Starter Wouldn't Crank - Unexpected Cause, Easy Fix
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Thread: Starter Wouldn't Crank - Unexpected Cause, Easy Fix

  1. #1
    Senior Member BkCntryCrwlr's Avatar
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    Starter Wouldn't Crank - Unexpected Cause, Easy Fix

    I bought a '92 TW awhile back that hadn't ran for about a year so I hauled it home, cleaned and rebuilt the carb, put a new battery in it then cranked it over. Nothing, then more nothing. Well summer was on us at that point so camping and other family events came and went, then archery season came and went, then work came and came and is still coming. Today I decided that I would sort out the electrical issue, I figured it was either the kill switch or the kickstand cutout that was the problem. Nope.
    So I kept tracing wires and checking everything I could think of.

    After studying the color coded electrical diagram, I realized that either I had an odd wiring harness or the color coding on a few of the wires on the diagram weren't right. Turns out on the '92s and maybe on all the TW's the red wire from the Starter Relay (10) is actually black not red. Also, the Blue/Yellow Stripe wire shown on the diagram from the Start Switch (12) to the Ignition Circuit Cutoff Relay (16) and the Engine Stop Switch (18) are actually Blue/White Stripe. If anyone else can verify this on other year bikes it may help others down the road.

    TW200 Colored Wiring Diagram.jpg

    For some reason, I kept checking and double checking the kill switch continuity but it kept checking out fine. I was just about to post on here for some help, when it occurred to me that on one of the starter push button wires should have 12v on it. When I put my voltmeter probe on the blue/white wire and pushed the starter button it cranked over. Surprise! I tried it again without the probe, nothing. As I poked and prodded this starter button would intermittently crank the starter. Hmmmmm.

    At first I thought I had a bad solder connection on the Blue/White Stripe wire but after completely disassembling the starter switch, I realized there was corrosion on the two contacts that close the circuit and crank the starter:

    Corroded Starter Contact.jpg

    Notice the blackish film on the pushbutton face. I polished this and the opposite contact face with some steel wool until they shined:

    Polished Starter Contact.jpg

    After I reassembled the starter pushbutton it worked like a charm after that. Not what I expected but I did get a good lesson in tracing out wiring on the T'Dub! Keep this in mind if all your other electrical is working but your starter is intermittent or won't crank at all. Simple to get to and worth a look before spending 3 hours troubleshooting.
    You can't see it if you're not out there living it!

    '94 Rainbow Warrior - not so rainbow any more - Clarke XT350 tank, Lizrdbrth's seat mod, Beer Trap Pegs, Ricochet skid plate and more.

    Going through withdrawals, sold my other two TW's, down to one....Uhggghhh! Hidden Content

  2. #2
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Nice work. Hope the Tdub is running fine for you.
    Tom in Wichita

    78 Moto Guzzi SP1000
    87 Yamaha TW200
    99 Yamaha TW200
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    74 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police model (in many pieces)

  3. #3
    Ken
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    Good find, thanks for sharing.
    1993 TW200 just over 46,000 miles

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Good thread. Thanks for documenting. My bike has no shortage of rust and corrosion and Iím assuming this piece is just a matter of time. Where do forum folks stand on a little dielectric grease to avoid future corrosion? I know itís a polarizing topic, but does anyone here have real world experience using it on pieces like this?

    My bike is disassembled. This winter I plan to check as much of the wiring against the diagram as I can. My bike is a 2001, so Iíll try to report back with any irregularities. Thanks and cheers
    Last edited by Badgerflorida; 12-11-2017 at 08:10 AM.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    I realized there was corrosion on the two contacts that close the circuit and crank the starter:



    Wiring connections, so often overlooked. Persistence paid off, good job.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  7. #6
    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. I had an intermittent starting problem with my 99 but it would never do it at home. About 400kms from home it wouldn't start but I still had the start button pressed while I was releasing the clutch and just heard the relay make a quick click. Played with the clutch and it fired right up. Didn't even take the switch apart.. just sprayed electrical contact cleaner in at the tiny pin and it has worked since.

  8. #7
    Member Blkrvrbart's Avatar
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    Good job Crawler. Thanks for the documentation too.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member BkCntryCrwlr's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Badger - let me add some thoughts about dielectric grease from my work. I work for a company that mfg's hydraulic systems and electronic controls and one of our markets is providing systems that make snow plow trucks function. This is a highly corrosive environment due to the salt and other chemicals used to treat the roadways. From my experience troubleshooting electrical issues caused by corrosion, for the push together electrical wiring connections on the TW's or the push together multi wire connectors I would put a very thin film of dielectric grease on these. If you use too much you can actually cause the connection to fail. More is not necessarily better when using this.

    As for this starter contact, I didn't put any dielectric on this since it is a momentary contact and my fear is the grease would attract more dirt and compound the problem your trying to prevent. I think just polishing the two surfaces should suffice for the long run.
    You can't see it if you're not out there living it!

    '94 Rainbow Warrior - not so rainbow any more - Clarke XT350 tank, Lizrdbrth's seat mod, Beer Trap Pegs, Ricochet skid plate and more.

    Going through withdrawals, sold my other two TW's, down to one....Uhggghhh! Hidden Content

  10. #9
    Member m0t0-rydr's Avatar
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    Regarding dielectric grease...

    I worked at Zero motorcycle for about 2 years as tech support.
    Being electric motorcycles they have many electrical connections.
    Dielectric grease was used on most all of these at the factory.

    I use dielectric grease on most all of my moto connectors.

    I've also recently been introduced to ACF50 which is an Anti Corrosion Formula used by the aircraft industry to protect metal surfaces on aircraft.
    Link to ACF 50---> Lear Chemical Research Corporation
    I've started using this on my motos now too.
    littletommy and Badgerflorida like this.
    '06 TW Moose skid, Protaper ATV Mid, Acerbis handguards, IRC pegs, folding shifter, Hella +30% bulb. USB/voltmeter, cig lighter socket, tachometer. Oil cooler, .70Kg springs & emulators, 19Kg (red) shock spring, Happy Trails Racks, Roto-pak fuel mount, tool tubes, Shinko 5" front, High front fender.
    ...and more. It's, it's like an addiction!

    Other moto's- 88 R100GS, 06 450EXC plated, 06 950 Adventure S, 96 XR600R plated, 03 Zuma 50, 76 ST90, 74 Z1, 53 Harley Hummer.

  11. #10
    Ken
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    I played around with some (slicone grease) one day. Is dielectric grease the same? It is some fascinating stuff. I set the ohm meter and put the probes across it. This stuff isn't conductive. Then when the probes were close it was conductive. I use the plumbers silicone grease on boat lights and all kinds of electrical connections that are weather exposed.
    Badgerflorida, admiral and jtstdub like this.
    1993 TW200 just over 46,000 miles

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