87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down


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Mav4G
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1987 GL1200A Aspencade

87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:13 pm



Hello all! I went out yesterday morning (cold snap here) and with a small delay after pressing the start button it turned over and started. I warmed it up for 6-8 minutes the shut it off to collect a few things to run some errands. When I came out to go it would not start - not even turn over. So I've done some of the homework already. I have thoroughly cleaned all connectors, including starter relay, battery (is good -holding 12.5v), & connection at starter. It happens I checked the stator last week and its up there around 14.26v. When I turn the power on (in start mode) and hit the starter button, I get a click - the headlight goes out when button fully compressed - and then nothing. I tried jumping the starter by arcing the two +/- terminals on the solenoid/relay but it acts dead. I get nothing, not even a spark. Since its the older version (see pic) Im guessing it has taken a dump. The primary 3 yellow wires have already been soldered by the PO. He also converted the old dog bones to a separate 30a fuse. Im wanting to update/convert to a newer type solenoid if Im going to get a new one but I thought I would tap you guys and see if Im overlooking something. Second opinions & insights save resources. Thanks up front for your thoughts :)




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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:10 pm

Shorting across the + / - terminals on the relay isn't going to do much, as that is the coil - it requires voltage across those terminals in order to close the relay contacts.

First thing first, with the bike in neutral, short across the two large terminals (the ones with the nuts - one of them attached to the battery positive cable). You should see a spark, and the engine should crank over.

If this doesn't happen, then the problem is not your starter relay - it is either the starter itself, the battery, or the wiring in between the battery and the starter.

If it does crank, then your starter is OK.

You said the starter relay is clicking when you press the starter button? Can you feel it click if you put your finger on it?

Do you have a voltmeter you can use to help diagnose the issue?

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:07 pm

As I mentioned above, when I touch the two nuts on the solenoid (using a screwdriver to arc them) nothing happens. When I hit the start button I can hear and feel the starter solenoid click (bike in neutral ignition on). When I put the voltmeter to the battery I get 12.36v and when I put the meter to the relay bolts I get 12.35v. When I touch the voltmeter (red) positive to the starter power connector on the starter itself (and ground the black one) - when I hit the start button on the handlebar I get a burst of 11.88v to the starter (which seems a little weak). So I put the batter charger on the battery (in start mode - max amps) and hit the starter button. Everything went just the same except I was now getting 14.34v burst from the power connector on the starter itself. Still not a peep from the starter. I checked all my fuses and they all appear to be ok. As shown in the picture the solenoid is hooked up to the battery positive post (or would get no click). I've started pricing out starters. Seems there's a new one on eBay for $93 from Starter Central.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby wingman12 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:10 pm

Mav4G, good evening, I had the same issue on the 82 1100 I restored last winter, check all of your grounds, especially the one from the negative side of the battery to the frame. disconnect the battery lead attached to the starter and use jumper cables to test starter. I purchased one of those inexpensive starters from ebay and it lasted exactly 12 starts before it died. I spent $50 and bought the starter rebuild kit and cleaned out all of the carbon and crap inside the starter, cleaned up the armatures put it back together and the original worked great ever since. Just food for thought. :D :D

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:19 pm

I was just sending an email to those guys with the cheap starter as I found gaping holes in their warranty. Its pretty much a paperweight if anything goes wrong (esp if you install it?) as far as I can tell. Anyway,I did not get to the negative ground (shame on me). And the starter was working so well just moments before (after a short second delay from pressing the button - which lead me to believe it was a ground issue). Anyway, I will do as you suggest tomorrow as that makes a lot of sense to me. This is my 5th wing, Ive had an 83, 2 84's, and now my second 87; all of them Aspys. And they are rich with ground & connector issues. I shouldn't have missed the negative ground, but thats why I posted here cause Im getting old and probably ought to give it up, but I just love to ride :)

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby wingman12 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:28 pm

:lol: :lol: on getting old, that reminds me of one Sunday morning a few years ago me and my GF were having breakfast looking out the window and down the street I saw a bike with a side car coming our way, it pulled into the parking lot, it was a gold, Goldwing. the gent riding it looked to be about 90 years young. he pulled up right under the window and dismounted the bike, he then reached into the side car and pulled out his oxygen tank and came in for breakfast, so I don't think you are old yet. Keep it up. :D :D

