Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley – March 12, 2021

Another Friday edition of Partzilla Live Q&A with master mechanic John Talley answering your motorcycle and ATV repair questions is in the books. 

This week’s session (no pun intended) started off loaded with starting problems, in particular Honda ATV and motorcycle starting problems. Check out excerpts from Partzilla’s latest live Q&A session below, and tune into our YouTube and Facebook channels every Friday at 3pm Eastern for the next edition.

Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley 03-12-21

Partzilla Live Q&A Highlights – Starting Problems 

My solenoid clicks and the starter doesn’t make any noise, but occasionally I hear the starter make a weak turn but nothing consistent, mainly just a click. Does this mean the starter is bad?

John Talley: First off, make sure your battery is north of 12 volts. And I’ve seen solenoids that you hear click but they’re really not making a good connection inside, because what you can’t see is where the contacts are usually burned. And that may be the case, but you may want to try carefully doing a direct connection across the solenoid and make sure your starter is ok. But I caution you there, because if the starter does have a problem, and you make that jumper with a suitable sized wire, it could potentially pop that wire or burn your fingers, so be careful there.

The starter in my 2007 Honda Foreman is strong out of my hand but when I stick it back in, it does nothing. What could be the problem?

John Talley: So you’re saying you can test the starter out on the table and it does what it’s supposed to do but when you pop it back in, it does nothing? Well, follow the chain further back up on the unit itself and check out the starter solenoid and see if that’s what’s causing the issue. Another thing is that if you’re sure about the solenoid, check the engine ground that goes to the frame. Make sure that isn’t loose or corroded. I’ve seen that cause the problem you’re describing before. 

What can be the problem on a 2002 Honda 400EX if it starts pulling itself forward when you try to start it as if it was in gear but it won’t turn on?

John Talley: Alright, well that sounds like a couple of different things. To begin with, it sounds like your clutch is out of adjustment and it needs to be set correctly. But I’m a little concerned that if you’re in neutral and it still tries to creak forward, that would indicate that your shift drum is not positioning the shift fork correctly if the shift fork was bent, and the gear is not completely disengaging because in neutral, it shouldn’t try to creak forward. Especially on that model, so I think you maybe have a combination of clutch adjustment and a potential transmission issue with your shift fork.

My 2008 Honda CBR 1000RR doesn’t start because there’s no spark coming through. Where should I turn to fix that problem?

John Talley: I believe we did a no-start condition video on an ’06 CBR 600RR so if you would, reference that video in which I walk you through a few different things you can check. But it could be a lot of different things. Start with the simplest things first. Check your battery voltage, look at your fuses, and then check your side stand to make sure it’s not down and keeping it from starting. And then it could be the clutch switch, the neutral position switch, I mean there are several things you can check, and I walk through several of those and how to run them down, and it should translate over to your 1000. 

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See all of Partzilla’s Live Q&A sessions here.  


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