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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some expert help with a starting issue. For a year or so, when starting my 03 VRSCA, I’ll get a few clicks from the starter solenoid before it kicks in and the bike starts. Sometimes only a couple and other times more than 10. This failure of the starter solenoid to engage has gotten progressively worse to the point where the bike will hardly start at all. Here are the things I’ve done so far to no avail:

1. Checked and cleaned all the battery grounding points shown in the Service Manual (including the one on the bottom of the frame).
2. Grounded the heavy terminals on the solenoid – the bike will start.
3. Checked the voltage from the starter relay to the clip terminals on the solenoid – 11.5 volts.
4. Swapped the gray relays from the starter and cooling system – still 11.5 volts.
5. Battery voltage is 12.3 volts.​

I’m thinking this low 11.5 volts going to the solenoid is the problem as I’ve read it should be 12 volts at least but is it possible that both gray relays are bad? The cooling fans are coming on when needed. Is there another place to look for this voltage drop?
 

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Need some expert help with a starting issue. For a year or so, when starting my 03 VRSCA, I’ll get a few clicks from the starter solenoid before it kicks in and the bike starts. Sometimes only a couple and other times more than 10. This failure of the starter solenoid to engage has gotten progressively worse to the point where the bike will hardly start at all. Here are the things I’ve done so far to no avail:

1. Checked and cleaned all the battery grounding points shown in the Service Manual (including the one on the bottom of the frame).
2. Grounded the heavy terminals on the solenoid – the bike will start.
3. Checked the voltage from the starter relay to the clip terminals on the solenoid – 11.5 volts.
4. Swapped the gray relays from the starter and cooling system – still 11.5 volts.
5. Battery voltage is 12.3 volts.​

I’m thinking this low 11.5 volts going to the solenoid is the problem as I’ve read it should be 12 volts at least but is it possible that both gray relays are bad? The cooling fans are coming on when needed. Is there another place to look for this voltage drop?
I'm not sure how you're measuring voltages, but an intermittent engagement of the starter motor is more likely to be a voltage drop across the starter solenoid main contacts. The 12.3 volts you mention as battery voltage, if correct, would indicate a battery at 50% "state of charge". The starter should still engage but it does indicate a weak battery.

I don't know what you mean by 11.5 volts measure from starter relay to the clip terminals on the solenoid. Here's a starting circuit diagram I made for VRSC bikes models 2004 to 2006:

The thing that's different compared to your bike is the FUEL PUMP fuse. (In '02 and '03 the fuel pump was powered directly by the Y/GN wire.)

Are you measuring 11.5 volts on terminal "E" or terminal "K" of the starter relay?

I would suggest first measuring voltage at the starter solenoid terminal that connects directly to the battery (this can be done with or without the ignition on). If this voltage is less than the battery voltage, there's a problem with the wire or connectors from the battery. Next measure the voltage at the other starter solenoid terminal (the one that connects to the starter motor) with the ignition on and the start switch pressed. If this isn't the same as the battery voltage, the starter solenoid is not working or the high current connections on the starter solenoid are bad. Be careful when doing these voltage measurements on the high current side of the starter solenoid since there's no fuse to protect from a short to ground.
 

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Need some expert help with a starting issue. For a year or so, when starting my 03 VRSCA, I’ll get a few clicks from the starter solenoid before it kicks in and the bike starts. Sometimes only a couple and other times more than 10. This failure of the starter solenoid to engage has gotten progressively worse to the point where the bike will hardly start at all. Here are the things I’ve done so far to no avail:

1. Checked and cleaned all the battery grounding points shown in the Service Manual (including the one on the bottom of the frame).
2. Grounded the heavy terminals on the solenoid – the bike will start.
3. Checked the voltage from the starter relay to the clip terminals on the solenoid – 11.5 volts.
4. Swapped the gray relays from the starter and cooling system – still 11.5 volts.
5. Battery voltage is 12.3 volts.​

I’m thinking this low 11.5 volts going to the solenoid is the problem as I’ve read it should be 12 volts at least but is it possible that both gray relays are bad? The cooling fans are coming on when needed. Is there another place to look for this voltage drop?
Test the bat terminal with switch on. With all the lights etc on with ignition the 11.5 might be in spec with what the battery is putting out. Otherwords the 11.5 at the relay and solenoid is actually overall system voltage, not the open circuit battery test voltage. More then likely the solenoid is junk internally. 12.3 battery voltage is also a hair low unless testing has dropped it from it's normal at rest voltage after a ride. I've found solenoid clicking from lack of voltage usually comes in about 8v or less. Starter will barely turn the engine over at that point if the solenoid even engages for that to happen.
Ron
 

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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

I measure 11.5 volts by removing the connectors from the solenoid as indicated below and cramming the multimeter probes into the spade connectors from the relay and hitting the start switch.

Could be a bad battery but even when maintained on the battery tender I still get the same clicking most of the time. Putting a new battery in would be an easy fix but when the solenoid finally engages the bike starts right up. Can the battery be to week to work the solenoid but strong enough the start the bike?
 

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Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

I measure 11.5 volts by removing the connectors from the solenoid as indicated below and cramming the multimeter probes into the spade connectors from the relay and hitting the start switch.

