I put this video together after seeing the format on an RC forum. They had used it to poke fun at a troublesome and illogical poster. That is not my intent here but I did hope to have a little fun with it and help people understand non starting trouble shooting at the same time. I posted it in the Falco section and Hank thought it would be a good starting point for a starting system sticky here.
There are many threads about starting problems but no sticky here till now. There are also many charging system threads but again none here. So lets use this thread primarily for starting problem diagnosis but also for basic charging system trouble shooting and basic repair. There is already a good sprag clutch thread so we don't need to repeat any of that here.
I'll try and compile a list of other threads on both starting and charging problems. If any one has saved links to any of their favorites, let me know and I will add them to the list in the first post.
I've been meaning to write up a good check list on starting system diagnosis and will try to add that later.
For now enjoy the video. Understand that it was meant to be fun and so is not as thorough as I would have liked. I didn't want to spend too much time on it.
As with anything else I post here ask questions as much as you like and point out any errors and anything you think should be added. This first post will be a work in progress and I will update it over time. Send me links to pertinent articles and technical information and I will include them.
Also if anyone can show me how to embed this video I would appreciate it.
Battery - It all starts here
The first thing with any slow cranking problems is to check all battery cable connections. This includes the main frame ground connection, battery connections, starter relay connections, starter cable connection, and even the starter mounting. Any of these can be points of high resistance. If the starter bolts are tight that should be enough but some have found added cranking power by running a cable directly from the battery ground terminal to the starter mounting bolt. In normal circumstances this shouldn't be necessary but in corrosive environments it might be helpful. Early bikes had an cable connecting from the frame ground to the engine. This was eliminated with the 04 models but again, if a solid engine ground is not certain, an additional cable might be helpful.
Test the battery. The only way to know for sure if the battery is up to the task is a load test. This should be done after a full charge and rest period.
Without a load tester you can do an improvised load test by measuring the battery voltage with a volt meter as you crank the starter for 5-10 seconds. Do this with the key off. Energize the starter directly from the battery through the relay connector. My bike with a good 12ah battery holds 10.6 volts. Much below 10 volts indicates a weak battery.
Other problems such as starter drag, poor battery cable connections, or a failing relay can skew the results.
Check all fuses especially the two 30 amp main power fuses near the battery.
Fall Sensor (tip-over sensor)
This little box mounted near the battery, which feels and sounds like there is something broken loose inside, kills the engine in the event of a fall. People frequently get it mounted upside down when fiddling around with the battery. NO START appears on the display when it gets tripped and the bike won't start till it is reset. The rubber mount has UP and an arrow molded on it. Make sure it is mounted correctly. The bike will run with the sensor completely disconnected but EFI will flash continuously on the display. A resistor can replace the sensor to stop the flashing but a working sensor is a better option.
Starter Button Circuit
Pretty basic DC electricity here. The starter button provides power to energize the starter relay. With a test light you can check that power is reaching the relay connector red wires when the starter button is pushed.
There is nothing really wrong with the standard relay but it does not provide much of a safety margin and can be burned up easily during extended cranking sessions. The Yamaha relay no. 4KD-81940-00 has proven to be a good replacement but there many other options outside the motorcycle world.
A basic check of the relay function can start with a test light. With the key on push the starter button and you should get power to the red wires at the small connector. You can check the general condition of the internal contacts by measuring the voltage drop with a volt meter. Connect to the threaded terminals. You should be reading battery voltage. Push the starter button and the voltage should drop to near zero. 0.1-0.2 volts are normal readings. Much higher than that tells you the relay has resistance across the contacts and it needs to be replaced.
Starter Relay Mod: Futura w/ Ford Relay
These are pretty bullet proof. One known issue is a loose cable connection which will overheat the stud. If the cable stud is rusted this is a good sign that this heating has occurred.
To run the fuel pump has to work of course. The pump should run for three seconds after turning the key on. This function is controlled by a timer in the ECU. If the kill button is in the off position the pump will not be energized at key on but the timer starts. If you turn the key on and then arm the kill switch before the timer quits the pump will run for the remaining time. Pumps fail from corrosion due to water in gas. If the bike sits a lot the corrosion can lock the pump and you will not hear it run at key on.
To trouble shoot this disconnect the electrical connector and check for voltage with a volt meter at key on. There has been a fair amount of trouble with the through tank fitting that carries power to the pump. Bad solder joints have lead to open circuits for several. You will need to remove the fuel pump assembly from the tank to test for this possibility.