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Starter solenoid clicks loudly and rapidly..


No_Twilight

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Battery is fine, I even jumped it. So what does it mean when the solenoid clicks rapidly and loudly whenever the starter button is held down?

 

Thanks,

Jerry

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Most likely some voltage drop somewhere... battery terminals, starter relay, starter solenoid terminals...

 

So you're saying that you think the fast clicking noise is only made beause the solenoid is seeing low voltage? I'm thinking it is seeing full voltage (I jumped directly to the back of the solenoid). Can there be another cause?

 

Thanks, Jerry

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Most likely some voltage drop somewhere... battery terminals, starter relay, starter solenoid terminals...

 

So you're saying that you think the fast clicking noise is only made beause the solenoid is seeing low voltage? I'm thinking it is seeing full voltage (I jumped directly to the back of the solenoid). Can there be another cause?

 

Well, it certainly behaves like there's a high-resistance connection somewhere between the solenoid and the battery. You've tried jumping with another battery right to the solenoid terminal; I'm wondering if maybe there's something wrong inside the solenoid, between the terminal you jumped to and the actual contactor. Tried taking it apart?

 

Is the starter relay (under the seat) clicking at the same time as the solenoid (on the starter)?

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I'll try it again tonight and listen for the relay under the seat clicking. If so, what does that mean? Relay is actually causing the solenoid not to engage?

 

I'll also try measuring the voltage at the solenoid but it may be flopping around with the clicking.

 

--Jerry

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So you're saying that you think the fast clicking noise is only made beause the solenoid is seeing low voltage? I'm thinking it is seeing full voltage (I jumped directly to the back of the solenoid). Can there be another cause?

Ultimately, no -- that is the cause. The battery may be okay, but the terminal voltage is dropping when the starter solenoid engages, thus the solenoid disengages, the terminal voltage rises again (because the load is removed) and then the solenoid sees enough voltage for it to switch on again. The cycle repeats.

 

Presuming this is on the 95 R1100RS? If it isn't a poor connection, it could be a magnet fallen off (the starter motor current draw goes very high). Any recent starting difficulties? Strange noises from the starter?

 

Either way, it's not a good idea to use the starter button too much under these circumstances as it will not do the starter circuit, including the battery, any good. Some logical investigation is a better approach: it's likely to be a physical fault.

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Personally what I'd do (if you know the battery to be good, and I emphasize that as it is the usual culprit) is check/clean the battery contacts, the ground wire from the battery to chassis, and the connections at the starter solenoid first. If no joy there then check the starter relay. It could also be a bad solenoid or even the starter but it's always more likely to be the simple things. A voltmeter can be handy to help find where the voltage drop is occurring.

 

Also, if you are jumping the battery to eliminate it from consideration be sure that the jumper cables have a very good connection... else you could have a bad battery and a poor jumper cable connection which would give exactly the same symptoms.

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Ok, I'm starting to suspect the starter now. I'll double check tonight but I've seen the low battery solenoid click many times and this didn't seem like it. But the bad starter pulling voltage down and kicking the solenoid out makes a lot of sense to me.

 

This is actually the semi-famous 97 850R that I bought from Derek and then sold to another friend. Same starting system though.

 

Thanks, Jerry

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It was a low battery. I guess the quick jump I tried before the party didn't get a good ground. Still it seems this starter is pulling a high load to cause the solenoid clicking with such a strong (relatively) battery.

 

I tried measuing the resistance of the solenoid and got open across the two terminals so I'm not sure how it's wired.

 

--Jerry

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It's not unusual for a battery to show a healthy off-load voltage, but have difficulty delivering a high current -- it's the increasing internal resistance of the battery and symptomatic of poor condition (age usually, but can be caused by neglect/abuse).

 

The two large terminals on the solenoid (the ones with the heavy cable connections with stud/nut fixing) should be open circuit under normal conditions. They're the ones that close when you push the start button and deliver battery voltage to the starter motor. The closed resistance could be measured by disconnecting one of those large cables and pressing the start button. Difficult to be precise about it as a very slight increase in contact resistance will have a large effect on the voltage drop at high current. Probably better to measure the voltage drop across those terminals under cranking load -- it should be close to nothing.

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It was a low battery. I guess the quick jump I tried before the party didn't get a good ground. Still it seems this starter is pulling a high load to cause the solenoid clicking with such a strong (relatively) battery.

 

I tried measuing the resistance of the solenoid and got open across the two terminals so I'm not sure how it's wired.

 

--Jerry

 

Jerry, as stated above, a simple cycle….

 

Battery at a weak 12 volts—--solenoid pulls in & powers up starter causing weak battery voltage to drop to 6-7 volts or so which causes solenoid hold in coil to drop out—--Battery voltage goes back up to near 12 volts—solenoid pulls back in & powers up starter causing weak battery voltage to drop to 6-7 volts or so which causes solenoid to drop back out---- Battery voltage goes back up to near 12 volts—solenoid pulls back in & powers up starter causing weak battery voltage to drop to 6-7 volts or so which causes solenoid to drop out---- Battery voltage goes back up to near 12 volts—solenoid pulls back in & powers up starter causing weak battery voltage to drop to 6-7 volts or so which causes solenoid to drop out—Click, click, click, etc., etc,. etc..

 

Twisty

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