Question about 1981 Yamaha XJ 650

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No electrical activity at all now after a failed attempt to...

...jump the leads (with a screwdriver like I had done before) on the starter solenoid. I think the battery cables must have touched the wires to the starter. Did I short out the starter? If so, do I need to replace it? What is the likelihood of other electrical wiring damage?

The bike was running beautifully. Would love to get it up again soon. Please help.

Posted by on

  • nasiatka5 May 24, 2009

    Yes, I tried jumping the leads on the starter solenoid to "unstick" it as recommended to me last year by a mechanic when it happened to me. I'm pretty sure the battery cables which connect to the solenoid (before I disconnected them to jump the solenoid) touched the diconnected wires to the starter, or something. Heard rapid clicking for about 5-8 seconds before I saw what might have been happening. Thought I checked the fuses at the time I was stranded -- I keep extra fuses with me, and I remember hoping I could use them then, but I saw that the fuses were fine. Again, currently, there is no electrical activity upon inserting and turning ignition key. If that gives you more info for you to refine your reply, I welcome any further input you have. Thanks a lot!

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You shorted out the bike......check your battery voltage. you jumped the leads for what? It should work after you replace blown fuses, if any. If it worked before you did that. there is probably an underlying problem in the electrical system....starter soleniod...or other....ive shorted only to have everything turn out fine. u live and u learn.

Posted on May 24, 2009

  • action t
    action t Jun 09, 2009

    so the solenoid is bad...when u turn the key the wire going to the solenoid turns live..engaging contacts to turn the starter, in turn lighting up the motor...sounds like you lit up that wire. is is not designed to work like that. assuming that u did disconnect the wires while they were live(battery connected) and they touched +to- or something at the starter, you probably shorted out the ignition switch. particularly if it was on. only way to know is get a voltmeter and check for voltage at the wires running from battery to the ignition switch (key) to the solenoid and else where. have your battery load tested with a load tester and then if you have voltage everywhere, replace your starter and/or solenoid if you have doubts about it. try switching relays around (if they are easily removable like in a kenworth) lol..to make sure all are working. good luck

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Trouble shooting problems with your starting system


when trouble shooting a problem with an electric started engine ie; a suspected faulty starter,solenoid,ignition switch etc. it is common to 'jump' the solenoid, this is done by connecting the two large wires at the solenoid , on most vehicles the solenoid is connected directly to the starter (its the smaller cylinder) however it is very common for ford to mount them on a inner fender, you can simply follow your positive wire coming out of the starter, it will lead first to the solenoid then finally to the positive battery terminal, the solenoind consist of three wires, two large ones and one much smaller, one of the large wires will lead to the positive battery terminal, the other large wire, directly into the starter , the small wire is the power supply to the solenoid (operated by your ignition switch) which is what engages to connect the two larger wires, if you jump the two large wires *(i commonly use a wrench or two screwdrivers whatever it takes , be carefull of the sparks, or loom yourself a switched wire for more safety)* the engine should turn over! it will not start unless you turn on the ignition... this is a simple way to 'bypass' the solenoid for trouble shooting purposes, this example i just used a week ago and determined that i will have to remove the starter for a closer inspection, as it was just replaced two weeks prior! in this case the starter was shot. more on that some other time.

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The starter solenoid may have some bad connections. If this vehicle has a separate starter solenoid on the rear firewall under the bonnet, try bridging the big terminals with a jumper lead (red) and see if the solenoid/starter works. Some of them even had a press button between the main terminals. Try pressing the button if it has one.

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Possibly better to clip the jump lead to the starter main connector first and then touch the other end to the battery positive.

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Hi there,

I think your right that the humming is likely to be the fuel pump and so thats OK and should happen without the key being turned to the Start position. If the humming only happens when you turn the key to the start position rather than just when you turn the key to the point where the electrics come alive, then that would be a new symptom that would be interesting to hear.

I understand how frustrating this can be. Just a couple of concerns here. I think if your starter truely starts your car then there is not likely anything wrong with the starter motor itself. However that would not rule out a solenoid that is being problematic, and only activating occasionally.

I have had bad batteries classified as good by shops that check batteries, so don't assume that the battery is not the problem.

If we assume the battery and the starter are good including the solenoid then I would say you have to check all the connections on the wiring - i.e. take the terminal connections off the battery and clean then thouroughly - while the batter is disconnected take it out and trace the cable links to the Chassis earth connection and the positive connection down to the starter - take the cables off and clean the connections to the car, body and to the starter motor. Also clean the connection that goes to the Solenoid post on the Starter motor taht comes from the ignition switch ( the smaller connection on the starter) . Also check the earth strap between the engine block and the car body that allows the starter circuit to be completed. It could be a poor connection in any of these places is setting up a high resistance that is creating a problem for the starter circuit if the starter motor is physically not turning over.

Stick the battery back in - make sure all the connections are cleaned lightly greased and tightened and try to start it.

If it wont go - try getting a friend to help you put jumper leads across your battery from their car and trying to start your car. Make sure their car is running when you try to start your car. If it works every time 1st time with the jumper leads then I would have to suggest the battery on your car is bad - despite what the test guys say.

If it still plays up with the jumper leads after cleaning all the cables i would point to the Soleniod on the starter motor and suggest that the solenoid is defective.

If you want to check the starter directly - its a bit dangerous so you have to be really careful and have a very good friend who is willing to let you try this with his car battery and that would be while you get under the raised up car which is firmly choked and in neutral, with the starter motor in place connect the negative to the earth strap connector on the engine block, and then while the friend stands ready with the disconnected Positive jump lead and holding the negative jump lead in place on his battery, you climb under the your raised up car with the positive jump lead and a screw drive and attach the positive jump lead directly to the positive terminal of your starter motor while bridging between the positive terminal and the solenoid terminal with something like a screw driver or another think wire. (you have to be really careful doing this cause there are so many things to accidentally touch with the positive cable and cause arching ) but once your all in place your friend can attach the other end fo the positive jump lead to his battery and that way you have taken out all the circuitry and are effectively testing your starter while in place on your car and while under load. As long as your jump leads are good and you are in good contact with the starter connections and the soleniod contacts, if the starter doesn't turn the engine over you have something up with the starter. As you have taken every thing else out of the loop - i.e. the wiring and your battery.

If the starter does turn the engine over this way it says the starter is good and there are problems with the wiring or your battery.

Sorry for the long reply but thats all I can think of to try and work out where the problem may be.
Good luck.

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