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Old 07-22-2010, 02:36 AM
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Default 76 ironhead starter terminal short

I just picked up this ironhead and finally got the starter to do what it's supposed to do. Inside the starter case the + terminal is sitting very close to one of the brush leads. I insulated it with black tape just to see if that's where the problem was and that fixed it long enough to be able to get some normal starting operation. Problem is, it gets hot enough to melt through black tape and when that happens, sparks and smoke come next. It got pretty ugly there for minute. What can I use (that won't melt) to insulate the + terminal from the rest of the guts on the starter? High temp tape maybe? The starter has obviously been torn into before but it's not in bad shape. Need ideas on a permanent fix here. I'm thinkin I'll give it a heavier cable too. Maybe that will help keep the heat down. I'll try to post a few pics....Thanks
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:49 AM
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Here's a few pics...

This one is me on the way back from picking up the bike in Colorado

Click the image to open in full size.


This one is a couple of days later... Sorry they're so big. It's late and my computer is acting up. I'll get'em reduced next time around.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:48 AM
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I have been inside a starter motor only a couple of times, and i am not expert in electrical stuff. I am thinking tho that there may be another problem in there to cause that much heat. They are quite simple in there so it should be easy enough to spot, whatever it is. I took mine apart, cleaned it up thoroughly with electrical contacts cleaner and a toothbrush, and re-assembled.

Anyway, how about some cork gasket material as an insulator? Just a thought.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
I have been inside a starter motor only a couple of times, and i am not expert in electrical stuff. I am thinking tho that there may be another problem in there to cause that much heat. They are quite simple in there so it should be easy enough to spot, whatever it is. I took mine apart, cleaned it up thoroughly with electrical contacts cleaner and a toothbrush, and re-assembled.

Anyway, how about some cork gasket material as an insulator? Just a thought.
Ya, cork might work. The local carquest man gave me a sample of some vinyl 3m tape to try. It's not heat resistant as he stated but it's better than electrical tape. It has worked so far. Sort of. I rewired it from the starter to the solenoid to the battery with 6 gauge wire and it's still getting hot after she cranks over a bit. The starter looks pretty new, not much dirt or grime inside, if any. Maybe just a cheap starter, or somebody hacked it up before I got to it. The guy I got this bike from had a 16 yr old daughter who is going to motorcycle mechanic school so I've already had a few suprises. Probably gonna have to go back and go over everything. Thank god he gave me a service manual. If I can get'er tuned right where she'll fire up it shouldn't have time to get hot. I'm using a measly 270 CCA battery while I'm waiting on the Deka 385 CCA that I ordered. I also pulled the S&S super e and cleaned it up. Accelerator pump was completely plugged, now she sprays nice.

I had to order a coil too. Somewhere along the line yesterday, the coil that was on it started to make sizzling sounds. I did have spark at one point but once the coil started oozing goo, all spark was lost. Not sure what in the hell caused that. I did notice that the battery was overcharging at about that time. I think it was reading 15+ plus volts at one point. So, another 46 bucks for a coil, which isn't too bad, but I hope it doesn't happen again.

Another question I have is, can I safely fire the bike up while I'm waiting on a replacement clutch cable? I have the primary cover on with a few bolts holding it but there's no clutch cable and no oil. I know I wouldn't want to run it very much at all like this but just to hear it fire and run for a couple of seconds, I'm hoping isn't a problem. The only thing that makes me real nervous so far is cranking the bike over, then it will suddenly stop with a pretty good "clack!"... I'm guessing that means it has good compression and an underrated battery. Starter gear looks brand new. It also takes on an interesting sound when I open the throttle and crank it over. Overall nothing too scary, but I'm not used to the way these bikes sound yet. I'm just hoping that clack isn't the clutch cable retainer inside the primary case taking a beating because there's no cable attached to it. I didn't leave the small swivel piece that holds the cable end, attached to the ball and ramp, in case you're wondering.

Long story short. I'm waiting on a clutch cable, better battery, coil, and of course...primary cover gasket. I thought about using gasket sealer but decided not to, unless I get tired of waiting on the gasket in the mail....lol. Glad to hear from at least one of you ironhead guru's. I need all the help I can get. Thanks Mick. Can't wait to hear this baby growl.

