Question about Harley Davidson FXSTD Softail Duece Motorcycles

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2002 harley softtail makes clacking noise when trying to start. Engine will not turn over at all. battery is good. starter problem?

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Sounds like the contacts in the starter solenoid are bad. Looking at the end of the starter form the right side of the bike, you see a 5-sided plate held on by three 3 mm screws. Remvove these screws and take the plate off. Behind the plate is a plunger and a long spring. Notice I didn't tell you to disconnect the battery. Remember there are things that are sitll "hot" in there so be careful of what you let touch. If you feel better about it, disconnect the battery.

Look in the solenoid and you'll see two large copper contacts. There is also a large copper "washer" on the plunger. You can see where the "washer" contacts the other contacts. If it looks burned away in a semi-circular pattern on one or both of the contacts, there's your problem.

You can get a "rebuild kit" from either Harley or on the aftermarket. Just take the bolts loose that hold the contacts in and swap them out. You can usually do this without removing the starter depending on the model of your bike. Remember too that he starter is Japanese and therefore requires metric tools.

Good Luck

Posted on Mar 14, 2011


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If the starter spins but the engine does not turn over, the "overrunning clutch" inside your starter is bad and needs to be replaced. If you can do the job yourself, it would save you a lot of money to replace the clutch. If you are going to have to pay someone to repair the bike, it would be less expensive to simply replace the entire starter. Labor cost being what they are.

Now, if the engine turns over but won't start, you probably don't have a spark. This could be an electrical problem with the bike or it could be a problem caused by the security system if you have on.

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I have a 2002 flh. the starter engages and starts to spin then slows down and acts as if the battery is weak. i have tried it with other batteries and does the same thing. i think it is the starter but not...

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2007 Softtail, were is the starter ground wire? When i push the start button i hear a clack clack.

The starter is grounded through it's body. Ventually another ground runs from the engine to the battery, but not near the starter.
Your description sounds like your solenoid is firing, but no starter function. This can be low battery, soleniod contact problems, starter problems (like damaged windings)...
Start with carefully clipped on jumper cables and see what you get...

If low battery, usually you get rapid clicking: you have enough power to energize the solenoid, but not enough to run the starter motor, so voltage drops, solenoid de energizes, it relases. THEN there is enough battery, solenoid energizes,....and this cycle happens many times a second.

Hope this helps you to get to the bottom of what is happening. MOST likely is battery power. I always disconnect negative cable for longer parked intervals.

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1 Answer

Starter is not engaging what could be the problem.

If the starter is making a loud clacking noise, the battery could be bad. Take the battery to an automotive parts store and have it load tested. If the battery is good, the contacts in the solenoid may be bad. Take the pentagon shaped plate off the end of the starter, remove the plunger, and check the large copper contacts for errosion and burning.

If nothing is happening. Disconnect the singe wire connector just above that pentagon shaped plate. Connect a test light or volt meter to the wire end. Turn on the ignition switch and press the start button. The test light should light or the meter should show battery voltage. If not, your starter relay may be bad.

If you can hear the starter running but the engine is not turning over, your over running clutch is probably bad. You'll have to remove the starter, take it apart, and replace the clutch. If you can do it yourself, you can save some money. But, if your going to have to pay a mechanic, just have him replace the starter. the cost of the labor time will eat any savings that might be realized by replacing the clutch.

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1 Answer

Starter makes grinding noise.... Can you help me? 1997 heritage softtail.

The first thing I'd check is the jackshaft and the ring gear on the outer clutch hub. Disconnect the battery. Drain and remove the outer primary. Inspect the ring gear and jackshaft looking for "roughness" on the teeth of the two gears of broken teeth. If you find any, you'll have to replace the parts.

If those parts look good, your problem is probably the "starter clutch" inside the starter. This is the one way bearing type device that allows your starter to turn the engine over but then freewheels the starter once the engine does start. This part can be replaced without having to purchase an entire starter but you'll have to disassemble the starter to replace it.

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1994 harley softtail custom just bought it!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think its whats called the commutator which is the contacts inside of the solenoid on the starter and they need to be cleaned. I've hung around a shop for years and have seen it a million times. Cant guarantee thats the problem but its a good place to start with the sounds of the problem.

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