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Replacing your starter motor brushes w/ pics

Discussion in 'XJ DIY How-To Instructions' started by tskaz, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. tskaz

    tskaz Active Member

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    Starter stop working?

    Solenoid going "click"?

    Good battery, good solenoid, safety circuits working correctly, and you can bump start it and it takes right off?

    That's where I'm at right now. In fact, I bump started it for over a year because sometimes life just gets in the way of the tinkering.
    Of course, it's my fault because replacing the starter brushes was one of the two things I didn't do when I recommissioned the old girl. The front springs will come this summer.

    So here it is, March, and I still don't have her out on the road! I can't bump start the 650R at my ex's house because of all the ice and mud still on the ground. We're about to fix that problem though, with a starter rebuild kit.

    I picked this one up from Ebay, a warehouse seller out of California. It's a generic kit with o-rings, bearings, brushes, and brush plate. I only used the two large o-rings and brushes/brush plate because, well, that's all that my starter used from the kit.

    Since I had to pull the starter and take it to my house to rebuild, I decided to do a write up for anyone wondering "just what in the heck is inside that thing."


    You will need:
    Brushes set and outer o-rings, or e generic rebuild kit like I used.
    10mm wrench to remove the starter bolts
    JIS phillips screwdriver or equivalent
    Grease
    Disposable gloves if desired
    Shop towel or equivalent (recommended)
    Metal polish
    Spray electrical cleaner (if desired)

    EDIT::::::
    After I had this posted Chacal brought up a couple of points I hadn't considered putting in the write up that are very good points to consider. And after all, who wouldn't listen to the Parts Guru.....

    First we start by removing the starter, which is that silver looking thing on the left side of the motor with the red arrow pointing at it. All you have to do is remove the bolts (yellow arrows) and slide the starter out from the motor. Depending on how long the batt cable is (mine's not very long) you may be able to pull the starter all the way out to access the batt cable terminal. Disconnect the cable and remove the starter. It's a good idea to put the bolts back into the motor so you remember which one goes into which hole, since they are very different in length.

    [​IMG]


    This is the starter as it sits on the table.
    Remove the two bolts that run almost the entire length of the starter....

    [​IMG]


    ....and then you can remove the reduction gear housing from the stator housing.

    [​IMG]


    On the opposite end you need to pop off the brush plate cover, but first, ESPECIALLY if you are only pulling it apart to check the brush length, you need to press the battery cable bolt through the housing......

    [​IMG]


    ....so that you don't break the copper wires connecting the brush to the bolt. If you are replacing brushes it will come with a new bolt attached, so it's not as critical in this case. (red arrow)
    Note the placement of the o-ring. (yellow arrow)

    [​IMG]


    I took the pics for this tutorial after I had done the dis-assembly/re-assembly, so the parts look clean.

    [​IMG]


    The insides of your starter may look slightly more dirty, such as this.

    [​IMG]


    You want the armature (green) and comutator (red) areas to be clean. Use ONLY glass paper or metal polish on the comutator. You don't want to use anything harsher than this so as to not get particles embedded into the copper and cause premature wear of the new brushes.

    [​IMG]


    The new brushes need to be installed into the brush holder. If the brushes do not move freely you may need to sand the side or use a screwdriver to spread the holder out to accommodate the brush.
    Note the green arrow pointing to the notch for the spring to set in. Make sure this is pointed away from the comutator when assembling.

    [​IMG]


    Once installed, also make sure the wires move freely in the area cut out for them. It should now look like this:

    [​IMG]


    When installing the brush holder back into the stator housing, push the brushes into their holdings and align the notch.

    [​IMG]


    Now on to the reduction gear assembly.
    Pull out the reduction gears and thoroughly clean the inside and the gears themselves. I recommend nitrile gloves and lots of blue shop towels for this process.

    [​IMG]


    Once cleaned, grease the gears and re-install.

    [​IMG]


    When installing the end plate before installing the reduction gear housing, note the alignment notch (orange) and ensure to replace the washer (blue).

