Question about 2004 Honda VT 1100 C2 Shadow Sabre

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Starting problems I was having an issue starting my 2004 Shadow Sabre. It was trying to start and all of the sudden started only clicking. I tested the battery and it was weak but should have started the bike. Most everything pointed to the starter but I got the crazy idea to try and start it with a running car without a battery even in the bike. There was one click and everything went dark. The starter did seem to have bad brushes but I was wondering what else I may have damaged. All fuses seemed okay. Did not look for the fusible link. Should I be looking at relays or other sensitive electronics?

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  • Dan Pingel
    Dan Pingel Apr 14, 2014

    Pulled the switch out and cleaned it. After retesting the battery after a few days, it seemed bad so I replaced it and things fired right up.

  • traccie Apr 14, 2014

    Glad to hear it. I hope everything keeps on going good for you.



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I've heard varying degrees of discussion on this. I've heard NEVER try to start a bike with a running vehicle and I've also talked to people who did it with success. I would have said that it was the starter switch. Hondas in my experience, are notorious for the switch going out. Sometimes it's as simple as spraying some contact cleaner in there and other times the little spring on the inside under the plastic sliders gives out.

At this point I would probably replace the switch and put a battery in it. If nothing works after you've done that you may need to bite the bullet and take her to the shop or test all of the wires with it on and see where the problem is. Good luck. The weather is getting too nice to be grounded.

Posted on Apr 01, 2014

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  • Dan Pingel
    Dan Pingel Apr 02, 2014

    According to my multimeter, there is still continuity across the positive cable and ground battery cable when I turn the ignition key.

  • traccie Apr 02, 2014

    I would also test the wires that go to the starter and leave the starter. Be sure to check the connectors at the headlight, if the starter switch has too much of a load over and over, that connection tends to melt.

  • Dan Pingel
    Dan Pingel Apr 02, 2014

    Is there anyway to replace that switch without having to remove the gas tank and such?

  • traccie Apr 02, 2014

    Oh yea, it's fairly easy. I'm sorry I wasn't more specific, it's on the handle bar, where you push the button. When the button is pressed a plastic slider glides over another plastic slider, the metal touches and ignites the starter and the headlight. There is a tiny spring under the sliders that can easily corrode especially if you ride year round. The fix is easy, just unscrew the housing, open it up and you will be able to see where the wires are open. There will be two small screws and if I remember correctly, one is attached to the wire that goes to the starter switch and the other goes to the wire that leaves the switch.

  • traccie Apr 02, 2014

    run your test from there. If it is the starter switch, you can order one online and just simply replace it.


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Bad idea to start a bike with a car.amps to high. could burn bikes wiring harness.if you have to do this do it with the car not running.also use a wire about 8 gauge for a jumper cable.
(could have arc your solonoid.

Posted on May 09, 2014


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1100 shadow 2002 will not start, just replaced battery and when I try to start it clicks, sounds like its in the starter relay. Does that mean the relay is bad???

the relay may be bad or the new battery terminals may not be connecting due to corrosion etc.
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