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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I've been looking through all of the posts here regarding bad starters but haven't been able to solve my issues yet. The result is that I have been push starting my 1997 ST2 about two to three times a day for the last 6 weeks. Issue started very suddenly. I pulled off the toll road, the man started talking to me so I shut the engine off and when I went to start again it just made a click. Been basically the same ever since. I've probably taken the outer part of the starter apart around 8 times, including a brush swap. The first time I attempted a start after swapping brushes it started turning and there's been nothing since. I've tried shorting the solenoid many times. Just received a Denso replacement motor in the mail today (took forever to receive from USA) and tried to bench test it. Got a couple sparks after touching it directly to both battery poles but no spinning. Hopefully this is just a fluke and when it's installed it will work properly. Will be getting a time to have it swapped at the dealership sometime next week.

Does anyone know any other things I could attempt to try to get this thing running? It's getting harder and more embarrassing with every push start on campus, and I'm tired of bruised shins from hitting the foot pegs. I'm also a broke exchange student who can't afford to pour money into a motorcycle right now :confused: Thanks!!
 

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I'll assume you've checked the battery's charge, completed a battery load test, and have also checked the quality of the connections at the starter's positive terminal, POS and NEG battery terminals and engine block ground?

Even though you've shorted the terminals at the starter solenoid, you still need clean and well connected grounds at the battery and the engine block, as well as a good connection at the positive battery post. Shorting the solenoid only closes the path to the starter from the positive battery lead. A good check, but it really only isolates the starter button and solenoid circuit.

Unless you've already checked those items and found them to be good, it is a fair bet all you needed was a new battery and/or some simple connector terminal maintenance. Could very well be the starter, but that normally comes as a last resort as it is expensive and a lot of work to replace. You have to drain oil and coolant to pull the generator side cover off...
 

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+1 on SS904's answer.

Check right through the connections.

The little white push on terminal on the solenoid comes loose regularly if not zip tied on.

The terminals on the starter leads can be loose and come off if you give them a wiggle (mine had that issue when I bought it). The earth at the back of the engine and the one from the ECU needs to be clean and tight enough.

But number one (as said) is to make sure the battery is good and terminals well secured (try swapping it and see?).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips! I've checked all the terminals for corrosion but there wasn't anything I could see. Maybe I'll try removing, sanding and tightening all the connections next? Battery seems to be running well, it's a Shorai lithium. It easily runs both headlight and high beam with the bike off with very minimal change when pressing the starter button. I think something to note is that the old starter definitely had some issues to work out. I thought it was electric at first but it does seem like it was the brushes in the end. Something must really have gone wrong during the replacement.

The local dealership quoted me at ¥20,000 (US 180) for the replacement given the parts I've purchased. I think that's reasonable since all my tools are still back in America... If cleaning the connections before replacement works, I might just have it swapped for peace of mind that it'll start well in the future... I'll keep this thread updated when I try something but until it's fixed I'll be getting some more leg exercise in!
 

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As battery is a Shorai have you tried turning the lights on for a few mins before trying to start it?

Re the dealership I'm surprised they have agreed to change the starter motor without diagnosing the issue themselves. But good luck, hope it goes well and keep us updated.
 

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The "head light" test is not very valid, especially with a Lithium battery. You need a meter on it and you need to read the voltage drop off when you press the starter button. A simple thing for you to try is a jump start from a car battery or one of those tiny booster packs that have become popular. You want to be very careful to not reverse the jumper leads!

Decent price to change the starter. Is this from a Ducati dealer? If not, are they aware of the scope of work involved? Two of the three bolts are under the left side cover. That has to come off. That means oil and coolant drain and there are some pitfalls. Hidden bolt behind the clutch slave, for one. Straight forward work, but not a quick in and out.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I tried running the lights for a few minutes with no effect. I actually went on a little ~250km two-up road trip yesterday despite the starter (never had a small issue stop me before). Ran nearly perfectly after a push start. Even after running for 2 hours, the starter does nothing immediately after stopping the bike. Pretty busy this week but I'm going to put a multimeter to the battery ASAP.

The quote was from a Ducati/Triumph/Aprilia dealer, though the mechanic knows Ducati well. He's done work for me in the past and was very knowledgeable and honest about what really needed to be done without trying to sell me on additional parts. The other Ducati-only dealer nearby quoted me around 30,000 yen (US 270) which is a bit much for me, and they would take a week rather than a day to do the swap. I'd love to do it myself but since all my tools are in the states, by the time I have a torque wrench, sockets and a puller I'll be getting close to the price of the dealer. Sadly there's no harbor freight here in Japan...
 

