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(Solved!) Had to get a jump start from roadside assistance; starter motor not cranking after a chilly night; intermitent issue?!


p6x
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April 2022:

As suggested by the electricians of this forum, a sixth relay was added. The ignition switch is no longer the gateway to the solenoid amps. It now drive a dedicated relay to the task.

Relay to SolenoidRelay to Solenoid side view

 


On November 11th, I set out for the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Texas.

The Le Mans sleeps in a garage, and I noticed the starter motor cranked with just a little delay. I am talking milliseconds. Engine started immediately.

Spent the night on the road. The morning, when I pushed the started button, the light's intensity diminished, but the starter motor did not crank. Tried a few times, nothing.

I put the Le Mans in third gear, and balanced the engine. Tried again, the starter cranked immediately. I went on my way, no further issue. Starter would crank immediately upon request.

Second night out, morning is 39 degrees F. Seat and cowl frozen.

No crank. Swap 1st relay. No crank. Noticed the neutral and oil lights dim out when attempting the start. Tried again to move the engine, but this time no start.

Roadside assistance comes, gives me a jump, starter motor cranks and engine starts immediately. There will be no more hesitation each time I switch off the engine and attempt to restart it.

I abort the tour, and go back home.

Connect my batter charger to the battery, charger indicates the battery is fully charged. 

Flukes between the positive and negative indicates 14.09 Volts with engine revving at 1500 rpm. At idle, it is about 13+ volts.

1) It is not the battery.

2) it is not the relay #1

3) It never happened when the Le Mans sleeps indoors, and has not happened during my previous trips with night out.

4) Once it has started the problem does not reoccur until a long stop.

I have gone through the previous thread, but my symptoms are not exactly the same. As I said, following the initial start, the starter motor always works fine. After several days in the garage, it still starts.

What should I check? what is that ignition switch you mentioned? is this where you put the key in? could it be the starter solenoid that does not like the cold?

 

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Simple enough to begin with the known issues with the Ignition Switch (yes, where the key turns). Kiwi_Roy just described this procedure in another thread. I shall post a link here momentarily . . .

Ah, here:

 

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Very curious, on November 12 I rode mySport about 30 miles/50 km to a favorite deli out in the country. It had sat over two weeks and I did not "condition" the battery before riding as I usually do. After a bowl of chili and an hour's conversation, she would not start: slow crank-> clickety-click. I carry a lightweight jumper cable set and had it started right away. I also carry a voltmeter (don't we all?) and the charging voltage at a couple thousand rpm was a solid 14.2v.

Rode home without shutting off for fuel, initiated the "PC545 Conditioning" and ordered a replacement for the (still) original Valeo starter.

[FWIW, the early V11 (like mySport) do not have the Ignition Switch starting issue of the later V11. That is up to Relay#1 Normally Open contact. There is a fresh CIT 20a/30a relay in that position.]

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On 11/15/2021 at 6:11 PM, docc said:

Simple enough to begin with the known issues with the Ignition Switch (yes, where the key turns). Kiwi_Roy just described this procedure in another thread. I shall post a link here momentarily . . .

Ah, here:

 

@docc I read that thread, and all the others that treated of that subject. And there are many throughout the years.

From K-Boy, I got that the starter load is carried through the switch via these flimsy poles on a plastic tab.

However, on the LeMans, it is not a 15 minutes job. There is no easy access to the two screws that hold the contactor switch.

Today, the starter cranked right on point.

I am trying to make sense of what made the jump start successfully the other day. If the poles were not properly in line, the starter should not have cranked. Unless of course, the jump added enough CCA that the poor alignment carried enough Amps.

 

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12 hours ago, Chuck said:

What makes you say that? Have you load tested it? Voltage means very little.

I did not. But, the battery is brand new. This is one of the first consumable I replaced.

And when I crank the starter, it all sounds healthy. I feel that I would be able to identify a weak battery. One can always be wrong, of course. But the problem that many have experienced, and that I did too, seem to be related to what K-Boy described in multiple threads.

When the starter does not crank, there is absolutely zero solenoid noise. It is just like there is not load going through. You can hear the fuel pump, and when you turn the key, the dash board lights dim, but nothing happens. And if you insist, you blow the 15 Amps starter motor fuse.

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13 minutes ago, p6x said:

I did not. But, the battery is brand new. This is one of the first consumable I replaced.

And when I crank the starter, it all sounds healthy. I feel that I would be able to identify a weak battery. One can always be wrong, of course. But the problem that many have experienced, and that I did too, seem to be related to what K-Boy described in multiple threads.

