Despair shop part 11 – Non starting starter for starters.

Scottie persuaded me that I needed a CBF1000 in my life, the particular example he had in mind was a non starter that looked like Edward Scissorhands had had a bit of a go at the wiring. I’m not keen on buying bikes that don’t start as usually that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A non starting modern fuel injected bike with Hiss and an after market alarm is truly a recipe for disaster, stress and disappointment. But I bought it anyway. It was cheap and apart from some nastiness in the paint department it looked like a pretty decent reasonable mileage fairly recent bike.

When I got it home I dragged it off the van got a jump battery and attempted to start it – the lights came on the solenoid clicked but nothing else. In a funny sort of way that was really good news – if the solly clicks then the immobiliser and the HISS system are good, if there were a problem there the starter circuit would be locked out so it was encouraging.

Honda CBF1000 starter motorI shorted out the solenoid and got a big spark but the starter did nothing – even better, I now knew it was the starter that was at fault, all I had to do was remove it. That’s when the swearing started. The bottom of the airbox covers the starter so you can’t get the starter out without removing the airbox – turns out that is way harder than it sounds. Lots of things have to be removed first – seats, tank, air inlet, loads of electrical connectors – you know the sort of thing. You have to remove the injectors and fuel rail etc. as one with the airbox, fortunately it doesn’t have to come all the way out – just far enough to get the starter out. Two bolts hold the starter in place, it was out in a jiffy once I got access to it. Sure enough it was seized solid, another one is on order.

Another thing that has turned up is a rather nice old Suzuki GN250 – a single cylinder four stroke that has been off the road and stored indoors for many a long year. I haven’t done much with it yet, it’s got a minor electrical problem I need to look at – I suspect it’s a missing earth. Everything sort of works except the neutral, oil and gear indicator lights. I will have a proper look some time soon.

At last I got to do an auto jumble but sadly didn’t sell very much. There were quite a few folk there but not that many there for bike stuff. Still managed to flog a few bits and gave out quite a few business cards so all was not lost. I took a big pile of cash with me and brought it back home too – couldn’t do a deal on anything worth having, which was a shame as there was some good stuff there but not at a price I could make a profit on.

Back to the CBF1000, the replacement starter came so I excitedly rushed to the workshop and put the bike back together – slightly tricky in places as I hadn’t taken it apart and I don’t have a manual for it, nothing was too tricky though. I put the key in, turned it on and lights lit, pressed the starter and she whirred over like an eager little puppy that’s been promised doggy num nums. It did not, however, want to start. No sign of life whatsoever. I tried the alarm, which set then unset but still nothing. There was no flashing FI light to indicate a fault so I guessed it had to be fuel feed. These bikes have an earth lead that comes off the body of the tank, if it is not connected the pump won’t run and the bike won’t start. I found it by accident but with that connected it fired straight up and for a bike that hasn’t been run for 2 years it ran really nicely. It looks like it had been serviced before being taken off the road, the brake fluid is clear, the oil is clear, the air filter spotless. It’ got a mountain of history too so it’s going to be a really nice bike for some lucky individual. I need to MoT it first and sort out the paintwork, which is the worst part of the bike. Well worth doing though.

Surprisingly there are not too many dents, just a couple of tiny ones that are easy enough to deal with, the inside of the tank is spotless so it’s worth putting the effort in to. Fortunately Honda put a paint code on the frame – NHA48 Quasar silver in this case. I have it on order, hopefully it won’t take weeks to get here.

In the mean time I turned my attention back to the little Suzuki and it’s electrical woes. As it turned out the problem was that somebody had taken things to pieces and hadn’t been paying attention when they put it back together. There were two connectors in the headlamp housing that had been swapped over. Once I put those right everything except for the headlight worked. I took the switch apart thereby creating a shed load more work for myself as tiny springs shot everywhere never to be seen again. An old cigarette lighter provided one long thin spring that I could cut up to supply the replacements. It still didn’t work and I had no wiring diagram. Further investigation showed I wasn’t getting a switched live going to the common of the hi / lo switch. What had happened is that somebody had taken the yellow wire and the yellow / white wire and crossed them over. I am glad to say that the old girl is now perfect in the electrics department and all she needs for an MoT is a small exhaust leak sorting out.

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

Boston Bike Bits