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One thing that can go wrong with a starter is the internal fixed magnet can come loose.
I don't know if this is possible with a Duke as I haven't held a Duke starter in my hand yet, but I once had a problem with a Yamaha starter which turned out to have a loose magnet when I dismantled it. I used red Bearing Mount Loctite to glue it back in place as it was originally fixed to the casing with some kind of glue. I hope Dukes aren't done this way as I found it a very cheap construction method, but when you get the starter out it will be easy to dismantle to check it right out. Fit new bearings and brushes while you are at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
dewcatty, I've had the visible outer casing of the starter off more times than I wish to remember trying to diagnose the problem... All 4 magnets were fixed properly around the perimeter, and I had new brushes installed. After my first reassembly with the new brushes is when the starter spun once or twice and gave out again.
 

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Andreas,
If the brushes are good, the bearings are good and the magnets are good that basically leaves the armature and the commutator. That is of course assuming the power going to it is working correctly. In that regard I only wonder about the function that makes it continue to turn till it starts. I have no idea how that function is achieved but maybe there's a possibility of a problem in that setup.
So if there's a bad earth somewhere in any of this electronics I'm sure that could cause the problem but maybe you'll know for sure once you extract the starter because once out you can test the way it goes with direct power.
However this doesn't test it under load, but you should be able to see if it is below optimum. For instance there can be a failed coil on the armature which makes it not function when it lands on those positions. Like a dodgy electric power tool.
Anyway if you can get that out and it looks completely OK then perhaps the circuitry mentioned above is the problem. I wonder if you had a known good starter whether this would be the best way, just fit that and then if it doesn't do the job you have eliminated that as the cause. Then it will be a matter of tracking down the reason.
But just go over every electrical junction first , don't go on a visual, take it apart and use wet and dry sandpaper on every join, coat with vaseline and re-assemble. It is amazing how a small invisible film of corrosion can build up between contacts and one day it will cause all these problems. I hope that might be your solution mate.
But you probably knew all this so sorry to talk basics to you if that's the case.
Cheers,
Dan
 

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Unfortunately the only way to properly test an armature is with a " growler". You can test for open circuits and shorts to ground in the armature loops but due to the extremely low resistance cannot detect power shorts.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
dewcatty thanks a lot for all your insight! Honestly I'm not too great at electrics, most of my experience with vehicles regards mechanical parts so everything is appreciated 😊 I hadn't thought about the armature before, but the commutator did have me worried. I'll attach a photo of it, there was a bump on one side of it and it has several parts with wear marks. I did try wet sanding the commutator to no avail. The new starter will be swapped in on Saturday, so if it doesn't work then, a complete teardown and service of the electrical system will be in order! Fingers crossed it works the first try though. If the swap works I'll see if I can take the starter home with me and try to figure out why it failed and perhaps attempt a refurb.

Also, I checked the voltage drop from the battery. Idled with lights on at 12.9V, dropping to 12.84V when the starter button is pressed. I think that's pretty good?
 

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Agree. Armature commutator is toast. Overheated. You can see that one segment that has shifted.

Need new starter, or starter motor.
 

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Well yes, that's a write off.
Might have been caused by the brushes wearing right out and the metal holder coming in contact with the surface of the comm. I doubt you'll have any further issues once the new starter is fitted.
It's probably not worth the hassle of carrying round the other bits of that starter either as the armature would be costly, probably more than a going secondhand unit.
You could try selling those remains on Ebay though.
Cheers,
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update time!
Got the bike back from the dealer today. They replaced the starter motor, and it ended up requiring a new starter solenoid as well. Either way, the engine turns over with the press of a button for the first time in nearing 7 weeks now, and I can get back to enjoying the last of my time on Japanese roads without worrying about parking facing downhill... I guess more parts replaced doesn't hurt for the ad I've drafted up.
The original quote was ~20,000¥, but it ended up being ~35,000¥. I only had 30,000¥ with me, and I managed to take advantage of the "broke foreigner" discount here in Japan for the second time :) Ironically the first time was the day the starter crapped out on me in the first place. I still think 35,000¥ was a reasonable price for both a new starter solenoid and what they told me was a full day's work from the mechanic.

All I can say is thanks a lot to everyone who gave me guidance on steps to take to diagnose this problem! I was able to rule out quite a few smaller issues before spending the big bucks because of it!
 

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I´m borrowing the thread a bit.
My dauther has bought a non running ST2 -97.
The problem identified was that an earlier owner had put a washer over the positive terminal so it shortcircuited + to chassie -.
After having had the starter out and +terminal isolated we found that the starter seems to rotate anticlockwise not pulling the Spragg gear.
What is possibly wrong?
All we know is that the starter has been messed with and probably rear cover removed but when removing left side cover nothing indicated that the cover has been previously removed.
Thanks!

Gunnar & Hanna
-98 900 SSie, -00 Monster 900Sie, -97 ST2
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Svensk? Jag va född I Göteborg :)

Either way I'll continue in English to make things easier for everyone.
Have you gotten the engine to turn over by a push start? With the starter in the bike did you attempt to short the solenoid?
I'd be happy to help little by little with the knowledge I built up over the last month and a half!
 

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Are you saying the starter runs backwards?
If so the only way would be if brushes have been connected backwards. Possibly po put rear starter plate back 180 degrees out.
 
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