When the starter does not crank, there is absolutely zero solenoid noise. It is just like there is not load going through. You can hear the fuel pump, and when you turn the key, the dash board lights dim, but nothing happens. And if you insist, you blow the 15 Amps starter motor fuse.

This very much sounds like too much load through the demanding Ignition Switch circuitry. Or faulty connections from battery to ground or battery to starter. Have you serviced the critical Main Ground from battery to the right-rear of the gear box? As well as those to the starter solenoid and the grounding bolts that hold the starter to place? Not unusual that excessive load is additive through the circuit and not just one primary point of failure.

We have pulled the Ignition Switch from a Le Mans "in the field" when the owner had misplaced his key and it was time to go home. It is a fiddly operation beneath the fairing best performed by the hands of a violinist intent on the solution . . .

[haha - I got to say "fiddly" and "violinist" in the same sentence! B)]

 

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9 minutes ago, docc said:

This very much sounds like too much load through the demanding Ignition Switch circuitry. Or faulty connections from battery to ground or battery to starter. Have you serviced the critical Main Ground from battery to the right-rear of the gear box? As well as those to the starter solenoid and the grounding bolts that hold the starter to place?

We have pulled the Ignition Switch from a Le Mans "in the field" when the owner had misplaced his key and it was time to go home. It is a fiddly operation beneath the fairing best performed by the hands of a violinist intent on the solution . . .

@docc like I said, the LeMans starts like this problem never occurred.... so it is an intermittent problem. I would hope that a faulty connection on a ground would be permanent. When I read that Amps are routed through the ignition switch, it all makes sense that if the plastic tab does not properly rotate to establish full contact then the load does not carry through.

As for the restricted access, there are some specialist tools that could help in getting there. I don't have any of them.

But I am going to make sure it does not happen again when I am out on a craze.

 

 

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With our V11 both needing a "jump start" within a day of one another, if we are not now brothers, our V11 are (at least) sisters.  :drink:

:mg:  [ . . . sometimes, she stabs me for no reason at all . . . ]  :wub:

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My PC545 would do that. Rode one hour/40 miles at up to 120kph and park for 30 minutes - 2  hours. Come back and RRRRRrrrrrr. Would eventually start but...

I dumped the ODD odyssey and installed a ghetto Yuasa AGM. Now it's humming along like a rotary (remember those Mazda commercials?). 

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20 hours ago, p6x said:

@docc like I said, the LeMans starts like this problem never occurred.... so it is an intermittent problem. I would hope that a faulty connection on a ground would be permanent. When I read that Amps are routed through the ignition switch, it all makes sense that if the plastic tab does not properly rotate to establish full contact then the load does not carry through.

As for the restricted access, there are some specialist tools that could help in getting there. I don't have any of them.

But I am going to make sure it does not happen again when I am out on a craze.

 

 

Highly recomended to install an extra relay feeding starter solenoid to avoid any stress to the ign switch.

Cheers Tom.

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On 11/16/2021 at 10:22 PM, fotoguzzi said:

I would start with a little sand paper on all the ground connections. Especially the battery to frame ground mentioned above. And I'd clean and sand paper the battery terminals too then coat with Vaseline.

I am a bit uneasy about "Vaseline" grease.... it sounds "dirty"...

I am thinking about either Dielectric grease, or in the case of the Switch, something like "Carbon Conductive" grease, such as the one proposed by MG Chemicals.

So that would be two different type of greases:

The Dielectric one, that needs to "isolate" the connection from moisture, not conductive;

The "Conductive" one, this one should be used as an ointment inside that infamous contact switch. While retaining the moisture repellent property of the other type, it does not impede proper contact between the terminals.

I could even pass on the Dielectric and only use the Carbon based one.

What do you think?

 

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On 11/17/2021 at 12:28 AM, po18guy said:

My PC545 would do that. Rode one hour/40 miles at up to 120kph and park for 30 minutes - 2  hours. Come back and RRRRRrrrrrr. Would eventually start but...

I dumped the ODD odyssey and installed a ghetto Yuasa AGM. Now it's humming along like a rotary (remember those Mazda commercials?). 

I am a 20th century guy, and all the Japanese motorcycles I saw back in the 70's where equipped with Yuasa batteries, stock.

A lot of those "new" brands were not around back then, and even if they were, they probably did not cater to the wheeler people. Yuasa is a brand I would naturally trust because of its longevity.

Unfortunately, if you use the product find on the Yuasa site, you draw a blank for Moto Guzzi V11 Le Mans / Sport 2004.... :blush:

 

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  • p6x changed the title to (Solved!) Had to get a jump start from roadside assistance; starter motor not cranking after a chilly night; intermitent issue?!

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