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Discussion Starter #1
Guys:

I tried searching this problem on the forum, but I couldn't quite find a thread that covered the all bases. So, I'm hoping someone out there can help.

I have a 2005 RIII that I bought new in 2004. It has less than 5,000 miles on the odometer. Until a few months ago, I never had a problem with her. I noticed on a trip through AL in late September the starter would hesitate (like one sloooowwww revolution before kicking in and starting as normal). I thought this was an early sign the original battery was reaching the end of its life. I keep my bikes on battery tenders when not in use, so my batteries tend to last quite a long time.

In November, she wouldn't start at all. The starter would turn very slowly - too slow for the engine to kick over - and then give up (all the dials/lights would return to the original start up phase as if I had cycled the ignition key). The battery tender showed the battery as being charged and the voltmeter showed about 12.5 volts. If I put my battery charger on the "jump" setting, the bike would just click (like the solenoid) and the starter would not turn. My brother, who's a near mechanical genius with bikes, thought it could be a tight bearing, but given the youth and low mileage on the bike, leaned more toward a bad cell in the battery (i.e., battery would hold a charge, but would "cave" under the pressure of starting the bike).

The holidays intervened and I just got around to putting a fresh, fully charged battery in her this morning. Same problem - very slow, sluggish turn of the starter, but not start.

I live in Memphis, where it's been quite cold (for TN), but today was near 50.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
Scott
 

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I would check the positive cable attachment at the starter, and also the negative attachment to the frame. These could be loose. I think you have to remove the catbox to get to the starter.
 

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Assuming the battery's good did you check the solenoid or the starter itself. I changed all the spark plugs at 5000 miles on my 05. I was having an idle problem,until i found out about the 05 recall . They remapped it and it runs like a top. FYI.. if you check the starter make sure it's in neutral. I also changed the gas thinking it might have gone bad etc. Like Ugarte said it just may be a loose wire ,check to see if the regulator-rectifyer came loose also. For me it was trial and error :(
 

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The cables may not be loose but corroded. Stopped to help a biker last night whose battery had died. We removed the cables and found that they were not making good contact due to corrosion. scraped them down to shiny bare metal and reatteched. Seemed to do the trick.
 

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New battery - check
Clean and tight connections - check


Try looking at your clutch lever adjustment. Another owner experienced a no start situation because the clutch safety circuit wouldn't engage when the lever setting was set to 1.

If the bike hasn't seen a dealer in say 8 months, you might be running the earlier tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My RIII hasn't seen the inside of a dealership since 2005 when the drive unit seal recall was done. While I'm sure the tune map has been improved from the version running in my bike, I'm fairly certain EFI mapping isn't the issue. Similarly, I doubt the clutch safety/sensor is the issue because the starter turns - just too slowly to start the bike. I suspect the starter or its connection to the battery (wires, connectors, solenoid, etc.) I plan to tear into it with the multimeter this weekend to see what turns up. If I don't solve the problem via cleaning and tightening, I'll pull the starter and have it checked. I'll report back with my findings (or further frustrations).
 

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While I'm sure the tune map has been improved from the version running in my bike, I'm fairly certain EFI mapping isn't the issue. Similarly, I doubt the clutch safety/sensor is the issue because the starter turns - just too slowly to start the bike. I suspect the starter or its connection to the battery (wires, connectors, solenoid, etc.)
Your troubleshooting instincts are sound. The other things that have been mentioned would be more applicable if the starter was cranking properly but the engine simply wouldn't fire, but right now the slow turnover is the principal concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mystery Solved...I think

Finally had the opportunity to tear into the RIII. My plan was to start at the battery and work my way to the starter. First, I disconnected the battery tender, hooked up the battery charger (more CCAs) and turned the key to see if she had healed thyself while I was away. No such luck. Same problem. Slow crank, no start.

Next, I took a look underneath at the starter motor, mainly to see where it was and how much work would be involved to pull it. Cat box would definitely have to come off. While I was under there, I checked the security of all connections to the starter. They all seemed clean and tight.

So, I started with the positive battery terminal and started tracing. I came across the starter relay which appeared to had vibrated loose from its mooring. I pushed it firmly back into place, along with each of the other relays I found there for good measure. Turn the key, press the button...Va-Voom! Let her idle for a bit before tempting fate. Turned off the key, turned it back on, pressed the button...va-voom!

My guess was, because the starter was turning, but too slow, that somehow it wasn't getting enough juice. I had replaced the batter and confirmed the charge, so I knew it wasn't the battery or the terminals.

Two maxims of shadetree mechanics came into play here: First, start with the easy/cheap problems and work your way up to the difficult/expensive possibilities. Second, once it appears you've found what your looking for, stop looking for it. Words to live by, for sure.

Hopefully, the loose relay was the cause and I hadn't just gotten lucky by tapping a failing solenoid, etc. It was nice for a change to have a day I had set aside for wrenching turn out to be a day I spent riding instead (rather than the usual vice versa). I'll let everyone know if the gremlin returns. Pray he doesn't, please.

Scott
 
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