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I can't put the battery cables on a new battery it wants to start without a key

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So, If i understand what you are saying, essentially the starter motor actuates upon final battery connection.... Final connection to battery is ALWAYS NEGATIVE last. Always. That way no sparks when your wrench touches something..

So your issue. The question is what the heck. You need to focus on the starter solenoid. This is an electromagnetic switch that handles the heavier load of a starter..
This switch has big battery going in, and big lead going out to the starter...
then there is a smaller wire or two. Typically the smaller wire at the right of the battery input, often at the two o'clock position.
ANYWAYS, the way it works is: the function is to connect the two heavy leads only when voltage is applied via the smaller wire.

BUT, here is my guess: Often when you have a low battery, you still try to start the bike. At lowered voltage, sometimes the contact ring that actually connects the battery and starter wires gets mini arc welded to the contacts...

The right thing to do is pull the solenoid, open it and inspect the contacts.

The trick of the trade, for diagnostic reasons is to take and rap the bolts that the heavy cables are attached to...Not so hard as to break the Bakelite or plastic mounting, but hard enough to dislodge the mini weld and open the circuit...
If this does resolve the issue, still replace the solenoid, as the damage from the mini weld will mean faulty action of the switch, soon..They get high spots and low spots and eventually the switch fails.

The only other angle is something is feeding full time power to the smaller solenoid trigger wire...This is less likely, but possible...

Posted on Apr 19, 2013

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