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My '96 900ss/sp has a slow cranking starter and I know the battery is good with a full charge. The motor will always start, but sometimes it takes a little longer than it should. I remember reading something somewhere about a seal failing and oil oozing into the starter causing the brushes to not make full contact. Is this really something that happens?

Does anyone have any advise for me? Should I purchase a new OEM starter? Have mine rebuilt? Do I remember correctly that all, or most, Ducatis use the same starter? Is there a lightweight alternate?

I've got FCR carbs (no choke), a lightweight flywheel and open airbox, all motor internals are stock.
 

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If it's the starter itself, you can have it rebuilt fairly easily or find one used from many of the bikes from the 90's (as they used the same starter). I dunno of a lightweight alternative.

If it's the sprag clutch inside the left case, there are several things that you can do, including shortening the retaining spring (which is what usually lengthens and causes hard starting sometimes).

I'd also check all the wiring, clean the connections, etc...
 

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I'm not so sure that the problem is the brushes. If you've got HC pistons, it will turn over really slowly. Are you sure you don't have a voltage drop or a ground somewhere? I think the easiest would be to try a replacement starter, providing you can take it back if it's not the solution. I would check the electrical system just to be safe.
 
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Hi,
I had very similar symptoms for a long while. The engine would turn over and over, everything seemed to be working well but it just wouldn't start easily. Eventually it always would though.
I never thought it was the battery because I had it charged and it wasn't old, I always thought it was the mixture (I have remus carbon pipes and a cut-open air-box). This went on for months, maybe more with the previous owner. All this starting, over and over, wore down a lot of internals that I replaced because the whole mechanism started slipping completely and ceased to turn ANYTHING over. Didn't have to replace the starter though, I read somewhere that the starters on these bikes are really strong, mine would seem to prove this after a lot of abuse.
It still didn't start correctly. I replaced the battery, problem solved. Weak battery wasn't spinning everything up fast enough... simple, and now obvious and annoying.
Zander
 

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An easy way to check it is to put some jumper cables from your car to the bike battery. If it turns over quicker, it probably battery related. If not, go through all the electrical connections, make sure they're clean and well secured. Check out www.ricksmotorsportelectrics.com for rebuilt starters and stators.
 

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Yeah, sounds like you're losing voltage in the wiring. The original +ve leads are a little dicky and can corrode enough so that the resistance brings the voltage down. You get a sort of ...errrrrrrr.....chug, chug, chug....errrrrrr.... chug.... as the starter sort of builds up effort and then throws everything round?

Check connections and look at the leads from the battery: if they look crappy, they probably are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I tested my battery with the starter engaged, reads about 10amps so that seems o.k. I cleaned the connections of both cables at both ends; no difference. So now I'll try replacing the original cables with new.

I'm working from cheapest to most expensive...
 

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PSsssp said:
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I tested my battery with the starter engaged, reads about 10amps so that seems o.k. I cleaned the connections of both cables at both ends; no difference. So now I'll try replacing the original cables with new.

I'm working from cheapest to most expensive...
PSsssp,

Any resolution to your problem? I've got a buddy experiencing the same thing on his 94 900SS. We are debating changing out his starter motor....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, from the dark depths of history.

I initially made some new battery cables, cleaning all other connectors and this helped tremendously. I did replace the battery about six months later more as a matter of maintenance than anything else and the problem hasn't reappeared. I'd suggest the same troubleshooting path to you; start with the cheap and work your way up. Any shop can load test your battery and cleaning connectors is easy.

Thanks for asking.
 

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My SS CR is in the shop for its 18K service.
I've been informed by the shop that the clutch starter motor needs to be replaced.

$190 for parts & $225 for labor + tax.
Somewhere in the total of $470.

Does that sound right to you guys?
 

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bump for my question...
 

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.... clutch starter motor needs to be replaced. $190 for parts & $225 for labor + tax.
Somewhere in the total of $470. Does that sound right to you guys?
I'm guessing you mean the starter sprag clutch. You are certainly not buying a new starter for $190. What are the symptoms? Starter doesn't fully engage, disengages with a "clang"?

If so, labour looks about right but the parts seem high. Sounds like they are replacing the full sprag. All that's need is a new spring and even then, often shortening the old one will work.

It's not really hard to do. The LHS case has to come off, the sprag is located behind the flywheel so the alternator nut does have to be removed. No biggie if you've got an impact wrench.
 

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The symptoms are that it that it takes almost a dozen times to try and start the bike till it finally fires up.
At first I just thought since I've only started the bike up about once a week during the past month and half, it was just the weather.
There's no disengaging "clang".
I'll post up a video of how the bike starts up when I get it back from the shop.

The shop (Desmoto in San Francisco) said I needed a new clutch starter motor.
I haven't given them the go ahead to fix it as I can't afford it right now.
From the info in your reply, I'll pick up the bike this week, video and hopefully we can diagnose it here on the forum, which would be sweet!
 
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