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Motorcycle Starter repair for 1994 hd 88 cubic inch evo motor

My starter is not engaging the motor. It spins but wont turn over the motor. I have taken the first one out and replaced it with a loaner from a buddy. It worked about 15 times and started doing the same thing just spinning and clicking but not engaging the motor. So I had the original bench tested its fine so I put it back in and it work about 12 times. Same thing all over again. What do I do it has me a a bunch of my buddies lost.

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  • loudashell Jan 16, 2009

    1998 Softail Custom:

    starter spins but will not engage motor this has happened only a few times before but always reengaged and started the bike tonight I tried to get out for a ride and it would not engage at all only spining and the battery is new

    more than enouph juice is getting to the starter.

  • DynaKing Feb 24, 2009

    Harley FXDS Conv. 1340cc. starter spins but takes its time engaging. It always starts though. Sometimes it will engage immediately, but only after a short stop on a long ride. It is getting worse as time goes by.


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  • 91 Answers

Check the battery if the starter tested good the starter spining and clicking and not engaging the starter suggest the solonoid is suspect it kicks the starter out might be going bad. BATTERY is the common factor with the three starters working about the same lenght of time

Posted on Jan 15, 2009

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The engine starting process consists of turning the key to start, the starter motor's rotor moving forward to engage the engine's flywheel, and then the starter motor 's "rotor" spinning until you move the key from "start" to "run". You can hear the starter motor spinning - but one usually can't hear the rotor moving forward to engage the flywheel. As a result, you hear the odd spinning sound - which is the starter rotor spinning. The engine never actually turns over because the rotor never engages the fly wheel. If this is the case, then it is very likely that your starter needs to be checked and / or replaced.

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For lack of a better term, the device on the end of your starter is a bendix (notice the small 'b') There is a problem with this part of the starter.

When you press the start button, this little gear arrangement must spin out to engage the fly wheel or be pulled out by a electric magnet to do the same. This description may not be EXACTLY RIGHT for your motorcycle, but then, you didnt identify it EXACTLY either.

There is the possibility that your battery is weak and cannot fully energize the electric magnet if that is the method used to engage the starter to the fly wheel. When that happens, you hear it spin but not engage.

There is also a rremote possibility that there is trouble in the start solenoid, I'm leaning toward that not being the problem.

If you can remove it, and if you have a friend at the motorcycle shop, it can be tested and you will probably receive excellent advice at that time as to a course of action. You will save the wait for them to repair it and the labor cost if you do this yourself ... but of course, no warranty on the work. If you dont have a friend at the motorcycle shop ... you need to make one.

I hope this information helps you get back on the road again.

Thanks for using


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