Basically, a starter is an electric motor that turns over or "cranks" the engine to start it. Harley starters are equipped in every model of the motorcycle, and you need to know more about it if you plan on maintaining it. It consists of a potent DC (Direct Current) electric motor and the starter solenoid that is connected to the motor.
The motorcycle battery powers the Harley starter motor. To turn over the engine the starter motor needs an unusually high electric current, which means the battery has to have adequate power. If the battery is discharged, the lights in a car might come on, but it won't be sufficient power (current) to turn over the starter motor.
What are the indications of a bad starter motor: With the fully charged battery, when starting a motorcycle, nothing happens, or there is a single click, but the starter motor doesn't run, even though there is a 12-Volt power at the starter control terminal.
Another symptom is when the starter motor runs but fails to turn over the engine. Often, this might cause a loud screeching noise when starting the motorcycle. Of course, this could also be caused by damaged teeth on the flywheel or the ring gear of the flex plate.
A typical starter solenoid has one small connector for the starter control wire (the white connector in the photo) and two large terminals: one for the positive battery cable and the other for the thick wire /that powers the starter motor itself
The starter solenoid works as a powerful electric relay. When activated, through the control terminal, the solenoid closes the hi-current electric circuit and sends the battery power to the starter motor. At the same time, the starter solenoid pushes the starter gear forward to mesh with the ring gear of the engine flexplate or flywheel.
As mentioned earlier, the Harley starters' motors require very high electric current to turn over the engine, that's why it's connected to the battery with thick (large gauge) cables. The negative (ground) cable connects the negative "-" battery terminal to the engine cylinder block, or transmission, close to the starter. The positive cable connects the positive "+" battery terminal to the starter solenoid. Often, a poor connection at one of the battery cables can cause a starter motor not to run.
How a starting system works:
When you turn the ignition key to the START position or press the START button, if the transmission is in Park or Neutral, the battery voltage goes through the starter control circuit and activates the starter solenoid. The starter solenoid powers the starter motor. At the same time, the Harley Starters solenoid pushes the starter gear forward to mesh it with the engine flywheel (flexplate in an automatic transmission). The flywheel is attached to the engine crankshaft. The starter motor spins, turning over the engine crankshaft allowing the engine to start.
The covers all the basic FAQs when dealing with Harley starters, find an expert to get yours replaced.
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