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Jeff Policky
Jeff Policky, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 2425
Experience:  Yamaha Gold, Suzuki Gold, Honda Bronze, Polaris Bronze, BRP
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I have a 2001 Yamaha Vstar 1100 that will not start. When I

Customer Question

I have a 2001 Yamaha Vstar 1100 that will not start. When I turn the bike on and push the start button I have a click under the seat. Nothing more, just one click.
I have changed the starter, relay, and battery. I feel the click come from the relay on the positive side, but that is all I can tell.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Hi and thank you for your question.

In the interest of accuracy on my part, you say you changed the starter, relay and battery. Did you change those components with brand new parts? Also, was the battery fully charged before being put into service on this bike? Just to leave no stone un-turned, If the parts are not new, are they the exact parts designed to be used on this year make and model? I apologize for needing such detail, but in this forum, it saves us time to make sure I understand exactly what you did.

Beyond that, It sounds like the voltage from the battery is not making it to the starter motor. I would like you to put a test light on either the starter cable coming out of the solenoid or at the starter motor, whichever is easiest for you, and see if you can read battery voltage when the key is on, stop switch is on and starter button is depressed(simulating a normal start procedure).

The click you hear is the starter relay, also known as a solenoid. That is a good thing that you hear that. Now we have to figure out why nothing is happening after that.

Also, how long has this problem been going on? Is the scenario that it was running and starting fine one day then the next it would no longer start? Or did it start fine the last time it ran then sat unused for a period of time and have this problem show up when trying to restart? If there are any other pertinent details please fill me in on everything you think might be remotely associated.

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi RSRBOBI appreciate your help! The bike is a 2001 and has been sitting for a few years. I know the engine is not locked because I put it in 5th gear and pushed it around a bit. The parts I used were not new minus the battery. The battery is new. The relay and starter were off of a working 2007 vstar. My father left these to me when he passed and he had a few of these vstars. I have taken a look at the ground wire and it appears decent. I cannot reach it with my tools so a fella at work recommended bypassing the current ground with a temporary one to verify it is not the ground. I will try this tonight after work. I am just baffled as the other bikes atleast turned over, but not this one.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry RSRBOB, it has sat probably since 2012.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

To double check on your description, did you say it would click just ONE time? If it only clicks once and the electrical system goes dead, it is a bad (usually loose) ground wire. This is further indicated if all the other indicator lights go out after the click. A jumper cable (motorcycle sized) from the ground terminal on the battery to the cylinder fins is an adequate alternate ground. This is a very valuable test to perform if you are getting the one click and dead symptoms.

If it just continues to click one time every time you touch the starter button but the engine doesn't spin, then we need to revert back to finding out if we are getting battery voltage at the starter motor.

Let me know where you get on this,

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi RSRBOBWell, tried the alternate ground and didn't work. I still have the started off the motor just to ensure it isn't the motor jacking with me. Still just clicking the one time I hit the starter button. Any thoughts?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

Two things, exactly how were you connecting your alternate ground?

2nd, try using jumper cables connected to the starter motor and then connect one lead to the battery then touch the other lead to the battery to make sure the starter is good.

Do the indicator lights go out after the one click?

Put a volt meter on the battery and read it as you hit the starter button and see what the voltage does.

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No, thank you for your help my friend!I had placed an additional wire on the negative and placed it to a bare spot on the jug. I will definitely try the jumper cable idea. I will also run out and get a voltmeter as well. We'll see how this goes.Thanks again.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Excellent.

The symptoms you describe typically do indicate a loose ground connection so it is well worth a shot.

Just post back if you need more help.

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Okay, tested the batter read a 12.16. I will charge it tonight. I am getting juice through the solenoid - read over limit at initial, but when I held the start button, it would hold steady at 6 or so. I am getting a reading at the starter, but no action from the starter. Bad starter?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

You should charge the battery until the voltage is a minimum of 12.7 volts. If it won't charge to 12.7, the battery is damaged.

If you see the voltage dropping to 6 Volts while trying to start the bike, either the battery is no good or the starter is frozen and drawing a lot of amps, dropping the voltage reading. Since you already mentioned the engine turns over so that should not be an issue.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Thanks,

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi RSRBOBShould I disconnect the battery to find the voltage? The reason I ask is because it is a new battery. Still possible something is wrong with the battery even though it is new. But even if the battery is low, wouldn't it atleast turn the starter since I have it disengaged? It is still connected, just not in the motor. Or could that be the problem?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

No, you do not want to disconnect the battery. We need to see what the voltage does when you are trying to start the bike normally. A new battery SHOULD be fine but, it could still have a problem too, so we don't want to overlook any possibility.

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
RSRBOBOkay definitely not the starter. I jumped it and of course it went crazy. Fresh battery showing 13. Would it be the relay then?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

What did you get for voltage when you connected the volt meter to the battery and hit the starter button with the key on?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I will do that today.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

Super, just post back here with the test results.

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
12.15, thoughts?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 9 months ago.

It is not getting voltage to the starter motor. Check for DC volts either right out of the solenoid or at the starter motor (+) cable, when you hit the start button with the key turned on. I am still a little fuzzy on the click thing. If you hit the starter button 2 or 3 times in a row, it only clicks the 1st time or you get one click each time you push the starter button?

Thanks

RSRBOB

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I get a single click each time I hit the start button.