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Fixed that Sqeaky Starter (w/pics)!

Mike O

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So it happens that some starters are notorious for squeaking after a cold start. Symptoms are push the starter button, engine turns over, eventually starts at which point you release the button. But when the engine is cold, there's a loud momentary squeak coming from the lower part of the engine. After the engine warms up, starting the engine occurs without ANY after-squeak. It's a dirty starter.


Well, there have been a couple of threads on this board and even a write up by RightSpin that can be found here.

In that write-up, a good deal of the starter is dis-assembled to clean the affected starter parts. I took a less thorough approach and I thought I'd post a couple of before and after pictures.


Here's the dirty beast prior to me pulling it off the bike:



Here's another view of the dirty starter (the extra red wire on the starter happens to be the 'hot' lead for the Hella light relay. This is NOT present on the starter as shipped from the factory)




Pay very close attention as the dirt you see on the OUTSIDE of the starter is also (and where the squeak problem starts) on the INSIDE of the starter as shown here (I'm not going to describe HOW to get it off the bike. RightSpin's description is quite good already).




Note the black, greasy soot buildup on and around the starter gear and shaft. Here's another shot where you can see the build up of clutch dust, dirt and whatever other road gunk gets mixed in with the lubricant on the exposed starter components.




At this point, and rather than do a complete disassembly as Steve points out, I elected to forgo trying to remove (and reinstall the C-clip) and merely clean up as much as I could by moving the starter gear and other exposed components. Here's a shot with the front shroud of the starter removed and the exposed internal parts cleaned (I used a generic degreaser I purchased at a local auto parts store).




Quite an improvement. And in this final shot, you can see the internal sides of the starter shroud have been cleaned as well. In particular, the small bearing in the front of the shroud was cleaned. The starter gear shaft rests in this bearing.




After recoating (lightly) with some dielectric grease, the few screws I did remove to get this far were reassembled and the starter fastened back onto the engine. And VOILA...no more squeal.


Thanks to advice on this board, RightSpin's documentation and less than $5 in auto store material, I have a quiet starter again...




Mike O

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Clive Liddell

Thanks Mike,

Nice write up and pictures! My 1996 R sometimes squeaks and I am going to try your method first.

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