Full Version: Just clean the durn thing!
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I had a busy weekend. I changed both tires and pulled the starter. The tires really kicked my tail until I got a system going with the C-clamps. Sure rides better. I pulled the starter, took it apart, and cleaned it. The brushes were fine and plenty of them left. The armature had the graphite glaze on it. The area where the fields are bolted was full of gray dust. I just used carbuerator cleaner spray and blew it out with compressed air. I greased the planetary system, the ball bearings, and the bushing and put it back together. It starts so fast now it's scary. It used to not start when the engine got up to operating temperature. And if the cooling fan ever came on it was too hot to start. I had to push-start it several times and what a pain, literally, that was. I kept hitting my right calf on the crash bar and developed a heck of a sore spot. I now know about my wheel bearings, tires and the starter. Time for a long ride. Thanks for all the input on this site, it's fun to have all this collective expertise to draw from. That's where I got the idea to clean and remount the starter.
I'm glad you did your detective work on the starter and applied your knowledge and garnered success. It's nice to know that we had a hand in making your ride just a little bit better. Big Grin
I am going to re-work my starter soon. I have a couple questions 1. What type of grease should be used? 2. What Dremel tool bit should be used to open/clean the space between the commutator? Thanks
You could use some lithium grease in the bearings/bushings and some multipurpose grease or some wheel bearing grease in the gearset. Myself, I would stay away from the commutator with the Dremel instead choosing to use a hand tool to clean out the grooves. I have in the past used a broken hacksaw blade and ground it to the proper thickness to clean the grooves and it worked well, just a very light touch is all it needs.


I use a plastic applique tool used for removing bubbles from window tint to clean the grooves on the commutator. It looks like a yellow razor blade. Any metal tool could spell disaster if used too aggresively. Don't use "carb" cleaner on electrical components. They have added lubricants. Use a good contact cleaner or brake cleaner that won't leave a residue.
Mine was full of black dust and one of the brushes was binding up in it's guide. I'm not sure but it looked as if it wasn't making contact. A good cleaning with a whole can of CRC brand "Lectramotive" spray cleaner, a little grease and it starts GREAT now. Big Grin
I just pulled the starter off my 84 Aspencade ( left the engine in) and cleaned it up real good. Had the same issues, hard starts when hot, etc. This weekend I plan on getting her up to operating temp, shut it off and see what happens. A couple of wiggles and the
starter came right out. The all important chain and sprocket stayed in place.
Thanks for all of this good info, Kevin.
MikeM Wrote:Mine was full of black dust and one of the brushes was binding up in it's guide. I'm not sure but it looked as if it wasn't making contact. A good cleaning with a whole can of CRC brand "Lectramotive" spray cleaner, a little grease and it starts GREAT now. Big Grin

Lectramotive is a great product for this work. Always have a can on the bench.
somethings to check before removing a slow spinning starter when hot are:
1. battery fully charged - a weak battery will give the same symptoms as a starter needing attention
(a weak battery will also give the same symptoms as the starter clutch not engaging - starter whirs, does not engage, then goes 'clunck')
2. battery/starter solenoid/starter cable connections - should be tight and corrosion free

a work around for a slow spinning starter when the engine is hot is to fully open the throttle before hitting the starter button
this worked for me before I had an opportunity to look at the starter

+1 on the "open the throttle" tip when the starter wont go when engine is hot. This one got me going every time before I fixed would be interesting to know how long this would work..not forever i expect [-X
this must have been the week for doing starters, I also took my starter apart because it would start once and then the next time it wouldn't even engage.
so I took my starter apart and cleaned it, lubed the bearing and bushings and as was said in the beginning of this thread "my starter spins so fast now" almost think it wants to sprout wings.. :YMAPPLAUSE: :YMAPPLAUSE:
.... it sprung at least ONE Wing! :-J

:YMTONGUE: come on! You were ALL thinking it!!

okay....... B-(

In addition to the above work you should also add a ground wire between the brush plate and a small nut and bolt added through the end cone of the motor casing. This provides a clean and secure ground even when the inside do get dirty. Most starters begin to fail/turn slowly when hot because the plates ground is created simply by it's touching the dirty case of the motor, but the casing expands when hot, and this makes a very poor contact between the two.