Nothin like livin in the middle of nowhere when ya need "hard to find" parts.
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Old 07-23-2010, 03:01 PM
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My experience with starter cables getting hot is either the cable has broken strands [so that it is more like a fuse than a cable!], or there is a problem inside the starter motor. This event was a few years ago. I replaced the cables first, then overhauled the starter motor. I did not put in any new parts, just cleaned up what was there. Problem fixed.

You may need a new regulator - 15 amps is way too high. I agree on using a correct gasket rather than gasket maker/sealer. When that stuff squishes inside it may get into somewhere you do not want it to be.

I do not know enough to comment reliably on running the motor in its current state. What i would do is wait until i had a good battery, and the prrimary cover and cable installed. Just seems risky to me, especially with a loud clunk.

Gotta have parience with these beasts.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:15 PM
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And get Her tuned perfect,then one revolution should start it up.Nice bike! chrome that frame..She will be ALL chrome!
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:15 AM
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And get Her tuned perfect,then one revolution should start it up.Nice bike! chrome that frame..She will be ALL chrome!
Ya, would like to have kickstart. Not prepared to go that route yet. Lots of things on the list before that. That is a lot of chrome isn't it? I traded a flat black Vulcan for it that ran but I'd rather work on a Harley than ride something else....lol. Bit too much chrome if you ask me but what the hell. It's something different. As long as it gets me home. I just wanna get in the wind. Waiting on parts is so much fun. Might as well go to work....
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
My experience with starter cables getting hot is either the cable has broken strands [so that it is more like a fuse than a cable!], or there is a problem inside the starter motor. This event was a few years ago. I replaced the cables first, then overhauled the starter motor. I did not put in any new parts, just cleaned up what was there. Problem fixed.

You may need a new regulator - 15 amps is way too high. I agree on using a correct gasket rather than gasket maker/sealer. When that stuff squishes inside it may get into somewhere you do not want it to be.

I do not know enough to comment reliably on running the motor in its current state. What i would do is wait until i had a good battery, and the prrimary cover and cable installed. Just seems risky to me, especially with a loud clunk.

Gotta have parience with these beasts.

I'm thinkin that's a good idea. I can hear the cable mount movin around in there when it turns over so I'll just chill and wait for the right stuff. Just thinkin of those loose bearings and all that gettin tossed around is enough to make me cringe a little. Patience was never my strong point but neither are major overhauls so I'll just sit here and cuss until the mailman shows up. Any thoughts on what to use for primary oil? I think the manual showed 20w50 if I'm not mistaken. I have some Valvoline 20w50 v-twin oil. Not sure if that would be the best or not.

The previous owner gave me some 60 weight racing oil for the crankcase and it looks like that's acceptable. It's around 80-100 degrees here right now so it seems like the way to go. I put it in already and the motor sounds good so far. Just a little black smoke but it sat for about 3 years so that's expected I think. I peeked into the intake when I had the carb off and it looks like the valves are carboned up pretty good. I sprayed a gas/carb cleaner mixture in the intake to try and clean it up a bit before I put the carb back on. I suppose I should go in and adjust the valves before I get too far too. What else should I check? Like I said, this bike was worked on by the previous owners daughter who is a 16 yr old motorcycle mechanic school student so I'm planning on going over as much as possible. A lot of things are loosely attached so to speak. It's also said to be rebuilt and bored to an 1100 but I'd have to ask again who did that work. I'm just guessing it wasn't a 16 yr old.

It's killin me waitin on these parts. Just wanna get in the wind. That's what I get for livin in the middle of nowhere....damnit!...lol.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:48 PM
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I believe 1976 is the last year for the infamous "transfer valve" that permits a small amount of oil to interchange between the engine and the primary. The recommendation for these bikes is to use the same oil in both. Straight 60 for the very hot summers, straight 50 otherwise.

But of course you will see lots of different recommendations.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:09 AM
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[quote=IronMick;
You may need a new regulator - 15 amps is way too high.


I'm guessing you meant volts....?
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:09 AM
 
 
 
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