Starter relay is serviceable

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Starter relay is serviceable

Post by CharlotteSpreeRider » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:44 pm

Symptoms: Mash starter button with key on and holding a brake lever, hear only a click from the right side below the seat. Repeated button mashing results in repeated clicking sound, but no starter motor spin.


Battery - 12.8v registered from multimeter at battery and at red wire to starter relay. Turn signals and horn very strong.

Starter motor - Ran wire from + terminal on battery to red wire to starter motor. Starter spins at full speed, motor starts unexpectedly, I turn off by key.

Wiring - Multimeter shows short from battery to red wire on starter relay harness, and short from red/white wire on starter relay harness to red wire on starter motor (good).

Starter relay - Short red wire to red/white wire on starter relay harness. Starter spins, motor starts.

Diagnosis: Starter relay faulty.

Took apart starter relay by flattening the four rounded in aluminum spots where the cover meets the housing. Looks like this:
sr.jpg (41.75 KiB) Viewed 6584 times
In the photo, the metal tab on top right is not connected to any of the 4 terminals. The metal slab on the top left, which fits just below that tab connects to the red/white wire, which goes to the starter motor. When the starter button is mashed, that slab of metal moves downward. The contact on the end of that slab makes contact with a different post, which shorts the red wire to the red/white wire and spins the starter motor. It looks very much like points. In my case, the metal bits were moving, but the contact was not strong enough to short the wires. If pressed with finger, the motor spins, but with starter button, just click.

Gently cleaned contact surfaces with fine grit sandpaper, reassembled, and everything works great now. Not sure if it will last because I'm not sure how it got this way to start with, but at least it is working now.

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Re: Starter relay is serviceable

Post by tucker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:59 am

Right on Brother!
I love this stuff.

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Re: Starter relay is serviceable

Post by mousewheels » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:29 am

Nice write up and pic. (Edit - Wiki transfer completed - link: ... 26_Service)

The relay contacts when switching DC can transfer metal in one direction. One contact can grow a 'spike', the other a pit. If you can see the contacts look for it. Kind of fun!

Also the contact points may oxidize. This leads to where the relay 'clicks' but does not make a good electrical connection. Sanding - or better yet - a 'points' file can better cut off the spike, and clean both contact surfaces up. Small flat jewelers file will do for the 'points' file.

P.S. The flasher contacts can be checked and cleaned in the same manner.

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