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:36 pm

Sadly we've had an internet outage here (storm). Well I cleaned the negative ground thoroughly and it did not improve my situation unfortunately. I tried jumping the starter again but I get nothing from that. Also: Normally when you arc the solenoid posts w/a screwdriver you'll at least get a spark, but I don't. When I attempt to jump the starter I don't get sparks either. Thats unusual to me. But when I hit the starter button I get a distinct click from the solenoid and the vMeter says there is a burst of electricity hitting the starter (at least at the connection anyway). What do you make of that if anything? Maybe Im not getting my starter jumpers hooked up right. And for some reason Im drawing a blank. If you were going to test your starter how would you make your hookups? (step by step - remember Im having a brain cloud :). On another note I have found a starter rebuild kit for $16. Let me know what you think of it: www.ebay.com/itm/371155570414
Thanks again for all suggestions!

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Maz » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:12 pm

Hi Mav4g,
If you're not getting a spark when shorting the solenoid with a screwdriver or when jumping straight to the starter, it's because the starter is not drawing any current. Either the windings in the starter are open circuit or the brushes are not making contact. It would be well worth stripping the starter to find out. The rebuild kit will contain new brushes but if the windings are open circuit, you will need a new starter or have the old one rewound.
Good luck.
Maz
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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:25 pm

Definitely the starter. From the diagnostic steps you have taken, the only part that it can be is the starter itself. Either a winding has opened, or a brush has failed.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:28 pm

I suppose I can pull the starter, but never having rebuilt one I can only imagine all the things that can go wrong with that when you don't know what to expect. A rebuild kit is very appealing compared to a replacement starter. What would I want to look out for when opening up the starter casing? Are there springs or things that will pop out at me and I won't know where to put them back? Sometimes things will simply crumble when you open them. lol - this happened to me many years ago on an old alternator and I convinced myself to buy rebuilt so I wouldn't have to fool with it. But I don't see any rebuilt starters out there. There is only the dealer and the internet. We don't have any MC salvage yards around here or fabricators that I know of.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:30 pm

Also, does this look like a sensible kit or is it missing something or?
www.ebay.com/itm/371155570414
Thanks for your help!

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:47 pm

I just read a doc that assures me of what's in store here:
viewtopic.php?t=259#ixzz3y10xYHyN
I will probably just buy a replacement as Im like a bull cut loose in a china shop. My only question, which always seems debatable is: does my 87 aspy need to be on its side stand or can I raise it up on its center stand to better suit my arthritis when I remove and reinstall the starter? There seems to be some concern over the chain alignment or a cog falling back into the motor? Has this been addressed by Honda in my 87?
Thanks again for everyone chiming in!

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby f1xrupr » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:33 pm

I heard someone say once..."if you can whistle, you can sing". I hear you whistling right along about that starter-you understand logic. You can fix it yourself-these guys will help you if you need help, but I'll just bet, you won't need much.....and, ya can't hurt it...right?...you gotta take the old one off anyway-may as well take the screws out. :roll:
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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby jamie f » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:52 pm

hi mav4.i had the exact same situation on my 86 Aspy.Pulled the starter disassembled and found the brushes worn down and wires to brushes burnt.As far as rebuilding starter,its pretty simple and straightforward.With a little cleaning and patience,my original starter works like new.Mine started out as slow cranking which i mistakenly thought was a discharged battery,so i did what you did,put it on "start"mode on charger,,,needless to say i quickly found my problem when smoke came from the starter.Another quick check,put negative end of volt meter to ground,disconnect starter wire from starter,put positive to starter wire and try start button,should read 12 volts.Hope this helps.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:17 pm

I just love wingers. Wish I had some in my area to hang out with. You guys are great. To f1xrupr: I was mulling it over and thought I would pull the starter tomorrow and tear it down - I got nothing to loose as you pointed out. And to Jamie F: I've done that already and I get a burst of 11-14v depending on if the charger is on or off so I know its getting power. We've pretty much whittled it down to a starter rebuild minimum. I keep posting a link for a rebuild kit I found on eBay but no one will respond about it. I guess I'll take it apart and go from there. Thank you all for your great tips and advice. I will follow through when I've remedied it and bring this post full circle. I've read so many posts that die off before fruition and you're left wondering what happened. Thanks again to Maz, Wingman 12, and WingAdmin!

