stuck contacts in start-button. The plastic button part when up & down OK, but electrical contacts stayed stuck together due to some misalignment of spring.

 

 

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Well...that was weird.  It was definitely the relay and it's stuck energized.  No shorts elsewhere.  New relay works fine.  Previous owner did replace the power cables with thicker gauge wire as per VFR tradition but there were no shorts, etc. in his repair work.

 

What's kind of troubling is the 30A fuse seems to have "tried" to blow, but the fusible link fell over to one side and let the current keep going.  Plastic fuse slot and fuse body were melting a bit.  Guess it would have kept going a while longer if I hadn't pulled the battery out. 😐

 

Glad it happened at home and not on the road somewhere!

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Yeah, the link inside of the main fuse.  It looks like it tried to break but didn't.  Not heat damage from the failing relay either, but current running through it that also melted its socket in the relay a bit, along with the plastic part of the fuse.

 

Looking at the diagram it doesn't make sense with three switches open by then and a smaller fuse inline.  I'm guessing the relay cooked big time on the inside before I removed power.  I may cut it open later to see, will post pictures.

 

 

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Glad the new relay sorted it. Sounds like a meltdown and short within the relay.

No switches will have any effect on this as the short appears to be directly from the battery positive to the Yellow/Red wire connection all within the Starter Relay.

 

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8 minutes ago, ShipFixer said:

I dunno...the fuse mystery makes me feel like I have a bomb parked in my garage 😁 

As long as both main fuses A and B are looking good and there are no excessive loads  then you should be fine.

Might pay to confirm your charging voltage is good just so you don't have an issue with the OEM R/R, if that is still fitted?

P.s. sorry, understand what you meant regards fusible link, removed previous post.

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Just upgraded the R/R to a new school MOSFET unit a couple months ago, which is really like five or six rides ago.  Charging voltage was good after the relay swap, bike started and stopped, and switched electric stuff on and off just fine afterwards.

 

Still super weird!

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3 hours ago, ShipFixer said:

Just upgraded the R/R to a new school MOSFET unit a couple months ago, which is really like five or six rides ago.  Charging voltage was good after the relay swap, bike started and stopped, and switched electric stuff on and off just fine afterwards.

 

Still super weird!

Good news its all running well, all electrical issues like yours will have a reason. While your issue is very rare there may have been a loose or corroded high resistance connection somewhere within the starter relay, causing heat, once supporting plastic starts melting in a confined space shorts could well be probable. Very important that the main Red wire coming from the 30amp A fuse, is that its spade connector to the Starter Relay is in good shape and not loose or burnt in any way from your previous issue. You don't want it to look like this.

 

image2(2).JPG

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Thanks, I will check it out!  Pretty sure that's one of the ones that was replaced, so will cut away the electrical tape and look at it closely.  The spade connector itself appeared in good shape and I didn't see evidence of overheating at that part of the relay.  

 

When you say "in the starter" do you mean inside the relay (i.e., the stuff I've already replaced) or something else?  

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12 minutes ago, ShipFixer said:

When you say "in the starter" do you mean inside the relay (i.e., the stuff I've already replaced) or something else?  

Yep, sorry (will fix that) was referring to the issue going on in the Starter Relay including the main fuse and connections within it.

Perhaps you need a name change - ShipFixer to VfrFixer!

Cheers.

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Well the story isn’t over.  I’m stuck on the side of the 163 waiting for a tow truck, two or three miles from home.  The bike cut out a couple times so I started rushing to get back, then cut completely in a bad, dark spot in an underpass.  Coasted to the other side and tried to investigate when the starter began activating again.  Bike kicked itself over (on the new plastic of course).  First thing I found, the new fuse was blowing...then of course the new starter solenoid(?) kept going.  
 

Looks like a full end to end between the starter and the battery comes soon.  Must be something else going on here. Oh and what’s really fun?  Trying to get the battery out of a bike dropped on its side on a dark highway.  That was great...

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Sad to hear of your continued starter dramas.

Strange thing you say " bike kicked itself over" is this because the starter activated?

Its one thing to have a power short to the starter coil BUT even that is protected to a degree by the Ground side for the starter coil.

If your bike was in gear and you have the sidestand down there should be no Ground for the coil.

The other ground for the starter coil is via the Neutral Switch so unless this is faulty this can't cause a tip over because you're in neutral.

 

Do a meter ohm check with the Starter wiring plug removed there should be no connection between the Main Fuse and the Yellow/Red wire terminal of the Starter Relay.

 

Make sure the wiring and operation of Clutch switch, Neutral switch and Sidestand switch are all ok.

 

Also check the operation and wiring (Yellow/Red wire) of the Starter Switch it might be sticking to on or shorting.

 

Make sure you don't have excessive loads nearing 30amps on Main Fuse A. Make sure that spade connector for the red wire from main Fuse A is/was making a good tight connection.

 

Sorry can't think of too much else at this stage. It sure is an unusual fault you have.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Was hoping you might post some ideas!

 

Yeah, because the starter activated.   It was while I had my hands around the solenoid after pulling fuse A out, along with all three spade connectors.  I was trying to get the spare fuse out thinking maybe I could ride the two miles home on it, after futzing with the cables hoping something was just loose.  Bike went from zero power to starter activating.  I don't recall any lights coming on while the starter was draining the battery (which is now cooling down  in my garage...ugh).  Bike was in gear, side stand down.  

 

Fuse looked the same as the last one, and it came apart again as I pulled it out.  Quite possibly heat damage instead of current directly blowing it.  

 

Looking at the diagram again and thinking about what happened...fuse A blowing slowly is likely why I lost power (I was able to restart it a few times), but then there must be some kind of short between the motor and the battery, in the two cables heading into the relay.

