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Weak starter or something more serious?

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So it starts like this, I bought a 2006 S with 16,000 miles on it last year and commuted on it most of the summer and fall. I checked the valves right away and only had to change one valve by the smallest shim difference I could get. I also did the 3x3 and JD jet kit and loctite fixes. It started to clatter a little late last summer more than usual. I checked the valves again, they were fine. Turned my ACCT into an MCCT and removed the decompressor from the exhaust cam before the pin backed all the way out. Before the decompressor removal it turned over but not super fast, maybe hitting compression every half a second or so. After the decompressor I have to bump the starter button a few times to get it to pass through one compression then it stops again and I repeat the bumping until after 3 or 4 bumped rolls through compression it fires off. I pulled the starter a whilw back and checked it out and emery clothed and cleaned the commutator, everything met the manual checks with a multimeter. When I put the starter back in it turned through 2 or 3 compressions and then back to the bumping routine. While the starter was apart I noticed the brushes were worn and not much pressure on the positive brush to commutator. I changed to an 8 cell ballistic a month or so ago and nothing changed. I just changed out the entire brush yesterday while I was putting on a TRC pipe and could really feel a difference in the drag of the brushes on the commutator, still didn't change a thing. Today I connected a freshly charged car battery to the starter post and it will roll thru one compression and then stop, remove the positive lead from battery, then reconnect it and it will roll thru one compression and stop. I'm starting to wonder if it is the piston and cylinder. It has a clatter under acceleration that isn't limited to the lower rpms anymore. When I was checking the valves last time I remember at bottom dead center while wrenching it thru I could hear a metallic ting, like a ring was catching and then releasing. I guess it may be time to pull the head and cylinder. Could a slightly jacked up piston (just beginning to football out the jug) cause the motor to be hard to turn over? Or is this just a weak starter that needs to be replaced?

Any ideas on what to do next electrically? I'll be pulling the top end apart soon for the 50hp kit, or stroker if the rod doesn't check out, maybe sending to Eddie after I get a looksy at what is going on inside.

Edited by subeng

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With all that you have done there is not much to add. If it turns over slow connected to a car battery then it is probably the starter motor. New brushes and brush springs should liven it up. If not, then there is not much more you can do. Try jumping from a car battery direct to the starter so you bypass the starter relay and all the battery cables. (oh, I guess you already did that)

I think if the engine is so warn to bind internally, you would have some serious problems when it is running.

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So a kickstart kit is on the way and once installed I'll start kicking it all the time like I used to have to do with all the previous bikes I've owned until I figure out if it is the starter, engine, or starter clutch or something related.

Does any one near the Port Orchard/Gig Harbor area have a newer starter laying around I can try before I go and buy one to replace my supposed weak starter? I can now get my starter out and back in probably in a half an hour or so, it would be nice to try a known good starter before I pitch out any money for a used/new starter. If it is a weak starter I don't mind shelling out for a new one, but will probably still kick once kit is installed just to feel like a man and justify it on saving battey power.

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