Could be a bad battery but even when maintained on the battery tender I still get the same clicking most of the time. Putting a new battery in would be an easy fix but when the solenoid finally engages the bike starts right up. Can the battery be to week to work the solenoid but strong enough the start the bike?
No the starter takes much more current than the solenoid. Simple solution is to bypass solenoid by using a jump lead or a screwdriver to join the 2 big solenoid terminals together. If the engine turns over fine when you join these then the battery and starter and grounds are fine and the solenoid is the culprit. Just be careful the bike is in Nuetral before you do it!!
 

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Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

I measure 11.5 volts by removing the connectors from the solenoid as indicated below and cramming the multimeter probes into the spade connectors from the relay and hitting the start switch.

Could be a bad battery but even when maintained on the battery tender I still get the same clicking most of the time. Putting a new battery in would be an easy fix but when the solenoid finally engages the bike starts right up. Can the battery be to week to work the solenoid but strong enough the start the bike?
No. If the bike battery has enough juice to start the engine or cranks at normal speed you issue is a weak coil or corroded contacts inside the solenoid. You put up with this for a year? By the way, and this is not likely your case, a battery tender can show a green light but the battery can still be too weak to turn the engine over. Load testing verifies battery health in this case.
Ron
 

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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It almost sounds like I need a new battery and a new solenoid. Well the battery is easier than the solenoid. A call to the local dealer indicates that the 03 solenoid (P/N 71474-01 and 71474-01A) are both obsolete. They say P/N 71474-04 is available. Does anybody know if this will work for the 03 VRSCA?

I've read that a Denso solenoid P/N 182800-2280 is a possible replace part and is only $13.86 online plus shipping. The picture in my last post is the Denso part. Sure looks similar but the electrical specifications may not be the same. Has anybody used this for a replacement part?

Appreciate all the replies.
 

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Sound's just like my 03 did a couple of years ago I figured it would cost me more if it did that away from home and would not start than what the solenoid cost so i just put new solenoid and battery I have never had any problem after that.
 

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One thing you can try is what a mechanic told me was a quick way to get a idea if the battery is bad he said it was not exact but it would give you a idea of how the battery is He said to put your tester on the battery and hit the starter it will let you see how quick the battery drops down when there is a draw on it I do not remember what he said it needed to engage the starter I sure some one on here knows that.
 

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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
the battery earth cable mount on the front head.are you sure you removed that lug where it bolts to head ,cleaned contact area??tightened?
Took it apart, polished it and reassembled. Pretty sure I left no stone unturned in terms of electrical connections.

Appreciate where you're coming from though - could be a potential problem if left undone.
 

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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sound's just like my 03 did a couple of years ago I figured it would cost me more if it did that away from home and would not start than what the solenoid cost so i just put new solenoid and battery I have never had any problem after that.
Do you recall what part number solenoid you replaced it with? Was it the 71474-04 P/N?
 

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Do you recall what part number solenoid you replaced it with? Was it the 71474-04 P/N?
Sorry I do not have a clue I just called the harley dealer ship and then went and picked it up at that time I think it was around 30 dollars well worth it knowing that it was new but to this day I do not know if it was it or the Battery because I put in a new battery at the same time now after 3 years on a battery I replace it if it needs it or not I keep it on a tender all the time But you just never know about how the battery is.
 

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Like I said. If the engine will crank fine once the solenoid makes contact, it's not the battery. The latest current solenoid will fit or can be made to work on the 03 with a slight wiring mod.
Ron
 

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Voltage drop can be measured simply by taking your VOM and put one lead to the starter post and the other lead to the pos post on battery. Crank and see what the meter reads. In a perfect world with no resistance the meter will read zero, with the high amperage and resistance from a starter circuit you will most likely see 2 volts on the meter, if you see 3 or more you got to find the culprit. Remember that a large voltage drop will cause the amperage to rise, not a good thing for the wire. The wire is usually sized for the rated amperage of the starter. If the amperage gets too high and you crank on the started a bit longer than usual then excess heat can melt the insulation or worse.
A full battery reads 12.7 just so you know, 12.3 is low. Fully charge the battery and see what voltage you have. Before you check the voltage of a freshly charged battery it is best to remove the "surface charge" by hitting the battery with a load, like turning your ignition on for a couple of seconds. The headlight coming on and such will remove the surface charge.
If you cannot get your battery to read 12.7 -12.6 after a charge then your battery is sulfating. Lead acid batteries can be brought back with an equalization charge but you would need to get specific instructions from the battery mfg. AGM's are fussy about equalization and some mfg's don't recommend it at all.
 

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I chased a clicking starter problem for months. Cleaned all the grounds, checked every connection I could find, replaced the solenoid.I finally replaced the starter relay in the fuse box. Like 6bucks. I keep one with me all the time, when it acts up I replace it and go on my way.
 

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LEX MALLA LEX NULLA
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you for all the good suggestions and info. Haven't been on the forum much in the last few years but it is still the best place for all things V-Rod!

Ended up replacing both the relay (now close to $15) and the solenoid. Since the OEM part is now obsolete anyway I went with the Denso part and it appears to be a direct replacement - except for the black plastic cover. This cover is not waterproof but it does protect and terminals so I will see about getting it off the old part.

She fires right up now every time.
 
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