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby jamie f » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:54 pm

That's probably all it needs is the brush plate kit,you'll know for sure when you open it up.When I ordered my kit I got bearings and all gaskets/orings.Didn't need bearings,but it was nice to have the o rings for end caps. Mine were dry and brittle,broke when I took it apart.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Maz » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:42 am

Mac4g,
The kit that you've posted the eBay link to is just a 'brush kit'. This may well be all you need, but open the starter first, before buying it. That way if you need more 'bits', you can buy them all together and get more excited waiting for the mail man! :D

Maz
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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby f1xrupr » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:04 am

I used a $15.00 brush plate from ebay-worked great. I also opted to install a ground wire from the brush plate to the housing cap-dissimilar metal issues causes ground problems. Good idea (as mentioned above) to pull starter first-also-I have read in more than one place that it's better to repair the original, than to buy new aftermarkets.
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:59 am

Mav4G wrote:I just read a doc that assures me of what's in store here:
viewtopic.php?t=259#ixzz3y10xYHyN
I will probably just buy a replacement as Im like a bull cut loose in a china shop. My only question, which always seems debatable is: does my 87 aspy need to be on its side stand or can I raise it up on its center stand to better suit my arthritis when I remove and reinstall the starter? There seems to be some concern over the chain alignment or a cog falling back into the motor? Has this been addressed by Honda in my 87?
Thanks again for everyone chiming in!


The chain and sprocket cannot fall into the engine, there's no way for this to happen. You can have the bike upright to work on it, but to get the starter shaft back into that sprocket, you will need to have the bike back on the side stand again, in order to have the sprocket lined up correctly.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:39 pm

Wow, I've struggled for a couple hours now trying to get the starter out (see photo). When I try to rotate the starter the front lower bolt tab on the starter casing prevents moving it that way, or the elec stud is doing it on the other end. The end of the starter spline has yet to see light of day. After dropping the exhaust Im convinced the one stud is my true culprit. But Im deathly afraid of trying to remove it as Im more likely to twist it off in the motor casing. I've read where a half dozen of you guys have overcome this somehow and right now would be a good time to let me have it - once you've seen the photo and can suggest a plan. I've tried prying it with a long heavy duty screwdriver, a small pry bar, etc. I've twisted, poked, pryed, shifted, jiggled, forward, backward, and any old way it would move. And it just wont budge for me. Uhg...


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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby deanbw » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:44 pm

you have two choices, I've done both. !- use two nuts, jamb them together and remove the stud. 2- remove the frame section with the kickstand on it, it comes out really quite easy, bottom long motor mount bolt and the frame bolts at either end of frame section.
I have heard of guys taking starter apart then removing it but what a PITA

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Mav4G » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:54 pm

Thanks deanbw, when you use the two nut system, are you using two of the exhaust nuts back to back or using one slightly larger as a spacer? Also, is the stud threaded in the block or was it pressurized into place non-threaded? Im trying to visualize my results in my mind's eye before I go about this. Im not fond of removing the engine mounts. I did that once and played hell getting it back in (even with a jack). I have to everything by myself and Im arthritic so some days are a challange. I appreciate your help, thanks.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby deanbw » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:57 pm

two of the same nuts jammed together so you can turn stud, it is threaded into block. If it does not want to turn remove frame section, it is easier than it sounds

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby Maz » Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:47 am

As deanbw says ^^^^

Removing the frame section is pretty easy.

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Re: 87 Aspy won't start - narrowing it down

Postby f1xrupr » Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:43 am

If you have a pair of tiny vice grips, you might try to grasp the unthreaded part of the stud-work it a little, and screw it out. It may come out relatively easy-there's a chance it has been removed before.


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