Question about Harley Davidson FXSTS Springer Softail Motorcycles

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I have a 98 springer softail that makes a "clunk" when starting warm. it seems to be fine when starting cold. it sounds bad, but I've known people that have had the same problem, and they just sort of live with it. Bottom end is stock, new cams, carb, pipes, wide tire kit. could it be the jack shaft was installed incorrectly?

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  • ryszki5 Dec 29, 2013

    Having same problem with my 98 Heritage. Starts up pretty easy when it is cold. When it is warm, it turns over fine but over 50% of the time it will clunk after 2-3 seconds if the engine does not start. Three years ago I had my starter rebuilt. That solved the problem then. Guess it is time to rebuild it again. Did you come up with a solution as to what was the clunk?

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It's kind of difficult to install a jackshaft incorrectly. It' will only go in one way and the little bolt ain't that much.

Now, when you hear the clunk, does there seem to be any delay between the time you punch the start button and when you hear the noise. If so, it could be the contacts in your starter's solenoid. Remove the five sided plate from the end of the starter solenoid. The plate is held on by three small screws. Remove the plate, pull the plunger and spring out. Look into the solenoid and you'll see two large copper contacts. Are they burned to where they are not smooth anymore but have a arcing "step" in one of the contacts that matches the radius on the plunger. If so, you may need to replace these contacts. They aren't that expensive.

What I think might be happening is the plunger is pulling the into the solenoid and that kicks the jackshaft out against the outer primary cover. Usually, the starter motor is running by this time but because your contacts may be burned, there's a slight delay in the motor starting up. This enables you to hear the "clunk" where otherwise all you would hear is the engine turning over.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Nov 07, 2010

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