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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having trouble with my 1989 softail custom. When I press the starter button I can hear the relay click but it doesn't crank the starter. I have replaced the starter thinking that was the issue. I have also replaced the battery. However, I am experiencing the same issue. Additionally the problem is intermittent. Some days it will work fine and others it won't. I have been able to, at times, click the starter switch several times and would get lucky. Others, like today, no such luck. My plan is to replace everything (switch, relays, module) all the way to the starter itself. Any other suggestions?
 

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Check, ie: remove and clean, all connections from battery to starter. Both the positive battery cable and the negative cable. Check carefully the wire ends on the battery cables. Pull twist and generally make sure the ends are not corroded or loose. Make sure battery is fully charged, bench charge with a good charger. Have it load tested at a parts store, then re-charge.
 

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Meter the current at the solenoid. It only takes a few mA on a relay coil to close it, but the solenoid has a lot bigger coil that draws more current to move. I have fought through the same issue with a few different old autos. Wires just get old and tired.

If you don't have a meter, disconnect the wiring at the solenoid and run a jumper wire straight from the battery to it to see if it turns. Disconnect the plug wires if you don't want it to actually start!
 

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Keep on Ridin’
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Check the voltage coming out of the relay when it clicks. The contact points inside the relay can get burnt and even though the relay is working to close the high current contacts ( that's the click you're hear), if the contacts are burnt they won't transfer enough voltage to activate the device they are controlling, i.e.,the starter.

--
 

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Slave to the grind
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My 94 does the same thing. I've been chasing that one for a while. I put a button on the end of the solenoid just in case. Glad I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the input. I will check all these options. Although I did check the continuity ONLY on the relay. I did not think (assuming?!?!?!?!) about there possibly being a voltage drop on the starter side.

TAS---- This is an "ah-ha" moment. When I ordered a new starter I received one with a button already installed. I sent it back thinking I got the wrong one or didn't want/need it......
 

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On the loose
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You mentioned replacing the starter how about the starter solenoid ?

I would check volt / amp's at the starter sol and work back , as others have mentioned broken strands in the wiring , relay contacts ,or loose connections could be restricting the current flow needed to turn the starter over, any of these could cause the intermittent condition you have.

I would spend money on a meter before I would go buying a bunch of non-returnable electrical components.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You mentioned replacing the starter how about the starter solenoid ?

I would check volt / amp's at the starter sol and work back , as others have mentioned broken strands in the wiring , relay contacts ,or loose connections could be restricting the current flow needed to turn the starter over, any of these could cause the intermittent condition you have.

I would spend money on a meter before I would go buying a bunch of non-returnable electrical components.
I have a meter and replaced the solenoid when I replaced the starter. As you suggested I am going to work my way. The hard part is that it is intermittent.
 

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Starter over run clutch.
That's a symptom.
 

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Clean the electrical connections:

Main breaker post connection.

Starter relay terminals and the connectors on the wires, all four of them.

The small terminal on the starter solenoid and the connector on the wire.

The terminals and posts at the battery, solenoid and ground.

This is the stuff you should have done before you spent a dime.

Once you get all these connection points perfectly clean and secure, you can start checking voltage drops (if cleaning the connections doesn`t cure the issue).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Starter Relay Clicks but Won't Start

This is a duplicate post but I could not figure out how to edit my original post so I started a new one with updates:

I'm having trouble with my 1989 softail custom. When I press the starter button I can hear the relay click but it doesn't crank the starter. I have replaced the starter (Solenoid also) thinking that was the issue. I have charged the battery and had it benched tested. It is good. Here are the rest of the things I have done as per advice on the original post….

Cleaned all connections: Battery posts, relay connections, solenoid and starter connections and so forth...


The book gives several trouble shooting tests. The first one specifically says press starter switch and check voltage at following locations: “No. 30 Terminal if low voltage at No. 30 terminal indicates bad connections from main circuit breaker or grounds”

When I meter at the terminal it registers 12 volts. When I press the starter switch it drops to 9 volts. What is the threshold at this point?

The issue I am having is intermittent and right now the starter is engaging so it is hard for me to tell at this point what the issue is until it doesn’t work again……
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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Did you check the connection where the negative battery lead is connected to the frame?
 

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This is a duplicate post but I could not figure out how to edit my original post so I started a new one with updates:

I'm having trouble with my 1989 softail custom. When I press the starter button I can hear the relay click but it doesn't crank the starter. I have replaced the starter (Solenoid also) thinking that was the issue. I have charged the battery and had it benched tested. It is good. Here are the rest of the things I have done as per advice on the original post….

Cleaned all connections: Battery posts, relay connections, solenoid and starter connections and so forth...


The book gives several trouble shooting tests. The first one specifically says press starter switch and check voltage at following locations: “No. 30 Terminal if low voltage at No. 30 terminal indicates bad connections from main circuit breaker or grounds”

When I meter at the terminal it registers 12 volts. When I press the starter switch it drops to 9 volts. What is the threshold at this point?

The issue I am having is intermittent and right now the starter is engaging so it is hard for me to tell at this point what the issue is until it doesn’t work again……
A fully charged battery should have 12.7 volts. Getting only 9 volts in your test shows a ground is dirty . ( most likely but not always)

What is the voltage at the battery when the starter is engaged ??
If it drops below 11 volts the battery is not up to snuff.

:coffee:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I will double check all the connections one more time. The battery is only a few months old but it drops to 10.6 when the starter is engaged.
 

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Just Ride
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Nope. It's enough to make it click.
 

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Wouldn't that at least attempt to turn over the starter? I have had a weak battery and it usually attempts to crank.
Sometimes a battery will quit early on you, just how it is in life.

Fully charge your battery (12.7 volts) them rerun the voltage drop at the battery when the starter is engaged. If it still drops down, replace battery, it's all you can do .


:coffee:
 
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