    [​IMG]


    Close up view of the alignment notch. Note the yellow area. This is the area the end plate sits against, it does not sit flush with the outside of the housing.

    [​IMG]


    Install the outer o-ring for the reduction gear housing.

    [​IMG]


    When installing the reduction gear assembly, take note of the alignment notch. Setting the armature gear into the reduction gears takes a bit of patience to get everything lined up.

    [​IMG]


    This pictures shows the housings aligned properly, with the sides fitting flush. You will eventually get to this point......

    [​IMG]


    But probably not without having to try a couple of times when you get off alignment as in this photo.

    [​IMG]


    Then back to the brush end to install the other outer o-ring....

    [​IMG]


    .....slide the cable bolt through the housing as you install the brush end cover........

    [​IMG]


    ....and align the notches (side view shown) as you press the entire assembly together.

    [​IMG]


    Then it's just a matter of installing the two long screws to complete the assembly and installing the starter back on the bike.

    :::::::::::::::NOTE::::::::::
    When re-installing the battery cable to the starter, be absolutely sure that the "bolt holder" is not cracked, and be sure to use the o-ring and felt washers upon assembly. If this bolt is not well insulated it will cause a ground fault and the starter will not spin, nor will you be able to bump start the bike.

    Thus endeth my (almost) 18 month bump starting ritual.

    Hope you find this tutorial at least a little helpful. The manuals don't always take the best pictures, especially in black and white.
     
  2. chacal

    chacal Moderator Moderator Supporting Vendor Premium Member

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    Great write-up and photography, thanks for the effort!

    Might want to note a couple of other things:

    - XJ550 and XJ1100 starter motors are similar to the 650-900 starters (as shown in this example) but may have some different features, but the overall process is the same.

    - the two long skinny bolts that hold the end caps to each other may be VERY seized after all these years, so don't be surprised if it's a real battle to get them off. Penetrating oil is your friend.

    - do NOT use ANY type of solvent to clean the armature assembly of all the gross black carbon dust.....the solvent might melt the insulation off the wires, and then the starter is junk.......
     
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  3. TIMEtoRIDE

    TIMEtoRIDE Active Member

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    We love pics !!
    I just wanted to add a link to the "starter circuit diagnostic" thread.

    click this link
     
  4. tskaz

    tskaz Active Member

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    Thanks for the input Len, I edited the post to include your quote.

    When Len says "gross black carbon" he's not kidding. The inside of this thing looked like someone took a can of flat black paint to this thing.

    I cleaned it with a microfiber cloth and a small amount of metal polish, not mag and aluminium polish which is more coarse, and it wipes right off.

    TtR, I thought the pics turned out excellent for having to use my iPhone....the ex got the camera, but I kept my XJ! LOL
     
  5. quebecois59

    quebecois59 Well-Known Member

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    This is awesome! I hope I won't have to dig in there in a near future, but if i ever have, this will help a lot!
     
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  6. schmuckaholic

    schmuckaholic Well-Known Member

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    If you're of a mind, you could possibly fling the source pictures in my direction so I could PDF-ize this and stick it up on Len's site...
     
  7. schmuckaholic

    schmuckaholic Well-Known Member

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    Okay, after some rewrites, a grunch of picture editing and a wee bit of trouble with the FTP upload for the website, we have a file.

    Starter Brush Replacement by Tskaz
     
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  8. bikeboy929

    bikeboy929 Member

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    geeze, i am here looking at this post for ever going "Fack, thats not my starter, but its a 650 right?" i cudn't figure it out, and then all of a sudden i realized i had a honda cb700sc starter i was working on, ( been working on mine and my buddys xj's so much, forgot i wasn't working on a xj :p)

    anyway, good write up, no write up on my nighthawk site, so this is my reference, thank you lol
     
  9. bikeboy929

    bikeboy929 Member

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    also, btw, honda starters are almost identical to this, so close.
     
  10. hogfiddles

    hogfiddles XJ-Wizard, Host-Central NY Carb Clinic Moderator Premium Member

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    Schmucky-- as always, I like your spin in the write-ups. I'm gonna have to do another one of something just for fun-it's been awhile.😉

    Tskaz..... nice write-up!