 

I'm going to write the previous owner and ask what exactly he replaced when he rewired the starter solenoid, and why.  It does not look at all like those main power lines are replaced, but he did a lot of splicing in the three cables heading into it.  

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I'm looking over the diagram, and exactly zero of this makes sense.  I don't think the solenoid is the root cause (it's a new one...what are the odds?).  And the control side power lost the fuse before I pulled it out...and then I removed the spade connectors.  It sort of makes sense that there is a short between the positive terminal and the starter motor cable directly, and it's pumping enough amps back through the solenoid to cook it?  

 

I'm going to remove all of this and dissect it.  I don't get it...  

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I'm beginning to smell a rat with the previous owners wiring mods, whatever they are!!

What really concerns me is that you're saying you had the bike in gear, sidestand down and suddenly your Starter energized and over went the bike?

Look at the drawing, there is no way the relay coil can see a Ground even if there was positive applied to the other side of the starter coil! Both neutral switch and Sidestand are inhibiting a ground for the coil (in normal situations)

 

In stating the obvious the Starter Motor can only run when the two main Positive terminals of the relay are bridged, by the relay energizing! Perhaps some good pictures of the relay and main cables might help to see what's happening.

 

The power to the Starter coil and the ground side of the coil need to be thoroughly checked out per the drawing. You need to fully establish what the previous owner has done.

Good luck!

 

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Looks like the new starter relay has survived  nothing appears burnt or melted.

Where is and what is the state of the 3 wires and connector to the relay? 

There's a lot of untidy wiring going on there.

Verify your new starter relay operation either in or out of the bike. And as mentioned map out all the wiring as per the drawing supplied  as a starting point.

Establish that whatever wiring mods are done that there is no connection or alteration to the starter relay coil power and ground side as this is all to do with safety logic for the starter, and should never be messed with.

 

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Well...same as before, the fuse melted and failed in a very odd way.  It came apart again when I pulled it out, so not sure what's going on inside the relay.  The three wires are in the bottom two photos (wrapped in electrical tape...I assume by previous owner, I don't recall what they looked like stock).   The spade connectors themselves are fine, but I can't see what's going on directly until I cut away some of this tape.  

 

Will try to verify the relay later!

 

Just curious, do you think if I replace the battery wiring harness and starter motor cable, and straighten out/correct/replace the three control lines, there can't be much else wrong?

 

Since I have to replace the clutch lever and left footpeg now it's not urgent, I'd just as soon replace everything for the price from Partzilla.  

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Looks like charging cable was installed. Remove ALL non-stock wiring for now.

 

Note fat battery-cables going to B+ and M terminals of solenoid has nothing to do with your issue. They don't go through 30amp fuse. That fuse supplies power to ignition-switch, engine stop-switch and start-button. Something is wrong with that circuit.

 

Measure before replacing perfectly working-parts with brand-new perfectly-working parts. Nothing will change! Disconnect starter-solenoid M-terminal before doing following tests.

1. check neutral indicator, does it turn OFF when you shift out of neutral?

2. measure output of start-button. Verify it turns OFF when you let up button.

3. measure trigger-input to solenoid. Verify it has NO voltage when you let up start-button.

 

If you don't want to measure, replace all following components with brand-new OEM PARTS from authorised Honda dealer. Too many aftermarket parts are crap right out of box. Replace:

 

- entire bike-harness, there's short somewhere, it should be completely replaced to rule it out

- ignition switch

- engine stop-switch

- starter-relay switch (starter solenoid)

- start-button

- fat battery-cables from starter-solenoid to battery and engine

- neutral switch

- sidestand switch

- clutch switch

- neutral diodes

 

Someone may have hot-wired your safety interloc switches in failed attempt to properly diagnose and fix starting issue.

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On 12/10/2020 at 4:42 AM, ShipFixer said:

Just curious, do you think if I replace the battery wiring harness and starter motor cable, and straighten out/correct/replace the three control lines, there can't be much else wrong?

Just to add to what Danno has stated. The first objective is to work out what is causing your issue. Then you can assess wether the battery wiring harness etc. needs replacing.

Even with the main starter Motor lead disconnected from the relay M position, you want to get to a stage where pressing the starter button reliably energizes the relay (you will hear it click in and voltage will transfer across to the M terminal), as well as de-energizing it when start button released. And this should ONLY happen when the bike is in Neutral, OR in gear with the Sidestand Up and Clutch pulled in.

Also determine what, if any, additional electrical loads have been added to Main Fuse A.

Check all the non standard wiring joints are good and no shorts.

 

I hope your Starter Motor has survived, its had a fair share of torture!

Good luck, keep us posted.

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I know, I know, I'm just looking for that nuclear option 😄

 

2 hours ago, DannoXYZ said:

Looks like charging cable was installed. Remove ALL non-stock wiring for now.

 

Note fat battery-cables going to B+ and M terminals of solenoid has nothing to do with your issue. They don't go through 30amp fuse. That fuse supplies power to ignition-switch, engine stop-switch and start-button. Something is wrong with that circuit.

 

The cables you are referring to are for my heated jacket...unfortunately the only cable change from me.  I have no idea what the others are.  I Googled around for stock harness photos and it's obvious a lot of work has been done here.  It sort of looks like the stock harness but even the inline fuse box looks different.

 

Here's the thing though, if the 30 amp fuse and all three spade connectors are out, and I still have power going to the starter?  It was going until I got the battery out (again), and when I was jostling everything trying to get to the spare fuse.  It's possible it completely failed on the inside...but twice?

 

I do think there's something wrong on the control side since it was cutting out completely.  But I also want to pull and inspect the large power cables too.  What you're saying about an attempted hotwire makes me wonder what else is in there since it's not obvious from the stock diagram how that could possibly happen with no power through the control side.

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