Ducati and electrics are not the best of friends. So here is another starting issue. I have read numerous posts left right and centre on the net about starting failures before posting myself, however it did not solve my problem.
My 900SS (1999 model) was sitting in the shed for 6 month. I know this is a sin in itself and should be punished, and I was.
I started her up every so often without trouble. However it has gotten colder and instead of firing up there was only a slow clicking noise from the solenoid. The old battery is not holding charge any more so all the following testing was done with an auxiliary battery (marine type with plenty of cranking amps, always fully charged and reading 12.8-13.4 Volts), jumping cables and the old battery in place.
By jumping the solenoid studs the starter motor turned over but very slow. I replaced the solenoid with a new one, same situation. I cleaned all terminals and connections (yes, including negative on the engine block) and after reading about the breakdown of old cables I got myself 16mm2 (5 gauge) welding cable and upgraded battery to solenoid, solenoid to starter motor and battery to engine block. Voltage on solenoid (battery side) reads 12.8V, same as auxiliary battery. No change, still only slow clicking.
When I jump the starter motor directly off the battery she cranks over very slow but not enough to fire her up.
Next I took the starter motor out. Tested and seemed to run fine. To make sure I cleaned the brushes and the armature, made sure there is no dust, checked bushes, measured the resistance of the winding, all good, put it back together and again bench tested it. Seemed ok. I fitted the starter back on the bike and…no change, the solenoid clicks slowly or a slow turning over of the engine when I jump straight to the starter motor.
My question: can the starter motor go “weak”, meaning it has not enough strength to turn the engine over? Without an obvious fault? I could get the engine started once it was warmed up (push start down a hill), but only just and only with battery direct to starter. What else can I check before I have to go for a starter motor replacement (and hope this will fix the issue)?
Thanks in advance for your input.