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Kenny O.
Kenny O., Motorcycle, ATV, Mules, Side by Side's Product Specialist. All Brands
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 953
Experience:  Worked for Kawasaki Motors as a Product Support Specialist (Factory Support) for 24 years
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I have an 09 ninja ex500 that won't start. The starter

Customer Question

Hello,
I have an 09 ninja ex500 that won't start. The starter would click but the engine would not turn over. I figured this was a carburetor problem so I took it out, cleaned it, put it back together but still nothing. In fact, the starter wouldn't even click anymore and I couldn't even get the panel lights to come on. I checked all the fuses and replaced the battery but I still can't even get the panel lights on. Also, I'm not sure if it's related but it is sometimes difficult to turn my key when is in the ignition. I hope someone can help me out.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Hi Travis my name is***** have a few questions before we move forward.

  • Current mileage on this unit ?
  • Do you have a multi-meter ?
  • 17 Digit vin number ?

Thanks

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Currently has 375 miles (was previously used as a practice bike at a racing school), the Vin number is ***** and I currently do not have a multimeter
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Thanks Travis, this is a 2009 EX500D9F, I'm sure that you have a pretty easy deal here, unfortunately not having a meter is going to make it hard to diagnose, if you have a Harbor Freight tool store close to you, they have an inexpensive meter for about $7, if not then Walmart carries a few verities.

If you want to pick up a meter then get back to me and we'll go from there ?

Thanks

Kenny

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Kenny,I was able to pick up a meter today. Maybe now you can point towards a few potential trouble areas and we can go from there. Thanks
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Excellent ! I'm going to start with a simple test below, perform the 3 tests that I have outlined, then get back with results.

Thanks Travis

You’ll need a multi-meter and set it to VDC, and since we are only testing the battery (12 volts) you can set it on the scale accordingly.

  1. Key off, we need to establish “battery” voltage, take a measurement and record it.

  2. Key on, observe the voltage drop with the key on, and record it.

  3. Key on, now while observing your meter, attempt to start the engine and observe the voltage drop, and record that. If your meter doesn’t have a peak voltage setting, you might have to do this a few times to get an accurate reading.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hey Kenny sorry I was away on business for a few days. I took those measurements though and every time the voltage was about 12.63 with there being no change when I inserted the keys or tried to start the bike
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Thanks Travis for getting back, so when you tried started the bike the voltage stayed the same ??

Thanks

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Correct, the voltage stayed the same throughout the 3 scenarios
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK well that tells me that either that voltage is not going through the solenoid and or the starter motor is open.

So did you ever end up getting a multi-meter ?

Thanks

Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Yes you did, I just went back on the question, so lets check voltage on the positive (+) cable that leads to the starter motor, so connect the positive meter to the post on the solenoid that leads to the starter, then hit the starter button while observing the meter to see if the voltage is the same as the battery voltage.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I got 12 volts from the positive terminal of the battery to the positive terminal on the starter motor but that did not change when I tried starting the bike. I also measured the voltage across the the starter motor when I tried to start it and it was 0
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK Travis, let me make sure I got this, so you measure voltage at the battery, then following that positive cable from the battery to the starter solenoid and you have voltage at that post on the starter solenoid, then you hooked your meter to the opposite post on the starter relay and then attempted to start the unit and you see voltage on that post when the starter button is pressed, then you went down to the post on the starter motor and then hooked your meter to that and then hit the starter button again and you have voltage there also ? Correct ?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I believe I may have been unclear. The first test I did was measure the voltage from the positive end of the battery, through that wire, to the positive terminal of the solenoid. This read 12 volts without the key in (which was not a surprise considering that the current is going through that single wire). I then measured the same thing while i tried to start the bike and the voltage didn't change. The next test I did was measure the voltage from the positive terminal of the solenoid to the negative terminal. This voltage said 0 volts while the key was out and even when I try to start it. In addition, everytime I try to start the bike the solenoid doesn't even click. This leads me to believe that the solenoid isn't engaging properly
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK, I will give you easy test below