    Dave
     
  11. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    This solvent can be used to clean any electrical part, or motor (and to put out electrical fires if need be, just don't breathe the vapors).

    http://www.crcindustries.com/ei/product_detail.aspx?id=05018

    Carb cleaner and brake cleaner will damage the laquer that was painted on the feild coil during manufacture, but electrical motor cleaner (perchloroethylene) will not.

    Be sure to use nalgene gloves, goggles, and work in a well ventilated area. Perc is nasty stuff (safer than carb cleaner/ more dangerous than water), and you don't want any on or in you even though you'll be working with very small amounts for a very short time. It also displaces oxygen, so don't go huffing it.
     
  12. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, c'mon; where's your sense of adventure?

    The point is well raised though; and it applies to any "potted" component like ignition pickups, coils, etc.

    You have to be very careful at the auto parts; or just apply your cleaner of expedience to the rag and don't let it soak the parts.

    Or you can just use mineral spirits (again, applied to the rag) which is about as benign as they come solvent-wise, and won't damage anything. Any electrical contact surfaces will need to be re-cleaned with a "drier" solvent afterward though.
     
  13. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    My sense of adventure left me the day that I forgot to turn on the weir when cleaning a load of drapes in the basement machine. 20 minutes later I could smell the perc in the upstairs showroom, ran down, and barely made it to the back door on the other side of the basement without passing out. A 40 foot run across a room that has been purged of oxygen is not something I'll want to repeat. I did get the weir turned back on though :)
     
  14. schmuckaholic

    schmuckaholic Well-Known Member

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    Late reply, but I wanted to comment on this.

    "Plastic safe: NO"

    That right there is enough reason for me to stay the hell away from the stuff. We have a can of that at work. I was using it to blow out a metal filter of some sort; caught the spray in a rag. Set the rag down on a pair of plastic-handled scissors.

    The plastic melted.

    And you want to spray this in your starter?

    I'll stick to DeOxit, thanks.
     
  15. Thrasher

    Thrasher Member

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    Starter motor brushes good gears bad

    Starter motor brushes good, planetary gears bad.
    Looks like the center plain bearings have eaten them selves up.
    This is wild!
     

    Attached Files:

  16. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    But not unheard of. Somebody else posted a picture just like that quite recently.
     
  17. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    XJ starters don't have any plastic in them that will react with Perc. There are many types of plastics, and perc only reacts with a few of them. Perc was also the solvent of choice for use during the manufacturing of electrical equipment when our bikes were new.

    DeoxIt is a fine product, but it is flammable so due care should be used.
     
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  18. robvoisea

    robvoisea New Member

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    Yes, I did it: I took apart the starter motor (1981 XJ 550 Seca); it wouldn't even turn over. For some strange reason oil or some of the grease for the gears had gotten into the motor and actually moved to the part with the brushes. And yes, I cleaned Everything with gasoline ( I am assuming it is the least aggressive solvent). I put everything together, made sure I had new seals etc., also ensured that the positive bolt does not have contact with the housing. Reassembled and pressed, with eager anticipation, the starter button: The starter motor sprung into action and turned the engine over! Fantastic. I cleaned up and tried it again ..... nothing! The starter motor wouldn't even turn. It sounded like some contacts were not working. Again, tried a couple of more times, nothing.
    Is there something I am missing??
    Does anyone have a exploded diagram of that starter motor?
    Frustrated because I am not really keen on continuing to bump-start.

    Thank you.
     
  19. chacal

    chacal Moderator Moderator Supporting Vendor Premium Member

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    Tap firmly on the starter motor case with a hammer, screwdriver handle, etc. The brushes may have hit a "dead spot" on the commutator.
     
  20. robvoisea

    robvoisea New Member

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    Thank you.
    I tried it yesterday.
    Nothing.
    Can I 'fry' the solenoid? or am I missing something?
    I looked around couldn't find a diagram, does anyone have one in electronic format?

    Thx
     

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