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Electric start problem

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by DOW, Jun 26, 2022.

  1. DOW

    DOW XS400 New Member

    I have a 1982 XS400. Keeping in mind, I'm really new to motorcycles, but I know enough to get me around. Just got my bike back from the shop. It's running great! I took it out for a quick ride a few miles away. Parked the bike for 10 minutes, came back and now the electric start won't work. Here are the things I've tried/made sure of:

    Key is on - The lights come and the headlights turn on. It's a brand new battery, so shouldn't be a battery issue or key issue.

    Transmission in neutral - I've put it into gear and taken it back into neutral to make sure it's not in gear. The neutral light also lights up on the cluster.

    Charged battery - Just to be safe I charged the battery to make sure it wasn't a battery issue. No problems there.

    I've tried jiggling any cords coming from the pushbutton start to make sure a connection isn't loose

    I've also jiggled the cord ontop of the starter.

    I've also tried moving the kill switch button to the on and off positions and tried starting both ways.

    So basically, when I try pushing the button nothing happens at all. The only thing I hear is a slight click up around the cluster and I think it's just a light on there turning on and off. So is it just a bad starter or do you think it might be something else? Anything else I can check before I take it back to the shop?
     
  2. JPaganel

    JPaganel XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Have you tried shorting the two big terminals on the starter solenoid? Maybe the solenoid is bad.
     
    tstidham likes this.
  3. tstidham

    tstidham XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    I agree with JPaganel, check the starter relay first, it's located under the seat right behind the battery on the rights side. Jump/short the two large gauge wire terminals to make sure the starter spins (make sure you're in neutral!). you can do this by peeling back the rubber boots and just use a screw driver to bridge across the terminals. There will be sparks! Also check the 10A ignition fuse as this also supplies power to the starter solenoid via the thinner gauge red w/white wire. With ignition on, you should have battery voltage here. Last, the starter button just grounds the circuit to energize the solenoid so you can do a continuity check on the blue w/white wire at the solenoid. With the ignition off, hook your meter to ground or negative battery and the other to the terminal on the solenoid, press the button and you should see continuity.
     
    JPaganel likes this.
  4. LeBouc

    LeBouc XS400 Member

    I have the same problem and I found that the starter button on the handlebar has a ground wire that goes back to the headlight pod but there is no ground wire on the other side of the plug. Weird because the plug has 6 holes and only 3 are used on the battery side! I added a ground connection from that plug to a gound wire to have a better circuit. However, on the solenoid, I had to scratch the surface of the connection of the blue wire to finally get the continuity with my tester.

    Tomorrow, I will try your test with the two bolts coming out of the solenoid to see if the starter will run. I will also connect the battery directy to the solenoid plug (red wire to + and blue wire to -) to see if I can wake up the solenoid (sometimes, they need a kick in the butt to re-start working!)
     

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