  • Key off, measure voltage directly at battery, write it down
  • Key off, measure voltage at the solenoid post where the cable comes from the battery. write it down
  • Key on, hook meter lead to the opposite post on the starter solenoid (not the post that leads from the battery) and then while observing the meter and then push the starter button, what happens ?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I got the following results.
Test 1) 12.6 volts
Test 2) 12.6 volts
Test 3) 12.6 volts
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK, your starter motor is open, pull the start motor (get it out of the engine) apply voltage to the motor (jumper cables) to verify that the starter will not turn, you need a new starter motor.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks Kenny, I ordered a new starter so hopefully that solves the issue once I get it installed. Would the starter motor also be the reason why none of the panel lights turn on when the key is in the "on" position? I didn't think that the dash lights would be dependent on the starter motor.
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

Travis did you try powering up the starter (direct to the starter) and did the starter motor turn over ?

The panel lights is something separate of the starter, I'm concerned that you dont have panel lights and no starter, that is why I wanted you to apply direct voltage to the starter motor to rule that out ?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
i took the old starter off the bike and when it was connected directly to a power source it did not work. As a result, I replaced the starter with one that was working. Not surprisingly however, I am having the same issue. The voltage across the starter is 12 volts when the key is off and even when I tried to start it. If there is no voltage drop across the new starter what should I do next?
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK Travis, I thought I explained this and you answered my question as to a defective starter motor. So I’m going to try this again, it sounds though that the starter motor that was in the engine is no good as you connected direct voltage to that starter and it doesn’t turn, correct ?

So I want you to do this, and follow directions here, I’m going to try to make it as simple as possible,

  • Install the battery in the bike

  • Follow the (+) positive (red) lead from the battery to the starter solenoid,

  • Next the “OPPOSITE” post (big) NOT THE POST FROM THE BATTERY, THE OTHER ONE, I want you to DISCONNECT that wire (which leads to the starter motor, DISCCONT THAT WIRE

  • So now your starter relay should have one BIG lead joked up to it and that one is coming from the battery, and the other post has NO WIRE hooked to it !!!!!!!!

  • Next take you meter, set it to VDC the red wire from your meter to the POST that has NO WIRE on it, and then the black lead from your meter to the GROUND (-) on the battery

  • Then write down the reading you are getting on your meter ?

  • Next turn on the key, and tell me what reading you are getting on your meter now ?

  • Finally with the key on, bike in neutral (green light on) push the starter button and what is your reading now on the meter ?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I understand what you are asking. I'm a mechanical engineer that has worked in the field for awhile but never on my own bike. The main issue I am having right now is that the "green neutral light", or any light for that matter won't turn on. I can measure the voltage across the starter all day but I assume that doesn't matter when I can't get any current to my bike. I put the key in the bike and turn it to the "on" position but nothing changes. No lights come on or anything. I try to then start the bike and again, nothing. No lights, no solenoid activation, no engine turns, nothing
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK Travis, download and save a copy of the PDF I prepared for you, this will tell us that's going on, this will check the interlocks

Thanks

Kenny

http://spaces.hightail.com/receive/hn7VF

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
okay well I read through the PDF and followed all the described wiring to make sure there werent any clear issues. The only helpful thing that guide suggests is to try grounding the green and black wire to see if the interlocks are working correctly. Im not sure if this is a stupid question or not but how am I supposed to ground the wire without ripping it out of the IC ignitor or cutting it. I dont have a soldering iron and I am not familiar with wiring so as much as I could follow that article, it did not help out dramatically.
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

One way you can use a safety pin through the green/black wire get your self a wire with some clips on it and then go to ground, that is one way, if you don't have a safety pin you can strip back the wiring (not cutting it) or you can come in through the back of the connector and push a stripped wire to make contact on the pin in the connector, or if you understand how to back out wires in a connector that is the best way in my opinion, I could explain it but there are hundreds of videos on You Tube, here is one for example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5NksjacerM

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hey Kenny so I followed the video but the issue is that the connecter attached to the ECU is the female connector. All those videos are on how to take the male pin from the ECU. Instead I stripped back the wire cover, hooked some alligator clips to it and then grounded the other end but this did no do anything when I tried to turn the lights on
Expert:  Kenny O. replied 6 months ago.

OK, keep that wire (green/black) hooked up (grounded) then go to the starter solenoid and disconnect the yellow/red wire and turn the key on and hook up your meter the yellow/red wire, while observing the meter press the starter button and tell me what happens ?